Great Watching: Love In Bright Landscape, The Story of David McComb of The Triffids doco

So when to see this doco at the local cinema down the road over the weekend! Here’s something about it today for your Monday morning, if you you want to check it out? Well, You’ll know if you’ve been following my little blog for awhile I’ve blogged about The Triffids and their singer-songwriter David McComb more that a few times here before but it’s been a while since last time!

If you know nothing about them or never heard of them like the person in front of me in line for tickets for this movie does a pretty great job at explaining them. Myself I’ve read a couple of wicked great books on him/them plus Dave’s poems collection also if you read everything on indie Aussie music scene back in the 80’s these guys and one girl with be written/talked about, you know? Typing this out I can only recall at least one other doco made by SBS under the titled of Great Australian Albums series which did a whole episode about Born Sandy Devotional back in the mid-2000’s but maybe, they’re others I’ve forgotten?

I always thought Dave, his band and his whole thing would make a wicked great story for a biopic but it’s got no happy ending so Hollywood wouldn’t make it! They never had a “real” mainstream hit single which seems to been need for such a movie. You might say Wide Open Road but I think, that’s more like cult classic, if you wanna use film talk? Their/his story in short was full of almost-ish making it big but then NOT and in McComb case a very sad and painfully death. I think, if I was making The Triffids/David McComb biopic which wouldn’t have an unlimited budget but let’s just say it does for the hell of it? I would have cast Hugh Jackman because peeps love him, he can sing, he’s an Aussie but he would have lose a lot weight, to become very skinny to the point were he’s unhealthy looking so not muscle bound actor everyone knows/loves. But now really he’s getting toooo old to play McComb anyway so that should have been made a few years ago at the height of all those music biopics but off course, it wasn’t! Who could play David McComb better now? What actor actually looks like him these days? Could call that biopic: The Days Of The Triffids which is almost the same name of the novel written by John Wyndham of 1951 but we’re adding the “s” to Day. It’s where they got their band name plus it was an old sci-fi movie of 1962 which was called the same thing plus was re-make was done in the 80’s. Could have that sci-fi refences eg: killer plants from outer space that try’s to take over the world but morphed that into killer indie rock band from Perth, W.A. that’s trying to take over the world, in a different way but maybe somehow could have that for opening credits or something? I guess, it doesn’t matter because it’s a big pity no one is going to make that biopic movie!

Anyway I should be talking about this doco, right? It’s pretty great doco but coming in as someone who knows something about him/them, did it tell me anything really new? Nope, I don’t think so but it did give faces to names I’ve heard all talk about McComb before. It’s huge list of talking heads included in this movie plus it’s the author DBC Pierre reading a lot his letters/diaries too. It’s all close friends and all the bands member pop-up plus local musos like Paul Kelly, Hoodoo Grus’ Dave Faulkner also journos like English Mat Snow who did the NME front cover story on them back in the 80’s and Aussie Triple J’s Richard Kingsmill etc. Nick Cave is quoted on the poster/flyer but doesn’t appear in the doco. Too much to name everyone here really, you know?

Way more that I did think of huge collection of family home movies/photos of his childhood are shown plus even interviews with his old parents, Harold & Athel McComb but his dad died in 2012 so must be old footage. Cutting to the time movie got into Dave’s untimely passing away but almost all are very close friends/band members seems still very painful talking about that. Could have gone into more details but didn’t push it toooo much. The basic facts leading up to is death is a bit blurry to say the least. Dave always had a bad heart condition since his youth but being muso added years of drinking but then adding heroin pretty late to the mix or well, that’s what this doco says. Someone saying he was a beer drinker in social but in private he drunk spirits like vodka. Then his heart transplant happened in the early 90’s but by 1999 he wasn’t going very good. The mystery car accident happened a few days before his death is still NOT really uncovered but seem, from the very little said about it? He was most likely just totally wasted and then after the car crash he himself downplayed how bad it really was, I guess?

The Triffids or the 80’s bits most likely the best bit but that’s years of touring and recording with not much success, even when they signed with major label with English Island Records for the last couple of albums. The first album of those was entitled Calenture which the band didn’t like the over-produced recordings of the first sessions and got a whole new producer started again so by time the album came out the label wasn’t really behind the band and the second one called The Black Swan was supposed be a double album but no record label in their right mind likes that idea. Island Records I would say, they couldn’t care less about The Triffids. Anyway cutting back to forming the band, the under-rated debut album Treeless Plain which both bits could have done with a little more info about them but everyone off course, wants to talk about Born Sandy Devotional of 86 which is the album everyone remembers. They do a good job of pointing out the very quick follow-up album entitled In The Pines also of 86, confused the shit out of everyone including fans and journos etc. Somehow after those albums plus a pile of stand alone singles and EPs then we’re back to that major label deal. Starting back in the late 70’s but never official breaking-up but the band’s long-suffering manger did say Dave wanted to call that last Aussie tour the farewell tour but she talked him out of it because she knew he wanted to do his solo project but was thinking The Triffids would be back after that but they never played again. After DM death The Triffids have done reunion tours with different singers filling in for him, you know? Love of Will was the title of his one and only solo album in 1994 plus he been playing/recording in side-project The Blackeyed Susans but rarely was the frontman also had another band called Costar tooo. Amazing to see how much live footage of 80’s Triffids there is, wish could watch the whole tracks at times. The old footage of McComb’s interviews, plus huge pile photos of touring and recording as a band etc. Maybe, I would say the order of the movie could have been a bit better because at times is a little confusing, jumps around a lot so if you were new, might be a bit hard to follow? But as a long-time fan the filmmakers did very well job in my opinion, could easy followed it. My blog post about it here today is jumping all over the place, can anyone follow it?

Writer and director Jonathan Alley has worked in the music industry more than say the film industry but has done for years so this is his first doco/movie as the director, I think he did a wicked great job on it. Off course, all The Triffids fans like myself will or should go and see it but if you’re fan of any kind-of Aussie music you should also see this, I guess it’s showing at other cinemas around Australia? Even if you’re just music fan in general you should see it because they’re one hell of an under-rated band/songwriter but really, I don’t know if and where it would be screening overseas?

Today’s music tagged on the very end is all the official video clips because that’s what I wanted to look-up plus then a few live clips, funny B-Side also including some covers tooo!

Spanish Blue was stand alone single of 1982:

Red Pony from Treeless Plain album of 1983:

Bad Timing from Bad Timing and Other Stories EP of 1983:

Beautiful Waste was a stand alone single of 1984:

Raining Pleasure was yet another stand alone single of 1984:

Monkey On My Back from Field of Glass EP of 1985:

Wide Open Road from the album Born Sandy Devotional of 1986:

Bury Me Deep in Love from the album Calenture of 1987:

Trick of the Light also from the album Calenture of 1987:

Goodbye Little Boy from the album The Black Swan of 1989:

Save What You Can video clip was made in 2007 to promo the reissues but was original on Calenture of 1987:

Setting You Free from David McComb‘s solo album Love of Will of 1994:

Live footage from some TV shows is next up starting with Hell Of A Summer from the album Treeless Plain of 1983:

Once A Day cover from the album In The Pines of 1986:

Kelly’s Blues is yet more from the album Calenture of 1987:

Hometown Farewell Kiss is yet one more from the album Calenture of 1987:

Live footage from couple of gigs is next with In The Pines song is the title track from that album of 1986 plus tiny interview with DM:

Three more live tracks in one clip of Jerdacuttup Man of Calenture, A Legend in My Time cover and Fairytale Love of The Black Swan. The Black Swan album producer Stephen Street guests on guitar on the last song tooo:

Very rare B-Side of very early silly song called Farmers Never Visit Nightclubs of 1981:

Ending song with my fave cover song DM ever did, was written by Leonard Cohen. Was done by duo of David McComb & Adam Peters with the song Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On from 1991 LC tribute album entitled I’m Your Fan:

Doco’s flyer/poster!

Cheers! 🙂

2 Comments

  1. Hey William! Thanks for the “heads up” on this documentary! I have been very busy of late, and had not heard a thing about this, before now. Great that such a documentary has been made, but sad to hear that not many (if any?) complete live clips appear in the film – that’s too bad, as what footage I have seen over the years, just bears out how commanding they were, in performance. Hope things are going well for you – I’m hangin’ in there, for the most part 😉
    Keep up the good work, with your posts!!!! Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hope you can find it somewhere? It was such a very wicked great film! I think, it had something to do will Melbourne Film Festival and Victoria state film funding or that’s where the cash came from but I don’t know if that’s really going to help find it? I’ve just looked up MIFF, linked here: https://miff.com.au/ do have stuff to watch there but NOT this! Oh yeah, I would love tooo watch just all the live footage of The Triffids by itself, you know like the full songs from start to finish or whatever gigs they have? Even if it’s just bits and pieces! Seem to be a lot in this doco! I guess, those books which I think we’ve talked about before had a lot more info/stories in them but this is like they put it into a movie with everyone telling them while your watching it and off course had all those visuals! I do hope to find a copy of some kind of it later, after it’s out of the cinema, here’s hoping for DVD, that would be the best plus bonus extras of all that live stuff!
      I’m going OK, should try to do a bit more blogging because it’s not as much as I once did but anyway cheers Michael 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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