The Fauves - Bio

Last updated November 2011

The Fauves Fireman 451The Fauves formed in 1988.  The line up consisted of Andrew Cox ("Coxy", on vocals / guitar), Phil Leonard ("The Doctor", vocals / guitar / trumpet), Andrew Dyer ("Jack", bass) and Adam Newey ("Doug", drums).  All of the band members went to school together at Mt Eliza High on the Mornington Peninsula, and their first gig was at the local football club.  The band's name comes from a short lived art movement called Fauvism.

Early 1990 saw the release of The Fauves debut EP, a 12" called This Mood Has Passed.  The band followed this up with a 7" single (Fireman 451 / Daughter Abroad) later in the year.  The Fauves first CD release came in June 1992 and was called The Scissors Within.  These early recordings were once described as possessing an accessible "Hunters and Collectors type vibe" by the Fauves' long time A&R man and fan, Craig Kamber.

The Fauves Dress UpsIn late 1992, The Fauves released another EP, Tight White Ballhugger.  This is a noticeably more difficult listen than the band's first few releases. Also issued in 1992 was a three way split CD with The Glory Box and Pray TV called Dress Ups.

The Fauves early releases were issued by independent label Shock Records.  Following Tight White Ballhugger, the band signed a five album deal with major label Polydor Records.  They released the band's brooding debut album, Drive Through Charisma, in October 1993.  The album is a lot darker, moodier, and less accessible than the band's early material.  The Fauves had entered the "Art Rock" phase of their career.The Fauves Drive Through Charisma

The first pressing of Drive Through Charisma came with a limited edition bonus disc of unreleased early material called 22 Reasons Why A Band Shouldn't Put Out An Album In Its First Few Years.  It's an apt title.  Far better than the disc is the highly amusing booklet that accompanied it.  In the booklet, Doug discussed each track on the bonus disc.  He wrote the following about the song Crumbling:

"Not even 11 beers, 2 tabs of the sickest acid and half a dozen cones of mind blowing New Guinea buds could make the drop out/feedback bit in the middle of this track sound interesting.  All I can say is that it must have been Rob's (Rowlands - producer) idea.  What a turkey!"

In late 1994, the Fauves sophomore album, The Young Need Discipline, was released.  This record is more accessible than its predecessor, and marks somewhat of a transition between the band's dark art rock and the short, catchy rock/pop songs that would feature on the band's next album, Future Spa.

The Fauves Everybody's getting a 3 piece togetherAlthough The Young Need Discipline was released in 1994, the first single from the album, Dwarf on Dwarf, wasn't issued until 1995.  Early that year the band recorded a bunch of songs for use as b-sides on the single.  One of the tracks, Everybody's Getting A Three Piece Together, turned out so well that Polydor issued it as a single in October 1995.

In mid 1996 The Fauves issued their third album, Future Spa.  This record was a turning point for the band.  The album spawned three singles that scored high rotation on Triple J - Dogs Are The Best People, Self Abuser and Don't Get Death Threats Anymore, and the album was nominated for an ARIA award for "Best Alternative Album."

The Fauves self abuserOn the back of the album's success, The Fauves toured extensively around the country.  Some of the band's adventures on the road were captured by filmmaker Vanessa Stuart, who made a revealing documentary about the band called 15 Minutes to Rock.  The documentary screened on SBS in the late 90s.  The Fauves also appeared regularly on television programs such as Recovery (the band even guest-hosted one episode).

In mid 1998, the fourth Fauves album, Lazy Highways, was released.  The album spawned four singles - Sunbury 97, Surf City Limits, The Charles Atlas Way and a re-recorded version of Kickin' On.

Lazy Highways sold poorly, relative to Future Spa.  This was in part due to commercial radio continuing to ignore the band, and Triple J giving little attention to Sunbury 97.  To compound the band's woes, a disagreement between the Polydor and the band delayed the release of the Surf City Limits single.  The track would have been ideally suited to a summer release, however the disagreements resulted in the "summer anthem" being issued as winter was descending in May 1998.

The Fauves Kickin OnShortly after the release of the Kickin' On single, the Fauves were dumped Universal Records (who had merged with Polydor). The band released a quite successful single, Bigger Than Tina, through Festival in late 1999, before trotting back to Shock Records.

1999 also saw the band's only line up change to date.  Jack left the band to concentrate on business ventures.  The Fauves' long time sound guy, Terry Cleaver ("Ted"), took over bass duties.  Ted also produced the band's fifth album, Thousand Yard Stare, which was released in 2002  This record saw the band experiment with keyboards more than they ever had in the past.  Thousand Yard Stare debuted at #62 on the national ARIA album charts.  Four singles were lifted from the album that received high rotation on Triple J- Give Up your Day Job, Celebrate the Failure, Medium Pacer and First Day on the Run

The Fauves Insert Your LifeThe Fauves followed up Thousand Yard Stare with Footage Missing in 2002.  This record is more guitar based than its predecessor - but not as much as Future Spa.  A promo single for the track Insert Your Life was issued prior to the release of the album.  A retail single for the song Good Times Coming was manufactured, but Shock then pulled the single before it was released into shops.  A limited number of copies were made available through the Fauves website at the time, however they are now long out of print.  A video was made for Good Times Coming, but it was only played on Rage once - at 2am on 25th October 2002.  Talk about an unlucky single!

In mid 2003, a Fauves "greatest hits" compilation album called Surf City Heart was released - but only in Brazil!  It was the band's first overseas release.  The record primarily features songs from Future Spa, Lazy Highways and Thousand Yard Stare.

Back in Australia, Footage Missing received less airplay and sold less units than the band's previous few records.  As a result Shock slashed the recording and promotional budget for the band's seventh album, which was simply called The Fauves.  The album was released in mid 2004.  Due to time and budget constraints, there were no keyboards on the album - it's all guitar, bass and drums!  The Fauves is the band's most guitar based "rock" record since Future Spa.

The Fauves Smoking AgainShock's promotion for The Fauves was practically non-existent.  Only two promo singles - Smoking Again and Weak Chin - were lifted from the album.  No music videos made.  The album received little airplay.  It was a similar story when the band released their eighth album, Nervous Flashlights, in mid 2006.  Triple J cast the band aside for younger acts, refusing to add the only promotional single lifted from the album, I'll Work When I'm Dead, to rotation.  Shock's distribution of the album was also poor, making it difficult to find in stores.  On the positive side, the Fauves embarked on their most extensive Australian tour in four years to promote the album, visiting places such as Western Australia and Tasmania.

In June 2007, the Fauves performed their 1000th show at the East Brunswick Club in Melbourne.  They played songs from all of their studio albums, and gave away a free compilation of b-sides, Prefer Others, to everyone in attendance.  A few months later the band played its first ever overseas gig (in Bangkok).

July 2008 saw the release of the Fauves 9th album, When Good Times Go Good.  Music videos were issued for the tracks Underwhelmed, Sunday Drive and Explorers Who Didn't Find Anything.  The band embarked on a small tour of the East Coast, and played a 20th anniversary show at the Espy in St Kilda on 22nd November.

In recent years the Fauves played sporadic gigs, including a performance as part of the Punters Club Reunion shows in Melbourne in late 2010.

The band put out it's 10th studio album, Japanese Engines, in November 2011.  It will be followed by another record, German Engines, in early 2012.