Back in 1979 Ron Rude knew that he didn't stand a chance of landing a record deal, so he turned his Belgrave home into a budget recording studio, lined the walls with egg cartons from the poultry farm next door, and recorded an album, 'The Borders of Disgrace', which he put out on his own label 'Unforgettable Music'. He made news by being the first artist to finance a commercial release using a $1000 cash advance courtesy of his guitar player, Stephen Clarke's credit card.

In 1980 Rude, this time with his own credit card and band Piano Piano made another album at home, 'The Vorpal Blade'. To promote it he went on a hunger strike in the window of Missing Link, an alternative record shop run at the time by Au Go GO records founder Keith Glassand making news again, he demanded that local radio station 3XY play his records, threatening to drown himself in a bucket of water if they did not. His slogan, "3XY or I Die" was intended to show that the major mainstream rock station of the day would be unlikely to give a small-time independent artist a go. TV Channel 10 covered the story, and Rude had the momentum that he wanted. His next move was to make good a threat to drown himself on Hans Christian and Barry Bissel's morning 3XY program. The DJ's relented, and played excerpts of the album as Rude bubbled away with his head in a bucket of water.

Buoyed by this minor victory, Rude took on ABC TV's Countdown host, Ian "Molly" Meldrum, chaining himself to Meldrum's fence to try to gain a spot on the show. Meldrum acted swiftly, absconding before the TV news crews arrived. Rude's live debut was a masterpiece of comic punk showmanship. Supporting a well-attended conventional rock band, Rude took to the stage clad in greasepaint and leather and charged into the audience playing echo driven guitar solos, and singing "Violence! It's the only way!" His other guitar player, Geoff Martin, played guitar with his teeth, a la Hendrix style, but without the tunes, and the drummer, clad in full Darth Vader regalia eventually knocked over all the drums because the mask obscured his vision. Three amply endowed girl backup singers called The Fanny's bounced their breasts in time to the music, to roars of applause by those in the audience who would be moved by such a spectacle.

To this day Ron Rude is is considered to be a pioneer of DIY (Do it Yourself) recording and in 2001 Melbourne playwright Kieran Carroll wrote a play called 3XY or I Die which tells the story of Rude's hunger strike. 

Ron Rude and the Unforgettables performed from 9 June 1978 to 17 Feb 1979 and 12 Oct 1983 to 5 Nov 1983 for a reunion. Line-up included: Ron Rude (real name Ron Stecher) - Vocals/Guitar/Organ, James Boddington - Bass, Stephen Clarke - Guitar, Dave "Guitarblaster" - Guitar, Geoff Martin - Bass/Guitar, Kevin Paine - Drums, Cameron Taylor - Guitar, Con Venom - Guitar, Carol Hewish - Backing vocals, Vicky "Cyclone" Hayes - Backing vocals, Carol Lawrence - Backing vocals, Jackie Amos - Backing vocals, Jan Twirl - Backing vocals. At the reunion in 1983 - Milly and Philly, Yalina and Mariana - Backing vocals.

The Day Before Laughter performed from 25 May 1979 to 4 Aug 1979. Line-up included: Ron Rude - Vocals/Guitar/Organ, Paul Prole - Bass, Cameron Taylor - Guitar, Joe "Cool" Calderazzo - Guitar, Brian McGaughey - Drums. 

Piano Piano (I) performed from 31 Dec 1979 to 9 Apr 1980. Line-up included: Ron Rude - Vocals/Guitar, Edward Clayton-Jones - Bass/Drum machine, Clive Eastwood - Drums, Paul Hester - Drums, Steve "Vanguard" Holt, Brian McGaughy - Drums, James McNabb - Guitar, Pierre 'Mr Pierre' Sutcliffe (one show at the Exford, filling in).

Piano Piano (II) performed from 6 May 1980 to 3 Mar 1981. Line-up included: Ron Rude - Vocals/Guitar, Dale Chant - Saxaphone, Clive Eastwoord - Drums, Vicki Hayes - Bass/Backing vocals (1st two shows), Steve "Vanguard" Holt - Synths, Mark Tracey - Bass (later shows), John Tzanouzaki - Bass (Early shows), Annie Watkins - Keyboards.

Piano Piano (III) performed from 17 Sep 1981 to 2 Feb 1982. Line-up included: Ron Rude - Vocal/Melodica/Badly played trumpet/Mortar & Pestle, James Boddington - Bass, Frank Borg - Drums, Phillip Sipp - Organ, Bobby Stopa - Guitar.

Belgrave recording studio, 1979 - Source: Ron Rude


Click HERE and HERE to view the full Ron Rude discography
 
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Ron Rude - The Art of Cheapness.mp3


Images:
  • Main Image - The Day Before Laughter in the studio, 1979 - Photo by Anita Walker
  • Background Image - Ron Rude and the Unforgettables, 1983 - Source: Ron Rude
  • Ron Rude at his Belgrave recording studio, 1979 - Source: Ron Rude
  • Ron Rude discography gallery, 1979 - 1981 - Source: Discogs (see links below)
  • Ron Rude photo gallery, 1978 - 2012 - Sources: Ron Rude, Anita, Peter Birtles, Reynard, Helena Glass, Beat Magazine and Simon Rashleigh
MP3: