Tamam Shud were one of the first Australian bands to embrace acid culture. Linked closely to the coastal surf scene – with its roots around freedom, expanded consciousness and connection to nature, the band contributed a great deal to the development of Australian music in the progressive era.
Finding their feet in the Australian music scene at a time when LSD was yet to be made illegal and you could get pulled over by police just for having long hair (true story, it happened to these guys), their music, Tamam Shud never really hit the big time, yet shared stages with some of the biggest names imagineable through the 50s and 60s: The Easybeats, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, The Kinks, The Bee Gees… and in the mid 1960s they even had a six-month residency right here on the Gold Coast – at a club in Surfers Paradise by the name of Digby’s.
“We were playing six nights a week, and it made us incredibly tight,” said Lindsay Bjerre.
That was a time when artists like Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane were having a big impact on the scene, as well as emerging artists the world over. Soon after they provided timeless tracks for Australian surf classics ‘Hot Generation, Evolution’ and ‘Morning of the Earth.’
Fast-forward 50 years and you can imagine how much has happened in the life of a band like Tamam Shud: epic lineup changes, plenty of singles, albums and live appearances and the ups and downs of life have had an impact on the band’s members and their music. Yet they’re still here AND they’re still recording.
They’ve just wrapped up recording a new LP, not surprisingly, full of that surf sound but with an element of punk thrown in. “It’s all about guitars, bass and drums,” said band member Tim Gaze, who was recruited as a 16 year old way back in 1970.
And songwriter Lindsay Bjerre chips in too. “I haven’t changed – there’s still some pretty weird shit going on the songs I’m writing now,” he said.
While the band is still creating and touring new music, their track record for making music for surf films is undeniable. When they hit Kingscliff Beach Hotel next month, they’ll be performing live to a ‘lost’ film by Bob Evans, ‘Family Tree’.
The film which is Bob Evan’s 11th surf movie sees Evans take Mark Warren, Ian Cairns and Col Smith on a trip to ‘new’ Australian surf spots along Australia’s southern and western coasts, an activity which condemnation from soul-surfers fearing future overcrowding.
Wayne Lynch was also featured in this film. The Bali sequences are believed to be the first surf movie records of this now famous holiday location, first surfed by American hotel proprietor, Robert Koke, in the 1930s. Additional footage was shot by Frank Pithers, and the original soundtrack was recorded at Eric Porter Studios in Cammeray, North Sydney, with Bob Evans co-producer Hanz Pomerantz.
The film premier was shown at the University of Sydney auditorium. The original reels of the film and sound-track for ‘Family Free’ have mysteriously disappeared, since the unexpected death of Bob Evans, whilst he was on tour in the USA showing a copy of the film.The single copy reels of the film and audio have also mysteriously disappeared. It is unclear how or when they were recently re-discovered. Reel 2 is still lost which documents the Bali journey.
This isn’t the only film soundtrack that Tamam Shud have collaborated on. They also soundtracked influential surfing films ‘Hot Generation’ (1967) and ‘Evolution’ (1969), both by Paul Witzig as well as the 1971 film ‘Morning of the Earth’ by Albe Falzon.
Time has looked after this band and they’re excited to deliver some of their new music as well as timeless surf classics when they hit Kingscliff’s Beach Hotel on Sunday 9 December to play a live soundtrack for the film ‘Family Tree’. The tour is presented by Sound Pressing.