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Encyclopedia entry for 'Frenzal Rhomb' LETTER:

Formed in 1992
StylePunk
 1993 line-up: Jason Whalley (vocals), Ben Whalley (guitar), Alexis Feltham (bass), Nat Nykyruj (drums)
 Albums: Not So Tough Now (Shagpile/Shock, 1996), Meet the Family (Shagpile/Shock, 1997),A Man’s Not a Camel (Shagpile/Shock, 1999).

History
Power-punk outfit Frenzal Rhomb formed in Sydney. Taking inspiration from Californian melodic hardcore bands like Bad Religion, The Descendants, All, Fugazi, etc., the Rhomb built a huge all-ages following around the country. There were various line-ups until the band stablised as above. Lindsay McDougall replaced Ben Whalley in late 1996.

Frenzal Rhomb appeared on the Sydney bill of the 1994 Big Day Out. The band's debut CD EP Dick Sandwich (March 1995) sold 2000 copies, a more than respectable number for an independent release. Frenzal Rhomb supported Californian tourists NOFX on that band's national tour in the middle of 1995. NOFX's Fat Mike was so impressed with the band's rugged punk style that he issued the CD EP on his own Fat Wreck Chords label in the USA. Shock Records' Shagpile label issued Frenzal Rhomb's single `Genius' (1995), plus the CD EP Coughing Up a Storm (1995) and the album Not So Tough Now (July 1996). The CD EP `Punch in the Face' came out in November 1996, and the band commenced 1997 with an appearance on the national bill of the Big Day Out. Toward the end of the year, the band undertook a US tour (supporting Blink 182) and issued its second album, Meet the Family (October) and CD single, `There's Your Dad' (September).

Frenzal Rhomb’s Meet the Family album produced a second CD single, ‘Mum Changed the Locks’/‘You Can’t Move into my House’ (April 1998). With the single’s release, Frenzal Rhomb toured Australia supported by US band The Blue Meanies. By that stage, Gordon ‘Gordy’ Foreman had replaced Nat Nykyruj on drums. The Rhomb’s new CD EP, ‘Some of My Friends Are Racist’ (November), contained further blasts of the band’s trademark high-speed, skate-punk riffing and power pop harmonies. The same month, the Shagpile label reissued Meet the Family (with its cartoon cover send-up of the Brady Bunch), complete with bonus live disc Mongrel. ‘Mum Changed the Locks’ logged the #54 placement on the 1998 Triple J Hottest 100 list, while ‘Mr Charisma’ came in at #72. The reissued Meet the Family also peaked at #39 on the national chart during January 1999.

The Melbourne punk pranksters continued on their merry way with the frantic new single, ‘We’re Going Out Tonight’ (February 1999), a taster for the third album. A Man’s Not a Camel (April), took the band into the mainstream Top 20 for the first time when it peaked at #11 on the national album chart. It eventually sold 35 000 units to qualify for a gold record award. With tracks like ‘We’re Going Out Tonight’ and ‘Let’s Drink a Beer’, it saw a fine-tuning of the band’s approach without losing the sense of moronic fun.

The album spawned two more singles, ‘You Are Not My Friend’ (June) and ‘Never Had so Much Fun’ (September). Following the local success throughout 1999, Frenzal Rhomb also undertook a sixth US tour with an appearance on the Vans Warped travelling punk event. ‘Never Had so Much Fun’ logged the #26 placement on the 1999 Triple J Hottest 100 list, while ‘You Are Not My Friend’ came in at #34 and ‘We’re Going Out Tonight’ at #64. The band emerged with a new single, ‘I Miss My Lung’, in May 2000.



Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop / Ian McFarlane 1999
under licence from Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd

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