The Screaming Tribesmen - a Retrospective

The Screaming Tribesmen were an Australian Alternative Rock formed in Brisbane in the early 80's. The original and some say best line up of the band was frontman and constant Tribesman Mick Medew, John Hartley on Bass and Murray Shepherd (brother of Brad Shepherd from Hoodoo Gurus) on Drums.

The line up changed frequently after the band relocated to Sydney, eventually ending up with the most well known and successful lineup which along with Medew included Chris Masuak (Radio Birdman and the Hitmen) as an integral driving force along with Bob Wackley on Bass and Warwick Fraser on Drums. This line up was the most commercially succesful as they released a string of albums and EPs that charted well and conducted succesful national and international tours.

The band continued to write and record albums into the early 1990s featuring frequently changing lineups with the one constant being Mick Medew.

Beginnings

The Screaming Tribesmen were formed in Brisbane by Mick Medew, John Hartley and Murray Shepherd in 1981. They released a series of well received singles and an EP on Citadel Records such as "Stand Alone" and their breakthrough hit "Igloo".

In the spring of 1981 the band recorded their first EP, a four track DIY effort with a photocopied black and white sleeve. It featured four songs, and there were only 500 copies made. The production was rough and ready and the songs veer from the 60's R&B of "Turn On Your Love Light" to the fairly straight punk of "Trans 43".This is now available again on "The Saveage Beat of the Screaming Tribesmen".

It was this intial line up that made the breakthrough for the band and built up a loyal following in Brisbane. It was based on the buzz that surrounded them in Brisbane that prompted the bands relocation to Sydney to try a bigger scene. Whilst this move proved commercially successful and the springboard for Medew's career it spelt the end of this Tribesmen lineup as Hartley and Shepherd left.

This original lineup was eulogised on the fantastic compilation album "The Saveage Beat of the Screaming Tribesmen" which covered their early releases along with some truly jaw dropping early live recordings from Brisbane.


Early Screaming Tribesmen Anthology on Amazon

Savage Beat of
Savage Beat of

The original Screaming Tribesmen blazed a trail from Brisbane to Sydney in the early '80s. This Australian exclusive garage rock album brings together the band's complete studio recordings and their respective B-sides together with their debut four-song EP from 1982. Also included is a wild 10-song live set from their early days in Brisbane.

 

Early Screaming Tribesmen single Igloo

Success based out of Sydney

After the bands relocation to Sydney there were continual lineup changes and eventually Medew persuaded Chris Masuak (ex Radio Birdman and the Hitmen) to swap his producers hat to play with the band and they released an EP "Date with a Vampyre". The title track of this EP features a crunching riff that hooks hard over the top of a stuttering drumbeat and worth the price of entry, the other 3 tracks dont quite live up to expectations but it is still a worthy record.

By now the Tribesmen had settled on their most succesful lineup of Medew, Masuak, Bob Wackley on Bass and Warwick Fraser on Drums. Masuak played a big role heling with the songwriting but the tribesmen were still very much Medew's band. This lineup released a barnstorming EP called "Top of the Town" which showcased the bands move more into mainstream pop/rock and is an EP of considerable brilliance.

This lead onto the band releasing their first album "Bones + Flowers". This album included re-recordings of some of their earlier material such as Igloo as well as their newer material.Whilst most of it stays true to the Tribesmen's Power Pop roots this LP also dabbles in more radio friendly material.

Disappointingly despite the album's craftsmanship, undeniable appeal and high commercial prospects, nothing much came of Bones + Flowers and subsequently following a performance in front of 200,000 people at Sydney's Bondi Beach at the "Stop the Ocean Pollution" concert the band dissolved leaving Medew again as the sole survivor.

The Screaming Tribesmen on Amazon

Bones + Flowers
Bones + Flowers

The Screaming Tribesmens first LP release. A classic

 

The Screaming Tribesmen from the Late 80's

Marching on into the 90's

Throughout the 1990's the Screaming Tribesmen continued to perform and record however the only constant member of the frequently changing line up was Founder member and main Tribesman Mick Medew.

1991 saw the release of "Blood Lust" the first album length release since the Bones and Flowers. The current line up featuring Medew, Brian Mann on lead guitar, 'Long' Jeff Silver on Bass, and Ritchie Hine on Drums. 'Blood Lust' included a couple of the band's heaviest ever songs like 'High Priestess', 'Frozen Tracks' , 'Something Dangerous' and 'Queen of the Night Time World' .

By 1993 the band had changed again this time Medew and Jeff Silver were joined by Glenn Morris on Lead guitar and Paul Larsen (ex-Celibate Rifles) on drums. This lineup released the final Screaming Tribesmen album called "Formaldehyde" which was produced by Masuaks ex-Birdman bandmate Rob Younger. Unfortunately this final album closed the Tribesmens career with a bit of whimper if not sonically but commercially as this worthy album was largely ignored by the general public and sounded the death knell for the once mighty Tribesmen.


Screaming Tribesmen Anthology at Amazon

Anthology 1982-1993: All Hail the Tribesmen
Anthology 1982-1993: All Hail the Tribesmen

If you want to ger a retrospective of the whole of the Screaming Tribesmen career this is the record for you.

 

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