Sometimes Pleasureheads Must Burn: The Birthday Party and beyond 1982 – 89. Photographs by Innes Reekie

NC Pages 40 & 1

A5 40 page Photo-booklet printed on 130 gsm paper, silk finish, full colour

“Their artistic leanings were more developed than their Rock’n’Roll leanings. Usually a lot of Australian groups who come to the UK have to rely on an Australian audience, but in The Birthday Party’s case the audience would soon be comprised of 70% English and 30% Australian. I don’t think any other Australian group has ever done that. The Birthday Party did something that other bands weren’t prepared to do: come over to the UK and live here. Most come over on a major label deal and fuck off again when the money runs out. They were brave. It was a fairly austere time, living from hand to mouth, doing menial jobs, a very grim existence.”

Chris Carr – Publicist to The Birthday Party and The Saints

The Birthday Party were possibly the most aggressive, confrontational live band I’d ever seen – it was what I imagined The Stooges at their peak would have been like. A million light years from the melodic Postcard stuff I’d been immersed in at the time. I couldn’t work out if this aural and visual chaos was all improvised, or much like Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica – contrary to what was suggested in the sound, it had been meticulously rehearsed for nigh on a year! The rhythm section was hard as nails, but as loose (in a good way) as a cool Harlem Jazz combo in the 30’s. I’d never heard anyone make a guitar sound like Rowland S Howard, and Nick genuinely resembled a man possessed, but utterly enthralling. Lyrically too, they were also fascinating…. then again, if you take your name from Harold Pinter’s late 1950’s ‘comedy of menace’, you kinda know you’re dealing with intellectual beings.

After the gig, Nick Cave brushed passed me, and noticed my Raw Power tattoo and invited us backstage for drinks. I think we went to the following five or six shows around the UK following that eye-opening night. That was the beginning…although I never took photographs then, here are a few I took in the years to follow.

Innes Reekie October 2018

Order from this link: