Sunday, 2 August 2009

Vagabond Holes

Some of the music of your youth stays with you because you find you've attached it to significant events, because it's effectively the soundtrack to your memories. Some you keep going back to simply because it's too good not to. With some, of course, both reasons hold true, and that's why The Triffids have been a pretty much permanent fixture with me for the last 20 years (I only cottoned on to them during their last ever UK tour, then worked my way through their back catalogue. Discovering them was a genuinely revelatory moment, too, but that's a story that can wait until another day).

A book, Vagabond Holes: David McComb and the Triffids, will be published by Fremantle Press on September 1st, looking at the life and work of the leader of this wonderfully individual band, who emerged from Perth, Western Australia, in the early 1980s and, relatively briefly, became the darlings of the London music press, before disappearing into undeserved obscurity.

McComb died, aged only 36, in 1999, and the book makes no attempt to tell either his or the band's story in full, but rather to collect a glorious miscellany of memoirs, scholarly essays, memorabilia, short fiction and poetry relating to them both.

The musicians contributing include ex-Triffids Jill Birt, Alsy MacDonald, Graham Lee, Robert McComb and Martyn Casey, plus the likes of Nick Cave, Steve Kilbey, Mick Harvey and (another of my Aussie musical heroes) Robert Forster.

Poet John Kinsella, a Perth contemporary of McComb, contributes a really fine elegy, while my poem Unquiet, one of several I've written over the years inspired by or in some way relating to The Triffids, also features.

A collection of McComb's poetry, Beautiful Waste, is also being published. I've not had chance to have a good look at it yet, but he was always a highly literary lyricist, so it should make good reading.

The books should be available at all good bookstores in Australia and New Zealand, or directly through the press's secure website. It's also hoped that it will be available through Amazon in the UK and USA.

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