The story of The Scavengers and their candy apple red Mustang bass…
A few years ago I played bass in a band called The Tremors which let me play some fun gigs with some awesome bands around Australia. My favourite band was a New Zealand band called The D4. Their album was full of awesome dirty rock ‘n roll with some interesting covers on there including ‘Pirate Love’ by Johnny Thunders and ‘Invader Ace’ by Guitar Wolf. But my favourite song was ‘Mysterex’ by a band called The Scavengers. The Scavengers were one the first punk bands in New Zealand, playing in Auckland around 1977. Their hit was Mysterex, which was written about their former singer who left the band to get a ‘real’ job. (He ended up being the head of an international advertising company and is now a millionaire) The riff in that tune is catchy as hell, as are the lyrics “Nine to fiver… Social Climber… Oh Yeah !!!! Mysterex you think you are but we know you’re not…”
Back in 2006 my band Sixfthick was recording at Atlantis Studios in Port Melbourne. My brother told me he had bought a candy apple red Mustang bass on eBay that was in St. Kilda and asked if I could pick it up while I was in Melbourne. Oh and it had belonged to The Scavengers (!)
I went round to the address and an older dude answered the door. His house was full of old music gear and other cool stuff. I thought he looked a little familiar but couldn’t place the face. He handed me the bass and I played it a little and chatted with him a bit. He said that the last time it was played at the 2005 Scavengers reunion by Dion from The D4. Apparently the ex-singer who Mysterex was written about was in the crowd and he got up and sang the song with them.
He also gave me some Scavs photos to go with the bass. I looked at the photo and then at the seller… holy shit… it was Johnny Volume!!!He said he was just getting rid of excess gear, which included this bass and some amps.
I quietly put the bass in the case, said thanks and left to head to the studio. Soon as I got there I pulled the bass out and played the bass riff to Mysterex on it all afternoon… the thing almost played itself.
When I got home I did a little research and found out it was actually THE Scavengers bass, which had recorded all their songs, played all their gigs and was even in the Mysterex film clip. My brother scored big and I was getting increasingly jealous. Here’s the bass in action with the Scavs…
And here it is now… it’s in remarkably good condition for a bass that had played in a punk band for 35 years.
There are only a few chips on it, which someone tried filling with blue paint (?!) back in the 70′s.
It plays like butter… which old Fender’s do if they’ve been played for 30+ years.
I’m just waiting for my brother to sell it to me…
Here’s the film clip to Mysterex… enjoy.