The Thought Criminals were an influential and enterprising Australian punk band based in Sydney. They formed in late 1977 and disbanded in late 1981. The "angular, fast and quirky punk rock" of the Thought Criminals "was a fixture in the burgeoning Sydney underground scene."The band's name was derived from the concept of 'thoughtcrimes' (unapproved thoughts) from George Orwell's book, Nineteen Eighty-Four . The Thought Criminals exemplified the do-it-yourself punk ethos of the late 1970s, with which they combined considerable business acumen. The band members formed the Doublethink record label and agency which provided recording and live performance opportunities for other new bands.
The Thought Criminals were formed in late 1977 with the initial line-up of Roger Grierson (aka Jack Boots; guitar), Rique Lee Kendall (aka Matt Black; bass) and Bruce Warner (aka Kit Identity; vocals). Various drummers played in the band during this early period. The band's first gigs were at Blondies in Bondi Junction in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs. Inspired by the DIY ethic of the Desperate Bicycles, the Thought Criminals' first recording was the EP Hilton Bomber, with Mark Kingsmill (aka Jim Boots) on drums. The EP was the inaugural release on the band's own Doublethink label.
Rique Lee Kendall left to join the Last Words and, in turn, the Last Words' drummer, Ken Doyle (aka Derik Wapillspoon), joined the Thought Criminals. With the inclusion of Stephen Philip (aka Vivi Sector) on guitar, Roger Grierson switched to bass.By the end of 1978 John Hoey (aka The General) had also joined the Thought Criminals, playing keyboards.
The Thought Criminals built up a following with performances at mainly inner-city venues. The music of the Thought Criminals, in their early recordings and live performances, has been described as a "jagged, frantic sound".Their songs often had an irreverent sense of humour, perhaps exemplified by the following extract from "Fun" (1978): "Don’t want no top ten hit / Don’t want no disco shit / Just wanna have fun".
The Thought Criminals' debut album, Speed. Madness.. Flying Saucers…, was released in February 1980. The songs were recorded in three separate sessions spread over a period of eighteen months.The Thought Criminals' Doublethink label evolved from a record label to include agency and PR functions. Other less-established bands such as Tactics, Popular Mechanics and Sekret Sekret became incorporated within the Doublethink stable.
In 1980 the band toured beyond the precincts of their usual inner-city venues, at the end of which they announced their intention to retire from live performances. In their own words: "The band were not enamoured of the Music Business and had made a pact that when it wasn’t fun they’d call it a day – so when it wasn’t, they did".The Thought Criminals' final gig was at Chequers in inner-city Sydney on 29 August 1980.
In their studio phase during the following year the Thought Criminals recorded a second album, You Only Think Twice, which "revealed the band expanding its scope with a more considered and diverse approach".In late 1981 the band played a live show at Chequers, after which the Thought Criminals disbanded.
Roger Grierson, Warren Fahey and rock journalist Stuart Coupe set up the Green record label in the early 1980s. Grierson continued to work in band and tour management, eventually attaining the position of Managing Director of PolyGram Music Publishing, and later Chairman of Festival Records. In 1982 guitarist Stephen Philip joined Do-Ré-Mi. In 1988 keyboardist John Hoey joined Died Pretty. Bruce Warner became an animator and the drummer Ken Doyle works in computing.
In July 2005 a retrospective two-CD anthology (Chrono-logical) was released, which featured all the Thought Criminals' recordings released under the Doublethink and GREEN labels. On 4 February 2006 the band reformed for a one-off performance at the Annandale Hotel to publicise the CD.On the subject of reforming the Thought Criminals after 25 years Roger Grierson commented: "It seemed like everybody was doing it and with the release of the CD, and we put a website up to give away all the songs for free, it dragged a few people out of the woodwork".
In September 2006 the Thought Criminals took the stage again in a concert with Buzzcocks at Sydney's Century Theatre.In February 2007 they again reformed to play with T.V. Smith of The Adverts at the Annandale Hotel.
The Saints were an Australian rock band, originating in Brisbane, Queensland in 1973. The band was founded by Chris Bailey, Ivor Hay (drummer), and Ed Kuepper (guitarist-songwriter). They were initially labeled a punk band because, like American punk rock band the Ramones, the Saints were employing the fast tempos, raucous vocals and "buzzsaw" guitar that characterised early punk rock – although this only reflects a portion of their overall sound. With their debut single "(I'm) Stranded" in September 1976, they became the first punk band outside the US to release a record, ahead of better-known acts the Damned, the Sex Pistols and the Clash. They are considered one of the first and most influential groups of the genre, particularly within Australia.
SPK were an Australian industrial music and noise music group formed in 1978. They were fronted by mainstay member, Graeme Revell on keyboards and percussion. In 1980 the group travelled to the United Kingdom where they issued their debut album, Information Overload Unit. In 1983 Sinan Leong joined on lead vocals. The group disbanded in 1988. Two years later Revell and Leong relocated to the United States, where Revell works as a Hollywood film score composer. According to Australian rock music historian Ian McFarlane, SPK were "at the forefront of the local post-punk, electronic/experimental movement of the late 1970s ... [their] music progressed from discordant, industrial-strength metal noise to sophisticated and restrained dance-rock with strange attributes".
Xero were an Australian punk rock and new wave band formed in 1978 in Brisbane, Queensland. They were fronted by mainstay member, Irena Luckus on lead vocals, keyboards and guitar before disbanding in 1983.
The Cruel Sea are an Australian indie rock band from Sydney, New South Wales formed in late 1987. Originally an instrumental-only band, they became more popular when fronted by vocalist Tex Perkins in addition to Jim Elliott on drums, Ken Gormly on bass guitar, Dan Rumour on guitar and James Cruickshank on guitar and keyboards. Their albums include The Honeymoon Is Over (1993), Three Legged Dog (1995) and Over Easy (1998). Some of their best-known songs are "Better Get a Lawyer", "Takin' All Day", "The Honeymoon Is Over" and "Reckless Eyeballin'" – an instrumental track from their debut album Down Below that became the theme of Australian TV police drama, Blue Heelers. The band has won eight ARIA Music Awards including five in 1994 for work associated with The Honeymoon Is Over.
Noise Addict was an Australian alternative rock band formed in 1993 by founding mainstay Ben Lee on lead vocals and guitar. He was joined in 1995 by Romy Hoffman on guitar before the group disbanded early in 1996. They had issued a studio album, Meet the Real You, on Fellaheen Records/Shock Records in late 1995. Lee undertook a solo career. He briefly reconvened Noise Addict in 2009 with new members, Lou Barlow and Lara Meyerratken, to issue a second album, It Was Never About the Audience, before returning to his solo pursuits.
The Johnnys are an Australian pub rock band from Sydney forming in 1982 and still active today that combines country and punk musical styles. Members are Graham Hood, Billy Pommer Jr and Slim Doherty and have included founder, Roddy Ray'da and Spencer P. Jones.
Tactics are a post-punk group which formed in Canberra in 1977. The line-up changed periodically, with songwriter and vocalist, David Studdert, as the mainstay. They released four studio albums, My Houdini, Glebe, Blue and White Future Whale (1986) and The Great Gusto (1990). Which were critically acclaimed and they were respected for the quality of their live performances. However, they did not achieve wider commercial success and remained largely unacknowledged outside of the alternative independent music scene. Their reputation for running against the grain musically, lyrically, and stylistically was described by Bob Blunt as "frenetic, discordant, [and] full of unusual rhythms." Tactics disbanded late in 1989 and Studdert relocated to London. Since then, Tactics have played in Sydney 2006, 2008 and 2019). David Studdert has played periodically with ex-Tactics members in other projects.
Nitocris were an Australian punk and heavy metal band formed in 1992. They were one of the country's first all-female punk rockers of the "grot grrrls" movement. They released their debut album, Screaming Dolorous on Phantom Records in 1994. Their second album, Nitocris, followed in 2000 and they disbanded in November 2001. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2001, Nitocris were nominated for ARIA Award for Best Independent Release.
James Lawrence Baker is an Australian musician, best known as the drummer of various rock and punk rock groups, including the Victims, the Scientists, Hoodoo Gurus, Beasts of Bourbon, and the Dubrovniks. In 2006 Baker was inducted into the West Australian Music Industry Hall of Fame. The following year, Hoodoo Gurus were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.
Do-Ré-Mi were an Australian pop rock band formed in Sydney in 1981 by Deborah Conway, Dorland Bray, Helen Carter and Stephen Philip (guitar). They were one of Australia's most respected and successful post-punk groups. Do-Ré-Mi recorded self-titled EP and The Waiting Room for independent label Green Records before signing to Virgin Records and recording their first LP, Domestic Harmony in 1985 with Gavin MacKillop producing. Domestic Harmony achieved gold sales and contained their most played song, "Man Overboard", which was a top 5 hit single in 1985. This song was notable for its lyrical references to penis envy and pubic hair. Do-Ré-Mi's follow-up singles Idiot Grin and Warnings Moving Clockwise reached the Top 100.
Sunnyboys are an Australian power pop band formed in Sydney in 1979. Fronted by singer-songwriter, guitarist Jeremy Oxley, the band "breathed some freshness and vitality into the divergent Sydney scene". Their first two albums, Sunnyboys and Individuals both appeared in the Top 30 of the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart.
Johnny Dole & the Scabs were an early Australian punk rock group formed in 1977 by Terry Walsh on lead vocals, Dave Berry on bass guitar and vocals, Peter Mullany on guitar and Greg Morris on drums and vocals. They disbanded early in the following year. A compilation album, Scab Animal 1977, was released in 1996. Terry Walsh died on 9 August 1987, aged 33.
Roger Grierson is a New Zealand born musician and music industry executive.
Moler are a power pop band which formed in 1993 as a three-piece with founding mainstays Helen Cattanach on bass guitar and lead vocals and Julien Poulsen on lead guitar. They featured a changing line-up of drummers and sometimes worked as a four-piece with a keyboardist. Their sole studio album, Golden Duck, was released in October 1997 via Infectious with Lindsay Gravina producing. They disbanded in 2001.
The Philisteins were a garage punk band formed in Hobart in 1985 as The Cheesemongers with a line-up including; Aydn Hibberd on guitar, vocals and harmonica; and Guy Lucas on guitar, vocals and organ. In 1986 Konrad Park joined on drums and they adopted a new name, The Philisteins. In late 1986 they issued their debut album, Reverberations, and soon after relocated to Adelaide and signed with local label, Greasy Pop Records. In December 1988 they released an eight-track extended play, Bloody Convicts, Ian Wettenhall on bass guitar and Nick Bruer on drums. They followed with a six-track EP, Some Kind of Philisteins, in November 1989, with Bruer replaced by Stewart Tabert. Their full-length album, Lifestyles of the Wretched and Forgettable, appeared in November of the next year on Dog Meat Records and they had moved to Melbourne. In September 1992 they disbanded and Lucas, Tabert and Wettenhall joined ex-GOD member, Sean Greenaway in a new group, The Freeloaders. Hibberd was a founding member of indie rock band, Powder Monkeys. In March 1998 Guy Lucas died of a drug overdose. A compilation album, A Savage Affection: 1986–1992, appeared in December 2007.
Stuart Coupe is an Australian music journalist, author, band manager, promoter, publicist and music label founder. He is best known for his work as a rock writer with Roadrunner, RAM, The Sun-Herald, and Dolly (magazine); the music labels, GREEN Records and Laughing Outlaw; and the author of books including The Promoters, Gudinski, and Roadies.
David Anthony Healy, who performs as David Virgin, is an Irish-born Australian musician, songwriter and record producer. In the 1980s he was a member of punk industrial noise group SPK, and later formed a post-punk band, Sekret Sekret. He was active in the 1990s and 2000s touring Australia and Europe. He performed and recorded both as a solo artist and as a member of numerous bands. He has produced music for artists including All The Queen's Horses, RUNAH Patricia Lalor, and SPK.
Leadfinger(pron: Led-finger) are an Australian rock’n’roll band formed in the city of Wollongong, New South Wales in 2006 by Glasgow-born singer/guitarist Stewart 'Leadfinger' Cunningham. The band has released 5 albums to date, with the most recent coming out in July 2016 through Conquest of Noise.
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Mark Adrian Kingsmill is an Australian rock musician. He has drummed with several bands including the Hitmen (1979–84), New Christs (1983–84), the Screaming Tribesmen (1984) and Hoodoo Gurus. He is the older brother of Richard Kingsmill, music director and presenter on Triple J.