Does your mind have filthy and humourous gutters? Then welcome to Machine Gun Fellatio, a seven-piece band from Sydney, Australia.
Oh, I'm a motherfucker on a motorcycle.
It began in the early 1990s....
(She's a motherfucker on a motorcycle.)
.... which is when the controversy started.
It began in the early 1990s, and the six principal members of Machine Gun Fellatio were hanging around Sydney's local music scene, playing in one another's bands. Pinky Beecroft - musician, scriptwriter and lead singer - was a member of Limebunny with Chit Chat, who lead a band called The Libertines. And all the current members of Machine Gun Fellatio (except Pinky) were in Vrag, a short-lived band that released one 12" vinyl record entitled 'Still the Only Non-Stimulating Anti-Obesity Drug.'
By 1997, Chit Chat, Love Shark and Three K Short created a band with Guy Fleming (aka Adolph Mantovani, from Chit Chat's The Libertines). Fleming named the band Machine Gun Fellatio, a name which he claims to have found under a bench in Croydon Park. They released their first single, 'Isaac or Fuzz,' which was received very well. The band promptly disappeared from the public eye.
Yes, I'm a motherfucker on a motorcycle.
(Oh, she's a motherfucker on a motorcycle!)
Pinky Beecroft invited Chit Chat to work on some music with his long-time friend Tim Freedman, the lead singer of The Whitlams. Together, they drank Pinky's scholarship money in two weeks and wrote the heart-wrenching song 'No Aphrodisiac', which hit No. 1 in the Triple J Hottest 100, 1997 and won 1998 ARIA Song of the Year. But Pinky declined to become a full-time member of The Whitlams. "I spent my adolescence doing gigs with Tim Freedman," Pinky said in an interview this year, "but I left so he could become rich and famous." He was brought into Machine Gun Fellatio instead.
Picking up Christa Hughes (aka KK Juggy) and Brian Ferrysexual, the band settled down to write their first major release. It was 'Mutha Fukka On A Motorcycle,' and it reached No. 59 in the Triple J Hottest 100, 1999.
Well my pills are white, my leather's black
My chick grips tight to my motherfucking back.
Because I'm a motherfucker on a motorcycle.
Spark Jack became the seventh honorary member of the band when he wrote this song in the band's bathroom. "I accidentally fell into their apartment in King's Cross one night very very late, and they were all having a bit of a party and I decided to walk past the party and straight to the bathroom, and there in the bathroom was a microphone, and I grasped the microphone and I also grasped the spirit of Dean Martin, and I became, on the spot a 'Mofo On a Motorcycle' in a bathroom in an apartment in Kings Cross. And that's how I met these people. And they said, well actually, keep singing."
Together, they released their first EP, 'Impossible Love,' and went on tour.
They were never going to be an ordinary band, but this is when the controversy started.
But they're not all controversy
By March 2001, the band had perfected their eclectic and dazzling live performances. They arrived at the University of Melbourne for a midday concert, decorated the stage with posters applauding homosexuality and began to sing. The bombshell Christa Hughes stripped off her shirt and dived into the crowd. Pinky later explained to reporters, "One of the girls in the band likes to shed a few clothes. Look, she is an amazing performer with a fantastic voice, and sometimes she's just given to cartwheeling through the audience with nothing but a pair of fake moustaches on her nipples."
Members of the Melbourne University Student Council, who were in the audience, said that it constituted sexual harassment and insisted that the band stop the performance. The Council quickly contacted Swinburne University of Technology and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, who also cancelled the band's performances. This was met with outrage by the local media; Women's Electoral Lobby spokeswoman Sarah Maddison condemned it as censorship in The Australian newspaper, likening it to Yoko Ono's naked performances in the 1960's. The band took it in their stride.
"Shortly after we played the aforementioned show," Three K Short said, "the student council called another election and voted the members who complained off the the board and immediately invited us to come back and play (and) to put it up the people that stopped the show. We were unable to as we were about go off the road for a while and are only getting around to it again now so that should be a pretty fab gig."
Why, I'm a motherfucker on a motorcycle!
(Yes, she's a motherfucker on a motorcycle.)
But they're not all controversy - MGF is backed up by some serious talent. Their first hit song, 'The Girl of My Dreams (Is Giving Me Nightmares)', is an astonishing rock melody, closely followed by the elated beats of Rollercoaster, Pussytown and Summer Sounds. Their first album, Bring It On!, ranges from the brassy beats of 'Not Afraid of Romance' to the dulcet nostalgia of 'Unsent Letter'; their second album, Paging Mr. Strike!, is even better than the first. Pinky describes the band's central theme as romance. "Or identity crises. The album was originally titled, 'I Wish I Was Richard Clayderman.'"
Then there's the electronic delights of 'Many Words'. This tune might ring a bell with Australian readers: it was the theme tune to the ABC's television production, Love is a Four Letter Word, which was created and co-written by Pinky himself under the pseudonym of Matt Ford. This precursor to The Secret Life Of Us gave Pinky a chance to expand his talents. Pinky and Chit Chat collaborated with The Whitlams to produce the television series' scripts and music. Both made an effort to incorporate local bands into the show's live performances.
I'm a hard hallucinator with an axe to grind
Shootin' from the hip like a porcupine
Cause I'm a motherfucker on a motorcycle...
What makes Machine Gun Fellatio special is their talent. Each band member can sing, write and play a range of instruments. Their songs have consistently rated well on the charts and in music polls - their second album, 'Paging Mr. Strike' debuted at no. 9 in the ARIA song charts. Their music spans a wide range of styles, their lyrics are always perfectly suited to their melodies, and they clearly enjoy their work. After 150 shows in the 'For the Ladies' tour, the sound of the band has become a lot smoother.
I like to get drunk, I like to get high
I love it when the crowd goes off!
While their studio work is always astonishing, their live, on-stage performances bring out the best in the band. At the Big Day Out 2002 in Sydney, Pinky wore an altar boy's robes, Chit Chat wore a plush poodle, The Widow Jones wore a PVC nurses' uniform and the back-up singers were dressed in leisure suits and wore stilts. The band threw glitter into the arena and encouraged the crowd to sing along. And the audience ate it up. Chit Chat explained the phenomenon: "We have a lot of people in twelve-step plans in our audience. I think that says something."
In 2004, Machine Gun Fellatio were the warm-up band for American rock stars KISS. The band said of the tour, "We certainly scored a fair amount of footage for the next DVD, including scenes of KK endlessly hassling Gene Simmons to wear a fake vagina on his head. I don't think Gene really got to grips with the concept of the fake vagina.
"And yes, there were some complaints about us in the newspapers from parents who took their children to the show. Apparently scantily-clad young women are offensive.... much more so than middle-aged men in leather bat-suits vomiting up chicken's blood all over themselves. Which is an interesting point of view, I have to admit."
For new listeners, I recommend 'The Girl of My Dreams (Is Giving Me Nightmares)' and the live version of 'Unsent Letter', which has a curious gentleness, in stark contrast to their high-energy stage shows. These two songs are a showcase of the band's strengths and talents. Move on to 'Not Afraid of Romance,' then see if you can resist 'Mutha Fukka on a Motorcycle' and 'Pussytown'.
So, I'm a motherfucker on a motorcycle.
(Whoa, she's a motherfucker on a motorcycle.)
Brian Ferrysexual: Tall, dark and handsome, Brian features on the drums.
Chit Chat von Loopin Stab: Gifted in all things electronica: keyboards, synthesizers, "keys, knobs, dials, loops, stabs, vocals." He co-wrote 'Fake that Emotion' with Tex Perkins and has worked with Pinky and The Whitlams.
Christa Hughes: a.k.a. KK Juggy, cabaret singer and scriptwriter. KK Juggy makes "guest appearances" at every live performance. Rollerskating vocalist and half-naked dancer. As well as singing, she works on the band's stage performances. Christa keeps in shape by swimming in the ocean, and she said the secret to keeping fake moustaches and rosettas stuck to one's body is gaffa tape. "Nothing else will do. If you're at all sweaty, glue will come right off. But double-sided gaffa tape works a treat."
The Love Shark: Guitarist at large. The Shark plays acoustic and electric guitar, very loudly and very well.
Pinky Beecroft: a.k.a. Matt Ford. Lead vocalist, pianist, song writer and classical scholar. Pinky suffered from long-term depression as a youth. Now he's a black-eyed darling of the crowd - think of Billy Corgan with a black sense of humour. Tim Freedman described him as "the greatest sexual technician of this or any other century."
Three K Short: Guitar, electronica and finger bells. His career has been fairly wide-ranging, including composing and producing the soundtrack for the movie Soul Sucker.
The Widow Jones: Pianist and vocalist, and famously seen in a PVC nurses' uniform. With KK Juggy, she provides secondary vocals for the band and woos the crowd with her sweet voice - from the age of 20, she trained for six days a week to develop her beautiful style.
Yeah, I'm a motherfucker on a motorcycle.
(Hey, she's a motherfucker on a motorcycle!)
Isaac or Fuzz, 1997 (single)
Mutha Fukka on a Motorcycle, 1999 (single)
Impossible Love, 1999 (EP)
Bring It On!, 2001 (album)
For the Ladies, 2002 (EP)
It's Carrot Day!, 2002 (single)
Paging Mr. Strike, 2002 (album)
You've Ruined All My Favourite Songs, 2004 (single)
Troublemaker, 2004 (single)
Machine Gun Fellatio On Ice, 2004 (album)
Oh, I'm a motherfucker on a motorcycle!
(She's a motherfucker on a motorcycle!)