SHOCKER - The Pineapples from the Dawn of Time (Turkey Neck Records)
Many years ago, back in an adolescent, parochial era increasingly forgotten in the wake of the daily dramas of professional life and mature domestic existence, I used to listen to Adelaide public radio station 5MMM. 5MMM – the station traded its call-sign for a phenomenal amount of money in the early 1990s – was, like any good public radio station, a mixture of good, bad, weird and awful music.
Sometimes the weird morphed into good, like the song (someone please email the Barman if you know the identity of the song in question) comprising driving guitar and a stumbling, spoken word vocal that concluded with “oh, forget, you wouldn’t understand anyway”. Then there was “Benny’s Got a Tapeworm” (“Benny’s got a tape worm, it’s gone right up his asshole”), Suicidal Tendencies “Institutionalised” and another track littered with tongue-in-cheek references to 60s rhetoric (“far-out”, “groovy” etc).
It was only when listening to “Shocker”, the long-lost album from The Pineapples from the Dawn of Time that I realised that it was this legendary Brisbane that was responsible for the acid track in question, “Too Much Acid”.
The Pineapples from the Dawn of Time was conceived, like Melbourne’s Painters and Dockers, as something of a piss-taking joke. With a membership drawn from various Brisbane punk bands (including Tex Deadly and the Dum Dums), the Pineapples from the Dawn of Time indulged 60s psychedelic rock, with a satirical bent. Like so many light-hearted musical expeditions, the Pineapples from the Dawn of Time created music that highlighted the facile and inadequate quality of so many bands occasionally elevated to cult status. “Freaky Acid Planet” and ‘The Flea that Ate My Stash’ are ripped kicking, screaming and freaking from 1968, “Freaky Gypsy Tree” is lush psych-folk track and “Lighthouse Keeper” a sweet tribute to love born of affection for all things seafaring.
There’s a couple of tunes paying homage to the world’s most notorious psychotic 60s icon, Charlie Manson, beginning with the deeply disturbing “Charlie”. A melody and general pre-indie punk aesthetic drawn straight from fellow Brisbane band The Go-Betweens, ‘Charlie’ renders Manson’s murderous instructions as benign as a NQR street corner preacher. The song’s successor is the more country flavoured Doin Some Time, a pleasant, foot tapping narrative of Manson’s past and his presumed contemporary existence.
There’s some local referencing in Toowoomba City (as an aside, it’s rumoured that the Hoodoo Gurus’ ‘Leilani’ was born of a trip by some members of the band to Toowoomba, a story that remains unconfirmed) and some overt love of ‘Lost in Space’ in ‘The Sad and Lonesome Death of Don West’.
But it’s the signature track ‘Too Much Acid’ (included here in both its Pineapples and its earlier Happy Chickens guise) that’s the cream of the crop. Like an acid trip that opens your mind to a world you never forget – for better or worse – this song has lost nothing of its original interest.
After years of inactivity, The Pineapples from the Dawn of Time reformed as part of the 2006 Pig City Festival (which featured the first reunion of the original Saints line-up in almost 30 years). From what friends of mine observed at that event, the Pineapples were just as much of a cult hit as they were back in their day.
Acid is no longer the recreational chemical de jour – that title presumably goes to some dubious amphetamine by-product concocted in outer suburban laboratories – which is, apologies to the contemporary temperance union, a pity. Somehow I can’t see Icicles from the Dawn of Time being half as good as this shit. - Patrick Emery
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