The Midday Meal

A repository for the various things i consume in the course of daily existence

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Song 11 You Am I - Berlin Chair

Back in the early 90's a number of friends of mine were in local bands, some of them have even gone on to be in local bands in other states. One day on the bus to uni I ran into one of these friends who insisted that I listen to this great new Australian band who was going to remind us all what rock and roll was all about. So I humoured Murph and had a listen, Murph's walkman was pretty crappy and the tape was a copy of a copy so what I heard was fairly indistinguishable and a bit rough. But I told Murph it sounded good none the less (you want to stay on the good side of budding rock star mates just in case they make it) and he promised to get me a copy, which he never did. Luckily for me I got to see and hear a lot of You Am I over the next few years anyway, and Murph was right.

You Am I helped me discover Australian music. Growing up I don't think I had a great deal of respect for Australian Culture, it always looked a bit shit when compared to the shiny and bright American culture which filled the content of our TVs and Radios. This probably wasn't helped by the fact that the Australian stuff that did get heard was the commercial radio staples of Chisel, Aussie Crawl and INXS. For me, the fact that an act was Australian was reason enough to dismiss them as culturally irrelevant and they were going to be crap.

You Am I saved me from this, and in turn introduced me to an entire generation of fantastic Australian bands. Some of whom are still with us, and many have got the accolades and praise that You Am I missed out on, despite the three from three ARIAs on their first three Albums. They are still around, and still doing much the same as they were, and Tim Rogers is getting more and more outspoken on the inadequacy of his competition…

I'm pretty sure I am not over this anti Australian thing, for instance no matter how many people tell me how good the Whitlams are, I know for a fact that they are truly shit boring. I never jumped the Silverchair wagon either… because I'd discovered good Australian music and didn't need a couple of Newcastle teenagers wanting to be nirvana (and later trying to beat Billy Corgan's worst excesses with the smashing pumpkins) when I had a bloke from all over the country who was convinced he was better than Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Pete Townsend all rolled into one.

But I also have You Am I to thank for a number of other great bands - Magic Dirt, Something For Kate, Tumbleweed, Rocket Science, Even, The Fauves, Gerling, Tism, Spiderbait… all of whom I'd have never found, or quickly dismissed without Tim and the boys teaching me that “Australian” didn't necessarily mean crap.

(for those of you who are wondering what happened to Murph... he did go on to bigger and better things, but unfortunately we grew apart so I was unable to take advantage of this. You can hear his old band Youth Group on triple J on a fairly regular basis... although Murph has left the band so I couldn't try and weasel in on that gig now anyway...)


  • At 1:28 AM, Blogger mister z said…

    > you want to stay on the good side of budding rock star mates just in case they make it

    bugger, if only I'd known your view on this, what with me being a drummer with Murph in "48 & the abyss" for a couple of months (aka the heady proto-velveteen days) I would have skived more beers off you then and since...

    on the other hand it was about this time I realised i found being an indie poprock band drummer boring as, so there was never really much budding going on there except in the typical first year uni sense of the word!


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