Friday, March 13, 2009

Who's Gerald



Who's Gerald? was a bad band in a time of very bad music.
The people in the band, although fine people now,
were all idiots at the time. I was the biggest idiot of them all.
All the songs, without exception, were atrocious.
There are no good memories of that time.
Except when we broke up.
Dave McCormack


David McCormack's first band the wonderfully named Who's Gerald.
Legend has it they were named after the response to finding a
wooden coat hanger with Gerald written on it,
Actually they were named after Gerald V. Casale from Devo.
Dave went on to become one of Brisbane's leading musical lights,
leading several bands, Custard being the most successful,
the Titanics and the Polaroids.
At the Pig City Festival Dave put on a ripper performance
playing songs from throughout his career.

Who's Gerald were.
David McCormack - guitar,
Cathy Atthow - drums,
Glen Donald - keyboards,
Paul Medew - guitar initially, then went onto bass,
Christian Dahl - bass.
Later on Scott Younger joined and played bass

Who's Gerald released a single named
"Wrestle Wrestle/Gerald Is Stumbling Away Upon The Highway Of
Life"and had a track called "Pins And Needles"
included on the 1988 Youngblood compilation.

Track List
01 Pins and Needles
02 Gerald is Stumbling along the Highway of Life
03 Wrestle, Wrestle

I know it is frightening to think this way my friends, but it was
actually
20 years ago this year that me and Paul Medew and
Glen Donald started
our first band together called Whos
Gerald. Us three met at school in
Ipswich, a stinking hot
mining town about 125 years west of Brisbane.

After high school, Paul went off to Townsville to attend James
Cook
University. Glen and I headed off to Queensland
University.
There we met Cathy Atthow. Shed never played
drums before,
but I think her brother had a drum kit,
so she was our drummer.
If Id known about the Velvet
Underground back then, I would have
thought we were really
cool. At the time I thought we were cool
cuz the Gobetweens
had a girl on drums, and so do we.
We put up adverts all
around Uni for a bass player and got one

response. It was a journalism student called Christian Dahl.
Christian was a bit older than us, drunk spirits and had a song
called Ive got the no coffee, caffeine deficiency blues which we
used to play at parties. Looking back now, Christian was to my
life sort of a Matthew Strong Beta version. More on that later.
Wed rehearse at Christians house in Indooroopilly. Sometimes
wed rehearse out at Queensland University, under the Activities
office. They had a small Roland PA that we could hire.
One night, the PA was doubled booked, and we used to get so
excited about practice that we just had to play. So we drove
around the Uni grounds and stumbled upon some sort of hockey
training club house thing. There was a power outlet on the wall.
We plugged in and played. Wed always travel in a convoy of 3
or four cars and have everything we needed to play right there
with us. There would be a couple of guitar amps, normally with
multiple inputs so we could run mikes and stuff through there as
well, a bass amp, a drum kit, obviously instruments and what
have
you, a couple of mike stands and a few shitty old mikes.
Afterwards, we go to Hungry Jacks at Taringa, where Cathy
worked,
and shed get us free food. They used to have a burger
called a
Yumbo. It was a microwaved ham and cheese thing.
I loved em.
Our first real gig was at a place called The Outpost
in the Valley.
It is where the Red Garter strip bar is now.
Or is it called Bad Girls
now? Not sure.
Our second gig was at The Love Inn, just up the road

a bit. Our third was back at the Outpost. Things continued on like
this for a while. We recorded one 7inch single called
Wrestle/Wrestle.
A label from Sydney called rooArt called us up
and asked us to
contribute a track to their Youngblood
compilation. We went to
QTQ Channel 9s studios up at Mt Cootha
and recorded Pins & Needles.
We played 4ZZZ Market Day once or
twice. We never toured interstate.

Our two biggest gigs were support Sonic Youth at The Patch at
Tweed
Heads and INXS at Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
Around 1989 somewhere we split up.
It seems so long ago, and yet just like yesterday.

David McCormack

Download Here

16 comments:

Duncan said...

I was amazed the first time I came across the lack of love Dave seemed to have for Who's Gerald - but these songs don't really do them any favours, do they? Actually, the one from the YoungBlood compilations sounds OK.

I recall thinking Who's Gerald were absolutely brilliant when they played at a party at a Bowls Club somewhere around Toowong in 1988 - and still recall being impressed by their cover of Hendrix's "Fire". I guess we were all very young.

Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

Thats great Duncan fancy having seen who's gerald live back in the day

Paislie said...

I was at that gig too, I think it was Chelmer Bowls Club. We knew the band back then and did a couple of extra recordings for them. They always seemed to have a lot of fun. Anyway I sent the mp3s I have to Dave and he was going to put them on Who's Gerald's myspace.

Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

Well Paislie you can always throw em my way and I'll post them

Peeboo said...

Anyone here know who in Gerald worked at Coles at Redbank Plaza?

Glen or Paul??

Anonymous said...

Do I remember Who's Gerald performing on a stage afloat upon a Uni Q lake in broad daylight sometime '87? Maybe. Can I still see Dave's highly stylised haircut from the same period? Yes. Was I there the night WG dressed as schoolgirls and played in support of Hotel Breslin's last-ever gig in '88? Yep, I do - 'twas the night before I got married so it was April 8 to be precise. And Dave worked with Frank and Dicky James at Indooroopilly Shoppingtown's Woolies, so there ya go.

Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

Thanks for that my anonymous friend, its all Brisy music history

Anonymous said...

My identity must remain unknown, dear Bob, as this Courier Mail snippet from June 1982 will explain - "Queensland police are still seeking to identify a youth seen fleeing the Toowong Music Centre with a copy of JoJo Zep's 'Dexterity' - a very thievable 10" vinyl size - stuffed up his jumper. Shopowner Damian Nelson made no attempt to intercept the youth and said in his statement that "one listen to that record will be punishment enough. I pity the kid". Police enquiries continue, however, in an effort to link the youth to a series of brazen thefts from the Record Market in Queen Street, including 7" titles such as XTC's "Senses Working Overtime". In response to this crimewave Skinny's Records dipslays only covers on its racks, with the vinyl securely stored behind the counter".

Jim said...

I remember Who's Gerald vividly, I used to live in the Christian Dahls house up in Payne Street. It was a real menagerie, there were four dogs, a cat and I had a pet duck, as well as four people with Chris's sister living in the lounge room in a tent.
I also remember that every time Whose Gerald practiced at the house, the police would come round and shut it down. It's pretty annoying being tossed out of your own digs at one in the morning, but what took the cake was a couple of irate coppers who threatened to confiscate the amps not because it was really late but because the music was so bad.
A decade later I was still finding Who's Gerald poster around Brisbane.

Come to think of it, I remember before Chris joined the band he said he was looking for a band and I found this note at the UQ boards looking for a bass player. Chris said thanks, but later he came to me and said he was getting annoyed with Dave McCormack, so I said something like: "Chris, there are times in your life where you have to stand up for yourself and see where it leads." - Chris said thanks and quit but the very next week he discovered they were playing with INXS as the front band. Chris still said thanks, Damn he was a funny guy. Damn it was fun time.

Anonymous said...

I still remember an overpass in Taringa, where someone had graffitied, "Who's Gerald?" and someone else had graffitied under it, "Who gives a fuck?"!

Dave McCormack said...

Damn, it was a fun time. Practicing and recording at Payne Street was so much fun. We did play a hell of a lot of gigs at various bowls clubs and house parties and university things. We were definitely a live band, the recordings are all pretty horrible. Although I am sure the ones you did Paislie are okay. You did email them to me years ago and I was going to put them up on the Who's Gerald myspace but I have long since forgotten the login details.
I can't believe our friends and us were so bold/egotistical as to constantly spray paint "who's gerald?" all around town. Surely we must have been the most annoying band in Brisbane between 1986 and 1989. But we did have fun.
Thanks,
David McCormack

Anonymous said...

I never saw them play but the name was a legend around Brisbane and I always saw the Who's Gerald stencils and posters around Brisbane. Was only much later I realized I knew Cathy a little bit through my brother. Was just looking around to see what bands I knew from those days in Brisbane had a web presence and found this.

Weaves said...

I can remember that when the name was being decided upon that there was a conviction driven by David that they would not be named in the form " The **** " . My memory is that Gerald was picked randomly sitting around at Payne St., and after the paper needed an explanation the origin was invented.

Weaves said...

I have to say that describing that overpass branding as Graffiti is a bit rough. David was very particular about the form that the lettering had to take. The stencils were hand cut from ex-high school screen printing paper so only had a limited number of uses. I had some skills, a disenchantment with Uni, plenty of time and saw an opportunity for a little midnight publicity project.
Yes David - I had fun.
We scoped sites in Christians Datto if I remember correctly, choosing high vis spots with enough cover for working quickly. The one that brought Who's Gerald to the immediate attention of the wider public was very early on. A freehand serif lettered Who's Gerald across the inbound lane of Miskin St. It was placed on the rise in the middle so was unmissable to commuter traffic. The paper reported on it the next day. Success! Cathy saw the report and explained. Thus the origins of Gerald was duly reported as a follow up.
Great free publicity!
Although we lived through years of police pulling up any car driven by young people after 10pm we hadn't regressed to a aesthetic dictate of what could grace the grey areas between public and private space so many stencils lasted quite a while.

Dave McCormack said...

Hello Weaves.
Did we really hand cut stencils? I only remember going crazy with the cheapest spray paint we could find.
Like most events from that time, my memory is sketchy at best.

Anonymous said...

I remember a whose Gerald under the Graceville side of the Indooroopilly bridge and wondered what it was until I mentioned it at work Hungry Jacks Taringa to have Cathy tell me it her band.