Valentines Day conjures up thoughts of candlelit
dinners, flowers and kisses from that someone special. Enough romance
to fill a Mills & Boon paperback flows and everything is in harmony.
So why not do something a little unique this time by venturing off to
the Tote to have your hearing irreparably impaired by The Moodists as
Dave Graney bellows out Six Dead Birds. Beat took the opportunity to speak
to bassist Chris Walsh about all things Moodist and whether a hiatus that
has lasted over a decade is about to come to an end.
Since The Moodists called it quits sometime in 1986, the name was apparently
shelved alongside The Birthday Party, The Triffids and The Go Betweens
as part of the early-Eighties push by less palatable Australian bands
who entered the Old Country. But as Chris explains, 2003 sees new life
in the bones. We were all in the country at the same time and toyed
with the idea of releasing some of our material on CD as it was only ever
released on vinyl and largely ignored. It was something of a vanity idea
which snowballed. Yet Chris does not remember the good old days
as such. Any reaction would have been nice. We went into this [the
release of Two Fisted Art with our eyes wide open as we always
did. This time around it was a matter of putting it out and reception
has been surprisingly good.
The timing of their re-emergence coincides with recent nostalgia driven
appearances by a variety of bands who have long since called it a day.
Such reunion shows have been lucrative in both response and interest in
the back catalogue. It is almost groovy to namedrop these bands as influences
by aspiring musicians. Chris, who for his part has been removed from the
music scene for quite some time, sees it more as a hobby and regards the
reformation as more of a coincidence. I have not done anything of
much musical note for the best part of 17 years, but Dave and Clare [Moore]
have soldiered on to retain their profile and remain in the public eye.
Steve Miller, David
Graney, Chris Walsh, Clare Moore. 2003
The disappearance of Chris Walsh from the Melbourne
scene is quite an interesting issue. Once an integral member of bands
such as The Negatives and The Fabulous Marquises he may well have been
prolific enough to experience enough music to last a lifetime. Yet for
a long period he retained a desire to hit the stage. Chris explains that
after The Moodists l played in a variety of bands with lesser profile.
Then for medical reasons l gave it away. Now that my condition has been
subdued l can safely say that it will be metal on the pedal come Friday
Another vexing issue is whether The Moodists would have pursued a similar
approach in 2003 as they did in the early-Eighties by making a clean break
with Australia and trying to establish themselves overseas. Chris sheds
light on this stating one of the great things about making a clean
break and going to England was the prospect of re-inventing ourselves.
Moving away from the pressure and gaze of people who think they know you
but more than likely do not. I think it was a great thing for The Moodists
to do because whatever audience there was here seemed largely disinterested.
You could go to England and go blam onstage and that is what happened
with us. We staggered off the plane in the UK with a minor record deal
and no one knew what to expect. When we got to play some shows we took
people largely by surprise. These days everything seems too controlled.
Bands seem to go and study Rock 101. It seems like a lot more
business and thought goes into it whereas there was an element of danger
and surprise when we did it.
One of the great things about bands such as The Birthday Party, Triffids
and Go Betweens was a clear overpowering element of arrogance. That this
will succeed and if it doesnt something else will come along. It
was taking a chance and never thinking that this was the wrong thing to
do. Once in England, the conditions and circumstances did become
brutal and draining and the allure of moving did start to wear off. There
are only so many ways in which you could have porridge and rice as your
main meal, says Chris knowingly. The initial glamour does
tend to wear off when you realise that you have to move and where was
the money for food going to come from. But you were off on a big adventure
and assumed that things would be okay. It is more than unlikely
The Moodists will play England in this reincarnation.
There is a broader element than nostalgia driving this reformation. To
me it is like good friends who made a god-awful amount of noise and had
great fun doing it. Apart from the Tote there will be a couple of interstate
shows here and there supporting the CD. I heard a couple of CD bootlegs
of the band, initially believing them to be crap but to my surprise they
sounded quite good. This whole thing seems to have taken a momentum off
its own. Yet Chris stridently puts to rest any prospect of a Negatives
or Fabulous Marquises reunion. No fucking way. Some things are best
left dead and buried.
So when Dave, Claire, Chris and Steve [Miller] step onto the Tote floorboards
to engage in some aural abuse, look forward to hearing Six Dead Birds,
Gone Dead and numerous others. And as you wonder around Saturday morning
with tinnitus ringing in your ears, ponder this; people always criticised
The Moodists for being a wank name but I always thought it was a hell
of a lot better than The Triffids Chris ends with a laugh.