Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
KIKX were an Obscure late 70's Geelong (Australian) based, new wave rock band influenced visually and musically by New York Dolls, Velvet Underground, Dead Boys and Stranglers, who self combusted in 1980 only months after the release of their one and only single "Nova Express"/ "I Get My Kicks" (from sticking pins in ya tits) which alienated the band from most alternative FM radio stations who failed to see the satirical agenda of the song.
I have vague memories of seeing them play at the Eureka Hotel sometime in 1978,79 and remember their stage show to be quite different to the average 'pub rock' band that played this venue. As they were an unknown band at the time, I didn't take much notice of them (and was probably too drunk to appreciate them anyhow), but I did pickup their single several years later from Missing Links record shop in Melbourne City. I think I was drawn to the record mainly because of the weird cover and then realised who the band were.
Band members were:
Monty Osewald (aka Monty Neo): Vocals, Guitar
Lee Beckworth: Bass, Vocals
Kerry Hunter: Vocals, Percussion
Chris Lawson: Drums, Electronic Percussion
John Phillips: Guitar, Vocals
Karl Nosek: Electric Violin, Electronic Percussion, Programming
Guest Musicians for Recordings: Bob Kretschmer: Guitar, Eric Gradman: Electric Violin
John Phillips (guitar) gives us the following account of the band (on his recent YouTube posting of "Nova Express")
I was asked to join Kikx immediately after my departure from Goanna. This was a complete "head stretch" to absorb and adopt. Kikx was soaked in a lot of previous history and styles yet it was extremely focussed and knew what it wanted to do. It stylised itself as a Post Punk, New Wave band integrating influences from Glam Rock, William S. Burroughs, European arts, fashion and design, the visual arts, experimental media and new music technology as well as traditional rock and roll instruments. The performances were provocative, cutting edge, sharp, sophisticated and had touches of Kabuki imagery. The band used mediums of recording, photography, graphics, video and performance with their original music and selective covers of other songs. Kikx were a reflection of minimalist electronic and "art school" bands at the time such as Kraftwork, Television, Gang of Four, The Slits, Stranglers, The Ramones, Ultravox and Devo. Previous influences came from The New York Dolls, Roxy Music, Lou Reed, Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground. The band worked extensively, rehearsing, performing, experimenting, consistently recording and documenting and assessing their work. Played many shows in Geelong and inner city Melbourne venues such as the legendary Crystal Ballroom St Kilda, Exford Hotel, Hearts Carlton, The Tiger Room Richmond and the Eureka Hotel in Geelong.
The first single "Nova Express" / "I Get My Kicks" was recorded on 24 Track 2 inch format at Richmond Recorders with Eric Gradman producing, Tony Cohen engineering and a guest performance from Bob Kretschmer on guitar for Nova Express. 500 copies of the single were independenly pressed at Astor records and distributed through Au Go Go, Missing Link and Musicland records. It received extensive airplay and support from 3RRR and 3PBS radio and the music press. Astor's reaction to the single prompted negotiations to record and release an album. Astor was unexpectantly sold so the project didn't proceed. An unreleased demo album exists and was recorded at Greg Bee studios, Geelong during the negotiations with Astor records. The songs recorded capture a snapshot of the band at a peak in originality and creativity. This follow up album 'Bent Trax' never made it out of the recording studio. The band which had been at the forefront of experimental punk for four years split. Kikx played major supports with Midnight Oil, INXS, The Models, Radio Birdman, The Angels, The Birthday Party, Mi-Sex, Cold Chisel and The Reels. Musical differences, drugs and alcohol problems and sheer exhaustion from years of hitting the Wall saw the demise of the band in 1980.
Discography and Recordings
Nova Express / I Get My Kicks (Astor Records / Au Go Go Records): Single Recorded at Richmond Recorders, Melbourne:
Producer: Eric Gradman, Engineer: Tony Cohen Guest Musicians for Recordings Bob Kretschmer: Guitar Eric Gradman: Electric Violin "X-Picasso"
Demo Album for Astor Records / cassette format (Unreleased) Recorded at Greg Bee studios Geelong Live Recordings: The Crystal Ballroom, The Eureka Hotel & Deakin University. Film and Video 1981: Deakin University O'Week supporting Midnight Oil and The Models -- S/8mm 1981: Record Launch Geelong -- S/8mm
This is a 320kps mp3 rip of their single (sides A/B) taken from my mint vinyl copy, along with scans of the cover and independent record label, plus a video clip of "Nova Express" which John Phillips has posted on YouTube (with thanks)
It's interesting to note the different many ways in which Newspapers, Pubs, Venues misspelt the band's name during their career - Kicks, Kixx, Kick ! - which must have frustrated them no end
Kikx single (31Mb) Link removed at the request of a band member - sorry folks