Death of the Laugh, JULIAN TOMPKIN, X-Press, 31st Feb 2002


The Watershed is bringing to Perth some of the most culturally diverse and fascinating music this city has ever seen - oh, and Melbourne reprobates TISM this Friday, February 1.  JULIAN TOMPKIN gets a good ol' TISM ear bleed.  

When your album is pretty widely considered one of the most unfortunate items to be placed on the shelves in a while you would assume that admitting defeat would be a well pondered option.  But with TISM the music has never really been of that much importance, to the extent that co-TISM front-bloke-thingy Ron Hitler Barassi would prefer to talk about the sexual incapabilities of the members of Powderfinger, his infatuated love for Charlie from Hi-5 or rambling off his general theories - a favourite being the reason why Phillip Ruddock doesn't like letting Afghan refugees into Australia is because he knows with Afghan men in the country "He wouldn't get stink-finger for months 'cause those Afghans they're all tripods mate".  

There you have it, TISM is life made easy.  "If the readers of X-Press are worried at all about sexual potency," Barassi begins, "are worried at all about inadequacy in the bedroom then I think you should come to the TISM show in Perth and... you'll feel better about yourselves because compared to us you're a sexual dynamo - 'cause TISM are the seven most sexually inadequate men in Oz rock, Regurgitator aside of course, but we're even more sexually inadequate than Powderfinger."  

It may be hard to believe but TISM have been making some form of a living out of being silly blokes for near on 20 years now. '95 was the year that brought TISM into a new dimension of national fame when their song (He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River came blasting out of radios all around the country.  

Songs from their latest release De Rigueurmortis such as Thou Shalt Not Britney Spear, Fat Boy Slim Dusty and Honk If You Love Fred Durst indicate that TISM are still the lingering defamation suit they have always been, but even Barassi concedes that the day that TISM rules supreme is now in the past.  

"Disappointment gets at a man, like betrayal and disappointment and the realisation that one's life is an empty shell can eat away at you," Barassi recites.  "I'm reminded of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman and he says 'A man is not a piece of fruit, you can not take the insides and throw the skin away' and TISM are the thrown-away skin of Oz rock, you know the succulent fruits of Oz rock they're having their day in the sun but soon you'll join us in the refuse bin of the music industry...  I want to get back to Charlie really, she really is quite hot."


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