The Humble Beginnings of The Goths: How the Duo First Met

by Aayushi Mehra


In a somewhat fitting turn of events, when you consider The Goths lyrical content, Johnny Stowmarries and Percy Blakeney first met at a Dungeons & Dragons session.


What better way to form a band that would go on to guide listeners through their own realm of magical wonder.


This was in 1979. They had both just started secondary school and it was then around that time The Angels had put out a record called ‘Face to Face’.


This band along with other Sydney-based ones like Jimmy and The Boys were crucial to the duo’s early-teen foundational years, not only informing their musical leanings, but in the way they bonded to form a partnership that would be forged writing some of their biggest hits.


Becoming The Goths


Fast-forward to the mid-80s.


The two next met at Stowmarries inner-city tin-and-timber Queenslander. This time it was for a random jam.


They exchanged songs that they had independently been writing, two songs of which ended up being the quite appropriate pairing of ‘Maddalena’ and ‘Fuchsia’.


Other songs began to evolve, including ‘Doppelganger’ and ‘Black Laugh’, developing a clear and particular gothic theme.


Percy soon realised that Johnny’s suggestion to umbrella this sound under the fitting name, The Goths, was the right one and a booking for the first round of gigs at the Bohemian Cafe as The Goths eventually came through.



The Formation of a Scene


The Goths were immediately star attraction at the Bohemian Cafe in Elizabeth Street, Brisbane. 


They were to perform in the early hours on weekend nights, and they played to a ready-made audience who wandered in when the larger spot, The Mass, up the street closed for the night.


The mix of this drug-infused crowd of teens, with their rough black-dyed hair and black eye-liner, blended well with The Goths sound, and a scene began to form. 


The crowd reacted to songs like ‘Maddalena’, itself an instinctive reaction to the ruthless capitalism of the ’80s, and The Goths dark imagery, that had audience members come dressed in costume as vampires.


It was a melting pot and at the same time, something new and exciting.



The Goths for Life


The attraction of The Goths and the world they were building with each new release continues to grow in a die-hard fan base that has spilled over from their humble beginnings in Brisbane across Australia to the World.


The audience has now turned digital, with tens of thousands of Spotify plays of The Goths music as older fans show new ones the escapism that The Goths music is.


As the world gets crazier, the idea and need for an escape from reality as provided by The Goths seems so very necessary.


It is a good thing The Goths are still around.