[Brisbands] [Band List] [Members & Instruments] [Gigs] [Discography] [References]
The Black Assassins were a vital part of the Brisbane Punk scene which developed in the late 1970's and early 1980's. They played at every major venue at one time or another. Sometimes they got banned for outrageous behaviour.
One feature of this act that set them apert was use of elaborate costumes and sets. They usually performed wearing camouflage masks to obscure their identities.
The music featured agit-prop lyrics related to the corrupt political scene of the Bjelke-Petersen period. Prisoners' rights were a big issue at the time. It's sometimes very hard to remember just how bad the police were in Queensland during the early 1980's....
This act was popular at 4ZZZ FM gigs, partly because several members of the band were 4ZZZ announcers.
The band eventually split when Biggs and Nehl moved to Sydney to help work at the ABC's naescent JJJ radio network.
You can still see Andy Nehl's name in occasional credit lists on TV.
Members & Instruments
- Steve Stockwell: keyboards, vocals
- Tony Collins: bass, vocals
- Andy Nehl: guitar, vocals
- Tony Biggs: drums, vocals
GigsLike many other bands, The Black Assassins often appeared at private functions in hired halls in order to get around the limits of Brisbane's Hotel venues. They were banned from several venues because of their confronting performances.
The band did feature at several 4ZZZ FM events.
One memorable performance was at Wooloongabba Blind Hall in support of The Prisoners' Action Group. Amongst the stage props were many empty beer carton boxes built into a wall. These were kicked aside as the gig progressed, to reveal the band. Other acts playing that night were Pork, The Pits and This 5 Minutes.
Another show for Campaign Against Nuclear Power at Baroona Hall, Caxton Street involved taking over the stage at the end of a performance by The Pits. It didn't take long afterwards for the Police Squad to arrive, along with their dogs.
There was an abortive performance at Connexions, at The Keyhole Club, Surfers Paradise. Other acts playing that night were The Pits, and Les Bon Bons. The power was pulled after a few songs.
Most famously, The Black Assassins supported The Dead Kennedies at their Brisbane show in 1983.
The band has reformed occasionally. They played for 4ZZZ's Tenth Anniversary at Rialto Theatre in 1985. The full band appeared at Paddington Town Hall in Sydney in 1989.
There were a couple of "unplugged songs" by 3 of the Assassins at 4ZZZ's 25th Anniversary Dinner in 2000.
The CD Launch gig took place at The Rev, Fortitude Valley in late 2005.
The Black Assassins were on the list of performers scheduled for the ill-fated Revolution Rock Brisbane music culture retrospective at Brisbane Powerhouse on February 16th 2003. Unfortunately those arangements fell through.
- Black Assassins Greatest Hits
Includes: Death Take Me Now, Drugs, Azaria, Fuck Me Fuck My Dog, Multinational Corporate Lifestyle, Planet X, SWAPO, Death Comes To Townsville, Run Ronnie Run, ASIO, Pain Barrier, Barricades, Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight.
- 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
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