The Go-Betweens’ Lindy Morrison: I’ll never forget playing Roskilde, when chaos hit the Hoodoo Gurus


Show caption ‘I wonder who might rescue me as time stands still’: the Go-Betweens’ drummer Lindy Morrison is interviewed backstage at the Roskilde festival in Denmark on 4 July 1987. Photograph: Sven Niecheol My unforgettable gig The Go-Betweens’ Lindy Morrison: I’ll never forget playing Roskilde, when chaos hit the Hoodoo Gurus A potent cookie, a broken lift and a band on the brink take the drummer into surprising new territory at the Danish festival In this Guardian Australia series, our favourite musicians reflect on their most memorable concerts Lindy Morrison Mon 3 Jan 2022 16.30 GMT Share on Facebook

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It’s 4 July 1987: the Go-Betweens are playing the Roskilde festival in Denmark – one of the largest festivals in Europe; the one you want to play. As a B-grade cult band, we are excited. We’ve been on the road for eons, on an endless European tour for our fifth album Tallulah, before veering to the US and Australia.

We’re booked to play at 6pm on one of the smaller stages. I wander around the backstage village and share a cookie with another band member. I had bought the cookie from an ingratiating post-punk hippie. My musician mate disappears. I lean against a tent post. Usually I see many variables, yet I’m fixed. I wonder who might rescue me as time stands still. Crew, musicians and caterers walk past me in slomo. Eventually the ritual of making it to the stage takes over. I find my way to our lot which looks like the dining room of a train carriage. I flop beside three band members.

‘Exhilarating’: Lindy Morrison performs with the Go-Betweens at the 1987 Roskilde festival. Photograph: Sven Niecheol

Bob Johnson, our long-serving manager, berates me for looking like a grub. “Look at your T-shirt, it’s covered in stains.” I look down at my mucky white tee and I am Eliza Doolittle picked from the street.

The gig is exhilarating. We play with our usual love to a crowd that stretches for ever and who gets us. And after, Chrissie Hynde from the Pretenders walks on to the stage and kisses it because Bob Dylan once stood there. I avoid Geoff Travis from Rough Trade Records – I don’t care that he dropped us for the Smiths; I’m incapable of the cleverness he expects from me. We hang out backstage with the Woodentops and Voice of the Beehive.

Fellow Australian band Hoodoo Gurus are on the bill and drive us back to the hotel in Copenhagen. Many musicians are milling in the large, ultramodern foyer of glass, tiles and bulky pot plants. A large staircase descends from the floors above, giving the room a sense of grandeur.

Then a commotion. The Hoodoo Gurus’ crew are stuck in the elevator on the first floor. I rush up the stairs, peering in. The Gurus’ tour manager is a large man and he’s struggling. I’m talking him through it when another crew member arrives and we stand, peering in, together.

“I want one thing,” says the tour manager trapped in the lift. “Just get her away from me now.”

I thought my counselling skills were good but they are not on this day; somehow, they elude me this day.

Back in the foyer, Clyde Bramley, bass player with the Gurus, demands that something be done. Where is that firetruck that was called 20 minutes ago?

Clyde is maddened. The crew in the lift are disturbed. The foyer is a mass of competing energies – the staff calming, the musicians agitating.

Clyde is done. He picks up an enormous pot plant and smashes it to the ground. “Get them some help,” he bawls.

With minutes, hurtling down the stairwell, is Michael McMartin, the Gurus’ manager, catching Clyde in a headlock, holding him tight to his chest on the stairs till he calms.

Robert Vickers, the Go-Betweens’ bass player, whispers to me: “I know what that feels like?”

I ask: “What do you mean?”

He replies, face as dead as a dead pan: “The pressure of touring. Late nights, early mornings, hurry up and wait, always trying to do your best, I know how Clyde feels.”