Wine is a funny thing. I have a love-hate relationship with it. Love it with my food. Hate it any other time. It plays havoc with my head.
One night I overindulged in it and started getting all sentimental about the Melbourne music scene in the 90s. I was writing a piece on Triffids frontman David McComb and scouring for information about the last few years before his sad and untimely death in 1999. I looked online and grabbed a few books I owned and didn’t find much.
“What if there were a page which celebrated that decade of the Australian music scene?” I thought to myself. The idea appealed to me because I was what you’d probably term now a “passionate workaholic” in the 90s. I’d started out in community radio in my mid-teens at 3RRR-FM and by the end of the decade had graduated to the national broadcaster Triple J. At one point I was working 6 days a week co-hosting the ABC-TV music show Recovery and hosting SuperRequest each weeknight.
It was an exciting time for me. I loved the music and I loved my work. (Truth be told, it never really felt like a job). My passion meant I kept everything: gig guides, letters, postcards, flyers and photos. If it was sent to me, I’d file it away and admire it later.
Over the years I’d pull out these ephemera from their boxes and post a flyer or two on my own Facebook page. These never really got more than a few comments from those who were there and the precious memories were promptly put back in their boxes back under the stairs.
Now as I sat 3/4 of a bottle into my pinot noir, it occurred to me that if there were a place to celebrate the 90s Australian music scene, then this memorabilia would also have a home.
It was late, but I messaged Scott Thurling. I asked if there was such page on Facebook? He replied straightaway that he didn’t know of one, but if I were to set one up, he’d love to be part of it. I have known Scott for many years. Apart from running the fantastic Popboomerang record label, he is one of the most musically passionate people I know and a hoarder like me.
In fact, he was such a fan of my early 90s indie band Rubher that he sent us our first fan letter. I still have it! Without thinking I set the page up then and there, buoyed by Scott’s encouragement and the glass of red by my side. I chose a photo of the Punters Club because it was second home in the 90s. It was also a place that was instantly recognisable to bands and fans and associated with fun, youth and wonderful memories.
But I needed a name for the page.
It was Scott who thought up ‘Sound As Ever’ and it worked instantly. The name of You Am I’s debut album. I owe much of my early gig-going to You Am I. I was such a fan. I followed them from their very early days pre ‘Sound As Ever’ – even doing lights for them on several occasions when they came to Melbourne, just because I was there and knew all their songs. My first post was about Tlot Tlot. It made sense to start at the earlier part of the decade and this Brunswick St band was synonymous with the Punters Club (even having lived upstairs for a few years).
I went to bed.
When I woke up there were a hundred or so people who had joined the page at mine and Scott’s invitation. It was exciting. People began posting stuff straightaway. They got it.
Suddenly all that hoarding paid off and the stories and memorabilia came thick and fast. People started stopping me at the shops to talk about the page and feedback came that radio DJs were chatting about it on-air. It was bringing up so many forgotten artists and bands from the time and getting people talking about a decade which meant so much for so many.
In 6 weeks we hit 10,000 members.
It hasn’t stopped. We started a SoundCloud page now of lost interviews, have an album of unreleased tracks to come out very soon, thanks to the generosity of bands and artists and we have so many plans to take the page out on the road into the pubs and clubs, start a podcast etc…(once the effects of ‘Crappy-19’ are no longer), but in the meantime we hope you continue to enjoy this wonderful community of music lovers and memories.
Thanks to Scott and Bek Duke (our other moderator who we brought on to help. She too was a prominent gig-goer of the day and continues to embrace live music). Thanks to all our contributors – I’m constantly blown away by your posts. And that bottle of red. The hangover the next day was totally worth it.
The Sound As Ever Facebook group can be found here