By Rod Hunt
Unbelievably Bad Contributor
Thirty Years of Anger is a fresh contribution to the documentation of the often poorly documented local underground.
A labour of love for author Marquis ‘H.K.’ Thewlis, it’s a book that covers his experiences in the punk, hardcore and extreme metal scenes, fronting and touring with Brisbane veterans A.I.M. (Anger In Motion).
UB gets the word on it from Marquis…
What made you write a book, and was it more difficult than you anticipated?
To my knowledge no-one has told the real story of the Australian underground hardcore, punk and extreme metal scenes. Andrew Stafford wrote his book, Pig City, but that mainly tackled the first wave – The Saints, Go-Betweens… then went straight to the likes of Powderfinger and Savage Garden. And seeing as though I’ve been involved in this scene for the last three decades, I thought: ‘Why not?’ It took the better part of four years to write then six months on top of that for editing. I wouldn’t say it was difficult; I’m just thankful I can remember a lot of things! The most frustrating part was shopping the thing around for a publishing deal.
What’s the book about?
It is an autobiographical account of my journey through the Australian underground scene – the music, politics, networking, drugs, violence. The good, the bad and definitely the ugly! It also includes interviews with numerous band members, promoters, radio announcers and fanzine editors that were and still are part of this scene. Though predominantly based in Brisbane, having spent time in those cities and touring with interstate bands, it also documents the Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide scenes.
Please share with our readers one of your favourite recollections, as featured in the book.
Well, there are many but OK, here’s a couple… We took many road trips back in the day, as cheap flights were unheard of. Dave [A.I.M. bassplayer] and I went down for the Melbourne punk pub crawl in ’87. We got arrested and ended up in the lock-up. Quite a few punks did and they threw us all in the same cell! We started playing games like running around the perimeter of the cell in single file! They even took our photos upon arrival and gave them to us as souvenirs! That same year we went down to Sydney to see D.R.I. at Seven Hills Inn, as very few international bands came to Brisbane back then. It was probably the most insane weekend of my life. We got there, had to leave for the show pretty much immediately, the show ended up getting busted up by cops in full riot gear with dogs. Only got a couple of hours sleep, went to the signing at Utopia the next day, got chased by Nazi skinheads on the way back, jumped on the first train we could and landed in Redfern of all places. It was like the movie The Warriors! Finally made it back to Cronulla where we were staying then it was time to go home! We had the giggles on the bus on the way back as it was so fucking crazy!
In 1978 Razar released a song called “Task Force (Undercover Cops)” and in 1984 The Parameters released a single called “Pig City”. When you first got involved with the Brisbane punk scene, was punks getting hassled by cops still a common thing, as it was earlier on?
Razar were a bit before my time and “Task Force” is about undercover cops who used to go dressed as punks to gigs. I never saw that but fuck I wish I had! It would have been hilarious! But yeah, punks copped a hard time from the cops big time. It was a terrible place to be, looking back.
The press release for the book states, “The Treasury Hotel was the focal point of activity where bands played every Friday and Saturday night and battle lines were drawn between Nazi skinheads and the notorious Sick Boys.” Did you witness any of these battles? Who were the Sick Boys?
Yes, on many occasions, though it was mainly with skinheads and Aboriginal youths. Though the skinheads would start anybody, really. Not all of them, mind you, they weren’t all arseholes. They pretty much had their own pubs most of the time but you had to watch out when the pubs closed and they were roaming the streets full of piss. I guess the best way to describe the Sick Boys would be Nazi punks but not in the political sense. They were more thuggish characters who liked to drink and fight. They could be bullyboys and weren’t above doing home invasions on occasions and kicking the shit out of some poor bastard at a party. Luckily I had no problems with them as I was mates with ’em all!
The Thirty Years of Anger book launch is at The Foundry, Brisbane this Saturday, July 23 from 2pm w/ Anger In Motion, Post Life Disorder, Fat, Plan of Attack, Twin City Riot, Shitbox, The Scam, Lustration and Fun with Explosives.
Published by Boolarong Press, the book costs $29.99 and will be available in most book stores or online at Amazon.