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Reunions of '80s Australian underground rock acts are commonplace but return of The Screaming Tribesmen will be something right out of the box. The Screaming Tribesmen were one of the most powerfully melodic bands to emerge from the rich Australian underground rock scene of the 1980s. If the indie chart-topping single "Igloo" had been their only legacy they would have been long remembered.Led by guitarist-vocalist Mick Medew, a veteran of Brisbane cult band The 31st, the Tribesmen emerged in 1981 as a '60s-influenced power trio that spawned an independent EP and two singles before dissolving. It would be the line-up of Medew, guitarist Chris "Klondike" Masuak (Radio Birdman, the Hitmen), bassist Bob Wackley (Razar) and drummer Warwick Fraser (Feather, Hoi Polloi) that was the most enduring and best-known.They lasted seven years and firmly established themselves with the "Date With A Vampyre" and "Top of the Town" EPs before signing to American label Ryko and releasing the "Bones and Flowers" album.
The Screaming Tribesmen are returning for three shows, at The Gathering Festival at Brisbane's Old Museum (September 17), the Gershwin Room at The Espy in Melbourne (September 23) and the Sandringham Hotel in Sydney (September 24.) Fuse Music will re-issue the band's EPs and album over two CDs with unreleased demo and live material.
Masuak lives in Spain and Wackley in the USA so will make the trip back to Australia for the shows. Medew fronts Brisbane-based Mick Medew & the Rumours and plays solo shows. Wackley lives in the US and Fraser in Sydney, both staying musically active in local bands.
The Screaming Tribesmen had the happy knack of being able to marry power and melody, sprinkling a set of strong originals with lesser-known covers borrowed from the Dictators, the Verterbrats, Paul Collins Beat and Lou Reed. Medew had (and still possesses) one of the most distinctive voices in the country and Masuak's tightly-coiled and lyrical lead-guitar was an ideal foil. Wackley and Fraser were the inspiring engine room that provided Rolls Royce propulsion. A successful 1988 US tour saw the "I Got A Feeling" single top the KROQ charts in Los Angeles and gain heavy MTV play. Back in Sydney, an anti-pollution rally in front of 120,000+ people at iconic Bondi Beach turned into a farewell and the band dissembled shortly after.
Medew continued with various line-ups and focused on Europe, releasing the "Take Cover" EP and "Blood Lust" and "Formaldehyde" albums before calling it a day in 1993. Interest in the band has remained strong down the years with retrospective and collections like "The Savage Beat of the Screaming Tribesmen" (Shock) and "Anthology 1982-93" (Raven) have been strong sellers. An offer to reform couldn't have come at a better time with members able to arrange their schedules to be in Australia. It's an opportunity for old fans and those who only know this legendary band through recordings to assemble behind the rallying cry: "All Hail the Tribesmen."
SCREAMING TRIBESMEN "RETURN TO TRANSYLVANIA" TOUR
Saturday 17th September @ the Gathering Festival, Brisbane
Details and ticketing details at www.thegatheringfestival.com.au
Friday 23rd September @ the Esplanade Hotel, St Kilda
with special guesdts tba
Tickets at Oztix
Saturday 24th September @ the Sandringham Hotel, Newtown
with The Dark Shadows + Decline of the Reptiles
Tickets at Zombiedog Entertainment