Forgive me — this one is a bit of a nostalgia trip. Today I am setting the way back machine to the mid 1980s, and an amusing and slightly embarrassing chapter in Australia’s rock history. Bear with me, it does have a spy connection at the end, especially as the story spirals out of control.
Allow me to introduce you to the Painters & Dockers. The ‘Dockers’ were a post-punk, Oz-Pub rock band who — well they played all around Australia, but were based in Melbourne. They were loud, fast and at times offensive. So essentially, a good time was had by all.
I saw the ‘Dockers’ on numerous occasions and they were fantastic live — and I am sure that on more than one occasion I had my glasses broken at a gig, caught up in the excitement and the heaving mass of bodies. Costly — but a fair barometer if I was having a good time.
One of the best gigs I saw them perform was in Moorabbin (strangely enough), where they blew Weddings, Parties, Anything off stage. I don’t say that lightly, because the ‘Weddoes’ were a great live unit. To put that into perspective for International readers, during U2′s Love Comes to Town Tour in the late ’80s, the ‘Weddoes’ blew both U2, and B.B. King off stage. So, on their night, the ‘Dockers’ were something special.
The song under review here is Kill, Kill, Kill and it comes from the album ‘Bucket’. I don’t know why it was called ‘Bucket’, but maybe because they figured that most people who listened to the album would be sick — and therefore need a bucket. I tend to think it is simply rhyming slang…I am sure you don’t need me to spell it out for you.
The album’s cover art was always going to garner a certain amount of negative attention and as the old saying goes — ‘a picture says a thousand words’ — so I’ll let the image speak for itself. But from the outset, the ‘Dockers’ were looking to offend people (well, certain sectors of the community). With tracks titled Kill Kill Kill, Gun for Fun, After the Blast, and Organised Slime, lyrically they may suggested a proclivity for violence. But at the same time, there was pronounced sense of humour too. These were the guys, who prior to this release, were best known for the song, The Boy Who Lost His Jocks On Flinders Street Station. In case something is lost in translation there, the song is about a young schoolboy, standing waiting for the train, when the elastic in his underpants breaks as the train whizzes past. The ‘Dockers’ were not about high-art – they were about a good time.
But I have got sidetracked. I was talking about (or going to talk about) ‘Bucket’, and the song Kill, Kill, Kill. The song garnered a bit of negative press at the time of release. At this juncture, I’d like to bring into the story Reverend Fred Nile. Now this post is not intended as an attack on the church, any religious group, or even Rev. Fred. If there is a criticism, it is simply ‘think before you speak’ — which I believe can be applied to anybody (including myself at times). In this instance, Rev. Fred appeared on television and attacked Painters & Dockers over the song Kill, Kill, Kill. It’s been quite a while, so I may be slightly wrong on what he accused them of — I think it was ‘satanism’ or encouraging violence. Most likely this was based on nothing more than the song was called Kill, Kill, Kill, and the chorus echoed ‘Thrill, Thrill, Thrill’. So, in some people’s minds, the ‘Dockers’ were a pack of satanists who got off on Thrill Killing. I guess that from an outsiders point of view, the song would suggest that. The thing is, Painters & Dockers did not write the song. It is actually lifted from a Get Smart episode, where Kaos (and the Groovy Guru – played by Larry Storch) are using a band named The Sacred Cows to manipulate the world.
Here’s the original version performed by The Sacred Cows on Get Smart:
Posted on Youtube by jenipete
So while Rev. Fred was getting worked up about a throwaway song performed by a band who played for inebriated adults, and couldn’t care less about the lyrics, the song through syndicated repeats of Get Smart was being pumped into the lounge-rooms of impressionable youngsters all across the country. All these years later it seems silly now. It seems like an over-zealous attempt at censorship, but in this instance the wrong band, and the wrong song was chosen.
Here’s the ‘Dockers’ version:
Posted on Youtube by Chepickle.
As a side note to this story, it is worth noting that hate-mongering, violence encouraging ‘Dockers’ would, at Christmas, perform a series of concerts with the Salvation Army Brass Band. Obviously the Salvos didn’t look at the band in a negative way, and saw them from what they were – just a bunch of high energy lads looking for – and presenting a good time for all. And what’s wrong with that?