Saturday 28 August 2010

Jackson Zumdish / The Popes 7" Agro Fish / Vatican 17171, 1980

The Professor: For a while there The Popes side of this got more column inches in Ugly Things magazine than did analysis of the Misunderstood's 1969 stool samples. Funnily though, while mentioned in dispatches on punk and DIY it didn't make the treatise on novelty punk, where it clearly belongs. I appreciate the Bonzo Dog Band moves but feel that it fails to rise to the hyped heights. Imagine my surprise though when the banner at my local newsagent screamed "The Popes Are Jackson Zumdish". There was a name I knew, and it meant they were Australian. It took me awhile to figure it out but it finally clicked that the Jackson Zumdish side had been played on 4ZZZ in Brisbane when I was growing up. After locating a copy of the record one play confirmed it, I was able to pretty much sing along to it.

We're stuck completely in novelty here, not a skerrick of punk to be heard. But the stupe vocals win me over every time.

Dr Who has some history as a punk rock reference point - see the Cybermen, the Daleks, Dalex, and Dalek I Love You, and the Art Attacks' I Am A Dalek for three examples (but not the K-9s). This is probably the only one to side not with the villains but with the good Dr himself. The idea of swanning around in space and time with a sonic screwdriver and a string of comely assistants does sound kind of appealing, at least more than being a shortarse half-flesh/half-machine foot soldier for a Philip Ruddock lookalike.

One last Aussie punk Dr Who tie-in - which Brisbane punk named his son after Adric, one of Dr Who's rare male acolytes?

Jackson Zumdish - (I Wanna Be) Doctor Who

Born To Be Punched: Look, if you pitch a tent at the prospect of Strop fronting a Four Coachmen jam on Empire State Human, then clearly you and The Professor have a lot to talk about, and (I Wanna Be) Doctor Who will be the perfect soundtrack. Yes, Knup In Your Eye has been unequivocally overrated in some quarters. Yes, the back-spooling tape is a cheap gag that must make every studio engineer groan ("Oh wow, what was that you did there? Rewind the tape, you say? Sounds great, let's use it!"). And yes, dialling down the art student whimsy may have given proceedings more of an air of genuine dementia (yeah, we get it, you're referencing Napoleon and laughing maniacally while being taken away to the funny farm. Very clever). But here the band plays like there's at least one descended testicle between them, and on that criterion alone Knup In Your Eye takes the gong. Add to that the fact that the song ends with an explosion - one of my all-time favourite (non)musical devices - and The Popes get a free pass from me.

The Popes - Knup In Your Eye

Wallaby Beat: Band website here.


jarrodzlatic said...

Have you heard the other Jackson Zumdish 7" "Flyblown?" The b-side is pretty cool, "Internal Organs", it has that same (annoying) uni student humour (I think the lyrics must be some pisstake on the morbid side of industrial music?) but it is a cool proto-punk/punk vibe (silly endless guitar that ends up sounding like Chrome)

Anonymous said...

I just found this. My husband was in Jackson Zumdish (The Popes). We still have a stack of records somewhere.

Wallaby Beat said...

Mrs Zumdish, drop us an email (address is on the blog sidebar).

Dann said...

I need a copy of this single. When I was a kid my brother played me I WANNA BE DOCTOR WHO (he'd taped it off some student radio station) and I loved it! I still sing the chorus (it's all I can remember) and I'd love to hear entire song again. :)

LedPsephelin said...

my copy was stolen in 2002, along with Flyblown EP. I have since replaced Flyblown, but still missing Dr Who. I sent the band their first fan letter when Michael lived in the Adelaide Hills, and bought a cassette of Invaders From The Third Nebula off them. They sent a photo and some other info.