Background for Journalists

  • EARLY YEARS

  • The original members were Richard Fielding, Andrew Wright and Tom Ellard who met in high school in 1979. When Andrew left, Richard changed the band name to ‘Severed Heads’ as a joke. We have always thought of this as a really crap name. We pressed the EAR BITTEN album.
  • Tom started a cassette label in 1980 called Terse Tapes. In 1981 Terse released a three tape One Stop Shopping compilation of Australian underground music, which garnered a lot of mainstream press. The Clean album is released.
  • Garry Bradbury joins in 1982. Garry, Tom and Simon Knuckey performed with Stephen Jones’ video synthesiser at Metro Television in 1982. Preceding ‘VJ culture’ by about 18 years. Blubberknife cassette this year.
  • Virgin: In 1983 we sign to Ink records in the UK, Virgin in Germany and Australia. The album Since The Accident is released worldwide. The single Dead Eyes Opened gets reasonable club play. In 1984, Paul Deering and Tom record City Slab Horror, which is only released in the UK.
  • In 1985 Garry and Paul leave the group. Stephen Jones joins. The first UK live shows and a trip to Canada to sign with Nettwerk Records in Vancouver, and Volition Records in Sydney.

  • INDUSTRY YEARS

  • The 1986 world tour in Hell. Starts well with a live to air on ABC television, 4 nights at the Chauvel Cinema in Sydney and dates across Canada. The European leg turns into a nightmare – use your imagination. American shows are survived by drinking much vodka.
  • 1988 is a big year for dance parties as well as interactive artworks for the Sydney Biennial and Australian Perspecta.
  • Robert Racic’s remix single Greater Reward becomes the biggest selling import 12” in the United States during 1989. Frantic attempts to release it within the States come too late.
  • The 1990 American tour with MC 900FT Jesus encounters a new hurdle: rap music. Our music is falling out of style in the USA as it grows stronger in Australia.
  • The mini festival Technopop Live at the Phoenician Club in Sydney ushers in Volition Records’s golden era 1991. Now the leading independent dance label in the country… for a while.
  • 1991 Stephen Jones leaves the band. Tom now works with a floating crew including Paul Mac, Alison Cole, Ben Suthers and Stewart Lawler.
  • 1994 Severed Heads develop a CD-Rom called Metapus to go with the album Gigapus. Sony installs computers in key record stores to show off this new format.
  • We are first electronic band to play at the Big Day Out rock festival (in Machinery Square right after the Screaming Jets).
  • Robert Racic remixes Dead Eyes Opened. It enters the Australian top 20 in 1994. It becomes the first Australian online music download (through Next Publishing).
  • Volition develop The Boiler Room electronic music stage for Big Day Out 1995. We are the headline. The other stages laugh and call it the ‘dodgy boiler room’. It will later host Kraftwerk and other world acts.
  • Nettwerk Records drops all their old bands. Volition Records collapses. Decibel Records sells Gigapus for a while but becomes a book store. We have no label. It seems time to go back to our independent roots.

  • ONLINE YEARS

  • 1994 sevcom.com becomes one of the first band run sites on the Internet.
  • Severed Heads develop the first MP2 album Severything late 1994 (MP2 because MP3 hadn’t been developed yet!)
  • Our online store opens in 1995. Blank CDs cost $15 each. We lose money.
  • In 1996, Tom Ellard explains CD-ROM technology on the 7.30 Report to underline Paul Keating’s arts strategy. Keating loses the election.
  • 1998 we play the Homebake festival. Haul Ass is our first indie CD. Tom, Lou Ball and Karen Elliot start Co Kla Coma.
  • Online store starts to actually work around 1999. The Op series of periodical albums start. Co Kla Coma releases two more CDs. Severed Heads retires from the music industry to concentrate on online projects.
  • In 2004, Kriv Stenders recruits Severed Heads to make a motion picture soundtrack for The Illustrated Family Doctor. We also create a DVD Soundtrack called The Animated Family Doctor which wins an ARIA in 2005.
  • The last Severed Heads recording is Op3, put online in 2007. It makes fun of vinyl fetishism. At this point support for the band is close to nil, no labels, no live shows, go away and die.


  • MAGICAL RETIREMENT

  • In 2008 the retrospective vinyl box set Adenoids is released by Vinyl on Demand. This marks the end of the band, which vows no more new music.
  • Severed Heads is talked into performing with The Reels at the 2010 Sydney Festival as a farewell.
  • … and then a tour in 2011 with Gary Numan, where Sevs vow on Garry that Adelaide will be the last gig in Australia.
  • In 2013 play at the Adelaide Festival, because hey, Adelaide.
  • In 2014 Since The Accident, City Slab Horror, Dead Eyes Opened and 80’s Cheesecake are re-issued as museum quality replicas. There is intense pressure for more performances, which we refuse.
  • 2015 more vinyl re-issues announced – Stretcher, Clifford Darling, Clean, Ear Bitten. A small American tour – 7 cities in a week!
  • 2016 you’re standing in it. Currently working on a European tour starting at Unsound in Poland. A new boxed set of Australian Underground music just issued by Vinyl on Demand.