Perth is a Culture Shock – the Perth Punk Scene

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:


See also:
Quick and the Dead – Super rare footage

Punk Britannia – Documentary

My buddy posted this link of his facebook earlier today – just finished watching all 4 parts – some great footage and facts that I had not heard before – which is great esp after you have already seen pretty much every UK punk documentary 100 times over – ya know what I am saying???

Anyways here is all 4 parts – only take you an hour to watch but worth it – enjoy!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

The Last Resort

“People don’t understand me cuz I play in a rock n roll band – but its the only way – that I can take a stand”

The Last Resort? Well where can I start? The last Resort are probably one of the most legendary skinhead bands of all time (Them and the 4-skins- I would say) I reckon I first heard the band on either one of the following Oi compilations ‘Strength Thru Oi” or “Carry On Oi” based in East London the band lead by Roi Pearce (so Oi his first name is Roi not Roy!) they were only together for a little over a year and a half but in that time released one of the most classic skinhead albums of all time “Way of Life – Skinhead Anthems” . The band took their name from the only skinhead shop at the time “The Last Resort” I recall in the early 80s sending away for shirts from the shop – you would get a money order from the bank, mail it away and wait months and months for it to turn up – I reckon at least once or twice someone took my money and I never got anything back, but all in all they were pretty good. I do recall getting a couple of shirts (this is from the shop not the band by the way) and having the screen print fade after one wash ..fuckers !

Anyways the band was funded by Mickey of the Last Resort shop and a couple of their cassette demos appeared on different Oi compilations at the time – even back then I remember hearing the songs and being impressed. When the album came out – EVERYONE I knew had a copy – and we played it over and over – so fucking good.









So many classic quotes from that record lyrically that I can still remember to this day: “Walking down the road with a dozen pals of mine, looking for some aggro just to pass the time, I met a stupid hippie he tried to run away – I punched him in the nose just to pass the time of day”  and who could forget “After the game we count our scars, we jump all over some geezers car – we lost the game but we won the fight, I hope its on the box tonight” from Resort Boot Boys – classic tales of Ultraviolence from early 80s Britain.

My mate Hugh once sat next to Roi on a flight from London to Los Angeles, Roi was visiting Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols I think, Hugh got to hear stories how they once tried to jump Boy George from Culture Club and he started pulling kung fu moves on them (not sure how true that is but pretty funny either way) and him and Roi walking down Melrose where they saw Kurt and Courtney arguing and Roi just barging right between them.

Their first album is timeless – I remember helping my friend ..lets call her OiOi to paint her apartment and playing “A Way Of Life – Skinhead Anthems” and her loving it 25 years after it had come out – she had never heard anything like that before.

The band have split up and reunited numerous times over the last 30 years but recent videos I have seen on Youtube they seem to still be in top form – check em out here: