Posts Tagged ‘Hitmen DTK’


The Iceman and Klondike let rip !

Who: Hitmen DTK (with Deniz Tek)

Where: Annandale Hotel, NSW Australia  – 17 November 1991

Is this gig really 21 years back ? Where the hell are the years going ? This was when the Sydney rock n roll scene was still smoking, and great gigs were about as common as tatts on footballers. A Radio Birdman re-union, back then, like much of the 80’s always seemed unlikely, so having Tek and Masuak – two of Australia’s most underrated guitar players, both sharing a stage in Sydney once more was reason to celebrate. It was hot, it was sweaty. It was packed. It was, a great evening of rock n roll.


I have owned several Hitmen posters over the years, some of which I’ve now sold.  Some I took from walls of Sydney pubs, some I bought from places like Phantom Records, others I procured from Klondike Masuak himself. This one though is one of my favourites. It’s from June, 1989 and it is a massive, bill poster. It must be about 2 metres long! It’s unused too. It’s promoting for Sydney dates for June, 1989, including gigs at the Kardomah in Kings Cross…..ahhh I remember those 3 am starts so well and walking out with the sun well and truly risen. Anyway, both Klondie and Zeus look pretty damn cool on this one too. Great band – true rock ‘n’ roll.

Rock n Roll War promo poster, Volume 1 and Volume 2

It’s hard to believe that 10 years have gone since the release of the Rock n Roll War compilation CD’s. Prior to Rockbrat, back then, Cowboy Col was operating Vicious Kitten Records, an independent record label whose mission was to fight the war against the jive. I had the idea of releasing a compilation album and did a short list of bands I wanted and things just took off from there. Vicious Kitten Records, and the Vicious Kitten Zine before that, developed a good reputation, and most bands were happy to be involved. The idea was to make it a solid balls-to-the-wall comp, and it achieved that. I wanted to show case some of the best Australian bands to an international market – and similarly get some of those international bands some exposure in Australia.   The first volume of ‘Rock n Roll War’ had such quality bands on it as the Dictators, Sylvain Sylvain from the New York  Dolls, the Hitmen DTK,  Deniz Tek and Chris Masuak of Radio Birdman, Jeff Dahl, Pete Wells of Rose Tattoo, Nikki Sudden, The Trash Brats, Asteroid B-612, Brother Brick etc.  This first volume of Rock n Roll War sold well, and following its success I decided to branch out into the USA and try and develop greater inroads there. Vicious Kitten USA was born and was co ordinated by Rick Blaze out of Boston. The second volume of Rock ‘n’ Roll War was the only release on Vicious Kitten USA and it came out in October, 2001. A CD release party was held for this album in Boston, and artists who appeared included Mike Thimren (who used to play with Johnny Thunders for five years, on and off, between 83-88) the Ballbusters and Kevin K.  Rock n roll War volume 2 was dedicated to Johnny Heff of The Bullys, a New York City firefighter who lost his life on September 11. There is a great Bully’s track on the comp called ‘New York City Man’. Johnny Thunders and the Ballbusters also do a live version of ‘In Cold Blood’. There are songs by Nikki Sudden, Dave Kusworth from the Jacobites, Walter Lure, the Streetwalkin Cheetahs, Kevin K, Freddy Lynxx, The Golden Arms, Dave Cuneo and Jeff Crane from the Ballbusters, Mike Thimren, the Detox Darlings. Cheetah Chrome of The Dead Boys was gracious enough to provide a tune called ‘The Morning’s Gonna Come, which he recorded specifically for Rock n Roll War 2. Other artists on this 2nd volume included the Cartridge Family from NYC who featured Donna from the Cycle Sluts From Hell, two Italian bands, one called The Valentines and the other called Loose. It was a very strong and impressive line up. The intent was to do release a third compilation CD, but the funds were not there.  These were a lot of work to put together, but looking back, some killer bands were released on these two comps.  These compilations occasionally turn up on eBay. Go discover.

Man oh man did I play this thing to death upon release. 1989 was a great year for local Australian releases and this was one of many. I’ve always loved the cover art which is why it deserves recognition here. The 4 Track EP still kicks major ass with Justice Blind the first song up. Still sounding better than ever. A Slice Of Life was also included here and is another Hitmen classic. But back to the cover. It was drawn by Dwayne Labbe, who is one of the most respected animators in the world today.  According to the site IMDB, Labbe was accredited by Chuck Jones as one of the few animators since the great Ken Harris of the 1940s to have a real grasp on the Warner Bros characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck etc. Hey and it was so impressive Hitmen guitarist Klondike had it inked on his left shoulder ! Oh by the way, before you ask – it stood for Utopian Emotional Love Aura !

Thursday 5th of December, 1991 was the date – Canberra’s rock institution The ANU was the venue. Cowboy Col was so devoted that he drove down the Hume from Sydney to Canberra to see legendary Stooge Ron Asheton at the ANU. The fact that The Lime Spiders and Hitmen DTK opened the show meant that this was quite a trifecta. The Rockbrat and I were big fans of the Spiders ‘Beethovens Fist’ LP and always made the effort to catch them live around this time.  I can’t remember much of the set list, but I did recently find a gig advert for the show, so thought I’d share it. The night was not complete without a sate ‘meal’ from the old double decker bus to wash down the Tooheys New, and that over  with, my ears were left ringing after again being destroyed – this time by the great Ron Asheton. Almost 19 years ago to the day. Great days my friends…….

Who: Hitmen DTK
Where: ANU, Canberra – 28 November 1990

Chris Masuak and Johnny Kannis – they were a part of The Rockbrat’s world via live gigs for so long they were damn near family ! I have a backstage shot from this time-period which I’ll have to locate and upload. I took many live shots of The Hitmen and Hitmen DTK over the years, but this one I quite like (I cannot believe this photo was snapped nearly 20 years ago !!).  It’s taken at the ANU in Canberra in late 1990 – and judging from Zeus’ tee-shirt, it was on the Buncha Brats Tour – which also featured Voodoo Lust and Pete Wells Heart Attack. The Hitmen always drew well in the nation’s capitol and this gig was no exception. The thing about The Hitmen was that you always had a great night. Whether you were buzzing on booze or stone cold sober, the rock n roll being cranked out was always of the highest quality and I always had a good night witnessing them. The Rockbrat remembers two things from this show – Kannis actually grabbing my camera and taking several shots of the audience, and also inviting (by way of grabbing) punters up on stage to dance during ‘Aloha Steve and Danno’. Truly great memories my friends.

Kardomah flier and match book

The Kardomah, the KD . In the late 80’s, this was THE rock place to be at. It was where all the wannabes and posers strutted around, thinking they were Sunset Strip material (when in all likelihood they were just suburban boys, as Dave Warner once wrote). I suppose it was the closest thing that Sydney had to LA’s Cathouse, NYC’s Limelight or London’s Marquee. Indeed, any Sydney muso worth his salt just had to be seen at the KD, and many punters invariably ended up at 22 Bayswater Road after seeing a gig earlier that evening somewhere else in the city or suburbs. That’s right, it was one of those venues where the headliner came on fashionably late, ie: 3 am. So it was that the Rockbrat saw many a Kings Cross sunrise after ending up back at the KD. The Kardomah was without a doubt the spiritual home of Sydney’s Candy Harlots, and we saw the band there many a time. I remember that the venue was always way too dark, which I suppose was fashionably cool at that time, and I could ! never bloody see where I was going. I can’t remember every band I saw, but I do remember seeing the Candy Harlots, Screaming Tribesmen, The Bombers, Rum Babas, Mudhoney, Hitmen DTK and the Flying Tigers. I certainly recall seeing Mark Easton’s last show here with the Candy Harlots in 1991. (There is a video of this performance and you can see the Rockbrat jump up on stage with Easton). Anyway, here is an old flyer an matchbook from the Kardomah. I noticed a few years ago that this venue was trading under the name of ‘Candies Apartment’. The irony of that may have been lost on others, but not the Rockbrat. Great days my friends.