Sunday 24 April 2011

Guest Stars - Don't Wait For The Album 7" One Hit Wonder PRS-2892, 1980

We are of the general opinion that band interviews are as boring as bat shit. (More boring, if anything. Can you make gunpowder from 90 gsm offset?). That being the case, we're not inclined to make the Q&A a regular feature. However, we are fond of this back-and-forth between the Guest Stars' David Guest (guitar) and Tony "AJC" Cahill (vocals), mostly because its tone so closely matches that of their record, a seldom-seen three-tracker pressed through EMI Custom in 1980. Just like the single, the duo's conversation is peppered with in-jokes (which, on our watch as sub-editors, will stay as such) and literary references ("I was rereading Miller's Sexus the other day and noticed the lyrics to Come On Everybody transcribed on the back page"). Even more prominent is the same self-deprecation which produced a record called Don't Wait For The Album on One Hit Wonder Records.

Following up his summation that the Guest Stars "sucked", David Guest notes that "I still think there is some merit in the songs and real musicians may have been able to do something with them". Real musicians did do something with the Pynchon rip that year, but with a running time of 78 seconds (and a guitar with just the right amount of out-of-tuneness), Bean Bag Charmers wins out as a mixtape staple for your attention-span-challenged correspondents. Those who share our aversion to band interviews can scroll down to assess its merit for themselves.


David Guest (DG): Our first public appearance was entirely unpremeditated and unrehearsed and occurred at an intervarsity dance in Melbourne in approximately 1979. I just happened to know the chords for Wild Thing and She's So Fine and I wrote out the lyrics for AJC ten minutes before we then had the gall to front the band that was playing, borrowed a guitar and their bass player and drummer and proceeded to bring the house down. Naturally we should have quit then but we didn't and paid the price.

Tony Cahill (AJC): I remember you telling me that The Clash couldn't play an instrument which seemed a good enough reason to start a band. I had no musical pedigree prior to the Guest Stars. My musical education and interest in new wave music came from listening to your records when we were living in the flat at Randwick (Sex Pistols, the New York Dolls, New Rose, the Ramones!). Our routine was to listen to "What's On" on Triple J as we were driving back from Hensley Athletic Field late on a Saturday afternoon and decide who we would see that Saturday night. Ian Rilen's band X was a favourite. When out and about you wanted to be careful of the punks, not that we were afraid of them but you never knew when an ashtray might come whizzing about your ears. They were very much into uniform and looking surly, though I would have thought there wasn't much about life in Sydney in the Seventies that could genuinely create angst and anger in a young man. Our interest was in indie bands but we did see the bigger bands; Skyhooks when they played at the University, AC/DC at the Lifesaver etc.

DG: My memory and AJC's don't always converge but what is not in dispute is that AJC and I were the band such as it was and we variously used bass players and drummers as required.

AJC: Warren Hansford bought a drum kit on the cheap and you and I used to go to his garage to rehearse. His level of ineptitude on the drums was quite staggering and he didn't last long.

DG: We scratched around a bit over the next year or so without enduring too much humiliation but then came the infamous Law Ball at the Hilton Hotel.

AJC: We were sabotaged by your mates, the Lonely Hearts.

DG: Contrary to AJC's self-serving assertion the Lonely Hearts did not sabotage us, we (known then as Ray Rice and the Bubbles) were woeful enough to do that ourselves. After that train crash AJC and I emerged as the Guest Stars with a couple of new musicians and played at the Manly Vale where we actually supported the Lonely Hearts and the Farris Brothers, soon to become INXS. My abiding memory of that night was (sorry to speak ill of the dead) that prize prat Michael Hutchinson [sic] dripping in to the dressing room and asking Mick Rooney of the Lonely Hearts "had we seen their axes?", to which Mick of course responded, "No axes man but there are some guitars over there that aren't ours"...AJC then put up the money and we recorded the single. That was about it for the Guest Stars - we now had incontrovertible evidence that we sucked.

AJC: I don't know why we made the record. I had left University and was punting and must have come into some money. Life was all a bit random in those days, if something seemed like a good idea I would do it. Maybe 500 copies pressed? Not many copies sold, I would give copies away rather than ask people for money. I don't remember much about the recording session. We didn't record any other songs than those on the record. I have done nothing musical since.

DG: The lyrics to Bean Bag Charmers are a mish mash of thoughts inspired by Gravity's Rainbow but Thomas Pynchon pulled the right rein when he wrote liner notes for Lotion and not us. I generously granted a song writing credit to AJC...from memory I think he contributed the word "snowstorm". [After the Guest Stars] I dallied with the Lonely Hearts and the Lime Spiders, again, without ever really learning to play an instrument...amazing what you can get away with.

Bean Bag Charmers [Download]

Come On, Everybody [Download]

Success [Download]


matt said...

Another Aussie DIY gem uncovered! Great record. Thanks for posting it.

Anonymous said...

Grew up in Adelaide. Never heard of them!