Punk, DIY, powerpop, grillfat, glam, NWOAHM from Australia 1975-1984.
Sunday, 31 March 2013
The Screaming Tribesmen 7" EMI Custom 13349, 1982
Mick Medew had been playing in a blues band in Brisbane in the late seventies when he met New South Welshman Ronald S. Peno, who had moved to Brisbane in late 1979 at the behest of Bruce Anthon of the Survivors. The aim was to audition for The Credits, but the first rehearsal didn't work out so Peno hooked up with Tony Robertson and they grabbed Medew and eventually Chris Welsh to form the 31st. The 31st married Peno's interest in midwest and New York American rock with Medew's love for '60s punk, via a common interest in Radio Birdman and The Hitmen.
The 31st played for about a year and here it gets complicated, so hold on tight: Brad Shepherd (ex-Fun Things but at this stage post-The Aliens' final line-up) joined briefly before he and then Robertson decamped to The Hitmen. Michael O'Connor from The Apartments joined on bass and the band played a few gigs around August 1981 as Died Pretty. Peno and Medew then grabbed the rhythm section of the Fun Things and The Aliens, John Hartley and Murray Shepherd, and became The Screaming Tribesmen for a small number of shows in December 1981.
So if you learn nothing else today it's that Mick Medew was in Died Pretty and Ron Peno was in the Screaming Tribesmen. Hopefully there's a rock'n'roll pub trivia near you that you can ace with that piece of science.
Peno returned to Sydney at the end of 1981 and the "classic" three piece line-up of the Screaming Tribesmen played around Brisbane with occasional forays to Sydney up until mid-1983, recast as more of a classic '60s punk sounding band. Like other Brisbane garage bands they covered then quite obscure Australian garage - The Missing Links' Some Kinda Fun and the Black Diamonds' See The Way. American songs covered included The Starfires' I Never Loved Her, the contemporaneous Vertebrats' Left In The Dark (from Bomp's Battle Of The Garages LP), and a couple of soul songs as reinvented by the Human Beinz - The Isley Brothers' Nobody But Me and Bobby Blue Bland's Turn On Your Lovelight. The set was rounded out with originals and songs from the 31st. A live set from the time can be heard on Citadel's The Savage Beat CD.
During March 1982 the band recorded four songs at a jingle studio, Speak. In interviews from the time the band bemoaned the fact that there weren't any studios in Brisbane that could capture their sound. I guess Mungo Coats had shut up shop by this point. The sound is pretty thin, and when you hear the massive sound achieved for the next single, Igloo, recorded over 48 hours at Trafalgar in Sydney, you can sympathise with the band somewhat. 500 copies were pressed by EMI Custom and quickly sold out.
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