With the inspiration from the punk explosion, Stuart Grant, Denise Hilton, Frank Lovece and Dave Light formed the Primitive Calculators around 1979-80. They releasing the ground-breaking classic synth-punk 7 inch single "I Can’t Stop It"/"Do That Dance". A live recording of a gig supporting the Boys Next Door in 1979 turned out to be Primitive Calculators’ swansong. Released by friend and supporter Alan Bamford in the early 1980s. As well as the Little Bands EP. The Little Bands was a movement initiated by the band, where makeshift acts would write a couple of songs, play a gig and dissolve again. Primitive Calculators dissolve but their vinyl recordings always took pride and place in my personal record collection.
Primitive Calculators had an unexpected renaissance in 1986, when filmmaker Richard Lowenstein included them in his film Dogs In Space, starring a young Michael Hutchence of INXS fame. Besides raising a few eyebrows, nothing much happened with the band.
Fast forward to 2009! A lovely little chap called Guy Blackman, who runs Chapter Music releases originally a black Primitive Calculators CD. Then a white one called "Primitive Calculators with friends", which encapsulates a bunch of other Little Band recordings. Around this time, Richard Lowenstein re-releases the seminal Melbourne punk movie, "Dogs In Space" with a documentary called "We're Livin' On Dog Food". The doco features some razor sharp commentary from Stuart Grant. Richard does a talk about the movie and the documentary for the Melbourne International Film Festival.
Stuart Grant returns to Melbourne! Interest is buzzing. Someone slammed FIVE GRAND on a table to get the Primitive Calculators to play at the Nick Cave curated All Tomorrow's Parties festival at Mt Buller. The once forgotten sleepy legend of synth-punk is reborn. Following a shakey warm up gig at The Tote, The Primitive Calculators play a set on the main stage at Mt Buller. It is truly a sight to behold. I remember rubbing my eyes with glee, not believing what I was experiencing.
I am lucky to see the Primitive Calculators play numerous times over 2009 and they get better and stronger and angrier! Introducing new songs into their set and totally deconstructing others. One of the highlights was playing outdoors for the Melbourne Museum of Printing Fundraiser. When Stuart Grant started to shout "It's a cunt's life", I watched as the distressed mothers in the audience were cupping their hands over their children's tender ears. This band is not family friendly but confrontational and completely in your face.
The Primitive Calculators are only playing only one gig this year (2010) and this is some video from that concert.
I am proud to say that they are back in the studio and making their next recorded masterpiece. It only took them 30 years. :)