Those of you familiar with the chap in the hat will, of course, recognize him as Frank DiNamo from the first three releases in the “Back on the Zine” series. The final release will be a beautiful 12″ vinyl EP in a gatefold press. Why a gatefold? Because it will take a full two pages to conclude the comic strip story that started all the way back in October 2017.
Part two, “Funky Grandma” got a live on-air launch during Vince Peach’s “Soul Time on 3PBS in March 2018.
Part three, “A Man Needs Cooling” saw The Offtopics return to the scene of the crime… er… (the band’s first ever gig was at the Brunswick Mechanic’s Institute for a Metanoia Theatre Season launch). The band packed out the theatre and put on a fabbo show!
The show also included this video shot by Patrick Stapleton and starring Donna Dimovski-Kantarovski. We shot the video at Brunswick’s Daddy Bar and had heaps of fun in the process.
And now, Sydney Road’s iconic Spotted Mallard will host the band for the final installment – the big, fat 12 inch to finish it all off. This beautiful record comes with the aforementioned gatefold cover and an A1 sized poster designed by the inimitable Melanie Myles of Hybrid Expression. The poster is designed to let all you collectors hang and display the full Back on the Zine story. Here’s a sneak peak!
The EP will include all the hitherto released material as well as two additional songs. One of them is our rollicking cover of the old Jo Jo Zep classic “Shape I’m In“. We Offtopics merely stand on the shoulders of giants like Joe Camilleri, Tony Faehse and Jeff Burstin. (We also love Wog Rock!) Joe Camilleri once said to Polash that “It’s better to have one really good thing than a whole pile of shit”. Our Funk Dynamo is clearly hoping for one of those over the other. Guitarist Dave Sheehan (who plays cricket with Jeff Burstin at Clifton Hill CC) is hoping he doesn’t cop too much crap over our version of this great Aussie anthem.
So what the hell is a “zine” and what does “Back on the Zine mean, anyway? The term, short for magazine or fanzine, comes from the counter-cultural publishing movement of the 60’s and 70’s. A lot of comics and music writing got printed in this format. Pronounced “zeen” there’s also a wry association with us old musos being back on the scene – though did we go away? Perhaps we did…
We’d love to see YOU back on the scene with us though, on Sunday 4pm 18 November at The Spotted Mallard. The Offtopics being family men (for the most part) have chosen a family-friendly time to get their funk on. This venue is pretty kid-friendly (for a place without play equipment – Polash DID try to find a place with both a PA and a slide…) so bring the whole family if you like. Kids enter free. There’ll be plenty of food and drink. We’ve been working on this whole series since April 2016 – literally two and a half years by the time we launch. Don’t miss out! Come celebrate with us in November. We’d love to see you at what will most likely be our last gig for 2018!
Tickets are available via Moshtix
The Facebook event is here.
And you’ll be able to buy advance copies (along with previous releases) here.
But wait – you’re probably thinking – it’s only August! Well, here in Offtopics land with the kind of extensive stakeholder network we have (eight band members’ kids, partners, work and other commitments) we have to work several months ahead. The big news is that we’ve set a date for our EP launch – the final part in our epic, four-part vinyl series but we wouldn’t be us if we only had one thing to share with you so, with that in mind, here’s a raft-load of announcements…
- First up we have a cosy, little gig at The Edinburgh Castle Hotel in Brunswick on Thursday 13 September. We’ve had our eye on the EC since our old mates Checkerboard started playing the occasional show in the front bar. As Dave, our lead axeman (and older brother of Checkerboard’s bass player Amos) said “there’ll be twice as many of us and we’ll be half as loud.”
We’ll play a couple of sets and you can wash down your burger and beer with some of our funny funk. In those environs we’re looking forward to some mellower, more romantic songs… unless of course we have a repeat of the infamous events of a couple of months ago at The Union Hotel. Trakkie-dakked punters unexpectedly put aside their parmas to kick their heels up. There were some excellent renditions of the tracksuit pants dance (where one keeps one’s hands in the pockets to avoid an elastic let-down).
This is a free gig and you can find out more about it here.
- October won’t see us doing any public gigs. We are playing at a private party but for the most part we’ll be using the month to prepare for our November EP launch. From the feedback we got about our “Man Needs Cooling” single launch in July, the set we played was pretty killer.
We’ll be refining that show further with some new songs, dance moves and stage business. October’s all about craft, craft craft for us.
- OK – this is the big one you’ve been waiting for.
Sunday arvo at The Spotted Mallard on 18 November from 4pm.
Like it says… SAVE THE DATE! Due to the Funk Dynamo’s commitments to the FIH World Cup in Bhubaneshwar in December this will be The Offtopics’ LAST GIG FOR 2018!!!
Two and a half years in the making, turnover in the band, three vinyl single launches, graphic designers losing their minds, numerous radio and other interviews about it and we’re finally approaching the launch of our “Back on the Zine” EP.
We’re really thrilled to be playing at this iconic Sydney Rd venue at a family friendly time. Although the band’s name might suggest a certain randomness of approach (and we try to be as free as we can on stage) there are usually considered reasons for us doing what we do. Without giving away too many spoilers it’s all about the story. If you’ve been following the adventures of Donna and Frank as they try to get to The Funkhole you might have an inkling of why an afternoon show in Brunswick makes all kind of sense.
We’ll put out a thorough write up about the EP Launch once the ticketing link is live. In the meantime you can read up on the back story via these links:
[media release] The Offtopics – SINGLE Launch #1 (2017)
Stay tuned for more folks!
Wowie Zowie! We are heading to a climactic close to July, funk lovers!
Our “Back on The Zine” series of gorgeous vinyl seven inch records continues apace with this, the third installment. It’s called “A Man Needs Cooling“. What does that mean? You can find out at our launch party. It’s gonna be a doozy!
On Friday 27 July we’re throwing an epic party at the place where it all started for The Offtopics: The Brunswick Mechanics Institute. We’re going to push back all the seating in the theatre to make some heel kickin’ room. We’ll treat everyone to a screening of our brand, new film-clip and before we play we’ll have some support from The Fix Ups.
Hey, I know what you’re thinking… we know all about The Offtopics peculiar blend of Slapstick Soul, Punch-Drunk Funk and we LOVE the way they put the scatalogical into Ska… but WHO are The Fix Ups. Well… this is what they have to say about themselves:
“Melbourne based trio The Fix Ups are all about the real deal automobile life machine living the dreaming or whatever this is seeming, like twin flamin’ datin’ boots guitar riffin’ vocals a shimmering, sexy bassing, mimimg the drumming, organs pulsing, amps hiss and deliver original wordly kibble and droney rhythm dribble… Yeah your hips will wiggle.”
If, dear reader, you understood what all that meant then please write your answer on the back of a fifty dollar note and post that pineapple to us here at theofftopics.com c/o The Funk Dynamo’s Benevolent Trust. Sigh… kids…
What we CAN tell you through close listening to The Fix Ups is that they perform a very groovy blend of danceable indie pop that draws on electro stylings. Here’s one of their said “groovy tunes”.
They’ve also been known to whip out a charming cover of Althea and Donna.
What all this means is that you can get all of your dance hesitations out of the way before The Offtopics take the stage. Do some sharp electro moves and then get loose and funky as the night goes on!
Word on the street is that, if you imagine The Fix Ups’ front man without hair, he’ll look a lot like The Offtopics’ very own Tony “Hit Man” Champagne. Word on the street is obviously onto something because The Fix Ups’ front man is none other than the first-born fruit of Tony’s loins: Nikos Shannon. We like to make it a family affair at our little shindigs so, by all means, bring all the fam along for a good time!
Tickets are available here
Plus a bit more info about the event.
“A Man Needs Cooling” Single Launch Party by The Offtopics
Date: Friday 27 July
The Fix Ups: 8pm
Video Clip Screening: 8:55
The Offtopics: 9pm
Tickets: $15 (minors and companion card holders free)
That’s right folks!
The Offtopics are kicking off June with a cozy show at Brunswick’s newest, most magical music venue – Red Betty. We’ll be playing on the world famous stage* down Houdini Lane. For those of you not in the know, Moreland Magician, Dane Certificate (what were his parents thinking?!) built this performance space behind 859 Sydney Rd Brunswick a while back in order to perplex prepubescent people with pulchritudinous prestidigitation!
It’s now a bar.
And it’s friggin’ cool!
We’re playing a free entry gig supported by the hilariously talented Jo Cotsonis. She’s also pulchritudinous… look it up.
Like the poster says – the doors open from 7 and it’s free! Jo will be on around 8 and we’ll be on after. Come along for a good time. Or even – dare we say it – a great time!
Here’s the Facebook event if you’d like to let us know that you’re coming… or if you’re “interested”: https://www.facebook.com/events/165137544163726/
In other June news we’re also playing a gig at The Union Hotel in Brunswick on June 16. We also have some news about our third single launch “A Man Needs Cooling” but that’s in July – so you’ll have to wait for news about that.
*not actually “world famous”… yet.