The Birthday Party Old News

Rowland S. Howard - Autoluminescent (Documentary)

May 2012

Much excitement has been generated by the documentary on Rowland which premiered at the 2011 Melbourne International Film Festival. It is now available on DVD in Australia through Umbrella and has already been screened on Australian television and it can only be hoped it will find it's way to many international festivals and be released on DVD around the world.

The project began many years ago at the instigation of Rowland himself in collaboration with 'Teenage Snuff Film' and 'Pop Crimes' producer, Lindsay Gravina. In the couple of years before Rowland died he brought on board the film director Richard Lowenstein who eventually took over the project from Lindsay due to difficulties encountered in their variant visions for the film. Richard completed the project in directorial collaboration with Lynn-Maree Milburn. Thanks in no small part to the deep involvement of Genevieve McGuckin, Rowland's long term partner and musical left arm, the film is suffused with a deep sense of Rowland's presence, his unique style, his keen sense of humour and his artistic integrity.

Although not a thorough or accurate representation of either of Rowland's key bands, The Birthday Party and These Immortal Souls, it is nonetheless a moving and direct portrait of the man himself and contains many insights into his history and lots of rare footage of his multitudinous public performances.

It is hoped that Lindsay Gravina will one day complete a document from the material he had assembled and did not allow Richard to use in Autoluminescent.

Vinyl Re-Issues

May 2012

Junkyard, Prayers on Fire and Hee-Haw have all been re-issued through Drastic Plastic in the USA in a limited run. The initial pressings of 500 each were snapped up very quickly and it is hoped/believed that Drastic Plastic will press up another short run later in 2012. Junkyard is due for imminent release on vinyl in Europe.

Legal clearance has now been acquired from Mute and 4AD for Drastic Plastic to release 'Mutiny!' and we are all hopeful this will be turned around before the end of 2012, possibly as a double 12" 45 rpm using the original format of the 2 EPs.

March 2010

The passing of Rowland S. Howard has left a gaping hole in the lives of his family, friends and many of his fans. Rowland died on December 30th. 2009 from complications surrounding a deteriorated liver brought on by Hepatitis C. He was awaiting a liver transplant but sadly didn’t receive one in time. His funeral took place on January 7th and was essentially (and appropriately) 45 minutes of eulogies with some music, notably “Autoluminescent” and “Sleep Alone”. The coffin was white with a black rose printed on the side and was drenched in red roses. His trusty Fender Jaguar stood mute at his side throughout the service. Hail the Six Strings that Drew Blood!!

November 2009

"Pleasure Heads Must Burn" DVD is now available from the shop.

August 2009

The Birthday Party releases are now available digitally from iTunes.

April 2008

A 25 minute documentary of the Mutiny! sessions is now available on DVD from the shop in limited quantities.

September 2007

A new section containing press clippings from the early 1980's has been added. Larger key articles and interviews from that time should be added as copyright clearance is obtained. Extra photos are still being added to the photo gallery from time to time.

September 2006

A tribute album featuring covers of Birthday Party songs by contemporary American bands has been released by the Three-One-G label on vinyl in the US.

New in the shop - A fisherman's cap with the tentacled skull design woven on the front and the long awaited "Mutiny!" T-shirt.

July 2006

After much ado the T-Shirts are finally available exclusively from the online shop. A "Mutiny" design T-Shirt and a "Truckers Cap" with the tentacled skull logo will be available from September 1st 2006 at the latest.

"Sticky Carpet",a documentary featuring interviews with Rowland S.Howard and live footage from the "Pleasure Heads Must Burn" DVD, will have 2 screenings at the upcoming Melbourne International Film Festival.

November 2005

The long awaited re-issue of Rowland S. Howard's 'Teenage Snuff Film' has been officially released and is now available to purchase from the online shop.

October 2005

The re-issue of Rowland S.Howard's 'Teenage Snuff Film' has been postponed until later in the year due to delays in regenerating the production parts causing a clash with pre-Christmas CD production runs. It is hoped to have official T-shirts available again after 20 years! (yes, anything out there is a bootleg) in at least 2 designs. Most likely the "tentacled skull" from 'Prayers on Fire' and a rendering of the 'Mutiny' cover design.

The 2 existing rough drafts of Mick Geyer's book on the band are being perused with a view to making excerpts available at some time in the future. Mick sadly abandoned the project when Ian Johnston's biography on Nick Cave hit the shops at the same time as his computer completely packed up and his work was lost in its hard drive.

The book, 'Inner City Sound' featuring early articles on the band has been re-issued and other early Australian New Wave and Punk bands including a double CD with "Sex Crimes" on one disc and "Release the Bats" on the other.

June 2005

'Alternative Animals', a documentary on early Australian Punk Rock, has been released through Shock in Australia on CD Rom. Included are interviews along with "Secret Life" and "Success Story", 2 previously unreleased songs by The Boys Next Door captured on Black and White video at a gig at Preston Tech in 1978. The release will also include an audio CD with another unreleased song by the band,their "classic" from that period, "Sex Crimes" which was discovered on a cassette in a box by Phill Calvert.

The Live recordings made by Tony Cohen to accompany the 16mm filming of the Ballroom - December '80 and Astor Theatre - January '81 shows have been found by Mr. Cohen in his attic.The Ballroom show is on 4 track and the Astor Theatre on 8 track tape.These will be sent to Screensound Australia in Canberra for preservation and hopefully future use in conjunction with the film.

Negotiations are underway to make Rowland S. Howard's solo album "Teenage Snuff Film" available again through the shop on this web site. The album, only ever released in Australia and unavailable since late 2001, features Mick Harvey on drums and Brian Hooper (Beasts of Bourbon) on bass.

2004

"Ho-Ho" (from 'Prayers on Fire') used in Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear winner 'Gegen die Wand' (Against the Wall) "The Hair Shirt" used in Granada Productions feature film 'Mouth to Mouth'. Proposal for a documentary about the St.Kilda (in Melbourne) Crystal Ballroom years 1978-1982 still trying to raise funding. Mick Harvey still endeavouring to salvage the 16mm film of The Birthday Party's performances at The Ballroom, St. Kilda in December 1980 and at the Astor Theatre in Melbourne in January 1981 and deliver them for reservation/restoration, if needed, to the National Film and Sound Archive (Screensound Austraia) in Canberra.

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