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The Television Addicts – Victimised! Part II

James Baker and Dave Faulkner of the Victims, at the Rosemount Hotel – Photo by Daniel Grant
James Baker and Dave Faulkner of the Victims, at the Rosemount Hotel – Photo by Daniel Grant

Original Victims members, Dave Faulkner and James Baker, are teaming up with Hard-Ons bassist, Ray Ahn, as The Television Addicts to perform the songs of The Victims at the Rosemount Hotel this Saturday, August 9, with guests The Homicides, Helta Skelta and Legs Electric. This is Part II of BOB GORDON’s chat with Faulkner and Baker.

The Victims circa 1977 - Dave 'Flick' Faulkner, James Baker and original bassist, Rudolph V
The Victims circa 1977 – Dave ‘Flick’ Faulkner, James Baker and original bassist, Rudolph V

Where we left off in Part I was where The Victims had been kicked out of the Kewdale Hotel.

The worst thing that could happen was actually the best thing that could happen in terms of notoriety. And it’s not like there weren’t other places to play.

Faulkner: “The Governor Broome was the first venue, apart from our house. James went there, walked in over the Horseshoe Bridge and asked the publican, didn’t you? Then it became a band venue after that?”

Baker: “No bands used the play there before, like blues bands back in ’74. But if they had bands on Saturday night we played Friday. We did about four gigs there. Then it opened up about a year later I think when The Scientists played there.”

Faulkner: It stopped for us for some reason, nothing bitter and twisted or anything. So we just booked our own gigs elsewhere then James found Hernando’s, walking back to Victim Manor one day (laughs). Just wandering the back streets of East Perth!”

Baker: No, someone told me that they had jazz bands on a Wednesday night, so I asked him f they wanted a rock band on a Thursday night. And he was quite open to it.”

Faulkner: It was an Italian restaurant or something and it was upstairs behind the Commonwealth Bank. So you had to go behind the carpark to get up the stairwell at the back.”

That building is these days known as Shape. Hernando’s Hideaway in that time and beyond, became infamous…

Faulkner: “It became our home, where The Victims really came to be. And that was the whole punk scene, other bands would play there as well.”

Baker: “We’d play a couple of gigs at town halls and at the uni. A couple at the hall. A couple meaning two, nit half a dozen (laughs).”

Faulkner and Baker estimate that The Victims played around 20 or so gigs in 1977. The trio burnt briefly and brightly.

But just why did they break up?

Faulkner: “Well… it was a whole lot of things. I mean, the scene itself was a little bit…”

Baker: “Predictable?”

Faulkner: “Yeah. The spontaneity of doing something to rebel against conformity ended up being this conformist scene. Everyone had to be like, ‘I’m so bored’ or ‘I’m on the dole’ – just parroting clichés of punk, you know? We kind of got sick of that and we wanted to not be restricted by it. We didn’t want to be restricted in the first place; that’s why we liked punk, it was freeing. So that was one of the things; and another was that… I can’t really say (laughs).

“On top of that also, I got a job and I was saving money to go overseas, because James had been travelling for more than a year and when he came back we were all just wide-eyed at all these stories of all these incredible bands and things he’d seen and done. The people we were reading about in the newspaper, like Sid Vicious and The Clash and The Ramones, well he’d been mingling with them. If I’d been there I could have been doing that too and I thought, now I’d do that, whatever the next generation of that is. I wanted to see that scene for myself. We had that feeling of being out of the swim, so to speak, of where the action was elsewhere in the world, musically. I wanted to travel and see that. I was 21 and that’s what I wanted to do. So it was a combination of things, plus the reason I can’t tell you (laughs).”

Baker although sparingly, is a little more forward on the matter.

Baker: “Well we had a falling out with the bass player.”

Faulkner: “Yeah… and who is not involved with this because he doesn’t want to know about The Victims anymore. He doesn’t want to talk about it anymore, so we haven’t.”

In his place is Ray Ahn from The Hard Ons, of inestimable punk rock pedigree himself.

Baker: “Because apart from being a nice guy and a great bass player…”

Faulkner: “And a punk fan who knows his shit!”

Baker: “He told me he’s the biggest fan of The Victims. It’s his favourite band. I thought, ‘geez mate, there’s plenty of other stuff out there!’ (laughs).”

Ahn is not alone on that one. For many years, around the world, people have discovered The Victims and fallen fan to them. To have achieved so much from so little time, in what was the last place on earth in 1977, The Victims, speaks volumes for this influential Perth band.

Baker: “Yeah it was fun, it was a fun band to play in. It’s mostly good memories, you know?”

Faulkner: “Well it is a precious jewel, really. A happy accident, whatever. It was a pretty special time in my life as well. It shaped me incredibly. The things I learnt, just from the things that James turned me on to, bands like The Flaming Groovies and things like that, even the New York Dolls, whom I’d heard of, but hadn’t paid attention – James was a huge fan and he made me really hear that.

“So these things are really important things to be influenced by. And the music itself and just being in The Victims, it was a great band. Our audience loved us, we loved playing for them and it was great fun. That energy was incredible.”

The Victims circa 1977 – Dave ‘Flick’ Faulkner, James Baker and original bassist, Rudolph V

The Victims, Television Addict

Click here for part I

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