The Screaming Tribesmen

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The Screaming Tribesmen
A black and white image of a stylised version of an African shield as a warrior's face with two crossed spears. The shield is encompassed by two circle arcs with white geometric shapes as cut-outs: rectangle at bottom, a larger hexagon (in the position of the mouth), another rectangle (in position of the nose) with two pairs of curved strips (as moustaches), two larger curved sections (in position of the eyes) and two small curved strips (as eyebrows). The spear heads are double pointed.
Band's logo
Background information
OriginBrisbane, Queensland, Australia
Years active
  • 1981 (1981)–1998 (1998)
  • 2011 (2011)–2012 (2012)
  • Citadel
  • Rattlesnake
  • Survival
  • Grown Up Wrong
Associated acts
Past memberssee #Members

The Screaming Tribesmen were an Australian rock band formed in Brisbane in 1981 by mainstay Mick Medew on lead vocals and lead guitar. With various line-ups they released three studio albums, Bones and Flowers (October 1987), Blood Lust (1990) and Formaldehyde (1993), before disbanding in 1998. They reformed in 2011 for performances until June 2012. Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, described how they, "fashioned a memorable brand of 1960s-inspired pop rock that combined equal parts existential lyric angst, melodic inventiveness and strident guitar riffs."


The Screaming Tribesmen were formed in Brisbane in 1981 by mainstay Mick Medew on lead vocals and lead guitar, Ron Peno on co-lead vocals (both ex-31st), with John Hartley on bass guitar and Murray Shepherd on drums (both ex-the Fun Things).[1][2] They had met when their bands performed on the same bill at local venues.[1] The Screaming Tribesmen developed "a grassroots following" and their early material included the 31st's tracks, "Igloo" and "A Stand Alone", which had been co-written by Medew and Peno.[1][3]

Peno explained writing his lyrics, "['Igloo'] actually came from me reading Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis. It was me talking about an igloo being all white and positive, the Shoeshine Boys being negative... I dunno, one of those silly things I was going through when I was very young."[4] Peno felt the early line-up of the Screaming Tribesmen, "didn't work out", and left in 1981 to join another local group, the End.[5][6]

The Screaming Tribesmen's debut four-track extended play, Screaming Tribesman, appeared on EMI's Custom Records label in early 1982.[1] Steve Gardner of Divine Rites described how its, "production has a rough and ready punk style and the songs vary from the 60's R&B of 'Turn on Your Love Light' to the fairly straight punk of 'Trans 43'.[6] It was followed by a second four-track EP, I Don't Wanna Know, in 1983.[1][2] Their first two singles, "Igloo" (October 1983) and "A Stand Alone" (November 1984) were produced by Chris Masuak via Citadel Records.[1][2][7] By the end of 1983 Medew had relocated the band to Sydney, with Hartley and Shepherd returning to Brisbane early in the following year.[1][2]

Medew formed a new line-up in July 1984 with Masuak (ex-Radio Birdman, the Hitmen) on guitar, piano and backing vocals; Mark Kingsmill on drums and Tony Robertson (both ex-the Hitmen, New Christs) on bass guitar.[1][2] Kingsmill was replaced a month later by Michael Charles on drums, and Robertson by Bob Wackley on bass guitar (a.k.a. Bob Hood, ex-Razar, Grooveyard) in November.[1][2] In September 1985 they issued their next four-track EP, Date with a Vampyre, also produced by Masuak.[1][2] Gardner observed, "[the] title track of this record features a crunching riff that hooks hard over the top of a stuttering drumbeat and is one of the great songs of the mid 80s. The other 3 tracks aren't quite as strong, but the overall effect is good enough to make this record one of the indisposable classics of the period."[6] Warwick Fraser (ex-Feather, Hoi Polloi) replaced Charles in 1986 on drums.

Their next EP, Top of the Town, had six tracks; it was released in September 1986 on the boutique, Rattlesnake Records label, which was co-produced by Masuak with Alan Thorne.[1][2] Ian McFarlane, an Australian musicologist described it as, "a more lightweight guitar-pop sound, and failed to live up to expectations."[1] In January 1987 they toured eastern Australia before starting to record their first full-length album in the following month, Bones and Flowers (October 1987), with Masuak and Thorne co-producing.[1][2][8] The title, "referred to the mix in the band's music – between loud, hard-edged rock, and 'pretty songs'."[9] McFarlane felt they had "returned to their hard rock roots."[1]

Bones and Flowers provided two singles, "I've Got a Feeling" (September 1987) and "Casualty of Love" (March 1988).[1] The band toured the United States in support of the album,[6] while at home they had a run of Alternative No. 1 hits. In the US their work had regular airplay on the College Radio circuit.[6] Their first music video, "I've Got a Feeling",[9] featured on US MTV's 120 Minutes.[6] It reached No. 1 on the KROQ charts in Los Angeles and No. 8 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart.[1] Gardner felt, "you are likely to have been put off by the arena-rock treatment they give the song, but if you listen closely, you can hear the usual brilliant guitar line basis that the [group] use for most of their best songs."[6]

In April 1989 Fraser, Masuak and Wackley all left the group.[1][2] Medew formed a new line-up with members of Melbourne band, Radio Luxembourg, Jeff Silver on bass guitar and Ritchie Hine on drums and former Kings of the Sun guitarist, Glenn Morris.[1][2] This line-up released a five-track, EP, Take Cover, with cover versions in late 1989.[1][2] The group's second album, Blood Lust, appeared in March 1991.[1][2] McFarlane observed, "[it] included a couple of the band's heaviest ever songs like 'High Priestess', 'Frozen Tracks', 'Something Dangerous' and 'Queen of the Night Time World'."[1]

Morris departed and was briefly replaced by Brian Mann on guitar, during 1898 and 1990, who was replaced in turn by Ash Geary before Morris returned at the end of 1992.[1][2] In late 1991 Hine was replaced by Celibate Rifles' Paul Larsen on drums.[1][2] The group released another album, Formaldehyde (July 1993), co-produced by Rob Younger, the Screaming Tribesmen and Mike Wood.[1][2] Tony Cardinal (ex-Candy Harlots) replaced Larsen on drums.[1][2]

Medew continued to tour, write and record with various line-ups.[1][2] He resumed performing as Mick Medew and the Rumours featuring ex-the Screaming Tribesmen and Lost Boys, Chris Dixon and Ash Geary, with bass player, Paul Hawker. In 1997 the Screaming Tribesmen were reformed by Medew with Cardinal and Andy Newman on bass guitar and keyboards (ex-Trans 262, Rattlesnake Shake, Manifestations).[1][2] McFarlane noted that they, "fashioned a memorable brand of 1960s-inspired pop rock that combined equal parts existential lyric angst, melodic inventiveness and strident guitar riffs."[1] Adrian Cunningham determined, "Unfortunately, as time went on the band descended into b-grade hard rock and denim clichés. But they will be forever lionised for the cavernous guitar and haunting melody and lyrics of 'Igloo'."[10]

In January 2011 Medew performed a set of the Screaming Tribesmen songs in Sydney with former guitarist and song writing partner, Masuak. In September of that year, the line-up of Fraser, Masuak, Medew and Wackley reformed for a series of shows on the Australian east coast beginning with the Gathering Festival, Brisbane.[11] They subsequently performed in Melbourne and Sydney,[11] on the back of CD re-issues, Date with a Vampyre / Top of the Town and Bones and Flowers via Australian label, Grown Up Wrong. The band played at the Azkena Rock Festival in Spain and toured France throughout June 2012 and disbanded soon after.


  • John Hartley – bass guitar (1981–84)
  • Mick Medew – lead vocals, lead guitar (1981–96, 2011–12)
  • Ron Peno – co-lead vocals (1981)
  • Murray Shepherd – drums (1981–84)
  • Mark Kingsmill – drums (1984)
  • Tony Robertson – bass guitar (1984)
  • Chris Welsh – drums (1984)
  • Michael Charles – drums (1984–86)
  • Chris Masuak – guitar, piano and backing vocals (1984–89)
  • Bob Wackley – bass guitar (1984–89)
  • Warwick Fraser – drums (1986–89)
  • Ritchie Hine – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1989–92)
  • Glenn Morris – guitar (1989, 1992–95)
  • Jeff Silver – bass guitar (1989–96)
  • Brian Mann – guitar (1989–90)
  • Paul Larsen – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1991–93)
  • Ash Geary – guitar (1992)
  • Chris Dixon – drums (1993)
  • Tony Cardinal – drums (1993–98)
  • Andy Newman – bass guitar, keyboards (1996–98)


Studio albums[edit]

  • Bones and Flowers (October 1987) – Survival Records (460120 1)
  • Blood Lust (1990) – Survival/Rattlesnake (RAT 512 CD)
  • Formaldehyde (1993) – Survival (SUR527 CD)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • High Time: A Collection (1990) – Rattlesnake (SUR507 CD)
  • Anthology 1982–1993: All Hail the Tribesmen (2003) – Raven Records (RVCD-169)[13]
  • The Savage Beat of the Screaming Tribesmen (December 2003) – Savage/Shock Records (Savage002)[14]

Extended plays[edit]

  • Screaming Tribesmen (early 1982) – EMI/Custom
  • I Don't Wanna Know (1983) – EMI Custom
  • Date with a Vampyre (September 1985) – Citadel (CITEP902)
  • Move a Little Closer (1985) – What Goes On (WHAT GOES 2T)
  • Top of the Town (September 1986) – Rattlesnake (RAT 1202)[16]
  • Take Cover (1989) – Survival (655147-6)
  • Got You on My Mind (1992) – Survival (SUR 710 CD)


Year Title Chart positions Album
US Modern Rock
1983 "Igloo" N/A
1984 "A Stand Alone" N/A
1988 "I've Got a Feeling" 8 Bones and Flowers
1988 "Casualty of Love "
1991 "Ayla" N/A


  • McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Whammo Homepage". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 5 April 2004. Retrieved 29 January 2010. Note: Archived (on-line) copy has limited functionality.
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab McFarlane, 'The Screaming Tribesmen' entry. Archived from the original on 3 August 2004. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Australian Rock Database entries:
    • The Screaming Tribesmen: – Holmgren, Magnus. "The Screaming Tribesmen". Australian Rock Database (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 3 June 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
    • Chris Masuak (1984–89): Holmgren, Magnus. "Chris Masuak". Australian Rock Database (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 29 December 2003. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Search results for 'Igloo'". American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Retrieved 10 October 2017. Note: for additional information user may search for additional items.
  4. ^ Barman; McPharlin, John (4 September 2002). "Just to Say Goodbye: Ron Peno on Died Pretty's Final Twist". I-94 Bar. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  5. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed. "Died Pretty". Howlspace – The Living History of Our Music (Ed Nimmervoll). White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 29 January 2005. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Gardner, Steve (October 1988). "The Screaming Tribesmen". Divine Rites. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  7. ^ Screaming Tribesmen (1983). "'Igloo' / 'My True Love's Blood'". Darlinghurst, NSW: Citadel Records. Retrieved 11 June 2018. Performer: Mick Medew, lead guitar, vocals; John Hartley, bass guitar, backing vocals; Murray Shepherd, drums, backing vocals; additional vocals, C. Masuak. Notes: Recorded at Trafalgar Studio, Dec. 82.
  8. ^ Mowbray-D'Arbela (22 January 1987). "More Gigs Sought for Original Performers". The Canberra Times, The Good Times. 61 (18, 738). p. 9. Retrieved 11 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia. Note: includes a band photo.
  9. ^ a b Zakharov, Jeannie (14 May 1987). "Tribesmen Video". The Canberra Times, The Good Times. 61 (18, 850). p. 11. Retrieved 11 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ Cunningham, Adrian. "The History of Australian Punk in 30 Tracks". Junkee Media. Archived from the original on 2 October 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  11. ^ a b Tijs, Andrew (26 July 2011). "The Screaming Tribesmen Reunite for a Tour". Undercover News. Paul Cashmere, Ros O'Gorman. Archived from the original on 17 May 2018. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  12. ^ Screaming Tribesmen (2011), Bones + Flowers, Grown Up Wrong Records!, retrieved 11 June 2018
  13. ^ Screaming Tribesmen (2003), All Hail the Tribesmen: Anthology, 1982-1993, Raven Records, retrieved 11 June 2018
  14. ^ Screaming Tribesmen (2003), The Savage Beat of the Screaming Tribesmen, Shock Records, retrieved 12 June 2018
  15. ^ Screaming Tribesmen (2011), Date with a Vampyre / Top of the Town, Grown Up Wrong!, retrieved 11 June 2018
  16. ^ Screaming Tribesmen (1986), Top of the Town, Rattlesnake, retrieved 11 June 2018

External links[edit]