Sunday, 17 April 2011

Black Chrome - Australia's God / We Are Tomorrow 7" Tomorrow MA7202, 1978

When we get our time machine working, Adelaide 1977 is pretty far down our list of destinations to visit. Despite being home in the '60s to a vibrant beat scene, Adelaide seemed to have well and truly shot its load by the time punk reared its ugly head (in contrast to Brisbane whose relatively moribund '60s and early '70s scene gave way to a thriving 1977). Hopped up on goofballs in Rundle Street in 1977, and wanting to avoid hippie, folk and boogie rubbish, you didn't have a lot to choose from. Maybe Phantom, a lively pub rock band led by an AWOL American Vietnam deserter, Irving and the U-Bombs, or... Black Chrome.

It must be said that of all the original 1977 Aussie bands Black Chrome are the one most shrouded in mystery. The single remains unheard, uncomped (but not unloved) and the facts we can report are scant. The original lineup was Simon Stretton on vocals, Simon Dillon on bass and Andrew Griffiths on drums. By 1978 it was Mike Flash on bass, Tony Techno on drums and Simon Stretton on vocals. No guitarist is credited anywhere. Stretton resurfaced in Ungrateful Children around 1980 (one track on the 5MMM compilation). And, um, that's it.

So to the record, perhaps the most singular sounding of the first generation Australian punk records with its restrained fuzz, and strange (moaning?) backing vocals. It's in the lyrics where the punch is packed - cut out the lyric sheets below and sing along.

Tomorrow also released the Bohdan X 7" of course. Black Chrome and Bohdan (in JAB) shared stages in Adelaide in 1977. Of note were the Bijou concerts, a movie of which was shown at the 2010 Adelaide Fringe Festival - you can see a tantalisingly brief glimpse of Black Chrome at 00:40 at this promo clip. A DVD of the movie is available from Patrick O'Grady at PO Box 336, North Adelaide, SA 5006.

Australia's God

We Are Tomorrow

30 April update:
Thanks to an anonymous commenter for this video. Fantastic Black Chrome footage and interview, and an interesting insight into some radio's resistance to punk in Australia in 1977. When we wrote this post we were gonna link the phrase "boogie rubbish" to the great original clip of the 1976 Angels (who were from Adelaide). Note the slight similarity between the Australia's God intro and bridge (around 2:05-2:15 of the mp3) and the bedrock riff of Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again (around 0:10-0:20). Now notice the alarming similarity between the Black Chrome singer's collar and Doc Neeson's raised jacket collar!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this one - at least you have some information! I bought the two Tomorrow singles at the same time; I am pretty sure it was a mail order from an ad in the music press, maybe RAM? I defintely got the Live At The Marryatville tape that way.

Anonymous said...

Would you believe a video on Adelaide and punk rock in 1977 - with some footage of Black Chrome!!

Wallaby Beat said...

Wow! Great clip, thanks!

David Hodson said...

Mike Flash and Tony Techno were Michael Hodson and Tony Lewis, bass player and drummer for the band Lucas Aaron. You will see the name Lucas Aaron in that same Bijou film promo clip. The "reformed" band shown there seems to consist of Lucas Aaron guitarist Paul Stacey with Tony Nirta and Kate Watson, as well as a drummer who I can't identify from that clip. Maybe I need to buy the DVD.

TheTom said...

For anyone interested... there will be a BLACK CHROME reunion this weekend, Feb 25 at Enigma Bar on Hindley Street, featuring the original vocalist and a new backing band, as well as another Bijou movie:

Harry Butler said...

Black Chrome are playing a reunion gig on 15 February 2013 at the Squatters Arms Hotel in Adelaide, with the equally legendary Grong Grong.
In the meantime a detailed & accurate description of late 1970's punk rock in Adelaide can be found in issue 67 of "DNA" fanzine - .