The Toy Watches were a punk/pop band based in Ipswich and Brisbane between 1979 and 1981. A popular live prospect, they were picked up by aspirational label Peanut Republic. The result was this obscure 45 - highlighted by the punky pop A-side, Too Long. To be honest we've always neglected this 7"; it's good but doesn't reach out and grab you by the balls. However, in researching this piece we came across the video below, and the photos at rhythm guitarist Ian Davies' myspace site (also see below), and the sense of fun surrounding the band endeared the record to us one more time. The flipside, Hawaii, sounds half-written by comparison, perhaps too much fun was being had.
The iconography on the label starts with a map of Queensland (let's be thankful they weren't Tasmanian). Bursting through is state premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, the kiwi of Dutch extraction who ruled the state from his farm in Kingaroy, the state's centre of peanut production. Don't be fooled by the cheeky grin, as detailed in many places, it wasn't fun politically. See Task Force, Pig City, the band Gerry Mander and the Boundaries, the Dead Kennedys appearance etc., for more musical evidence. Whatever, like the Credits, this is a love song, not political polemic. Davies and later bassist Russell Sky ended up in the great paisley pop band the Colours, whose wistful song Blue Shirt, which really unfortunately never made it to vinyl, was a 4ZZZ hit. I was interested to find out recently that that song is about the cops: "in my blue shirt, nothing touches me".
To round things off the other members were Shaun McGrath on vocals (the tall drink of water in the photo below), John Spresser on lead, Noel Howe on bass, and Cameron Howe on drums. McGrath and Spresser ended up in the Skeletones with Brad Cox.
June 2012 update: check out an article on Peanut Republic Records here.
Too Long [Download]
|The savage, young Toy Watches, more here|