THE TRIFFIDS

 

Like some unholy trinity, The Triffids, along with Nick Cave and The Go Betweens seemingly conspired to change people's attitude towards Antipodean rock in the mid-eighties, never before taken even remotely seriously. I984 was the pivotal year when The Go Betweens released Spring Hill Fair, Cave debuted with From Her To Eternity and, in late August, The Triffids arrived in the UK with two albums in tow, Treeless Plain and the mini-lp Raining Pleasure, recorded and released in Australia for Hot Records and, before the year was out, released in the UK by Rough Trade. The Triffids - David McComb (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards): Rob McComb (violin, guitar): Alsy McDonald (drums, vocals): Martyn Casey (bass) and Jill Birt (keyboards, vocals) - arrived in London with a wad of cash they'd saved up and 5 return plane tickets scheduled to expire by Christmas. They'd given themselves three months to make inroads in the UK as a band, or have fun trying, and unequivocally, they succeeded to a point where they graced the first NME cover of 1985 which it predicted would be 'The Year Of the Triffids'.

 

They released their first single as The Triffids in 1981. After one or two changes, Marty and Jill completed the now familiar line up before recording their debut album, 'Treeless Plain', in 1983.

 

After disbanding, the group returned to Australia where, Alsy, Jill and Rob took proper jobs as lawyers, architects and teachers respectively, and settled down, Alsy and Jill marrying, Marty joined Nick Cave and Graham, continued to do sessions and live work in Australia. Graham's steel guitar features prominently on the KLF's groundbreaking Chill Out album and other KLF material. TheTriffids (sans David) also backed The KLF's Bill Drummond on his only ever solo album, The Man, released by Creation in 1990. David continued writing and performing, releasing just one tortured solo album, 'Love of Will', for Mushroom in 1994, an album that inevitably bore many of the Triffids' hallmarks of style and quality. Tragically, David who suffered regular, serious health problems, undergoing a heart transplant in 1996, died in February 1999, following a car accident. The Triffids music will live on as resonant now (perhaps more so) as then and a testament to a unique group and, in David McComb, one of the finest songwriters to come out of Australia - or anywhere, if it comes to that. They could have been contenders but, somehow, their epitaph was destined to be the music itself and David's songwriting and never a wall-full of Gold discs. Mick Houghton The Triffids’ Publicist from August 1984-1989