Persecution Blues: The Battle for the Tote Trailer

Featuring Music By: The Drones, Spiderbait, The Meanies, The Nation Blue, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Dave Graney, Joel Silbersher + more

Persecution Blues: The Battle for the Tote provides the perfect overview as to why 20,000 Melbournians decided enough was enough and that our politicians needed to know that we wanted our music culture to be protected. The date was 23 February 2010, when the Save Live Australian Music (SLAM) Rally was held, concluding at Parliament Steps, Melbourne.

The Tote music venue was forced to close down in 2010 because the legal bills from the fight with State Government Liquor Licensing Laws had financially devastated the former owners. The music going public were peeved as so many great venues were in danger from stupid laws restricting how they operate.

The Tote is such a rock icon in Melbourne, almost every local rock enthusiast has been to a gig there a some point. I’ve seen so many gigs there I bloody can’t remember them all, but it definitely was a great place to spend NYE to be able to see anything from the female rock of The 5678’s (Japan) to Melbourne’s own grindcore gods Blood Duster.

I remember Mike Patton once being hit in the head from a demo CD which a zealous fan had flung at him on stage at one of his solo shows, to being serenaded by Ken Stringfellow of The Posies as he slowly walked around the room singing to the crowd sitting hushed on the floor (why we sat on the grimy floor I’ll never know!).

Then there was The Tote courtyard and the infamous WuBQ prepared by musical guru Julian Wu (Rockwiz Brains Trust). Fugazi apparently spent their 1995 tour hanging out at The Tote because it had one of the best indie/alternative jukeboxes in the world!

Luckily, The Tote was purchased by new owners and continues to operate today. Unfortunately, other great venues like The Corner Hotel, Richmond and Cherry Bar, CBD are now in jeopardy from new housing developments that could restrict their ability to play live music.

‘Melbourne is a Music City’ – Jonnie Von Goes, 3RRR radio broadcaster.

How can I do my bit?

  • Attend National SLAM Day 2013 on Saturday 23 February (or help spread the word)
  • Donate to the SLAM Day Fund to fight for our right to party
  • Challenge your local government to support live music in your city (+ ensure new buildings are properly sound proofed!)
  • Keep attending live gigs or making great music!

Further Exploration:

Q. What do you love about the live music scene in Melbourne or in your home town?


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