30 years is a long time for anything to last really but especially a punk rock band in the uncertain world of music. THE MEANIES have somehow weathered many a storm to still be not only around but being more relevant now than ever before.
With labels across the globe wanting to release old product as well as new, THE MEANIES are happy little Vegemites, although maybe not so little anymore. For a band who used to dine out on how ugly they were, they’ve grown up to very handsome men indeed.
LINK and RINGO kicked it all off with fellow MEANIES, DD and VB in 1989. A handful of pub gigs later, tongues were wagging about this maniacal front man backed by a bunch of hairy reprobates. Six months in and VB decided to follow another dream so KINKY stepped up to the plate on bass duties. Thankfully that stage moniker didn’t stick and his usual nickname of WALLY was enough.
A three way split 12″ with fellow Melburnians The Throwaways and Nice Girls From Cincinnatti was recorded and played to Bruce Milne at Augogo Records and a long association was commenced. A string of limited edition 7″ singles, now very hard to find and rather costly, set things up rather nicely for the band with new releases arriving with much anticipation from that point on. A few eps, a couple of albums and many, many shows both here and abroad with many a merch item sold (at one point more people had a Meanies t-shirt than they had the bands’ records) we fast forward to the summer of ’95/’96 when the lads decided they’d worked pretty bloody hard the previous six years and needed a break.
THE MEANIES kicked back into gear late ’98 and have been motoring along at a slow but steady pace ever since. The thrill hasn’t gone but the band being the be all and end all, maybe not so much. A couple of new recordings (one resulted in two eps and two singles, the other is still in the making), a few overseas tours (Japan in ’99, UK & Spain in ’02, Spain again in 2010) and a bunch of memorable shows at home have kept the fire burning and will no doubt continue to do so for some time to come.
In September 2015, THE MEANIES released their first full length album in 21 years, a classic punk rock opus called “It’s Not Me, It’s You” available on cd and vinyl thanks to Melbourne label Poison City Records. Cargo Germany decided they’d distribute for Europe and the Spanish fans once again rose up and a twenty date of Spain was completed between late April and early June 2016.
Poison City Records were also kind enough to reissue a lot of THE MEANIES back catalogue on 12” vinyl in late 2014 / early 2015. Buttercup Records in rural Victoria released a brand new 7” and Tym Records in Brisbane did a reissue of the “Never” 7” coupled with an old t-shirt design and a skate deck. The same label then went on the release THE MEANIES EP “Cruelty’s Fun” on 7”, it’s first time on vinyl.
In 2019 THE MEANIES released ’25 Live – Live At The Hi-Fi’ on Cheersquad Records & Tapes. A recording of their cracking 2014 set at The Hi-Fi Bar in Melbourne. Featuring an exhaustive setlist of bona fide Meanies classics, 25 Live features numbers from their earliest singles through to their most recent output. It is available on vinyl and digitally.
2020: Desperate Measures marks the first studio album from the band since their victorious 2015 comeback record It’s Not Me, It’s You amassed a slew of standout album reviews across the country and reignited Australia’s longstanding love affair with the influential punk-rock outfit.
According to frontman Link Meanie, the album title Desperate Measures reflects the drastic strides we take to stomach the current state of the world.
“Desperate Measures is an album title for the times, whether it be applicable to the rise of right wing anti-intellectualism, the associated denial of impending environmentally apocalyptic disaster or the cultural lobotomy of today’s popular media,” says Link. It’s hard to see a way through this miasma of illogical negativity without… (drum roll)… desperate measures.”