Its no secret that I come from the city of Perth in Western Australia. We have the status of being the most isolated capital city in the world, with it being quicker to fly to Asia then it is to get to Sydney or Melbourne. When I was growing up (late 70s early 80s) music wise we were known as “cover band city” as in general if you wanted to see songs from the Top 40 charts played live you had 100 times more chance seeing a cover band perform them as opposed to the originators.
Even back in the first wave of the worldwide Kiss craze they were considering NOT coming to Perth as the price of getting all their gear there against what they would stand to make would not make it worth their while. Eventually they did come and I think they did 2-3 shows which turned out to be a huge success for them but you get my point we were THAT far from the rest of the world!
In Deborah Harry of Blondies book “Making Tracks” she described Perth as the last Bastion of the Christian Empire and this was back in the late 70’s LOL! well, I don’t know about that but musically we have made some significant contributions from Bon Scott of AC/DC doing early shows in Perth (and he is also buried here), to the earliest incarnation of INXS (the Farris brothers) doing their first shows (about 1 mile from where I grew up) to the Indie Darlings (The Triffids) being based here – before moving to London. Also on the acting Side both Heath Ledger and Sam Worthington started out in Perth (although I do think Sam was born in England)
Anyways despite Perth’s sunny climate and world class beaches, we have had a great punk scene since 1976 (and skinhead scene since the late 60s) The Cheap Nasties (I swear I have also seen them listed as the Cheap and Nasties) were probably the first official Perth punk band playing out as early as 1976 (inspired by The NY dolls and the Stooges more than say The Sex Pistols, Ramones and the Saints) also of note were The Victims who’s founding members later went on to form one of the most famous Aussie Rock bands the Hoodoo Gurus Quite why Perth had such a great underground music scene I am really not sure, perhaps, because we were so isolated from the rest of the world.
Growing up we did have 2 amazing Indie Record stores Dadas and 78s both which were very much tapped into the punk scene world wide – in fact Dadas knew me so well if they got records that they knew I would like they would stash them under the counter for me until I came in.
Check out the Victims “Perth is a culture shock” Great early punk in fact if you didn’t know any better you could say this came out of the LA hardcore scene of the early 80s that’s how ahead of the curve they were. (The Victims were best known for their song “Television Addict” fantastically covered by Swedish Rockers The Hellacopters here.
The Victims – Perth Is A Culture Shock
For more on the early Perth punk scene take a few hours out of your day and read “The Geeks homepage” extensive history of all the key Perth punk bands.
One thing I didn’t cover about being an artist from Perth is the “Curse of Perth”, now whether this is because having an artistic temperament and being from such an isolated place does some one’s head in or just a coincidence – who’s to say but think on this Bon Scott, Michael Hutchence, The Singer from the Triffids and heath Ledge all met early deaths – weird huh . Also worth a mention is Melbourne born pianist David Helfgott who studied in Perth moved to London and lost the plot – they made a movie Shine based on his life story.
Perth has a better underground scene these days then when i was growing up and many Indie artist actually make it to Perth these days – whether as part of the Big Day Out or on their own From Social Distortion to Crass (who would ever think Crass would make it to Perth?)
One of the best of Punk bands to come out of Perth are the Chainsaw Hookers – check them out here:
CHAINSAW HOOKERS – MY REVENGE
Quick and the Dead – Super rare footage