I share a (somewhat comical) history with Spiderbait, along with my cousin Gav Stocker.
Somewhere back in the early 90’s (’94 to be more exact) we found ourselves invited by the band on stage with them at several Metro (Sydney) shows during their tour with Tumbleweed.
Gav and I had a rather silly dance we referred to as “The Shuffle” (nothing like the current dance of the same name) – this was a series of moves consisting of being hunched over, one knee almost on the ground, cricket style, both arms out in front, hands open, palms facing the sky. You would move forward in sort of a chicken walk, and both arms would “thrust” forward and backward repeatedly, pivoting at the elbow, often in time with a groove or beat.
We would shuffle to any band at any gig – be it a big name act at a reputable venue or a sketchy cover band at the local RSL – it didn’t matter. As long as we could get down low and shuffle it was on! More often than not we were scorned by other punters, laughed at and ridiculed. It made no difference to us.
Spiderbait were a great band to shuffle to, in particular the guitar riff that opens Bergerac (off ShaShaVaGlava) was just perfect.
We spent countless nights in living rooms throughout the Shire (The Sutherland Shire – our hometown) shuffling to the stereo as it played Spiderbait ad nauseum.
And every time Spiderbait played a show we would go see them – The Annandale, The Bizzos, The Vulcan, Feedback – any venue, it didn’t matter. We really dug the band and we really loved to shuffle.
At one show at the (long since gone) Bowlo (The Victoria Park Bowling Club – just off City Rd, Newtown) we were shuffling side stage when Janet caught our eye and was laughing pretty hard. Then Kram spotted us and made some comical remarks. We continued to shuffle, smiling that these guys seemed to get it too.
After the show we got chatting about the dance and why we do it and and the next thing Kram had invited us to join the band shuffling on stage opening their next set of shows at the Metro. Hahaha!
We were psyched!
From all the sketchy, lousy venues we had shuffled in, we were now going to be right there in the limelight on the hallowed stage of none other than the Metro!!
After discussions with the band and their manager Fiona we were all set to shuffle out onto the stage during Bergerac when the curtains opened and then again later in the set when they played Footy.
Instead of just shuffling tho, we also dressed like complete dickheads. Both of us were wearing lab coats, shower caps and 3D glasses. And we brought brown plastic blow-up footy’s to kick into the crowd during Footy.
It was funny, it was odd and it was just perfect.
We did three shows at The Metro.
The crowd loved it – both Gav and I were finally being applauded and saluted for being dickheads. It felt right.
Kram dubbed us “The Dancing Fools” and we even copped a mention in a interview with the band within the (long since defunct) magazine “Hot Metal”.
It was all very fun and it was all very cool to be on stage with a band that we had looked up to for so long.
Through being complete dickheads, we got to hang with our heroes and realising that they were as silly as us was a totally levelling experience. Janet was lovely, we went to get food with her before a show and it was super cool to see just how chilled she was. Whit was super quiet, not often speaking unless we spoke to him. Instead he let his axe do the speaking. Kram was a laid back as appears, always looking for the joke. I remember Fiona trying to organise when exactly we should enter and leave the stage and Kram jumps in with:
“Just come on whenever you guys like, all good guys…”
Many of our mates in bands struggling to achieve any level of success were baffled that we somehow got to be on stage with Spiderbait through absolutely zero musical skills or prowess, simply by being ourselves.
Now all those years have long since passed and I have been waiting for the chance to photograph a Spiderbait show ever since.
Being a music photographer and living in Adelaide, that chance didn’t come as quickly as it may on the east coast, but when I saw them booked for Clipsal I knew I had to go say hi.
I went to their dressing room before their set and after some memory refreshing and a simulated dance we all had a laugh about those shows.
It was a shame Gav wasn’t there with me as Kram offered us the stage again to shuffle! Hahaha! I would do it, but it would have to be both Gav and me and it would have to be to Bergerac.
Instead, Kram gave me full stage access to shoot their show – something I do a little better than shuffling these days!
Who knows, somewhere down the track there may be an encore performance by The Dancing Fools?