Throw Another Shrimp on the Barbie, These Cats Rock: Hoodoo Gurus

Hoodoo Gurus Then

Hoodoo Gurus Now

Hoodoo Gurus Then Hoodoo Gurus Now

The hair might be a little thinner, a lot shorter, and maybe there’s even a little extra weight around the middle, but for nearly thirty years the iconic Australian band The Hoodoo Gurus have been entertaining Australian music fans with an inventive, lyrically smart blend of 1960s power pop, wild garage punk, hard driving rock, surf rock and funky psychedelic kitsch. 

Founded in Sydney Australia in 1981 by singer/songwriter Dave Faulkner and drummer James Baker (formerly of Perth’s  the Victim’s), ex-Scientist Rod Radalj and Kimble Rendall, Le Hoodoo Gurus (they’d drop the Le after releasing their first single) were noted for a sound that featured three guitars but no bass.  

They took their musical inspiration from American pop culture, 

drawing on such disparate sources as B-movies, bad sitcoms, and junk food, 

Combining that with Faulkner’s infectious songs and that potent three guitar attack quickly earned them a record deal with Phantom Records, who released the group’s first single "Leilani" in October 1982.

Following the release of "Leilani" both both Radalj and Rendall quit the band. Rendall was replaced by bassist Clyde Bramley (The Hitmen, Super K); while Radalj was replaced by guitarist Brad Shepherd (Fun Things, Super K). 

With the new line-up in place the Gurus recorded their first album, Stoneage Romeos, in 1984. The album took it’s name from a 1955 Three Stooges short film and was dedicated to characters from the American TV shows; Get Smart, F-Troop’s Larry Storch, Petticoat Junction and Green Acres’ pig Arnold Ziffel. Released in American the album went to #1 on the Alternative/College charts, remaining at #1 for seven weeks. In Australia it was awarded ‘Best Debut Album’ of 1984 at the July 1985 Countdown Music Awards.

Regular airplay on Australian radio station Triple J plus video clips from breakthrough singles “My Girl” and "I Want You Back" widened the band’s popularity in Australia, but Australia’s a small market and if you really going to make it you need to make it in America. Based on the American success of Stoneage Romeos, in late 1984, the band and their new drummer, Mark Kingsmill, embarked on their first American tour.

Released in 1985 Mars Needs Guitars! (the album’s title a play on words of the Sci-Fi B movie Mars Needs Women). Mars Needs Guitars! marks the beginning of a period when the Gurus would enjoy their greatest popularity. In support of the album the Gurus toured Europe and the US. Highlights of that tour included playing to a sold out Hammersmith Palais in London, and being asked to open for a then red hot The Bangles for two months.

Dialing down the ’60s-obsessed pop/rock of Stoneage Romeos and Mars Needs Guitars in favor of mega-hooky pop ("Out That Door" and "Good Times") and straight-ahead rock & roll ("Where Nowhere Is" and "Party Machine") 1987s Blow Your Cool! proved to be

the least idiosyncratic album in the Hoodoo Gurus’ catalog.

Blow Your Cool! reached No. 120 on the American Billboard 200 album charts. The subsequent ‘Blow Your Cool’ concert tour took them to 19 countries and 204 venues; but it wasn’t enough to win over the broader American audience and they were dropped by Elektra Records.

1989’s Magnum Cum Louder, released by RCA found the Guru’s reverting back to their basic sound of “loud, hooky, and rockin’ out.” While the wackiness of Stoneage Romeos and Mars Needs Guitars is missing, the self produced album is marked by both irresistible pop ("Come Anytime," "Another World," and "All the Way") and flat out rockers ("Axegrinder," "Glamourpuss," "I Don’t Know Anything," and "Death in the Afternoon.”) 

1991’s Kinky finds the Guru’s cranking the amps to 11 and letting it rip, especially on songs like "Too Much Fun," "A Place in the Sun," and "Something’s Coming," while "Miss Freelove ’69" marks the band’s return to cheesy 60s rock.

In 1992 the group released two compilations at the same time, Electric Soup, a compilation of the band’s hits, while Gorilla Biscuit was made up of B-sides and rarities.

The release of Electric Soup and Gorilla Biscuit marks the end of the band’s greatest period of popularity, which began with 1985s Mars Needs Guitars!. Over those seven years the group released four critically received (if not financially received) albums, had toured Europe, America and Australasia, Japan and Australia, but in the end, their music, save for the narrow confines of US college radio, never managed to win over the wider American audience.

Following a nearly three year hiatus the band returned with the harder edged Crank in 1994. In support of the album the Guru’s mounted the ambitious The ‘Crank’ world tour which took  them to the US, Canada, Europe and Brazil, which they toured for a month.   

In 1996 the group moved to Australia’s Mushroom Records who released the album Blue Cave. Along with The Posies and the local band Drop City the Gurus embarked on the ‘Circus Maximus’ tour of Australia. 

In early 1997 Faulkner announced that the band would break-up that December. March found the Gurus in Brazil, some concerts found them playing for 40,000 fans. In conjunction with with the release of the double compilation album Armchair Gurus/Electric Chair The Gurus  undertook

their final Australian tour, the three-month ‘Spit the Dummy’ tour, in October 1997.

The band’s final show took place in Melbourne on January 11, 1998.  

Officially they were broken up, and each had their own side projects, but by September of 2001 the four ex-Gurus reformed, initially performing as The Moops, later on as the Persian Rugs.

In November of 2003 the Hoodoo Gurus reformed. Signed to EMI Records they released a new album, Mach Schau and the radio only track "White Night.”  

While they’ve only recorded and released two records since reforming, 2004s Mach Schau and 2010s Purity of Essence the Gurus has been busy performing and touring. In January 2004 the band co-headlined the annual Big Day Out Festival with Metallica and The Strokes. That spring the band, along with Spiderbait, they embarked on the three month  ‘Mach Schau’ tour of Australia. 

Like the “Energizer Bunny” it seemed as if the Gurus were in constant motion in 2007. In the spring they helped to kick off the South By Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival in Austin, Texas, and then followed that up with several European dates, that included an appearance at Spain’s Azkena Festival. They followed that up with the ‘Clash of the Titans’ tour, a national tour of Australia with The Stems and Radio Birdman. They ended the year with a solo tour that included performances at

the Apollo Bay Music Festival, Splendour in the Grass, Meredith Music Festival, and the St Kilda Festival.  

Perhaps 2007 depleted their batteries, because the only concerts of note that the Gurus have played since then  was the UK’s Glastonbury Festival in 2008 and a March 2009 appearance at Sydney’s Sound Relief

a benefit concert for victims of the Victorian Bushfire Crisis and the Queensland Floods. 

No doubt they enjoyed their induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame on July 18, 2007. The citation for the band’s nomination includes:

For two and a half decades the Hoodoo Gurus have consistently been one of the most inventive, lyrically smart and exciting rock’n’roll bands Australia has ever produced… along the way they’ve influenced an entire generation of bands     

High praise for a band, that outside of a seven year stretch in the mid 80s to early 90s, never enjoyed the level of international success that Australian contemporaries INXS and Midnight Oil did. No matter, because at home, in Australia, they still are stars and their music still finds an appreciative and welcoming audience.




 Leilani (7") (Big Time, Phantom)1982
My Girl (7") (Big Time)1983
Tojo (7") (Big Time)1983
I Want You Back (7") (Big Time, Demon Records, A&M Records) 1984
  Stoneage Romeos (Cass, CD, LP) (Big Time, Demon Records, A&M Records) 1984
Stoneage Romeos (CD) (Acadia) 2002
Stoneage Romeos (
CD, MP3) (EMI Music Australia) 2005
Bittersweet (12") (Big Time Records, Chrysalis) 1985
Bittersweet (7") (Big Time, Chrysalis, Mercury) 1985
Death Defying (7") (Big Time, EMI Music Australia) 1985
Death Defying (12") (Elektra) 1985
Like Wow-Wipeout (7") (Big Time) 1985
Mars Needs Guitars! (LP) (Chrysalis, Mercury) 1985
Mars Needs Guitars! (CD,
LP) (Big Time) 1985
Mars Needs Guitars! (Cass,
CD, LP, MP3) (Elektra/ Ada) 1990
Mars Needs Guitars! (CD) (Mushroom Records) 1996
Mars Needs Guitars! (CD) (EMI Music Australia Pty. Ltd) 2005
Mars Needs Guitars! (CD) (Acadia) 2005
My Girl (7") (Big Time, Demon Records) 1985
Poison Pen (12") (Big Time America) 1985
Poison Pen (7") (Big Time, EMI Music Australia) 1986
Singles Six Pack (6×7") (Big Time) 1985
Blow Your Cool! (LP) (Chrysalis) 1987
Blow Your Cool! (
Cass, CD, LP, MP3) (Elektra) 1987
Blow Your Cool! (CD) (BMG Ariola München GmbH) 1987
Blow Your Cool! (CD, LP) (Big Time) 1987
Blow Your Cool! (LP) (Mercury) 1987
Blow Your Cool! (CD) (EMI Music Australia Pty. Ltd) 2005
Good Times (7") (Big Time, Chrysalis) 1987
Good Time (12") (Elektra, Mercury) 1987
Good Times / Heart Of Darkness (7") (Elektra) 1987
In The Middle Of The Land (7") (Big Time, BMG Arista / Ariola Ltd) 1987
Out That Door (12") (Elektra 1987)
What’s My Scene (CD Single) (Mushroom Records) 1998
What’s My Scene (7") (Big Time, Chrysalis, RCA Ltd) 1987
What’s My Scene (12") (Chrysalis) 1987
The Generation Gap (7") (RCA Victor, BMG Arista / Ariola Ltd) 1988
Another World (7") (RCA Victor, BMG Arista / Ariola Ltd) 1989
Axegrinder (7") (RCA Victor, BMG Arista / Ariola Ltd) 1989
Come Anytime (CD) ( RCA, BMG Records (UK) 1989
Come Anytime (7") (RCA Victor, BMG Arista / Ariola Ltd) 1989
Come Anytime (
Cass Single, 7", 12") (RCA) 1989
Magnum Cum Louder (LP) (RCA Victor) 1989
Magnum Cum Louder (Cass, CD, LP) (BMG, RCA) 1989
PH.B´s B Sides From Magnum Cum Louder (12") (RCA 1989)
1000 Miles Away (7",
12") (RCA) 1991
1000 Miles Away (CD Single) (RCA, BMG) 1991
1000 Miles Away (7") (BMG Arista / Ariola Ltd) 1991
A Place In The Sun (7") (RCA Ltd, BMG Arista / Ariola Ltd) 1991
A Place In The Sun (CD) (BMG Arista / Ariola Ltd) 1991
Castles In The Air (CD) (RCA, BMG Arista / Ariola Ltd) 1991
Kinky (
CD, MP3) (RCA, BMG 1991)
Kinky (CD) (RCA Ltd) 1991
Kinky (Cass,CD,LP) (BMG Ariola, RCA) 1991
Miss Freelove ’69 (CD) (RCA) 1991
Miss Freelove ’69 (CD Single) (BMG Arista / Ariola Ltd) 1991
Miss Freelove ’69 (12") (RCA) 1991
Miss Freelove ’69 (7") (RCA Ltd, BMG Arista / Ariola Ltd) 1991
Electric Soup – The Singles Collection (
Cass, CD) (BMG Music Australia) 1992
Electric Soup/Gorilla Biscuit (2xCD) (BMG Arista / Ariola Ltd) 1992
Electric Soup: The Complete Video Collection (VHS, PAL) (BMG Video) 1992
Gorilla Biscuit (CD) (BMG Arista / Ariola Ltd) 1992
The Right Time (CD Single) (RCA, BMG Arista / Ariola Ltd) 1993
Crank (
Cass, CD) (LD Records, Play It Again Sam, BMG Music) 1994
Crank (CD) (BMG Music (Australia) 1994
Less Than A Feeling (CD) (RCA, BMG Australia Ltd) 1994
Nobody (CD) (RCA, BMG Australia Ltd) 1994
You Open My Eyes (CD Single) (RCA, BMG Australia Ltd) 1994
Big Deal (CD Single) (Mushroom Records) 1996
Blue Cave (
Cass, CD, MP3) (Mushroom Records, Zoo Entertainment) 1996
Down On Me (CD Single) (Mushroom Records) 1996
If Only… (CD) (Mushroom Records) 1996
More Electric Soup (VHS + CD) (Mushroom Records) 1996
Waking Up Tired (CD) (Mushroom Records) 1996
Electric Chair / Armchair Gurus (2xCD) (Mushroom Records) 1997
The Hoodoo Voodoo E.P. (CD) (Mushroom Records) 1997
Bite The Bullet – Director’s Cut (3xCD) (Mushroom Records) 1998
Ampology (2xCD) (Acadia) 2000
Ampology (2xCD) (Shock, Limburger Records) 2001
Mach Schau (CD) (EMI Music (Australia), Capitol Records) 2004
Nothing’s Changing My Life (CD Single) (EMI Music Australia) 2004
Tunnel Vision (2xDVD) (EMI Music Australia) 2006
Tunnel Vision (2xDVD) (Sony Music Entertainment Australia) 2009
iTunes Live From Sydney: Aussie Legends – EP (5xFile, AAC) (Sony) 2009
Amazon Sampler (8xFile, MP3) (Not On Label) 2010
Purity Of Essence (CD, MP3) (Hoodoo Gurus Records) 2010

Blow Your Cool! (1987)

Tracks Appear On:

"Dig It Up" Live At The Wireless (LP) (Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC Music) 1983
"My Girl" The Hits Hits Hits Machine (2xLP) (Concept Records Pty Ltd) 1984
"What’s My Scene" ’87 Right On Track (Cass, CD, LP) (CBS Records Australia) 1987 "What’s My Scene" Solid Smash Hits (CD) (Concept Records) 1987
"What’s My Scene" The Chrysalis Compilation (LP) (Chrysalis) 1987
"What’s My Scene" Smash & Grab (Vinyl) (Roxon Records) 1988
"Axegrinder" 1989 The Right Stuff (CD) (BMG Arista / Ariola Ltd) 1989
"Little Drummer Boy" A Lump Of Coal (CD, LP) (First Warning Records) 1991
"Miss Freelove ’69" Expand-O CD Tune Up 11 (CD) (The Album Network) 1991
"1000 Miles Away" Expand-O CD Tune Up 13 (CD) (The Album Network) 1991 
"Nobody" CMJ New Music December – Volume 16 (CD) (College Music Journal) 1994
"Less Than A Feeling" Heartbreak High: The Album (CD) (Warner Music Australia) 1994
"The Right Time" Play It! Vol. 3 (CD) (PIAS Benelux) 1994
"The Right Time"  Triple J Hottest 100 – 1 (2xCD) (Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC Music) 1994
"Down On Me," " If Only……" Turn It Up & Pass It On – Volume 8 (CD) (AIM Marketing) 1995
"Big Deal" Audio-CD (CD) (Audio Magazine) 1996
"Waking Up Tired" Hit Machine 13 (CD) (Sony Music Entertainment Australia) 1996 "Waking Up Tired" Smash Hits ’96 (CD)(Sony Music Entertainment Australia) 1996
"Bittersweet" Rage – More Of The Songs Most Chosen By Rage Guest Programmers (2xCD) (Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC Music) 1999
"What’s My Scene" Australia’s Ultimate Songs – The 100 Greatest Hits Of The Century (5xCD) (Liberation Music) 2000
"Leilani" (Original Phantom Records Version), "Be My Guru”  Do The Pop!: The Australian Garage-Rock Sound 1976-1987 (2xCD) (Shock, Savage Beat) 2002
"What’s My Scene?" The World’s Absolute Best Ever Beer Songs 2 (2xCD) (EMI Music Australia) 2003
"I Want You Back" Left Of The Dial: Dispatches From The 80s Underground (4xCD) (Rhino) 2004
"Nothing’s Changing In My Life" Proudly Australian – Celebrate Australia Day 2004 (CD) (EMI Music Australia) 2004
"I Want You Back", "Like Wow – Wipeout!" Children Of Nuggets – Original Artyfacts From The Second Psychedelic Era 1976-1996 (Box + 4xCD) (Rhino Records) 2005
"What’s My Scene" Complete Eighties (5xCD) (EMI Music Australia) 2005
"A Place In The Sun" Little Fish -OST (CD) (Warner Music Australia) 2005
"What’s My Scene" The Absolute Very Best Of The World’s Beer Songs (3xCD) (EMI Music Australia) 2005
"Bittersweet" More Complete Eighties (5xCD) (EMI Music Australia) 2006
"(Let’s All) Turn On" Tales From The Australian Underground – Vol. 2: 1977-1990 (2xCD) (Feel Presents) 2006
"Bittersweet"  The Absolute Very Best Of The World’s Beer Songs Volume 2 (3xCD) (EMI Music Australia) 2006
"Castles In The Air" Bushfire Aid Artists For The Bushfire Appeal (2xCD) (Sony Music Australia) 2009
"What’s My Scene" 101 Aussie Hits (5xCD) (EMI Music Australia) 2010


Blow Your Cool (1987) 

Playing Time: 45 minutes 59 seconds

blow your cool

1. Out That Door (4:14)
2. What’s My Scene (3:50)
3. Good Times (3:03)
4. I Was The One (4:12)
5. Hell For Leather (3:29)
6. Where Nowhere Is (4:03)
7. In The Middle Of The Land (4:34)
8. Come On (2:44)
9. Heart Of Darkness (3:04)
10. My Caravan (4:20)
11. On My Street (3:16)
12. Party Machine (5:10)

Magnum Cum Louder (1989)

Playing Time: 40 minutes 10 seconds


magnum cum louder

1. Come Anytime (3:20)
2. Another World (3:17)
3. Axegrinder (3:28)
4. Shadow Me (3:41)
5. Glamour Puss (2:36)
6. Hallucination (5:06)
7. All the Way (3:11)
8. Baby Can Dance (Pts. II-IV) (3:17)
9. I Don’t Know Anything (4:08)
10. Where’s That Hit? (3:57)
11. Death In the Afternoon (4:09)

Kinky (1991)

Playing Time: 38 minutes 19 seconds


1. Head In The Sand (2:50)
2. A Place In The Sun (3:47)
3. Castle In The Air (4:09)
4. Something’s Coming (3:12)
5. Miss Freelove ’69 (4:16)
6. 1000 Miles Away (4:33)
7. Desiree (2:35)
8. I Don’t Mind (3:40)
9. Brainscan (3:19)
10. Too Much Fun (3:14)
11. Dressed In Black (2:44)

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