Nic Dalton

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Nic Dalton
Birth name Nicholas James Dalton
Also known as Nic Name, Nic Dribble
Born (1964-11-14) 14 November 1964 (age 52)
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
  • Musician
  • record label owner
Years active 1978–present
Labels Half a Cow
Associated acts

Nicholas James "Nic" Dalton (born 14 November 1964) is an Australian multi-instrumentalist and record label owner. He was the bass guitarist for American band, the Lemonheads in the early 1990s. He was a member of various Australian bands including, the Plunderers (1984–92), Godstar (1991–95) and Sneeze (1993–2006); as well playing with Ratcat and the Hummingbirds. He has run the record label, Half a Cow, which he co-founded 1990.

Early bands[edit]

Nic Dalton was born on 14 November 1964 and was raised in Canberra.[1] He showed an interest in music in his pre-teens and started an informal group with Charlie Owen.[1] One of Dalton's early bands was Girls with Money.[2] He was in a folk-pop group, Get Set Go, with Anthony Hayes (later known as Stevie Plunder) and a pair of sisters, Jenny and Suzie Higgie.[3] Suzie later recalled "[d]own at Commonwealth Park there used to be a tunnel with a power point ... My first band with Nic Dalton and Stevie Plunder wrote most of our songs down there".[4]

In May 1984 Dalton (originally using the alias, Nic Name) on bass guitar and lead vocals, and Plunder on lead guitar and vocals, started the Plunderers, as a power pop band, with Lindsay Dunbar on drums.[2][5] Soon after Dunbar left and the group went into hiatus while Dalton and Hayes joined a rockabilly, country, R&B and jazz group, the Gadflys, for six months.[6] The line-up was Dalton on bass guitar, Hayes on lead guitar, Mick Moriarity on guitar and vocals, his brother Phil Moriarty on clarinet, and Pete Velzen (later known as Pete Pillage) on drums.[3][6]

In June 1985 Dalton, Pillage and Plunder left the Gadflys and revived the Plunderers.[2] In October of that year they issued a single, "Strange Affection".[5] The group relocated to Melbourne late that year where Andy Waterhole (a.k.a Andy Lewis) joined on keyboards, guitar and harmonies.[2][5] They moved to Sydney in July 1986 but Waterhole remained in Melbourne and they continued as a three-piece.[5] Late in 1988 Pillage was replaced by Geoff Milne (ex-Eastern Dark) on drums.[2][5] The trio also played gigs and released records as Hippy Dribble (using the pseudonyms Nic Dribble, Stevie Dribble and Geoff Dribble) and Captain Denim.[1][5] During the mid-1980s Dalton's parents owned a book store, Dalton's Books, in Sydney. In late 1989 Dalton and his friend, Miles Ferguson, took over the store, renamed it as Half a Cow and expanded its stock list to include comics, records and T-shirts.

In 1990 Dalton and Ferguson founded a record label, Half a Cow. In 1990 Robyn St Clare, the bass guitarist for the Hummingbirds took leave from that band during her pregnancy, and Dalton filled in during their tour of Australia supporting visiting American band, the Lemonheads. Lemonheads' lead singer, Evan Dando, formed a friendship and musical collaboration with Dalton and his Sneeze band mate Tom Morgan, and the results of Dando and Morgan's song writing collaboration formed much of the Lemonheads' 1992 album, It's a Shame about Ray.

The Lemonheads[edit]

It's a Shame About Ray featured Juliana Hatfield on bass and backing vocals, as Dalton was unable to get to the US in time for the album's recording schedule. When Hatfield continued with her solo career, Dando asked Dalton to join the band as its bass player. Dalton agreed, despite having formed the bands Sneeze and Godstar around the same time.

Dalton played with the Lemonheads for two-and-a-half years, and played on the band's 1993 album Come on Feel the Lemonheads. He co-wrote the song "Dawn Can't Decide" with Dando. The remaining songs on the album were written by Dando and Tom Morgan, except for the album's hit single "Into Your Arms", which was written by Robyn St Clare and originally appeared on the Love Positions' Billiepeebup album (a collaboration between Dalton and St Clare released in 1990).

After touring with the Lemonheads for the Come on Feel... album, Dalton left the band and returned to Australia. Dalton insisted there was no 'falling out' between himself and Dando; rather, he felt he had to get back to his family, friends and label in Sydney. He rehearsed with Dando and Dinosaur Jr. drummer Murph for the recording of the Car Button Cloth album in 1996, but ultimately decided to decline Dando's offer to remain in the band.

Dalton played bass for Dando during his 2003 solo tour of Australia, but fell seriously ill after one show in Melbourne. Reviews of the show noted Dalton's demeanour,[7] and reported that Dalton had been sacked and not replaced in the subsequent shows,[8] but according to Dalton, he had suffered an undiagnosed brain haemorrhage the day before.[9]

Solo work and other bands[edit]

In 1998, Dalton left Sydney and moved to a farm on the outskirts of the village of Morongla (near Cowra in central west New South Wales) with his girlfriend, writer Lucy Lehmann.[10] He closed the Half A Cow bookshop, but continued to run the record label from the farm, while working on a second solo album. Dalton and Lehmann ended their relationship in April 2003, and Dalton continued to work on the album, setting himself a deadline of his 40th birthday for its recording. The album, titled Home of the Big Regret, was recorded between July and November 2004 with a bluegrass band Dalton called the Gloomchasers. Despite their break-up, Lehmann remained involved with the album, having co-written several of the songs and writing the liner notes for the CD.[11]

Dalton played bass for Ratcat at the Homebake festival in 1998, at the Big Day Out festival in 2003 and in a support slot with the Psychedelic Furs in 2006. He is still a member of Ratcat.

After a year in Melbourne, Dalton moved back to Sydney in 2006 and formed a new line-up of the Gloomchasers, as well as joining lounge act the Handlebars. In 2011 he formed a "kids' band" called The Sticker Club with Alison Galloway and Ben Whitten, and also joined Luke Russell and the Proposition.

Dalton visited Perth in October 2016, and since then has been collaborating with musician Adem K of Turnstyle on two projects. One being a 60's rock and roll style sound and the other an experimental project similar to early Brian Eno albums.


Melbourne film maker Jarrad Kennedy is completing a documentary about Dalton, covering his work as a musician and label boss for Half A Cow. If It's Catchy, It Means You Stole It will be released in 2015.[12]


  1. ^ a b c Leigh Ann DeRemer, ed. (2001). "Dalton, Nic". Contemporary Musicians. Gale Cengage. 31. Archived from the original on 27 May 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2017 – via 
  2. ^ a b c d e Nic Dalton at Australian Rock Database:
    • Nic Dalton: Holmgren, Magnus. "Nic Dalton". Australian Rock Database. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
    • The Plunderers (1984–92): Holmgren, Magnus. "The Plunderers". Australian Rock Database. Archived from the original on 21 September 2010. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Uhlmann, Mark (10 November 1988). "Good Times: Some Plunder and Pillage". The Canberra Times. National Library of Australia. p. 33. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  4. ^ Dwyer, Michael (9 March 2013). "Rock Celebration of the Capital's Gains". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f McFarlane, 'The Plunderers' entry. Archived from the original on 15 June 2004. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  6. ^ a b McFarlane, 'The Gadflys' entry. Archived from the original on 28 August 2004. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  7. ^ Dwyer, Michael: Lazy twist of Lemon, The Age, 5 August 2003.
  8. ^ Roberts, Jo: And what the Evans happened on Saturday?, The Age, 5 August 2003.
  9. ^ Simpson, Roo: Interview with Nic Dalton, Evan Dando & The Lemonheads, June 2005.
  10. ^ In Lehmann's terms, The Age, 21 December 2002.
  11. ^ Nic Dalton invites you to his Home of Big Regret, FasterLouder, 27 September 2005.
  12. ^ Mannan, Aniqa. "'If It's Catchy, It Means You Stole It' (Nic Dalton/Half A Cow) fundraiser". The Thousands. Retrieved 26 March 2015.