First published on 10 May 2012. Updated on 29 May 2012.
You were raised in Richmond. What brought you to St Kilda?
I moved to St Kilda in 1975. I was going to Prahran College doing a graphics course. It was cheaper to live in St Kilda than anywhere at the time. The place was full of musicians and artists, filmmakers, writers and poets. It’s cheaper for a musician to live in Toorak now! I used to live on Acland Street, the Prince of Wales end. The whole street was filled with musicians. Mark Seymour [Hunters & Collectors] lived next door. If they weren’t musicians they were prostitutes. It was great. You’d have bands rehearsing in the lounge rooms with the windows open and you’d just grab a six-pack and hop in the window, and listen to some band like Hunters & Collectors rehearsing.
What were the punters like who’d turn up during your 14-year karaoke residency at the Greyhound Hotel?
They were just your St Kilda ratbags. They’ve been forced out now, of course. It was just outrageous behaviour going on left, right and centre. It was just the usual rubbish – your ABBA and Queen – but there were a lot of visual things going on around them [Editor’s note: decency prevents me from telling you what Fred used to do with a can of baked beans] and I’d pull them off stage with a cane around the neck if I had to.
You’ve had a long association with the Espy, including filming the Fuck Fucks’ song ‘Beer Sandwich’ (about the gentrification of St Kilda) on the roof.
I did their artwork for 30 years. Started with handbills, then posters and murals for two of their bars. They decided they wanted to get someone else to do it, so they sacked me. I still do the weekly Pub Strip in Inpress – I’ve been doing that since 1989.
Will you be going to the Community Cup down the road in Elsternwick this year?
Yeah, I’m the president of the Espy Rockdogs! Me and Jason Evans started the whole thing off all those years ago at the oval in St Kilda. Think we got about 50 people to the first one, and I attended the barbecue. It was great. You’d have musicians on the footy oval with a beer in one hand and a fag in their mouth, trying to mark the ball with one hand. When they come up on the bench I always relieve them of their can of beer.
Where do you hang out in St Kilda these days then?
I hang out at Pure Pop. Always. There’s the Prince – although there’s no bands now – and Pint on Punt down the road in Windsor. These days, venues have to close down or go acoustic because people complain about the noise.