Sunday 28 November 2010

Klerks - The Groove Tapes 7" Vi-Nil VR010, 1985 (recorded 1979)

If you believe the insert, the Klerks' material was written in the Palm Beach branch of the ANZ bank. How apropos. From that home base in Sydney's northern beaches, the band ventured into the inner city throughout 1979 and became a regular Friday night fixture at the Sussex Hotel (where the EP's cover photos were taken). At that time, the venue was evolving into the epicentre of the Sydney mod scene - the Klerks shared a stage there with the likes of the Sets and rubbed shoulders with other future mod scene-makers.

Musically, stages were about the only thing the Klerks shared with the mods - bar the new wave-ish closing track, The Groove Tapes is raw and menacing punk rock. We have featured The Rider below as the standout song, but Love And Pain and Fun In The Sun are both worthy efforts, too. The EP highlights what seems to have been an ongoing alliance with Wallaby Beat favourites, the Flying Calvittos - both singles featured musical contributions from the mysterious Groove, and were tracked at his Surry Hills studio (here, Groove is responsible for some spastic keyboards, which thankfully tend toward fart noises as often as not). The Klerks' logo, as well as the cover of their only other single, were also designed by a Calvitto.

As for the other single, this is where things get a little complicated. Though The Groove Tapes was recorded in 1979, it did not see the light of day until some six years later, when it was released in a tentative edition of 250 copies on the Vi-Nil label. (Vi-Nil, of course, is best known for the first Hard-Ons single, as well as its other live-in-the-studio archival release, the Lipstick Killers' 1978 recordings). In the interim, the Klerks had expanded to a four-piece and recorded what was to be their first release proper, a two-song single appearing on Vi-Nil in 1983 (K001/2). This outing was incomparably weaker, and included an extended but anaemic re-recording of Love And Pain.

As if the Klerks' chronology wasn't convoluted enough, the matrix etching of The Groove Tapes belies its 1985 release date, placing it firmly at 1981. The most likely explanation would be an aborted '81 attempt to put the EP to wax, with the original plates being rescued for its eventual Vi-Nil release. Another theory involves the great scientific innovation of 1985, the flux capacitor. Keep an eye on our other website, where we intend to expound on this theory at length.

The Rider

Groove: "a wild, wild operator". From the advertising LP The Adventures of Smedley Strongheart (EMI Custom PRX.5667, late-'60s).


Anonymous said...

I remember seing the Klerks at the Brooklyn Hotel on George Street near the Quay. There is still a pub there of that name, but the original was a few doors down from that. It was a very small, basic venue. I remember the guitarist jumping out the door and playing part of the gig standing on the footpath. The barmaid provided a light-show by flicking the switch off and on. A great night.

Anonymous said...

i was there too quongdong

Anonymous said...

Saw The Klerks several times at The Sussex and yes, they gave the mod bands like The Sets their first break supporting them there..I know, I was in the Sets' first line up.

Anonymous said...

I recently saw this pub again. It's now called Morrison's (hasn't that name been used before?) The corner bar was not there years ago, but there is a bar nearer the Quay and this might be the original one - certainly looked like it anyway.


Unknown said...

My name is Mike. I was their roadie. These guys really inspired me to get into music as well. I moved to Queensland for a few years and was in several band lineups. When I returned to Sydney the Klerks were no longer together. A new band called 'The Morlocks' was formed. Johh Heath was not in the new band. He was replaced by Matt Perin. He was young but he really knew his way around the drums kit. Noel became the front man and I became the new bass player. Bill Heighway was stil playing Rhythm/Lead and a lead guitarist, Frank Kalusche, was added to the lineup. Although I loved the Klerks and their rough punk style, the Morlocks sound was more polished. Unfortunately, being an originals band stopped us from getting much work The hotels etc wanted cover bands in Sydney. Oh well, at least the music was still good.

James said...

My name is James heighway , bill - guitarist was my uncle . He gave me my first distortion pedal, he passed in the 90’s . Rip bill missed by us all . Was so pleased to find this stuff thanks you everyone.