I’m not ashamed of my enjoyment of Melbourne outfit TISM (aka This Is Serious Mum).

In fact I would be prepared to wear a TISM t-shirt out in a public space, in the hours of daylight!

My introduction to the group was when my good friend Colum won a CD of TISM’s first album – Great Trucking Songs Of The Renascence.
He didn’t have a CD player, and i did, so he kindly loaned the disc to me.

First time I saw them live (after being unable to convince anyone to accompany me to their prior Sydney tours), was at The Phoenician Club in Ultimo, August 1992.
Above the stage the group were accompanied by a collection of artists who spend the show creating paintings  of various facial features.

TISM broke the venue bar record at The Phoenician that night.

Cut to a few years later, and I have moved to Melbourne. Having left friends in Sydney who were doing work at small television production offices, or community radio, I thought it a good idea to get myself onto the freebies gravy train. My first attempt was doing volunteer work at RRR community radio. It did lead to getting to attend an invitation only live to the air TISM gig at The Laundry in Collingwood.

My neighbour was Paddy Donovan, a music journalist for The Age, writing the column Sticky Carpet. He interview Ron and Humphrey over a six pack in the city newspaper offices (once the two masked musos were finally through The Age security – not so easy in balaclavas even pre-Sept 11).
Paddy was a bit stuck for an angle on the story. They were promoting 1998’s “www.tism.wanker.com“. Despite it being their fourth album, it followed 1995’s ARIA winning breakthrough¬† album “Machiavelli and the Four Seasons“, so I suggested that it was something like their difficult second album. Paddy was away with that, and I started to think that I may have a few ideas.

A few years later and I was studying for a multimedia degree at Swinburne Uni. I got involved with the student magazine – Tabula Rasa had through that got myself on the list of a number of marketing departments. When TISM reappeared to promote 2001’s “De RigueurMortis“, I was unashamedly pushing to get an interview.

It worked. On 12 Oct 2001, I managed an hour interview with Ron and another with Humphrey.
Worth noting is how soon after September 11, 2001 World Trade Centre these interviews were.
When they released “The White Albun” I manager another phone interview with Ron on 1 Jul 2004.

I also got into their launch for 2002 compilation album “Best Off” at Melbourne’s fortyfivedownstairs, where Ron kindly wiped his arse with a copy of my first interview with them.

That first interview Return of the Pop Vigilantes, I am most proud of.
I not only spoke to two members, but also a assistant sound engineer, Mark Goodwin – the manager of the Hi-Fi bar (and previously Sydneys Metro) and the hardest to get hold of TISMs then manager. It was submitted as my journalism assignment after all. For a while i was the #1 reference for TISM on Wikipedia. Today I am down to #85, but still widely quoted on the page.

The second article, the less creatively named Return of the Great White Hope was published in the same student magazine in mid-2004

I have the audio of these interviews, and will probably add more TISM content, and ideally link the quotes to the audio snatches.

The general plan is to add both articles, and some other material, and maybe then some non-TISM stuff

Enjoy if you must

Ian

December 2022