Uncanny X-Men (band)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Uncanny X-Men
OriginMelbourne, Australia
Years active1981–1987, 1998, 2011, 2017-present
MembersChuck Hargreaves
Brian Mannix
Ron Thiessen
John Kirk
Craig Waugh
Past membersSteve 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. 3 on the Australian Kent Music Report in 1985,[1][2] and included their highest charting single "50 Years" which reached No. 4 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 October 1986 and peaked at No. 19, it included the Top 20 hit single "I Am".[1][2] The group disbanded in 1987.


Beginnings: Late 1970s–1982[edit]

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, Victoria.[citation needed]

In 1981, the line-up changed when Helms left and Chuck Hargreaves on guitar and Steve Harrison on bass guitar joined Mannix, Matandos and Thiessen.[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 'SaliveOne! in November, which peaked at No. 40 on the Kent Music Report.[1][2] They toured Australia in support of US rock act Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.[1]

Career peak: 1983–1987[edit]

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..[1]

"The Party" was released as a single in March 1985 and peaked at No. 17 on the Kent Music Report.[1][2] In June 1985, the group released their debut studio album 'Cos Life Hurts which peaked at No. 2 in June and its next single "50 Years" peaked at No. 6.[2] 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 1980s.[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 Sun, replaced in the X-Men temporarily by Joey Amenta on guitar and more permanently by Brett Kingman.

The band signed with CBS Records in May 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. 19 in November 1986.[1][2] Further singles provided Uncanny X-Men with little chart success, and with internal tensions occurring they disbanded in 1987.

Post-break up and Reunions: 1987–present[edit]

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. John Kirk 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 1998, the Uncanny X-Men reformed for a brief reunion with the same line up as at the height of its popularity; Brian Mannix, Ron Thiessen, Chuck Hargreaves, John Kirk and Craig Waugh.[1]

In April 2006, the band reformed for a 'one night only' concert again at Crown Melbourne, the gig coinciding with their appearance on Channel 7's Where Are They Now?.

In July 2009, founding member Steve Harrison, died of cancer.

In September 2010, it was announced the Uncanny X-Men would again reform to play at the 2011.[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 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.

In January 2017, the group played at the "Rock in the Vines" concert at Sutton Grange Winery, Victoria.



Title Album details Chart peak position Certifications
'Cos Life Hurts 3 AUS:Platinum (100,000 copies)[6]
What You Give is What You Get 19 AUS:Gold (35,000 copies)[6]


Title Album details Chart peak position
  • Released: November 1982
  • Label: Mushroom Records (L 20022)
  • Formats: Vinyl Record
Beach Party
  • Released: August 1984
  • Label: Mushroom Records (X14068)
  • Formats: Vinyl Record


Year Title Chart peak position Album
1983 "How Do You Get Your Kicks" 51 single-only release
"Time Goes So Fast" 63 single-only release
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


  • 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 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 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.
  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. Archived from the original on 15 October 2009. 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. ^ "Uncanny X-Men Countdown To Reunion". Undercover FM. January 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  6. ^ a b "UnCanny X Men Albums". Homestead. Retrieved 3 April 2018.

External links[edit]