Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Perth Music

Ever written a lengthy post only to have your machine crash and lose the lot? Just happened to me...

Anyway, a great site that all lovers of quality independent Perth music should bookmark is: http://www.perthmusic.blogspot.com

Despite this town being known as 'Cover Band City' ever since Todd Johnston and V-Capri graced the stage at the smoked glass, chrome, plastic palm trees and cream brick Floreat Park Hotel, we do have an incredible underbelly of fine original musicians.

I remember my 'hey day' back in the 80s - shut up, there was too some good music! - seeing bands the likes of The Stems, 20th Century Crucifixion, Kansas City Killers, The Holly Rollers, Die Monster Die, Cinema Prague and Love Pump at such venues as The Shents, The Grosvenor and The Old Melbourne.

Of course, these venues are long gone and no longer will I feel the hair on my head slowly singe during a fire breathing moment with The Painters and Dockers, or revel in the platform shoed glory of Love Pump in full flight. But, hey - this town needs more retirement homes!

I also remember a place called Fat City Cafe off The Broadway in Nedlands which went right off on a Sunday... however, the last time old Hadie and myself rocked up there, a Nedlands-type with a lemon jumper tied around his neck and deck shoes said there'd never been bands at the venue and told us to politely push off... does anyone else remember this place???

My most memorable gig? - a night at the Shents sharing the contents of a hollowed out bible sent from the midst of a Queensland jungle while Kim Salmon set about making his guitar talk to me in three different languages... what's yours?


Arthur_Vandelay said...

I'm a little ashamed to say I don't have any, really. The only Perth band I have seen live (outside of the Big Day Out) was Four Feet Away at the Grosvenor (shortly before it closed down/stopped hosting live gigs). That was mainly because I knew one of the guitarists.

Anonymous said...

My all time fave Perth Bands were The Rockets & The Silent Type who became The Never Never. Rockets cause they were loud, hard and dangerous, the real thing. Silent Type had one of the finest songwriters Perth has seen in Simon Goodridge, an inventive rythmn section, fabulous dual guitar sound and heavenly harmonies by Peter Busher. I was so inspired by early 80's bands like The Victims & Rockets that I took up guitar myself and played in the scene for a few years, first in The swinging Countrybilly band "Diddy Wah Hoodaddies" and later in Psychedelic Surf band "The Neptunes". See website http://rob.mactherapy.com/neptunes
Thanks for the memories!
Rob Findlay

Cookster said...

Arthur - it's never too late!

Rob - I remember those bands and I'm pretty sure I saw you play a few times... but hey, if you can remember the 80s, you weren't there!

Fyi, my choice of fashion in those years: paisley long sleeved shirt, black stovepipe jeans, black suede winklepicker boots and bobbed hair... the boots are long gone!

Anonymous said...

As is the hair right! Just kidding.
I remember a guy called John Cooke who was actually a bass player (briefly in The Stems Mk1 I think) who dressed exactly as you've described. Of course we all dressed like that then! I still have one pair of stovepipes but yes, the boots are log gorn as are all the paiselys.
Forgot to mention I'm also a Dockerland regular and just about every second week I'm at Subi watching whatever it is Freo are doing out there that week.
Rob Findlay
The Neptunes

Blandwagon said...

Fat City Cafe was demolished and the site is now a Terrazza franchise, I think... which is the equivalent of not only killing someone, but also dancing on their grave.

Cookster said...

Rob - I too am a Dockerlander and a disgusted one at that! I declare open season on umps!!! The John Cooke you're thinking of was in the Passionfruit Club and he was unfortunately killed by a truck on the Nullabor Plain... I was out of Perth at the time and a lot of people thought it was me who died. I turned up at Curtin one day and people thought they were seeing a ghost!

Bland - what's happened to TFCC is just wrong...

GT said...

Unfortunately I can't remember half of the 80s... but I'm very much a fan of 80s music.


Anonymous said...

a new stems album?? HOLY COW!! that's pretty darn exciting. i must admit that i got into the perth scene a little after you (age dif showing there) but remember some great shows by such brilliant bands as thermos cardy, the rosemary beads, push humpty, sugarchild, press gang, team jedi, apartment 99, jebediah, effigy, red jezebel, gary wiseman, turnstyle, cartman, eskimo joe, anodyne 500, yummy fur... and the list goes on. the shows which really stand out in my memory are thermos cardy, effigy, humbug and jebediah at planet; thermos cardy, adam said galore, effigy and yummy fur in freo (a random venue that i can't remember) and thermos cardy, sugarchild, apartment 99 and team jedi at the shents.

the really great thing about perth music is that brilliant bands just keep coming out of the woodwork. it's hard to keep up with it from over here in london but if you get the chance to check out college fall, the bank holidays or fighting for alaska you really should.

Cookster said...

Dave, I actually interviewed The Stems for the first edition of Curtin newspaper, the Fremantle Focus. I was meant to be interviewing The Amazing Kooka Brothers, but the rehearsal times were mixed up - good score for me, plus free tickets to their next Shents gig!

Anonymous said...

hey its fab to read all this from London where I ended up somehow. I remember that venue in a beery kind of way. I think best gig might have been the first lineup Black Eyed Susan's gig at the Captain Stirling or any of several Cinema Prague gigs - they used to play in a pub on a corner in Freo I can't remember the name of - it was opposite one of the few places you could go for munchies in the wee hours. The Healers doing 'Girl, You'll be a Woman Soon' also a highlight.

:) annie

Anonymous said...

Hey annie, its the Harbourside that you're thinking of - opposite Captain Munchies. I played a few shows there with my bands, Baked and Bing.

Anonymous said...

the rockets at the governor broome hotel , the scientists there also

Anonymous said...

Yeah I also remember seeing bands in Perth and Freo.

Dave - i think the random venue that you might be thinking of is the Old Customs Houdse in Freo??? MAybe?? I certainly saw Effigy and Adam Said Galore there - that was one of ASG's first ever shows.

I also remember going on some ferry for Effigys' farewell gig before they went to Melbourne with Roadrunner!

Ahhh! The Grosvenor, The Greenwich, 78's upstairs, House Of Wax, Hydey, Rosemount, Planet - are any of these places still around?

And late night coffee at The Moon or 101's in Northbridge? 10 years and I am still looking for a time machine to take me back!

Greg aka HJ Allen

aka The Blonde dancey guy who wanted to be Kurt Cobain!

Take care all and thanks for the memories!

Anonymous said...

I remember when Kav and Joel from n Eskimo Joe were in Freuds Pillow and we used to go see them at 78 Records. Also loved Effigy, Red Jezebel, Beaverloop and Thermos Cardy. Oh those were my high school days in the late 90's best time of my life

Ale said...

I've actually got a blog concerning gigs in Perth. From the perspective of an underage teen. I'd be pretty happy if you looked at it, and by proxy made it popular. Thanks.

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Ralto said...

The Rockets main residence really early on was (I think) the Blue Note Tavern)- downstair's as the shopping centre just near the Uni. They also had gigs at Hernando's Hideaway in East Perth. By and large their longest spell was at the Stockade on a Friday night (it backed on to the Leederville Hotel). Then they would play the late session at Blazes on Charles Street in North Perth.

Lewis said...

The Rockets were probably Perths most marketable product but never never got the right set of circumstance to go further.... Peter Johnson was iconic... but if anyone can help I'm trying to get a copy of their song
'Get Away'... I had many desk tapes but they are all gone now.
Thanks Lewis

Anonymous said...


I was having a clean out the other week of old tapes and found a copy of a Rockets tape with the likes of 'Get Away', 'Motor City Boys' etc. The tape is circa 1981 from memory. Studio first side and live on the second. I'll give it a play tonight to see what the quality is like after over 20 years! If reasonable I will cut a copy for you. They were a great band.
Cheers Steve

Anonymous said...

Saw the Never Never for the 2nd time this year on Sturday night at the Claremont. They are still sensational. They'll be doing another gig in about 6 months - so look out for it. Like the Claremont hotel on FB to get notified.

FYI, they played their old stuff like Everything's Rosy, Girl's in my System, Something's Happening, Disappointment Day, Just a Big Kid, Let's Pretend etc

Great night

Anonymous said...

I've been trying to find The Rockets stuff for awhile now. Anything floating around??

Email me at:


Mario said...

I have a Rockets cassette from 1983, which will be converted to CD in the next 7 days.

1 Dose Of You
2 Imitations
3 Can't Stand Spending My Life With You
4 Shook Up Kid
5 Every Day
6 Red Moon

7 Factory
8 Foolish Romantic
9 So Fast
10 Talk, Talk, Talk
11 I Can't Wait
12 Wooden Floors

I have about three A4-sized print documents about The Rockets, in a scrapbook.

I've seen them play live in Perth in 1983.
We loved them and still do.

I can share what meagre Rockets memorobilia I have and copies of paper or cassette are at no charge.

I live in Perth. Contact me at wordwarrior60@gmail.com

Archived in 1983 for your pleasure today :)

Tren said...

Mario, I would dearly love a copy of The Rocket's cassette or any other format. I have owned several copies in the past and had a few desk tapes from gigs I worked on, and a beloved T shirt. All sadly lost in Europe when I left a suitcase with someone for safe keeping.

Lewis said...

Tren....... the name rings a bell you would have got any Rockets tapes from me ..... I was the sound operator until they left for Sydney.

Tren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tren said...

Yes Tren is a familiar name, I hear it nearly every day !
Lewis,I do believe we have made each other's acquaintance,more than likely at a Rockets or some other gig,maybe I worked a gig with you ? I did a bit of trogging back then. I got my desk tapes from when I was working with Rob Anderson and Kim Goodlet....I ran a little agency called Lowlife and managed a few venues and clubs over the years, basically I was just a Leisure Industry slut, who liked to be paid for going out :)Actually,now I'm thinking about it I'm getting a flicker. I think you may have given some tapes to myself or Rob Anderson before you left?

Tren said...

I MUST thank Mario, again for the disc....Cheers Geezer !

Anonymous said...

Remember seeing the Rockets and the Transplants in 1979 at Hernando's in the city. The Transplants were Paul McCarthy, Tony Pola, Geoff Wood, Reg Massey and Denis Lunn.
Tony Pola went to Kim Salmon and the Surrealists and the Beasts of Bourbon and Paul McCarthy to the Jackals and The Boys, Paul's current band is the Wishers I think Geoff joined Lupin Beck. Not sure about the others.

Jeff Edis said...

Wow, memories... I was in a band called The Addicts - we used to support the Rockets at Hernando's Hideaway 2 or 3 nights a week!

Our lead singer was Reg Cribb - the now famous Perth Playwright.


Anonymous said...

There are currently heaps of Rockets clips on youtube. Live at the Old Melbourne. Just google Rockets and the the name of the song e.g. Motor City Boys.


Unknown said...

Nice post on cover band perth

Truscott Trotter said...

My old Rockets cassette is past its best - worn out really - would be really happy to get a new copy on digital
Some of my finest gig memories were of them at Hernados and the Stockade.

Desert Schmoman said...

Anyone looking for Rockets stuff on digital, found this a few months back:


Not sure if the person whom put it up just added their favourites, or if this is a copy one of The Rockets' cassettes....

01 Imitations.
02 Every Day (She)
03 Wooden Floor
04 Shook Up Kid
05 So Fast (Grown Up)
06 Factory (World Sedated)
07 Dose Of You (Get It Straight)
08 I Can't Wait
09 Can't Stand Spending My Life With You (Tell Me Everything)
10 Talk Talk Talk IGod I'm Missing You)
11 Red Moon (Bleed On Me)
12 Foolish Romantic
13 Mean Mistress (7'' Single, A Side)
14 Little Donna (7'' Single, B Side)
15 Automatic (from 'West' Compilation)

Anonymous said...

Hi Perth band Crimson Boy from the mid eighties have signed with European Record Label, http://www.body-music.com/html/bands.html .

Mr Weird and Wacky said...

The song list is mine along with the filesanywhere files. Probably tagged the song names incorrectly. They're straight off The Rockets tape you guys are talking about. Added their single + track from 'West' Compilation

Unknown said...

Hernando's upstairs corner of Hay & Bennett street. Rockets etc etc 80 > 81 some of my best life memories. JACO

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