Christian Houllemare (centre) with the reformed Happy Hate Me Nots, with the author, Matt Galvin, next to him, second from the right . Mark Roxburgh photo
It's hard to remember how I first got to know Chris Houllemare. Was I a fan, a friend or a bandmate?
I was 15 when The Happy Hate Me Nots released their first two singles, in 1985. I saw them by accident at the Strawberry Hills Hotel after walking down Foveaux Street (fuck, EVERYTHING is French this week) from a World Series Cricket one-dayer, and I used my bus pass as ID to get into a gig at Hurstville Master Builders club not long after.
I was smitten. It was kinetic, real lyricism, real heart, really fucking fast. All at once.
Loose Pills (fron left) Stu Wilson, Matt Galvin, Ryan Ellsmore and Bill Gibson
Remember when ‘super groups’ played ‘pop music’ that rocked? Yes, both terms have been bludgeoned into redundancy but Sydney’s Loose Pills are doing their level best to re-introduce some relevance.
The membership should be enough to make you prick up your ears - New Christs, The Eastern Dark, Lemonheads, Orange Humble Band, The Scruffs (the Aussie edition), Pyramidiacs and too many more to mention dot the collective history. The debut album, “Rx”, seals the deal with a dose of raucous guitars, powerful dynamics and pop smarts.
We spoke to singer-guitarist Ryan Ellsmore to get the lowdown and what makes a great Heavy Pop record.