I’ve never been a big fan of Christmas but this year I would like to ask Santa for some records. I would want some rare and obscure vinyl records from Australia. Specifically from The Tripps. Any of their releases will do. Don’t worry, I don’t have any of them, so they won’t be repeated. I’ve seen their “Sometime Today” 7″ on ebay for 20+ dollars plus postage. At the moment that’s out of my budget. Well, 20 dollars for a 7″ is always out of my budget. But for you Santa, that’s just pocket money, right? Why not? Make a popkid happy this winter. And I’ll keep behaving well, doing my job as an indiepop researcher 24/7, and uncovering beautiful guitar pop songs that the rest of the world should be aware of. What do you say? Can you make it happen? I wait for your answer sometime today.
The Tripps were a three-piece from Australia. I would guess from Sydney, as they recorded their songs there. Geoffrey Forrester was bass and vocals, David Smith was on drums, and Jonathon Pritchard guitar and vocals. Their first release dates of late 1986, a two song 7″ record on the well known Waterfront Records, home of Club Hoy or the Widdershins among others. Catalog number was DAMP 42. The A side is the only song I have ever heard from them, “Sometime Today”, as a friend had ripped me an old tape with Australian goodies a while back. It is a fantastic song, of great romantic guitar pop, very much in the vein of bands like The Windmills or The Chalk Giants. Just scroll down and you can have a listen! The B-side was a song called “It’s Like a Zoo”. Both songs were penned by the bassist Forrester and were recorded at Reel Time Studios in August of that year. Produced by Chris Logan and engineered by Louise Pollack.
What about the name The Tripps? Surely Tripp is a last name. But I can’t think of any famous person with that last name worth of naming your band. Also it seems that Tripp is a nickname (also spelled Trip) for a man or boy who is the third in his male line of ancestors to bear the same name, and carries a “III” or “3rd” after his name. Another possibility is that it seems that Tripp is also the name of a clothing line popular amongst people involved with the gothic subculture, and rave subculture. Or, if you want to be a wayfarer, you want to be geographical, you can find a couple of cities called Tripp, one in South Dakota and the other in Wisconsin. Don’t think the name comes from any of these.
I’m guessing record sales weren’t too good, and that’s why they moved on to a smaller label. They went to release on Strand Records a 12″ called “Never the Twain” on 1987. Four songs this time: “Factory of Fame (Let’s Get Processed)”, “Ship’s Cat (No-one’s coming Back), “Prayer to the Rainmaker” and “Wayfarers All”. “Ship’s Cat (No-one’s coming back)” was written by someone called Afiouni. And I was really surprised to see there is an entry for ship’s cats on wikipedia:
The ship’s cat has been a common sight on many trading, exploration, and naval ships, and is a phenomenon that goes back to ancient times. Cats have been carried on ships for a number of reasons, the most important being to catch mice and rats. These rodents, when aboard, could cause considerable damage to ropes and woodwork. More serious was the threat rodents posed to the stores the ship carried. Not only could they devour the foodstuff carried to feed the crew, they could cause economic damage if the ship was carrying grain or similar substances as part of its cargo. Rats and mice were also sources of disease, an important consideration for ships which could be at sea for long periods of time. Cats naturally attack and kill these rodents. The prevalence of cats on ships has led to them being reported on by a number of famous seafarers. The outbreak of the Second World War, with the spread of mass communication and the active nature of the world’s navies, also led to a number of ship’s cats becoming celebrities in their own right.
And then there is a list of “famous” ship cats like Nansen, Peebles, Kiddo, Tarawa, and more. None known to me. I wasn’t aware that a cat could achieve celebrity status. Anyways, moving on. I do notice that there is a bit of a mariner, sailor, theme on both A2 and B2 of this 12″, right? Wonder why. Anyhow, this record was recorded in Sydney in 1987 and was produced and engineered by David Price with assistance of Geoff Gordon. There seems to be a 7″ too released this same year for “Ship’s Cat (No-One’s Coming Back)” on Strand Records, catalog Strand 002. The B side being “Green Bottle”. It has a really cute artwork on white and blue, with a female cat wishing farewell to it’s male counterpart, already sailing off.
Now let’s go back to 1986 as this B side, “Green Bottle”, had been released this year on a compilation called “On the Waterfront”. Actually two Tripps songs appear on this really good compilation that includes two other favourite of mine as Love Minus Zero and The Skolars. The other Tripps song on this compilation is called “Crystal Palace”. For those who don’t know about it, The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and glass building originally erected in Hyde Park, London, England, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. After the exhibition, the building was moved to a new park in a high, healthy and affluent area of London called Sydenham Hill, an area not much changed today from the well-heeled suburb full of large villas that it was in its Victorian heyday. The Crystal Palace was enlarged and stood in the area from 1854 to 1936, when it was destroyed by fire. Wonder if the song is about it.
So you see Santa, even this compilation would be a fine gift for the holidays. Or what about this DVD called “More Tales from Underground Australia”? What is it? It seems to be a music video DVD including The Tripps’ “Ship’s Cat”, and The Marigolds’ “Waiting in Line”. I didn’t know there were videos for this! Why aren’t they on youtube? Really Santa, any will do, even getting in touch with the band to learn more about them! Wonder if they recorded more songs, perhaps an unreleased album! Wouldn’t that be great! So any of you out there feel like being Santa, please go ahead! I’d love to know more and listen more about The Tripps!
I’d love to send regards to the few people that enjoy and read the blog in this holiday season and have helped me find and learn more from many great and obscure bands from indiepop’s past. This may not be Pitchfork or some hype-induced blog, but we care for the songs and the artists. That’s what matters right? It’s about making them popular, not the blog. Anyways, I’ll be back after Christmas to continue with the Indietracks diary! Merry Christmas to all the readers of this little blog!
The Tripps – Sometime Today