Formed in Sydney (Australia) in 1983, Died Pretty consisted of musicians Brett Myers, Ronald S Peno and Frank Brunetti – all longstanding veterans of the alternative music scene in Brisbane. Probably due to journalist Brunetti’s involvement, they attracted immediate critical attention.
Their swirling sound (reminiscent of The Doors) combined with the unique vocals and demented stage presence of Ron Peno, soon established them as inner-city favourites.
They released records on the independent Citadel label, including Out Of The Unknown, Mirror Blues, Free Dirt and Lost, but it was their cataclysmic Next To Nothing EP (1985), produced by Radio Birdman‘s Rob Younger, that established the band as a worldwide possibility.
Over the next few years, constant touring toughened the once erratic live performances and their follow-up recordings expanded their musical territories.
In 1990 – after the departure of organist Brunetti and bassist Mark Lock – a deal with Beggars Banquet resulted in the album Every Brilliant Eye, recorded in LA with long-time production team Rob Younger and Alan Thorn replaced by Jeff Eyrich (Gun Club).
The result was a much more focused and accessible album containing some of the band’s finest work, particularly the propulsive single Whitlam Square.
Their fourth album, Doughboy Hollow (1991), was produced by Englishman Hugh Jones (The Damned, Echo & the Bunnymen, Simple Minds), but the singles from the album – Stop Myself, D.C. and Sweetheart – did not achieve mainstream chart success.
Brisbane bass guitarist Robert Warren replaced Steve Clark shortly thereafter. Chris Welsh was also replaced by a succession of drummers, including Murray Shepherd (Screaming Tribesmen), Warwick Fraser (Screaming Tribesmen) and Stuart Eadie (The Clouds) before Welsh returned again at the end of the year.
Trace (1993) became their biggest-selling album to date, producing four singles – Caressing Swine, Harness Up, Headaround and A State of Graceful Mourning.
Soon after the release of Trace, drummer Welsh left again, retiring from music to become an English teacher in Thailand.
Their next album, Sold (1996), reunited them with original producer Rob Younger and produced a rougher, harder-sounding collection than Doughboy or Trace.
The album gained critical acclaim and reached the Australian Top 30, although singles from the LP failed to chart and Died Pretty were dropped by Sony in April 1996.
Their last two studio albums, Using My Gills As a Roadmap (1998) and Everydaydream (2000) showed the band moving away from basic guitar rock and making greater use of electronics, citing Kraftwerk, Low-period David Bowie and obscure Euro dance records as influences.
In 2002, Died Pretty disbanded after a final Australian tour. The band have regrouped from time to time for one-off performances.