Salmon formed the first lineup of the Surrealists in mid-1987, with Brian Henry Hooper on bass and Tony Pola on drums. He formed the band to record the album Hit Me With The Surreal Feel, using minimalist lo-fi approaches to recording a basic trio: recording the band live with microphones around the studio capturing the entire sound, rather than one instrument per track. The recording and mixing cost was AU$240 total. The band also played live around Perth in mid-1987. The album was released in October 1988.
The Surrealists did a few songs by the Scientists (particularly “Shine” from The Human Jukebox) and had a similar sound, in that Salmon remained the leader and primary songwriter, but the feel of the music was notably different: far less tense and confrontative.
The second album, Just Because You Can’t See It … Doesn’t Mean It Isn’t There, was recorded more conventionally in 1989 and released in early 1990. Comparing this album with The Human Jukebox, there is a similarity in songwriting but a difference in feel is readily apparent. The band’s third album Essence was released in 1991, followed by Sin Factory in 1993, which arguably gained the most attention for the band. The sound by now was strong rock riffery, also blending their take on Blaxploitation music.
When The Beasts of Bourbon reformed in early 1988, Salmon started touring with that band too. When James Baker and Boris Sujdovic left The Beasts of Bourbonto go full-time with The Dubrovniks, Hooper and Pola joined to replace them.
Salmon fired Tony Pola from the Surrealists in 1993, replacing him with Greg Bainbridge. Brian Hooper later left as well, after the “Kim Salmon and the Surrealists” album, and was replaced by Stu Thomas in 1995. This new trio put out Ya Gotta Let Me Do My Thing in 1997, touring Australia and Europe once more, and USA for the first time. A horn section was added to the band soon after.
In 1999, Salmon renamed the band Kim Salmon and the Business, and released one album “Record” in 1999. Stu Thomas remained on bass, and a slew of different brass players (sax and trumpet) and drummers came through the band. Phil Collings was recruited on drums in 2000.
In September 2006, Kim Salmon and the Surrealists ‘reformed’ for a show in Spain at Azkena Rock Festival. This line-up of Kim Salmon (guitar/vocal), Stu Thomas (bass) and Phil Collings (drums), also played later in Australia.
2010 marked the release of the “Grand Unifying Theory” album, the first Kim Salmon and The Surrealists record for 13 years. Line-up: Kim Salmon (guitar/vocal/sampler), Stu Thomas (bass) and Phil Collings (drums). The approach to recording was similar to the first album, hence a thematic link between the two records. The band was recorded live during rehearsals. The results were sifted through by Salmon and co-producer Mike Stranges, spliced together in some cases (ala Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew”), and made into songs. The sound is equal measures jazz and punk, with improvisation a key ingredient.