Growing up in the rough working-class outer suburb of Springvale,
members of Synth-Punk band Primitive Calculators met as teenagers in the early 1970's. The
Velvet Underground and The MC5 were musical heroes, but they were
also inspired by lesser known bands like The Fugs, The 13th Floor
Elevators and The Godz as well as the writing of obsessive rock
journalist Lester Bangs. By 1977, they had deserted Springvale for the more
musically liberated environs of St. Kilda - then the centre of the Melbourne Punk scene -
and formed a punk band called The Moths.
However despite socialising
with the likes of Nick
Cave from band The
Boys Next Door, they remained outsiders to this scene and in 1978 moved to
the Northern suburb of Fitzroy. Here they renamed themselves Primitive
Calculators and became known
for their use of a screeching Mosrite Ventures model guitar, primitive
synthesizers (a Wasp and Roland SH2) along with an electronic organ played
through effects pedals, and an extra fast drum machine keeping time (Roland
This 4 piece lineup soon developed a network of like-minded friends, such as Ollie Olsen and John Murphy of Whirlywirld, and were instrumental in organising a series of gigs named "Little Band nights", where hastily-formed bands would play for 15 minutes each; this led to a compilation EP being recorded. Primitive Calculators released their debut single in 1979, featuring the songs 'I Can’t Stop It' and 'Do That Dance'. Pressed with plain black labels in a stark monochrome sleeve, the single introduced many to the impassioned, atonal, electronic chaos that was the Primitive Calculators’ trademark.
With the plan to
relocate to London, Primitive Calculators played
their last gig in March 1980,
but seeing how difficult life was for fellow expats the Birthday Party and
Whirlywhirld, they decided instead to take an indefinite break. A self-titled live album came out in
the early 1980's and the band reformed briefly in 1986 to perform a live version of
their song 'Pumping Ugly Muscle' in the film Dogs In Space.
In 2004 and 2007 Chapter
Music reissued and released 'Primitive
Calculators' and 'Primitive
Calculators and Friends' (1979-1982).
For more info on Primitive Calculators click HERE
Primitive Calculators line-up included: Stuart Grant - Vocals/Guitar, Denise Rosenberg - Keyboards, David Light - Bass/Keyboards, Dave B - Drums, Frank Lovece - Vocals/Drum machine.
Primitive Calculators - Glitter Kids.mp3
- Main Image - Primitive Calculators 1979 - Courtesy of Alan Bamford
- Background Image - Primitive Calculators review - Courtesy Primitive Calculators
- The Moths 1977 - Courtesy of Alan Bamford
- Stuart Grant 1979 - Courtesy of Alan Bamford
- Primitive Calculators gig 1979 - Source required
- Primitive Calculators debut single sleeve 1979 - Courtesy Discogs
- MP3 track - 'Glitter Kids' 1979 - (Primitive Calculators) Chapter Music 2004
- Video - 'I Can't Stop It' 1979 - filmed by Janis Lesinskis - Courtesy Youtube