Kylie Northover from THE AGE sits down with the 'godfather of grunge' and JMC Academy lecturer Kim Salmon, as his band The Scientists wrap up their 35th Anniversary Tour.
Kim Salmon is the sharpest-dressed man among the lunchtime CBD crowd at Coda. But despite his slick rock-star threads, he's possibly the most self-effacing musician of his stature. The songwriter and guitarist is widely regarded as the ''godfather of grunge'', thanks to the output of his band The Scientists, who, despite limited commercial success, were hugely influential, cited by legendary musicians - among them members of Mudhoney and Nirvana - for their hard-edged but poppy, garagey sound and their influence on the Seattle sound of the early 1990s.
Not bad for a little band from Perth. Particularly in the 1970s.
''I go back regularly to see my two sons and my family, and I don't think Perth feels as isolated as it used to,'' says Salmon. ''But back in the day you really felt that you were sentenced to a lifetime in that place and that getting out would happen by some stroke of luck or quirk of fate. It was a huge commitment to leave the place, a huge investment.''
Salmon formed his - and Perth's - first punk band, The Cheap Nasties, in 1976, leaving the following year to join another band, The Exterminators, who became The Scientists, inspired by the ''primitivism'' of bands such as The Cramps and The Stooges.
But Perth didn't exactly embrace them. Even after they'd driven across the Nullarbor to appear on Countdown in 1979. Wait - Countdown?
''We were surprised, too,'' says Salmon, of the band's on-air performance of their song Last Night.
''We went back to Perth and still couldn't get a gig! We thought if you went on Countdown you were rock stars.''
Three decades and seven albums (and a few line-up changes) later, to celebrate their 35th anniversary, the ''original'' Scientists have reformed for a national tour.
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