A short bio of the Moodists
from one of the few historical attempts to wtite about Australian music.
. Just the facts.
Off to London, October '83
Began forming in 1978
Style : Rock
Classic line-up: Dave Graney- vocals , Steve Miller- guitar, Clare
Moore -drums, Chris Walsh- bass, Mick Turner- guitar.
Albums: Engine Shudder (mini-album, Au-go-go, 1983), Thirsty's
Calling (UK only, Red Flame/Virgin, 1984),
Double Life (UK only, Red Flame/Virgin, 1985). History
During the 1980s, The Moodists were something of a well-kept secret. In
fact, over six years of existence the band spent only half that time in
Australia. In the UK, where the band based itself for three years, it
was a different matter. There The Moodists were acknowledged as proto-grunge
noisemakers. The band's name is often mentioned in the same breath as
The Birthday Party, Laughing Clowns, The Go-Betweens, The Triffids and
-Scientists when assessing Australia's contribution to 1980s British music.
Nevertheless, The Moodists were an important band in the history of Australian
rock, not least of all for giving us the wonderful Dave Graney.
The nucleus of The Moodists grew out of Adelaide band Sputniks, which
comprised Graney, Clare Moore, Steve Miller, Phillip Costello (guitar)
and Liz Dealey (bass). Sputniks'
contemporaries on the Adelaide independent scene included The Dagoes,
Young Modern, The Accountants and Bad Poets. Sputniks issued one independent
single, `Second Glance'/`Our
Boys', in 1979 before relocating to Melbourne at the beginning of 1980.
Graney, Moore , Dealey ( who soon left to return to Adelaide ) and Miller
made the move to Melbourne, where they were joined by Chris Walsh (ex-Negatives,
Fabulous Marquises) who replaced original bass player Steve Carmen.
Walsh's previous band, The Fabulous Marquises, virtually had "inner-city
supergroup" status from the outset. As well as Walsh, the band comprised
Mr Pierre (real name Peter Sutcliffe; vocals, guitar; ex-Teenage Radio
Stars, JAB, Models), Edward Clayton-Jones (guitar, synth) and Katherine
Denney (piano, organ). The band formed after Mr Pierre had been ousted
from the nascent Models in late 1978. The Marquises' sound was sparse
and electronic. The band's solitary single, `Honeymoon'/`1,2,3, Factory'
(September 1980), was initially included as part of the Unforgettable
Music Box Set of three singles, alongside Ron Rude's Piano Piano and Microfilm.
Ron Rude (head of the Unforgettable Music label) produced The Marquises'
Rude also included the Marquises' track `From My Heart to My Hands' on
the Various Artists album From Belgrave with Love (1981). -Clayton-Jones
was later in The Wreckery.
The Moodists played gigs on the St Kilda/Carlton inner-city circuit alongside
the likes of Models, Whirlywirld, International Exiles, Little Murders
and the nascent Hunters & Collectors.
Au-go-go Records boss Bruce Milne recognised the band's potential and
issued the singles
"Where the Trees Walk Downhill"/"I Should have Been here"
(October 1981) and "Gone Dead"/"Chad's Car" (June
1982), plus the mini-album Engine Shudder (January 1983). In April
1983, Mick Turner (guitar; ex-Sick Things, Fungus Brains) joined, adding
his squalling guitar work to the band's unnerving, avant-garage rock noise.
Engine Shudder garnered positive
reviews in the UK music press, and the Red Flame label issued it at the
end of 1983. Even before The Moodists had established a reputation beyond
the independent scene in Australia, they had decided to relocate to the
UK. The band left for London in October 1983, where they played gigs with
fellow expatriates The Go-Betweens and Nick Cave.
In 1984, Red Flame issued the band's full-length debut album Thirsty's
Calling (April), plus the singles "Runaway"/"Chevrolet
Rise" (April) and "Enough Legs to Live on"/"Can't
(October). The album again drew favourable reviews, although the fickle
UK music press tended to harp on about The Birthday Party comparisons.
Even such ludicrous descriptions as "garage jazz-punk" only
hinted at the band's powerful sound. The Moodists toured Europe and the
USA before returning to Australia in November 1984. In the meantime, Red
Flame issued the band's second mini-album, "Double Life", which
contained tracks like the rumbling "Six Dead Birds". Following
a support slot to UK visitors Public Image Ltd in January 1985, Mick Turner
left the band. By May, The Moodists had returned to the UK .
With the change of personnel, The Moodists underwent a musical transformation
as well. The 12-inch EP "Justice and Money Too" (on the Creation
label; August 1985) featured light, bluesy pop augmented with strings
and piano. The band issued two more 12-inch EPs (on the Tim/Abstract label),
"Take the Red Carpet Out of Town" (October 1985) and "The
Moodists" (February 1986). They revealed that, while The Moodists
had toned down somewhat, the band had lost none of its ability to craft
unique and compelling songs. By that stage, Walsh had already left the
band to return to Australia, and The Moodists recruited another alumnus,
David McClymont (ex-Orange Juice) , as replacement. By the middle of 1986,
The Moodists had split up. Miller became tour manager for The Triffids
and Graney abandoned the band concept for a year. In 1987, with Clare
Moore , he launched his new band, Dave Graney with the Coral Snakes. Walsh
later rejoined Graney in The White Buffaloes; by 1996, Steve Miller was
playing in a band called Love Moods with Bruce Milne. Mick Turner was
in the Dirty Three.
Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop / Ian
David and Clare , Adelaide '79
Moodists, Melbourne, '80
David, Steve Carman, Steve Miller, Clare Moore
Chris and Dave, London , 1984 picture Dave Western