Machiavelli and the Four Seasons

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Machiavelli and the Four Seasons
Studio album by
Released1 May 1995
GenreAlternative rock, alternative dance
TISM chronology
Australia The Lucky Cunt
Machiavelli and the Four Seasons
Jung Talent Time
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars [1]

Machiavelli and the Four Seasons is a 1995 album by the Australian rock group TISM (This Is Serious Mum). It is TISM's most famous release and the one with which they received the most critical success and fame. The album was certified Gold by the ARIA Awards and won the ARIA Award for Best Independent Release.[2] The award was accepted in person by Les Murray, the subject of the song "What Nationality is Les Murray?"', who read a seemingly insulting acceptance speech in his native Hungarian.[3] Three of its songs reached Triple J's Hottest 100, two of them in the top 10. This was also TISM's highest charting album, reaching number 8 in the Aria Charts.

The album featured TISM's switch from Alternative rock to synth-driven techno and dance music, which still retained the loud guitars and vocal melodies of their earlier music. The two singles Greg! The Stop Sign!! and (He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River are two of TISM's best known tracks.

The cover of the album is a picture of The Hollywood Argyles.[4] The title is a composite phrase of doo wop group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and thinker Niccolò Machiavelli.

The unusual title stems from a conceit found throughout the cover, although not in the tracks themselves, that this is actually an album by a group called "Machiavelli and the Four Seasons". The liner notes include an essay on the band's music, written with gushing praise. Track titles are also given, entirely revolving around the words "I", "Love", "You" and "Baby". A hidden track at the end of the actual album, entitled "Phillip Glass's Arse", is a melodic, a cappella harmonised song that gives a representation of what Machiavelli and the Four Seasons might actually sound like. TISM used the name "Machiavelli and the Four Seasons", among others, to book secret concerts in 1994.

The actual tracks contain many fan favourites from TISM's catalogue, and continue in the typical lyrical vein of parodying and insulting most elements of popular culture. Most well known are the singles "Greg! The Stop Sign!!" (featuring a famous Beach Boys style falsetto chorus) and the live favourite "(He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River," which deconstructs celebrity hero worship, encapsulated in the verse:

      I drank the slab that Bon Scott drunk;
      Injected some of Hendrix' junk;
      I booked a seat on Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane;
      Mama Cass's sandwich? I ate the same!

References are also made to significant works of literature and politics, including Fyodor Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" ("All Homeboys Are Dickheads"), Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Ozymandias" ("Aussiemandias") and Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" ("How Do I Love Thee?"). "Lose Your Delusion II" is a play on the Guns N' Roses album Use Your Illusion II ("Lose Your Delusion I" appeared on Australia The Lucky Cunt), while "Play Mistral for Me" is a reference to 1971 film Play Misty for Me, Clint Eastwood's directorial debut. The album also contains the slightly controversial track "!Uoy Sevol Natas", an inversion of "Satan Loves You!". A parody of the belief that many classic rock songs contain backwards-masked Satanic messages. It is also unique in containing two songs that refer to Australian television network SBS, given that the overwhelming majority of popular music albums contain no mentions of SBS at all.[5]


Singles from the album were "(He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River" (8 weeks in ARIA Singles Chart, peak #23[6]) and "Greg! The Stop Sign!!".

"All Homeboys Are Dickheads" was pressed up and prepared for sale, but for reasons unknown, prior to shipping, TISM ordered that the single be deleted. Copies of the single did make their way into the hands of TISM fans. It was also released as a promo with Machines Against the Rage.


TISM worked on what would become their next album at Metropolis Audio between December 1992 and September 1993 with various producers, including Tony Cohen, Laurence Maddy and Paul McKercher. Tracks known from these sessions include "Jung Talent Time", "Aussiemandias", "Abscess Makes the Heart Grow Fonder" and "State Schools are Great Schools". The group became dissatisfied with the hard rock sound they had cultivated with Cohen and realised after playing alongside Soundgarden on the Big Day Out in January 1994 that they did not want to be associated with grunge, which was at the height of its popularity at the time. The group abandoned work on the album and started recording new demos in a techno-influenced alternative dance style after returning from the Big Day Out. Three months later, their demos were wiped by a computer virus. "UOY Sevol Natas" was played live in Sydney in 1994.

During this time, TISM would play under the names "The Frank Vitkovic Jazz Quartet", "Machiavelli and the Four Seasons" and "Late for Breakfast", playing the new alternative dance songs they had written. In September 1994, the group recorded Machiavelli and the Four Seasons at Platinum Studios. The final track list included "Jung Talent Time" and "Aussiemandias" from the September 1993 sessions. "Abscess Makes the Heart Grow Fonder", another song from the 1993 sessions, was released as a B-side to the "(He'll Never Be An) Old Man River" single. "State Schools are Great Schools" was released on the Collected Recordings 1986-1993 boxset in 1995, while a few more songs from the sessions, "The Note Stuck With a Magnet to Kurt Cobain's Fridge" (an alternative version of "Abscess Makes the Heart Grow Fonder"), "Great Expectorations" (the title of which would be reused in 1997 for another song) and "Give Up" (an instrumental jam whose chorus would later be reused for "Give Up for Australia") were released when Machiavelli and the Four Seasons was released on iTunes in 2009.

The track "Play Mistral for Me" had existed since 1990; an early demo recording from that year, entitled "You're Only as Good as Your Fans", was included on the bonus disc of unreleased bedroom demos packaged with their 2002 album Best Off.

The chorus to "How Do I Love Thee" is taken from the end of the second movement of "Opium is the Religion of the Masses", a song written by TISM in 1983 and played during the Great Truckin' Songs of the Renaissance tour in 1988.

A song entitled "Russia" was intended to be placed on the album, after "Give Up for Australia", but was removed for legal reasons due to the song's chorus, which referenced "Back in the USSR" by The Beatles. It remained unreleased until 2009, when an edited version, retitled "The Last Soviet Star", was released as an iTunes bonus. The original version, however, was uploaded to an old version of the TISM website and appeared on promotional pressings released in late 1994. The song is known to have been played during TISM's set at the 1993 Big Day Out, at Melbourne Showgrounds (a diatribe recited at this concert appeared on Australia the Lucky Cunt).

Track listing[edit]

The official track list for the TISM release of Machiavelli and the Four Seasons.

No.TitleListed titleLength
1."(He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River"I Love You Baby2:24
2."All Homeboys Are Dickheads"You And Me, Baby Love3:08
3."Garbage"Baby, I Love You3:31
4."Lose Your Delusion II"Love, Baby-You3:35
5."!UOY Sevol Natas"Its You I Love, Baby3:36
6."What Nationality Is Les Murray?"In Love With You, Baby4:36
7."Greg! The Stop Sign!!"Baby, Baby, Baby3:28
8."Play Mistral For Me"Love, Love, Love3:44
9."How Do I Love Thee?"Baby Love5:17
10."Jung Talent Time"I.L.Y.B4:40
11."Aussiemandias" 4:16
12."Give Up For Australia" (Runs 2:30. Includes the hidden track "Phillip Glass's Arse" after a minute of silence.) 5:53
13."Russia" (Was only included on promotional copies released in 1994, had to be removed for legal reasons.) 5:11

GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! For Australia! - A Bonus Disc[edit]

GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! For Australia! - A Bonus Disc
TISM gold DVD.jpg
Compilation album by
RecordedMetropolis Studios
December 1992-September 1993
Platinum Studios
September 1994
GenreAlternative rock
LabelShock Records/genre b.goode
TISM chronology
Australia The Lucky Cunt
GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! For Australia! - A Bonus Disc
Jung Talent Time

To celebrate Machiavelli going "gold", it was re-released with a bonus disc.[7] The disc featured the B-sides from the River Phoenix and Greg singles, the entire Garbage single, two tracks from the Jung Talent Time remix EP, 4 then-unreleased diatribes and a studio version of the diatribe from Boys in the Hoods.

No.TitleOriginal releaseLength
1."Jung Talent Time #1"Jung Talent Time3:48
2."Abscess Makes the Heart Grow Fonder"(He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River2:46
3."Dicktatorship"(He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River2:01
4."Strictly Loungeroom"Greg! The Stop Sign!!4:07
5."There’s More Men in Children than Wisdom Knows"Greg! The Stop Sign!!3:14
8."Strictly Refuse"Garbage4:33
10."Jung Talent Time #4"Jung Talent Time4:11
11."Fuck 'Em Fuck 'Em - The Lot of 'Em" 0:35
12."If You Ever Hear His Name, Harden Not Your Arteries" 1:20
13."Does Fame Bring Forth Madness?" 0:37
14.""Don't Believe the Hype" is Hype"Boys in the Hoods1:30
15."Bash This Up Your Ginger" 0:45

Machines Against the Rage[edit]

Machines Against the Rage
TISM machines rage.jpg
Live album by
Released16 December 1996
RecordedCollingwood Town Hall 20–21 October 1995
Labelgenre b.goode / Shock Records
TISM chronology
Jung Talent Time
Machines Against the Rage

Machines Against the Rage is a live CD which was available with the limited edition 1996 re-issues of Machiavelli and the Four Seasons. The title is a re-wording of the protest rock group Rage Against the Machine who were nearing the height of their popularity at the time of this release. It is claimed on the very CD itself that it is a "shameless hollow publicity stunt".

Machines Against the Rage was initially released in promo form as cardboard sleeve with the unofficially released single for All Homeboys Are Dickheads. The recording was made on 21 October 1995 at the Collingwood Town Hall, Melbourne.

Track listing[edit]

As Machines Against the Rage was released with Machiavelli and the Four Seasons, two track lists occur in the same vein as the original release.

No.TitleListed titleLength
1."All Homeboys Are Dickheads"The Shit Thing3:31
2."Death Death Death"The Shit Thing3:16
3."I'm Interested In Apathy"The Shit Thing3:01
4."Get Thee To A Nunnery"The Shit Thing2:43
5."Lilee Caught Dilley Bowled Milli Vanilli"The Shit Thing2:56
6."Martin Scorsese Is Really Quite a Jovial Fellow"The Shit Thing3:03
7."The History of Western Civilisation"The Shit Thing3:00
8."Saturday Night Palsy"The Shit Thing3:20
9."Aussiemandias"The Shit Thing, The4:27
10."Root"(The) Shit Thing2:43
11."I'll 'Ave Ya" 2:19
12."Defecate On My Face" 4:52
13."Give Up For Australia" 2:35
14."I Drive A Truck" 2:16
15."Mistah Eliot - He Wanker" 5:37


  • Peter Minack - lead vocals
  • James Paull - guitar, backing vocals, vocal arrangements ("Philip Glass's Arse")
  • John Holt - bass, backing vocals
  • Damian Cowell - drums, lead vocals, backing vocals
  • Eugene Cester - keyboards, backing vocals
  • Christine Storey - soprano vocals ("Philip Glass's Arse")
  • Belinda Gillam - alto vocals ("Philip Glass's Arse")
  • Ewan Harwood - tenor vocals ("Philip Glass's Arse")
  • Bruce Raggatt - bass vocals ("Philip Glass's Arse")
  • Produced by TISM
  • Recorded by Laurence Maddy except "Jung Talent Time" and "Aussiemandias" by Paul McKercher

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jonathan Lewis. "Allmusic review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  2. ^ TISM - The History of This Is Serious Mum (2000). Archived on 2000-12-06 by the Internet Archive.
  3. ^ Gold! Gold!! Gold!!! (1998) [video]. Warner Vision Australia.- The actual words spoken are "When the revolution happens, the music industry will be the first to go. Thank you."
  4. ^ The Hollywood Argyles Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine. album cover. Hosted by
  5. ^ "The 50 Best Australian Albums of the 90s - #34. TISM – Machiavelli and the Four Seasons". Double J (radio). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 14 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  6. ^ Hung, Steffen. " - TISM - (He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River".
  7. ^ TISM Discography at Saturday Night Palsy - The Not So Authorised TISM Website.

External links[edit]