and friends

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Melbourne Little Bands 1979 - 1980

Friends of the Calculators used the bands equipment and practiced in their front room of their house in Nicholson Street, North Fitzroy, 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 started 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.

After March 1980, when the Calculators dissolved due to some members moving to Europe, little band nights were held in various venues, and organised by the band Use No Hooks (who were never a little band) but by the end of 1980 Little Band nights were gone but not forgotten.

North Fitzroy Beat interview with Alan Bamford, John Murphy,
Greg Sun and Stuart Grant (Late 1979) - pdf *

Alan Bamford and Jim Buck talking about Little Bands (1981) - pdf *

Frank Lovece and Jim Buck talking about Little Bands (January 5th, 1981) - pdf *

Tom Hoy and Jim Buck talking about Little Bands (February 17th, 1981) - pdf *

Arne Hanna and John Desailly talking about Little Bands (1981?) - pdf *

Jim Buck's memories from Feb 3 1980 Little Band gig  - pdf

Kate Buck's memories of Little Bands (1996?)

Vikki Riley article about Little Bands in Vox (1981) - pdf

Interview with Denise and Dave talking about Little Bands (2005) - audio

Michael Buckley's take on Little Bands (2021) - pdf

Mick Earls take on Little Bands (2024) - pdf

*Fom tapes transcribed by Alan Bamford.
Thank you Alan, RIP. Loved your work, always.

Info about Little Bands Part 2 here

Songs recorded by Alan Bamford on Soundcloud here

Dates of Little Band gigs from 1980 by Jim Buck

Little Bands Part 1 - August 1979 to early March 1980

Thank you Janis Lesinskis for taking the Champion Hotel photos below. Love your work.

The first Little Band formed in mid-1979 when Dave Light from the Primitive Calculators, formed a band with Lee Smith, from MYL, Mark Ryan and Jules Taylor, who was working at Climax Records and were called the Leapfrogs. They did not play live until September at Climax Records, then October 18th 1979, at a Primitive Calculators and Little Band night at the Champion Hotel, Fitzroy. Other friends of the Primitive Calculators, Marcus Bergner and Marie Hoy, performed as Too Fat to Fit Thru the Door, after Nick Cave dared them to perform live, with Marcus singing whilst blindfolded and Marie playing a drum machine.

August 1979
Marcus Bergner and Marie Hoy performed as Too Fat to Fit Thru the Door, Marcus singing whilst blindfolded and Marie playing a drum machine. They played between the support band and the Boys Next Door at a gig at the Crystal Ballroom, St. Kilda.

Picture is taken from a film by Michael Buckley called "Icubus".

September 1979

ClimaxRecords Ad

Thanks Max Robenstone for having a great record shop, letting us play there and pay for the pressing of our singles. RIP Max, loved your work.

A Little Band performance in the back room of Climax Records, where MYL (Tom Hoy, Lee Smith and Mick McBride) would practice.

Early versions of little bands included:

The Take with Frank Lovece and Marisa Stirpe.

Ronnie and the Rhythm Boys with Denise Rosenberg and Stuart Grant. 96 Tears - I wanna be your girlfriend (Recorded earlier in practice room at Nicholson Street, North Fitzroy)

The Leapfrogs with David Light, Lee Smith, Jules Taylor, Mark Ryan and Jim Addison.

The Primitive Calculators and MYL played as well.

The audience included Robert Palmer (in Melbourne at the time)and Bob Starkey. Robert liked the Take, but not much else.

October 1979

Little Band gig supporting the Calculators.

Too Fat To Fit Thru the Door

The Take 1979

The Take


Ronnie and the Rhythm Boys

Ronnie and the Rhythm Boys

December 1979

Little Band gig at Champion Hotel, Fitzroy.
Wednesday December 19.
Probably to launch the Little Bands EP.

Photos/details to come if I can find any.

Little Band EP released December 1979
Little Band EP cover
7" EP recorded December 1979. Recorded at York Street Recording Studio. North Fitzroy with David Williams. Each person paid $20 for the recording costs.
Released by Max Robenstone and Alan Bamford with plain black label.
Bands and songs included:
  • Too Fat Too Fit Through The Door: "Flintstones Meet The Flintstones" (Marcus Bergner, Michael Buckley, Marie Hoy, Tom Hoy, Dave Light and Stuart Grant)
  • Morpions: "Point Blank" (Lee Smith, Wendy Joy Morrissey, Stuart Grant)
  • The Take: "Summer" (Frank Lovece, guitar, Tom Hoy, bass, Marisa Stirpe, vocals)
  • Ronnie And The Rhythm Boys: "Hey Joe" (Stuart Grant, vocals, keyboards and drum machine, Denise Rosenberg, vocals, Jules Taylor vocals)
Little Band EP insert
February 3rd, 1980



Jim Buck's memories from Feb 3 1980 LB gig  - pdf


Thrush and the C unts

Hoy Family

The Hoy Family

Oroton Bags

Oroton Bags

Zye ye ye single
Zye Ye Ye single

7" single from July 1981, released in England, after Stuart and Denise spent 3 months living in Taghazout, Morocco (Dec 1980 to Feb 1981).

Loosely based on a song learnt from a Sudanese man living in Taghazout, named Mohammad. Read Denise's memories from that trip.

Recorded and released in England with Stuart, John Murphy, Ollie Olsen, Marie Hoy, Andree Dolby and other Australians living there at the time.

1974 - 1980PC Releases | Use No Hooks | Bum Steers| Bum Club | Dogs in Space | 2009 - 2016 | Denise & Dave Sing | Home