Two pieces of writing that attempt a longer perspective view on the Moodists.



Engine Shudder (UK Red Flame) 1983
Thirsty's Calling (UK Red Flame) 1984
Double Life EP (UK Red Flame) 1985
At His Stone Beach EP (UK Fire) 1988
My Life on the Plains (Fire) 1989
Codine EP (UK Fire) 1990

Originally from Australia, the Moodists are graduates of the thump'n'grind school of gothic punk. Combining dense metallic bass and razor-sharp guitar riffs with singer Dave Graney's demonic growl, the band is capable of a most unholy din. Although dark and ominous, the music can at times be surprisingly melodic.
The seven-song Engine Shudder is not the Moodists at their most effective. The tracks are devoid of coherence and slip readily into redundancy. Only "Gone Dead" hints at a
promising future, thanks to Graney's layered vocals and Chris Walsh's bass work.
Thirsty's Calling is a remarkable improvement. The addition of a second discordant guitar and judicious production makes this music for nightmares. Setting vocals and guitars further back in the mix, the rhythm section comes into its own on "That's Frankie's Negative" and the standout, "Machine Machine." Grimly primal, this music breathes life into pop's
forbidding alter-ego, a region where many dare to tread and few prove this successful.
The Moodists' reign of terror continues on the six-song EP, "Double Life". Bass and voice are up-front this time, giving the tracks full-bodied menace. "Double Life," "Six Dead Birds" and "Can't Lose Her" are wonderfully desperate songs and by far the Moodists' best to date. Following the EP, the band underwent personnel and label changes, returning in '85 with the "Justice and Money Too" single — light, bluesy pop augmented with strings and piano. They may have
lost their venom, but not the ability to craft stunning tunes.
Like the band's late work, Graney's post-Moodists output ditches the aggression and concentrates on tasteful, literate songcraft. At His Stone Beach finds Graney (backed by a
group that includes ex-Orange Juice/Aztec Camera guitarist Malcolm Ross and Moodists drummer Clare Moore) making the most of his limited but expressive voice on four
impressively crafted new tunes.
My Life on the Plains is a resounding fulfillment of the promise hinted at on the preceding EP (the contents of which are included as bonus tracks on the album's CD). The fascination
with frontier Americana suggested by the cover motif is reflected in haunting originals like "I'll Set the Scene" and "Robert Ford on the Stage," as well as thoughtful reworkings of songs by Gene Clark, Gram Parsons and Fred Neil. There's also a spooky version of "The Streets of Laredo." With a new combo that reunites the Moodists' rhythm section, the music
is supple and textured, providing a perfect vehicle for Graney's increasingly accomplished writing and singing.
The Codine EP is five tracks from a live-in-the-studio Australian radio broadcast — the Buffy Sainte-Marie title tune, the trad folk standard "Jack of Diamonds" and three from Graney's solo records. With My Life on the Plains' pianist traded in for a pedal-steel player, it's a
worthy addendum to the album.
Altricia Gethers/Harold DeMuir
Trouser Press magazine (Ireland)


















cover design by Dave Western

Welcome Strangers: Rare Stories of Great Australian Albums
The Moodists EPs ~ Take the Red Carpet Out of Town (1986) & The Moodists (1987)
By Christopher Hollow
(originally ran in Rhythms magazine)
The Moodists were renowned as Australia’s best kept secret at the height of their powers. It’s a status time hasn’t
changed. These days they’re only ever mentioned in whispers and footnotes. In the latest in the ongoing Welcome
Strangers series Christopher Hollow unearths the last two UK recorded EPs – forgotten gems from a forgotten band.
Before Dave Graney became the Golden Wolverine, the Savage Sportsman or the El Supremo King of Pop he was the big haired, cherub faced lead singer of the Moodists. A band with all the ingredients for cult status – a great name, a good look and fine songs. Their records were made with grand ideals;
grand notions and they meant it all.
Unfortunately, so far the Moodists are all but forgotten. The annuals of rock history have dealt out aces and eights. At best they’re a footnote when discussing the later success of Graney and Clare Moore. Buried deep on the resumes of producer Victor Van Vugt and Dirty Three guitarist Mick Turner. A vague memory for anyone who can visualise W. Minc Records mogul Handsome Steve Miller flaying away at a Flying V guitar.
Yet the band lasted six, seven years releasing two albums, a mini-LP, three EPs and a fistful of singles. Their best won’t be denied.
* *
The career of the Moodists can be roughly split into two halves. The first lasted from 1980 to ’85 featuring Turner and the distinctive bass playing of Chris Walsh. The second with Malcolm Ross and David McClymont from Scottish pop group Orange Juice on board, lasted barely a year.
The nucleus was Graney and Miller who all hailed from the South Australian country town of Mt. Gambier. In the late 70s they went Adelaide (where they hooked up with Clare Moore) before moving to Melbourne in 1981. Here bass player Chris Walsh and guitarist Mick Turner were added and they put out two singles and a mini-LP on Au-Go-Go before relocating to London on signing with Red Flame.
The Moodists early sides like Where the Trees Walk Downhill, Gone Dead and the Thirsty’s Calling LP are hard, raw, and driving. Paradox rock – musically ambitious yet consciously crude. Literate songs interpreted inarticulate. Brooding, insular and petulant. Anyone interested in the band usually picks Thirsty’s Calling, released in 1984, as the essential Moodist effort.
"Thirsty’s Calling was the first record we made for Red Flame after they signed us and summoned us to the U.K," explains Clare Moore.
"Fortunately for us the label put us into a great studio. So for the first time we could make an album that sounded the way we wanted it to. Chris's bass sounded like it was being played with a saw. As everything seemed to come together for this album, I guess it is the one everyone remembers. It was also more readily available although it didn't have a local release here."
"The first side of Thirsty’s Calling is good," says Dave Graney. "My favourite Moodists track is Double Life (title track of second album from ’85) but I can't stand my voice on most of the early tracks. I was always trying to sound like Jim Morrison, Iggy Pop or Alan Vega. I'm singing in registers that are really forced."
In 1984 RAM magazine’s Marie Ryan described Graney singing That Frankie’s Negative from Thirsty’s Calling.
"Dave Graney thrusts his hips lasciviously while crooning the sorry tale of Frankie and his negative into the mike clasped in his left hand, his voice astride a wall of crashing guitars and thunderous drums. Its a mean, snarling sound, but Dave looks about as threatening as an ice cream vendor, the cherubic face and mop of curly hair totally contradicting any sexual tension or danger that the gyrating pelvis might connotate. "Jim Morrison" shouts a lank haired youth to my right, partly in derision and partly in admiration. The audience don't quite know what to make of the Moodists and that in itself is a homage."
The Moodists didn’t appeal to a particular audience like the Birthday Party, Hunters n Collectors or even the Scientists. To be a Moodists fan was an individual thing. An admiration you didn’t blurt out. Detractors at the time saw the Moodists as poor cousins to the Birthday Party. Graney playing Sancho Panza to the quixotic Nick Cave. However, hindsight shows the Moodists hold up better. Less affected and less connected to the time.
"That’s a pretty generous view," Graney says. "I really think the Birthday Party were much more coherent, confident and connected. We ran on a different kind of energy, sullen, unspoken, interior, inarticulate. Occasionally we hit on things that really rocked. Like the Birthday Party, we were always experimenting with song structures. We were relentlessly modern in attitude.
"On the records Thirsty’s Calling and Double Life all the songs are two or three chords. There are no key changes, no choruses, and no solos. It was all performance and energy. The later period was a move into more classic songwriting and arranging. In some ways the early stuff was more "modern" in that we were always looking for ways to express things, in some ways its really old school, like a blues aesthetic."
The later period followed the departure firstly of Turner before Walsh headed back to Australia too. In August, ’85 they were the first Australian band to release a record on the Creation label – a 12" EP called Justice and Money Too. The replacements were guitarist Malcolm Ross and bassist
Dave McClymont from indie pop group Orange Juice (fronted by Edwyn Collins). Even people who trumpet the Moodists gloss over the line-ups last two EPs. Perhaps it’s because they represent the band’s most commercial, accessible tunes – the closest Graney has ever come to writing a classic Moodists 3-minute pop track. Perhaps it’s because Turner and Walsh were
both seen to be integral to the early sound. Perhaps by that stage the Moodists were out of fashion. Whichever way you look at it both Take the Red Carpet out of Town and the Moodists (aka Someone’s Got to Give) are forgotten gems from a forgotten band. "These two EP’s were moving towards the kind of music Clare and I would put together in the Coral Snakes period," Graney says. "We were also hanging around with people like Epic Soundtracks (Swell Maps/Crime and the City Solution) who was a total record collector and belonged to this funny international Brian Wilson bunch of obsessives who all traded "Smile " era cassettes. This is all before the cd re issue/ box set fetish revolution. All these influences suddenly seemed to flood in. Like a ship with a big hole in the side."

picture Wayne O'Farrell





The title track to the 3-song Take the Red Carpet Out of Town EP sounds unlike any other Moodist recording. It strikes a richer, deeper sound compared to the wired, trebly feel of the early output. An excited brass arrangement propels the track while Graney hits his distinctive vocal style delivering his already unique lyrical outlook.
"We played the song with Chris Walsh in the band and then changed it with David McClymont on the bass," Graney explains. "Chris was such a central part of the sound; he was impossible to replace so we started to pay more attention to songwriting and arranging. Louise Elliott, who we knew from the Laughing Clowns, did the arrangement. She was a great player and a wild bohemian."
The b-sides were Everybody Don’t Tell Her and the traditional Jack of Diamonds – a song that had been transformed in the mid-60s by San Francisco folk-psychedelic group the Charlatans. "That was a track we were pointed towards by Epic Soundtracks," Graney explains. "Probably on a tape he gave to me or Steve. It seemed so mysterious and arcane." In later years Graney frequently referred to the band in interviews and photos.
It’s the direct link to the music Graney and Moore later produced with the White Buffaloes on My Life on the Plains.
Released on the Tim/Abstract label in October 1985 Take the Red Carpet Out of Town meet with little reaction. The 4-track EP that quickly followed in February 1986 was simply titled The Moodists. Again it failed to garner much attention but showed the band crafting twisted pop songs.
The opener Hey Little Gary was written about "all these rockers at the time from privileged backgrounds trying on some badass clothes for a few summers. There lots of them around." Another track It Takes a Thief featured lines like "You’re a type and so I am/So lets two famous brands go
for a ride" while Somebody to Love is a delicious melding of wild guitar, funky drumming and Graney’s lyric. (I went down to the station in the rush/All those faces came at mine/Somebody to Love). "I really like Somebody to Love for the lyric, the arrangement and the playing," he says.
"Steve is playing really well and so is Malcolm Ross. The ending is really dramatic."
The great, lost hit single off the set is Someone’s Got to Give – a brilliant, timeless track cased in an intriguingly elastic arrangement. Moore sings backup as Graney implores – "if I could only put a face to my troubles."
"Someone’s Got to Give was really heavily arranged by Steve and David McClymont," Graney says. "I, of course, always had too many words for one song. We were just feeling our way to something new."
One of the reasons for the ageless feel on the two EPs is Clare Moore’s drums. "I was going for a "Bonzo" Bonham drum sound," she admits. It was achieved despite most records of the time being swamped with horrendous 80s drum effects – a hallmark of the era that taints many great records. Somebody to Love is the only track to feature a slight hint of the times with some 80s sounding handclaps (actually sounding pretty
good). "Our contemporaries like the Go-Betweens and the Triffids all had to deal with that shit more than us," Graney says. "They all had producers insisting drum machines and programs absolutely had to be used. No one was paying attention to us."
Having no one pay attention at this time proved too much for the Moodists. By mid-1986 it was over. The way Moore remembers it there was no big fight just frustrated resignation – "there wasn’t any band meeting to decide it."
"We ran out of gas," states Graney. "Steve was tour managing the Triffids a lot, going away with them. Their success and easy engagement with the UK business seemed to be a trick we could never manage. We were buggered."




The Moodists – Take the Red Carpet out of Town EP & The Moodists EP
Best Tracks:
Take the Red Carpet Out of Town
Jack of Diamonds
Someone’s Got to Give
Somebody to Love
Hey Little Gary

What's the petulant schoolboy look on the cover of The Moodists all about?
Dave Graney - "It was supposed to be a remake of this Victorian photo of a bunch of delinquent fops in the same gardens. Only Clare and myself turned up in period looks. Steve had his shiny suit on and David McClymont was in a foul mood. I was trying to look just like one of the kids in the photo."

picture Bleddyn Butcher 1986




The Australian Rock Encyclopedia's entry on theMoodists

The Moodists and pals, words from people who were there

An interview with the Moodists in 2003.

a short bio of Clare and David