Thanks so much to Duncan McMillan for getting in touch and for the interview!

++ Who were The Stolen Picassos? How did you all meet?

I joined from an advert in the newspaper which Martin had written. Brad was already in the band, as was Graham. Sandra is the younger sister of Linda whom I had been out with a few times. I met her at their family home and later introduced her to the band.

++ Why did you choose the name The Stolen Picassos?

The name was Martin’s idea – from memory he heard a news article about some paintings that were stolen at the time.

++ How was the scene in Perth back then? What were your favourite bands from your town? and from Australia overall?

Perth had some brilliant acts when we were playing out, many of whom we were friends with. The Stems had disbanded but there was Charlottes Web, Greg Dear, Palisades, The Bamboos.

++ What kind of music were you listening at the time?

Hoodoo Gurus, REM, dBs, Smiths, Television, Byrds, Alvis Costello, The Jam, Go-Betweens, Church, Violent Femmes, Ed Kuepper.

++ You released one 12″ on Easter Records! How did you know Kim and Dom from the label? Was this your biggest highlight? Any cool anecdotes you can share about how this release happen?

Kim came along to a gig one night and talked to Martin afterwards – Martin said later he was asked if we want to record, and he said yes. So we went to Shelter Studios and did it. Yes it was the biggest highlight.

++ How do you feel about the price of the 12″ on the web? Quite high! How many copies were pressed? It seems such a rare record!

Don’t know how many were made, but I took a few copies back to NZ for family and friends.

++ Were there any other releases by the band? Maybe there were some demo tapes or other recordings? (if so, do you remember the song names?)

We recorded a few songs, most of which were on the EP or the compilation tape which was released (Out of the Woodwork…). There was one I can remember that I personally liked that we recorded but wasn’t released, called “Nobody Heard”.

++ I have only heard only a couple of songs from the band, all of them so GREAT! What was your favourite Stolen Picassos’ song?

There were a few really good ones towards the end which Martin came up with – I always liked the up-tempo songs, especially if they had tempo changes. There was one in particular I really liked but can’t remember the name.

++ Did the band gig a lot? Do you remember any particular gigs?

Yep we played a lot, mostly to small audiences in small pubs/bars that were known in the alternative music scene. We did one big one as part of a number of acts on the same night, can’t remember where…. I recall playing at the Stoned Crow in Fremantle a few times. One night in Perth we supported this wild very high-volume thrashy band (Kryptonics, or Plutonics??), and another time at University of Western Australia we supported Weddings, Parties, Anything. They had a big booze budget which we feasted upon while they were on stage. Never got around to thanking them for that – but thanks W,P, A! It was a great night.

++ I read that there was a single scheduled for 1989 on the Bus Stop Label in the US. What happened with that?

Don’t know anything about it.

++ Are you a fan of Picasso at all? Do you have a favourite painting by him? In any case, what are your favourite painters?

No. Never been interested in paintings at all.

++ When and why did you call it a day? Were the band members involved with any other bands after?

Brad left the band first – he was the youngest and was a bit bored, maybe, although I don’t know the reason for him leaving. Then I was asked to join the Palisades by Ian Freeman, who knew Martin very well, and had sought Martin’s approval beforehand. I wanted more rocky stuff, more up-tempo and energetic, so for me it was an easy decision.

Don’t know what the others got up to, because I went to Sydney with the Palisades. I have never heard from any of them since, but would like to.

++ What does Duncan McMillan do nowadays?

I manufacture small wind turbines and sell them in NZ, along with renewable energy systems. It’s expensive to make them and it’s a small market here, so I have to do other engineering work as well.

++ Anything else you’d like to add?

The Stolen Picassos changed my life forever – Martin educated me in the meaning of good music, something which I have appreciated all these years. I was opened up to a whole different world with that band and began down a path which would keep me out of society’s groove to this very day. I don’t have a 3-bedroom house in the suburbs and have never owned a TV.


Stolen Picassos – Save a Little Piece

4 Responses to “:: The Stolen Picassos”

Absolutely love this jangly masterpiece!

Michael Horton
January 19th, 2011

Just a heads up. Martin “mardi” Gambie, from the Stolen picassos recently passed away a couple of weeks ago after losing his fight with a rather agressive strain of melanoma. He left behind 2 kids (Sam and John), and some grandkids. He was still writing music to the end , and his final album (Slight return of the dodo), pretty much written on his deathbed is in the process of mastering, and its a masterpiece.

Shayne O
April 23rd, 2012

Wow I didn’t expect to come across this interview, which brought back a lot of memories. Duncan’s recollections are pretty much spot on. I think the multi-band gig Duncan mentioned was at the Fremantle Arts Center.

Martin was always the creative force behind the band and as Shayne states continued to make music until the end of his life. Like Duncan, Martin introduced me to so much great music and I’m forever grateful to him.

Graham was in a Perth band called Bob’s Love Child. They gigged regularly in the early to mid-90’s. I’m not sure exactly what Sandra did after the Picassos broke up but I did bump into her a couple of times in Sydney in the 90’s and she was still involved in music them.

I was in two bands post Picassos, The Rainyard and Header. I stopped playing live around 1998 but I do have a home studio and may get around to releasing something some day.

Brad Bolton
April 24th, 2014

Another regret from the early days of Bus Stop. I think I was taking on too many projects at once, and things were starting to slide. I found an interview with Martin online from Party Fears #14 (1994) that sums it up pretty well…

“Whatever happened to the long-lost Stolen Picassos single? (“Girl, You’re A Good-Looking Boy/Her Beside My Phone-Book”, the two tracks that appeared on the Out Of The Woodwork compilation tape (1988) and were basically the only reason to own it)

Martin: “I think it got lost! I think Bus Stop Records ran out of money or something like that. I wrote and said, ‘if you can’t put it out, send me back the tape and I’ll try to put it out;’ so he did and, of course, nothing more happened. It’s still sitting on my mantelpiece, actually.”

Like so many other things, if I knew then what I know now, I would have found a way. It would have made a wonderful single!

March 9th, 2016