No Nonsense began as a gang of mates hanging out together from Oak Park High School in the western suburbs of Melbourne (Australia). At the time, Ska meant dancing and comradeship, and their first shows were all about dancing, sweating, getting drunk, throwing up . . . all the right ingredients for having a good time.
They adopted a happy-go-lucky, zany image and used pseudonyms like ‘Dickie Diver’, ‘Drinker the Thinker’ and ‘Rockin’ Eugene. And there was a time when the first seven rows of their Melbourne shows were filled with skinheads.
At their first Sydney show, there were 750 of them, Seig-heiling, shoving and grinning evilly. No Nonsense outgrew them very fast. “Why don’t you fuck off – we don’t want you here”, Richard Bruce roared at the skinheads in the crowd one night early in 1983 at the Central Club. “We’ll give you your money back, just don’t bloody come back here!”.
Crowds dropped off drastically for a while. Then the word got out that you could go to a No Nonsense gig and not get hassled by a coconut head and crowds swelled in hometown Melbourne until the first seven rows at their shows were filled with suburban girls.
Somewhere along the line, No Nonsense started listening to pop music and Ska became outdated for them. After a year and a half as purely a live band, they ventured into the studio, emerging with their first EP, Utter Nonsense. The EP (although admittedly of poor quality) sold out all stocks.
Eventually giving up their day jobs and turning pro, the band released their first “proper” EP, A Round Tuit, featuring two of their own compositions and a version of the theme from the 1970s Hawaii Five-O TV series.
Richard Bruce (Dickie Diver)