|Origin||Tarrawanna, New South Wales, Australia|
|Genres||Rock, stoner metal|
|Years active||1990–1998 , 1999 –2003 , 2009 –present|
|Labels||Seed, Waterfront, Polydor, Universal|
|Associated acts||Proton Energy Pills, The Unheard, Monstrous Blues, The Pink Fits, Richie & the Creeps, The Hot Rollers, Brother Brick|
Tumbleweed is an Australian rock group formed in 1990 in Tarrawanna. Three of their studio albums appeared on the ARIA Albums Chart: Tumbleweed (No. 48, 13 December 1992), Galactaphonic (No. 6, May 1995), and Return to Earth (No. 11, 1 September 1996). Three releases reached the top 50 on the related ARIA Singles Chart: "Sundial (Maryjane)" (1993), "Gyroscope" (1994), and "Hang Around" (1995).
The group had a year-long hiatus from April 1998 after reconvening in 1999 they recorded Mumbo Jumbo (March 2000). At the ARIA Music Awards of 2000 it was nominated for Best Adult Alternative Album. Tumbleweed disbanded in 2003. In 2009 Tumbleweed reformed with their early line up of Jason Curley on bass guitar, his brother Lenny Curley on guitar, Paul Hausmeister on guitar, Richard Lewis on lead vocals, and Steve O'Brien on drums. Australian musicologist Ian McFarlane described the group as the "ultimate stoner's band for the 1990s. From within a post-psychedelic underground haze that evoked the spirit of 1969, [they] came on with lashings of fuzz-drenched wah wah guitar riffs, hard-driving beats, languid vocal melodies and more hair than any band had a right to possess!"
Tumbleweed were formed in October 1990 in Tarrawanna, a northern suburb of the sea-side city of Wollongong from two local groups, The Proton Energy Pills and Unheard. Proton Energy Pills played a "form of heavy retro-grunge that drew on US bands like Blue Oyster Cult, MC5 and Mudhoney for inspiration". They included the three Curley brothers: Dave on lead vocals, Jason on bass guitar, and Lenny on guitar; with Stewart Cunningham on lead guitar & Richard Lewis on drums. Other bands which included Tumbleweed members were Richie and the Creeps, The Pink Fits, Monstrous Blues, The Unheard, The Hot Rollers, Brother Brick, Leadfinger. Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, described Tumbleweed as the "ultimate stoner's band for the 1990s. From within a post-psychedelic underground haze that evoked the spirit of 1969, [they] came on with lashings of fuzz-drenched wah wah guitar riffs, hard-driving beats, languid vocal melodies and more hair than any band had a right to possess!" Their initial line up only lasted a few months, they recorded a 7" single, "Captain's Log", which was produced by Mudhoney's Mark Arm, in December 1990 and released in August the next year on Waterfront Records. McFarlane noted that it was "a distorted slice of voodoo acid-rock".
By the time "Captain's Log" appeared Paul Hausmeister (ex-Unheard) had joined on lead guitar before Dave was replaced on vocals by Lewis, and Steve O'Brien (also ex-Unheard) took over the drums. The new line up issued a second single, "Stoned", in January 1992 and that month they supported United States grunge group, Nirvana, for the first gig on their Australian tour. They soon followed with a three-track extended play, Tumbleweed in April. The two releases were combined into a compilation five-track EP, Theatre of Gnomes, also issued in April. In August they provided another five-track EP, Weedseed, which was produced by Doug Colson.
The group signed with Atlantic Records for United States distribution on their Seed label. In November they issued another single, "Acid Rain" and ended the year with the release in Australia of their debut studio album, Tumbleweed, which was also produced by Colson. It peaked at No. 48 on the ARIA Albums Chart on 13 December 1992. Atlantic/Seed compiled their tracks from Theatre of Gnomes, Weedseed and "Acid Rain" into the international version of Tumbleweed (also known as Weedseed) which was also issued in December. The group undertook a tour of the US and Europe.
In late January 1993 Tumbleweed appeared at the Sydney venue of the Big Day Out concert. They spent most of the year touring locally, including a joint national tour with fellow Australian group, You Am I, in May and June. Tumbleweed then toured internationally. In March they issued an EP, Sundial (Maryjane), with the title track appearing at No. 35 on the ARIA Singles Chart. They followed with another single, "Daddy Longlegs" in December, which peaked at No. 53.
In 1994 they appeared on the national Big Day Out tour. In June they supported Rollins Band on their Australian tour. The band were signed to the Polydor label by Craig Kamber, who had worked with Powderfinger and Spiderbait. In September they recorded their second album, Galactaphonic, with Paul McKercher producing. They issued "Gyroscope" as a single in December ahead of the album, which appeared in May the next year, which peaked at No. 6.
McFarlane described it as "epic masterwork, a strident album full of fierce, booming metal-boogie and catchy, hard-edged rock'n'roll. As well as the band's formative influences, Galactophonic also revealed a debt to the likes of Monster Magnet, The Stooges, Sonic Youth and even The Beatles". By then they had toured on the Big Day Out series in January and issued another single, "Hang Around", in April. At the end of the year Hausmeister was replaced on guitar by David Achille (ex-Full Tab) and O'Brien by Nik Reith (of The Celibate Rifles) on drums.
In February to March 1996 they supported Monster Magnet on their Australian tour. Tumbleweed's third album, Return to Earth, appeared on 1 September 1996, which reached No. 11. The album was also produced by McKercher with early copies featuring a 10-track bonus disc, Ready by Wednesday. The associated singles "Lavabread" (July) and "I Remember" (August) had preceded the album. In October to November they promoted their recent releases with a national tour and were supported by Magic Dirt. Also in October Tumbleweed issued another single, "Silver Lizard".
They started 1997 with their fifth appearance at Big Day Out. Their next single "Fang It!" appeared in April 1998 and was followed by a year-long hiatus while members pursued various side projects. Lewis combined with Kram (drummer in Spiderbait) to form Hot Rollers which issued a self-titled album in July. Jason Curley and Reith joined Brother Brick with Stewart Cunningham (ex-Proton Energy Pills) on guitar, and toured Australia.
Tumbleweed reconvened in 1999 and started working with McKercher on a new album, Mumbo Jumbo. Its first single, "Glow in the Dark!" (October 1999) appeared ahead of the album, which was issued in March 2000 with the second single, "Planet of the Weeds". By that time Jason Curley had been replaced by Phil Lally on bass guitar. Dan Lander of The Planet of Sound felt the album was a "return of the classic, thick, melodic Tumbleweed sound, albeit in a slightly updated form". At the ARIA Music Awards of 2000 the album was nominated for Best Adult Alternative Album. The group disbanded in 2003.
In July 2009 the early line up of Jason and Lenny Curley, Hausmeister, Lewis, and O'Brien reformed and appeared at the Homebake festival in December. They played at the Sydney and Melbourne Big Day Out venues in January 2010, and followed in November by issuing a 2×CD compilation album, The Waterfront Years 1992-94, of their early work. I-94's resident reviewer, The Barman, noted the release was "an obvious idea that it's a wonder no-one issued this before" and he felt that the term 'stoner music' was "an inadequate and ordinary label, and [the band] are simply riff-heavy rock and roll, with a rhythm section grounded in something more dynamic and bluesy than straight-up 4/4 or boogie. They swing". They performed at the inaugural CherryFest in Melbourne on 25 November 2012.
A new album, Sounds from the Other Side, was released on 27 September 2013 by the Permanent Records label and distributed by Shock Records. Pete Laurie of theMusic website found "isn't about reinventing the wheel, but it never sounds like a lazy rehash of the good old days either". Lewis explained to The Age's Martin Boulton "We got to a point after the re-formation where we decided not to put an end date on it [...] we said we can't keep playing that same period [of songs] for the rest of our lives [...] While we love it and we know our fans love it … in order to be a relevant, creative unit [and] for our own personal satisfaction more than anything, we've got to try writing again and doing something new together and that's been really interesting and amazing". The group announced an Australian tour to promote the album during November and December 2013.
On 26 August 2014, the band announced, via their Facebook page, that Jason Curley had died suddenly at his home the previous day.
- Dave Curley – vocals (1990)
- Jason Curley – bass guitar (1990–1998, 1999, 2009–2014; deceased)
- Lenny Curley – guitar, backing vocals (1990–1998, 1999–2003, 2009–present)
- Richard Lewis – vocals, drums (briefly) (1990–1998, 1999-2003, 2009–present)
- Paul Hausmeister – guitar (1990–1995, 2009–present)
- Steve O'Brien – drums (1990–1995, 2009–present)
- Dave Achille – guitar (1995)
- Simon Cox – drums (1998, 1999–2003)
- Matt Houston – bass guitar (1999–2000)
- Phil Lally – bass guitar (2000–2003)
- Alex Lynch – guitar (1995–1998, 1999–2003)
- Nik Reith – drums (1995–1998)
- Tumbleweed (Waterfront Records, 13 December 1992)
- Galactaphonic (Polydor Records, May 1995)
- Return to Earth (Polydor Records, 1 September 1996)
- Mumbo Jumbo (Universal Records Australia, March 2000)
- The Waterfront Years 1991–1993 (compilation album, Aztec Music, November 2010)
- Sounds from the Other Side (Shock Records, 27 September 2013)
- Tumbleweed aka Carousel (Waterfront Records, March 1992)
- Theatre of Gnomes (compilation EP, Seed Records, April 1992)
- WeedSeed (Seed Records, August 1992)
- Sundial (March 1993)
- Ghostshakers (2000)
- "Captains Log" (1991)
- "Stoned" (1992)
- "Acid Rain" (1992) No. 88
- "Sundial (Mary Jane)" (1993) No. 35
- "Daddy Longlegs" (1993) No. 53
- "Gyroscope" (1994) No. 50
- "Hang Around" (1995) No. 48
- "Armchair Ride" (1995)
- "Lavabread" (1996) No. 75
- "I Remember" (1996) No. 81
- "Silver Lizard" (1996)
- "Fang It!" (1998)
- "Glow in the Dark!" (1999)
- "Planet of the Weeds" (2000)
- "Mountain" (2013)
- "Drop In The Ocean" (2014)
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- "Tumbleweed's Jason Curley dies suddenly, Australian music community in shock", smh.com.au; accessed 26 August 2014.
- "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 27 Mar 1994". ARIA. Retrieved 3 March 2016.