Driven by caffeinated guitars and four-to-the-floor drive, the track contains the cult-rock agitators’ enduring power to confound yet feel profound, parcelling up political commentary in a ridiculous, entertaining package.
It was 18 years ago next week that Melbourne’s TISM released ‘The White Albun’, their sixth and final full-length record.
TISM are reuniting and we invited them to speak on Double J Arvos. What could go wrong!?
At the very least they are hear to bring a bit more artifice to the world through things such as their interview with Tim Shiel talking about Roy Kid La, Frydenberg’s minimalist guitar style and Hockey Dad (transcript here) or their interviews with The Guardian, talking about Angus Taylor on triangle:
think you will have noticed, being from the Guardian, that it was right after the demise of the last Liberal cabinet that we re-emerged, and that’s because we noticed there was a gap in the market for grotesque clowns. They’re out; we’re in.
We actually tried to get Angus Taylor – we offered him the job of playing triangle – but it was a little bit intellectual for him.
And their absence as an art piece:
Ron H-B: Look Andrew, we’re not talking to Bongo and the Monkey on FM radio here, we’re talking to someone from the Guardian. We’re not talking top-notch – we’re not talking Katharine and we’re not talking Lenore here – but we are talking to a man of your acuity, and I think you’ll have picked up that the last 19 years of silence has actually been an art piece. It’s like an installation. It’s a reassessment of our aesthetic, and I think after 19 years, we’ve made our point loud and clear.
Or The Age discussing their new genre of ‘Knock-Down Re-Build’:
“We’re introducing a new genre, KDRB,” he said. “The young people aren’t into it as much as we are, but it’s Knock Down Re-Build, and our shows will mainly be financial advice.
“If you’re on your third investment property, like we are, then music and costumes, it’s trivial compared to interest rates, mortgages. We’re exploring new art forms and with Knock Down Re-Build, our new genre … there’ll be no new music.”
I wonder if this might mean a return to guest hosting Rage?
To be honest, as much as I am excited, I hope that this is not the end of the Disco Machine.
They participated within the musical machinery and, at the same time, plotted its deconstruction
6 track album
TISM have today announced the reissue of their catalogue on CD and vinyl, in news that will delight the many thousands of people who still so sorely miss this incredible Australian band.
Tim Smith, Victorian Liberal member for the sexually adventurous suburb of Kew, has certainly seen it all. From his birthplace of Camberwell, in the inner east of Melbourne, he has now, years later, successfully travelled the long and risky four kilometres to his High Street electoral office. Educated at Scotch College, Rugby School, and Melbourne University, Tim has experienced the whole range of social experience, right through from lawyer to orthodontist.
After a strangely garbled start to our discussion, in which he insisted his bill to change the spelling of his electorate to “Q” had no relation to conspiracy theories, he explained the basis of all good love-making: “Probably the most harmful effect of the disastrous coronavirus pandemic – besides the interruption to my golf days – has been the growth of weird fringe theories like ‘sacrificing for the common good’. Frankly, I’d never heard the phrase. When Tim Wilson showed me some filthy websites explaining the idea I was aghast.
New host Kate Kingsmill pulls out one of the more weird and wonderful live performances from the RRR vaults…TISM at The Laundry in Nov 2001!
The Melbourne legends had just released their 5th album De RigueurMortis at the time. Kate also catches up with Damian Cowell aka Humphrey B. Flaubert as he shares some reflections on the performance and the band’s long history with Triple R.
I was wondering where Damian Cowell was at. Was kind of hoping for some sort of concocted online offering he might have created to fill in the time or some sort of Song Exploder style expose of the mystery behind the masks. But this will do.
Tune in to our TISM special this Saturday May 23 from 11am, and later that night from 12:15am on ABC TV.
For Cowell, it is about giving the kids an anchovy. Although this often focuses on the lyrics, this can be said to apply just as much to the music. As Michael Dwyer captures in regards to Damien Cowell’s Disco Machine:
“If Damian wanted to be,” says Martin, “he could be a comedian. A few years ago he did a show at the comedy festival and it was as funny as any other show. But he takes the music very seriously.
Legendary Melbourne band TISM (This Is Serious Mum) performing their song Garbage, and a small interview with David MacGahan (Shaun Micallef).
I have been enjoying watching some of these snippets from the past.
Also, enjoyed rewatching the videos from the White Albun.
The 1988 show in question came just before TISM released their debut album, Great Truckin’ Songs of the Renaissance, the first of six studio albums from the band. It features some of their most-loved hits, such as ‘Saturday Night Palsy’, ‘The Mystery of the Artist Explained’ and ‘Defecate on my Face’, while also featuring a host of B-sides and the unreleased song, ‘Opium is the Religion of the Masses’.
John Safran looks beyond the masks for the TISM J Files, Thursday 27 August from 8pm on Double J.
They may have been popular, but they were never hip.
** CHECK OUT ALL MY OTHER VIDEOS FOR GOOD STUFF YOU MAY NOT WANT TO SEE** Their infamous performance on Hey Hey It’s Saturday. As the song began, the seven m…
Not sure how much truth there is to many of the stories that seem to be told, but Sean Kelly claims that they recorded the performance in the afternoon and were meant to lip sync. However, they decided instead to get together a group of people, last minute, to make a spectacle of the performance.
In the Q&A, Cowell says that ‘interesting ideas’ is not enough, that they only got there start as someone knew someone else who then linked them with somebody else. He also discusses the surreal aspects of it all, including the final gig at Earthcore.
TISM were one of the biggest Australian bands of the 90’s. They were the godfathers of musical comedy, captains of satire and frankly, a band that when I listen to today, I’m still gobsmacked by. They hailed from Melbourne but played all over; masked men who would put on insane shows full of bizarre concepts and songs like “Defecate On My Face” and “Saturday Night Palsy”. TISM were the ultimate shit stirrers, and we loved it. Humphrey B Flaubert AKA Damian Cowell reminded us of why the 90’s helped a band like that flourish, and share five songs from the zeitgeist himself. From pop princesses to Brissie bands that have never played by the rules, it’s not only one of the funniest Take 5’s you’ll hear but a capture of a unique and wonderful time in Australian music. This is seriously, one for the ages.
Caligula – ‘The Bluff’
Kylie Minogue – ‘Did It Again’
Regurgitator – ‘Black Bugs’
Custard – ‘Nice Bird’
Fauves – ‘Easy (Easy)’
Use your power wisely … Treat them to an anchovy.
It is funny thinking back to the nineties in Croydon. Although not one of those students asking Mr Cowell if he was on the drug that killed River Phoenix, I will not forget his last lesson before leaving teaching when he brought in a video recording of TISM on Rage. By the time he had wheeled in the TV, we managed to catch a lengthy rambling between he and Ron ‘Hitler’ Barassi about nothing much, before announcing three tracks from the Ted Mulry Gang. The mask was definitely off.
Damian Cowell. Writer. Musician. Singer. Charlatan.