Posted February 23, 2006


This month's return to Australian stages by the Lime Spiders is as much about the resilience of the human spirit as it is about the band's enduring popularity.

Lime Spiders shows happen infrequently and when the band appears at Sydney's Annandale Hotel on May 27, it'll be two years since their last gig.

That was a support to MC5-DKT and it surprised a lot of people, not the least vocalist Mick Blood who's on the phone line from Perth.

"The band surprised me that night - we had just one rehearsal and we pulled it off," he said. "I'd forgotten how tight we could be."

The band hit some real heights and Blood gave his all; by the end of the evening sounded as if he'd swallowed a chainsaw, so hard did he push his vocal cords.

The night was made all the more memorable by a stage invasion by a bevy of "slave girls" in time for the song of the same name. The hit will be in the set list - along with a few nuggets.

But the biggest surprise this time out will be a re-drafting into the ranks of guitarist Richard Jakimyszyn, the one-time brooding prodigy many thought lost to music after a brief but spectacular career.

Jakimyszyn joined the nascent Spiders in time for their Southern Cross Battle of the Bands win, which paid for the recording of their "25th Hour" EP, their debut release that appeared on Green Records in 1983.

He played on their all-time classic single "Slave Girl" before moving onto the first live New Christs incarnation, joined the Hitmen on their "Tora Tora Tora" farewell tour and dropped from sight.

"Richard did all that before he was 20-years-of-age but he was struck down by schizophrenia," Blood recounts. "A lot of people put his dropping out of music to drugs, but he was never into them. He was just pre-disposed to schizophrenia - and he got it bad."

Jakimyszyn is well these days and a member of Adolphus, the onetime Lime Spiders spin-off doing occasional bursts of gigs around Sydney. He's also happy for people to know he's beaten his disease if it helps raise awareness of schizophrenia, a hugely misunderstood disorder.

"Richard's apparently playing better than he ever did and the same goes for Ged Corben who's also in this Lime Spiders line-up," Blood says. Tony Bambach (bass) and Richard Lawson (drums) completes what Blood rates as "the ultimate line-up".

So what can punters expect?

"A few of the earliest songs and a couple of the new ones that we worked up and played in the last full tour in 1998," Blood says. "There's a song from 'The Cave Comes Alive' that we're playing - I can't remember the second verse and I wrote the thing!"

There are no immediate plans for more shows and the Sydney date coincides with a planned Blood trip to the East Coast, but don't rule out more appearances once a live album comes out. Mick plans to do some more studio of the tapes, recorded at St Kilda's Esplanade Hotel on the '98 tour.

A sneak preview of the rough tapes shows it was a scorching show, and it'll be shopped to labels in the near future. There's also a Blood studio release in the offing, the suitably-named Blood Group, a three-guitar outfit involving seasoned players from Melbourne including Ollie Laurie and Julian Poulson.

"It's an idea I had in mind for a while - to rehearse a bunch of tunes one day, record them the next and mix them the day after that. It's just a fun way to do it.

"You can spend too long working on songs, re-working everything, and the energy is dissipated. I can't describe what it sounds like. Every song is different, but they all have a lot of energy."

Their output includes a song called "Revolution Blues" that Blood feels is the best thing he's ever written...which is some wrap.

We might be waiting a little while to hear the finished product as one set of tapes has been caught up in some intra-studio shenanigans, with efforts being made this week to track them down.

Blood also opted out of a planned re-location from Perth to Melbourne, preferring the more laid-back lifestyle of the West Australian capital. "Plus, the nightlife would have killed me," he quips.

So if Spiders shows are sporadic then this month's return to an Australian stage is all the more inviting, although the choice of one of the supports is an indication of the march of time.

"One of the bands is The Ride Ons, who have Murray Shepherd in the drummer's seat, but the other is the White Noise Chaos Experiment, who include Tony Bambach's son.

"Now that's a sign that we're getting old!"

Maybe so, but there's life in the old dogs yet.