The story starts off in 1996. A friend in my TAFE class was telling me about her brother’s band.
‘They were in the Campus Bands competition and they arrived in time for their set only for the guitarist to realise that he had forgotten his guitar. He went home to get it but by the time he got back it was too late’
‘What are they called’ someone asked
‘Three Orange Whips’ My friend replied
After hearing a few stories about this band, I finally got to see them in June 1997 at the Rosemount Hotel. I can remember them their sound was a mixture of punk and rock. I quite liked it even if it was bloody loud. I thought the singer had a stange but innovative way of dancing. I also remember the bass player, Graeme falling over while playing.
In October I was reading Xpress and found out that the Whips were supporting Beaverloop at their Cd Launch. So I called my friend Tracy and she said I’ll ask (my brother) Graeme about it.
I heard ‘Are we playing with Beaverloop? No one told me.”
The gig was at the Ozone Bar in Northbridge. We got their as the band was setting up. James the guitarist had forgot his guitar strap so he had to borrow one of Brad from Beaverloop. By this time I had seen the band a few times and the songs were becoming familiar. I was singing along to ‘Fuck The Salad’ (you don’t forget a line like that) and noticed that the person next to me me was singing along to.
Over the summer, The Whips began to gig regularly playing most weeks. The most memorable one was at the Aberdeen on a Sunday. it was time for them to go on stage, only they had no idea where the singer, Dan was.
They got up on stage and decided to play the first song instrumental. It was pretty boring without vocals. They obviously realised this because on the next song, the guitarist started singing and towards the end of the song, Dan came running into the pub and hops onto stage, getting glares from his bandmates. At the end of the song, Dan says ‘hello. We are the three orange whips, welcome to the aberdeen’
James replies ‘Yeah welcome to the Aberdeen DAN’
in March 98, the Whips got to support Custard at the Grosvenor Backroom playing two shows – the allages in the afternoon and the overage gig in the evening. Best quote from that show was when the Whips’ Drummer Besty got up to the mic and said
‘I’d like to apologise for my band being so crap’
With the gigs increasing, the band became motivated. I was told one Sunday at the Swanny ‘Apparently We are going to record.’ by Graeme. That was also the night, where we picked up his moped and moved it halfway across the hotel carpark hiding it by a tree. He came out looking very confused. He did find it – I can’t remember if we ever told him we’d moved it.
I got given a copy of the recording on tape by Tracy. It wasn’t released and I was told by someone it was a demo. I was a bit confused at the time what a ‘demo’ meant. Though I liked the recording so much that remember emailing to Heath Bradby Jebediah’s manager and I got a reply saying ‘please don’t fucking send me big files, I was downloading my email on my laptop through my mobile.’ Oops. Fortunately he accpeted my apology. I won’t say what he said about the song…
Lots more gigs including a 70’s night where they covered among others ‘Heart of Glass’ by Blondie and ‘Suffragette City’ by Bowie. The Heart of Glass cover became so popular that at a show with Eskimo Joe and Love Camp 7, about a dozen of the Whips friends went down the front and started chanting for it. They gave in and played it, only this time Dan didn’t have his wig that he wore at the70s night.
This was also the first time I saw Love Camp 7 play with whips. Who they played many a show with in the next two years. They became good friends with each other and recorded a cover of each’s other songs. Love Camp recorded ‘French Movie’ and the Whips recorded ‘Smashomaniac’. It was to be released on Vinyl as this quote from Bubblehead Zine says:
The discography of Love Camp 7 will expand greatly in 1999. The forthcoming album Smell the glove will be released by Trend Is Dead in the USA, and they will get songs on a couple of compilations. Most insteresting is a split vinyl EP with 3 Orange Whips called ‘My three and a half inches is bigger than yours’.
The Whips debut cd launch was held in December of that year. Entry to gig included a showbag (nothing to do with Glenn Musto) which included a cd, stickers, gig posters, a Three Orange Whips sticker and a cigarette.
The Grosvenor was packed that night, half of Bunbury must have been there. I don’t think you’d ever see a band so happy as that night. It was almost as if they’d never record a cd let alone have a packed gig to launch. The night finished off with an encore of Heart Glass with the whole room singing along at one point and Dan holding the Mic stand out into the crowd so it could pick up the noise better.
The cd wasn’t recorded as well as i hoped. So first listens were disappointing but it became a regular once I got used to the sound. I review it for their webpage at some point. My favourites were ‘Foundry Promenade’ the backyard bbq anthem ‘Fuck The Salad and of course ‘French Movie’.
In January the band opened the Warped Festival at Claremont Showgrounds, one of the few lucky bands that got to play on the mainstage indoors while the other local bands played outside in the 40 degree heat. The whips were quite excited and Dan had come prepared. Knowing that people throw things around at festivals, he brought out the cricket bat and asked people to throw empty drink bottles at him. In between songs, it provided quite entertainment to see how far he could hit the plastic bottles. The game ended before the last song and as they kicked into Fuck The Salad, someone threw a baked bean can and sconed Dan on the head. Luckily he was okay.
There were plenty more memorable gigs in 99. They played on a really good lineup called ‘Ripper 99’ which turned out to be a fizzer when James had his guitar nicked. So they organised a show with two of the bands to raise money for a new one called ‘Ripped Off 99’.
In August, a friend of mine, Belinda had a birthday show at the Grosvenor Back Room. It was the first time I’d seen some of the bands. Jed Whitey who looked like Spinal Tap and another bands which featured Genge from RTR on percussion. This was also the night where I went onstage with the band during ‘Fuck the salad’ to dance in whips style.
Perhaps the best show I ever saw was when the Whips got to play at Perth Metros at a republican benefit gig. Playing on such a big stage, with a classy PA. Meant a) they sounded fantastic and b) it provided a setting for antics. Dan used all three mics during the gig and proceed to throw each one over and the bizarre thing was their was stage crew to pick up the mic and fix them up. I’m sure he did half a dozen times. A classic whips moment.
In 2000 they released their second EP ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’. It turned out to be the last time I saw them with Graeme. Dan announced one song and Graeme asked him ‘how does that one go?’ Dan had a toy in his hand at the time and threw it at him in disgust. The toy had been earlier shown to the crowd – a plastic penis.
The cd was a huge improvement in sound quality but it was half left over songs that didn’t make the first ep, ones that were on the original demo. Highlights were ‘Tina Rock Arena’ and ‘Roger’s Chest’. They shouldn’t have tried to get ‘Owilde’ on the radio it was probably the crappiest song on there.
The cd launch was the last time I saw the band before Graeme left the band. Not long after they headed to Melbourne and unfortunately I didnt’ get to see any of their farewell shows called ‘Sayonara Saturdays’. It felt like an end of era for me as far as Perth Music goes as a number of bands left for Melbourne at the same time including the whips, there was full scale deflection, Love Camp 7 and John Butler.
The Whips did return for shows while they were in Melbourne. All were good nights particularly the last show at the Amplifier in 2003. It was just like old times and quite fitting that they finished with ‘French Movie’ ‘Tina Rock Arena’ and ‘Fuck The Salad’ There are certain bands which impact your life – supporting you through tough times and providing a soundtrack through the happy times. Three Orange Whips were one of those bands for me.