We’ve featured several acts from Down Under this week, so selecting Hoodoo Gurus for today’s throwback only seemed apropos. I loved this band in high school—as did everyone I knew. Growing up in a beach town, we felt a certain kinship with the Australians’ thrashy blend of surf-punk and jangly pop.
This was the early 90s, right before grunge descended—and still a couple years before Dave Matthews and Phish effected a jam-band takeover of college radio (at least in the southeast)—and the Gurus monopolized our playlists (err, mixed tapes).
In truth, I suppose they were just the most recent Aussie-pop invaders we’d sampled, since buying our first cassettes in grade-school—from INXS, Crowded House, and Midnight Oil, to The Church and even, in more rarefied moments, Paul Kelly.
So looking back this morning I had difficulty deciding on the best Gurus track to serve as today’s representative song. Accordingly, here are four (I know, it’s excessive, but this whole thing is about sentimentality, right?), moving progressively back in time:
First up, “1000 Miles Away,” (from 1991’s Kinky), recorded live in Sydney in 2012, highlighting the ARIA-honored band’s return to form in the new millennium:
Second, the official video for “Come Anytime,” from their 1989 U.S. break-through, Magnum Cum Louder:
Third, “What’s My Scene” from 1987’s Blow Your Cool:
And finally, “Death Defying,” from Mars Needs Guitars (1985)—an early album on which the Gurus revealed that they could write not only cheeky novelties (“Like Wow, Wipeout!”) but also songs that merged pop hooks and consequential subject matter (in this case, the carpe diem exhortations of the song’s cancer-ward narrator):