The End - Was The Beginning

Listen to selected tracks
Birthday Boy (with radio intro)  •  My Confession  •  Just Skin

Yesterday's Letters Blog

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The End were born in February 1979 in The Gap - a Brisbane vision of suburban nirvana, a vista of wide, tree-lined streets, well-kept front lawns, backyard swimming pools and two cars in every garage. They died four years later in the decidedly grimy streets of inner-city Sydney.

There were two distinct End line-ups which, with an unintended but poetic symmetry, corresponded approximately to the two cities which they lived and died in. They began as an archetypal bunch of pals playing in the garage just for the hell of it in a Brisbane that was just then in the throes of a remarkably frenzied period of musical activity.

Pioneered in '76 by the explosion that was the Saints, inspired also by the punk/post-punk convulsions of '76, a scene of sorts sprang up where previously there had been none. Bands were forming and breaking up seemingly every day. They were making their own records and holding their own gigs. Fanzines appeared one day and disappeared the next. If you weren't in a band, one of your buddies was. There were rivalries, both friendly and otherwise, and eventually it all fragmented as these things do, but for a while, a lot of music, good and not so good, was being made.

In the midst of this, The End appeared at the end of '79 and for the next year and a half they played around Brisbane alongside the likes of The Go-Betweens, The Riptides, The 31st, The Apartments and others, building up a cult of respective proportions.

Their repertoire at the time consisted largely of covers - mostly Velvet Underground but also The Stooges, Destroy All Monsters, Wire, Eno, The Feelies, Pere Ubu and even The Ronettes - that reflected some of their influence. More importantly, however, there was a small but steadily increasing number of originals by singer/guitarist Brett Myers. This period and those early songs are represented here by Birthday Boy and Just Skin, two dark blue moods illuminated only by an assonant guitar and Murray Davis' spooky, childlike keyboards.

Like so many other Brisbane bands, The End realised that their future, if they were to have one at all, lay outside Brisbane. They made a number of visits to Sydney and, after the release of their one and only single (My Confession/White World) in October '81, relocated themselves there permanently.

Life, however, was to prove a lot tougher in Sydney than in Brisbane. As a result their line up and consequently their music underwent a period of transition and change. After just a few months there Myers was to find himself as the only original member and the only remaining Brisbane boy. Out went Colin Barwick and Jonathan Lickliter and in came some Sydneysiders, John Purcell from Moving Parts, Cameron Hume, then and now also with Hope is A New Coat, and David Rowley, formerly a Jump Vision-ary. Although The End's sound became less unique, less exploratory as a result of these changes, it also became a lot tougher and more focussed. Myers' songs, however, never lost the emotional edginess which made them so singular. And ultimately it was his songs which were the heart and soul of The End, that gave the band its identity and direction whether they were love songs like Through My Heart or vignettes of betrayal like Gunned Down.

They continued working infrequently into '83 but by April, discouraged by a lack of upward movement, The End decided to call it quits.

Listen to the sheer atmosphere on the songs by the first line up. Listen to Cameron Hume's bass on Through My Heart, to John Purcell's fractured rhythm guitar, to David Rowley's whirlwind of percussion and to the songs, vocals and twisted guitar of Brett Myers and you'll hear why this shouldn't be allowed to happen without at least some remembrance. Here it is.
Tracklisting - Disc 1 (Brisbane) (46:10 m:s)
  1. Birthday Boy (4:14 m:s) (B.Myers) Unreleased Demo (1981)
  2. My Confession (2:56 m:s) (B.Myers) Single (1981)
  3. White World (4:36 m:s) (B.Myers) Single (1981)
  4. Just Skin (3:05 m:s) (B.Myers) Unreleased Demo (1981)
  5. Close Watch (2:51 m:s) (J.Cale) Live at the Brisbane Hotel (1981)
  6. Real Good Time Together (2:36 m:s) (L.Reed) Live at the Brisbane Hotel (1981)
  7. Chelsea Girls (4:20 m:s) (L.Reed / S.Morrison) Live at the Brisbane Hotel (1981)
  8. Night For Day (4:20 m:s) (B.Myers) Live at the Brisbane Hotel (1981)
  9. Sometimes (3:24 m:s) (B.Myers) Live at the Brisbane Hotel (1981)
  10. There She Goes Again (2:27 m:s) (L.Reed) Live at the Brisbane Hotel (1981)
  11. Mannequin (2:15 m:s) (B.Gilbert / G.Lewis / C.Newman / R.Gotobed) Live at the Brisbane Hotel (1981)
  12. Sunday Morning (2:32 m:s) (L.Reed / J.Cale) Live at the Brisbane Hotel (1981)
  13. Raised Eyebrows (2:46 m:s) (G.Millon / B.Mercer) Live at the Brisbane Hotel (1981)
  14. Waste My Time (3:55 m:s) (B.Myers) Live at the Brisbane Hotel (1981)

Tracklisting: Disc 2 (Sydney) (45:33 m:s)
  1. Gunned Down (3.29 m:s) (B.Myers) Band Rehearsal(November 1982)
  2. Through My Heart (2.50 m:s) (B.Myers) Band Rehearsal(November 1982)
  3. This Reason (3.28 m:s) (B.Myers) Band Rehearsal(November 1982)
  4. Nothing At All (2.34 m:s) (B.Myers) Band Rehearsal(November 1982)
  5. Go (3:00 m:s) (B.Myers) Live at the Trade Union Club (January 1983)
  6. Julie (3.19 m:s) (B.Myers) Live at the Trade Union Club (January 1983)
  7. Lost (2.50 m:s) (B.Myers) Live at the Trade Union Club (January 1983)
  8. New Song (3.10 m:s) (B.Myers) Live at the Trade Union Club (January 1983)
  9. The 'I' In Me (4.32 m:s) (B.Myers, C.Hume) Live at the Trade Union Club (January 1983)
  10. What Goes On (5.21 m:s) (L.Reed) Live at the Trade Union Club (January 1983)
  11. Just Skin (4.25 m:s) (B.Myers) No Dance' Single, (1984)
  12. Foggy Notion (3.39 m:s) (L.Reed) Last End Show (May 1983)