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Swami Binton


Swami Binton

I never actually heard Swami Binton as they played mainly, if not exclusively, in Newcastle but their name was often mentioned and the faces were familiar... Here's a brief outline by Mark Davies:

"Taking a lead from the DIY ethos of the time, and rejecting any aspirations to musical virtuosity, Swami Binton coined the term "pathetic rock" to describe a particular brand of chaotic suburban post punk.
Formed in Newcastle in 1980 around the edges of the Grand Hotel scene, ('Pel Mel', 'The Limp'), Swami Binton used diverse instrumentation, (from practice chanter and accordion), to embellish the basic rock ensemble.

Charlie Thomas (harmonica) and Mark Davies (keyboard) were the vocalists for the most stable line-up of the band. Paul Davies, (guitar), Stuart Nicholls (Drums), Mark Thomas (Percussion) and Bob Pulik (Bass) formed the core of the group. Other members included Dan Casson (Sax), Christine Robinson (Bass), Lindsay Radcliffe (Accordion), Anne Whittaker (Synth).
The band was a regular at North Leagues club supporting most of the visiting bands of the time. No studio recordings exist. A recording of a live to air radio perfromance survives and a desk recording of a 1981 performance at the Premier Hotel has gained a certain local currency. Influences: 'The Fall', 'Pere Ubu'.

To my knowledge, the only people to continue with music were Paul Davies (to the later, funked up 'Pel Mel') and Charlie Thomas (whose harmonica drove fans wild in 'Famous').

A post-Post-Punk update from Charlie: ""Paul Davies, myself, Dave Weston, Jude McGee, Mark Phillip and Dermot had a band in the 90's called 'Weep' with a residency at the Cricketers Arms in Surry Hills. It was 50% covers (Bassey, Bunnymen, Lucinda, Neil Young, Beefheart) and 50% Paul Davies originals and was highlighted by guest performances from the two greatest singers in Sydney of that era Linda Jannsen ('Wicked Beats') and Charlie McLean ('50 Million Beers'). We were actually quite good on occassion. Dermot, Jude and Mark put together a band called 'Canada' that I saw once but was too pissed to remember. They died after only a couple of gigs. Paul Davies and his brother Mark have a band called 'Soul Feather' that play intermittently in Newcastle."

Photograph and Biography courtesy of Phil Turnbull.
Go to his site for all you ever wanted to know about
the Sydney punk / alternative scene.