Dave Cardwell on The Geeks

Dave Cardwell on The Geeks

I don’t remember the year, but I do remember reading an advertisement advertising for a “bass player, no exp needed” [Ed note: the year was 1977].

Back then, New Wave/punk music was not a real listening issue for me. I had heard about The Sex Pistols, but overall I had no idea as to what was about to unfold.

I phoned in response to the ad and spoke to a chatty guy named Ross. He made me feel a little insignificant and that maybe I wouldn’t fit into his project, but I went around to his house for my first rehearsal. This rehearsal was to be the beginning of my path to a new music. What no one understood back then was, we were all contributing to history in the city of Perth, even if we were only part of a very small group of people doing what we were doing.

So The Geeks were born. I was suddenly listening to masses of records introduced by Ross and the other members of The Geeks, James Baker and Lloyd P – bands like The Saints, Ramones, New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Stooges and many more.

I can’t remember every cover we did, but I do remember that The Ramones featured strongly. The finer points of band life were introduced to me by the other band members – like drinking massive volumes of beer, smoking pot then eating masses of KFC, then spending the afternoon throwing up and watching the clouds talk to each other. This was the life for me! I wanted more!

James Baker was to me, even back then, a walking legend. He had a wealth of knowledge of the new music scene, having recently spent time in America and Britain – he even had a beer purchased for him by Sid Vicious in London and had auditioned in the raw lineup of The Clash.

The Geeks rehearsed hard and even recorded a rehearsal tape, but the thing that the band lacked was vision to play live. The view that James and I shared was that refinement of songs would come by live work.

The Geeks began early in its creation to write original songs – songs subsequently taken by The Victims, who recorded them but never gave copyright credit where it was due – songs like High School Girls, TV Freak and others. I can say with conviction, even though my memory is sketchy with some things, that The Geeks were instrumental to the initial success of The Victims, because songs that were written and played by The Geeks were taken across to The Victims’ rehearsals.

The Geeks opened the door to me to uncontrived presentation of music, from Ross’s slashing cut-throat guitar to James’ flawless beats and Lloyd’s guttural snarling vocals…and me keeping up with everyone on bass and having a total ball.

It was one Sunday avo at a Geeks rehearsal in a scout hall that David Faulkner arrived. James introduced me to him and from that time Faulkner assured James and I that he wanted a working project. This excited me, as this is all I wanted with The Geeks, and thus The Victims were born.

At this point I am refraining from saying what I really want to say about The Victims due to copyright issues, but I will say that The Victims did achieve a great deal in such a short time.

The Geeks went through their own story after James and I left, but it was some time later Ross formed The Orphans.

Wow – now music began to take a new path for me. The Victims had spit the dummy, and I’d put together an up-ya-nose band to piss Faulkner off 10 days after The Victims had split up. Of course, it was no good, but it served its purpose.

Eventually, when the original bass player left, I joined The Orphans, and the thing I still love about this band is its music. To me, The Orphans opened the door to the real sound, the real punch delivery that Perth punk bands had looked for, but most failed to achieve.

Ross, in such a short time, had become – and I think still is – one of Australia’s best songwriters.

It wasn’t until The Orphans that I could see Ross was more confident in playing live. Without doubt, he is a perfectionist, but he learnt that even if he, or any other member, did make an error live, it could be worth a million at the end of the day, plus the punters and the band were half-pissed so who would give a fuck anyway. People pay for live music, they love imperfection and we were never perfect.

Dave Cardwell
August 2005


Dave (‘Rudolph V’) Cardwell: Short Musical Bio

DOB: 17-6-59
Instruments: Bass, guitar
Bands: The Geeks, The Victims, The Orphans (for the last few weeks of the band’s life), Love Assassins.
Currently: Was actively involved in creating music and was a songwriter in his own right until taking off for rural pursuits in around 2011 – current situation and whereabouts unknown. Produced several independently recorded CDs of his music.

9 thoughts on “Dave Cardwell on The Geeks

  1. steve atkinson

    Yeah , I ran into Dave in an op shop while I was sifting through the record bins. This is where we got to talking and he told me about his past punk bands he was in. I had know idea at the time about the Victims and there music but Dave turned me on to them and many other punk bands in Australia that I never heard of. Anyway we became friends and I watched him working and recording his new music. He ended up taking off and I lost track of him,but before he left he gave me some demo cds and tapes as a token of his friendship and loyalty to me for sticking by and believing in his efforts to compose a different style and path for his music. He also gave me pictures [ all autographed to me ] of himself playing at certain venues. Dave Cardwell is a intelligent and a lovely person when you get to know him well. Anyway I loved the guy and hope to see him again one day.
    Steve A

    1. Dave Cardwell

      I sort of remember, and its cool to be liked. I may have and am still critical over some things, but I just do not care any longer. I turned down the deal to allow high school girls from being used in the new movie with Hugo Weaving in it “The Mule” only for the reason that I am 55 the song is about perving and perusing young girls, and, seeing the mess the world is in, because of many matters, I felt bad and wanted no part in the songs usage in this movie.

      1. Dave Cardwell

        You know Ross, I apologise or the behaviour of, not only myself, in relation to The Victims stealing your music, however, no one back then had a clue of what copyrights were or even if they existed, this was realised after the essential second session in sweet corn studio’s, I did in fact refute the signing of the index cards, to give Faulkner some credit, he did presume that James had written the tunes, and; I do vaguely recall, at Faulkner’s parents place, he did ask who wrote the tunes, James replied he did, which, I suppose Jim thought his obscure out of tune ramblings substituted composing real live to the point ideas.

        What the hell, its so long ago, I do wish I had never had anything to do with it all now, because of the restrictions placed only upon myself, in writing, recording, mixing and mastering, Faulkner I think realised he had to get out of the “PUNK” thing to be able to peruse a more moderate line of commercial music, even though, “PUNK” was more of the image, not the music, music is after all; music, so you can not change music for other than, that’s what it is, style, sure, e.g. classical, blues, rock & roll, blue grass etc., etc.

        Any how, past is past, my new venture is a new studio, doing the bread and butter music for Web sites, including new releases this month via Tune Core and Radio Airplay, have a listen, now I am happier, more content, me being just myself, rather than a confused twat from the late 70’s.

  2. Dave Cardwell

    Leaving OZ for good November 14 2021, make more in Germany than here so its the right move, I have 2.5 years solid work and retire happy.

  3. Steve

    Hey Dave Steve here, how you gonna leave for Germany with covid and no flights mate. I just bought your cd TRASH, really love the ‘Black Annis’ track, it’s a ripper! Got it on ebay for deal!
    What kind of gig is in Germany?
    Have you recorded any other stuff since this one?
    Great to see you are still kicking mate. Have you lit any fires lately?
    Still listen to your older tapes you gave me way back in early 2001.
    Victims of the past, Cool time, It’s old, it’s life, it’s nice, Ballad of a bush pig, Expressionless face, Glen Edger, Victim, It’s old.
    And of course your great mini cd ‘Desert Winds Live’ really love this cd heaps!
    Anyway old sock, will see you around or hear you around maybe, take care mate, Steve

  4. Steve

    Hey Dave, forgot to tell you I picked up an original of ‘I’m Stranded’ by The Saints on the 1976 Fatal label, rare as rockin horse poo!
    I wish I had your Victims records to complement this one mate, anyway see ya round like a wheel

  5. Steve

    Hey mate why is Ray Arnn playing bass for the ‘NEW’ Victims now. Rudolf V is not dead! Why the aren’t you playing bass again for The Victims Dave Cardwell! I mean what the fuck. Have you been asked or approached by the other 2 Victims to renter as the original bass player. We have to get over the past issues and bring the public the REAL Victims, that’s what would really work for them, and bring in MEGA bucks for the 3 original Victims I reckon. See ya Steve


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