Vampire Lovers (band)

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This article is about the Australian band. For the 1970 gothic horror film, see The Vampire Lovers.
The Vampire Lovers
Origin Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Genres Punk rock, death rock, garage punk, horror punk, alternative rock
Years active 1982 (1982)–1984 (1984), 1988 (1988)–1990 (1990)
Labels Sundown, Bent, Hecuba, Schlock Value, Magic Monster
Associated acts The Subsonic Barflies, Roddy Rayda and The Surfin' Caesars, The Lost Boys, The Girlies, Bam Balams, The Four Horsemen, The Deniz Tek Group, The Hitmen D.T.K.
Past members Axle Conrad
Shane Cooke
Dave Chamberlain
Matthew Le Noury
Brendan Kibble
Jason Shepherd
Ziggy Staten
Murray Shepherd
Brian Mann

The Vampire Lovers, also styled as Vampyre Lovers or Vampire Lovers, were a Brisbane punk rock group which formed in 1982 in Queensland, Australia. Original band members were Axle "Axe Babe" Conrad on vocals, Brendan Kibble on guitar, Shane Cooke on bass guitar, Matt "Nasty" Le Noury on guitar and Dave Chamberlain on drums. Other members included guitarist Jason Shepherd; and drummer, Ziggy Staten. Initially the group existed from 1982 to 1984 and then reformed in 1988 to disband finally in 1990. In 1983 their first single, "Buzzsaw Popstar", brought greater recognition from the Australia alternative rock fans. In 1991 they released a mini-LP, Acid Commandos from Planet Fuzz, a year after they had disbanded.

According to music historian, Ian McFarlane, Brisbane produced "some of the most anarchistic bands of the Australian punk rock era" and that it was a city nationally renowned for its ultra conservatism. While British fanzine journalist, Hugh Gulland, felt they were "[f]irmly rooted in The Damned / Misfitshorror punk axis" and suggested that their appeal extended to fans of garish apparel exemplified by "pink leopardskin". In a 1988 interview, the group described themselves as "Australia's only genuine death rock experience". Both Le Noury and Cooke were in Hitmen D.T.K. in Sydney during the early 1990s and recorded on some of that group's later work. In 2004, a retrospective compilation, 13 Tasteless Masterpieces, was issued by United Kingdom indie label, Magic Monster.

History[edit]

1981–1984[edit]

The Vampire Lovers were formed in 1981, after the demise of Brisbane punk rock group, The Flying Squad, (who featured Brendan Kibble and Shane Cooke) Initially with Axle "Axe Babe" Conrad on vocals, Brendan Kibble on vocals and guitar, and Shane Cooke on bass guitar. By 1982 they had enlisted other local musicians, Matt "Nasty" Le Noury on guitar and Dave Chamberlain on drums, to complete the original line up, but Kibble quit shortly after.[1] The Vampire Lovers named themselves after the 1970 lesbian Hammer Horror movie, of the same name.[1] According to music historian, Ian McFarlane, Brisbane produced "some of the most anarchistic bands of the Australian punk rock era" and that it was a city nationally renowned for its ultra conservatism.[2] Vocalist Axle Conrad suggested to Steve Bell from Time Off magazine that "You were certainly targeted if you looked different in any way. Wearing those clothes was like a badge of honour - the more you looked out there, the more gang you were, the more you perpetuated the 'us versus them' vibe."[3]

Ian Mc.Farlane regarded the group as "a third-generation garage punk outfit". British fanzine, Bucketfull of Brains's journalist, Hugh Gulland, felt they were "[f]irmly rooted in The Damned / Misfitshorror punk axis" and suggested that their appeal extended to fans of garish apparel exemplified by "pink leopardskin".[4] The Vampire Lovers' fixation on unusual or camp horror movies, high powered motorcycles, underground street scenes and characters were expressed in their lyrical themes. Generally written by Conrad, Cooke and Le Noury (Nasty) their tracks include: "Heavy Planet Fuzz", "Death Dwarf", "Drink My Blood, Suck My Veins" and "Second Generation Psychopath".[5] A review by The Barman of the website I-94 Bar, described them as "[f]our young, trash movie-obsessed reprobates",[6] and Conrad himself said that the band were inspired by "movies like Pink Flamingos, Eraserhead and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre".[7]

In 1983, the group released their first extended play, Buzzsaw Popstar, on the Sundown label.[1] "Buzzsaw Popstar", the lead track, received airplay on 4ZzZ, a local community radio station. This enabled the band to achieve greater recognition beyond their home state. Rob Younger (from Radio Birdman) declared it "a masterpiece".[6] In 2004, former Australian Democrats senator, Andrew Bartlett, recalled "I used to be heavily involved in 4ZZZ in the 1980s ... I saw a guy who I’m sure used to be the singer in a band called The Vampire Lovers – they did a song called 'Buzzsaw Popstar' which still sounds good today".[8] In July 1984, a second single, "Sweethearts Blown Mindless", followed and according to The Barman it evokes the Raw Power-era Stooges with a different drummer and Lux Interior of The Cramps instead of Iggy Pop.[6] By the second half of 1984, the group fell apart as the local punk, post-punk movement disintegrated, "turning their back on stardom, the Vampire Lovers split in late '84, claiming to have been thwarted by 'creative differences'".[9] The following year Le Noury on guitar and Cooke on bass guitar formed a Detroit rock-influenced group, The Four Horsemen, with Murray Shepherd (ex-Screaming Tribesmen and Fun Things)[2][10] on drums and Nick Leigh (The Cimmerians) on vocals.[1] Dave Chamberlain joined the Subsonic Barflies.

1987–1990[edit]

In 1987, Buzzsaw Popstar was re-released, regained local popularity, and prompted the band to reform the following year.[11] Conrad, Cooke and Le Noury recruited heavy metal musicians: Ziggy Staten on drums, and Jason Shepherd (younger brother of Murray Shepherd) on guitar.[1] In November 1988 they released a single, "Heavy Planet Fuzz", for the Bent label.[1] Brisbane's Time Off magazine analyzed the record by saying that "This third single sees the Vampire Lovers in deadly form, playing their characteristic blend of seventies garage and eighties hard edged rock and roll."[12] In an interview, that same month, with Matthew Eaton of The Courier-Mail, they described themselves as "Australia's only genuine death rock experience".[13]

The group had relocated to Sydney and, during 1988, started recording an EP, Weirdo Wastelands, for the United States indie label Hecuba Records, which was released the following year. Overseas signings were considered an unusual and rare achievement for Brisbane bands at the time. The songs were described by Noise for Heroes' Steve Gardner as "some kind of out of control speed metal-hardcore hybrid ... Even when it sounds metally there's a lot more effort in playing and less in posing than most metal bands, so the judges' scores are going to be pretty good on this one".[11] A final line up change occurred in 1988 when Le Noury left to join Hitmen D.T.K..[1][14] The remaining members recorded a mini-LP, Acid Commandos from Planet Fuzz, but disbanded in 1990 before its release.[1] Cooke joined Le Noury in Hitmen DTK.[14] In 1991 the posthumous work, Acid Commandos from Planet Fuzz, was released on Schlock Records.

Legacy[edit]

In the mid-1980s The Vampire Lovers gained international recognition when Jello Biafra of US hardcore punk outfit Dead Kennedys promoted "Buzzsaw Popstar" on college radio stations.[1] McFarlane declared "[d]espite their intermittent break-ups and infrequent gigs, The Vampire Lovers have enjoyed a cult status all the same".[1] In October 2004 a retrospective compilation album, 13 Tasteless Masterpieces, was issued by United Kingdom indie label, Magic Monster.[6][15]

Another single was released in 2009 featuring live versions of their songs Buzzsaw Popstar and Death Dwarf originally recorded in 1988. According to I-94 Bar's The Barman, 'This in-your-face version of the single holds up well. "Death Dwarf" is a break-neck Ramone-ic derivation that lives off a spiky guitar figure. Nasty and nice. It all sounds live and unpolished but that won't worry fans.[16]

Charts[edit]

Year Title Australian Alternative Top 10 Singles Chart
Highest Position Weeks In
1984 "Buzzsaw Popstar"[17] 4 10
"Sweethearts Blown Mindless"[18] 2 2
1987–1988 "Buzzsaw Popstar"[19] 3 4

Personnel[edit]

  • Dave Chamberlain – drums (1982–1984)
  • Axle "Axe Babe" Conrad – lead vocals (1982–1984, 1988–1990)
  • Shane Cooke – bass guitar, vocals (1982–1984, 1988–1990)
  • Brendan Kibble – guitar (1982)
  • Matt "Nasty" Le Noury – guitar, vocals (1982–1984, 1988)
  • Marty Lobotomy – drums (1983)
  • Jason Shepherd – guitar (1988–1989)
  • Ziggy Staten – drums (1988–1989)
  • Brian Mann – guitar (1989–1990)
  • Murray Shepherd – drums (1989–1990)
  • Joey Mann – guitar (1990)

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Acid Commandos from Planet Fuzz – Schlock Records VL001 (Mini LP, 1991)
  • 13 Tasteless Masterpieces – Magic Monster (UK) (CD, October 2004)

Extended plays[edit]

  • Buzzsaw Popstar – Sundown Records SUN0078 (1983) re-issue: Axe 1 (1987)
  • Buzzsaw – Rubber Records (1985)
  • Weirdo Wastelands – Hecuba Records (US) HEX 02 Limited numbers were pressed on green or yellow vinyl (1989)

Singles[edit]

  • "Sweethearts Blown Mindless" – Rubber Records/EMI Custom Records 13598 (1984)
  • "Heavy Planet Fuzz" – Bent Records Warp 008 (1988)
  • "Buzzsaw Popstar and Death Dwarf" – PLAN 10 Limited numbers were pressed on green vinyl (2009)

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j McFarlane, 'The Vampire Lovers' entry. Archived from the original on 29 August 2004. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b McFarlane, 'The Fun Things' entry. Archived from the original on 30 September 2004. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  3. ^ Bell, Steve (2004). "Bloody Good Memories". Time Off (1194). 
  4. ^ Gulland, Hugh (Winter 2004). "Vampire Lovers". Bucketfull of Brains (London) (67). 
  5. ^ "'Heavy Planet Fuzz' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 12 January 2013.  Note: User may have to click on 'Search again' and Enter a title, e.g. Heavy Planet Fuzz; or Performer, e.g. Vampire Lovers.
  6. ^ a b c d The Barman (18 November 2008). "13 Tasteless Masterpieces – Vampire Lovers". I-94 Bar. Retrieved 11 November 2008. 
  7. ^ 13 Tasteless Masterpieces (Media notes). Vampire Lovers. Magic Monster. 2004. p. 4. MM001. 
  8. ^ Bartlett, Andrew (4 October 2004). "Pig City Launch and Other Distractions". The Bartlett Diaries. Australian Democrats. Archived from the original on 30 November 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  9. ^ At the Solicitor's Request (Media notes). Various Artists. Rubber Records. 1987. 001. 
  10. ^ McFarlane, 'The Screaming Tribesmen' entry. Archived from the original on 3 August 2004. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  11. ^ a b Gardner, Steve (20 June 2000). "Weirdo Wastelands e.p. – Vampyre Lovers". Noise for Heroes. NKVD Records (Steve Gardner). Archived from the original on 22 June 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  12. ^ Sawford, Gavin (25th. Nov. 1988). "Vampire Lovers return from the grave for good". Time Off. 
  13. ^ Eaton, Matthew (24 November 1988). "The Blitz column". The Courier-Mail (Queensland Newspapers (News Limited (News Corporation))). p. 44. 
  14. ^ a b Holmgren, Magnus; Georgieff, Didier; Regan, Craig; Bennetts, Gye. "The Hitmen". Australian Rock Database. Passagen.se (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 28 September 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  15. ^ 13 Tasteless Masterpieces at MusicBrainz Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  16. ^ "BUZZSAW POPSTAR b/w DEATH DWARF". I-94 Bar. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  17. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed, ed. (28 January – 14 April 1984). "Alternatively". Juke Magazine (Mount Eliza, Vic: Leonard J Shaw): 6. ISSN 1320-209X. 
  18. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed, ed. (14 July – 18 August 1984). "Alternatively". Juke Magazine (Mount Eliza, Vic: Leonard J Shaw): 6. ISSN 1320-209X. 
  19. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed, ed. (5 Dec 1987 – 2 Jan 1988). "Alternatively". Juke Magazine (Mount Eliza, Vic: Leonard J Shaw): 22, 21, 42, 21 (respectively). ISSN 1320-209X. 

External links[edit]