Dave Warner

Given Perth’s geographic location it probably comes as no surprise to discover that Perth boasted a reasonably healthy independent music scene back in the 70s and 80s. 

There may well still be one, but the music magazines I been reading over the past few years either come from overseas, and are fairly light on for Australian content (Mojo and Uncut) or originated in Melbourne and seem to lack a Perth, or for that matter an Adelaide, correspondent (Rhythms).

Over the years I picked up a few albums by bands from Sandgroper country including The Dugites and The Triffids, but if I had to pick a personal favourite from that area and that era the guernsey would have to go to Mug’s Game by Dave Warner’s From The Suburbs.

With a scene on the cover you’re still likely to spot in countless pubs across the country on Friday night, a couple of reasonably catchy tunes (Convict Streak, Suburban Boy), some lyrical quirks (Oklahoma) and a raunchy portrait of Australian Friday night rituals (Mug’s Game) the album might not have aged as well as some, it’s still worth a listen if you’re interested in semi-punk suburban Australiana.

Since Perth doesn’t represent a huge market, it’s hardly surprising artists looking to establish a long term career would need to relocate to the eastern states (The Dugites, The Scientists, Dave Warner) or head offshore (The Triffids).

Unfortunately, developing long term careers is a hit and miss affair, and while Mug’s Game went gold within a month of the release date, the suburban boy persona on the album wasn’t likely to have the legs to parlay into a lengthy career.

Subsequent attempts to reinvent himself musically (the only singles I want to play are centre court at Wimbledon) didn’t quite cut it and a propensity to lay into prominent figures in the Australian music industry might have gone down well with the punters in the audience but probably don’t help when you’re looking for media exposure.

Given the fact that Warner’s musical efforts had more than their fair share of character, it was reasonably likely that he’d be able to turn out a reasonable work of fiction.

His first effort, City of Lights was a good read, so when I sighted Big Bad Blood it duly found a spot on Hughesy’s bookshelves, as did Murder in the Groove and Murder in the Off-Season.

This article will have reviews and comments on the earlier volumes when Hughesy gets around to re-reading them.

City of Light (1995)

Big Bad Blood (1997)

Murder in the Groove (1998)

Murder in the Frame (1999)

eXXXpresso (2000)

Murder in the Off-Season (2000)

© Ian Hughes 2012