- The Triffids
Infobox musical artist
Name = The Triffids
Img_capt = The Triffids (1985)
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Perth,
Western Australia, Australia
Genre = Rock, alternative,
Years_active = 1976–1989
Label = Hot Records
Rough Trade Records Island Records Mushroom Records
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
URL = Official|http://www.thetriffids.com
Jill Birt Alsy MacDonald Martyn P. Casey
'Evil' Graham Lee
Past_members = see members list below
The Triffids were an
Australian rock bandwho achieved some international success in the 1980s. Formed in Perth in the late 1970s and disbanded in 1989, their best known songs are "Wide Open Road" and " Bury Me Deep in Love". Their vocalist and principal songwriterwas David McComb(1962-1999).
Australian Recording Industry Association(ARIA) recognised The Triffids' iconic status on 1 July 2008when they were inducted into the Hall of Fame. [cite news|url=http://www.undercover.com.au/News-Story.aspx?id=5106|title=Max Merritt and The Triffids To Be Inducted Into Hall of Fame|last=Cashmere|first=Paul|date=2008-06-05|work=undercover.com.au|accessdate=2008-06-08] [cite news |url=http://www.theage.com.au/national/hall-of-fame-for-merritt-and-triffids-20080605-2lzy.html |title=Hall of Fame for Merritt and Triffids|publisher=" The Age" |last=Donovan |first=Patrick |date= 2008-06-05|accessdate=2008-06-08]
Early years (1976-1981)
The Triffids began in
Perth, Western Australiain the late 1970s, partly in response to the punk rockmovement. In 1976, David McComband Allan 'Alsy' MacDonald wrote and performed songs with Phil Kakulas (currently in Blackeyed Susans), Andrew McGowan, Julian Douglas-Smith, and later Byron Sinclair, Will Akers and Margaret Gillard. Originally called Dalsy, they soon became known as Blök Music, Logic (for a day) and then The Triffids, (taking their name from the post-apocalypticnovel " The Day of the Triffids"). Writing in his diary as a teenager, David McComb traced the band's emergence in Perth:
"On the night of November 27, 1976, a tape was made by Alsy MacDonald, playing a single toy drum, and Dave McComb playing acoustic guitar. The multimedia group 'Dalsy' had come into being. Dalsy went on to make several remarkable tapes (mainly of original material): "The Loft Tapes", "Rock 'n' Roll Accountancy", "Live at Ding Dongs", "Bored Kids", "Domestic Cosmos", "People Are Strange Dalsy Are Stranger", "Steve's" and the seminal punk work, "Pale Horse Have a Fit".… Dalsy did paintings, sculptures and poetry, and wrote a book named "Lunch". They were tinny and quirky, obsessive and manic, versatile and productive. They were also immensely unpopular.... The members of Dalsy grew to hate their audience. They still do, and this hate is an integral part of their music. Dalsy split up towards the end of 1977…. They launched into 1978 as Blok Musik, with their famous "Blok Musik" tape.… In April they played at the Leederville Town Hall Punk Fest, alongside Perth's punk rock contingent but, as usual, no one danced. After that they went home and metamorphosised into Logic. Within a day they changed their minds, and metamorphosised into the Triffids." [ [http://www.thetriffids.com/diary1.shtml David McComb's Diary] ]
Between 1978 and 1981 the Triffids recorded (some were even recorded at home) and released six cassette tapes and in 1981 they released their first single, "Stand Up" / "Farmers Never Visit Nightclubs". The production of this single was the prize for the Triffids winning a song competition run by the Western Australian Institute of Technology (now
Curtin University) Student Guild’s radio show on 6NR (now Curtin FM).
Early Recordings (1982-1984)
1982 saw the release of the "Reverie" four track
EP. Around this time, due to the small population/market in Perth, the band started the long journey driving from Perth to Sydney, then Melbourne (and back again) to play shows and do some recording and to live for large periods of time, often in quite squalid conditions. For a mere $150 a night the Triffids’ services as a support band were procured by the likes of The Reels, The Sunnyboys, The Church, Hunters and Collectorsand the Uncanny X-men.
The Triffids signed to White Label in Melbourne and released a single "Spanish Blue" / "Twisted Brain" and the "
Bad Timing and Other Stories" EP. The Triffids then signed on with Hot Records, which during its existence between 1982 and 1986 brought the Australian independent scene some much needed cohesion. They were one of the bands leading Hot’s drive into the overseas market, which is a part of what eventually led to the label’s demise.
Their debut album "
Treeless Plain" was released in November, 1983, [ [http://www.abc.net.au/longway/timeline/ 'Long Way to The Top' - timeline (1983)] ] an album completely out of tune with everything else going on in the Australian alternative music scene at the time. All of the songs for "Treeless Plain" were recorded over twelve midnight-to-dawn sessions at Emerald City Studios, Sydney in August and September 1983.
Their line-up stabilised to
David McComb(vocals, guitar), his brother Robert McComb ( guitar, violin), Jill Birt(keyboards), Alsy MacDonald (drums), Martyn P. Casey(bass) and 'Evil' Graham Lee (pedal steel, guitar). Former Triffid Akers served time in jail after various drug-related convictions.
Their next single, "Beautiful Waste" / "Property is Condemned" and the "Raining Pleasure" 12” EP were released in 1984. By this time the Triffids had spent so much time traveling the 3000 miles between the west and east coasts of Australia (David McComb estimated that they made this trip between 12 and 16 times) that they decided to travel that little bit further and headed to Europe.
UK & Europe (1984-1989)
In late August, 1984 the band flew to
Londonwith a small amount of savings and five return plane tickets scheduled to expire by Christmas. They gave themselves three months to make inroads in the UK. Appearing as a support act at their London debut at the LSE, they blew headliners The Monochrome Set off the stage. They succeeded to the point where they graced the first cover of 1985 of the influential UK magazine " NME", which it predicted would be 'The Year Of the Triffids'.
November 6, 1984the Triffids recorded the " Field Of Glass" 12” EP mostly live at BBCStudio 5 in Londonand then returned for a brief tour of Australia. Apparently the "Field Of Glass" track was not released on CD because the master tape could not be found, although it was eventually discovered under David McComb’s bed.
During a brief return home the band acquired their final permanent band member, pedal-steel player ‘Evil’ Graham Lee, who had performed on the mini-album, "
Lawson Square Infirmary", a Triffids side project that was recorded in 1984, just prior to the band's first trip to England. Lee recalls
""I taught primary school, traveled and ended up in Sydney, where I met the Triffids and first sat behind a pedal steel (in that order actually).... I met Dave [McComb] through James Patterson, who played in a band in Sydney called JFK and the Cuban Crisis. My initial impressions of Dave were: slightly eccentric, driven, something of a perfectionist, very intelligent."
Together they recorded the 7”
EP"You Don’t Miss Your Water", the A-side a countrified version of a William Bell song " You Don't Miss Your Water", and were sent back to London.
They toured Europe, featured again on the cover of "NME", and were feted by the European press. The Triffids played in tiny clubs and stadiums (supporting the likes of
Echo & the Bunnymen). A grassroots following soon appeared and they virtually toured every European country, finding specific pockets of popularity in the oddest of locations: Holland, Greece, Scandinavia, Irelandand Belgium. The band toured as part of the Summer Eurofestival circuit, performing at Glastonbury, Pinkpop, Waterpop, Seinäjoki, Roskilde(40,000), T&W Belgium (35,000) and den Haague's Parkpop (pushing 100,000).
Unable to raise a major record deal and with a lack of finances, "
Born Sandy Devotional" was recorded in London in August 1985 with Gil Nortonproducing (fresh from working with Echo & The Bunnymen). The band released two versions of the "Wide Open Road" single ( a 7” version and a 12” version). The album reached # 27 on the UK charts and the single peaked at #26 on the UK charts while only reaching #64 in Australia.
Their critical success in the UK boosted their standing back in Australia where they recorded "In The Pines" in early 1986, still awaiting the release of "Born Sandy Devotional", which eventuated in March, 1986. [ [http://www.abc.net.au/longway/timeline/ 'Long Way To The Top' - timeline (1986)] ] "In The Pines" was recorded on the McComb's family property in Ravensthorpe, south east of Perth, in a shearing shed on basic eight-track equipment. "In the Pines" took The Triffids deeper into folk and country music, with a
lo-fisensibility reminiscent of Bob Dylan's " Basement Tapes". The band also backed Bill Drummondon his 1986 solo album "The Man".
In 1986 the Triffids were on the bill of the
Australian Madetour. Australia Made was the largest touring festival of Australian music talent that had ever been attempted to that point. Jimmy Barnesand INXSheadlined and the rest of the line-up featured Mental as Anything, Divinyls, Models, The Saints, I'm Talkingand The Triffids. The shows began in Launceston, Tasmaniaon 26 Decemberand concluded in Sydney on Australia Day, 26 January 1987. A concert film of this event was made by Richard Lowensteinand released later that year. [cite web |url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0199342/ |title=Australia Made: The Movie |publisher= IMDb|accessdate=2008-06-05] Apparently Michael Hutchence had insisted on the Triffids being part of the bill.
1987 saw the release of 3 tracks recorded for
John Peelon May 5, 1985, "The Peel Sessions".
The Triffids eventually landed a major record contract signing a three record deal with
Island Recordsin the UK. Between April and August 1987 the band worked again with producer Gil Norton, in London, to record "Calenture", their Island Records debut. The album saw the band explore themes of insanity, deception and rootlessness. The album title referred to the type of insanity which used to be suffered by seamen crossing the oceans. The nomadic Triffids, travelling back and forth from Australia to England to record a 'difficult' album, obviously related to the disoriented seamen. [ [http://www.pennyblackmusic.co.uk/MagSitePages/Article.aspx?id=4142 Penny Black Music - John Clarkson (July 1, 2007)] ]
As a result of their success the band graduated to the festival circuit where they played alongside
Iggy Pop, The Ramones, The Fall, Anthrax and Echo & the Bunnymen. By 1988 their fame was such that "NME" invited the group to contribute to The Beatles tribute album"Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father" alongside Billy Braggand Wet Wet Wet.
The Triffids wanted to record the next album in Australia, but after the "Calenture" experience
Island Recordswanted to keep the band nearby. "The Black Swan" album was recorded between September and October 1988 in Somerset, UK and produced and engineered by Stephen Street. It was well received, but the success was not overwhelming, which disappointed the band members. That, together with being tired from the constant travelling and touring, led to the band being dissolved. The group even made it to America in 1989 for a pair of New Yorkdates before taking a much needed vacation – one which turned permanent.
We didn’t know they were final performances. Dave wanted to do a solo album and we were due to get back together after that. Much to his chagrin his solo album took longer than expected and he kept writing songs that sounded like Triffids songs. Domesticity snuck up on most of us, poor health snuck up on Dave, a planned ’94 reunion tour was put on hold, and the Triffids faded into the mist. - Graham Lee
The band's last Australian shows were towards the end of 1989, with the final show at the
Australian National Universityin August, 1989. [ [http://www.tntdownunder.com/article/2440919885.html Graham Lee Interview - Colin Delaney (August 9, 2007)] ] 1990 saw the release of the live "Stockholm" album, which completed the Triffids’ contractual obligations with Island.
Breakup and aftermath
Following the breakup of the band,
Alsy MacDonald, Jill Birtand Robert McComb took "proper jobs" as a lawyer (currently with the Equal Opportunity Commission), architect and teacher respectively, with MacDonald and Birt marrying (Robert McComb currently teaches at Melbourne High School). David McComb and Lee continued to be involved with the Blackeyed Susans, a group David McComb formed as a side band during an earlier Triffids summer tour of Australia. Martyn Casey briefly joined the Blackeyed Susansand then became a permanent member of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
In 1990 David McComb moved back to London with the aim of pursuing his solo career. In 1992, after no success, he returned to Australia to make some solo recordings for
Mushroom Records(featuring both Casey and Lee) releasing just one solo album, "Love of Will", in 1994. He also worked with many other musicians on various projects, including assembling a band, the Red Ponies, to tour Europe. Another project, costar, was formed when David moved to Melbourne, but due to his ill health they only played sporadically around Melbourne, although recordings had begun and a single was ready for a limited release.
Following the Red Ponies tour David McComb suffered substance abuse-related health problems, which ultimately resulted in him undergoing a
heart transplantin 1996. Following a car accident in Melbourne, David McComb was admitted to St Vincents hospital. Only 3 days later he died at home, on February 2 1999, just a few days short of his 37th birthday.
In February 2000, after the State Coroner of Victoria finally published his findings,
The West Australiannewspaper wrote: " [Coroner] Johnstone said McComb's mental and physical condition had deteriorated after his (car) accident but his death was due to herointoxicity and mild acute rejection of his 1996 heart transplant."
The Triffids back catalogue began being reissued in 2006. Graham Lee has taken on the role of guardian of David McComb's musical legacy. The Domino label in the UK is handling the reissues in Europe, while
Liberation Musicdeals with Australia and New Zealand. An extended version of fan favourite " Born Sandy Devotional" came first, with staggered release dates in Europe, Australasia and North America between June and July, 2006. A joint release of "In The Pines" and "Calenture" followed in February 2007. "In The Pines" was given a full remix by Bruce Callaway, the original engineer, who had been looking after the master tapes for 20 years. The album was also extended with a number of tracks that were recorded during the sessions for "In The Pines" but held over for inclusion on "Calenture" because, in David McComb's words, “we have to keep something good for later.” ("In The Pines" was essentially a low-budget ‘holiday’ album, recorded while the band was still looking for a deal with one of the major labels.) "Calenture" was extended with b-sides from the same period, and with a second disc of demo recordings for the album.
Later stages of the re-issue programme will also include rarities, extended liner notes, remastering, a DVD and a live album. There is, currently, a selection of free downloads available on the official site, overseen by Lee. [ [http://www.thetriffids.com Triffids website] ]
David McComb was posthumously inducted into the WAM (West Australian Music Industry Association Inc) Hall Of Fame as a composer on
21 February 2006. [cite web|url=http://www.wam.asn.au/hall_fame.htm |title=WAM Hall of Fame|publisher=WAMi |accessdate=2008-07-01]
In June 2006 (in conjunction with the re-issue of "
Born Sandy Devotional") the band reformed to play three live performances, two concerts in Hasselt, Belgiumand one in Amsterdam, The Netherlandswith guest vocalists (including Mark Snarski ( The Jackson Code) and Belgian, Harald Vanherf(The Hoodoo Club / Wicona Airbag)) replacing David McComb. A huge collection of band memorabilia was also displayed, along with the airing of a Triffids concert film and question-and-answer sessions with the band members.
According to Lee the experience was, "more than I could have hoped for – a true celebration of the music, and an intensity from band and audience that I’ve rarely felt." [ [http://www.jazztimestravel.com/reviews/cd_reviews/detail.cfm?article_id=4608 Jazz Times Travel - Fred Mills (September, 2006)] ]The five remaining members of The Triffids gave a series of performances on January 17 - 20, 2008, as part of the 2008
Sydney Festivalcelebrating the music and the memory of David McComb. [ [http://sydneyfestival.org.au/events/metro_theatre/a_secret_in_the_shape_of_a_son_1.htm?nav=music&id=44&evid=5&series=undefined 2008 Sydney Festival line-up] ] The band were joined on stage by a number of Australian musicians including Mark and Rob Snarski ( Blackeyed Susans), Toby Martin ( Youth Group), Steve Kilbey(The Church), Mick Harvey( Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds), Chris Abrahams and Melanie Oxley. [cite web |url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/gig-reviews/the-triffids-a-secret-in-the-shape-of-a-song/2007/12/20/1197740443851.html |title=The Triffids: A Secret In The Shape Of A Song |publisher= Sydney Morning Herald|last=Zuel |first=Bernard |date=2007-12-20 |accessdate=2008-06-05] [cite web |url=http://www.abc.net.au/dig/stories/s2145327.htm |title=Live Review: The Triffids 'A Secret In The Shape Of A Song' |publisher=ABC Radio| last=Hill |first=Graham |date=2008-01-21 |accessdate=2008-06-05]
In May 2008 Liberation Music continued with the reissuing of The Triffids' back catalalogue, with the release of "The Black Swan", which includes five songs which had previously been left off the album at the time of its initial release together with an encore. The album had originally been envisaged by
David McCombas a double album. The re-released album also includes a bonus disc of demos and unreleased material. Also released is " Treeless Plain" has been re-mixed by the original sound engineer, Nick Mansbridge. The last of the re-releases is a collection of songs from various EPs, "Raining Pleasure", " Lawson Square Infirmary" and " Field of Glass", under the title " Beautiful Waste and Other Songs (Mini-Masterpieces 1983-1985)". The compilation album also includes the title song, " Beautiful Waste", together with "Dear Miss Lonelyhearts" and "Native Bride". [cite web |url=http://www.liberation.com.au/artists.cfm?id=81 |title=The Triffids latest news |publisher=Liberation Music |accessdate=2008-06-10]
One of the most critically acclaimed bands from Greece,
Raining Pleasurehave been inspired their name, from the "Raining Pleasure" song by The Triffids. [cite web |url=http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_civ_1_10/02/2004_39449 |title=Band’s experimental intentions |publisher= Kathimerini|last=Eptakili |first=Yiouli |date=2004-02-10 |accessdate=2008-06-09]
ARIA announced in June 2008 that The Triffids would be inducted into the
ARIA Hall of Fame, upon the announcement Graham Lee commented that David McComb would find the accolade ironic, given that the band were hardly superstars in their home country, but would have appreciated the belated recognition. [cite web|url=http://www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=25&ContentID=77004 |title=Decades on, Triffids to have their day |publisher= West Australian|last=Collins |first=Simon |date=2008-06-05 |accessdate=2008-06-10] On 1 July 2008, The Triffids were inducted by Nick Caveinto the ARIA Hall of Fame, former The Triffids members were joined on-stage by Rob Snarski as vocalist for "Red Pony" and Steve Kilbeyas vocalist for "Wide Open Road". [cite web |url=http://www.ariahalloffame.com.au/document/No5_2008%20ARIA_HOF_announces_all_star_cast_to_induct_and_present.pdf |title=ARIA announced all-star cast to induct and perform |format=PDF |publisher= Australian Recording Industry Association(ARIA) |accessdate=2008-07-02 ]
*"Wide Open Road" has been covered by
Weddings Parties Anything, The Church and Perth folk-rockbands Carus and the True Believer's, Not Enough Ropeand Shanks Pony, as well as by fellow Perth outfit The Panicsfor Triple J's ' Like a Version' in 2007.
*"American Sailors" has been covered by
Mick Thomas, and also The Blackeyed Susans
Bury Me Deep in Love" has been covered by Kylie Minogueand Jimmy Little
Beautiful Waste" was covered by Youth Groupfor Triple J's ' Like a Version' in May, 2008.
In the media
Bury Me Deep in Love" was used for the wedding of Harold and Madge in the internationally successful Australian TV series " Neighbours". [cite web |url=http://www.perfectblend.net/music/sounds.htm |title=Sounds Of Erinsborough |publisher=The Perfect Blend |accessdate=2008-06-10]
* Will Akers - bass (1980-1982)
Jill Birt- keyboards, vocals (1983-1989)
* Martyn Casey - bass (1982-1989)
* Simon Cromack - percussion (1982-1983)
* Margaret Gillard - keyboards (1979-1982)
* Phil Kakulas - guitar, vocals (1978-1979)
* Graham Lee - guitar, pedal steel, lap-steel, vocals (1985-1989)
* Allan MacDonald - drums, percussion, vocals (1978-1980, 1982-1989)
David McComb- vocals, guitar, piano, bass (1978-1989)
* Robert McComb - violins, guitar, keyboards, percussion, vocals (1979-1989)
* Mark Peters - drums (1980-1981)
* Byron Sinclair - bass (1978-1979, 1982)
* Jill Yates - keyboards (1982)
* 1983: "
* 1986: "
Born Sandy Devotional"
* 1986: "In The Pines"
* 1987: "Calenture"
* 1989: "The Black Swan"
* 1982: "Reverie"
* 1983: "
Bad Timing and Other Stories"
* 1984: "
Lawson Square Infirmary"
* 1984: "Raining Pleasure"
* 1985: "
Field of Glass"
* 1987: "Peel Sessions"
Live recordings and compilations
* 1986: "
Love in Bright Landscapes"
* 1990: "Stockholm"
* 1994: "
* 2008: "
Beautiful Waste and Other Songs (Mini-Masterpieces 1983-1985)"
* 1978: "Tape #1"
* 1978: "Tape #2"
* 1979: "Tape #3"
* 1979: "Tape #4"
* 1980: "Tape #5"
* 1981: "Tape #6"
* 1981: "
* 1988: "
Son of Dungeon Tape"
* 1981: "Jack Brabham"
Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop" by Ian McFarlane(Allen & Unwin, Sydney (1999)) (ISBN 1-86508-072-1)
* "Your Name's On The Door" by Tracee Hutchison (ABC Enterprises (1992)) (ISBN 0-7333-0115-0)
* "Australian Encyclopedia of Rock & Pop" by Noel McGrath (Rigby Publishers (1978))
* "The Who's Who of Australian Rock" by Chris Spencer (Moonlight Publishing (1993));Specific
* [http://www.abc.net.au/longway/artist_index/triffids.htm ABC - Long Way To The Top - The Triffids]
* [http://somethingold-somethingnew.blogspot.com/2005/07/triffids.html Something Old, Something New website - Triffids profile]
* [http://www.dominorecordco.com/site/index.php?page=artists&artistID=217 Domino Records - Triffids profile]
* [http://www.howlspace.com.au/en2/triffids/triffids.htm Howlspace website - Triffids profile]
* [http://www.dominorecordco.us/triffids/ Domino re-release program]
* [http://www.innercitysound.com.au/Triffids.html Inner City Sound website - Triffids profile]
* [http://www.nostalgiacentral.com/music/triffids.htm Nostalgia Central website - Triffids profile]
* [http://www.lunakafe.com/moon29/au29.php?ads= David McComb Obituary (1962-1999)]
* [http://musicbrainz.org/artist/8f51eb15-9b4d-41cb-aa14-bec4f9234c2a.html Triffids discography at
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
The Triffids — Жанры альтернативный рок фолк рок инди поп Годы c 1979 по 1989 … Википедия
The Triffids — Allgemeine Informationen Genre(s) Indie Rock Gründung 1980 Auflösung 1989 Grü … Deutsch Wikipedia
The Night of the Triffids — … Wikipedia
The Day of the Triffids — ist der englische Originaltitel des Romans Die Triffids von John Wyndham der englische Originaltitel der Verfilmung des Romans, Blumen des Schreckens ein Fernseh Mehrteiler nach dem Roman aus dem Jahr 1981, siehe The Day of the Triffids (1981)… … Deutsch Wikipedia
The Day of the Triffids (radio) — The Day of the Triffids was a 1957 and 1968 BBC adaptation of the science fiction novel by John Wyndham to radio.Cast and crew for the 6 episode 1968 version:*Bill Masen : Gary Watson. *Josella Playton : Barbara Shelley. *Coker : Peter Sallis.… … Wikipedia
The Day of the Triffids — For other uses, see The Day of the Triffids (disambiguation). The Day of the Triffids … Wikipedia
The Day of the Triffids (TV series) — Infobox Television show name = The Day of the Triffids caption = The Day of the Triffids genre = TV drama picture format = (4x3) runtime = starring = John Duttine (Bill Masen), Emma Relph (Josella Payton), Maurice Colbourne (Jack Coker), Stephen… … Wikipedia
The Triffids discography — This article is a comprehensive listing of all official releases by The Triffids, an Australian rock band.DiscographyAlbumsInfobox Discography Type = studio Name = Treeless Plain Released = November, 1983 Label = Hot Records / Rough Trade Records … Wikipedia
The Black Swan (The Triffids album) — Infobox Album Name = The Black Swan Type = studio Artist = The Triffids Released = April 1989 Recorded = Genre = Rock / Folk rock Length = 46:43 Label = Island Records/Mushroom Records Producer = Stephen Street / The Triffids Reviews = *Allmusic… … Wikipedia
The Day of the Triffids (1962 film) — Infobox Film name = The Day of the Triffids caption = film poster by Reynold Brown director = Steve Sekely producer = George Pitcher Philip Yordan writer = Bernard Gordon Philip Yordan starring = Howard Keel Kieron Moore Janette Scott Nicole… … Wikipedia