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Encyclopedia entry for 'The Philisteins' LETTER:

Formed in 1985
 Original line-up: Aydn Hibberd (guitar, vocals, harmonica), Guy Lucas (guitar, vocals, organ), Scott Harrison (bass), Charlie Shackloth (drums)
 Philisteins albums: Bloody Convicts (mini-album, Greasy Pop, 1988), Some Kind of Philisteins (mini-album, Greasy Pop, 1989), Lifestyles of the Wretched and Foregettable (Dog Meat, 1991). Freeloaders albums: Squalifications (Dog Meat, 1994), Dead Before My Time (Dog Meat, 1996), Through the Sound Barrier (CD on Full Toss; vinyl LP on Corduroy, 2000).

The members of the peripatetic Philisteins came together in Hobart, Tasmania for a one-off party gig under the name of The Cheesemongers. Legend has it that they were disliked by all and sundry, which set the tone for much of the band's subsequent career. By early 1986, the band members had become more serious, acquired a new name, The Philisteins (courtesy of band friend Stewart Tabert), and a more committed drummer in Konrad Park.

The band's influences ranged from 1960s UK R&B bands like The Pretty Things, The Yardbirds and The Rolling Stones to American garage-punk bands like Love, Music Machine, The 13th Floor Elevators, The Flamin' Groovies, The Stooges and MC5. The Philisteins issued a limited edition cassette (200 copies) called Reverberations, but by all accounts the band's raucous blend of punk/ R&B/psychedelia was soundly despised outside a small cult following around Hobart. During June 1987, inspired by the bands they heard on Adelaide label Greasy Pop, The Philisteins relocated to the South Australian capital where their sound met with a more positive response. The line-up of Hibberd, Lucas, Harrison and Mark Coombes (drums) immediately fell in with the likes of Exploding White Mice, Lizard Train, The Spikes and Primevils. Harrison and Coombes soon left to be replaced by Ian Wettenhall and Nick Bruer respectively.

Bruer stayed long enough to appear on the band's debut, eight-track mini-album, Bloody Convicts, which Greasy Pop issued at the end of 1988. The material fell neatly between 1970s punk and 1960s psychedelia, with plenty of guitar riffs to the fore. The Philisteins also contributed one track, `Early Morning Memory', from the mini-album to Greasy Pop's Various Artists compilation Oasis 2 (1989). By that stage, the band's old Hobart compadre Stewart Tabert had replaced Bruer on drums. In May 1989, The Philisteins recorded their second mini-album, Some Kind of Philisteins, but a month later decided to move on again. They returned to Hobart until November 1989, after which they re-located to Sydney.

By that stage, Greasy Pop had issued Some Kind of Philisteins, which boasted a more punkish edge compared with the band's first release. It featured two covers, The Downliner Sect's `Outside' and The Nomads' `Thoughts of a Madman'. In Sydney, the band made little headway, and by the end of 1990 had relocated once again, this time to Melbourne. On the thriving Melbourne inner-city scene, the band found kindred spirits among the likes of Hoss, The Dirty Lovers, The Puritans, The Cracked Jaffas, Seminal Rats and The Surfin' Poobahs. The Dog Meat label issued the band's debut, full-length album, Lifestyles of the Wretched and Forgettable, in 1991. One of the standout tracks was a cover of The Pretty Things' `Can't Stand the Pain'.

By 1992, Lucas, Wettenhall and Tabert had dispensed with The Philisteins name and format in order to form The Freeloaders with Sean Greenway (guitar, vocals; ex-God). The Freeloaders' mix of heavy, Detroit-inspired garage rock and melodic rock'n'roll (in The Flamin' Groovies vein) met with some success on the Melbourne inner-city circuit. The Freeloaders contributed a cover of `I Want You' to the Dog Meat label's Troggs tribute album Groin Thunder (1992). That compilation also contained The Philisteins' rendition of `From Home', which had been recorded in 1990. Dog Meat issued The Freeloaders' `Something for Nothing' CD EP (1993) and the full-length album Squalifications (1994) before Greenway and Wettenhall left. Damien Smith (guitar, vocals) and Dave Gray (bass) joined, and the band issued the raucous Dead Before My Time album. The Freeloaders operated in the same sphere as the likes of Powder Monkeys, Hoss, The Sunset Strip, etc., all of whom also happened to record for Dog Meat.

The Freeloaders lost singer/guitarist/songwriter Guy Lucas, when he died from a drug overdose in March 1998. The remaining Freeloaders members and friends staged the ambitious Lucas Aid concert that April, as a tribute to Lucas, with all proceeds to help pay for the band’s unfinished album which had been recorded in 1997. The event featured 21 bands, including Red Shift, The Boyettes, Stuntcar Drivers, Hellenic Zeal, Voxsound, The Accidents, The Spoilers, Dreadnought, Liberty, Megalong Valley, Bloodsucking Freaks, The Martians, Seminal Rats, Powder Monkeys, Warped, Strutter and The Onyas.

The Full Toss label eventually issued The Freeloaders’ album, Through the Sound Barrier, in March 2000. As well as appearing on CD, Corduroy Records issued a Limited Edition, 12-inch vinyl version of the album, complete with a bonus AA-sided 7-inch single. By that stage drummer Stewart Tabert had joined 1960s garage punks Hands of Time, while bass player Dave Gray had joined Rocket Science with Roman Tucker (Hammond organ; ex-Martians).

Rounding out the line-up of Rocket Science were Paul Maybury (guitar, vocals; ex-Hog) and Kit Warhurst (drums; ex-Manic Suede, Velvet Tongue). Rocket Science issued its debut album, Welcome Aboard The 3c10 (April 2000), on the Modular label (through EMI).

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


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