Uncanny X-Men (band)

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Uncanny X-Men
Origin Melbourne, Australia
Genres pop/rock
Years active 1981–1987, 1998, 2011, 2017
Labels Mushroom
Members Chuck Hargreaves
Brian Mannix
Ron Thiessen
John Kirk
Craig Waugh
Past members Steve Harrison
Nick Matandos
Joey Amenta
Brett Kingman

Uncanny X-Men are an Australian pop/rock band which formed in Melbourne in 1981, and temporarily disbanded in 1987.[1] They are fronted by lead singer Brian Mannix and originally included Chuck Hargreaves on guitar, Steve Harrison on bass guitar, Nick Matandos on drums and Ron Thiessen on guitar.[1] John Kirk replaced Harrison and Craig Waugh replaced Matandos by 1984.[1]

The band's debut album, 'Cos Life Hurts, peaked at No. 2 on the Australian Kent Music Report in 1985,[1][2] and included their highest charting single "50 Years" which reached No. 6 on the singles chart.[1][2] Thiessen left to be replaced temporarily by Joey Amenta on guitar and more permanently by Brett Kingman. Their second album, What You Give is What You Get!, was released in 1986 and peaked at No. 11, it included the Top 20 hit single "I Am".[1][2] After disbanding in 1987 there was a brief reunion during 1998.[1] In March 2011, the band played three gigs with Tim Rosewarne (guest keyboards); The Chelsea Heights Hotel (17 March 2011), Trak Live Lounge Bar, Toorak Melbourne (18 March 2011) and the V8 Supercar Clipsal 500 event in South Australia (19 March 2011). The band played a new original song, 'Take it from Me', for its encore performance at the Chelsea Heights Hotel. In March 2011, the band re-entered the studio to record a number of new original songs.


The Uncanny X-Men got their name from the Marvel comic of the same name. Uncanny X-Men were originally a four piece band formed in the late 1970s and consisted of Brian Mannix (vocals, guitar), Michael Helms (bass), Nick Matandos (drums) and Ron Thiessen (guitar) and were a regular Wednesday night attraction at the Pier Hotel in Frankston and many other venues around the city like Club Chevron, Doncaster Inn and also played a birthday party at the Tyabb Public Hall.[citation needed] They were the support act for Cold Chisel at the Pier Hotel on a very hot Sunday night which was the night Cold Chisel walked off stage after a few songs, apparently because security would not let anyone else in the venue.[citation needed]

The line-up changed when Helms left and at a later point the band included Chuck Hargreaves on guitar, Steve Harrison on bass guitar, Brian Mannix as lead singer, Nick Matandos on drums and Ron Thiessen on guitar.[1]

Mannix became known for his mischievous and comical send-ups of other artists.[1] The band was signed by Mushroom Records early in 1982 and released their debut EP "Salive One" in November, which peaked at No. 15 on the Kent Music Report with "Pakistan" listed as the first single (although not released individually).[1][2]

They toured Australia in support of US rock act Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.[1]

Early in 1983, Harrison was replaced on bass by John Kirk and they released their single "How Do You Get Your Kicks?" in March.[1] Craig Waugh replaced Matandos on drums and they released another single "Time Goes So Fast".[1] They toured through 1984 and released an EP, Beach Party, in July which included the single, "Everybody Wants to Work".[1]

"The Party" was released as a single in March 1985 and peaked at No. 17 on the Kent Music Report.[1][2] The related debut album 'Cos Life Hurts was released and peaked at No. 2 in June and its next single "50 Years" peaked at No. 6.[2]

Around this same time they also toured Australia with Rod Stewart.

Uncanny X-Men performed two songs for the 1985 Oz for Africa concert (part of the global Live Aid program) – "Everybody Wants to Work" and "50 Years" on 13 July.[3] It was broadcast in Australia (on both Seven Network and Nine Network) and on MTV in the US.[3]

A third single "Still Waiting" from their debut album was released in August, the song becoming the unofficial anthem for Channel 9's popular Wide World of Sports program throughout the remainder of the '80s, used as 'play ins' and 'play outs' to and from commercial breaks.[1]

Kirk, Mannix and Thiessen joined as guest musicians with The Incredible Penguins in 1985, for a cover of "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)", a charity project for research on little penguins, which peaked at No. 10 on the Australian Kent Music Report in December.[2][4]

Thiessen had left early in 1986 and briefly joined Kings of the Suns, replaced in the X-Men temporarily by Joey Amenta on guitar and more permanently by Brett Kingman.

The band signed with CBS Records in 1986 and released "I Am", which had reached No. 18 in May, before releasing the album "What You Give Is What You Get!" which peaked at No. 11 in November 1986.[1][2]

Further singles provided Uncanny X-Men with little chart success, and with internal tensions occurring they disbanded in 1987, although there was a brief reunion during 1998.[1]

Kingman, Mannix and Waugh joined with bass guitarist Derek O'Leary to form Dead Legends during 1989, Mannix then pursued a solo career including performing in pub rock bands and in stage plays.

In 1998, the Uncanny X-Men reformed for a brief reunion tour playing Crown Casino's Mercury Lounge and the Hallam Hotel amongst a number of other venues, its line-up the same as at the height of its popularity – Brian Mannix, Ron Thiessen, Chuck Hargreaves, John Kirk and Craig Waugh.

In April 2006, the band reformed for a 'one night only' concert again at the now defunct Mercury Lounge at Crown Casino in Melbourne, the gig coinciding with their appearance on Channel 7's "Where Are They Now" program hosted by David Koch and Melissa Doyle. The program revealed that while Brian Mannix remained in the entertainment business full time, John Kirk had moved into car sales in Brisbane, Chuck Hargreaves was a welder/fabricator in Perth, Craig Waugh drove trucks in Melbourne, and Ron Thiessen lived in Sydney and built film and theatre sets – although all still played in various bands.

In July 2009, founding member Steve Harrison, who featured on "Salive One", died of cancer.

In September 2010, it was announced the Uncanny X-Men would again reform to play at the 2011 Clipsal 500 V8 Supercar race in Adelaide, the 80s line-up including (in order of appearance) Pseudo Echo, the Chantoozies, the Uncanny X-Men, Leo Sayer, and Mondo Rock. The band played two warm up gigs, the first at the Chelsea Heights Hotel on Thursday, 17 March, the second at the Trak Lounge Bar the following night. Its Clipsal 500 set consisted of six songs, Still Waiting, How Do You Get Your Kicks, Beach Party, The Party, 50 Years, Everybody Wants To Work.[1]

In January 2011, Brian Mannix told undercover.fm that the reformed band may also record some new music around the time of the reunion.[5]

On 23 November 2011 Uncanny X-Men closed out the final episode of popular ABC music quiz show Spicks and Specks playing a shortened version of "50 Years", which merged into "Work".

On Sunday, 9 February 2014, Brian Mannix appeared on Melbourne radio station Triple R's "The Party Show" and played the band's long awaited new song "Take It From Me" which the band had debuted live at its two Melbourne gigs in March 2011 before its Clipsal 500 appearance.

On Friday, 28 October 2016, it was announced the band would again reform for the "Rock In The Vines" concert scheduled for Friday, 27 January 2017 and to be held at the Sutton Grange Winery, near Bendigo, Victoria. The featured line up would again be its classic Coz Life Hurts line up featuring Mannix, Thiessen, Hargreaves, Kirk, and Waugh. Also scheduled to appear at Rock In The Vines was Ross Wilson, 1927, Richard Clapton, Kids In The Kitchen, Dale Ryder, Swanee, Wendy Matthews, The Chantoozies, and Steve Kilby from the Church.

At Rock In The Vines, the Uncanny X-Men was the sixth of 10 acts to hit the stage, following Kids In the Kitchen and preceding Richard Clapton (1927 following with Ross Wilson closing the show). The band's four song set list was "Still Waiting" running straight into the classic "Used To Know," and followed by "50 Years," and "Work."



Year Title Chart peak position
1985 'Cos Life Hurts 3
1986 What You Give is What You Get! 19


Year Title Chart peak position
1982 'Salive One !


Side 1




Side 2




[nb 1]

1984 Beach Party[nb 1]

Track Listing

Side One

Everybody Wants To Work


Side Two

Beach Party

Little Girls



Year Title Chart peak position Album
1982 "Pakistan"[nb 1] 40 'Salive One EP
1983 "How Do You Get Your Kicks?" 51 single-only release
"Time Goes So Fast" 63 single-only release
1984 "Everybody Wants to Work"[nb 1] 32 Beach Party EP
1985 "The Party" 18 Cos Life Hurts
"50 Years" 4
"Still Waiting" 43
1986 "I Am" 18 What You Give is What You Get!
"Don't Wake Me" 31
1987 "Nothing Touches My World" 97
"Start Believing" 63


  1. ^ a b c d In the Australian Kent Music Report charts, EP records are sometimes listed on the albums charts, as seen for Salive One and hence the single peak chart position for "Pakistan" is the peak position of 'Salive One on the albums charts.[2] Whereas EPs were more often listed on the singles charts, as seen for Beach Party and hence "Everybody Wants to Work" peak chart position is for the EP on the singles charts.[2]


  • Chuck Hargreaves – guitar (1981–Current)
  • Steve Harrison – bass guitar (1981–1983)
  • Brian Mannix – lead vocals (1981–Current)
  • Nick Matandos – drums (1981–1983)
  • Ron Thiessen – guitar (1981–Current)
  • John Kirk – bass guitar (1983–Current)
  • Craig Waugh – drums (1983–Current)
  • Joey Amenta – guitar (1986)
  • Brett Kingman – guitar (1986–1987)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Uncanny X-Men'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-768-2. Retrieved 20 October 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.  NOTE: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1974 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988. In 1992, Kent back calculated chart positions for 1970–1974.
  3. ^ a b "Oz for Africa". liveaid.free.fr. Retrieved 12 March 2008. 
  4. ^ Spencer, Chris; Zbig Nowara, Paul McHenry with notes by Ed Nimmervoll (2002) [1987]. "Incredible Penguins". The Who's Who of Australian Rock. Noble Park, Vic.: Five Mile Press. ISBN 1-86503-891-1. Retrieved 2 January 2010.  Note: [on-line] version established at White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd in 2007 and was expanded from the 2002 edition.
  5. ^ http://www.undercover.fm/news/13424-uncanny-x-men-countdown-to-reunion Uncanny X-Men Countdown To Reunion

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