If you come from the land down under then you already know Australian music in the ’80s was much more than New Wave goofs in patterned shirts. There were also real men doing real work with guitars and drums and bass and shouts — crude punks operating in the underground, churning out rough and wild music that wouldn’t get its proper due until long after the bands that made it dissolved.
One such group was Venom P. Stinger, whose axman and skin-slapper were Mick Turner and Jim White, respectively — two of the eventual Dirty Three (the other being Nick Cave’s right hand Warren Ellis). On August 20, Drag City will reissue two vinyl LPs and two singles from the lineup rounded out by bassist Alan Secher-Jensen, and vocalist Dugald McKenzie (Sick Things), who passed away in 2004.
All of the tracks contained therein will hit CD for the first time via 1986-1991, a double-disc set comprising the albums Meet My Friend Venom (1986) and What’s Yours Is Mine (1990), plus the “Walking About” 7-inch (1988) and the Waiting Room 12-inch (1991). In honor of that feat, we have a recording of Venom P. Stinger covering Rick James’ “Super Freak,” rescued from disintegrating tape by Turner himself.
This track won’t be on any of the reissues and has never been released before. Nevertheless, it finds the band in their youthful prime — the mid-’80s — brutalizing that classic funk-fueled sex anthem as only they could. For an über-manly and awesomely deranged act like them, the trip from shag carpet to dingy basement isn’t as far a distance as one might expect.
The art for the individual vinyl releases: