The storm rages on
And not gone
The Raging Storm
Thundering On M.S. 1988
In July of 1989 I made what some people would call the biggest mistake of my life, but of course hindsight is always twenty/twenty and not one of those people thought the same way back in 1989. Actually to be fair they might have but there was no way I was going to listen to them. I’d spent the first fifteen years of my life listening to someone tell me what he thought was right when it wasn’t, by the age of nineteen I was making the decision.
Okay let me just back up a little bit and explain what happened.
After Willy agreed to rejoin the band we spend a solid two months practising and writing, at the same time Willy kept working at the bottle shop and I picked up a job as a courier delivering small parcels in a white Volkswagen Combie. Not bad for a guy who didn’t have his license. I know I shouldn’t have been doing it and I know the ramifications had I been caught, or worse had an accident, but none of the happened, maybe I really did have a guardian angel looking over my shoulder.
During the day I carted boxes all over the suburbs running into all manner of people from the nicest of old ladies to the meanest and drunkest of arseholes. After only three weeks of driving for myself I was not only delivering parcels to little old ladies I was delivering drugs and weapons to motorcycle gangs and gang bangers. I ran a don’t ask, don’t tell business, I may not have known exactly what was in each parcel but I had a fair idea. I kept running both sides of the business well into 1989 and before the year was a month old I was raking in over a thousand bucks a week from the bikies and the gang bangers.
At the same time Willy and I auditioned players, did a few gigs and saw a lot of bands. There wasn’t a lot like us in Adelaide at the time but the metal scene was really growing and it was becoming easier to find guys to fill temporary positions. Maybe we were looking at it wrong, maybe we should have considered some of the players more than just temporary and then things would have been different, but I do remember distinctly having the conversation with Willy that none of the players we were getting seemed to have a permanent feel about them.
By May of 1989 I was getting restless, I was still working the courier scene and pulling in more money than I could spend. Even by the time I gave Steve more money than he asked for in rent and paid for my other essentials I was still raking in so much money that I needed several bank accounts to keep it in so as not to attract the attention of the tax office. Back in the 80’s that wasn’t overly hard to do, after all I was already living under an assumed name, so getting a few bank accounts was not difficult.
Willy and I had been playing under the name Raging Storm using players I could not even tell you the names of right now but it was our rehearsal sessions where the best music was created and played. I kind of felt like we were ripping off the punters who paid money to see us not put on our best show but at the same time so many of them were drunk and or stoned that it was hard to feel too bad when you knew they’d remember bugger all of the show the following day anyway.
Although we wrote quite a number of songs in that time we didn’t record, other than on my tape deck, and we had no intention of going into the studio. At one point we did have an A&R (artist and repertoire) agent from one of the smaller record labels approach us saying he was interested in signing us but both Willy and I knew we weren’t ready.
Then by the end of May I was getting so restless that one night as Willy and I banged out a few tunes in the warehouse I was still renting for our practise space I just said to him. “I going to move to Melbourne!”
“What the fuck are you on about?” Willy asked.
“I’m moving to Melbourne!” I repeated.
“Are you high as well as fucking drunk?”
Obviously those close to me still knew me better than I knew myself, however I can honestly say I wasn’t stoned, although there was a fresh hash rollie smouldering in the ash tray.
“No, mate. I’m serious. Think about it.” I had been thinking about it so it was only fair he did too. “Melbourne is where it is at. The scene is huge. It’s way bigger than it will ever be here. There is hundreds of bands and hundreds of players. Metal is so huge they have dedicated shops just selling metal. They even do gigs at that shop.”
“More people, more bands, more players, harder to get noticed.” Willy said.
“Yeah, but it also means more players for us to fill the band with because some of those players have to be looking for new bands. And it means more gigs every night of the week. Instead of playing one residency and a shit pub we can play multiple residencies…”
“At shit pubs!” Willy finished my sentence but not with the words I was thinking about.
Willy and I spoke about moving for nearly four weeks. He never actually agreed that it was a good idea in that time but he was open to ideas and discussing the possibilities. While he might not have agreed during those few weeks he also never completely kyboshed the idea and by the first week of July 1989 he was as excited as I was about moving interstate.