In those punk band days, some hardcore thinkers had a secret agenda. Wanting to kill Molly Meldrum, bomb Premier Harbour/Mushroom Records and, of course, Telecom. Some were trying to get laid, drinking warm beer, being fashionably paranoid. It’s hilarious and shameful to think 20 years later all we really wanted to do was write jingles or even outrageously worse, a rugby league anthem just to meet the meat heads of Australian television – alas, for some of us, that must have been true.
The Perth live music scene was a great way to get over the week that was. To attempt to be cool…to care about ourselves a bit…even though we were naïve, sad suburban babies, a bit like vampires, who in the light of day, just shrivel up or go to sleep in an empty casket. Not me, I was surfing…
At the time there were a desperate few people in the scene who wanted to be recognised as the style authorities. I for one, as an artist, had no shame. I chose to be a representative of the new style – my band The Cheap Nasties, then The Manikins, were a bit like that. We were the freshest band in town. Sorry we weren’t spitters, angry enough, drunk or junky enough, rhythm and bluesy enough…sorry I didn’t have a pull before going on stage, sorry to be an original.
Apologies for being the 1st recognised punk band in Perth, wow what a coveted title, sorry we were completely original and – finally – sorry we were completely out of context.
Nothing like being in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong continent with the wrong monopolies in front of us.
As a devout hedonist I only live to express myself…like my other loves, surfing and oil painting, Rock n Roll is one of the most dangerous and immediate forms of expression available to the young and so I jumped on it without hesitation and I loved it till I got too old to go on stage…that point seems to be lost on all the has-beens of Australian rock…
It is amazing how much of our spirit and energy went into pushing our shit up a giant unappreciative Australian hill. Oh for the want of the digital age – how different things would have been…
Looking at it now… where was the ABC? I thought its agenda was to nurture Australian youth’s cultural identity… where was it in the 70’s and 80’s? All those conservative vested interest culture funding bodies are such a wank and waste of tax money…STILL!
It is hilarious to think how seriously to the core we all were. Well done to everyone who jumped on board the Punk train, we made a big difference to that dull little town and so I want to thank Kim for giving me the opportunity, to Neil for being an absolute gentleman and intellect (there is nothing wrong with existentialism as long as it’s French), thanks to Mark and Ken who were brilliant and exactly what you wanted every rhythm section to be…straight! Always on time and dependable. To Faulkner and Bradley, you are the same, I hope you finally unravel your collective insanities and find peace…cheese anyone?
Robbie Porritt went on to front The Bastinados in Melbourne after splitting from the Manikins. He currently lives in Queensland, where he surfs, paints and…well, that’s where the info runs out! Further bio details will be added if/when they come to hand. In the meantime, feast on these Manikins pics (recently scanned and emailed through by Robbie). Exclusive to the perthpunk site!
Hi there – Funny to see some of my photos on the site for Porritt’s interview, looks good (I shot the first image of the Manikins at Geraldton in I guess about 1979-1980, and the one on the cover of “Live” too. I recognise some of the others too, but I can’t remember where I shot them.
The Manikins were the direct reason I decided to form “The Plants” with schoolmates Philip Berry and Patric Shaw in 1980 in Perth, to get out of the audience and onto the stage instead (very much a case of “If they can do it then so can I” thinking of a callow youth). Phil’s younger brother Dave was the drummer, and eventually after a few people drifted through and left, Marco D’Orsogna joined us. We recorded some really early stuff at the ABC in Adelaide Terrace, and eventually funded a 12″ eponymous EP, which was at the time the biggest-selling local EP. The Plants morphed into Adventure Stories, don’t know if you recall that outfit. We appeared on an album in about 1982 called “Demowest”. Philip is a painter (artist) living in SW WA, and Patric is a photographer, now living in New York. Marco makes smallgoods. I moved to the East in the mid-1980s. Adventure Stories main claim to fame was that we were the house band at Riccardo’s in North Perth when David Helfgott was discovered, playing for the kids at the Sunday Session (remember them?).
Patric and I were at Mark Bett’s (Manikin’s drummer) parent’s house up in the Perth hills at a BBQ when Dave Faulkner announced that he was going to form a band called Le Hoodoo Gurus. We all laughed. The Gurus turned up to an Adventure Stories gig at a joint near in Northbridge (near where the newspaper used to be printed I recall) one night, and Phi was having a really bad day, and kicked over the microphone stand right in front of Faulkner and Shepherd, so typical. I was asked to audition for the bass in the Manikins when Ken left, never really had a chance as I didn’t know their songs. Bradley Clarke who took over from Neil and went East with them to a dismal end in Melbourne eventually became the production manager of Maton Guitars, then started Cole-Clarke guitars, and I believe now lives in China as production manager for a firm that makes more guitars in a day than Maton has manufactured since its foundation in the 1940s. Strange world isn’t it?
I was surprised to read that Johnno Rawlings (as I knew him) aka Johno Pogo, the Manikins roadie pictured lounging about with Porritt has died. I remember going round to a girlfriend’s place late one night and finding him white-anting me there. Oh well.
Email me if you want any info about any of this.
Cheers, Norman Peters (Bass, founder of the Plants and Adventure Stories.)
Thanks for your comment, Norman. If you could identify which pics you took, I’ll add an acknowledgement under them. (I’m big on acknowledgement, heh heh – see The Geeks Story).
I thought Johnno’s surname was Rawlings, too. Dunno how that apparently mass mis-recall came about. Anyway, his name was definitely Rushin. One of his close friends corrected me on ‘Rawlings’ years ago, and Rushin was the name that appeared in the family death notice.
While the focus of this site is first-wave punk in Perth, if you feel like writing down your recollections of the period in which you were active musically, I would welcome your contribution. Perhaps you were also around during the earliest period, in any case? Either way, as long as your reminiscences included some reference to or follow-up on people who figured in the first wave, or to bands that had pedigree going back then, I’d be delighted to add them to the Personal Perspectives on this site. If you would like to follow this up – and I hope you do – please contact me via the Contact form and let me know your preferred email address.
Any additional pics MOST appreciated, also – of course, with full acknowledgement.
Great gigs at the Broadway Tavern!
A bit Jim Morrisonish .. but great music, great theatre, really enjoyed and remember still now 30 yrs later – we are talking about Perth.
Good times at Adrians club with these guys…and other bands that followed. I painted the outside using a spraygun along German Africa Corps battle tank camoflage colours. Also spraying up the stairs and inside walls along German Battleship camoflage…using greys , dark red and black….it was great fun. It certainly created an impact to the atmosphere and the stage was black with some inverted V for victory signs. Consequently all who entered were dressed in black pretty much and lots of pogo and slam dancing…the place used to get packed regularly and Perth was, at this time way ahead creatively in the music scene in my view…they were great times for me and Robbie I met through Nick Clark who was a local, very good photographer…we were good mates.. I was involved in the club’s evolution over some time creating different interior decorative designs. As it changed the scene changed and the music. I paint now and am retired from working in the Oil industry . I am 64. Andy … Hi to all the old Adrian’s crowd , PERTH !! ( PS: They are having annual Red Parrot reunions these days held at different venues … I haven’t made it yet but mates have… I think most are on zimmer frames now !!!! )
I did the photography on the singles cover and the press clipping as Andy sats.. So I suppose Norman took the rest.
Awesome reading this!
Memories. Thank you so much!
Lived it! Loved it. Wore safety pins and side zipped shirts with pointy toed shoes and a rats tail haircut. I remember the early punk era in Perth! Ha ha..turnung sixty next birthday..who would have guessed?
Hey Guys i also hung out with Manikins and took alot of photos. Neil has some of tbese they have also been published 8n bo9ks and a movie. I Love the band and still love photography and music
Cheers Rob Baxter 2019