TISM: crunchy peanut paste suite, Robert Dunstan, Rip It Up (Adelaide), August 8 2002


"The best thing the people of Adelaide can do is assassinate Nickelback when they come to play the M-One concert," said TISM's Humphrey B. Flaubert at some point during our lengthy telephone conversation about the recent release of TISM's 'best of' album, tism.bestoff. "Either that or get the singer to shave his beard off," he merrily continued. "You see, Nickelback have committed several heinous crimes against humanity by merely existing and should be dealt with accordingly."

Humphrey should know what he's talking about because when not involved in TISM he spends his time on the bench as a high court judge.

"Yeah, I'm just taking my lunch break after spending most of the morning putting away drug addicts, child rapists and pedophiles." he explained. [These crimes are actually under the jurisdiction of lower courts - anal retentive Ms .45]

TISM's latest release is tism.bestoff, and I remarked that a 'best of' album often marks the end of a band's career.

"Either a 'best of' album - which is what is so great about them - or a live album means the end of a band," Humphrey concurred. "So TISM are embarking on our farewell tour next week which will take about 20 years or so to complete and during which time we'll release a series of new recordings and do lots more interviews."

Whose idea was it for a 'best of' album?

"The members of TISM would never suggest such a compromising artistic move because we live in a philosophically sound world and we would have never suggested that we could make a quick buck by ripping off the punters and putting out an album of all our tired old songs," Humphrey firmly stated.

"But the idea for a TISM 'best of' came from Kylie Minogue's management because she's only sold out six of her half-a-dozen concerts in Melbourne and needed a bit of financial help," he explained further. "So, as Kylie and TISM are both involved in the Festival Mushroom Records empire, we felt it our duty to help. So part proceeds from the sale of tism.bestoff will go towards helping out Kylie in much the same way that Jason Donovan, Michael Gudinski and Nick Cave have helped her out in the past."

The late Michael Hutchence was also instrumental in the development of Kylie's career.

"No, no, no," Humphrey quickly interjected, "Michael gave Kylie a good 'seeing-to', which is a lot different to overseeing her career."

Did Mr Rupert Murdoch, the newspaper baron who also owns Festival Mushroom Records, have much of a say about what was to be included of TISM's 'best of' compilation?

"Mister Murdoch has a lot of power over anything TISM releases and that's largely because he has a strong anarchist streak which doesn't come out in many of his other side projects," Humphrey revealed. "World domination is Mr Murdoch's bread and butter and TISM is the crunchy peanut paste that goes on that bread and butter.

So, yes, Mr Murdoch personally told us what songs were to go on the album and what songs were to be left off and, naturally, we obeyed."

Melbourne's TISM (also known as This Is Serious Mum) have been around for much of the last two decades but their real identities remain one of music's best kept secrets. Is there any truth in the rumour that Mr Murdoch is actually a member of TISM?

"I can neither deny or confirm that on the grounds that you and I could end up in court," Humphrey stated. "The only thing I can say is that the only people who clearly aren't in TISM are the people who aren't in TISM - such as yourself and most of the people reading this interview.

And there's been recent rumours that the entire cast of the stage musical The Wizard of Oz are TISM," he added, "but I also can't actually confirm or deny that either on the grounds that you and I could end up in court."

The album also comes with a limited edition, 25-song bonus disc of material recorded between the years 1982-92.

"It's just stuff dug up from the archives and testimony to how low you can go just to get people to buy stuff they already have," Humphrey stated.

"And I'd advise you not to play it as it has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. It certainly won't enhance your life," he then advised.

I have actually listened to the bonus disc although, as I was away from school the day they taught such things, at first I found it difficult to remove from the CD case.

"That's the thing," Humphrey said, "With some bands, their CDs are so good it's hard to get them out of the player, but with TISM it's hard to get the disc out of the CD holder to actually put it into the player. But it's a very comforting experience to look at a TISM CD and know, before popping it into the bin, that you've gleaned all the information you need to kow by simply looking at the song titles."

Three previously unavailable songs, Sid Viscous and The Phillip Ruddock Blues along with a remix of Defecate On My Face by Sydney's Machine Gun Fellatio, have also been included on the album.

"We actually wanted Machine Gun Fellatio to do the whole album so we could release it as The Best Of TISM As Performed By Machine Gun Fellatio," Humphrey explained, "but they felt they'd already done their career enough harm just by remixing Defecate On My Face."

The album back cover shows a map of a six-room art gallery and suggests that, like many famous artists, TISM have had their different artistic periods. But I wondered why they chose to put the restrooms in rooms two and six of the gallery?

"We actually wanted to put all of our work in one of the restroom because any band who releases a song called Defecate On My Face as their first single runs the risk of being call a 'poo band' and belong in the toilet," Humphrey concluded.


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