Wednesday, December 27, 2006


In mourning for a little while, about a few things- but one thing in particular.

Back in a few days.

Friday, December 22, 2006

oh, while we are in Christmas mode

A big thanks to all you people from:
Sydney, New South Wales
Laverton, Victoria
Drummoyne, New South Wales
Melbourne, Victoria
New Orleans, Louisiana
Falkirk, United Kingdom
Burlingame, California
Trenton, New Jersey
Wilmington, Delaware
Medina, Washington
Unknown Country
Perth, Western Australia
Mountain View, California
Vastra Gotaland, Sweden
(wherever all those places are... though I've been to a few of 'em) who came and had a look at the blog recently, and so ended up in this random sample.
"unknown country"- hmm, sometimes I wish I could move there.

Christmas staff

With Christmas and all, these guys were the only ones available to keep an eye on things.

They came in just before closing, and quite frankly I didn't have the nerve to ask them to leave.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Some more plugs

Some tough calls to be made over this festive weekend.
Friday night is a toss up between Penny Ikinger & the Evolution playing for free at the Pint on Punt in Windsor, or Tiger By The Tail over at some new place in Collingwood, called Exile On Smith Street.

Then on Saturday Kim Volkman is at the Greyhound
Like I say, tough calls, each of 'em. Maybe you should just stay home and wrap yourself in tinsel. Or not.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Seems like everyone's got a podcast (and a blog, and a myspace) going on these days.
One 'cast I try to keep up with is Dixiegrrl's Hangin' On For Mercy which is available over at Garage Punk.
And now the Barman has posted the first edition of his Drunk & Disorderly online at the I94-Bar.
Click through to listen, enjoy.

Christmas. Yawn.

Christmas shopping? Done in just over an hour. No messing around. Got hassled for change by some ice junkies when I was done, but thier teeth were so bad I could hardly understand what they were saying. Guess I was shopping in the wrong part of town.
And what do I want this year, you ask?
Well, Criterion are planning to release Border Radio, on DVD but not until January . And speaking as someone who's got everything in the Flesheaters/Divine Horsemen/Chris D discography (and more) it would be ideal, if only it was available...
So I'll opt for a copy of I Pass For Human instead- Chris' own full length directing debut.

Just leave it under the tree...

Friday, December 15, 2006

One-Eyed Annie and Furious Francesca

This talk of Outre reminds me that Annie & Fran had volunteered to stand watch this weekend.

They (she?) are the work of the lovely Angelique Houtkamp and came home with me following the "Skulls, Wheels and Ink" exhibition earlier this year.

Outre Krampus party

I started the year having an adventure at Outre Gallery's Niagara exhibition, when I was kidnapped by Niagara & Colonel Galaxy, so it seemed somehow right to head back there last night for their Krampus-themed drinks evening.
And what a fine night it was too- cheers to Martin & all the crew.
If you've never been to either their Melbourne or Sydney stores- well what are you waiting for? You can never have too many Taschen books.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Where did all those comments go?

In the trash, I'm afraid. Gone.
Don't expect to see so much give and take here for a while- too much bullshit was being sent through. So I bounced most of them.
But now I have all the blog's tools and functions properly set up and will be able to track visitors and comments much better in the future, so any comments that I do let go up on the posts should be able to stay there, OK? So no sulking.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hot & smoky

It was hot and smoky here all weekend, in more ways than one.
On Saturday afternoon I made the trip from the beach to the city, to see Louis Tillett play a solo show at the idGAFF Bar in Collingwood. It was worth the effort- more details to follow via the I94 Bar.
I also dropped by to the Old Bar in Fitzroy, for that Kim Volkman/Tijuana Souvenirs/Tiger By The Tail gig I mentioned last week, but didn't stay long.

Three bars in one post, that's a lot even for me. More soon...

Friday, December 08, 2006

I'll catch your fish for you

My old pal Quint has the helm this weekend.

Why not get drunk and show him your scars?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Suburban Mayhem soundtrack wins AFI award

A while back, I said the soundtrack for this movie was great.
Well, last night it won the 2006 Australian Film Institute award for best feature film soundtrack. The beautifully shot and edited official announcement is here
Congratulations to Mick Harvey, and to everyone who contributed.
And no, I still haven't seen the movie.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Some plugs...

Friday night in Sydney:

I wish I could go to this, I'm already regretting missing TSOOL when they were in town last week. And the New Christs are playing too...yeah I know it's not on my usual turf, but so what?

And on Saturday night in Melbourne, at the Old Bar in Fitzroy:

That's a great line up- think of it as an early Christmas present.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Greyhound to go gay- official.

They nicked my headline!

From the Emerald Hill Weekly, 6 December 2006:
Greyhound to go gay
The 300 capacity Greyhound Hotel band room will be converted into a gay venue by March next year following its sale to the owner of a chain of gay bathhouses.
The new owner of the Greyhound operates Wet On Wellington in Collingwood, Shed 16 in Seaford and Bay City Saunas in Caulfield and Seaford.

This was in a local St. Kilda/South Melbourne newspaper yesterday, and well, I hate to say I told you so. Chalk up a scoop for the Last Tram Home, I guess.
But I will say that I still think this is bad news, not because I’m anti-gay, but because I’m pro-sticky carpet local rock & roll venues.
Full article here, click on the (crappy) scan to enlarge.

Monday, December 04, 2006

An arty weekend

Had a very cultured weekend- oh, and before I get started, a big thanks to Vlad & Dmitri for holding the fort for a couple of days.

I spotted this in the paper on Saturday:
Felt Is The Past Tense Of Feel.

Artist Catherine Bell sucks the ink from 40 squid, then spits it onto her dead father's suit, in a torrid video work of violence, grief, and the purging of emotion.

Well, how could anyone resist that? And it was literally around the corner, at Linden. So on Sunday, after cleaning the frog tank we tore ourselves away from the Sci Fi Channel , and went to have a look, and it was as gross and fantastic as it sounds. On two separate screens this lady is in differing stages of the process- in the early part the suit is still white, then later it's black. As are her face, hands, arms, hair...the suit in question is hanging in the corner of the gallery space, and it absolutely reeks. She gets right into it on the video, ripping squid apart with her fingers, squeezing, sucking & spitting ink all over herself. The pile of dead squid she's sitting in gets bigger & bigger. But what does it signify? No idea, I'm afraid, but I'm glad I saw it.
Note: if this isn't enough, you can go to her website and see pictures of her swimming in a pool full of live eels while dressed in a plastic fetish suit, in a prior performance piece called Head Over Eels.

Then we went into the city to do some shopping and have a drink. There are a few Christmas decorations up in the streets, but what I liked was the view from up in Chloe's Bar- all the banner-sized pictures of Nick Cave (from the Howard Arkley exhibition at Fed Square), the posters of Astro Boy (from the Tezuka exhibition at the NGV) and the huge Sidney Nolan Ned Kellys on the facade of Flinders Street Station(from an exhibition at Heide )
An interesting choice of seasonal decorations, and a very spiritual trio- I'd pick Ned as the Father, Astroboy as the Son, and Nick as the Holy Ghost.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Hey comrade

It's weekendski here, OK? We're just a call centre. If it's urgent, talk to the Kremlin, if you can find someone there who gives a shit.
Da, da...dursty vagina!

Radio Birdman

Some of you are probably aware that I spent a fair bit of time earlier this year immersed in the return of Radio Birdman . I played "Zeno Beach" endlessly, reviewed a couple of their Melbourne shows, updated their Wikipedia page and lobbed a load of links and other bits and pieces into the I-94 Bar's Zeno Beach site. I did it because I wanted to, and enjoyed every minute of it.
So I was hugely surprised and pleased to get a parcel in the mail the other day, containing an enormous one sheet poster for the September 29th show at the Live Club, in Milan, and a beautiful limited edition print of this Stainboy work of art:
Not sure how it made the journey from San Francisco to my house, but it's gonna look mighty fine up on the wall.

You won't be seeing me on TV

A couple of months back I heard that the Lifestyle Channel were holding auditions to find hosts for a new program about barbecuing.
I wasn't going to bother (honest!) but on the day we happened to go past the area where they were set up, outside the Palais in St. Kilda. It looked kinda interesting, but still I balked at it.
Then an hour or two later a friend who did audition rang and explained the set up. You had to cook a sausage & an egg while talking to the cameras. That was all. AND you got a goodie bag...I was swayed by the thought of a new set of tongs, so went and signed up.
Steve Lucas from X, resplendent in a red tartan suit, and with a raging hangover from the Ian Rilen benefit show the night before, had decided to have a crack too. I'd love to see that tape.
I won't go into details, but will just say that when the producer guy said "We'll call you", I thought I was in.
Sadly, it was not to be. Jamie Oliver and Neil Perry can rest easy.
But the friend who sold me on the idea apparently got a look in. Her name is Janet A. McLeod and she is a very funny lady. If you have cable, and have nothing better to do than watch TV on a Saturday night, the program is called the Great BBQ Challenge, and is on at 7.30pm tomorrow, 2 December.
I'll sign off with a pic of some real BBQ. Here's one I made earlier, as they say. That's Underwater Jesus admiring some pork ribs.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A quiet weekend

My first dose of rock & roll came from a 7 year old kid doing a fantastic karaoke version of "It's A Long Way To The Top" at a primary school fete on Saturday afternoon.
I did catch a bit of Kim Volkman & the Whiskey Priests
at the Greyhound on Saturday night though. What I heard sounded fine, and Kim gave me a copy of his new CD, which is even better.
My life is a something of a train wreck at the moment, for reasons I won't go into, but if you think I'm being a bit lazy about posting here, well, check out the amount of new stuff that just gone up on the I-94 Bar. Those Box of Fish, Earaches, Chuck Norris Experiment & Hell Crab City CD reviews are all mine, with more to come this week.
And thanks to Wes, who emailed me to point out that Box of Fish were actually on the "Flowers In The Dustbin" compilation, not "Why March...?", and that both of these fine Aberrant releases were among those reissued on CD in 1996, on Small Axe Records. My stupid mistakes, as usual.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


In an attempt to make this blog more welcoming to any American visitors, I'm rolling out a new product line.

Get 'em while you can, limit one per customer, sale ends Thursday.
Oh, and you may need one of these to go with it.
Enjoy, pilgrims!

UPDATE, 1/12/06:
from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A Decatur man accused of trying to stuff his estranged wife into a heated oven on Thanksgiving Day was in jail Thursday in Rockdale County.
Martin Luther Jackson, 31, was charged Nov. 23 with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, cruelty to children and possession of marijuana, Rockdale police said. The incident at the woman's Rockdale home allegedly occurred within view of five children. Jackson's 29-year-old estranged wife escaped and complained to Rockdale police, said Jodi Shupe, a spokeswoman for the Rockdale Sheriff's Office.

If only he'd come to me first...full story here.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Wintergarden Room

Had a good night on Saturday, at the re-opened Wintergarden Room. It's pretty flash compared to how I remembered it- a big renovated space upstairs. Dolores & Chane are great hosts, and if there was a riot going on up in Collins St., I didn't notice it.
Ran into several old friends including Paul Elliot, from PolyEster , who was telling me the vice squad have returned most of the DVDs they seized in the raid, and are only going to charge him in relation to six of them. I can't recall the titles, but they all sounded filthy. Why not sign the online petition here to show him some support ahead of the trial?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

new Off The Hip store opening, Friday 17/11/06

Just thought I'd post a short note about this.

Shake on down to the brand new Off The Hip store on Flinders Lane this Friday afternoon and help us open our brand new store! The party starts at 5pm, with the SHIMMYS playing live in store playing tracks from their EP out now through Off The Hip.

Off The Hip
381 Flinders Lane (between Queen St & Market St)
Melbourne CBD

Members wanted

Spotted this in the classified section of this week's Beat magazine:

Members wanted to form new exciting original unique high-energy rock 'n' roll band. Looking for talented, experienced and open-minded people to collaborate with and develop set for gigs and recording. I play guitar/bass, played with GOD, Patterson's Curse & Sauce. For more info visit

It would be good to see Matty out from behind the shop counter and back in the live game, hope this pans out for him.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Suburban Mayhem

There's a new movie out, called Suburban Mayhem.
Directed by Paul Goldman, it's a story of lust and money and murder and all that good stuff. It's had fairly average reviews so far, and I haven't seen it yet, BUT for the first time ever I may have to go and see a movie because of the soundtrack. Check out the listing:

Adalita – Double Dare
The Buff Medways – Troubled Mind
Spazzys – Paco Doesn’t Love Me
Your Wedding Night – White Hott
Bird Blobs – Inbred Disco
Adalita – Sex Beat
Magic Dirt – Daddy
Theredsunband – Devil Song
Little Birdy – This Is A Love Song
Suzi Quatro – 48 Crash
Spazzys – The Sunshine Drive
Magic Dirt – Sucker Love

And that's only part of it- there is also some actual soundtrack type music by Mick Harvey as well.

No, I don't quite understand how the Buff Medways & Suzi Quatro fit in there either. But the Adalita stuff, which features Mr. Spencer P. Jones on guitar, is great, especially "Sex Beat".
There are samples available here , and if you like what you hear you can buy tracks or the whole thing as a download here.
Hmmm, $15.00 to see the movie and be entertained for an hour and a half, $22.50 for a CD that will last forever...decisions, decisions.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Isn't it great to be a footnote in history?

16-Jan-82 AU Melbourne, Royal Oak Hotel,Tiger Lounge [with Sunburnt Pharaohs and Precious Little]

setlist: New Age/ Downtown Swinging Town/ I Don't Care, Yeah/ Dead Joe/ Ring Of Fire.

Note: A private Missing Link Records party. The Birthday Party (without Phill Calvert) with members of The Go-Betweens and others. They perform as The Cavemen.

Taken from here.

Some of Precious Little's studio stuff is now available on a limited edition (1 copy only) CD, by the way.

Greyhound to go gay?

I've heard some rumours recently that the Greyhound Hotel , arguably St. Kilda's last surviving real rock venue, is to be transformed into a full time gay bay in the next couple of months.
This annoys and saddens me on a couple of levels. Historically, St. Kilda was always something of a gay hub- who remembers those drag queen photos that used to line the staircase at the Prince Of Wales?- and still hosts the Gay Pride march each year. However, the centre of gay culture in Melbourne seems to have cemented itself fairly firmly a couple of kilometers away, in Prahran. Up there, The Market Hotel, where I once saw bands like Little Murders, International Exiles & the Nicest People , has been a gay bar for years now.
The drag show in the back room of the Greyhound has peacefully co-existed with the rock & roll in the front bar for years. I just can't see how the place will survive as a full time gay venue though- those long term customers who prop up the bar each day will go elsewhere, for a start, and the location is, as I say, outside the gay district. Where will the bands be able to play now?
And why do we need segregated bars these days anyway?
It seems to be a bad decision on a few different levels, and I hope the rumours turn out to be false. The 24 hour kebab shop/garage across the road is being demolished soon (where will the Carlisle St. working girls get their 3.00am dim sims & cans of Coke?) and if the gay thing doesn't fly, I can see the 'Hound being converted into apartments in the next year or two.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Wintergarden Room at the Exford Hotel to reopen

Just a brief note to let you all know that the Wintergarden Room will reopen on 18th November, under the guiding hand of the legendary
Dolores San Miguel

See you there...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I was on a mission on Friday night

I was on a mission on Friday night.
I had to get over to a place called the idGAFF (yeah, I don't know what it means either) Bar in Collingwood for a drink with Spencer Jones, Graham Hood & Billy Pommer- 3/4 of the Johnnys- then down to St Kilda Bowling Club for Killer Birds & HOSS.

Was nice to have a quiet chat with Spencer. There was an interesting discussion about the fact that Hoody's daughter & Billy's son have BOTH set up myspace accounts for the Johnnys ( Highlights Of A Dangerous Life and Dead Men From Boot Hill if you are interested)
But I had to bail earlier than I would have liked, and ride that 246 bus all the way down to St. Kilda Junction.

Despite my best efforts, I was late, and so only caught the last song by Killer Birds. They are three girls from Bendigo, they rock out to a fair degree, and the drummer's mother is an old friend. I saw part of a set at the Greyhound a few weeks back, and really wanted to catch this. Ah well, next time.

Joel broke a couple of fingers doing his laundry the other week (yeah, I know, don't ask me, even he can't figure it out) so was off guitar duties tonight. The sound was still thunderous, though, and he moves/acts very different with the mike in his hand, rather than being tied to the stand.

Had a chat with John Nolan afterwards, he is getting very frustrated at not playing these days. With Tim Hemensley gone, the Powder Monkeys will never reform, but he seemed quite wistful as he fingered chords and strummed riffs up and down his walking stick.

I didn't catch the last tram home, I walked.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Farewell to Ian Rilen

Richard Sharman photo

My older brother was 16 in 1976, and an early fan of punk rock. He would go visit his new friends and bring home cassettes of local alternative radio station 3RRR- their signal wasn't strong enough to pick up out where we lived- and I'd sneak into his room and borrow them. On one tape, sandwiched between the Boys Next Door doing “A Catholic Skin” and the Little Murders’ “Things Will Be Different” was X doing “Delinquent Cars”. That clanging guitar, the bouncing bass line, the strange lyrics in that deadpan voice…I was intrigued and got hold of more, a whole album’s worth in fact, including “Present”, “Suck Suck”, and the anthemic “ I Don’t Wanna Go Out”.

So they were on my radar for a while before Ian & Steve re-formed the band with Cathy and moved down to Melbourne. It was a flush time for rock n roll, with clubs and gigs aplenty. But there were a bunch of us that chose to be at every X show, following them backwards and forwards across town, from the Prince of Wales to the User’s Club via Melbourne Uni and the Tote. They were just superb live, and had presence to burn, unlike so many other bands around at the time, who just had attitude. Ian and Steve were yin and yang to look at onstage- Steve the lanky dapper longhair and Ian the nuggetty crew-cut one in that white singlet. And of course most of the boys fancied Cathy Green like mad. “TV Glue” was always the high point of the set for me. Am I dreaming when I remember seeing this played with a horn section at least once?

I was writing back then, and after I did a live review for B Side, mutual friend Helen Meyers offered me the use of a spare studio at 3PBS to do an interview with the band. Perhaps unwisely, I took a couple of six packs of beer & a few bottles of red wine along to lubricate the process…but the result was an entertaining read at least.

Fast forward to February 1990- I was living in Surry Hills, Sydney, with Spencer P Jones. One warm Saturday morning, a huge crimson car nosed down our narrow little street and squeezed into a parking spot outside the house. Ian emerged, road case in one hand, amp head in the other and came in, talking a mile a minute. He’d just driven up from Melbourne overnight, and had decided to stop off for a drink. He kicked his boots off, quickly changed his jeans, locked the car and then we were off. I bailed out after an hour or two, (11.00am drinking isn’t my strong suit) and didn’t see Spencer or Ian for the rest of the weekend.

Not long after that I went and lived overseas til 2001. A couple of months after I came back, I went to the Espy to see the final show by Spencer P Jones & the Last Gasp, the magnificent 14 piece outfit he’d put together but had grown tired of shepherding. And while I was standing at the bar in the dim light of the Gershwin Room, an elderly looking gent in a shabby-chic suit & pork pie hat came over and said "Hello mate"...not only had Ian had spotted and recognised me after 10 years, he came over for a chat and a beer.

Over the past few year or so I must’ve seen him play with the Love Addicts eight or nine times. The swaggering, roaring set they unleashed on the big stage of the Palace as part of the benefit for his old mate Pete Wells. Those cramped and sweaty shows eye-to-eye and toe-to-toe with the crowd down on the sticky carpet of the Greyhound Hotel. There was always plenty of give and take

I also ran into him out & about occasionally, often pushing a baby stroller down the footpath. He was proud of all of his children, but there seemed to be something special about the way he looked at Romeo. I’d usually make some dumb crack about how odd it was to see him holding pram handles instead of an instrument. Looking back now, maybe he was holding onto those handles as support for himself just as much for the security of his son.

At the recent benefit show held at the Prince of Wales, I was talking to Janine Hall, the former Saints bass player who’d been a housemate of Ian’s in the past. Janine was close to tears as she told me how worried she was by the news he was too ill to come along himself. The show itself was great, but there was definitely something lacking without his presence. I went to see him on play on October 13th- and he couldn’t make the show. Kim & the Whisky Priests filled in well that night but within the next few days there were rumours swirling round and it was pretty clear things had taken a bad turn.

I went to the Greyhound a few nights ago. It was pretty full for a Monday, though it was happy hour from 5 .30 til 7 .30, and beers are only $2.00. There were a few familiar faces in there, and someone had written “Vale, Ian Rilen” on the blackboard.
I got a drink, put a few of his tunes on the juke box and sat in a chair in the same spot Ian stood and played the last time I saw him here. When the opening bars of "Booze To Blame" started playing, the whole place went quiet for a minute, then Rob (the landlord) went behind the bar to turn up the volume...and suddenly it seemed like everyone wanted to talk about him, to share a memory or a raise a glass. The jukebox got fed again and again, and I think every song of his that they had got an airing. Hearing them – “Halfway Round The World” especially- released a lot of the tension I’d been feeling all day. Well, that and the beers. I said a silent farewell to his shade and didn’t stay too long.

So rest in peace Ian- countless gigs, seven bands, four children, one life.