Monday, May 16, 2016


Oh jeez, here we go again. Another random click turned into a another rabbit hole. No big suprise there. What was surprising is that it lead to a subculture in Australia that I'd never known about. It started at an old post at Rising Storm with a couple cuts by Coloured Balls, an Australian band that was apparently a favorite of the sharpies. Who or what are the sharpies? We'll get to that in a second. First, about the band. The first song I heard was "Won't You Make Up Your Mind", a rapid and raw minute and a half of punk rock. Except it wasn't, not then anyway. Check it out and consider the vintage, 1973. Punk rock of the late seventies was still a good three years away, but these guys were ripping. They looked like some weird hybrid of mods, skinheads and Slade, and they were getting the sharpies all riled up. Interesting enough to go digging.

The photo above is one of about three or four posed shots that I was able to find. That it was about the best tells you just how slim the pickins were. I kept looking, and all Coloured Balls leads ended up going to mentions on pages about sharpies. The sharpies also looked like some weird hybrid of mods, skinhead and Slade. And they had a funny dance (see sharpies dance here). As I am just now learning about the sharpies, I'm not going to bullshit you like I know what I'm talking about. Rather, I'll just direct you to the links I ran into and let you figure it out.

Coloured Balls - Won't You Make Up Your Mind mp3 at Rising Storm
Coloured Balls - Heavy Metal Kids
(streaming) at YouTube
Coloured Balls - Won't You Make Up Your Mind mp3
at Rising Storm Go there to get it
The Full LP
Coloured Balls - Ball Power
(streaming) at YouTube 1973
Coloured Balls - The Devil's Disciple
at YouTube
Coloured Balls - Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On
at YouTube
Melbourne Sharpies
at YouTube The dance at 2:25
at Perfect Sound Forever
Skins 'n' Sharps
at Wikipedia
How a Teenage Sharpie Girl found Rock ‘n’ Roll Salvation in the Church of the Coloured Balls at Shoot Farken


Peter Tibbles said...

The Coloured Balls were formed by one of Australia's great rock guitarists Lobby Loyde. He was in several other bands, most notably The Wild Cherries and Billy Thorpe's Aztecs. He later turned to studio work and record production.
The Sharpies were a short-lived phenomenon (fortunately).

Peter Tibbles said...

The Sharpies, like the Punks a few years later, were a reaction to the hippies and the overblown music of the time. Eventually they disappeared, possibly becoming punks or glam rockers (to get a little color in their lives), or just got married and settled down.

La T Roc said...

Well said to both Messrs Tibbles & G.