Fix Up Look Sharp!

  • Fix Up Look Sharp!
    POSTED May 28 2013


     



    It’s kinda bizarre when you realise that a bunch of people you were scarred shitless of when you were 7 or 8 - and who you figured were gonna beat the crap out of you if you even looked at them on the tram or if you happened upon them in the city or somewhere - are seen as some sort of style icons forty or so years later. But that’s how it goes with the Australian gangs of the early 70s known as Sharpies, or Sharps. What’s even crazier is realising that these little thugs had way cool taste music-wise too – so cool it’s taken you and the rest of the world decades to get hip and catch up.

     



    Australia’s Sharpies are now seen by the ‘70s punk and garage rock cognoscenti and ahead-of-the-pack collectors the world over as representative of a particular Australian brand of pre-punk aggro rock action that has parallels with other scenes around the world from the same time period, but which has a particular grit, attitude and look that is uniquely its own. The current obsession with these people is something from the early-to-mid ‘70s that is now being labelled ‘proto-punk’, and which is a combination of bargain basement glam influences, ‘60s British R&B and early blues-based hard rock. And a fair bit of “A Clockwork Orange”. It’s a sound that’s informed by Bowie, Slade, the Small Faces and maybe things like early Zeppelin, but which, through its sheer rawness and aggression, comes off closer to the Stooges or what was to come with the Sex Pistols. Obscure British bands like The Hammersmith Gorillas, Hector and Skakkane are now held by these fans in the same regard in which the likes of the New York Dolls and MC5 have long been held. In Australia, while our two long-acknowledged punk precursors, the Saints and Radio birdman, are still held in esteem, it’s a variety of mostly-long forgotten bands who are now getting the enthusiasts enthusiastic in a whole new way. And this is where the Sharpies come in. Sharp hero Lobby Loyde and his Coloured Balls were the first to get worldwide attention maybe a couple of decades or so, and over the last couple of years the flood gates have opened, with everything from the bovver-lite sounds of The Ted Mulry Gang and the cheap glam raunch of Hush and Supernaut suddenly becoming in much demand. Even the early hits of John Paul Young and, even more amazingly, those of the cringe worthily attired William Shakespeare - thanks in both instances to the punchy production of former Easybeats and early AC/DC mentors Harry Vanda & George Young - are finding favour, despite the fact that both artists were aimed directly at the pre-pubescent market.

    Now I’m not even sure that the Sharpies really dug all this stuff – surely not William Shakespeare! – but they did follow Lobby & the Coloured Balls around, and they undoubtedly loved Slade and Ziggy-to-Diamond Dogs Bowie, so that’s the dual link to aggro and glam there. And aggro and glam - violence and style – is what it’s always about. And that’s what you get on this new LP, entitled ‘SHARPIES – 14 AGGRO AUSSIE ANTHEMS (FROM 1972 to 1979)’, which features some great tracks from the aforementioned Coloured Balls, Ted Mulry, Supernaut and JPY alongside the likes of Skyhooks, Rabbit (featuring original AC/DC vocalist Dave Evans), Taste, former Easybeat Stevie Wright, the real-life-sharpies-turned-punks La Femme and more.

    image

    Now this vinyl only release is an undoubtedly super-limited edition BOOTLEG (and follows an amazing series of bootleg lps compiling like-minded UK tracks entitled ‘Bonehead Crunchers’ - the title of which says it all really; check out volume 3 of that series for the jawdroppingly outrageous ‘Big Boobs Boogie’ by Slowload) so I’m not going to give you a buy link or anything. The purpose of this little piece is to throw some light here on the fact that this music, forgotten for decades after being obliterated by the punk and post-punk movements and long-derided – still-derided in fact - by the local music intelligentsia, is finally now finally being taken seriously by at least some of those who take these things seriously. It’s seen as a legitimate rock movement, and people are starting to pay big bucks for the original records (those copies that aren’t in landfill). And the sharpie movement is now inexorably tied to it. Ted Mulry would probably turn in his grave to know it – and former sharp Brandon “Chopper” Read would no doubt give us one of those mad cackles -but Ted’s smash hits like ‘Jump In My Car’ and ‘Darktown Strutter’s Ball’ are now seen as ‘proto-punk’ and are bound for some serious re-appraisal, and Chopper and his mates are now seen as arbiters of style and taste by an ever-growing audience around the world!



     

    -Dave Laing




    Housekeeping - Photo at top of article is by Larry Jenkins circa 1976, also there are a shit load of YouTube links hyperlinked in this article so we added them into one single playlist for ease. Check them out below:

     

    152366
Submitted by Site Factory admin on Tue, 28/05/2013 - 04:33


 



It’s kinda bizarre when you realise that a bunch of people you were scarred shitless of when you were 7 or 8 - and who you figured were gonna beat the crap out of you if you even looked at them on the tram or if you happened upon them in the city or somewhere - are seen as some sort of style icons forty or so years later. But that’s how it goes with the Australian gangs of the early 70s known as Sharpies, or Sharps. What’s even crazier is realising that these little thugs had way cool taste music-wise too – so cool it’s taken you and the rest of the world decades to get hip and catch up.

 



Australia’s Sharpies are now seen by the ‘70s punk and garage rock cognoscenti and ahead-of-the-pack collectors the world over as representative of a particular Australian brand of pre-punk aggro rock action that has parallels with other scenes around the world from the same time period, but which has a particular grit, attitude and look that is uniquely its own. The current obsession with these people is something from the early-to-mid ‘70s that is now being labelled ‘proto-punk’, and which is a combination of bargain basement glam influences, ‘60s British R&B and early blues-based hard rock. And a fair bit of “A Clockwork Orange”. It’s a sound that’s informed by Bowie, Slade, the Small Faces and maybe things like early Zeppelin, but which, through its sheer rawness and aggression, comes off closer to the Stooges or what was to come with the Sex Pistols. Obscure British bands like The Hammersmith Gorillas, Hector and Skakkane are now held by these fans in the same regard in which the likes of the New York Dolls and MC5 have long been held. In Australia, while our two long-acknowledged punk precursors, the Saints and Radio birdman, are still held in esteem, it’s a variety of mostly-long forgotten bands who are now getting the enthusiasts enthusiastic in a whole new way. And this is where the Sharpies come in. Sharp hero Lobby Loyde and his Coloured Balls were the first to get worldwide attention maybe a couple of decades or so, and over the last couple of years the flood gates have opened, with everything from the bovver-lite sounds of The Ted Mulry Gang and the cheap glam raunch of Hush and Supernaut suddenly becoming in much demand. Even the early hits of John Paul Young and, even more amazingly, those of the cringe worthily attired William Shakespeare - thanks in both instances to the punchy production of former Easybeats and early AC/DC mentors Harry Vanda & George Young - are finding favour, despite the fact that both artists were aimed directly at the pre-pubescent market.

Now I’m not even sure that the Sharpies really dug all this stuff – surely not William Shakespeare! – but they did follow Lobby & the Coloured Balls around, and they undoubtedly loved Slade and Ziggy-to-Diamond Dogs Bowie, so that’s the dual link to aggro and glam there. And aggro and glam - violence and style – is what it’s always about. And that’s what you get on this new LP, entitled ‘SHARPIES – 14 AGGRO AUSSIE ANTHEMS (FROM 1972 to 1979)’, which features some great tracks from the aforementioned Coloured Balls, Ted Mulry, Supernaut and JPY alongside the likes of Skyhooks, Rabbit (featuring original AC/DC vocalist Dave Evans), Taste, former Easybeat Stevie Wright, the real-life-sharpies-turned-punks La Femme and more.

image

Now this vinyl only release is an undoubtedly super-limited edition BOOTLEG (and follows an amazing series of bootleg lps compiling like-minded UK tracks entitled ‘Bonehead Crunchers’ - the title of which says it all really; check out volume 3 of that series for the jawdroppingly outrageous ‘Big Boobs Boogie’ by Slowload) so I’m not going to give you a buy link or anything. The purpose of this little piece is to throw some light here on the fact that this music, forgotten for decades after being obliterated by the punk and post-punk movements and long-derided – still-derided in fact - by the local music intelligentsia, is finally now finally being taken seriously by at least some of those who take these things seriously. It’s seen as a legitimate rock movement, and people are starting to pay big bucks for the original records (those copies that aren’t in landfill). And the sharpie movement is now inexorably tied to it. Ted Mulry would probably turn in his grave to know it – and former sharp Brandon “Chopper” Read would no doubt give us one of those mad cackles -but Ted’s smash hits like ‘Jump In My Car’ and ‘Darktown Strutter’s Ball’ are now seen as ‘proto-punk’ and are bound for some serious re-appraisal, and Chopper and his mates are now seen as arbiters of style and taste by an ever-growing audience around the world!



 

-Dave Laing




Housekeeping - Photo at top of article is by Larry Jenkins circa 1976, also there are a shit load of YouTube links hyperlinked in this article so we added them into one single playlist for ease. Check them out below:

 

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