Home' Rhythms Magazine : 2016 May-Jun Contents 12 Rhythms
Seminal surf rock outfit Tamam Shud are back! And
with an energy and attitude befitting the Shud of,
gulp, 50 years ago!
“You throw in ‘Hot Generation’, the track, fits right
in – you could drop that into this new album and it
would sound like they all came out at the same time,”
songwriter/guitarist/singer Lindsay Bjerre says in
reference to the band’s first new album in over 20 years.
“It’s like I’ve done a complete circle – it’s almost pre-
Evolution. Like your Sunsets coming into Evolution
Tamam Shud thing.”
While those details will thrill fans of Tamam Shud, others
might wonder what the hell we’re talking about here.
Well, lessee, the Newcastle surf punk outfit emerged out
of early ‘60s R&B/surf guitar outfits Four Strangers, The
Strangers and The Sunsets. While still under The Sunsets
moniker, the band made significant contributions to early
surf film soundtracks, including the title track to Paul
Witzig’s 1967 movie The Hot Generation. That year the
band adopted the Tamam Shud moniker, with the line-up
of Bjerre, Peter Barron on bass, Dannie Davidson on
drums, and Zack Zytnik on guitar. It was this line-up that
recorded the legendary debut album Evolution, also used
to soundtrack Witzig’s film of the same name.
But it was the band’s role in the 1972 Morning Of The
Earth soundtrack that cemented its name in surf
history, by then, after a number of line-up shuffles,
with Tim Gaze on guitar and Nigel Macara on drums.
The complex machinations and repercussions of that
immortal soundtrack have been well documented in
this very publication and they are still reverberating
around the world to this day. Lindsay reveals that meeting
Morning Of The Earth fans from all over the world on his
annual surf trips in Bali has played a seminal role in his
continuing to write music. That, and a new appreciation
of his own mortality.
“I was riding a motorbike every day,” Bjerre says. “The
motorbike went from just 250 up to 600cc and being a bit
of a surfer and a daredevil I used to see how fast I could
get it round the bends at Bilgola – it was a mean machine.
I did come off really badly at Arncliffe, and I thought,
‘Yeah you could have a very short life on these things’. I
thought, ‘Well that’s it, I’ll make sure I’ve got everything
down in case anything happens to me’. That was another
part of the whole reason for doing it.”
“It” is the new eight-track Tamam Shud album Eight
Years Of Moonlight. Available for your listening pleasure
on thick, black vinyl (well, the column is named 33 1/3
Revelations), it crackles with a pub punk energy that will
take you back to the ‘70s, even early ‘80s (think very early
Midnight Oil and The Clash).
Though Eight Years Of Moonlight credits the ‘72 Shud
team – Gaze, Macara, Barron and Bjerre – on the sleeve, it
began as a Bjerre solo project with a number of different
musicians contributing to its gradual evolution over the
past decade or so.
The songs were originally rehearsed and demoed with
Colin Burgess from Masters’ Apprentices on drums and
Paul Wheeler from The Aztecs on bass. By the time Bjerre
had gathered the funds to record professionally with
John Cobbin at Moonlight Studios, that group had fallen
apart and Macara and Gaze both offered their services.
With a whole younger generation profoundly influenced
by Tamam Shud and Morning Of The Earth, Bjerre feels
it’s high time for the band to raise its head and accept
the acclaim as one of this country’s most innovative rock
bands. And that means you’ll get to see the band back on
our stages very soon.
“We’re going to be starting the show live with three
Morning Of The Earth tracks,” Bjerre reveals plans for
upcoming shows, featuring Paul ‘DC’ DeComo on keys.
“So Pete [Barron]’s still going to come along on the night
and play all the stuff that he played on Morning Of The
Earth, Evolution, ‘Lady Sunshine’, he’s gonna play all that.
And then the other boys will join in after that. It’s a bit
like The Beach Boys, two or three originals and about 30
other blokes. I’m having a lot of fun!”
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