Video: TISM performing live at the Old Greek Theatre

The funniest thing I saw on April Fool’s Day was this video from Melbourne joke band TISM. I would have posted it up on the day but ya know I was busy stuffing my face with chocolates and lamenting over the fact that YouTube didn’t get an entry from me for the Best Video in the World Competition.

Besides they can’t contemplate closing down YouTube as that would really fuck up the videos on my blog!

This Is Serious Mum (TISM) were a 7 piece underground band who formed in the 80’s and wore balaclavas on stage before Pussy Riot made them famous. They were supposedly trying to keep their identities hidden from the public. My older sister once told me that a few members of the band were teachers so they had to cover their faces in case one of their students recognised them.

WTF? If one of my teachers was in a hilarious iconic band I would have loved to have known, that’s one way to gain instant respect! However, she proved not to be lying (on this occasion) as singer ‘Ron Hitler-Barassi’ finally confirmed he was in fact a teacher! ‘Eugene de la Hot-Croix Bun’ (Eugene Cester) is also the uncle of Nic Cester (vocalist for Jet)!

TISM gained a widespread following in the mid 90’s after releasing a few funny singles that pervaded through to mainstream Australia. Greg, The Stop Sign! was the breakthrough single that I remember which made fun of a serious road safety advertisement that was routinely imitated by members of the public (as happens when an ad is repeated 100 times a day). It featured four bogans (rednecks) speeding down a country road into the path of an oncoming semi-trailer – obviously, with horrific results.

However, my TISM song of choice (He’ll Never Be An) Ol’ Man River was a disrespectful tune about the death of one of my favourite child actors, River Phoenix (aka Chris in Stand By Me). We all know River met his untimely death in 1993 outside the Viper Room in LA from a drug overdose. Apologies to the Phoenix family – but shit, was that a catchy tune! “Where’ll I get my next drug action? Odds on it’ll be Michael Jackson” very prophetic lyrics!

They regularly wore all kinds of crazy matching costumes on stage, accompanied by poorly choreographed dance moves. I only saw TISM dance and prance about once and it was at the height of their fame in 1996 at the Big Day Out in Melbourne, it was fun to watch despite frontman ‘Hitler-Barassi’ being confined to a wheelchair (due to a stage diving incident no less!).

Sadly, TISM are no more as unfortunately their guitarist, James Paull ‘Tokin Blackman’ died of cancer in 2008 and they have since put themselves out to pasture.

But it is an opportune time to remember their quintessential titles such as:

  • If You’re Ugly, Forget It
  • I Shit Me
  • Incontinent in Ten Continents and
  • Australia The Lucky Cunt

The music industry needs another TISM to ruffle its feathers.

Further Exploration:

Other samples you might enjoy:


About noisynoodle

I am a noisy noodle hailing from Melbourne, Australia who loves listening to noise in all forms, but preferably in music, TV and film. I’ve moonlighted on community radio at SYN-FM many years ago when I was still a “youth”. My mission is to promote live music (get off your bum and see something!), highlight interesting TV shows that are ignored by the ratings, expose some cool films and to not go deaf trying!

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