Saturday, August 17, 2019

Obituary - Damien Lovelock

On Saturday 3 August 2019, Damien Lovelock - best known as the vocalist of Australian band CELIBATE RIFLES - passed away at his home on the northern beaches of Sydney, Australia. He was aged 65. The cause of death was cancer.
Lovelock was born Damien Richard Lovelock on 21 May 1954 in Amersham, England, the son of Australians Joan Wilton (a Jazz singer) and Bill Lovelock (a television producer and musician). The marriage dissolved when Bill moved to New York while Joan returned to Sydney with Damien ,who was still but an infant.
Following the move to Australia, Damo (as he became known) joined a band named STREET NOISE. At the age of 26, he answered a ‘Vocalist Required’ notice and joined both Dave Morris and Kent Steedman in 1980 to form the band that became recognised as CELIBATE RIFLES - a band which started as a high-energy Garage Punk band and matured into a streamlined Alt. Rock band that retained that high-energy feel of the earlier years. Although Lovelock was ten years older than the rest of the band, he had no problem matching their energy.
Following the self-released EP, ‘But Jacques, The Fish?’, the band was signed to Hot Records for the release of the 1983 debut album, ‘Sideroxylon’. Following the album’s release Lovelock started a side-project with the acoustic NO DANCE which featured members of Australian luminaries NEW CHRISTS and DIED PRETTY and released a single in 1984 entitled ‘Carnival Of Souls’.
While Lovelock returned and remained the frontman of CELIBATE RIFLES through nine studio album, two live albums, a flurry of EPs, compilation albums, a video album (which included five solo Locklock tracks) and several international tours, he continued with solo projects. In June 1988 Lovelock released his debut solo album, ‘It's a Wig Wig Wig Wig World’, which was followed by the single, ‘Disco Inferno’, in April 1990. His second solo album, ‘Fishgrass’, was released in December 1991 following a single, ‘The Dalai Lama’, the previous October.
Lovelock had an interesting life outside music also, being a fan’s-perspective commentator on the Sunday afternoon sports programme The World Game that aired on SBS in Australia. In the 2000s, he was a regular member of the football panel on Sky News in Australia and also co-hosted ABC Radio Grandstand for a short period.  Another programme he co-hosted was Football Fever on Sky Sports Radio, the final episodes of which aired in March 2010.
Continuing the sports theme, he wrote two books about soccer (plus a cookery book!), was also a known Yoga instructor in Newport, Sydney (and was proficient to such an extent he was hired by the likes of Central Coast Mariners, Sydney FC and the NSW State of Origin team) and had a love of Southampton FC.
Lovelock is survived by his son, Luke. 

I discovered the CELIBATE RIFLES quite late on - somewhere around 15 years ago after I’d already made the move to New Zealand.  I had heard of the band often but crossing paths only occurred on the purchase of ‘Blind Ear’, a late 80s album but one which impressed me enough to search out more. It was also this album which features my favourite CELIBATE RIFLES song - and one very fitting to be an epitaph for Lovelock - ‘Wonderful Life’. For those curious to hear the band, a great place to start is the 23-track compilation, ‘Platters Du Jour’, which collects all of the band’s early singles. Grab it and enjoy.