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The Scientists - Original Theorem

Author: Sarah Booth
Thursday, 31 January 2008
It’s safe to say that if it wasn’t for the records released in the early ‘80s by Perth band The Scientists, there never would have been grunge. 3D’s Sarah Booth spoke to the Scientists’ linchpin Kim Salmon about getting the band together for the Don’t Look Back series (wherein bands play their seminal albums in their entirety).

How are you feeling about getting involved with the Don’t Look Back shows-

Well I really like the ATP folk (All Tomorrow’s Parties, the team behind Don’t Look Back), I mean I’ve done two ATP festivals so far in the space of two years, with The Scientists, and they’ve both been really good experiences so I’m looking forward to working with them again.

What do you think about organiser Barry Hogan’s choice of the album Blood Red River-
Well I think it’s a fair enough choice because it was sort of our defining period with that album…

So that early period of the eighties, 82, 84, is what you would define as the seminal era for the Scientists-
Definitely, it was definitely the seminal era, it had by far the most influence on the music scene, in general. I think there are still other distinct eras, the Perth time and a little later when we were in London. But that bit [Blood Red River 82’-84’] is when we were in Sydney.

You’re not unlike a scientist yourself in that you were constantly adding different ingredients to the formula. The amount of changes in the line-up…
You know there’s still a joke there. Initially when we came up with the name for the band, we were a lot more sophisticated than that [sarcastic], but it came to be “ironic”. That we were a primitive punk rock outfit mixing the chemicals together. There was a time when things, harder things, made the name more literal (laughs) in meaning.

I like the way Barry does these things, you have bands like Television reforming for these events.
I agree, it’s an idea that appeals to people. It’s a way of knowing what you’re getting and the things that inform people, in their formative years, of a particular album. I mean, Led Zeppelin Four, that album came out when I was about 14, 15, can you imagine them playing that material- I mean when you went to see a band generally they slip a bit of new stuff in you don’t know about. Maybe include a few dodgy covers.

My last question you’ve kind of already answered and I thought it was a hard one! If you could get one band to reform, dead or alive, to come back and perform one album what would it be-
Well it wouldn’t actually be Led Zeppelin Four, that was more of an example, but there is a story with that. When I was that age, two of my favourite bands that I had just cottoned onto were touring and I only had enough money to buy a ticket to one of them. They were Creedence Clearwater Revival and Led Zeppelin, I chose Creedence Clearwater Revival - I guess it was the best choice ‘cause now Led Zeppelin have reformed and are touring…my album though for them would be Physical Graffiti. I’d be happy if they just did a collection of work and material, but if they did a Don’t Look Back it could be any one of their albums…as long as it wasn’t their last album!

WHO: Kim Salmon of The Scientists
WHAT: Perform Blood Red River at the Enmore, supporting Sonic Youth
WHEN: Monday 18 February