Punk a Photographic Journey & The History of the Melbourne Punk Scene


"Decontrol, decontrol
We've been shit on far too long"

My life's a mess: liner notes, 1999, 'My lifes a mess', Stolen Records, Melbourne

Some words of warning to the consumer...
Hey, Kid! Ya say you like "punk rock"? Drop that Bad Regurgitation L.P. pronto and listen to this - nothing less than the Sick Things, the rawest, baddest and best bunch of "punks to ever stand astride a Rock'n'Roll stage in the this miserable city of Melbourne. The Sick Things were always a serious proposition - and if, in their time they tore strips off their contemporaries (Corporate Body, The Zorros et al), then I can't wait to see how the current crop of pop punk wimps stand alongside the Sick Things legacy of sheer NOISE.
    A brief history lesson: To quote the liner notes on the bands 1st (Posthumously released 45 Committed to Suicide". Deep in the anal of Caulfield South 4 innocent young men, with flair and drive for tasteless music, came together to form the 'Sick Things".  Unbeknownst to them, they'd been drugged to drive them insane from a curse by the lurk black sister Sophie.  Forced unwittingly to make loud horrible noise in tiny rooms such as the infamous Duke Of York hotel, the Sick Things qickly deteriorated, only to be Spewed out, broken & separate, to the four corners of the Melbourne metropolitan area. And so ended the debauched horror of the Sick Things.
    1986, the band reformed (with a different drummer) to play a benefit for Friends of the Earth at the Seaview Ballroom (Fitzroy St, St Kilda, for those  of you with short memories).  Needless to say, the assorted crowd of cardigan wearers and lentil fanciers found the bands relentless onslaught to be a little less than the perfect accompaniment to the finger painting and Pam Ayres Video (the other featured activity's of the evening and the band called It quits for another couple of years.  In 1988, the time had come for another resurrection, and this time, the drummer was yours truly.  After one Melbourne gig, we headed for Adelaide for a brief mini-tour, the Sick Things first and only interstate shows.  The crowd reaction was good, a lot of fans who'd never managed to so, the band in the old days showed up, and they weren't disappointed neither, with a set that included (amongst the originals) "shutdown" by the Germs, "Neat, Neat, Neat" by the Damned and 'Tube Disaster" by the Heretics (that's right these lads KNEW their noise!) Back in Victoria, 2 songs were recorded for a compilation album that never saw the light of day, and at the end of the night, we all went our separate ways and the Sick Things were no more.  Dugald and Mick returned to concentrate on the excellent Venom P.Stinger (who would continue to terrorize Australian ear drums for a few good years more), and Geoff turned his attentions to the White Elephants - the Band (formed from the Ashes of the VIRGINS) which had been Geoff's main concern since the breakup of the original Sick Things in 1982.
    If you consider the Sick Things to be a victim of time itself, ponder for a moment or two the fate of other bands of the period, members of the same punk milieu as the Sick Things, like The Virgins, F.B.I (featuring the late, great John Crawford), The Brady Bunch (not to be confused with F. Negro's late 80's combo), Public Nuisance and The Mess, some good, see great, all tragically unrecorded, or unreleased, or generally forgotten by the sands of time and trend.  So, to be holding a SECOND Sick Things compilation of unreleased material is nothing short of miraculous.

Hemensley, Tim, 19-?, 'SOLID GOLD SHIT', My life's a mess, Stolen records, Melbourne
The Sick Things always had the nack of turning pieces of shit into certificated solid gold. Witness their blistering, grit-encrusted versions of "Blown to Bits" by the Exploited, "Killing Machine": by the Partisans, "Cancer" from the early '80's UK compilation "Bullshit Detector', and if they don't leave the originals for dead, then I'm a goddamn liar!  Also included is a Damned cover from first album, "Neat, Neat, Neat" that transcends their cruddy sound quality to prove themselves easily as vital as, the early Damned at their live peak. It's great to see "Kill your parents" and "Prime minister' included here, the former being my all-time favorite Sick Things track, the second featuring the coolest Geoff Sick fuzz bass line ever recorded- these two songs represent the band at it's absolute (recorded) peak as well as achieving level of intensity rarely encountered since the Punk arena.  "Where's my dole Cheque" is another gem from the vaults. Recorded during the death throws of the band.  The song points a end to the noise-oriented direction of Mick (and eventually, Dugald as well) ould pursue with his next band, Wank (the foetal-version of Fungus Brains).
    This song belongs to the set of tunes perfumed under the name "Spew Forth', as the Sick Things were known before their final Split. it was this incarnation I saw live in mid-'82 at Coulson Reserve football club in Clifton Hill.
    he Sick Things played alongside 6 or so other bands (including Wank, Depression (pre Steve Smear), The Virgin (with Gary Gray, soon to be Sacred Cowpoke, making an uninvited and unappreciated "guest appearance", and whoever else was there an the night) in a benefit for the burgeoning Brunswick Street gallery ROAR studios. Christ knows if they anaged to make any money, hat with the $1 cover charge and a crowd of drugged and rowdy punks who all but demolished the room by the end of the night, but amidst the chaos, the Sick Things played a vicious and loud set that seared itself into my psyche and never left. If I ever need to remind myself what Rock'n'Roll's all about, I just close my eyes and think of that gig.
    "This is for all the good citizens, in the audience" said Dugald, introducing the song of that name.  "You ain't. worth nothing-you AIN'T WORTH SHIT" and never was a truer word spoken of course, these days Mick Turner is the toast of Europe with his extraordinary 3 piece improvisational group The Dirty Three; Geoff Martyr is threatening another ssault on the world of easy listeing music with his next defiantly PUNK ROCK band, and Dugald MacKenzie resider at no fixed address, somewhere in Australia.
    But some things never change, this music is played ith passion, commitment, zest & a streetwise intelligence landing a to conclude.
    The Sick Things kill cops on sight, and you better believe it.