Sue Edmonds (nee Howard)

Sue Edmonds (nee Howard)

Billy Orphan’s Tears and the Perth Punk Era
A Brief History

Billy Orphan’s Tears came into being after Billy’s band The Orphans broke up. He was also in a band called The Archietypes… I’m not sure which one came first.*

*Ed. note: It was The Orphans.

Sister Joy and I were rehearsing in a cover band with a guy called John Heyworth (a music teacher at Swanbourne High School and composer and another guy…can’t remember his name). The best part of this band was that I got to play a beautiful old Hoffner bass – the same model as the one Paul McCartney played. The only problem was I couldn’t play bass for shit!! We played songs like Friday On My Mind and Venus. We happened to be conducting auditions for a lead guitarist and in walked none other than Bradley Clark (Rockets, Manikins). He didn’t think much of the band but was impressed with the natural, spontaneous harmonies Joy and I were able to sing from years singing three part harmonies around nanna’s piano at our childhood home in Bicton. He invited Joy and I along to his new band’s rehearsal. The new band became Billy Orphan’s Tears and consisted of Billy (lead vocals), Bradley Clark (lead guitar), Dave ‘Rudolph’ Cardwell (bass), Steve Lippiatt (drums), Joy Howard (backing vocals) and Sue Howard (backing vocals and keyboard). Billy didn’t like the idea of two females in his band at all at first, but when he discovered our harmonies actually made him sound better he soon warmed to the idea.

I need to go back a bit here to explain how Joy and I became interested in punk/punk rock music. Brother Bob worked at the ABC as an electronic technician. One day he brought an amazing looking guy home for lunch (mum used to cook up a huge pressure cooker full of spag bol for anyone who happened to drop in on the weekend!). He was amazing looking because he had 6 inch high silver boots and an off-the-shoulder leopard skin top…under his arm he had some vinyl…Iggy and the Stooges’ Raw Power, MC5, New York Dolls etc. His name was James Baker. Our record collection at the time consisted of Cosmo’s Factory, Abbey Road and my first single by some one hit wonder loser called “Oliver” and the song was something about Starshine (don’t get me wrong though…I love the Beatles and Creedence). James changed the Howard musical experience for the rest of our lives.

James Baker in 1978

Ed note: Unfortunately, no pictorial evidence could be gathered of that over-the-shoulder leopard skin top, but here’s James Baker avec hair extraordinaire at Sue’s sister Lynn’s 21st birthday party in 1978.

We started going to gigs at the Governor Broome etc to see The Victims and later The Scientists. Joy and oldest sister Lynn went to Europe and Lynn has emailed through a funny memory here.

Joy and I were following The Vibrators around in England in about 1978, back when spitting at the band and pogoing in the mosh pit were fashionable, because James had told us he knew them well and that we should say hello. We eventually plucked up the courage to go backstage and they were all in their underpants! We said “Jim said to say hello”. They didn’t know who we were talking about but eventually we worked out that they knew him as James. Then we had nothing else to say and left after an awkward silence…

Billy Orphan’s Tears played our first gig at The Beaufort Hotel in North Perth. It was packed – all friends and family, of course…we even had our mum, Wendy, there, complete with earplugs. (Funnily enough, she was Ray Purvis’s* legal secretary for about 20 years…every article he wrote on the Perth punk/rock/music scene was written on her old IBM typewriter).

*Ed. note: Ray Purvis was the music journalist for Perth Sunday newspaper, The Sunday Independent, now defunct; he championed The Victims and provided the only mainstream media coverage of the Perth punk scene.

Apparently Mum was slightly intrigued by Billy’s tight silver pants that didn’t seem to do up very well at the front! I remember the gig going down quite well although it was all a bit of a blur. I do remember Andy Macpherson* (drummer for Enemy Sounds, now deceased) calling me over to the front of the stage at a break and then spitting a mouthful of water at me…very punk!! Andy and I were actually really good friends and much later when I came back from Sydney in about 1985 we played a few horrible acoustic gigs with an amazing singer called Leon Bozanich from Mukinbudin at the Boomerang Hotel in Vic Park. We were paid in drinks, although the management soon realised after about 3 gigs that we were able to consume an unheard of amount of scotch and coke while playing and decided it was going to send the hotel broke. We had heaps of fun though. We did a rendition of the old Porgy and Bess soul song Summertime but changed the lyrics to “cotton’s jumpin’ and the fish is high”! The audience didn’t blink an eye but we were in stitches and unable to carry on for a few minutes!!

*[R.I.P. Andy Macpherson 1963 – 2012]

Back to Billy Orphan’s Tears. Billy’s girlfriend at the time, Lisa, didn’t take to Joy and I being in the band at all. She even threw my shoes away, which she found after a rehearsal. It didn’t take long, though, for Lisa to become great friends with Joy and I, and she became our biggest fans. Even back in those days I can remember her turning up to gigs in blue vinyl outfits she’d designed and made herself – she’s now one of Australia’s best and most successful fashion designers: Lisa Barron (see www.lisabarron.com.au). After the Billy Orphan’s Tears days, Lisa was a frequent visitor to our house in Liverpool St, Darlinghurst…but that’s another story.

Billy Orphan’s Tears played a total of nine gigs, mainly at Adrian’s and Blazes. We supported and played a lot with The Teeny Weeny’s, whom I loved. Jill Yates, the lead singer, was unique with a very low voice and great presence. Our last gig was a bit of a disaster. From what I can gather, there was an altercation between Rudolf and Brad (Brad being the winner because he possessed some kind of black belt!). This was the demise of our band. There is an old cassette tape somewhere of our songs. I can only remember a few of them nearly 30 years later: Nightclub, Cretinous You and One More Time.

Brad went on to play with The Manikins, Joy and I went to Sydney with sister Lynn, travelling across the Nullabor in Lynn’s Datsun 120Y. We rented a two story terrace house at 471 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst. This house became the house where anyone from Perth came and hung out or stayed at. There was a mass migration from Perth to Sydney at this time – about 1980. Residents of this house were, amongst many others, Lynn, Joy & Boris Sudjovic (The Rockets, Scientists, Dubrovniks, Beasts Of Bourbon), Roddy & Erica (Roddy Radalj), Alan Stewart & Liz Acres (Rockets), Dave Flick (Dave Faulkner – Victims, Gurus etc).

Joy, Lynn and I sang backups with The Saints on their Monkey Puzzle album – on the track Simple Love – and travelled with them around Sydney getting up on stage every now and then to do “our song” and also Robotman. Joy and I worked at Festival Records in Sydney for many years, my highlight being barging into the boardroom knowing Iggy was in there and getting his autograph under the disapproving scowls of the PR guys – he signed as “James Osterberg”. Later, I had my whole record collection stolen and this precious keepsake along with it…that’s Sydney for you!

Anyway, Lynn and I returned to Perth but Joy stayed on and still has a really successful musical career. She played guitar in a band called The Whippersnappers who amongst other things played a wonderful version of Stairway To Heaven on Andrew Denton’s “Money Or The Gun”. They also did a great version of Sweet, Sweet Love on the Russell Morris tribute album and played a track on the Kiss tribute album…can’t remember which track though. She also played in a female band called Jill Wran, Jill Wran. One of the members was Dave Faulkner’s sister Steph. Joy is now in a wonderful duet called Joy & Lara (see www.joyandlara.com and www.myspace.com/joylara and they’re about to release their 3rd CD in Sydney. Lara plays violin in a band called Fourplay that is well known internationally, doing versions of songs like Metallica’s Enter Sandman on strings and a great version of The Strokes’ Reptillia.

Well, that’s about it for this brief history of Billy Orphan’s Tears and the Howard family musical journey. It was such a great time and has been even more fun remembering!!

Ed. note: In preparing to fashion her recollections into written form, Sue exchanged multiple emails with her siblings, Lynn, Joy and Bob, also cc’d to me. I enjoyed watching on as these exchanges took place, and felt that some of the spontaneously offered comments complemented Sue’s written piece and were worthy additions to the tapestry of perceptions of the early punk era in Perth that are presented on this site. Lynn, Joy and Bob Howard graciously agreed to my request to include excerpts from their emails here.

Lynn:

  • James used to often come around to our place on a Sunday, just in time for lunch (usually Mum’s spaghetti bolognaise), often bringing with him one of Bob’s old high school mates, John Lilliwhite. I don’t know how they became friends but John was a JB copycat in terms of clothing style. I remember John usually had a cigarette hanging from his mouth but he never inhaled. The cigarette would just get wetter and wetter and eventually droop. I think James had a job at a sausage factory and the rumour was that he used to spit in the sausage mix. He had a chronic sniff which mum used to hate….
  • Mark Demetrius always stood right in front of the speakers. He must be completely deaf by now.
  • I lived for a while in East Sydney in a house with Dave Faulkner, Roddy Radalj and Erica. Dave was preoccupied with song writing – I don’t think we ever had a full conversation. Roddy and Erica, on the other hand, were always up for a chat.
  • I loved Dave Warner’s lewdness. My favourite was Old Stock Road (“…with a cock, cock, cock in her mouth…”). Very daring stuff for those days and quite exciting.
  • Bob:

  • Must say I’m enjoying this to-and-fro about the good old days. I wonder if any of you remember Mark Demetrius who was somehow friends with Jim [James Baker] and wrote for several rock magazines. I recall going back to his parents’ place in Mount Pleasant on a few occasions and being blown away by this amazing band that he introduced me to – The Velvet Underground.
  • Re Dave Warner: My favourite gigs were the Shopper Rock ones at Albert’s Tavern that Dave Warner did…playing his Tesco keyboard and singing songs that we could all relate to.
  • Ed. note: Dave Warner and his band The Suburbs introduced the innovative Shopper Rock concept in 1977 – playing Saturday morning gigs at a small basement pub in the city called Albert’s Tavern.
  • Re James Baker: I went to Jim’s 50th birthday bash at the Hyde Park Hotel a few years back. He was playing with whoever his latest band was and people from a packed audience would take it in turns to come on stage and sing all the well known punk classics that they belted out…it was awesome. When he first moved into Maylands he still had a drum skin that said Le Hoodoo Gurus and I joked with him that it would probably be worth something one day…I wonder what happened to it.
  • Joy:

  • Re James Baker, I always say that he changed my life because I was so completely bored with going out to pubs where everyone was wearing hippie clothes, smoking dope and grooving to Cocaine – then James turned up for Sunday lunch in his red velvet jacket, platform silver boots, long blond hair with Raw Power and New York Dolls under one arm. I remember thinking I’d never seen anyone so cool and when he put Raw Power on the turntable I was completely blown away. I had no interest in music other than punk for a long time after that…
  • Sue, Joy and Lynn Howard

    Lynn, Sue and Joy Howard and friends – way back when…

RIP
Andy Macpherson (Andy Mac) 1963-2012
Drummer for Enemy Sounds and Quick and the Dead.
Died tragically in WA car accident.

Sue’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sue.edmonds.77

31 thoughts on “Sue Edmonds (nee Howard)

  1. Steve Acres

    Hey Sue,

    Steve Acres here – we knew one another once a long time back in Northbridge 🙂 I used to sing in Enemy Sounds and then also in the Modern Wimps. You mention Andy Mac Pherson is deceased??? Any chance of emailing me?
    Cheers Steve

    Reply
        1. Carolyn

          Find us on facebook! Mum Jane and Clare will all be so excited to hear from you. Hit me with a frendy https://www.facebook.com/CazPar or email [email protected]

          Reply
      1. Kelly Robson

        Hi Sue. Kelly here. Found this site by accident so I don’t know if this will get through.
        Good to see you at Howie’s gig a while back and hopefully I will bump into you again sometime when I’m in the neighbourhood.
        Happy trails blossom.

        Reply
  2. Carolyn

    Many familiar names here. I modelled for Joy at a show held at Connections and wore the silk outfit she gave me to death 🙂 Before moving to Sydney I shared a house in Catherine Street with Steve Acres and Howard (drop bear). Billy was a frequent visitor (never forget his super tight leopard skin pants), played bass (badly) in a band that I think went on to be Teeny Weenies Phil Galbraith, Steve Acres and Chris Savage and maybe Joy rehearsed in an old building opposite The Old Melbourne just before I left for Sydney. Also was part of the ex pat scene in Sydney, shared the big terrace on Crown Street with Pedro and Jim Paton, Grant (Flaming Hands) and a changing cast of housemates that included Tex at one time, The Coloured Girls rehearsed in the basement and it was just a few doors up from the Hopetoun. Good times. I think it was Joy that my ex Jim shared with after we split up, a house near Centennial Park. Could ramble on for hours but won’t 🙂 Oh yeah, I was known as Carol Hitt back then.

    Reply
  3. Mark Oakley

    HI, I’m Mark Oakley from Audio Damage / Quick and the Dead. Sad to hear of Andy Mac’s passing … I’d like to say a big hello to Steve Acres, I’d love to catch up for chat him. If you can give him my email address ? Great site btw 🙂 Cheers, Mark.

    Reply
  4. Steve Acres

    Hey Mark, I remember when…. Hope you are well!
    PS: I’ve given up home invasions these days… anything for a mate 🙂
    Steve

    Reply
    1. Michele Oakley

      Hi Steve,
      It’s Michele, Marks ex-half..He just sent me the link to this site. Glad to hear you don’t do home invasions anymore ;). Those were the days. Hope you’re well. Cheers

      Reply
  5. Kelvin

    Just heard about Andy’s passing and I’m really bummed about it. I knew him well around 2003-2006 and had some good times. Great sense of humour. Endless good stories old and new. Hope his girls are doing well.

    Reply
    1. Susie

      Sorry to hear about Andy. Came across this site by chance, good to hear your still around Steve. Remember old Perth days at Hernandos. Sue

      Reply
    2. Sara

      Sara McPherson here, Andy’s daughter. Just came across this website, browsing the net for QATD articles – it’s amazing what you can find. Kel, I wondered what happened to you!? Still doing the records thing? And Sue, Mark etc. Would love to hear more stories about my Dad, and the Perth Punk scene at the time. Feel free to flick me an email – [email protected]

      Please keep writing this stuff!

      Reply
  6. Christopher

    Hi Carolyn ( Carol Hitt),
    Teeny Weny’s were Phillip, Lindsey and I. Jill Yates and Peter joined later. I had the space above the corner opposite the Old Melbourne Hotel. Took it over from Janice Hunter ( artist) that used to live with Gunther From the Dugites.

    Reply
    1. Carol Hitt

      Memories a bit of a blur but definitely remember the space opposite The Old Melbourne, upstairs, and buying a black Fender Telecaster bass to rehearse with Steve, and Phillip (was Shayna involved too?). I don’t think it was Teeny Weenys by then, there were some bizarre band names being thrown around. Is this Christopher Anderson? There was also Chris Savage,.

      Reply
  7. steven lippiatt

    Hi Sue,
    Where have the years gone shame we only played 9 gigs
    but those were heady days and lots going on behind the scene
    when band broke up i was living with Billy he had to leave
    town real quick but thats another story for your ears only

    Reply
    1. Sue Edmonds

      Hi Steve…..great to hear from you…..still playing drums?? And yes there was a lot going on behind the scene……….you can add me as friend on FB if you’re on there?? Would love to chat more……..:)

      Reply
  8. steven lippiatt

    Hi Sue, Im Still playing drums tried to find you on facebook but cant find you
    You can email me and we can communicate through my wifes facebook as
    im not on facebook at the moment look forward to contact you, Steve.

    Reply
  9. steven lippiatt

    Hi sue wifes facebook Carolyn Lippiatt look forward to hear from
    Love to catch up with Billy also and Alan Stewart if he can be found

    Reply
  10. Dave

    I am saddened to hear that Andy Macpherson has died. Fond memories of him at high school and later in the world of music here in Perth.

    I was the drummer of The Archetypes.
    After auditioning and being asked to join, by Bill Martino (lead vocal) , James Coombes(Guitar) and Collin..?..(base Guitar) the band was formed and named the Archetypes. Soon after, bass guitarist Collin departed, due to other commitments, he was replaced by Brian Seth.
    Bill Martino left The Archytypes to join up with a new band that was being put together by Des Peers. Des Peers and Eddie ran a musical instrument store with rehearsal studios in Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley. By all accounts from himself , Billy was performing on stage as the lead vocalist of The Archetypes before any other band here in Perth.
    I think he was in a band prior to coming to Perth , in Melbourne.

    For the record, Snuff known to many here in Perth, replaced Billy Orphan(Martino) as the lead vocalist of The Archetypes.

    David Di

    Reply
  11. rossnroller Post author

    Hi Dave. Just a quick fact-check. Billy’s first band was The Orphans. He answered an ad I’d placed seeking a vocalist in the good ol’ Sunday Times Classified ‘Musical’ section just after he’d moved to Perth from Melbourne (around March 1978, maybe Feb earliest). See The Orphans Story under the heading “THE MAX FACTOR, CORDIAL COLIN AND BILLY THE KID” for details.

    Billy wasn’t happy about The Orphans breaking up. Maybe he’d disowned his first band experience by the time The Archetypes came along. Dunno.

    Ta for your comments. I’m sure Sue will get back to you directly. If you’d like to contribute to the perthpunk site with your story of The Archetypes, I’d welcome your contribution and assign a new page to the story. Any pics or old recordings of the band also most welcome.

    The same invitation goes to anyone else who was active during the early punk era in Perth, either on or off the stage.

    Cheers
    Ross
    PS: The blogging platform automatically assigns me the title of “Post Author” whenever I comment – I haven’t figured out how to change this in the case of content I haven’t written. Sue is the writer of this perspective on Billy Orphan’s Tears. Self-evident I guess, but just making that clear.

    Reply
  12. Tonebender

    Better late than never…..only found out about Andy’s passing today and was saddened to hear it.
    Still have good memories of long chats with him about all sorts of things, he was a nice guy with time for everyone. RIP mate.

    Thanks for keeping up this site….good see see many still care.
    I served my time in one way or another with associated bands, good times indeed.

    All the best

    Reply

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