Rocks, please, never put a “The” in front, were a Sydney based Punk Rock band which started its life as a three piece in 1976 with childhood friends Bill Webb (a.k.a. Bill Posters) Drums/Lead Vocals, Peter Davie Guitar/Vocals and Steve Vanderschoot Bass/Lead Vocals. Having jammed together after school and on weekends and with their love for the early 70’s rock bands like Slade and Status Quo and Aussie artists such as Lobby Loyde & The Coloured Balls surging through their veins, it was no surprise they would turn to Punk Rock as they forged ahead finding a style to become a band. When bands like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols came along, it was obvious what they had become and they would go on to be one of Sydney’s best loved Punk Rock bands.
Their first gig was at the legendary Grand Hotel – Broadway Sydney, in November of 1977. The bookings at the Grand Hotel were handled and run by Johnny Dole & The Scabs, and how Rocks got this first gig would be the catalyst for them becoming a four piece, I was to join the band soon after.
We were always looking for new bands to play at the Grand Hotel, so I started to look for bands around the area where I lived which was in the southern suburbs of Sydney. I came across Subversion playing at a community hall dance and approached them about playing at the Grand which they gladly accepted. I also decided to give Bill Webb, a friend from school a call to see if he was still playing, we had jammed together as often as we could after school, playing in my mum and dad’s garage (how unique). I figured if anyone was going to be into Punk Rock it would be Bill. Of course, I wasn’t wrong. I went to see his band rehearse in a Scout Hall at Menai and who would be there with him but Peter & Steve, also from the early days of jamming in my mum and dad’s garage. So it was a forgone conclusion that I would give them gigs at the Grand Hotel.
At this time things were going really well for the Scabs, or so I thought and I had no idea my time with them would soon be at an end and I would then be joining Rocks. This was to happen when I got kicked out of Johnny Dole And The Scabs on Thursday 16th February 1978, so I got straight on the phone to Bill that night.
“Do you want a new drummer?”
“I got kicked out of the Scabs!”
“That’s good, you’re in”.
With open arms I was welcomed on board. The next night, Friday 17th February 1978 Rocks had a gig and with only a quick rehearsal I made my debut, getting up to play the last six songs of their set at The Last Resort – Darlinghurst. They were supporting of all bands Johnny Dole & The Scabs. From all accounts the band was received well but the boys from Johnny Dole & The Scabs were not pleased to say the least and I left with a bloody mouth after being punched by the manager Ray after a misunderstanding.
Bill’s preferred instrument is actually guitar but as a three piece he took up the drums to fill that need and he became quite a good drummer, but when I joined he then went to front man and he excelled at that too!
There was another Punk Rock band around at the same time called Society Blitz and they also had a manager, Laurie Brown, it was rare for a Punk Rock band back then to have a manager and he approached us about managing Rocks too. Apart from getting us gigs he would also be responsible for financing our first EP. Dates were booked and we were soon in the studio recording at Axent Recording Studios Kogarah NSW and the engineer was Ross McGregor. Ross is blind, and he made his way around a desk better than most I’ve seen, it was amazing to see him in action. It took about eight hours to record the six songs chosen and we came back the following week to mix it down and that took about four hours.
500 copies were made and when the records and covers arrived we all got together to fold and glue the covers and put the record in the sleeve ready for sale.
“What the hell is this Laurie?”
“It’s spelt wrong!”
“It has YOUR SO BORING!”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“It should be YOU’RE as in YOU ARE!”.
What to do? As you can see from the picture instead of getting new covers made which would have required a new layout an apostrophe was hastily inserted over the top which made it look even worse but money being tight that was the best it was going to be. But now looking back on it, it does give it its uniqueness. The EP was released in May of 1978 and sold well at gigs and record stores like Anthem and has gone on to be a sought after collector’s item with the last known mint copy fetching upwards of $600.00 US.
Rocks played all the popular venues of the time, some of these were Blondies – Bondi Junction, The Last Resort – Darlinghurst and the Paris Theatre – Sydney supporting JAB and The Boys Next Door, both from Melbourne.
Everything was going along nicely until one particularly unsavoury incident concerning the loss of equipment happened and unfortunately this meant the band came to a sudden end on Tuesday 13th June 1978.
Sometime later, Bill contacted me and we got together and formed another Punk Rock band called The Prisoners with Peter. Unfortunately The Prisoners were short lived, as soon after that Peter left to take care of a personal matter and it pretty much killed any further plans.
Some years later Peter was back on board and he and Bill kept Rocks alive with different drummers till Peter left to live in Queensland. Steve has recently come back to the fray and he and Bill still maintain the rage and play the odd gig but that side of the story is really for Bill to tell.
On Saturday 28th April 2007 celebrating the 30th anniversary of Rocks the four piece line up got up to play during a Rocks set at Vic On The Park – Marrickville with Peter coming down from Queensland for the night. It was a sensational night with heaps of old and new fans coming along to relive some old memories and to make some new ones and once again, I got up and played six songs!
As bad as they may sound here are 4 of the songs from the re-union gig but I’m sure you’ll get the idea, it is Punk Rock after all.
- Bill Webb (a.k.a. Posters) Drums/Lead Vocals
- Peter Davie Guitar/Vocals
- Steve Vanderschoot Bass/Lead Vocals
- Bill Webb (a.k.a. Posters) Lead Vocals
- Peter Davie Guitar/Vocals
- Steve Vanderschoot Bass/Lead Vocals
- Greg Morris Drums/Vocals
Known Gigs – Line-Up Two Only
|17/02/78 http://australianmusichistory.com||Rocks in Darlinghurst||The Last Resort|
|03/03/78 http://australianmusichistory.com||Rocks in Broadway, Sydney||Grand Hotel|
|04/03/78 http://australianmusichistory.com||Rocks in Blacksmith’s||Community Hall|
|22/03/78 http://australianmusichistory.com||Rocks in Bondi Junction||Blondies|
|23/03/78 http://australianmusichistory.com||Rocks in Darlinghurst||The Last Resort|
|31/03/78 http://australianmusichistory.com||Rocks in Bondi Junction||Blondies|
|07/04/78 http://australianmusichistory.com||Rocks in Bondi Junction||Blondies|
|11/04/78 http://australianmusichistory.com||Rocks in Bondi Junction||Blondies|
|12/04/78 http://australianmusichistory.com||Rocks in Bondi Junction||Blondies|
|16/04/78 http://australianmusichistory.com||Rocks in Bondi Junction||Blondies|
|20/04/78 http://australianmusichistory.com||Rocks in Sydney||Paris Theatre|
|supporting JAB and The Boys Next Door|
|21/04/78 http://australianmusichistory.com||Rocks in Darlinghurst||The Last Resort|
|22/04/78 http://australianmusichistory.com||Rocks in ?||Private Function|
|06/05/78 http://australianmusichistory.com||Rocks in Sydney||Galaxy Amusement Centre|
|13/05/78 http://australianmusichistory.com||Rocks in Sylvania||Community Centre|