THE BOYS NEXT DOOR / THE NIRTHDAY PARTY

Formed: Melbourne, Australia

Band Bio / Discography / Lineups

In my opinion, Australia’s fourth-finest band - after The Saints, Radio Birdman, and The Celibate Rifles. The Birthday Party began life as The Boys Next Door and introduced of of the major players in alternative/indie rock: Nick Cave, their manic, obsessive singer who went on to become King of the Goths (an accolade I believe he wasn't cock-a-hoop about). However, the Party was far from solely the product of Cave’s fevered imagination. His band mates - Rowland S. Howard (guitar), Mick Harvey (guitar, drums, organ, piano), Tracey Pew (bass) and Phill Calvert (drums) - provided lyrics, tunes and playing just as destructive as Cave’s. They started off as a fairly normal Roxy/Velvets-influenced rock band but went punk in late 1976 and, with the addition of second guitarist Rowland S. Howard in 1978 began producing wild music, borrowing from artists as diverse as Howlin’ Wolf and The Velvet Underground.

Their first album, Door, Door was recorded when they were called The Boys Next Door, and is fairly straightforward new wave art-punk with a vaguely paranoid edge. On ‘Brave Exhibitions’ and ‘Roman Roman’ (a silly homage to Polanski) saxophones are played in standard fashion and melodic backing vocals are the order of the day. Side one is given over to tightly strummed guitars and a steady 4/4 beat. It is probably the band’s most honestly enjoyable record, with only ‘Shivers’ really offering any hint of the majesty to follow. A big slushy ballad, it turns the act of being dumped into major melodramatic teen angst. And it’s great.

SHIVERS

I've been contemplating suicide
But it really doesn't suit my style
So I think I'll just act bored instead
To contain the blood I would've shed

She makes me feel so ill at ease
My heart is really at it's knees
But I keep a poker face so well
That even mother couldn't tell

But my baby's so vain
That she is almost a mirror
And the sound of her name
Sends a permanent shiver
Down my spi-i-ine
Down my spi-i-ine

I keep her photograph against my heart
For in my life she plays a starring part
All alcohol and cigarettes
There is no room for cheap regrets

She makes me feel so ill at ease
My heart is really at it's knees
But I keep a poker face so well
That even mother couldn't tell

But my baby's so vain
That she is almost a mirror
And the sound of her name
Sends a permanent shiver
Down my spi-i-ine
Down my spi-i-ine

Spi-i-ine, spi-i-ine...The Hee Haw 12" single introduced more abrasion and murk into the brew and took them further away from the mainstream, as did their second album The Birthday Party, released first as The Boys Next Door and then as The BIrthday Party. This was by some measure their most deranged sounding record yet, and coincided with their move to London.

Nick CaveBlokeBirthday partySkull

THE DIM LOCATOR

Inanimational items elude I, and
In-an-emotional-motion I swallow my
Motive of quicker location is slammed
my dim chance of skipping this thick world is thin
They call me Dim
I am the Dim Locator
Dim Locator
Loco, lomo, loco, lomo l'wow, wow, wow

intrigueinometry treads on my trail
Entriggering traps for a gross gang of ghost types
Who later are packed in a cast iron trunk
these things have been known, to get out of their wraps
Don't call me Dim
I am the Dim locator
Dim Locator
Loco, lomo......

Fog fished and filtered is filling my case book, of
friends who fall foul of my files trip and breakneck
are stacked in the woodshed for further good use
Theres some certain people who shouldn't start fires
So call me Dim!
I am the Dim Locator!
Dim Locator!
Don't call me Dim!

BIG-JESUS-TRASH-CAN

Big Jesus soulmates Trash Can
fucking rotton business this
bot feet in the bad-boot
siff in the crypt, babay, like a rock
rock-rock-rock

Big-Jesus soul-mates Trash-Can
pumped me fulla Trash at least it smelt like Trash
wears a suit of Gold (got greasy hair)
but God gave me sex appeal
well-well-well-rock
he drives a trash can
he's comin to my town rock rock rock
ro-o-o-o-o-ck!

Big Jesus Oil King down in Texas
drives great holy tanks of gold
screams from heaven's graveyard
American heads will roll in Texas (roll like Daddies meat)
roll under those singing stars of Texas
well-well-well
he drives a trash can
he's coming to my town

In the UK The Birthday Party’s music was mewith much favour amongst music critics and high-cheekboned kids dressed in black who were looking for more than Anti-Pasti and their ilk had to offer. They signed to the happening 4AD Records (and then Mute) and in between 1980 and 1983 issued a brace of mad-sounding barrier-breaking singles and two LPs, Prayers On Fire and Junkyard (They also released records back home via the Aussie label Missing Link.)

THE FRIEND CATCHER

I, cigarette fingers
Puff and poke
Puff and poking the smoke
Touches the ground

You, your lungs and your wrists
They throb like trains
Choo choo choo
It's a prison of sound

Of sound

She, by my chinny chin chin
Eee-oh eee-oh
Like a zippo smokes the way
Hope, around

You, your lungs and your wrists
They throb like trains
Choo choo choo
It's a prison of sound

A prison of sound

She, by the hair of my chinny chin chin
Eee-oh eee-oh eee-oh eee-oh
Like a zippo smokes the way
Hope, around

You, your lungs and your wrists
They throb like trains
Choo choo choo
It's a prison of sound

I poke around...

RELEASE THE BATS

Whoooahh! Bite! Whoooah! Bite!
Release the bats! Release the bats!
Don't tell me that it doesn't hurt
a hundred fluttering in your skirt
don't tell me that it doesn't hurt

My baby is alright
she doesn't mind a bit of dirt
she says "horror vampire bat bite"
she says "horror vampire
How I wish those bats would bite"
Whoooah! Bite

Release the bats! Release the bats!
Pump them up and explode the things
Her legs are chafed by sticky wings
(sticky sticky little things)

My baby is a cool machine
she moves to the pace of her generator,
says damn that sex supreme
she says damn that horror bat
sex vampire, cool machine

Release the bats! Release the bats!
Release them!

Baby is a cool machine
she moves to the pulse of a generator
she says damn that sex supreme
she says, she says damn that horror bat
sex horror sex bat sex horror sex vampire
sex bat horror vampire sex
cool machine
horror bat. Bite!
Cool Machine. Bite!
Sex vampire. Bite!

One of their EP's, the live Drunk On The Pope’s Blood was aptly self-described on its sleeve as “16 minutes of sheer hell!”, and it was split with the like minded Lydia Lunch.

All of these records are notable for the astonishingly violent lyrics and music, full of brutally pummeled rhythm guitars, piercing lead runs and loose-sounding arrangements which often obscures the fact that the band's skills are highly developed, their ability to twist the screw unmatched by any other at the time.

SHE'S HIT

there is woman-pie in here
mr. evangalist says she's hit
the best cook you ever had
ya can't blame the good-woman now, dad
and ya looked him up for 20 years
now there's action on the basement stairs
a monster half man half beast climbs
hear the hatchet (grind, grind)
pilgrim gets 1 hacked daughter
and all we guys get are 40 hack reporters
uptown 100 skirts are bleeding
mr. evangalist says
she's hit ev'ry little bit
she's hit ev'ry little bit
now if only we could all grow wings and fly
sweet hatchet swing low son
I'm feeling pretty lonesome
christen the bastard jack dad
the head-shrinker is a quack
"anyone who'd wear their hair like that"
the vinyl is so cool/the conversation's cruel
hold my heart romeo its in a rodeo
hold my head daddy-o it just won't go-o-o-o
and all the girls across the world
are hit ev'ry little bit

SIX INCH GOLD BLADE

I stuck a six inch gold blade inside the head of a girl
she: lying through her teeth
him: lying on his back
hands of this one,hands off she cried
grinning at me from hip to hip
hands off, pretty baby, tough blood then so soft to slip
ooohh yeah
I stuck a six inch gold blade in the head of a girl
sharks fun slices sugar-bed slices that pretty red-head
I love you! now me! I love you!
laughter, laughter
oh baby, those skinny girls, they're so quick to murder
ooohhh yeah.
Shake it baby, c'mon, shake, shake it baby

The Birthday Party / Boys Next Door Nick CaveNick

ABOVE: Article from Punk Lives #6

MUTINY IN HEAVEN

Well ah jumpt! and fled this fucken heap on doctored wings
Mah flailin pinions, with splints and rags and crutches!
(Damn things nearly hardly flap)
Canker upon canker upon one million tiny punctures
That look like...
Long thin red ribbons draped across the arms of a lil mortal girl
(Like a ground -plan of Hell)
Curse these smartin strings! These fucken ruptures!
Enough! Enough is enough!
(If this is Heaven ah'm bailin out)
If this is Heaven ah'm bailin out
Ah caint tolerate this ol tin-tub
So fulla trash and rats! Felt one crawl across mah soul
For a seckon there , as thought as wassa back down in the ghetto!
(Rats in Paradise! Rats in Paradise!)
Ah'm bailin out! There's a mutiny in Heaven!

Ah wassa born...
And Lord shakin, even then was dumpt into some icy font,
like some great stinky unclean!
From slum-chuch to slum-church, ah spilt mah heart
To some fat cunt behind a screen...

Evil poppin eye presst up to the opening
He'd slide shut the lil perforated hatch...at night mah body
blusht
To the whistle of the birch
With a lil practice ah soon learnt to use in on mahself
Punishment?! Reward!! Punishment?! Reward!!
Well, ah tied on...percht on mah bed ah was...
sticken a needle in mah arm...

Ah tied off! Fucken wings burst out mah back
(Like ah was cuttin teeth!!)
Ah took off!!!
(Rats in Paradise! Rats in Paradise!)
There's a mutiny in Heaven!

Oh Lord, ah git down on mah knees
(Ah git down on mah knees and start to pray)

Wrapped in mah mongrel wings, ah nearly freeze
In the howlin wind and drivin rain
(All the trash blowin round 'n' round)
>From slum-heaven into town
Ah take mah tiny pain and rollin back mah sleeve
(Roll anna roll anna roll anna roll)
Ah yank the drip outa mah vein! UTOPIATE! Ah'm bailin out!
UTOPIATE!
If this is Heaven ah'm bailin out!
Mah threadbare soul teems with vermin and louse
Thoughts come like a plague to the head...in God's house!
Mutiny in Heaven!
(Ars infectio forco Dio)
To the plank!
(Rats in Paradise! Rats in Paradise!)
Ah'm bailin out!
(Hail Hypuss Dermio Vita Rex!)
Hole inna ghetto! Hole inna ghetto!
(Scabio Murem per Sanctum...Dio, Dio, Dio)

Following two excellent 12" EPs in 1983 - The Bad Seed and Mutiny! - they split.

For anybody wishing to delve further into their formative period, the bootleg album Boys Next Door (1988) features the contents of a studio tape from August 1977, recorded prior to Howard joining. Interesting poppy punk, it even has versions of ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’, ‘Louie Louie’ and ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin’’ (not the 7” version) alongside spunky originals like ‘Masturbation Generation’ and ‘Who Needs You?’.

 

DISCOGRAPHY

Singles / Albums

The Boys Next Door - These Boots Are Made For Walking The Boys Next Door - Shivers The Boys Next Door - Door, Door The Boys Next Door - Hee Haw The Birthday Party - The Birthday Party LP
These Boots Are Made For Walking (7", as The Boys Next Door, 1978) Shivers
(7", as The Boys Next Door, 1979)
Door, Door (LP, as The Boys Next Door, 1979) Hee Haw (12", as The Boys Next Door, 1979) The Birthday Party
(LP, as The Boys Next Door, 1980)
The Birthday Party - The Friend Catcher The Birthday Party - Mr. Clarinet The Birthday Party - Prayers On Fire The Birthday Party - Nick The Stripper The Birthday Party - Release The Bats
The Friend Catcher
(7", 1980)
Mr. Clarinet (7", 1980) Prayers On Fire
(LP, 1981)
Nick The Stripper
(7"/12", 1981)
Release The Bats
(7", 1981)
The Birthday Party - Junkyard The Birthday Party / Lydia Lunch - Drunk On The Pope's Blood / The Agony Is The Ecstacy The Birthday Party - The Birthday Party LP The Birthday Party - The Bad Seed The Birthday Party - Mutiny
Junkyard (LP, 1982) Drunk On The Pope's Blood (12", split with Lydia Lunch, 1982) The Birthday Party
(LP, as The Birthday Party, 1982)
The Bad Seed
(12", 1983)
Mutiny! (12", 1983)

Extraneous Releases

The Boys Next Door / Models - Split The Boys Next Door - Happy Birthday The Birthday Party - Dead Joe The Boys Next Door Live Tape 1982 The Birthday Party - The Birthday Party 12"
Boys Next Door / Models (7", gig freebie, split, as The Boys Next Door, 1979) Happy Birthday
(7", gig freebie, as The Boys Next Door, 1980)
Dead Joe
(7", flexi, 1982)
Live (Tape, as The Boys Next Door, 1982) The Birthday Party
(12", 1983)
The Birthday Party - It's Still Living The Birthday Party - A Collection ... The Birthday Party - The Peel Sessions The Birthday Party - The Peel Sessions II The Birthday Party - Mutiny / The Bad Seed
It's Still Living
(LP, 1985)
A Collection
(LP, 1985)
The Peel Sessions (12"/CDS, 1987) The Peel Sessions II (12"/CDS, 1988) Mutiny / The Bad Seed (CD, 1989)
The Birthday Party - Hee Haw The Birthday Party - Drunk On The Pope's Blood Definitive Missing Link Recordings 1979-1982 The Birthday Party - Hits The Birthday Party - Live 1981-82
Hee-Haw (LP/CD, 1989) Drunk On The Pope's Blood (CD, 1991) Definitive Missing Link Recordings 1979-1982 (5xCD, 1991) Hits
(2xLP/CD, 1992)
Live 1981-82
(CD, 1999)
The Birthday Party - The John Peel Sessions The Birthday Party - Peel Sessions    
The John Peel Sessions (CD, 2001) Peel Sessions
(2xLP, 2011)
     

Bootlegs

Live Live In Berlin Coiutus Sanctus Amen Boys Next Door Devil In A Bottle
Live (Tape, as The Boys Next Door, 1982) Live In Berlin
(Tape, 1982)
Coitus Sanctus Amen (LP, 1984) Boys Next Door
(LP, as The Boys Next Door, 1984)
Devil In A Bottle
(LP, 1985)
A Social Gathering For The Celebration Of Someone's Birth Next Door The Front Row Is Not For The Fragile The Birthday Party feat. Lydia Lunch - Funhouse Born Dead
A Social Gathering For The Celebration Of Someone's Birth
(LP, 1987)
Next Door (CD, as The Boys Next Door, 1994) The Front Row Is Not For The Fragile (LP, with Lydia Lunch, 2004) Funhouse (LP, as The Birthday Party feat. Lydia Lunch, 2006) Born Dead: The John Peel Sessions 1980 & 1981 (LP, 2007)
A Fuckin' Rotten Business This! Masturbation Generation Drunk On Deutschen Blood Lost And Brave Slum Church
A Fuckin' Rotten Business This!
(LP, 2007)
Masturbation Generation Live 1977 (LP, as The Boys Next Door, 2008) Drunk On Deutschen Blood (CDR, 2009) The Lost & Brave Exhibitions Of...
(LP, as The Boys Next Door, 2009)
Slum Church
(CDR, 2009)
The Boys Next Door - What's The Storey? The Birthday Party - Peel Sessions 1980-1982 The Birthday Party w/ Lydia Lunch - Welcome To The Car Smash... God Gave Them Sex Appeal Cremation
What's The Storey? (LP, as The Boys Next Door, 2011) Peel Sessions 1980-1982 (LP, 2011) Welcome To The Car Smash... (LP, as The Birthday Party with Lydia Lunch, 2012) God Gave Them Sex Appeal (Tape, 1980s) Cremation (LP)
Your Birthday Party Have Now Begun!        
Your Birthday Party Have Now Begun! (LP)        

Various Artists

Lethal Weapons Australia LP 1978 (Suicide): These Boots Are Made For Walking / Masturbation Generation / Boy Hero

Fast Forward #2 Australia Tape 1980 (Fast Forward): Figure Of Fun / Yard / Interview

Fast Forward #10 Australia Tape 1982 (Fast Forward): Release The Bats / Interview

Dogs In Space UK LP/CD 1987 (WEA): Shivers

Inner City Sound Australia 2xCD 2005 (Laughing Outlaw): Sex Crimes

Tales From The Australian Underground - Vol. 2: 1977-1990 Australia 2xCD 2006 (Feel Presents): Dive Position

Links

DISCOGS - Lots more info
WIKIPEDIA - The most reliable source of info on the net has this to claim
RECORD COLLECTORS OF THE WORLD UNITE - Has lots of beautiful scans
DiSCOGRAPHY - In minute detail

 

 

 

You can add stuff and make comments/corrections by emailing me at:

jane@punkygibbon.co.uk

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