VENOM P. STINGER were an overpowering late 80s/early 90s Australian group who morphed out of one scorched-earth, rawer-than-raw hardcore noise band called THE SICK THINGS, and later again morphed into another thing completely: the lovely, edgy instrumental trio THE DIRTY THREE. In between were several LPs, a 45 and one 4-song CD-EP that it is essential that you hear. Nowhere have I heard a band so desperately trapped in their own skin. Their militaristic, brutally loud and often atonal punk rock was an ugly cousin to a lot of the American bands of the day, the ones that came out on labels like Amphetamine Reptile, Treehouse, Noiseville, Circuit and Adult Contemporary. Their singer, Dugald McKenzie, had the rawest mouth-rasp vocals imaginable, and not only was it difficult to imagine him singing without his neck veins popping halfway to China, it was difficult to hear his deep-accented wails and think him anything but Australian. Drummer Jim White usually sounded like he was stuck somewhere between drumming for the Daughters of the American Revolution parade and for later-period John Coltrane. Even when the songs didn’t fall together all that well – and their albums do have some filler – they never wavered from a mood that was dark, angry and ballistic. Even on the (rare) slow ones.
Needless to say, I was a pretty big fan while they were around, and I bought all the records where I could. I got to see them live twice, but without McKenzie, who was held back at customs & which then necessitated the quick recruitment of Venom P. Stinger’s “biggest fan” into vocal duties. (Or so says informed commenter KI in the comments to this post). Other than their one and only 45, “Walking About/25 Milligrams”, their best record is this 1991 EP that came out on CD only called “Waiting Room”. Play it, download it, and raise a pint of bitter for the now-deceased Dugald McKenzie, one of the great throat-rippers of all time.
Play or Download VENOM P. STINGER – “Inside The Waiting Room”
Play or Download VENOM P. STINGER – “I Try, I Really Try”
Play or Download VENOM P. STINGER – “Turning Green”
Play or Download VENOM P. STINGER – “In Love”