Taking their name from a scene in The Ramones‘ Rock & Roll High School movie (1979), Adelaide’s Exploding White Mice hit Sydney in 1985. Their old-school sound – equal parts Radio Birdman and The Ramones – arrived just in time to wow a younger audience who had missed out on the fun the first time around.
Fuelled by blazing twin guitars which had the tone and attack down better than just about anybody (second guitarist Giles Barrow was a Birdman freak who played the Rickenbacker that Chris Masuak had worn on the cover of the overseas version of Radios Appear), the Mice started life as a living garage/punk rock jukebox – covering The Saints, New York Dolls, Heartbreakers, Stooges and ’60s punks like The Shadows of Knight – and always wore their influences proudly.
Amongst their own songs, when they came, were some gems. Burning Red from their debut mini-LP Nest of Vipers was tough and melodic, and the equal of anything from The Ramones’ then current Too Tough To Die album.
The band was the most successful to come out of Adelaide in the 1980s, thanks in no small measure to the support of hometown label Greasy Pop.
They achieved true longevity as well, with guitarist Jeff Stephens and drummer David Bunney leading a line-up of the band into the new millennium.