In 1789 the French had finally had enough of absolutism in the form of the monarchy driven government and vented their collective spleen by storming the Bastille.
In 1977 the people of Australia were in the same kind of mood. Ian Rilen, Steve Lucas, Ian Krahe & Steve Cafiero – conspirators all – would meet in a basement in Glebe and plot rebellion. They called themselves X and plastered Sydney with the bold red Xs, slashed over the mastheads and pages of Sydney’s newspapers alerting like-minded people where they could gather and revel in anarchy and chaos.
40 years later, X is calling out to the people again to be seen in the streets. Raise your voices and unite! Pub rock lives and the punk ethic is alive and kicking.
The X-CITATIONS Australia wide tour begins at the Prince of Wales in St Kilda, be there…
Jen catches up with Steve and learns more about X from 40 years ago.
40 years Steve! I bet back in 1977 at your first ever show you would have laughed to think you would be doing a tour to celebrate your 40 years.
I think we were surprised enough to get another gig at all! We were very much in the moment. Thinking about next week was beyond us, let alone in 40 years time!
Looking at your press photos, you guys have not aged at all! ☺ Is there one thing that you feel your maturity now is easier to do a tour and one thing that that is causing difficulty?
What press photos are you looking at! hahaha…. I have aged, gratefully perhaps, but being the only surviving original member it’s not a fair comparison but I suppose for a bunch of old fellas we scrub up okay. Music, taken in correct doses can prolong life and increase vitality. Either that or it will kill you.
Yes, so true. I love the story that you had to borrow a safety pin to keep your jeans up, and the highlight of the show was not being killed. Very punk! Anything else you can remember about that gig you can share?
I remember getting the safety pin from Johnny Dole, my zipper broke… I recall swimming down at the beach at Bondi, it was a beautiful day, and then walking up to the gig. I also recall how very pallid punks looked in the light of day. We played 3 bombastic sets. It was very liberating!!
Moving on to your affair with Melbourne (my home town) I mean what is not to love. You lived in Sydney though. What made you choose Melbourne to kick start your tour rather than the place you lived?
There were a few reasons for moving to Melbourne. Firstly for me, I fell in love. Yes, the degenerate boy fell in love… she was an art student. We met at The Espy…How cliché, yet so very romantic! So I moved from Sydney to be with her. Also at that time the first death tolls were ringing out to heralding the fall of Sydney’s music scene. Melbourne was alive! Sydney was sickening. It was a sad state of affairs – gigs dropping like flies… so we did what we had to do to survive. It didn’t take much for Ian and Cathy to follow suit. Melbourne embraced us and we embraced Melbourne in turn.
Tell us about the plastering red X’s over Sydney and the general revel in anarchy and chaos. I was 7 at the time and unaware of the punk movement that would ultimately be my scene.
When I was a kid there was this graffiti painted on the brick work of some bridges over the railway lines that said ‘The Creatures are coming….’ ( A band that Steve Cafiero was in as it happens) Maybe subconsciously that had an influence. But Ian Rilen was very good at improvising. It was his idea to use newspapers. Mainly Rilen and myself would spend hours painting each one and then we’d sit around cooking up buckets of glue… all very revolutionary and underground. Then we’d load up the ‘57 Chevvy and plaster Sydney with our handiwork. Midnight raids. Defacing bands we didn’t like… it was like being in a movie or a novel. It was almost too real to be happening.
For your dedicated fans, you have a limited edition album of the best songs from the early years. What are some of the songs, say pick 3 and tell us why they were a definite on the album.
…? That’s a tough one. Well, Home Is The Floor Is because it is such an anthem. It summed up everything that was happening to us in less than 2 minutes! I Don’t Wanna Go Out for the same reason – plus the irony. Back then EVERYONE wanted to go out. It was a different world. hmmm… That leaves One More Chance, because after all, isn’t what this is? One more chance to get the music and the message out there and in your face. One more chance to spit in the eye of fate. To tilt at a windmill? To do for the simple fancy of doing?
I do hope that your tour is all that you hoped for, to play pure and simple Rock and Roll and have a fucking great time doing it!
Thank you so much. Rock and roll, done well, makes it impossible to do not anything but have a fucking great time! Do you think I’d be celebrating 40 years if it was dull? Good on ya baby!
With reformations and reunited lineups and tours, X have never been too far from a stage in the last 40 years, but last remaining living member, Steve Lucas, has brought something X-tra special with him this time. A very limited edition vinyl collectors release called X-CITATIONS: BEST OF X. THE EARLY YEARS 1977-82. And though it’s a mouthful it tells you everything you need to know. Hand-picked and lovingly put together by Lucas himself, this tour will bring the old rockers out from their hiding and show new fans what all the fuss was about.
Lucas has called upon Kim Volkman (Love Addicts), and Doug Falconer (Hunters and Collectors) to join him to deliver the best of X. Not just the music – not just the songs, but the intent!
To stand against all odds and naysayers and to play pure and simple Rock and Roll… and have fucking great time doing it.
This incredible nod to their dedicated fans kicks off mid July at their home – The Prince of Wales.
X- Citations 40th ANNIVERSARY TOUR
Friday JULY 14 – Prince of Wales – Melbourne Tix
Friday JULY 21 – Factory Theatre – Sydney Tix
Saturday JULY 22 – Transit Bar – Canberra Tix
Saturday JULY 29 – The Triffid – Brisbane Tix
Thursday AUGUST 3 – Mojo’s – Fremantle Tix
Friday AUGUST 4 – Rosemount Hotel – Perth Tix
Saturday AUGUST 5 – The Gov – Adelaide Tix
Tickets go on sale Wednesday 31st May through venue websites.