Monday, January 7, 2008

The Moffs - Collection

from tricky.... for Paolo in Spain

Gives me great pleasure to introduce The Moffs, a 'one of a kind' band. Saw these guys play many times never disappointing always memorizing. Truly unique in Australia in the 80's. Probably best remembered for 'Another Day In The Sun', check out the single cover. They produced some of the best recor
d sleeve art of the decade.We have three studio records and a live show for you. Sit back, zone out and enjoy The Moffs.

Influenced by bands like Pink Floyd (Piper at the Gates of Dawn in particular), King Crimson, early Yardbirds, the Byrds, the Beatles and various blues & psychedelic bands and artists from the '60's, the Moffs, a Sydney band, were around from 1983 to 1989 and they released a whole lot of vinyl on the Citadel label. Their shows were wonderfully laid back - you could easily sit on the floor with your eyes closed and just groove along to their music, or you could take a whole lot of illicit substances and REALLY get into it. They were surreal, atmospheric and groovy; think of jangly guitars, bass guitar octave runs, Farfisa organs and the occasional bells and chimes.

They played mainly at inner-city Sydney venues like the Trade Union Club, the Strawberry Hills, the Paddington Green, the Hopetoun and the Lansdowne, which were the cornerstone of all good live indie music in Sydney in the 1980's.

The first line-up included Tom Kazas, Smiley Byrnes, Nick (Chesh) Potts on keyboards/harmonica and Brandon Saul.They played their first gig at a party called "Freakout" at the notorius 181 Campbell St, Redfern. However at some stage, Alan joined the Moffs to play drums. Apparently, this line-up met through Nick, who knew Alan through Suicidal Flowers, a long-standing band that played intermittently though the 1980's. He met Tom and Smiley through the Sydney mod scene. At the time, Tom was studying philosophy at the University of New South Wales.

Their first demo tape called "11 to 5", which is impossible to get, contained gems like 'Tombstone!', 'Confusion', 'Horto' and a version of the Beatles 'Tomorrow Never Knows'.

'11 to 5'

The band were doing gigs around Sydney and Lismore, and being managed by Greg "Quick" Squirl. Greg Kasch mixed at some of these early gigs.One of the most intriguing thing about the band at this time was undoubtably their haircuts! In photos of this time, Nick, Smiley and Alan all have their eyes totally obscured by thick fringes (think - outgrown Brian Jones haircuts)!

When they started to move away from the bluesier style of music, Nick moved onto No Man's Land (another 80's Sydney band that features a scary-looking singer with masses of hair-sprayed black hair called Dave Slade and current Celibate Rifles bass player, Jim Leone as well as stints with Suicidal Flowers. He was replaced by Mick Duncan who had previously been in No Man's Land.

In 1985, this line-up released a classic 5 track EP simply called The Moffs

The Moffs

Damon left and began to do stints with Suicidal Flowers and the final line-up was formed, which was the most stable and included Tom, Smiley, Andrew and keyboardist Scott Barnes. They released a 7" single (black and white sleeve)

The Traveller / Quaker's Drum and an LP Labyrinth (December 1987)

Labyrinth is a classic psychedelic and atmospheric album that should have been a hit but never quite got there. Songs like "Stealing Cake (to eat the moon)" and "Tapestry" should have been on movie soundtracks with a back-drop of an old, dark country mansion at sunset. The songs on "Labyrinth" consist of layers of sound that have been carefully crafted to achieve what still stands up well in 1998.

Entomology - Collection of hits and b sides

The Moffs played shows for a few more years and eventually stopped playing as a band. In 1994, a compilation CD called "Psychedelicatessen" was released, which included 13 tracks from previously released vinyl and an unreleased track recorded in 1987.

live at the trade union hall Sydney 04.04.87


Paolo said...

Yet another excellent post on this fantastic blog...a moffs live!!
What else can i say ?
Thank you.

ps: from Italy

Vanessa J. Bonnette said...


Just wanted to say hi. I'm Vanessa Bonnette - I was the lead singer and keyboardist of the Suicidal Flowers. I still have photos of the band and the tape recordings from our studio sessions. You can contact me at -

I'd love to hear from the ya doin these days?


Sooty Burns said...

Nice work,
I remember seeing them at Montsalvat, gothic building, candle-light, shafts of light cutting through the smoke and the stained glass, (must have been daytime...?). I was pretty stoned, but that was a magic gig. I wonder if all of it was real?

Sooty Burns

looking forward to the East Brunswick club gig

Marky D said...

Why did The Moffs suddenly pop into my head on the 5th of December?

MarkyD said...

PS was that their "last" show I saw at the Old Greek Theatre in Richmond circa '89 ? Truly awesome, in my top 10 shows of all time..just can't remember when it was (yes, I mean that good ha ha) ! Any assistance?

mickeytwin said...

Love the Moffs. Only have Labyrinth though. Have been trying to find CDs or MP3s of their stuff for years.

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