Before he was a Guru, Dave Faulkner was a punk…
… and his name was Dave Flick. The punk band Dave formed in Perth in 1977 – or more precisely the band that he and drummer James Baker formed, four or so years before they formed Le Hoodoo Gurus – was called The Victims, and they released one of the all-time great punk singles, “Television Addict” in 1978.
Now, more than 40 years later, The Victims, still featuring Dave and James, are back, with a ‘new’ bassplayer, Ray Ahn from The Hard-ons, and a new EP entitled Horror Smash. Released digitally this week on Los Angeles’ groovy In The Red label – a 7” vinyl release has sold out and is awaiting a repress – it’s a fantastic addition to the band’s original ‘70s recordings, which have also been released by In The Red in a comprehensive new collection entitled, simply, The Victims.
In his liner notes for the collection, punk collector/Dirtbombs drummer/Third Man Records guy Ben Blackwell says: “So for a group of Australians, excitable as the frontline first wave of kids responding to both the Ramones and the Sex Pistols (yet still influenced by the New York Dolls and Stooges and Flamin’ Groovies), who existed for but barely for a year from 1977-1978 and wrote songs about serial killers, high school girls and hating disco…well, I’d argue they are the most perfect punk band ever.”
“Television Addict” – originally released by The Victims themselves in a pressing of 1000 – has long been a holy grail relic for ‘70s punk collectors. It’s been covered by bands from Sweden (The Hellacopters), Japan (Teengenerate) and numerous places in between. Their follow-up EP, which includes “Disco Junkies”, the song that named hot young Melbourne garage-punks Disco Junk, is perhaps even more cherished. Original copies of each go for four-figure prices these days. For good reason. The Victims were ahead of their time back in the day – they had a velocity and reductive primitivism that pre-empted the earliest American hardcore bands like Black Flag and Minor Threat, and a bratty sense of humour and pop culture obsessiveness to match very early Redd Kross, a band with whom the Gurus would later form a kinship. The new collection of their old stuff includes the single, the EP and the phenomenal outtake “Perth Is A Culture Shock” which was first unearthed in the ‘80s. And that’s just side one of the LP; side two features 9 raw and thrilling demo tracks recorded before the band ever entered a proper studio. For the most part these tracks are ever faster, harder, shorter – hardcore in all but name. Phenomenal for 1977.
The new EP, which features new recordings of three of those demoed tracks plus another from back in the day that was never put to tape, captures the same energy and humour and absolutely relentless attack. They recorded it a couple of years ago on the back of a handful of shows, but it still sounds exactly like The Victims. It’s a sound that should be inherently familiar to Gurus fans too. After all, the Hoodoo Gurus are rooted punk, and the stuff that influenced punk, like raw ‘60s garage-rock. Certainly, from early tracks like “Be My Guru” through to their latest single “Answered Prayers”, the Gurus have always been direct and let the guitars and drums do the talking. Of course there’s also the distinctive Faulkner voice – instantly recognisable in both the Victims and the Gurus – and the classic Faulkner songcraft. The Gurus have done “Television Addict” – there’s a ripping version on their “Bite The Bullet: The Directors’ Cut” collection – and the likes of “Horror Smash” and ”I Wanna Be With You” would work well in their live set.
If this bloody plague hadn’t hit us, The Victims would be out and about soon. They had been invited to play California’s Burger Boogaloo festival (alongside the likes of Bikini Kill, Circle Jerks and yes, even Plastic Bertrand!) and Australian shows were being discussed. The Gurus too planned a US tour, for October & November; as of now that’s still going ahead. Australian audiences will no doubt see both bands again when the time is right.
The Victims “Horror Smash”
The Victims “Television Addict” (live at Hernando’s Hideaway, Perth, 5th of Jan 1978)
The Hoodoo Gurus “Television Addict”
Oh – and The Hoodoo Gurus “Answered Prayers”/”Song Of the Year” RSD 7” single will be out whenever Record Store Day happens. It’s currently scheduled for Saturday the 20th June.
The Hoodoo Gurus “Answered Prayers”
THE VICTIMS’ “THE VICTIMS” LP/Digital release and “HORROR SMASH” 7”/Digital EP are both up on download and streaming platforms everywhere right now. New vinyl pressings of the album and the EP will be available soon (once the factory is back from lockdown). The Victims are exclusively on In The Red Records (locally distributed by Rocket).