The Cruel Sea - Down Below - 1989
By bringing together two very different influences, almost like adding oil to water, the Cruel Sea created a style of rock which extended Australian rock & roll culture and, at the same time, made them one of the most successful Australian groups of the '90s.
It started as an idea guitarist Danny Rumour had carried with him since his days in punk rock bands. As a regular at a Sydney pub, whenever a band cancelled or there was no gig on, Rumour would jump on stage with a few local musicians and play an instrumental set using equipment the hotel kept in a back room. People always loved it whenever it happened and when Rumour's group Sekret Sekret split up after seven years, he decided to explore the idea with a permanent group. The new group the Cruel Sea took its name from a Ventures instrumental from the '60s.
The instrumentals-only Cruel Sea played its first gigs in 1988, setting up behind the pool table at another hotel in Sydney. There was so little room, the guitarists would have to move so pool players could play their shots. But within weeks of starting this residency, the Cruel Sea was drawing regular crowds of up to 300 people. Operating the lighting at some of those performances was moonlighting Beasts of Bourbon singer Tex Perkins.
It wasn't until a party a few months later that the Cruel Sea and Perkins were formally introduced. The Cruel Sea was playing and Tex Perkins came up and said he'd like to have a go at putting lyrics to some of their instrumentals. That was something else Rumour had had in the back of his mind: to attract the right singer one day. Already an Australian music legend for his rock & roll swagger, the Cruel Sea couldn't have wished for anyone more qualified or interesting than Perkins.
01. Down Below
02. The Gap
05. I'll Take Care Of You
06. Zip It Up
07. The Drift
09. Reckless Eyeballin'
10. How Low
11. I Don't Know Why