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 www.mattyw.com/wantad

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.