Tuff Monks

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Tuff Monks was a short-lived band consisting of Nick Cave, Mick Harvey and Rowland S. Howard (each a member of The Birthday Party) with Robert Forster, Lindy Morrison and Grant McLennan (each a member of The Go-Betweens). Their only release was the 1982 7" 45 rpm single "After the Fireworks", on the Australian label Au Go Go Records.[1][2]

The collaboration came about when The Go-Betweens and The Birthday Party found themselves by happenstance with overlapping booked studio time at AAV studio in Melbourne. The Birthday Party were having trouble completing their album Junkyard, and the two bands decided to join forces on a song during downtime. The idea to join forces, as well as the lyrics of "After the Fireworks" are Nick Cave's, while the drums are distinctly Lindy Morrison's. The band's name was coined by Nick Cave's girlfriend, Anita Lane. The collaboration only ever appeared live once, at Richmond's Tiger Lounge venue doing a cover version of "Ring of Fire".[1][3]

The song was released as a single the same year by Keith Glass, owner of the label Missing Link, who explained that he did so to recoup money he had lost on The Birthday Party in studio time.[1]

"[The Birthday Party] were in AVV. It was costing top dollar—$1,000 a night... One night they came up with [After the Fireworks] because they had nothing better to do. So I said, "We'll use it as a vehicle to parlay against accrued costs"... I think Nick Cave came up with the idea to put it out as the Tuff Monks... It sold quite a few copies."  – Keith Glass[1]

Mick Harvey denies that the band even knew that the single was going to be released. Instead, he states that the band members were as surprised as anyone when they learned of the impending release.[1]

"That single was like a jam session we had in the studio which lasted about 2 hours and we never even finished... How on earth they could release it I really don't know. It's ludicrous, a travesty... The whole point of the exercise was no one was meant to be credited. It was just meant to be 'The Tuff Monks', no explanation, nothing."  – Mick Harvey[4]

Keith Glass, though he does not agree with Harvey's version of events, does take credit for the single's cover picture and for the B-side material, which consists of the A-side played in reverse. The B-side track is named "After, After the Fireworks".[1]

The song is available on the CD release of Drunk on the Pope's Blood (the 1982 split LP between The Birthday Party and Lydia Lunch), The Birthday Party's 5 disc box set The Definitive Missing Link Recordings 1979-1982, the second disc of the re-released CD edition of The Go-Betweens' album Send Me A Lullaby and on an Australian compilation album No Worries on Hot Records.[4][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f David, Nichols (2003). The Go-Betweens. Portland, OR: Verse Chorus Press. pp. 93, 114–115. ISBN 1-891241-16-8. 
  2. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). New York: Canongate U.S. p. 262. ISBN 1-84195-615-5. 
  3. ^ Johnston, Ian (1996). Bad Seed. London: Abacus. p. 102. ISBN 0-349-10778-5. 
  4. ^ a b Johnston, Ian (1996). Bad Seed. London: Abacus. p. 317. ISBN 0-349-10778-5. 
  5. ^ The Go-Betweens: Discography