Tamam Shud began life as a Newcastle (Australia) instrumental band called The Four Strangers.
The group released one well-regarded surf instrumental single –The Rip b/w Pearl Diver – for Astor in 1964, after which their original guitarist (Gary Johns) left the band and was replaced by singer/guitarist Lindsay Bjerre.
Under Bjerre’s guidance, the band – now renamed The Sunsets – moved to a more up-to-date beat/R&B style and scored a five-year recording deal with the Australian Festival label.
Becoming Tamam Shud in 1968, the band became one of the first local groups to embrace the late 60s psychedelic sounds, translating the acid-rock into a uniquely Australian context.
At the end of 1968, Tamam Shud recorded their debut album, Evolution. Recorded in two and a half hours on primitive equipment, it was one of the first wholly original albums produced in Australia.
Film-maker Paul Witzig financed the LP session in return for being able to use four tracks on the soundtrack to his surfing film of the same name.
The album was leased to CBS, and the band were signed by Warner Brothers in 1970 as a result of the LP’s success.
16-year-old guitar prodigy Tim Gaze replaced Alex ‘Zac’ Zytnik, who went on to work with Blackfeather. With Gaze onboard, Tamam Shud recorded their second LP, Goolutionites and the Real People (October 1970). Both Gaze and drummer Dannie Davidson left before the album was released.
Bjerre and Barron recruited jazz players Kevin Stephenson and Kevin Sinnott, but they both departed again when Tim Gaze returned to the fold with 18-year-old Nigel Macara.
At the end of the year, the line-up was augmented by conga player Larry Duryea (real name Larry Taylor) and jazz pianist Bobby Gebert.
Tamam Shud toured extensively throughout 1971, adding Richard Lockwood on sax and flutes towards the end of the year.
The band released a new single, Got A Feeling (January 1972) on Warners and contributed three tracks – First Things First, Bali Waters and Sea The Swells – to the Morning Of The Earth soundtrack album.
Lindsay Bjerre broke up the band in August 1972, wanting to explore a softer country-rock direction. He duly formed a group called Albatross, with Peter Barron and Kim Bryant (ex-Country Radio). Lindsay also encouraged his wife, Simone, to join the band, which sang songs about ecology, the outdoor life and the sea.
Lindsay re-emerged in the late 1970s with the romantic ‘Bjerre’ persona and the Australian hit single She Taught Me How To Love Again.
Tamam Shud re-formed in March 1993 and signed with Polydor. They issued the CD single Stay, which caught the attention of the programmers at Aussie youth radio network Triple J and became something of a domestic radio hit.
The Permanent Culture album followed in August, with a second CD single, Shaking Out The Stones.
Polydor dropped the band when the album failed to chart significantly, and Tamam Shud broke up again in April 1995.
‘Tamam Shud’ means ‘it is ended’ or ‘the very end’ in Persian. Lindsay Bjerre took the name from the book The Rubáiyát by 11th-century Persian poet Omar Khayyám.
Alex ‘Zac’ Zytnik
Larry Duryea (Larry Taylor)