Saturday, 26 March 2011

Hooker - Smashing Records / Don't Stop 7" X-Change XS-1/2, 1980

Hard not to respect a record that so prominently displays a smashed 45 of the The Seekers' The Carnival Is Over. While we fully endorse that sentiment, it's a shame the same can't be said for Smashing Records, the lead song from this obscure single by Perth's Hooker (PJ Hooker on the label; PJ Hooker Band on the back cover; Hooker Band elsewhere). Quality control prevents us from posting it here, but the curious may want to check out this particularly noxious version, recorded live in 1982 at the Nookenburra Hotel. Be warned that it is 3:05 of your life you will wish you could get back.

Thankfully, the keyboards and new wave affectations which blight the live footage are largely absent from the single. Recorded two years earlier, its B-side is a creditable exercise in powerpop/rock. In fact, as a suburban Oz Rock take on the Marshall-amped powerchords of fellow Perth-ites The Manikins, Don't Stop fits neatly into the accidental powerpop genre discussed here previously. Though the musical terrain overlaps, we hasten to emphasise that the two bands approached it from very different angles. Their respective odes to the commercial radio DJ speak for themselves - compare Smashing Records ("I am a DJ...the greatest hits, the hottest licks", delivered without irony) with Radio World from the first Manikins 45 ("You like the way the DJ speaks but he just gives me the shits"). The artwork accompanying both singles further highlights differences in approach, but for now we'll leave Hooker's back cover to your imagination.

Despite plugging away on the local scene for another few years, there would be no further releases. After calling it quits in 1983, various members turned up in other Perth bands throughout the remainder of the '80s and into the '90s - Phil Foord surfaced briefly as bassist for well-regarded local rock band The Jackals, while at the other end of the spectrum, singer Steve Letch joined the much-maligned Kaper (scan back-issues of Party Fears zine for the headings "The three worst bands I've ever seen" and "Bands I would rather not have suffered"). Guitarist Marcus Sturrock looked further afield, rubbing shoulders with a who's who of Oz Rock out-of-towners, as documented extensively on his website.

Don't Stop

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

PJ HOOKER WERE ONE OF THE BEST BANDS TO EVER COME OUT OF PERTH, I LOVED THEM. RECORDING COMPANIES RECOGNIZED THIS ALSO. THEY WERE OFFERED BIG THINGS WHICH TWO OF THE THE MEMBERS DID NOT TAKE UP, HENCE THE BAND, SPLIT UP. I HAVE FOLLOWED THE CAREER OF ONE OF MAIN STAY MEMBERS, GUITARIST, SINGER, COMPOSER MARCUS STURROCK. HE HAS TOURED WORLD WIDE AND CREATED SOME AMAZING MUSIC AND PLAYED WITH SOME OF THE GREATS. I HAVE PURCHASED ALL HIS CD'S AND CAUGHT HIM IN CONCERT 3 TIMES, TWICE IN EUROPE, I WAS TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY. MARCUS IS SO PASSIONATE ABOUT HIS MUSIC AND YOU CAN REALLY FEEL, WATCHING HIM LIVE IN CONCERT, HE PLAYS IN SUCH A COOL WAY. I MUST ADMIT THOUGH, PJ HOOKER AND MARCUS ARE CHALK AND CHEESE, MARCUS REALLY IS A CUT ABOVE AND STOOD OUT IN THE BAND.

Anonymous said...

I was not into PJ Hookers record/ vinyl although live they were great. The only guy that i have heard from the band these days is Guitarist Marcus Sturrock and this guy is truly amazing live. I have one of his CD's and 'Wow'.

Steve ABC said...

I was one of Hooker's earliest road crew and lighting operator..and I went on to spend 25 years in the music industry touring Australia with some of the best bands this country has to offer. I remember this band with fond memories, packed hotels and a hardcore following around Perth. Im still in contact with Phil and Marcus. If I had my time over..I wouldn't change a thing. Here's to HOOKER and the good old days of rocking Perth punters!!!

[Steve K] aka Blackstick