Song of the day (Australia) – 143: Venom P. Stinger
OK. Day two of my tribute to becoming Australian, and this group have significance for me.
I’m sure my pal David Nichols can remind me of this, but when he found himself at a loose end for those crucial 12 hours in London on a stopover back from Olympia, WA to Melbourne in 1985, and hence randomly decided to take a tube to my house in Willesden Green to pay me a visit, someone he only knew as someone someone else wanted to know – and I happened to be in – he didn’t just drop off one record with me, as has been reported elsewhere.
It was the debut Beat Happening album, the one with the cat on the spaceship on the front – and I loved it so much, I decided to play it to my friends at Rough Trade Records who’d been so good to me, and they loved it so much they ended up releasing the second Beat Happening album in the UK, thus precipitating Beat Happening’s one and only tour over there. It also set in sequence another chain of events that I guess culminated in – for example – me being given back my Daniel Johnston T-shirt by Courtney Love in the summer of 1994, but that’s another story. And it also set in sequence, in a roundabout way, my current recording and performing career – something I’d given up upon until David, with Julian Teakle, suggested making an album in Melbourne, 2000.
Back to the original plot. David actually gave me a handful of records, and the second among them was Venom P. Stinger’s first single ‘Walking About’. It blew my head off. It was the first new, underground, Australian rock I’d encountered since Prince Melon Records and Boys Next Door a few years earlier… and I was like, man, this is fucking PUNK ROCK! I didn’t make the connection with The Moodists (who I saw play London’s Rock Garden on my 21st birthday) or one drunken escapade in mainland Europe in the mid-90s where I nearly died, straight up, after drinking two pints of vodka right before The Dirty Three took the stage… I didn’t make that connection until I saw this video about two or three weeks back.
(Then I was like, sound of hand hitting forehead extremely hard… D’OH!)
So I guess it’s time to finally pay tribute to something I should have paid tribute to over 20 years back. Ladies and gentlemen, as I’m sure you’re already aware, Australia has one hell of a tradition of killer punk-ass garage music… and these were some of its finest proponents. Venom P. fucking Stinger.