I first discovered Bored! when they were still called White Noise it was early 87 (I think?!) and Id been hanging out in an indie record store in Geelong (for a year or so) called Missing Link. Id become good mates with the guy who ran the shop (Dean Bateup of Behind The Magnolia Curtain fame) who totally turned me onto The Stooges (thank god!) one fateful day he told me about a local band that was playing Stooges covers in their live set he knew the lead singer and told me to go and introduce myself to him at a gig. So I went along one night to the Telegraph Hotel (in North Geelong) and saw them they absolutely blew me away they were fucking awesome- they played Stooges & MC5 covers, as well as their own songs, and they were fucking loud!! I knew right then that White Noise had something special they werent your average no-talent post-punk losers they fuckin rocked! After the gig (in amongst the drunken carnage) I went up and said gidday to the lead singer/guitarist and thats how I first met my life-long mate Dave Thomas.
Fast forward to early 1988 and I (at the age of 24) opened my own indie record store in Geelong called Caveman Records. Sadly Missing Link Records had closed their Geelong store in mid 87 (their Melbourne shop is still going strong), and for some stupid reason I thought I could make a go of it. By this stage White Noise (whod had a number of people coming in and out of the band) had settled on a relatively solid line-up, and changed their name to Bored! Dave Thomas (Lead vocal & guitar), John Nolan (guitar), Buzz Munday (Drums) and Grant Gardner (Bass guitar). Id got to know the guys well having been to almost all of their gigs since that very first one at the Telegraph Hotel. By mid 88 Caveman Records had been open for 6 months and I was making a lot of contacts in the music industry. I can still remember the day that Dave came into the shop and asked me if I wanted to become the manager of Bored! I reckon it probably took me about a millisecond to respond with a definite YES!
Bored!s reputation as a kick-arse band got around quickly, and soon the band was playing stacks of gigs in Melbourne. In late 88 we travelled up the Hume Hwy to Sydney to play a few gigs, and record some tracks (with John Hresc) these tracks ended up being released as a self titled EP on Grown Up Wrong Records (which became Dogmeat Records later on) . one track on the EP got a huge amount of airplay on Melbourne & Sydneys community radio stations that track was Little Suzie. The EP ended up on top of the indie record charts for weeks .. Boreds future was looking better than ever, and over the next year or so the band would end up getting some great support gigs with the likes of: Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Rollins Band, The Ramones, and Iggy Pop . as well as a stack of their own headline shows of course, which were always awesome.
In January 89 Bored! went back into the studio this time at Recordio in Melbourne, with Jon Brunner at the controls – Bored! would record their first full-length album (the one youve got in your hands!). After the huge success of the debut EP and the hit that Little Suzie had become, coming up with an album that was going to top it (or be as good) was always going to be tough. The production thatd been done on the EP (by John Hresc) was very full and quite slick. John had produced records for Sydney thrash bands (as they were called then!) The Hard-Ons and The Hellmenn (as well as many others). Bored! were by no means a thrash band, however the same type of production had been applied. For their first album Dave & John (in particular) wanted a different sound almost garage-like in its quality .. and if you ask me they got what they wanted! Negative Waves is a totally raw to the bone, warts & all record .. what youve got here is a phenomenally good band cutting lose in the studio and trying all sorts of new (and sometimes) weird shit . just take a listen to the final track Mona Lisa the band had never done anything like it before and they never did again! The album seemed to take ages to record (as opposed to the EP that had taken 2 days!), which is why in some ways Negative Waves sounds a bit fragmented thats because it was recorded in a really fragmented way . one day here and there in the studio whenever time permitted. In the end it took six months to record. To be honest I didnt make it to all the recording sessions . in fact half the time I didnt even know when the band were in the studio or not. By the time the album was being recorded I was not only running the record store, but also booking bands at The Barwon Club the best (and only!) live venue for indie bands in town so I was pretty damn busy. Every now and again Dave would give me a tape of the tracks theyd recorded (tracks theyd maybe recorded the night before?), and hed ask my opinion. To his credit, one thing that Dave has always done is listen to peoples opinions and taken on board any advice given but ultimately hed always go with whatever he thought was right anyway and 9 times out of 10 he got it right. I dont mean to sound like Dave was the only one in the band; John & Buzz & Grant all had their say & all had their input . well to be honest Dave & John as the two guitarists always had most of the say in Bored! it was a guitar band after all and shit could those two play guitar and they played fuckin LOUD!!
All the tracks on Negative Waves are pure Bored! (except maybe Mona Lisa which I dont think ever got played live despite several requests from me!) CSM (No Way) was always a favourite amongst head-banging punters at gigs . the moment the first chords were struck punters would be slamming and stage-diving all over the place this was back in the days when stage-diving (and slamming) was an accepted expression of exuberance security were basically told to let people do whatever they wanted, even though most of the meat-head bouncers didnt have a clue about what was going on sometimes theyd still drag some poor bastard outside a give em a belting, mainly because they thought the person was fighting, when in reality they were just having a good time! They were great days back then . its all become quite sterile at gigs now pubs & clubs are too worried about being sued, so stage-diving is pretty much banned everywhere .. which really sucks Im glad I got to live it in all its glory!
So back to Negative Waves in a way it was really a representation of what the band were doing live at the time, and also what they were listening to. Theres a direct homage to a couple of Oz rock legends with cover versions of Remedy (Rose Tattoo) and Whole Lotta Rosie (AC/DC) all thats missing are tracks by Motorhead and Black Sabbath definite favourites of the band at the time. With guest vocals on Remedy by Tim Hemmensly (who would eventually join Bored! full time) and Shane Anderson (the late legendary lead singer of Geelong garage punk band The Dirty Lovers), Negative Waves completely encapsulates what was happening in early 1989 . it was a time when alternative rock was still truly alternative (Nirvanas Nevermind hadnt changed the world yet!). Theres no doubt that Bored! helped shape the indie music scene of the late 80s and early 90s in Australia they really influenced a lot of bands, especially those from Geelong. If it wasnt for Bored! bands like Warped and Magic Dirt probably wouldnt have ever existed Bored! showed everyone that a bunch of punks from Geelong could actually break free from sleepy hollow (as Geelong was known then) and make an impression right around the world.
To be honest Im just glad I was a part of the whole thing as the manager of Bored! I got to see one of the best rock bands in the world perform live night after night I never made any real money out of the band, and I didnt give a shit, I was in it because I loved it it was just such a great fucking experience Ill always cherish the memory of those days and the great friends I made along the way (some still with us, some not). If there was ever a band that could quite rightly get tagged with the often too used legendary status, it was Bored! I hope kids in 10 years time still get to discover the recordings of Bored! you can be guaranteed their albums will still sound awesome for many many years to come.
First of all I would like to thank Juan and Gorka for showing an interest in re-releasing our second record Negative Waves. It is quite flattering and we wish them well with Bang Records. Having to re-master the album with Lindsay Gravina and reintroducing myself to the music was quite a blast from the past it brought back many pleasant, funny and memorable moments for myself. I will try to give you some sense of what we were doing at the time,……. well what I can remember anyway!
So I guess it was the end of 1988, our first record came out earlier that year and was quite well received. We had been playing, rehearsing, writing new songs. We decided to record in Melbourne, we found this studio through Andy Turner who was playing with some guys who became the band Sunset Strip they had recorded there so we thought lets do it ….let me say in those days there were not too many places who liked that sort of thing. Studios would always want us to turn down the volume, not many people knew or liked the bands we were into so it was hard to get your ideas about sound to somebody who deals in frequencies and we dealt in ooommphs!!….. know what I mean ……
Jon Brunner ran this little studio Recordio at the back of his house, it felt good so we did it there….I think we recorded some 20 tracks or so, the ones not here (mainly cover versions) got put on b-sides ,comps, etc.
The title Negative Waves is a phrase from a really bad but really funny Australian biker movie called Cosy Cool. There were two main characters, Cosy Cool and Gracious G. Grit who quit their jobs and hit the road dealing drugs and trying to find themselves ala Easy Rider (I stress this movie is SO BAD it’s GOOD). The Australian accent and slang is so full on that some of the dialogue is undecipherable. There are even bike stunts that go wrong, they fall of their bikes and it is all left in the final cut. At one point they are getting stoned at a drag race then they are suddenly at a Satanic black mass in a burnt out church complete with mysterious fog that is there one moment and gone the next. Definitely no awards to this flick. The “negative waves, negative waves” at the start of the record is spoken by Gracious when a chick tells him to “fuck off” we liked that and we wanted something uniquely Australian.
Now I know we weren’t the most original band and probably contradicted ourselves all the time, but we did try to wear our influences on our sleeves and try do things our own way, and we tried to keep a sense of humour about it too.
Looking at the back cover photo taken by Ron Mcpherson at his house where it was kind of a museum of pop trash with cool records, toys, booze, pornos and great parties. Sash from one of our favourite bands The Dirty Lovers lived there too, (there’s a photo of him on one of the shelves) it was a great hang out. I think we were all in Geelong at that time too. We made a point to put things we were into so people could see from the photo what we were about. I like it it really takes me back. Buzz had recently turned 18 and above Johns head there is a naked woman centrefold that was his stripper. There’s a photo of Tim Hemensley who later joined the band. He sings Remedy and who last year sadly passed away, and is sorely missed by us all. There are pictures and records by friends bands, God, The Twenty Second Sect , The Splatterheads, Killing Time and the Hard ons. My favourite thing is the Dirty Lovers poster I reckon everybody had that poster it was everywhere and they were by far the best band around at the time. Their singer Shane does back vocals on Remedy and with Sash also sadly died in a car crash about six months later. RIP guys.
At this stage of the bands life we were really the flavour of the month and would get to play with some rather good bands like Iggy Pop and Sonic Youth. We had long hair and marshall amps, we played in bare feet and played loud, we had a lot of trouble with venues. I was booking a venue in Geelong called the Cat Club where we could do our own thing. There were some wild times like fights in the crowd, slamming people getting naked and doing the worm on the dance floor there was a lot of drinking and there was a lot of people coming into the scene all the time. We would basically play anywhere, parties, whatever, it was a good time as my lack of hearing now tells me. Some of the other credits are Chris Hollenkamp who was our sound guy. Allan Kelly and DB fixed our amps and hired us PAs. Tim Hegarty who was our manager and ran the local record store Caveman Records. Dave Laing ran Dogmeat Records who got us to do all this and released many great albums on that label. Ben Brown did the artwork for the record, he did some great stuff for many Sydney bands as well as singing for a great band we did a lot of shows with The Hellmen. I cant really remember much about the recording it was done over a few months so I think the overall sound is a bit patchy, but it was a good experience so there…………………… suck it !
~ Dave Thomas April Fools Day 2004