The Lizard Train were an Australian rock band from Adelaide which formed in early 1985. They released five albums, Slippery (September 1987), The Ride (1990), Get Yer Wah Wahs Out (1992), Couch (1993) and Everything Moves (1995). Australian rock music historian, Ian McFarlane, contrasted their early work as "a melange of screaming guitars did battle over a rumbling rhythm section. Yet, beneath the distorted riffs and lyrical angst, the band boasted a melodic and harmonic sensibility usually disregarded in such aggressive music" with later work "brimming with powerful, dark songs and inspired musicianship".
Adelaide years (1985–1995)
The Lizard Train were formed in Adelaide in early 1985 with Shane Bloffwitch (ex-Risque Humour) on bass guitar and vocals; David Creese (Risque Humour) on drums, chimes and vocals; Phil Drew on guitar and vocals; and Chris Willard (Head On, Crawling Eye, Acid Drops, Revenge of the Gila Monsters) on lead guitar and lead vocals. Willard's former band-mate and then girlfriend, Liz Dealey, formed her own band, Liz Dealey and the Twenty Second Sect. The Lizard Train's first gig was in May 1985 and their first recording was as backing musicians on Liz Dealey and the Twenty Second Sect's debut single, "The Wailing House", in 1986. In late 1989 Willard recalled the band's formation:
In August 1986 The Lizard Train released their debut extended play, Thirteen Hour Daydream, on Greasy Pop Records. Its four tracks had been recorded in December the previous year at Adelaide's Studio 202 with Kim Horne engineering and producing. Australian music historian, Ian McFarlane, described the EP, "a melange of screaming guitars did battle over a rumbling rhythm section. Yet, beneath the distorted riffs and lyrical angst, the band boasted a melodic and harmonic sensibility usually disregarded in such aggressive music".
From August to October 1987 The Lizard Train undertook their first tour of Europe where the EP had gained some popularity in France and Germany. In September that year they issued their début studio album, Slippery, which McFarlane observed was "slightly less supercharged (though still effective)". Its lead single, "Beauty Underground" had appeared in June and was followed in October by "Ever Been There?". Drew left in December, according to Willard "we'd found that the three of us couldn't get on with Phil anymore so we asked him to leave", and the group continued as a trio. They toured Europe again and then in September 1989 they started recording their second album, The Ride, at Bartels St Studio with Tony Elliot producing. It appeared the following year with a single, "She Gets Me". McFarlane felt the album "stands as the high point in the band's career, a work brimming with powerful, dark songs and inspired musicianship".
In October-November 1991 they recorded their next album, Get Your Wah Wahs Out, with Elliot producing again. By 1992 they had signed with Shock Records' label, Shagpile Records and released the album that year. McFarlane felt the title was apt as it "featured an unsettling sonic assault of wah wah and fuzzed guitar effects that was remarkably intriguing by the same token". In October 1993 they followed with a six-track album, Couch, produced by Darren McBain, Dave Lokan and Lizard Train; and recorded at Big Sound Studios in April.
In March 1995 the next album, Everything Moves, appeared; it was preceded by its associated single, "It all Came from Nothing", a month earlier. They were produced by Steve Albini (Nirvana, The Breeders, The Jesus Lizard) at Mixmasters Studio in Belair. Both albums "maintained the noise factor as well as the song quality". In May that year they issued a five-track extended play, Inertia, also produced by Albini. By that time they had relocated to Melbourne and became The Dumb Earth. In a 1998 interview with Slide Show Fanzine Willard recalled The Lizard Train's music as "a sort of heavy pop / psychedelic band".
- Shane Bloffwitch - bass, vocals
- David Creese - drums, percussion, vocals
- Phil Drew - guitar, vocals
- Chris Willard - guitar, vocals
- Thirteen Hour Daydream - (Greasy Pop Records, 1986)
- Inertia - (Shagpile, 1995)
- Slippery - (1987)
- The Ride - (1990)
- Get Yer Wah Wahs Out - (1992)
- Couch - (1993)
- Everything Moves - (1995)