tony robertson - The I-94 Bar
Fifteen years ago, talented Victorian songwriter Danny McDonald told me that Little Murders was THE great lost power-pop band of Australia’s halcyon musical underground days of the 1980s. They were defunct at the time and an Off The Hip re-issue of their early material - and another reformation - were away off in the future.
Of course, Danny was right. He’d grown up with the band’s songs and they’d left a permanent mark. Little did he know that in 2015 he’d join Little Murders for their fifth and latest studio album “Hi-Fab!” - or that it might be the best thing they’ve ever recorded.
Real Gone - The Naked Lunch (Aldora Britain Records)
Surf punk pop is alive, The Naked Lunch has a new single out - and what a bloody good tune it is. “Real Gone” is so catchy. A different version was recorded and released by an earlier line-up back in the 1980s and the song was written by Tony “The Kid” Robertson and Died Pretty legend Ronald S Peno.Play it loud. This is what Sydney’s underground surf rock was/is all about.
The line-up of The Lunch boasts some of Australia’s finest musicians: Tony Gibson on guitar, Murray Shepherd on drums, The Kid on bass and Steve Beaves on vocals. It’s a brilliant single to follow 2019’s “The Naked Lunch” album. The second album is on its way and has the same name as the single. “Real Gone” is real gold and I am so looking forward to hearing the long player. The song is available in digital format here.
Copies of these four songs have been circulating for years and two have surfaced on compilations. The balance were re-recorded by members’ subsequent bands. But don’t kid yourself that you don’t need this vinyl only 12-inch EP.
The 31st started when future members of Died Pretty (Ron Peno and Chris Welsh), the Screaming Tribesmen (MIck Medew) and the Hitmen/New Christs/Screaming Tribesmen (Tony Robertson) started playing shows in a strip club and anywhere else that would have them. Evidently, they played no one style of music - which must have been confusing for the Brisbane punks, boogie-heads and blues fans to pin a tail on.
The 31st were a future supergroup before those things were called that in Australia. They kicked around the undergrowth of Brisbane’s downtrodden music scene in the early 1980s, and fell to pieces before anyone outside of it saw or heard them.
Future Hoodoo Guru Brad Shepherd was to briefly become a member although he's not on these recordings.
Lovegrinder The Album – Lovegrinder (self released)
There’s a popular theory - perpetuated by a few fans of Junkie Rock from Australia’s southern state's capital city – that the so-called salad days of Sydney underground rock and roll were a farrago based on an overdose of second-rate Radio Birdman copyists.
Call it a typically defensive Sydney response but while the "Detroit" handle became a tag of convenience, most of the Harbour City’s bands of the 1980s/early ‘90s had tenuous musical links to the Birdmen. There was a handful of short-lived clones, but for the vast majority it was the energy and undeniable fuck-you-we’ll-do-what-we-want attitude of the Radios that were the hand-me-downs, and not their unique, impossible to replicate mutated musical mix.
Which brings us to Lovegrinder, yet another in the long line of Sydney bands that never progressed higher than the lower support rungs of the very crowded local live scene ladder. Not that there’s any great shame in that. For many, headlining the Tivoli or Selina’s wasn’t the goal because they had no interest in being on the rosters of the omnipotent Dirty Pool, Nuclear or Harbour booking agencies. Playing music was more about knocking around with their mates, consuming beers (or something illicit) and having a good time.