[Macpherson Brothers Music] [Brisbands] [Members & Instruments] [Gigs][Discography] [References]
This page is dedicated to the memory of The Pits, a "punk rock" band from Brisbane, Australia.
The most significant performances were between 1978 to 1984. The Pits reformed in August 2003-2005. There have been occasional performances in 2006, 2007 and 2012.
The 1978-1984 BandTo get gigs, we built our own PA system. Then we'd hire a hall. The Pits had a small group of loyal fans, but never got really popular.
Some musical influences were: The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Iggy Pop, The Cramps, Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers, The Clash, Adverts, Patti Smith Group, The Rolling Stones, The Archies, and many others.
To help get our songs on the radio, we'd call 4ZZZ announcer Bill Riner on the Saturday night Request Show to play our songs. He did!
A collaboration with the One Flat art crew (Janelle Hurst, Richard De Souza, Gary Warner et al) at the George Street Art Bank was very influential in the late Pits Inc disco phase. The band had a recording studio downstairs in the old bank vault.
Band members changed a bit (especially drummers). Honorable mentions to Peter Jetnikoff and Margot Hoyte.
The original band eventually split about 1984 when too many other music projects needed our time.
The Gregs were the rhythm section in early Tex Deadly & The Dum Dums.
Greg Gilbert (aka Des Johnson) has played drums for several Brisbane acts. Most recently he plays drums for Corn Liquor.
Greg Wadley moved to Melbourne and has been involved with several groups to this day, including New Waver and Hi God People.
Peter Charles Macpherson went to live in Sydney for a time during the mid-80's after dabbling with Tea For Two and MTTV.
He did a bit of solo work there before returning to Brisbane around 1990, and joining Airborne Toxic Event, also with David Macpherson. He seems settled in Hobart, where there is an interesting live music scene.
During the life of the band we used a lot of different musical instruments.
Peter liked to use some exotic guitars. The Gibson SG gave a heavy sound. An old Honer semi-acoustic guitar was very "pop". The semi-acoustic Rickenbacker was always very distinctive.
Usually the guitars were played "clean" without effects, but the small amps were cranked-up really high to give suitable distortion. An old Fender Champ valve amp provided a "rock" sound when amped-up through a PA system. An old Vox AC-30 valve amp was way-cool, and louder. Sometimes a fuzz-box was used with the guitar.
Greg Gilbert (aka "Des Johnson") worked at the Drouyn Drum Factory, and made his own kit!
Early on I played a Ibanez Left-Hand Les Paul copy (black). I moved to keyboards when Peter Jetnikoff joined, also playing guitar.
The keyboards changed as I could afford them. Most of the time, they were played through my Fender Delux Reverb guitar amp (close-miked into the PA). Pretty grungy....
The first synth played in the band was a monophonic Kawai 100F synthesizer. (Excellent!) Another favourite was a cheap Farfissa organ with a cheasy "beat-box" accompanist in it. A Roland Strings/Organ synth (with chorus and drawbars!) gave the band a more 1980's sound.
The Roland JX-3P synth was interesting in the later "disco" stage. Then I got a Casio CZ5000. Since 2003 I prefered my old Casio CZ-1 synth on-stage.
One of my favourite combinations was:
- Greg Gilbert: Drouyn drums kit, Mattel electronic drum toy thing
- Greg Wadley: Epiphone Bass guitar
- Peter Macpherson: Rickenbacker semi-acoustic guitar
- David Macpherson: Roland Strings/Organ synth (it had draw bars for organ, and chorus)
Because The Pits were a punk band, we could not play in most normal pub venues of the time. I doubt we wanted to, in any case. Many of our biggest fans were too young for bars.
The very first performance was in a "Battle of the Bands" competition run by The Australian Academy of Music, a local rock instrument shop. We used to go there on weekends to drool at the guitars and check out the other bands.
The line-up then included the three brothers Macpherson (Peter, Iain, and David), plus Mick Crawley on drums. We played a few Ramones and rockabilly-style songs, and a few written by Peter and Iain.
It was an enthusiastic, but appalling racket!
Some in the audience were shocked. Greg Wadley was there in the audience, and wanted to join right away. He hadn't laughed so much in ages.
We did not win that time, but got some encouragement from the judges.
Another early gig was at a "Talent Night" at Cement Box Theatre, University of Queensland. People laughed. We rocked. Beer cans were thrown!
Other times we often arranged our own gigs, hiring a hall and charging only minimal entry of $4.00 (whatever), with a discount for 4ZZZ subscribers. Other bands like This 5 Minutes and Pork often shared equipment.
Most times the bands got more money than if we had played at "straight" venues in any case. There were inevitable scenes of outrageous drunkeness etc....
We built our own PA system to get more gigs. Unfortunately this was stolen after an eventful gig at Indooroopilly RSL Hall. Violence during the gig and loss of the PA affected band morale for a while afterwards.
After a while, some publicans became more interested in having "Band Nights" for mid-week entertainment. The Atcherley Hotel's "X-Roads Club", and Australian National Hotel's "Purple Hearts Scooter Club" were favourite places for The Pits to perform.
Other Brisbane venues the band played at were: Griffith University, The Silver Dollar, Cement Box Theatre, Pete's Bingo Hall (Fortitude Valley), CPA Hall, Romeos Nightclub, Atcherley Hotel, Australian National Hotel, New York Hotel, South's Leagues Club, Indooroopilly RSL Hall, Caxton St Hall, Treasury Hotel, Orient Hotel, Hacienda Hotel, Camp Hill School of Arts Hall, Redcomb House, One Flat Art Bank, 4ZZZ Joint Efforts, as well as several parties etc.
A "Pits World Tour" involved playing each night for two weeks. The band played one memorable performance at Connections the Keyhole Nightclub, at Surfers Paradise. The Black Assassins and Les Bon Bons also performed. The locals just didn't understand. After that exhausting experience, the band had trouble getting motivated, and fell apart.
The 2003-2007 Band
After reforming in 2003, the band played at Paddington Workers Club, the Melbourne Hotel, West End, Rick's Cafe, Fortitude Valley, Blue Pacific Hotel, Bribie Island, and The Polo Bar in the City.
During 2004 the revamped Pits band played several times at the Jubilee Hotel, in Fortitude Valley. A gig there in support of Melbourne band New Estate was pretty good. Virtually no-one was there to see it, of course.
This line-up of the band wound up in mid-2005.
The Pits (with Iain singing) reunited on my 50th birthday, playing Rick's Cafe on 10 June 2006! I play guitar again. It's a Magnum Left-Hand Stratocaster copy (sunburst).
An early line-up reformed with Peter Macpherson, Greg Wadley, Greg Gilbert, and David Macpherson for David's 50th birthday party at Alliance Hotel, Spring Hill on 17th June 2006.
The Pits were on the line-up for a "Bremer Beat" gig at East Brisbane Bowls Club on 30 July 2006. The gig was a in support of a colleague John Spresser. Donat's drums caught fire in the back of his car, and he needed to borrow a kit.
Another gig was 23 September 2006 at The Alley, at Milton. Donat played guitar and sang! New drummer Simon Pearlman also had a go at the guitar.
Peter Macpherson sometimes performs a solo act, with newer material. In 2007 he performed duos with Nigel Kimber at various spots.
An old-style of The Pits (with Richard and Donat) played at The Zoo on 4th March 2007. The few punters there to see it enjoyed the show.
The 2012-2014 Band
Another Spresserfest at Spring Hill Hotel saw The Pits reform briefly.
Peter returned from Hobart to reform the band for the Return to White Chairs event at Nundah's Prince of Wales Hotel in 2013. Des Johnson played drums.
A "sort-of" The Pits band backed Peter Charles Macpherson for his August 2014 single launch tour in Brisbane.
Members & Instruments
The 2012 The Pits band:
The 2007 The Pits band:
- Peter Macpherson: guitar and vocals
- Jason Bright: bass
- David Macpherson: keyboard
- Donat Tahiraj: drums
The 2006 The Pits band:
- Nigel Kimber: guitar
- Peter Macpherson: guitar and vocals
- David Macpherson: guitar and vocals
- Maddy: bass
- Donat Tahiraj: drums, guitar, vocals
The 2003-2005 The Pits band:
- Iain Macpherson: vocals
- Simon Pearlman: drums, guitar
- Peter Macpherson: guitar and vocals
- Donat Tahiraj: drums, bass, and vocals
- Richard Buchanan: bass, guitar, and vocals
- Jefferey Wegener: drums
- Johnny Powell: drums
In August 2003 the band reformed after briefly performing as Figurine:
The band that played together most often in 1970's & 80's:
Other members included:
- Peter Macpherson: guitar and vocals
- David Macpherson: keyboards, guitar, and vocals
- Greg Wadley: bass, drums, and vocals
- Greg Gilbert (aka "Des Johnson"): drums, guitar, and vocals
- Iain Macpherson: vocals and bass
- Mick Crawley: drums
- Margot Hoyte: drums
- Peter Jetnikoff: guitars, keyboard, and vocals
- Ian Wadley: bass and drums
- Can't Stop It (Chapter Records) compilation released 2001Includes: Words
- Go Home (Cubbyhouse) Re-issued September 2003Includes: Snakes and Ladders; Silver Ball Part 1; Rockin' Rhubarb; Things We Said; Dumb Things; Lights Out; 26 Miles; 10 Kent Road; For Your Love; Do the Fuck; Smokie Joe's Cafe; I Didn't Know I Loved You (Until I Saw You Rock'n'Roll); Practice; Providence; Silver Ball Part 2; True Love; Words; Underwater Watch
- It's The Pits Released 1981Includes: Blitzkrieg Bop; What I Like About You; Surfin' Bird; Be-Bop A-Lula; Staring at the TV; I Wanna Be Me; Pretty Vacant; No Trophies; Sick and Tired; Johnny B Good; I Know Something; The Bus Song; Suzie; Whiskey Man; Anarchy in the Niteclub; Master Blaster; Closet Punks
- Go Home Released September 1981Includes: Snakes and Ladders; Silver Ball Part 1; Rockin' Rhubarb; Things We Said; Dumb Things; Lights Out; 26 Miles; 10 Kent Road; For Your Love; Do the Fuck; Smokie Joe's Cafe; I Didn't Know I Loved You (Until I Saw You Rock'n'Roll); Practice; Providence; Silver Ball Part 2; True Love; Words; Underwater Watch
- Pits for Premiers! Recorded 1982Includes: Given an Address; Groovy Guru; Same for Me + You; Trees; (So You Wanna Be A) Rock 'n' Roll Star; Funky Town; Cocktail Bar; Pits Grand Final; These Days
- What We Did On Our Holidays Compilation released early 1983Includes: Voodoo Doll (Tex Deadley & The Dum Dums); In (Pork); On The Sea (Tangled Shoelaces); You Can Come Too (Tangled Shoelaces); To Sir With Love (This Five Minutes); Never Home (Des Johnson); Solid Instrumental (Tea For Two)
- Leaving Home For The Party On The Roof Compilation released 1983Includes: The Bus Song
- A Vision Of Hell Released 1982Super 8 film featuring original footage of many acts from Brisbane.
Includes: The Pits, Pork, This Five Minutes, Mystery of Sixes, Tangled Shoelaces, Black Market, Tex Deadly & The Dum Dums, Xero.
- Underwater Watch 1982(?)16mm art school project film of this popular song. Maybe someone's still got it?
- Know Your ProductInstitute of Modern Art Exhibition 11-27 September 1986
Curated by Ross Harley
- Out Of The Unknown: Brisbane Bands 1976-1988A Time Off Publication, 1988
by Doug Hutson and Gavin Sawford
- StrandedPan Macmillan Australia, 1996
LinksThe Pits on MyspaceBack to ToxicoH ome Page
The Pits at mp3.com.au