The Terror of TISM, Ian Bennington, Tabula Rasa (Swinburne Uni magazine), #4 August 2002


With the release of Best Off TISM enter the ranks of rock'n'roll's elite - those artists able to claim they have enough material to fill a "best of" album.

I believe that every Australian should have at least one TISM album and this collection of 16 years worth of TISM is the most economical way of meeting this goal.

As well as favourites like Greg! The Stop Sign!!! And 40 Years Then Death there are rarities like the original 7" mix of Defecate On My Face and two new tracks - Sid Viscous and The Phillip Ruddock Blues.

Fans will want to get the early copies of the album to get the bonus disc of over an hours worth of "bedroom recordings".

Humphrey says "once a song becomes released we feel it ceases to retain its original spirit. Much like the way some cultures that feel that once one is photographed, one loses one's soul". Depsite this warning the songs present an entertaining overview of the bands' artistic output.

Highly recommended, whether you know the band by reputation or from their radio favourite or are a rabid fan who wants every track they produce, this album is for you. Every home should have one.


"In WWII we had Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt. Now we have Howard, Ruddock and Reith - what a great civilisation Australia is. Howard - how someone like some suburban accountant ends up running a country (I don't know), Ruddock - a soulless automaton, like some refugee from a Star Trek film, that replicates in a petri dish and is designed by aliens to burrow into the annals of human history and destroy us from within, and Reith - some kind of Cartesian melingenie (?) sent to us to decieve us and expose us to pure evil. This sort of bloodless amoral inability to empathise with a human that is suffering that Ruddock and Howard are going on with now with refugees - that truculent, middle class guiltily resentful of any suggestion that they aren't the salt of the earth and that their point of view isn't the correct one - that stuff makes me shudder. I've seen more humanity in LED displays than I have in Ruddock's eyes, and that's when you start to think there is something wrong there." - Ron Hitler Barassi

What is funny - "Cruelty, depression - but nothing makes me laugh more than my own attempts to make myself popular with women." - Humphrey B. Flaubert

On the fans - "We're not good looking, we're not fun or talented, but we have the strange ability to attract weirdos across Australia." - HBF

"If you don't get what TISM is about then you are stupid, but if you do get it then you're a wanker." - HBF

Why are they doing it - "We're really in it for the chicks… but that hasn't been that successful." - HBF

Would TISM perform at an AFL Grand Final? "I would like to play during the match. I would like to come on in a truck in the last five minutes of the last quarter provided it was a close game." - HBF

On Swinburne - "I've always found Swinburne kids are consumed by anger and jealousy because they didn't get into the University that matters - La Trobe. At least the failures that got into Swinburne have adjusted to failure and are better people for it." - RHB

"I can't say too much about who writes the lyrics, but let's just say Tina Arena was involved." - HBF

On their music - "One of our favourite lines, and indeed one that we think should go down in the annals of rock history as one of the great rock exhortation to dance is the line 'Gimme gimme gimme bicameral legislation' " (from Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The House of Representatives) - HBF

On the government - "John Howard's inability to make a decision without 50 minutes of mind-numbingly tedious nauseous boredom means that he should hopefully commit Australia to making such slothful and ill-concieved decisions that we might all get blown up, which is good - something that is good for the country." - HBF

"Good taste is all about finding out what other people's opinions are of the music you've got on or about your clothes or your lounge room, but loving something is all about yourself. If you like TISM you're not liking it to be groovy because you'll get slagged off by groovy people, you're not liking it to be up with the latest because nobody thinks TISM are up with the latest. You love it because you really dig it. Now give me one of them for every member of the good taste crew. (TISM) are like the guy at the dinner party and says all the wrong things that everybody is thinking but no one wants to say because they know it is not tasteful - we're the drunken slightly offensive guest at the dinner party of rock, mate!" - RHB


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