The Editions were
formed in 1979 when drummer Fred Negro was having his hair cut at his flat in
St Kilda. A friend had brought guitarist John Durr over to meet Fred to
see if he wanted to drum in a band. As soon as the haircut was finished, he put
his drums in John's car and away they went to their first rehearsal at John's
house in Prahran. Together with bass player Bryce Collie, who also
lived there with John, they set up in the back yard and instantly
became The Editions. Simon Floyd, band booker
for the Market Hotel in Prahran, was also present at the
formation. Joining in on keyboards for their first rehearsal, on the spot
he booked the band for future gigs.
John had met singer Roslyn Deer while he was working at a record store in Greville Street, PRahran and she was soon recruited as the vocalist after the original singer failed to show up at rehearsal. With Roslyn's distinctive vocal sound onboard, the band were booked for their first gig by Terry Rogers at the Champion Hotel with the Marching Girls. The gig was so successful that The Editions were re-booked for the following Saturday with The Ears.
regularly at St Kilda's iconic Crystal Ballroom in the early 1980's, The
Editions started many band nights at Prahran venues such as the Mt Erica Hotel, the Duke of York Hotel, The Anglers Club, and
Matthew's Hall – appearing with other Punk and alternative bands. Fred
Negro, who was also a graphic artist and cartoonist, did all of the artwork for
the band handbills under the title 'Living Dead Grafix'. His illustrations and cartooning style became
an integral part of The Editions imaging and merchandising. Fred
Negro became infamous early in the band's history for trashing his drum kit at
the end of each set and spitting over the singer's head into the audience. This
was however problematic for some of the other band members!
Originally a Prahran band, by February 1981 all of The Editions band members had decamped to 17 Acland Street St Kilda, which was a double storey Victorian Terrace opposite the infamously seedy Diplomat Hotel. The Editions were infamous for their graffiti in and around Prahran, with their famous line being 'Editions Eat Babies' spray painted on the Chapel Street railway bridge. This remained intact for many years despite the bridge itself being re-painted.
The Editions did
not define themselves by one musical style, running the gamut from Country to
Punk with their unique attitude. Apart from performing weekly at pubs and music
venues, the band were a popular attraction at house parties, halls and
festivals. With the help of Paul Elliott (Polyester Records/Books) three EPs were released on cassette in 1981, 1982 and 1983,
respectively titled 'Aggression',
'Obsession' and 'Recession', on the the band's own label 'Orgasm Records'. The three cassette titles, which all came with an accompanying illustrated
songbook, were popular releases and soon sold out. The band also published a small fanzine titled 'Refuse to Die' in 1981 as well as 'The Hype Report' in 1982.
In late 1980, Roslyn left the band due to musical differences and was replaced by singer Sherine Abeyratne, who remained with The Editions until mid 1983. Elly Mantzaris an art student graduate and performance artist had joined the lineup in 1981 and introduced synth and backing vocals to the band's sound. Sherine left The Editions mid 1983 to join Big Pig, and by the end of 1983 Fred and Bryce had also departed. The band continued with John and Elly and introduced new band members Ben Harmsen (Bass) and Wayne Tait (Drums) until the band disbanded in late 1984. After leaving The Editions, Roslyn moved back to her hometown Newcastle, Fred went on to form I Spit on your Gravy, while Bryce moved to Castlemaine and joined a Blues band. Sherine went on to do backing vocals for The Models and INXS, and John and Elly respectively started Blues and Roots label 'Black Market Music' and graphic design studio 'Black Widow Design' which both continue to this day.
The Editions line-up included: John Durr - Guitar, Fred Negro - Drums, Bryce Collie - Bass, Rosalyn Deer - Vocals, Sherine Aberyatne - Vocals, Elly Mantzaris - Synthesizer/Vocals, Ben Harmsen - Bass, Wayne Tait - Drums.
The Editions - Nuns and Priests.mp3
- Main Image - The Editions, newspaper clipping 1980 - Courtesy of Angela Adams
Background Image - 'Nuns and Priests' lyrics 1980 - Courtesy of Fred Negro
The Editions 1979/80 - Courtesy of Fred Negro
'Aggression' songbook 1981 - Courtesy of Fred Negro
- The Editions 1981 - Photo by Joe Holzer (courtesy of Elly Mantzaris)
- The Editions 1982 - Photo by Joe Holzer(courtesy of Elly Mantzaris)
- The Editions collage - Courtesy of Angela Adams and TJ Honeysuckle
- Editions gigs 1982 - Courtesy of Fred Negro
- The Editions 1983 - Photo by Paul Conroy
MP3 Track - 'Nuns and Priests' 1980 - Unreleased (Lyrics Negro, Music The Editions)
- Video - The Editions recording their tribute to Doctor Who, 1980 - Courtesy Youtube and John Durr