A theme that runs through a lot of what we're doing here is that 1977 wasn't quite the Year Zero many may have thought. The strands and threads running through punk era Australia can often be followed back to the godawful tapestry of the early '70s, and sometimes back even further to the tattered afghan jackets of the late '60s. Late '70s Sydney punks The Press are another case in point.
Bassist Michel Brouet is sometimes listed in an early Band Of Light lineup, though we think this is some sort of mixup with Norm Roue. Brouet and guitarist Bruce Cumming first stood astride Sydney stages together in Submarine XI in 1975. We don't know anything about them, so let's move quickly on to where they next lobbed up - Southern Cross, one of the many hard rock bands cranking watts '76 grillfat style.
Gene Pierson was an Australian singer who moved to New Zealand when his draft card arrived. He continued his singing career there and became a star. His version of I Ain't No Miracle Worker is highly spoken of by garage aficionados but the phased version of Reach Out is perhaps his finest moment, and the Bandstand video with wild interpretive dancers is well worth checking out - see it at the top of this page. Back in Sydney in the '70s he began managing venues and in particular used one of them, Chequers, to showcase the thriving Sydney hard rock scene (AC/DC debuted there in 1973). Around the same time he started a label called Living Sound, who put out Southern Cross's single Queen Of Rock And Roll / Stormy Lady. Living Sound morphed into the Laser label, which released Southern Cross's rare and well regarded album. Laser scored disco, nostalgia and novelty hits, but still at least paid lip service to hard rock, being home for a while to Geeza and U Turn.
Then along came punk rock, and Cumming and Brouet liked what they heard. Based in the Western Suburbs they had difficulty finding other punk rockers so they chose Steve Kot (vocals) and Rick Doolan (drums) based on “an undeniable wildness in the resultant chemistry”.
|Gig poster detail|
As far as recordings go, a demo was recorded in 1978 and then this album at Atlantic Studios, Earlwood, in late 1978. It was a year before it appeared, on their old mate Pierson's Laser label, and after a few gigs to promote it the band started to fall apart, Kot was asked to leave and a few final shows as a three piece led to the end of the band in December 1979.
Although a solid LP there's really only two keepers. Had Trapped In The Wreckage and Alcoholic been a single pairing you'd be chasing it hard. As it was, Alcoholic did get a 7" release, which sank like a stone, despite its great opening riff. Trapped In The Wreckage is a particularly strong track with its driving pace and Kot's best vocal performance (though look out for the lyric fluff around 1:50). There's some solid bass playing and guitar elsewhere but the songwriting or vocals seem to let the tracks down. The LP itself is reasonably easy to track down, though if you're a condition nazi just take our advice and give up on ever owning a mint sleeve.
Let’s close with a hit of invective from Cumming’s blog (photos there too), specifically directed at folks like us who push the 'coupla tracks' line. As evidence we've also included the next strongest track - extrapolate downwards at will.
“I will tell you something here, just for posterity. We were not bandwagon jumping onto the punk thing. I was 20 when this was recorded and the punk explosion/phenomena/music/attitude/ etcetera had had a massive impact on me. It was only natural, really. None of this shit - from me or the other three guys - was a put on. We never said we were 'punk'. We played Ramones and New York Dolls and Damned songs coz we dug the music AND we were doing 3 sets a night pub gigs and needed a bigger repertoire than my songwriting could keep up with. Sorry for not being fucking kool enough to fall into one of your little punk, new wave, garage or Detroit niches. We never gave a fuck what you thought of us suburban boys then and I sure as hell don’t give a fuck now."
|Memorise the label, you'll be flicking past a lot of Dark Tan, Patterson and Peaches 7"s on it before you see a Geeza or one of these.|
Trapped In The Wreckage
Out Of View