SUMMER SPECIAL PRICE!
The Pits 3rd cassette album, Pits For Premiers from 1982 is available for the first time on LP.
Described by Tex Perkins in Clinton Walker's 1996 book Stranded as being "like the Shaggs, a male version, wimpy, out of tune, you know, that Brisbane thing, more comical than the Go-Betweens..."
Part of LCMR's Nice Price Series in a limited edition of 150 copies.
PRE ORDER NOW!
RELEASE DATE 30/09/16
Given An Address
Same For Me And You
Snakes And Ladders
Dumb Things (Instrumental)
Live at the Indooroopilly Hall, Brisbane. August 7, 1982.
For Brisbane residents, copies of the LP are available for purchase from:
680B Ann St
(07) 3061 3108
Despite forming around the end of 1979 or early 1980 – no-one seems to remember with any sense of accuracy - 1982 was the year of the Pits; that same moment in time when the second and third generation of punk-inspired music screeched to a halt by December. And it was a big year for the band, having cemented their classic four-piece line-up which can be heard across both sides of Pits For Premiers. Like the Lemmings before them, the Pits played a countless number of shows during their last year as a band and (somewhat miraculously) fitted themselves right across the band of scenes which the city had at the time.
Guitarist Peter Macpherson wrote the songs and sang – he played a floppy, right-handed rhythm held in time by their drummer, Des Johnson (born to the world as Greg Gilbert) who worked at the Drouyn drum factory in Stones Corner. The melodies and colour were provided dually by Peter’s oldest brother Dave on an assortment of dinky continental keyboards and affordable Japanese Casios, and bassist Greg Wadley with his SG faithfully reproduced to the point of lawsuit by Ibanez. The boys plugged into their own PA system (which they in part built) and outside of the world of local music where you won or lost at the Queensland Academy of Music, this was quite a rarity. Having their own PA allowed them to spread their ever to thin sound down the halls dotted around the inner city and to those who borrowed it.
Their recordings were the product of reel to reel machines and using a workable microphone that will slide into the socket. Despite the timely arrival of the Tascam 144 Portastudio in 1979, this kind of innovative technology of out of reach for these fresh working class kids. Cassette albums in Brisbane were not common place – well, not this early in the story at least. Cassette EPs burst out of Brisbane a year earlier with the new wave (we now call this music post-punk) sounds of Xiro and Birds of Tin to name but two though I could probably go on (and on). In order appeal to a more budget-conscious 45 buyer (and after all we are talking about a style of music where it’s more about single and not album statements), the Pits slipped their tapes into plastic sleeves with a 7” square insert and popped their copies into shops like Rocking Horse - having personally duplicated a run reflecting a percentage of the size of the Brisbane new wave music scene at the time which would number around 1000 men and women, boys and girls at its peak. Worldly ambitions were not on the Pits agenda, and the very notion of playing interstate seemed either uneconomic or unrealistic.
What they had on tape was incredibly lo-fi which was a term not quite ready for print in music publications. As Robert Forster once said in a liner note about the Four Gods, “all amateurism is positiveness” – and in the case of the Pits, this also rings true – it’s not about disregarding technology or the convention of recording studios – it’s about keeping with what’s affordable and getting enthusiasm onto magnetic tape and out there with all of the values of production, mistakes, and drop-outs left for posterity. This they call D.I.Y.
On the spine of the cassette and seen here on the bottom left hand corner of the back cover of the LP, you’ll see a black line drawing of a house. That’s Cubbyhouse. Peter placed this banner behind his cottage industry which went beyond the confines of a typical label. It also made Super 8 films, a newsletter, a fanzine and a header for presenting their own shows through an array of screen-printed posters. And of course it was a record label which included other bands, namely the pimply youth of Villanova’s finest, Tangled Shoelaces.
“This is our last performance” says Peter during the live recording you hear on side 2. Things had started to change very quickly by the winter of ’82. Bands like Kicks and Xero were in their death throes. Guitar-based rock music was starting to make way for a more serious, non-dabbling use or drum machines and synths. Inner city venues opened as fast as they closed for live, original music; and to add to the problems, the violence from the outer suburban ‘punks’ had begun to escalate out of boredom more than a sincere grudge towards either fans of bands or the bands themselves. Perhaps it was a mixture of the two, depending on what side of town they were from. The Pits PA system was stolen at a Ratsack benefit in November which in many ways saw Peter Macpherson’s inspiration and boundless energy dwindle to almost nothing and he drifted away from music for a while. It was the beginning of the end. Despite being the most prolific bands in terms of physical and creative output, the band’s members aside from the Macphersons still managed to juggle their time in a variety of different outfits, namely The Swirl, This Five Minutes, The Gatekeepers and the Dum Dums - and all but the the Swirl carried into the new year.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Brisbane, it’s that it was a very enthusiastic place – despite the political climate of the Bjelke-Petersen government. And not only that, it was a place where a lot got done in a very short space of time and the Pits were certainly a product of this cultural, creative explosion.
So here we are and almost 35 years later, the cassette is finally an LP for your turntable – unabridged and raw – just the way it was in 1982. I sincerely hope you enjoy it.