Crash Politics

Crash Politics formed in circa 1982 with the three original members Stuart Paton (Vocals, Guitar), Andrew Reefman (Drums) and Andrew Storer (Bass) (aka James Riff), jamming any chance they could in Reefman’s garage.  All three lived in the northern Sydney suburbs of Belrose and Frenchs Forest and met by chance on the beach at North Steyne, Manly.

 

Their first gig was at the now long-gone Lismore hotel in the city, and they began the hard slog of playing regular gigs at the Parkway Hotel in Frenchs Forest and other venues. They were soon joined by fourth member Michael Wood on guitar and keyboards.

 

The main musical influences on Crash at this stage were bands such as The Cure, Violent Femmes, XTC, David Bowie and local bands like INXS and Celibate Rifles.

 

After developing a strong set of original songs and cutting their teeth playing gigs in pubs and clubs for 4 years the band not only developed a loyal fan base but came to the attention of Chris Murphy and Sebastian Chase, best known for their management of INXS. The band signed publishing with Murphy’s MMA Music and in 1986 went into record its first 6 track EP ‘A Taste of Things to Come’, released on Chase Records. Produced and engineered by Nick Mainsbridge, the EP was well received and generated 2 Singles: The Same (1986) and Sheep (1987), and the band made film clips for both songs. 

 

In mid 1987 the band parted ways with original bassist Andrew Storer who was replaced by Ross Farnell (ex Beargarden / The Ears). After a series of Sydney gigs playing in the new line up the band went into rehearsal for its first full length album. At this time the band became the first group signed to Murphy’s new label rooArt Records.

 

In late 87 the band started recording the album Mother’s Intention, released in 1988. The album generated two singles, Stop and Great Smell of Freedom, with both singles and their videos receiving moderate airplay, especially on Sydney’s 2JJ, where the band played a live at the wireless set on the ‘Cooking with George’ show. The band also featured on rooArt’s first release compilation of new Australian bands ‘Young Blood’, with the song ‘Bitter Rain’. 

 

 A national tour to support and promote Mother’s Intention lasted only one gig when it was cut short by a car crash in Wagga Wagga following a gig at the Johnny Mac that left Farnell in hospital and with many months recovery to follow.  

 

After a hiatus the band slowly regrouped and brought in guitarist Andrew Steward to allow Paton to concentrate on vocals at gigs. The band went into a lengthy period of song writing and rehearsal, developing its sound further away from the band’s original 3-piece roots to one much more layered and complex. The band’s live following in Sydney continued to grow, and new songs were honed live at venues such as the Kardomah Café in Kings Cross. 

 

In 1989 the band went into both Paradise and Rhinoceros studios with engineer Mark Roberts and Nick Mainsbridge again mixing (some tracks) to self-produce the 6 track EP ‘Tails of the Freshmen?’  Featuring songs including ‘Bursting at the Seams’ - recorded in Melbourne - the EP signalled a further evolution of the band’s sound. Ironically it was the rawest song ’TV God’ that picked up the most radio airplay. 

 

By this time the internal politics of Crash were fractious. Andrew Steward was replaced on guitar by Peter Dolso, and Farnell was splitting time between Sydney and Melbourne. RooArt put the band back into the studio to record new songs and expand the ‘Freshman’ EP into a full-length album. Tim Farriss and Kirk Pengilly of INXS took up producing duties on new tracks including ’Never too Popular’’, Kiss my Mind’ and ‘I Can’t Believe’. While these songs were arguably the band’s most commercially accessible, by the time the new album ‘Kiss My Mind’ was released in 1990 the band was in its final throes. Farnell had left the band to return to Melbourne, replaced for a very short time on bass by Scott Millard (ex The Faith). 

 

Following further internal discord, Andrew Reefman and Michael Wood decided no more was to be gained by continuing, and the group disbanded later in 1990. 

 

Band members went their separate ways. In 1992 Stuart Paton died in tragic circumstances. 

 

 

 

© 2015 Laneway Music