Corporate Lackeys? Not Likely! Mark Fraser, Drum Media, November 2001

[Transcribed by Anton S. Trees.]

In a press release from TISM's Humphrey B. Flaubert, he's quoted as dismissing TISM as "corporate lackeys, too scared to piss anyone in the industry off, lest it should harm their blanket high-rotation airplay." To anyone who knows the irreverently beautiful humour and pisstake attitude of TISM, we know nothing could be further from the truth. Taking the piss is what TISM do best! Music, politics, social misfits, religion, Xtreme sports, manufactured groups...nothing is sacred, and nothing escapes the TISM vitriolic attack...all wrapped neatly in snap-tight glo-mesh disco shorts of course.

As far as an Australian musical icon, TISM are trumps. And as much as they dismiss their social importance, their funny as fuck, scathing, musical insights are second to none. The fact that they've managed to hide their individual identities for the past decade or so, makes them even more intriguing to the average punter. And with a brand new album in De RigueurMortis, TISM are back with a rat-arsed vengeance. I caught up with the far from shy Humphrey B. Flaubert and wondered where the guys had been for the past few years...

"It takes a very long time to get out of bed," he explains. "Brian Wilson took six years...we tried putting sand on the floor but it didn't work, so we decided to put out an album instead. It's highly advised that you don't listen to it though. There's a lot of shit on there, and we get side-tracked with our soap opera...and for what? What have we achieved? Fifteen seconds of listening to the album will confirm everyone's opinions. It's like when you have a piece of spinach in your teeth and no-one tells you. That's our approach; that and the lure of possibilities and getting on television. We don't have any noble causes. We like to put live sharks in the bath-tub. It's all lies!'

All lies it may be, but never let the truth get in the way of a good tale I say. The new album, nonetheless, is a classic satirical slag on all that sucks in the world today. A wicked mix of disco-etched pop and razored lyrics... true TISM brilliance in every sense. And nothing escapes the wrath. Razor scoots, teen fame Nikki Webster, Britney Spears (any clothes horse can learn to sing), schoolies, reality TV, techno, Extreme Sports (Xtreme Sports can kiss my arse), uncool christians, technology (DVD players, till they can record... fuck 'em), the internet (more crap at your fingertips). TISM have the knack of hitting the nail on the head so aptly and nowhere moreso than on the track Five Yards...

You're only one fad away from being retro
You're only one drug away from liking techno
You're only one glasses of pair from dyslexia
You're only one Cleo mag from anorexia
You're only five yards from a fuckwit...

It seems there's no end to the source of TISM's mockery. "We see someone with a peg leg as someone with a peg leg. Somebody's gotta be putting it out there. No-one's listening, but at least we said it. We're not subversive though, there's no subversion in TISM...there's a never-ending source of there. It's the world. The world is a really fucked place, Mark. People are fucked. Kill all the people..."

Religion always cops a workover in the TISM repertoir, and on the new album, Fred Durst the scowling Christian (yep kids, he's one of those) gets a fair serving on Honk If You Love Fred Durst.

"It's a frightening thing," relates Humphrey. "Christianity in rock. What happened to the whole idea of rock being the thing your parents didn't like. It's not a major point, but that's indicative of the way the universe has turned on us. Being groovy is far worse religion than christianity. It's not the Nikki Websters and the Savage Gardens we're after, we are not anti Britney Spears. It's the groovers we're after. They're harder to find...Wipe them out immediately...I mean, we're not tall poppy syndrome people...reverance and respect, they're the two heinous words in TISM. We love to poke fun at the tyranny of grooviness. The groove police are coming to your door Mark!"

The other side of TISM's public front is their imposing stage presence. Bizzaro costumes that sometimes are larger than life itself. As they prepare for yet another live assault on our sense, just what can we expect this time around?

"Well we're all influenced by a lot of Japanese kabuki theatre, and Darrel Cotton. There's elements of Mardi Gras homosexuality. We like to see a lot of homo-eroticism coming back into it. It will all look very much like a decadent Mardi Gras float...a bit fur, fake of course, and plenty of glam."

And if a bit of disco flavoured homo-eroticism is right up your savaged rectum, then you can catch TISM at Homebake on Dec 8. The wicked new album is out now on FMR.


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