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The Big Beat In The Heart Of The Vinyl Jungle

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Having an example that shows that these things can be done is always a big plus.

I dunno if we were the first. We were one of the first in Sydney. I think Doublethink’s first record might have come out before our first. I think they came out in early 1979 with that first Thought Criminals ep. But basically no one was making a real go of it.

Is it true that you did a Dead Boys single? Is that right?

Yeah, well, Greg Shaw had always been a pretty good mate, and when I used to live in LA, I used to see him a lot. We used to get all his stuff, and the second of the two Bomp Dead Boys singles came out, or we got a preview tape of it. It’s always more appealing when you get a preview tape of something that’s not released – you go oh, fuck, maybe we could release this out here. And then Dare spoke to a guy who was prepared to bring them out here to tour. So we thought, if they’re going to do that, we’ll release the single as well, and we’ll go with that. To this day it’s still the only overseas single put out on Phantom. We certainly considered quite a few other things, but that’s it.

So I spoke to Greg Shaw and we got an artist from out here to do the cover, so it’s a pretty unique cover. You’ve never seen it?

No, you’ve gotta show it to me.

I haven’t got it lying around. Somewhere in my storage place I’ve got a few covers, because I’ve always kept a few mint covers of all of our releases so if I found a second hand one I’ve got a new cover to put on it.

Yeah, we did do that, and there’s a little story around it in that this promoter named Bob who was going to bring him out – he’d promoted a few gigs locally but I don’t think he’d done anything international. It was a big deal for him, and he rang up all these promoters who put on hard rock shows, and they didn’t know who the Dead Boys were. Anyway, we lined up the record, and we talked to Bob a fair bit and we were getting all excited about it, because we figured that people here in Sydney would go mad for them, and I figured there’d be big crowds in Melbourne and Adelaide and Brisbane for sure as well. And there would have been. But he spoke to the wrong people unfortunately and he got poor advice.

So the single comes out on this particular Monday in 1980, sometime there in August. And the tour is due in another two or three weeks – pretty soon it’s coming – and I remember distinctly Bob rings up about 11:00 on that morning and says “I’m sorry to pull out of the tour, but I’ve spoken to all these people and no one seems to be interested. So I’m not going to do the tour anymore.” And we go “Oh, thanks, Bob.”

But were nice to him because we liked him. I wasn’t pissed off at him because his reasons seemed rational. How can you argue with that? One guy is putting his money up and finds he stands to lose it – you can’t tell him he’s wrong. So an hour later we went to get the records, and we had them later that day. So we never actually had the records at a time that we thought the tour was going to happen. And subsequently it didn’t sell. Because it was available – we’d brought some import ones in and I think we’d satisfied the local market already, really.

So we made 800 of them, and Greg Shaw bought back 500 of them. So I sent 500 by ship, but they never arrived. To this day no one knows what happened them. And I thought maybe Greg might have gotten them and never paid, but something must have happened to the shipment, because they’ve never re-surfaced in America. With five hundred copies, you’d find them second hand. They would have appeared by now. But they just didn’t appear. The ship got sunk or something. There was speculation of that, but I never found out until later – they never arrived. By that time, I didn’t even bother ringing up the shipping company. So there’s only 300 of them in existence, really.

(continues overleaf)

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One Response to The Big Beat In The Heart Of The Vinyl Jungle

  1. julian_k July 18, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Jules Normington. Legend. Gentleman. Living icon of Australian independent music. This deserved to be redistributed!

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