The enterprising Nic Dalton has pursued an eclectic and generally low-key career that has, nevertheless, seen him play in 23 bands and issue an impressive number of releases under his own terms. After moving to Sydney in the late 1980s with The Plunderers, he set up his Half a Cow record label and bookshop in the Sydney inner-city suburb of Glebe. The label became an outlet for the likes of Godstar, Sidewinder, The Daisygrinders, Smudge, Swirl, Sneeze, Hippy Dribble and many others.
The Plunderers came together in Canberra (ACT) during 1984, playing a punky brand of power pop that mixed frantic guitar riffs, sharp harmonies and diamond-hard pop melodies. Reference points included The Buzzcocks, The Mekons, Big Star, The Stooges, The Strangeloves and The Banana Splits! After only a handful of gigs Lyndsey Dunbar left to study art overseas. Dalton and Stevie Plunder put The Plunderers on hold while they toured with fellow Canberra outfit The Gadflys for six months. Taking The Gadflys' drummer Pete Pillage (real name Pete Velzen, drums, lead vocals) with them, Dalton and Plunder revived The Plunderers in June 1985. In October 1985, the band issued the independent single `Strange Affection'/`Into the Ice' on its own Rattlesnake label before making the move to Melbourne. By that stage, the band had added Andy Waterhole (real name Andy Lewis) on keyboards, guitar and harmonies. In July 1986, The Plunderers moved on again, this time to Sydney. As a three-piece (sans Waterhole), the band found instant favour on the inner-city circuit, playing alongside the likes of The New Christs, The Hard-Ons and Died Pretty.
In 1988, Citadel's offshoot label Green Fez issued the Charlie Owen-produced mini-album Trust Us (June) and the Rob Younger-produced second single `I Don't Mind'/`Dying' (November). The band contributed a hard-hitting cover of The Stooges' `No Fun' to Au-go-go Records, Stooges tribute album Hard to Beat (1988), plus a cover of `Charisma' to Waterfront's Kiss tribute album Hard to Believe (1990). In December 1988, original drummer Pillage/Velzen left to be replaced by Geoff Milne (ex-Eastern Dark). Velzen joined fellow Sydneysiders Falling Joys. The Plunderers issued the singles `I Didn't Even See Them at All'/`Clean Hands', `Trouble Struck' (June 1989) and `Christo'/ `Peggy' (November 1990) plus two 10-inch mini-albums, Sarah's Not Falling in Love (April 1990), and Home Movies (July 1991), on Citadel. The mini-albums saw The Plunderers moving beyond their three-minute, power pop roots to explore a more tripped-out kind of psychedelic revivalism on the eight-and-a-half minute `The Shining' (from Sarah's Not Falling in Love) and the 12-minute `Slide Show' (from Home Movies).
Dalton and his Plunderers compadres also conceived Hippy Dribble in 1989 as a one-off live event for the twentieth anniversary of Woodstock. Using the pseudonyms Nic Dribble, Stevie Dribble and Geoff Dribble, Hippy Dribble then issued a tongue-in-cheek, thrashy neo-psychedelic pop 12-inch EP, Wild Strawberri, on the Trip label (November 1990). They revived the joke in 1993 for the 7-inch vinyl single `Cheerleader' (September) and the split album Silver Apples which they shared with another of Dalton and Plunder's bands Captain Denim: Fade (April 1995).
In January 1991, Dalton formed the first version of Godstar with Tom Morgan, Alison Galloway and rock writer John Encarnacao. Godstar went on to issue a number of psychedelic pop releases, but Dalton put the band on hold later in the year when he joined The Hummingbirds as temporary replacement for Robyn St Clair. In 1992, Dalton revived The Plunderers for the full-length album Banana Smoothie Honey on Citadel. That effectively brought The Plunderers' era to a close. By the end of 1992, Dalton had joined Evan Dando's band Lemonheads, with which he toured internationally and appeared on the album Come on Feel the Lemonheads. He stayed with the band until August 1994. In 1993, Dalton reactivated Godstar. At the end of 1995, Dalton broke up Godstar and formed a new band called The Kombi Nation (TKN). He also worked with Sneeze and, in early 1997, a pseudo-soul band called The Ultimate Vanilla.
Another of Dalton's side projects was the delightfully eccentric Love Positions, which was a studio outfit he formed with The Hummingbirds' Robyn St Clair. Love Positions issued the single `Light of Day'/`Kiss', `Underworn' and the album Billiepeebup (both 1990) on the Half a Cow label. With the break-up of The Plunderers, Stevie Plunder joined The New Christs. He left a year later to form The Whitlams with Tim Freedman (keyboards, vocals; ex-Olive Branch) and Andy Lewis (double bass; ex-Gadflys, Plunderers). Plunder died on 24 January 1996 at the age of 32. Freedman kept The Whitlams going with new members and issued a new CD single, `You Sound Like Louis Burdett', in May 1997.