06 PM | 20 Jul

La Femme release

Melbourne’s La Femme were a fascinating meld of late Seventies influences: punk, new wave, glam and hard rock. Their 1979 debut single Chelsea Kids is one of the all-time classic Australian singles and their only LP: La Femme, is arguably one of the best to come out Melbourne’s late 1970’s punk/new wave scene (which included Models and The Boys Next Door). It contains many fine examples of the band’s confident, swaggering glam-infused punk-metal sound.

Lead singer Chane Chane was a charismatic, hyperactive front man, a refreshing personality with a strong audience rapport. Guitarist Brett Walker was a real live flashy guitar hero for the times, coming on like a punk-metal Mick Ronson by pealing off large chunks of dense power riffing when other guitarists were still going plink-plonk. The thuggish rhythm section of Peter Kidd and Graham Schiavello played it mean and hard, providing the relentless, driving beat.

La Femme could well have made it into the big league if they’d wanted but swimming against the commercial tide seemed to be their raison d’être. In many ways they were their own worst enemies. An unwillingness to play the pop star game and the serious drug addiction, among other things, perhaps ended up compromising the band’s drive. For an inner-city band with so much potential, in the end they really did give it away. They toured constantly, built up a huge support base on the suburban pub circuit, scored several prestigious support gigs, made three appearances on Countdown (one of the first punk/new wave/alternative bands to do so), released one of the great Melbourne punk albums and yet they never rose above being a cult attraction.

Aztec Music’s deluxe reissue has been digitally remastered from the original tapes. It contains 8 bonus tracks: the single edit of Chelsea Kids, their 2 non-LP B-sides (covers of I Wanna Be Your Man and All Day And All Of The Night), 2 marvelously punky demo’s from 1978, 3 demo’s from 1979 (that you would swear was part of the NWOBHM movement), PLUS their rare film clip of Chelsea Kids that had been lost for the past 28 years (we just found it in time!). www.aztecmusic.net

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  • Harry Harrison

    La Femme were back playing last year 2006. Don’t have anymore details than that.I remember them at a pub in Fitroy.The Champion Hotel with The Chosen Few.I played in a band doing at lot of supports for The Boys Next Door.Bit of rivalry between those two bands in those days. Well I’m still playing.In a band called Wild Honey
    Aug. 3rd 2007 AcornOnForest The Basin Melbourne.

    August 3, 2007 4:59 pm
  • james saunders

    I was their lighting man/roadie/stand in front man between ’82-’84…
    When Chànè Chànè was either too smashed/tired, I was fortunate to take his place…on at least a dozen times…!
    This took place at the old ‘Tigerlounge’, ‘The Gardenvale’…etc.

    October 14, 2007 10:25 pm
  • Mungo

    Is cool and to say hello.

    October 23, 2007 5:47 pm
  • Pete

    Im pleased to see this re-released at last. La Femme were a fun live act that I saw heaps of times. Its a shame that they didnt take off.They should of been huge.
    Im still a fan.

    October 28, 2007 10:52 am
  • Phantom of the Paradise

    Who the hell are you James Saunders. You never stood in for Chane. Are you delusional? No matter how bent he was he always managed to get up on that stage and perform. I was there.

    January 28, 2008 11:26 am
  • Chane Chane

    I agree with Phantom,you never stood in james, you weren’t even a roadie for La Femme, whom by the way broke up in 82,I should know, I’m Chane Chane

    February 28, 2008 1:25 pm
  • Phantom of the Paradise

    Onya Chane. Loved all your music. Cold Crusade, Sirens, Billyboy. Great writer and performer. Sorry about some of the rude comments I made on another site. I take them all back.

    March 17, 2008 9:53 am