In Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction To It's Own Past, Simon Reynolds dedicates some time to discussing "invented genres", i.e. "retroactively creat[ed] genres that never actually existed as recognised entities during the period in question", primarily driven by record collectors reclaiming, reinterpreting, and recategorising the detritus of pop culture. Examples cited include relatively recent developents like minimal synth and junkshop glam, though Reynolds argues for garage punk and Northern Soul as the first instances of "genre-as-retroactive-fiction". In fact, the history of invented genres probably extends back further still. In her book In Search of the Blues, Marybeth Hamilton argues that the Delta blues wouldn't exist if it were not for the personal taste of James McKune, a record collector whose wants list of obscure 78s curated the genre's defining artists, thereby establishing a roadmap for subsequent collectors and reissue compilers - a sort of pre-war NWW list.
Reynolds ascribes an economic imperative to the development of invented genres - the creation of markets upon which to foist rare records and compilations of such. Variations of that theory have done the rounds for a while (recounted here and, if you can bear it, here), but a quick search of eBay for the keyword "grillfat" suggests that there's more to it than that. We're happy to report that grillfat suffers from a dearth of genuinely rare records - good news for dollar bin hounds, not so good for potential compilers of Killed By Grillfat. Instead, the main advantage of grillfat has been to allow us to talk about Australian hard rock minus the cultural baggage that we associate with the term Oz Rock - a pejorative catch-all for leaden, lifeless, commercial beer-barn rock. Grillfat is shorthand to differentiate Geeza from Australian Crawl.
|Extreme grilling. More at Geeza's Facebook page.|
Which brings us to Geeza's Sydney City Ladies, one of the genre's OGs (that's Original Grillers). Described by The Kuge as one of the greasiest records in his collection ("The kind of track that would leave an oil skid on your turntable"), this mildly brain-damaged hard rock reinterpretation of California Girls is archetypal grillfat. The version in question is the flipside to Geeza's second 45 (Run 'n' Hide), a rougher take than that featured on Streetlife, the band's lone LP (Laser VXL1-4046, 1977). Apart from a slicker recording, the LP version also takes on a more expansive arrangement, extending the song by a full two minutes. We prefer the medium-rare cut, but the well-done version is presented below for those situations when three minutes of grillfat isn't enough.
Sydney City Ladies (7" version) [Download]
Sydney City Ladies (LP version) [Download]