Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rocktober Day Twenty: Australian 80s Ska

OK. So I've broken the pattern somewhat but the song I wanted to write about Grey Skies by Australian band Strange Tenants just can't be found on YouTube and the lyrics are nowhere to be found either. I know I have the original albums, possibly with lyrics, in the deep depths of my garage but I don't have the time or inclination to find them.

Any old how, when I started looking around for this song on the www I came across some other stuff which took me hurtling back to the mid 80s when I was a Rude Girl and ska was my life. In particular Strange Tenants were my life. They were a ska band from Melbourne and they toured non-stop, I believe someone called them "the hardest working band in the country".

When they played in Sydney we would go to every show, sometimes two in one night. We would start off in the suburbs somewhere, Gladesville or Caringbah (they often played that old shed, the Caringbah Inn) and would end up at the old Manzil Room in Kings Cross for a 1 or 2 am gig. My god, we had stamina in those days. Worked all day, then headed out for drinks, two gigs, dancing through each gig, stumble home (well, to someone's home) at 4 am, up again at 7 am for another day at work. All at the ripe old age of 16. Who was that person that I used to be?

The thing I remember about Grey Skies is the line "Grey skies over Collingwood"... what an evocative line that was for a Sydney girl with little idea of what Collingwood was. I was rebelling against my safe middle class world and battle weary Collingwood seemed exotic and scary and wonderful.

I didn't find Grey Skies but I did find another great song of theirs Hard Times on YouTube and then I found My Dad by No Nonsense (another of my faves from those days). So while I can't show you the lyrics for either song, I can take you on a little musical journey back in time to what made me tick circa 1984/5. The clips are old and grainy and don't translate well to digital technology but I hope you enjoy.

No comments: