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An Introduction to TISM

We select tracks to help you help a non-intellectual know what a TISM is.




After the internets were born to spread the love and praise of pornography and and cat memes, the electronic rock dance alternative pop group TISM have finally joined the fibre optics to give us all the love we need.

Who are TISM?

An on-again off-again group from 1982 to 2011, the Melbourne birthed group dominated the underground music scene with rock and synth tunes, and breaking the mould of visual displays of performance art and musical delights. The seven piece band were so underground, that the actual ‘underground’ became regular ground level. You can do the rest of the research by TISMing your search engine. With pseudonames such as Ron Hitler-Barassi, Humphrey B. Flaubert and Jock Cheese, and the uniform disguises simply wearing clothing from top to bottom with signature balaclavas, their actual personalities weren’t officially revealed until years after breaking up.

While they didn’t conform to stereotypical performances, they were a breath of fresh air to your music library. With six full albums, many EPs, compilations and VHS releases, originally, their music library restrained to physical media with collections becoming valuable once out-of-print, but now it’s the year 2020, and their library is now on Spotify.

To initiate anyone who is younger than the launch of DVD, here’s a cheat sheet to get them into one of the coolest bands to grow on Australian soil.

(He’ll Never Be An) Ol’ Man River

Step back to 1993 and teen heart-throb River Phoenix dropping dead from a drug overdose at The Viper Room in L.A. This song sums it up in 2 minutes and 23 seconds.

Thunderbirds Are Coming Out

A music clip that was designed to purposely piss off historical ABC music show Rage with their credit super display, the one shot pan of independent bands playing / miming the song is a visual delight. If you look carefully, you can see one or two TISM members de-balaclavaed (look for full body jackets and black pants). On a side note, Thunderbirds Are Coming Out samples the theme song to the 1970s Australian TV series Division 4.

I Might Be A Cunt, But I’m Not A Fucking Cunt

The title says it all. You take the good with the bad. Or in this case – bad, but at least not completely fucked-up bad.

Saturday Night Palsy

While the song title is the warning shot of things to come, it’s the actual performance on the variety show Hey Hey It’s Saturday that’s meant to be family-friendly, you will think “How in the hell did they get away with it?” Host Daryl Somers‘ reaction saying the song title is a thing to observe and digest in pure bliss.


Early morning TV Aerobics Oz Style dominated the ’80s and ’90s. It’s a perfect scenario to get TISM to blend their song about being a yobbo or wanker with clean-cut fitness freaks, who act like nothing is going on.

Greg! The Stop Sign

If you’re a Melbournite and you love your AFL and drug scandals that go along with it, then this is a perfect tune for you.

Shut Up – The Footy’s On The Radio

Same as Greg! The Stop Sign. This time, taking the piss out of radio broadcasts of ‘the game’. This tune also got repurposed for Triple M radio broadcasts.

Been Caught Wankin’

A song literally about masturbation. Shock horror.

That list should get you started. So head on to Spotify and give your ears an orgasm. Don’t forget to clean up after yourself.

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