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1974 to 1980 history


1974 to 1976

Failing to turn up to his 5th form (Year 11) exams in 1973 at Springvale High School, Stuart Grant, along with 6 others from his year, repeated 5th form in 1974. This is the same year that Denise Rosenberg does 5th form and they start a 12-year relationship. Frank Lovece completed 6th form in 1974 and by 1975 was doing 1st year at Latrobe University. Dave Light left Springvale High School in 1973 to begin an apprenticeship in the Printing industry.

They all went to Springvale High school, but it was at Jim Addison's bungalow
where they all met. The bungalow was behind his mum's house at 83 Springvale Road.

Stuart singing "Tonight will be fine" in Jim's bungalow, Springvale 1975.

Denise's memories about Jim's bungalow in a 2017 talk from a Why Punk event at MPavilion.

After finished their matriculation (year 12) at Springvale High school, Stuart and Denise moved to Adelaide to get as far away from Springvale as possible (plus Stuart and Jim Addison tried their hands at grape picking in the Barossa Valley, which lasted about 2 weeks). Dave comes over to visit occasionally but spends a great part of 1976 in New Zealand. 

Inspired by an appearance by The Damned (or the Saints?) on Countdown (or listening to the Ramones?), Stuart and Denise moved back to Melbourne, and along with Frank and Dave rented a house at 72 Park Street St. Kilda and decided to form a band. Stuart, Dave, Frank and a guitarist friend called Rob formed The Moths, who played once at a BBQ/Party/Cricket match in Cranbourne, Victoria to an unappreciative audience of hippies. Denise started work in the office of the photocopying/printing department at BHP (a job the dole office got her because she could type - she could never get the "artist" dole pension of $50 a week due to her two years of typing classes at high school).  Thank you BHP for printing all the band posters and single covers as well.

Next door neighbour Steve Hill (original singer of Skyhooks and then Manager of Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons) moved into the "punk" house at 72 Park Street after being evicted and advised them to keep away from the "business". They ignored his advice and proceeded with their living room band practice, much to the disgust of the neighbours, including racing car driver Peter Brock. At Steve's farewell party to Melbourne, before he moved back to Sydney, to get rid of the ageing rock stars (including Red Symons) and hangers on who fill their house, they played the new "Suicide" LP, loud, and the house clears in 15 minutes.

1977 to 1978

Stuart, Frank and Dave turned up to "Punk Gunk" street gig in Carlton wanting to play, but they are dismissed by the other bands playing, not wanting to lend their instruments to the aggressive Moths. The punks are horrified by a very drunk Stuart and Frank, who start smashing empty bottles on the street.

Stuart, Dave and Denise (Frank moves to Sydney for 12 months) moved into a shop front residence at 246 Johnston Street Fitzroy and set up their expanding musical equipment in the front room. The instruments consist of guitar (Stuart), bass (Dave), synthesiser and electric organ (Denise) and drums (Dave Barnes) Their drummer, Dave B., also from high school, was advised to stop playing so much and keep it simple.

To simplify their style even more, the drums were replaced with a Roland Compurythym drum machine. Dave B., the drummer, left the band, not happy with the new instrument.

The band name was changed to the Primitive Calculators. They played their first gig at a party in Carlton, where they met Ollie Olsen and John Murphy and were asked to support their band Whirlywirld. Ollie said to Stuart "Hi, I'm your new friend. Where do you live? I'll be around." Ollie came to Johnston Street, Fitzroy a week later.

1979 to 1980

With Dave Barnes replaced by the drum machine, Jim Addison was roped into becoming the drum machine operator, but only played twice, due to stage fright. During Jim's second gig, at the Universal Workshop in Victoria Street Fitzroy, the plug was pulled on the band as they were too noisy for the venue.

Frank returned from Sydney and replaced Jim. He also sung backup vocals and contributed words to new songs. Dave Light replaced his bass guitar with a Wasp synthesizer. Numerous effects pedals were used on all equipment and sound was blasted out of Marshall 50-watt amps.

Stuart, Denise and Dave moved to another shop front dwelling at 530 Nicholson Street, North Fitzroy and Ollie, Arne Hanna, Matthew Errey and Lawton Ellery moved in next door 6 months later.

On May 15th, 1979 the Calculators supported Whirlywirld upstairs at the Crystal Ballroom. After the performance Denise was kissed on the hand by Daniel from Pipe Import Records who proclaimed that she was the first female synthesizer player he had ever heard of.

On July 2nd, they were back at the Ballroom, and the gig was recorded by 3RRR in a Live to Air Almost recording. A 8 track tape was recorded in an outside recording van, but the production staff threw their hands in the air and refused to mix such a weird noise. The tape disappeared from 3RRR soon after the performance.

They begun to gig around inner-city Melbourne, including the Crystal Ballroom, St.Kilda, the Exford Hotel in Russell Street, Hearts in North Carlton and the Champion Hotel in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. Audiences were either big fans or hate them vehemently. They supported Whirlywirld, Boys Next Door and the Models.

A live version of "Glitter Kids" (recorded by Dean Richards from Whirlywirld) was included in the Fast Forward Cassette Magazine 006.

Whirlywirld and the Calculators drove up to Sydney for their first and only national gig, and played at Rags (Chequers), once a grand venue used by Frank Sinatra in the 1950s but in 1979 a rundown dump. They didn't stay overnight, but drove back to Melbourne straight after the gig.

Friends of the Calculators used their equipment and practiced in their front room for most of the day and late into the night. The Calculators decided to use their friends as support acts, as life was much simpler setting up only one band's equipment during gigs and the Calculators only had a 30 minute set. An emphasis was placed on "disposable bands" i.e. play once or twice and reform into something completely different. All the Calculators formed their own little band or played in other little bands.

"Little Band" nights were occassionally held at the Champion Hotel and unknown people start turning up to play their 3 song or 15-minute sets. No major damage to Calculators equipment was experienced, except for the odd broken guitar string.

On March 7th, 1980 Denise and Marisa Stirpe left Melbourne to travel to Europe. Stuart left 6 weeks later and joined Denise in London, then after discovering how shit it was there, they moved to Haarlem in Holland as they both had EU passports and could get work there.



Gigs played
January 1st or 2nd, 1979
Party for Therese in Carlton where the band meet Ollie Olsen and John Murphy

March/April 1979
2 gigs played at Universal Workshop, Fitzroy but 2nd one is cut short due to annoyed shopkeepers asking management to pull the plug, which they did.

This is an advertisement for the venue.

May 15, 1979
First gig at Crystal Ballroom, St.Kilda supporting Whirlywirld.



July 2nd 1979
Crystal Ballroom. recorded by 3RRR.

Recording of the Calculators was halted by an annoyed recording engineer in the van outside, and tape of the evening seems to have disappeared.


July 6, 1979
All Saints Hall, Fitzroy with MYL and PopGunMen


September 7th 1979
Hearts, Carlton, supporting Boys Next Door


September 15th, 1979
Star Club, downstairs Crystal Ballroom


September 26th, 1979
Exford Hotel, with MYL
Link to Alan Bamford review here.


18th October, 1979
Champion Hotel, supported by Little Bands


October 27th, 1979
Crystal Ballroom


November 2nd and 9th, 1979
Crystal Ballroom


December 19th, 1979
Champion Hotel, Fitzroy, Little Band night, EP launch


December 31st, 1979 - Champion Hotel, Fitzroy, then Crystal Ballroom, St.Kilda





February 3rd, 1980
Champion Hotel, Fitzroy Little Band night


February 6th, 1980
Exford Hotel, City


February 7th, 1980
Champion Hotel, Fitzroy

February 23rd, 1980
Paradise Lounge, Crystal Ballroom


March 5th, 1980
Paradise Lounge, Crystal Ballroom

Family tree done by Denise in 1986

PC Tree

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