Saturday 6 August 2011

Relatives - Picasso (Private Collector) 7" Red Ash RAP-001, 1979

And we're off again. Let's begin year two with a little heard Melbourne punk record by a band notable for their odd iconography - fish, invented calligraphy, and a fairly unique pink and green colour scheme.

Starting as a school blues band at Brighton Grammar School in 1975, the Relatives made their punk debut as The Velvet Underpants at their school dance in 1977. Covers included the Saints, Sex Pistols, plenty of Lou and Bowie, and a fnarr fnarr throwback to their blues roots - Chain's Grab A Snatch And Hold It. After a name change to the Nooney Rickett 4, the band made its public debut beyond school halls and parties in May 1978, opening for News at Bernharts (formerly the Thumpin' Tum in the 1960s, then commandeered by News as a regular haunt).

Post-school the six members stayed together, had a name change to the more serious Relatives in 1979, and gigged aplenty at the regular Melbourne haunts - the Crystal Ballroom, the Exford, The Tote, Prince Of Wales etc. Their first 7", released in June 1979, is highlighted by Picasso (Private Collector) which encompasses all the things we love - instruments all racing to get to the end of the song first, 1-2-3-4s (including one to end the song), and lots of attitude: eventually, Pablo Picasso was called an arsehole. A simple riff and some nice acid guitar underpin Now She's On The Beat, a tale of prostitution. Clock Struck One rounds out the record.

Bassist Simon Kain recalls:
"We pressed 300 of the 1st and gave them all away on our launch nite - many were trashed then and there!"
Which jibes with the record's elusive nature. Some remaining copies we've had over the years also skip during Picasso, but keep at it - playable copies are out there.

The band continued until 1982 with one more 7", which features some more standard punk rock icons - we'll get to that later. Members ended up in the later garage influenced Wet Taxis, post-Sekret Sekret band Red Ochre, Chad's Tree and the Jackson Code.

There are some good Relatives resources on the web: a blog, Andrew Dowd's memorial page (with some live tracks), and some CD-Rs (email addresses at the bottom to get copies).

Picasso (Private Collector) [Download]

Now She’s On The Beat [Download]

Clock Struck One [Download]

Lyric insert
Free champagne at the single launch.
Fish and calligraphy...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good one!
I think Derek and Clive beat them by a few years in calling Picasso an arsehole:
I can relate to the records getting lost at the gig. I went to a Scientists gig with about half a dozen people and everyone was given a free single on entry, but no-one I knew managed to take it home. We didn't trash them, just put them down somewhere and then forgot about them.