The Kelpies formed in Sydney (Australia) in March 1981 with a line-up of James Gelding (vocals), Mark Easton (guitar), Brian Conolly (guitar), Con Murphy (bass) and Ashley Thomson(drums).
Con and Mark had previously played in Sydney punk band Suicide Squad. Mark Easton had also previously played with the delicately named Vic Vomit and the Varicose Veins.
Debuting at the Royal Exhibition Hall on 27 March 1981, The Kelpies did well from the start because their members had strong reputations among the gig-going crowd from their previous efforts.
Sadly, many of their early gigs were also plagued by violence.
They quickly became one of the most popular bands on the inner-city scene. Sadly, many of their early gigs were also plagued by violence, resulting in the band being locked out of nearly every venue in town.
In May 1981 they recorded a nine-song demo at Now Studios in Sydney’s Rushcutters Bay and, after a temporary break up in September 1981, they reformed for another demo recording session in March 1982.
They subsequently went to a 16-track studio where they recorded three more songs, two of which made up their debut Phantom single, Take Me Away, which was released posthumously in November 1982.
Drugs and conflicting egos ultimately destroyed the band, and The Kelpies played their final gig on 30 July 1982 at the Mosman Hotel in Sydney. Mark and Con went on to form Soggy Porridge.
Take Me Away also appeared on the Phantom compilation LP, Paths Of Pain To Jewels Of Glory (1983). Three tracks from the band’s early demo recordings – My Wall, Truro Murders and Television also appeared on the Aberrant label’s compilation album of Sydney punk bands, Flowers From The Dustbin (1983).
Aberrant later issued a Kelpies album, titled Official Bootleg (1986).
The original Kelpies line-up reunited in Sydney in 2003 for a one-off show. Vocalist James Gelding (born James Atkins) passed away in Darwin in 2017 after a long battle with cancer.
James Gelding (Atkins)