- What’s happening? Severed Heads will disband after performing in Chicago on September 21st 2019. The 2019 USA shows are the last in this band format.
- What comes next? Stewart will continue to work in his own band Klaus. Tom will be starting a new label/group called Nilamox*.
- What about the other band members? There are no other band members, the Internet falsely shows people that have long departed.
- Why is this happening? It’s the 40th anniversary of the band’s foundation and time to close the loop. We’ve always sought new ideas and practice and have spent enough time (nearly a decade) paying respect to the past.
- Will the old material still be available? Yes. Deep catalogue will be managed much as it is now – it is not abandoned. Sevcom will be structured as a museum.
- Is this temporary? We have both professional and personal reasons why we cannot continue in our current format. This is a response to reality. Reality would have to change significantly (for example Hell freeze over).
Now for the details.
At the end of the 20th Century the band was ahead of the wave. Online with Fidonet since 1992, the web since 94, first with MP3s, downloads, CD-ROMs and all that. But by 98, our mainstream support went with the collapse of music labels. Despite DIY, the band was dead in the water by 2008. Our remnant audience was small and, in some ways, antagonistic to our future development. I had the opportunity to get a real paying academic position. This blog starts in that era, so you can read about it if you like. Severed Heads closed shop.
Soon after we were encouraged to perform the old songs for the Sydney Festival, and have since that time taken our ‘deep catalogue’ all around Australia, Europe and North America multiple times. We’ve enjoyed playing these shows. The music is good, the videos are good, the audience is a lovely audience (unlike the Beatles we don’t want to take you home). But on the occasion of our 40th birthday (the Ear Bitten album was recorded in late 1979) we would like to wrap it up.
You have every right to be sceptical – haven’t we been here before? Severed Heads has been dead for quite a long time now – even when resurrected for live shows and the occasional artefact. With a few exceptions the live shows have been old music – reheated in various clever ways, but still from the previous century. Stewart has his own band to work on. I’m really interested in music that wouldn’t do well on stage but might work as part of an installation or video piece. I’d like to keep making music and performing, but maybe not Dead Eyes Opened for the umpteenth time.
Our goal in these zombie years was to cross over to major festivals, galleries, high-end creative events. There’s been some excellent occasions – for example the performance and acetate cutting of Beautiful Arabic Surface, releasing the HH computer game on the ABC website for the Adelaide Festival – but not consistent enough to prove that objective will be met. We may assemble the band temporarily only when a high-level or artistically significant event is available. That is, we’ll save it for cool gigs.
Aligned with that – we are getting older and can’t be lugging heavy cases up and down the planet much longer. We either get a bunch of roadies or downplay the travels.
And aligned with this – it’s the most stupid band name ever.
Comparing 2020 to the 1900’s I can’t see a place for our small technological group to advance. Community is Facebook. Music is Spotify. Video is YouTube. All these are lowest common denominator, infested by celebrity influencers and blowhards. Something For Everybody was never our place, and maybe it needs us to step outside and be nobody again.