The times were wildly mild, too fucked to punk, when punks ruled the gigs and streets of Melbourne and Sydney’s live music scene.
MELYNDA von WAYWARD
Melynda von Wayward is a Creative Producer, Arts Manager and subculture Historian. In 2017 she curated St Kilda’s Alright: The Fred Negro Experience and in 2014 she curated an exhibition called Punk Journey: St Kilda + Beyond, that documented St Kilda as the epicentre of the Melbourne Punk scene from 1977-1987. Melynda is also the driving force behind Punk Journey, an online project documenting the History of the Melbourne Punk scene from 1977-1987. www.punkjourney.com
Melynda has also self-published a photographic book on Melbourne Punk titled Punk a Photographic Journey: 2004-2007.
Stuart Coupe is a music journalist, broadcaster, promoter, band manager and writer. Stuart has managed acts including Hoodoo Gurus and Paul Kelly and broadcasts on Sydney radio stations 2SER and FBi. His books include biographies of Tex Perkins, Tex (2017) and Michael Gudinski, Gudinski: The Godfather of Australian Rock & Roll (2015) and The Promoters (2003).
Stuart’s new book, ROADIES, about music industry roadies will be published in September and will be featured at St Kilda Writers Week
Steve Lucas is alead vocalist, guitar player and producer, has been involved in the music industry since 1977. Bands Steve has fronted are; X, Bigger Than Jesus, Groody, Frenzy, Double Cross, A.R.M , The Pubert Brown Fridge Occurrence, Neon & Venom.
He has worked around Australia extensively and toured America, and has played an an outdoor event in Kathmandu broadcast live to several million viewers.
He has played in main support acts for bands such as Iggy Pop, The Cramps, The Damned, The Stranglers, Dr Feel Good, Sonic Youth, Henry Rollins, The Anti Nowhere League, Rob Lowe… Steve was aslo asked to sing for The Sweet and offered a tour in ‘The Glitter band.
His debut album X-Aspirations is touted as one of the most influential recordings in Australia’s music history.
Steve is considered to be a ‘living legend’ – a Renaissance man – Elderly Statesman of rock…and known for charitable works in the field of fund raising money and awareness for the victims of child sex abuse.
“Fred Negro’s life’s work is to capture the life and the characters that have filled St Kilda and her streets and he draws them with the care of an old friend…You may find that beyond the image of the angry post-punk, often nude to semi-nude and over the top stage performer, he is also a keen observer of the characters and crazy nights that have littered his life. There are stories, thousands of stories in all those days that can make you chuckle, maybe feel a little bit sad, occasionally shocked and sometimes enlightened on the scenes of St Kilda that are slowly being cleared in the aggressive march of gentrification.” – Louise Avery, St Kilda News Dec 2017
At the private boys school Caulfield Grammar in the early 1970s Calvert met vocalist Nick Cave and guitarist Mick Harvey and formed a rock band with other students, playing parties and school functions. The band picked up Cave’s friend Tracy Pew on Bass, and after they finished secondary school they named themselves The Boys Next Door in 1977. After making recordings for local independent labels Suicide (a subsidiary of Mushroom Records) and Missing Link, and playing hundreds of live shows, the band left for London in 1980 and renamed themselves The Birthday Party, signing first to 4AD Records and then to Mute Records.
After his split with The Birthday Party in 1982, Calvert joined the UK group The Psychedelic Furs, touring the U.S., but never recorded with them. He left before they recorded Mirror Moves in 1984.
He returned to Melbourne and in 1985 became a founding member of the rock group Blue Ruin. They recorded five LPs with Calvert and travelled to the UK. Calvert split with Blue Ruin in the late ’80s. Blue Ruin reformed with Calvert for some shows in 2006.
Guitarist Ben Ling and Calvert have also co-produced the Melbourne band Witch Hats on releases Wound of a Little Horse (2006), Cellulite Soul (2008) and Solarium Down the Causeway (2009). In 2015 Calvert launched the label Behind the Beat Records with associate Ben Ling. The first artist on the label is Seri Vida
Daryl Newton is a music industry professional for more than 40 years and spent most of that time with the alternative Punk Rock scene and heavy metal bands.
Daryl has also worked with Steve Lucas for 33 years and has worked with international acts like X, Painters and Dockers, Stevie Wright, The Cramps, Blondie, Royal Crown Review, Flipper and many more.
Daryl is the go to sound guy in the local music scene known and loved by all.
Early Melbourne Punk:
By 1977 a real restlessness was emerging out of the conservative and often middle class nature of Melbourne’s outer and inner city suburbs – and Punk – with its anti-establishment and defiant lyrics that questioned society and made a statement about the social agenda of the day, was strongly influencing disillusioned youth who were fed up with this suburban way of life and needed a rebellious outlet to express their individuality and creativity.
Australian musicians played and recorded some of the earliest Punk music in history, with Melbourne being at the forefront of this new ‘Punk’ phenomenon. By the end of 1977 ‘supergroup’ Young Charlatans had formed in Melbourne out of the ashes of earlier bands and recorded the first version of the Rowland S. Howard song ‘Shivers’, while fully-fledged Punk bands Negatives, Babeez, The Chosen Few, JAB, Proles The Boys Next Door and X-Ray-Z had also been formed.
As Punk bands were being formed, live music venues such as Hearts, Martinis, The Champion Hotel, The Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, the 475 Club and of course ‘The Ballroom’ were also being born.
Music was changing and evolving, and thanks to underground record stores like ‘Archie ‘n’ Jugheads’ and ‘Climax Records’, and independent radio stations like 3RMT and 3PBS, many new Punk and independent musicians from the UK, USA and Europe were being heard right here in Melbourne.
Enter Hardcore Punk:
By the early 1980s Punk and Post-Punk acts like The Ears, Virgins, Teenage Radio Stars, Corporate Body, The Editions, Marching Girls, Piano Piano, International Exiles and The Zorros were disbanding and making way for the next wave of Punks bands.
Hardcore Punk with its faster, louder and more aggressive music and image was strongly influenced by a combination of USA Hardcore bands such as Black Flag, Dead Kennedys and Bad Religion as well as UK Chaos and Anarcho-Punk bands such as The Exploited, Crass and Chaos UK.
Brightly coloured hair, elaborate Mohawks and Liberty spikes, bold makeup, torn clothes, band patches, safety pins, hand studded leather jackets and wristbands, bondage pants, and Doctor Marten boots were to became the uniform of the Melbourne Hardcore Punk, with op-shops being a major source of affordable clothing.
As with the Punks of the 1970s, DIY fashion also played an important role in the 1980s punk scene, and a major pastime for many Punks was spending hours hand studding jackets, belts and wristbands, and screen printing their own t-shirts with political slogans and band names.
Bands like Depression, Vicious Circle, I Spit on your Gravy, Death Sentence, Sick Things, Fungus Brains, White Elephants, Civil Dissident, GASH, End Result, A.I.D.S, Murder Murder Suicide, Utter Stench, The Mess, Tribe, Wasted Youth, Charred Remains, Permanent Damage, Arm the Insane, Bastard Squad, The Mess, Human Waste, The Outfit, Extremes, Human Waste, Polit Buro and Royal Flush became the mainstay of the Hardcore Punk scene with bands being formed around socio-political ideologies and the desire to stand out from society.
During the 80s there were also many Punk fanzines that explored the Political and social issues of the day, such as animal liberation and veganism, nuclear warfare and environmental issues as well as loads of Punk band interviews and record news and reviews. Squatting was also prevalent at this time, with many old rundown houses, warehouses and other types of buildings being turned into punk squats and communities.
The Melbourne Punk Pub crawl also began in 1983 on Grand final day as an alternative to the football festivities in the city. A group of Punks would go from pub to pub drinking and celebrating being ‘punk’. It is still a tradition to this day.
However despite its anti-establishment image, Punk wasn’t only about spitting on people and playing three chords as the mainstream media would have us believe. Punk music also offered individuals new strategies for collaboration (with artists forming as bands), new models for presentation (promoting and staging gigs), and new channels of communication (the cassette, the record, the ‘zine).
Above all, Punk musicians established new definitions of independent practice. The do-it-yourself mentality that drove Punk music was transferred to the art scene, propelling the independent art spaces and magazines that were the foundation of vanguard practices in the 1970’s and 1980s.