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Insurge circa 1996
|Years active||1994–2000, 2009–|
Insurge, commonly typeset iNsuRge, were a political industrial rock band founded in 1994 by singer-songwriter-guitarist Chris Dubrow (ex-Soulscraper). Other founders were Mattieu MacRoth on bass guitar, Matt Richmond on drums, Paul Bianco on found Percussion and Monique Wakelin on keyboards. Their debut album Power to the Poison People was released in August 1996, which reached No. 16 on the ARIA Albums Chart.
Insurge combined samplers and audio loops with layers of acoustic and electronic drums and found percussion (such as old kitchen sinks and other scrap metal) mixed with punk influenced guitars. The sound was influenced by alternative, industrial, goth, punk, dance and Australian pub rock.
The band was known for its outspoken political views which were particularly focused on global issues such as injustice in the developing world, the political influence of corporations and financial markets, and global environmental issues such as climate change. The band's politics were influenced by anarchism, environmentalism, anarcho-punk, political economy, and the anti-globalization movement. The band expressed their political views through their lyrics, interviews and live appearances.
The band's first E.P. was I.M.F (1994) coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the International Monetary Fund. The song argued the I.M.F. based on its harsh economic measures were having a detrimental effect on the developing world. Initially a demo, I.M.F attracted the attention of prominent Australian music manager John Woodruff (The Angels, Icehouse, Baby Animals, Savage Garden) who helped pull together a distribution deal through East West records (Warner music Australia). The original line up was then solidified with Monique Wakelin playing sampler, Mattieu McRoth on bass, Matt Richmond on electronic and acoustic Drums, and Paul Bianco (later Pauly B who formed band Dogbouy) on found Percussion joining Dubrow's guitar and vocals.
Just prior to the release of the band's second EP there was a shift in the line-up with original percussionist Paul Bianco leaving the band to be replaced by Adam Logan.
The second E.P. 'Political Prisoners' (1995) saw Insurge begin to work with producer Kalju Tonuma, ( The Mavis's, 28 Days, Bodyjar, Killing Joke). The title track became the band's breakthrough song, gaining considerable airplay from alternative radio across Australia and New Zealand. The lyrics discussed the inadequacy of modern criminal law, and the idea that most prisoners in western society were political prisoners because the concept of private property was an invention to protect the wealthy. The song went to No. 25 on the Triple J Hottest 100 in 1995.
The Speculator EP followed in 1996, which was lyrically based on the anti-democratic power of global currency speculation. This EP reached No. 57 on the ARIA singles chart, No. 7 on the 4ZZZ Hot 100 chart, and No. 69 on the Triple J Hottest 100, of that year. The debut album Power to the Poison People was released in August 1996, and reached No. 16 on the ARIA albums chart. The singles 'Soul 4 Sale', "Time Bomb' and 'AK 47' followed.
The band toured constantly across Australia (and once to New Zealand) including tours with Pop Will Eat Itself and White Zombie, and participated in many festivals such as Alternative Nation Festival (1995), the Livid Festival (5 Oct 1996 – the same night Insurge programmed ABC TV's 'rage'), and the Big Day Out (1996, 1997).
In 1998, singer Chris Dubrow went to London to record tracks with Ian Richardson and Nick Coler (known for their work with The KLF). Dubrow also became involved with the Reclaim the Streets movement in both London and Sydney. Over this period the line-up changed again, Mark 'Milli' Avery became the bass player and Daryl Sims (formerly Indecent Obsession) was on drums.
1999 saw the release of the single 'I Hate Stupid People' which achieved considerable national airplay on Triple J, this was followed by the album 'Globalisation' ultimately produced by Kalju Tonuma. The singles were 'Feast or Famine' (1999) and 'Images of London' (2000), the latter a dance version of the song written by Indigenous Australian singer-songwriter Kev Carmody. Midway through 1999 there was yet another change to the line-up, with Sean Burnett taking the percussion role..
Insurge announced their break-up in 2000 at their final show at the Newtown Festival, Sydney.
In 2009 Insurge announced their reformation and in 2012 were billed as the support act for another reunion tour by 1990s band Def FX.
- I.M.F. (1994)
- Political Prisoners (1995)
- Speculator (1996) – AUS No. 57
- "Soul 4 Sale" (1996)
- "Time Bomb" (1996)
- "AK-47" (1997)
- "I Hate Stupid People" (1999) – AUS No. 102
- "Feast Or Famine" (1999)
- iNsuRge I.M.F. EP (1994) Liner Notes
- iNsuRge, Power to the Poison People (1996) Album liner notes contains 3000 word essay of political issues and influences list.
- Wheeler, Warren. "The Art and Politics of iNsuRge", ' 'Tertangala' ', University of Wollongong, Issue 7, September 1996, Page 45. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
- 'Semper Floreat'. “INSURGE, A State of Mine", ' 'Semper Floreat' ', University of Queensland, Issue 6, 1996, Page 43. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
- iNsuRge I.M.F. EP (1994). Liner Notes behind CD tray say in part: "In 1994 the I.M.F. has become an economic exploitation vice, appropriated by the wealthy, squeezing the life out of the third world, forcing poor countries to produce for export markets before feeding themselves and to cut spending on struggling or non-existent services such as health care an education"
- McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'iNsuRge'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 15 June 2004. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
- iNsuRge Political Prisoners EP (1995). Liner Notes and Lyrics.
- iNsuRge Speculator EP (1996). Liner Notes and Lyrics.
- Australian (ARIA) chart peaks:
- Top 50 peaks: "australian-charts.com > Insurge in Australian Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
- Top 100 peaks to December 2010: Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
- Speculator EP: "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 19 May 1996". Imgur.com (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved 11 August 2017. N.B. The HP column displays the highest peak reached.
- "I Hate Stupid People": "Response from ARIA re: chart inquiry, received 5 June 2015". Imgur.com. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
- 'rage (TV program)', “Guest Programmers & Specials. 1996.”. Retrieved 2 June 2015.