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David Black

David Black lived in St Kilda, Melbourne, from age 13 where he saw the early days of local Punk at the Crystal Ballroom, later known as the Seaview Ballroom. Although he was too young to be able to go into the venue, he would hear the thumping music spilling into the street and see the crazy looking people that gathered outside.  He would often go on a Saturday morning to Archie and Jugheads Records (the forerunner to Missing Link Records) where he purchased his very first Punk record – the Sid Vicious recording of My Way.

Thrush - David Black,Frank Keitel, Richie Goodall.

Around 1981-’82, David was listening to the punk radio shows on 3PBSfm and decided to brave it and call in a request. He got into a chat with Paul Conroy of the Apocalypse Punk Show who invited David to drop into the station.  After the show, there were some punk bands playing at the Prince of Wales.  That night after seeing the Young Offenders and the Sick Things, David just had to get a band together.  In 1983 he started his own band, Death Penalty - later called Thrush.

Thrush played on and off throughout 1984 and 1985 at Melbourne punk venues including the legendary Helter Skelter Club. Although it came to an end, the drummer Frank Keitel went on to play in Arm the Insane and the first guitarist, Gary McGillivray, went on to play in Death Sentence.  David took a different turn and followed his love of cartooning with a comic strip called Punkz.

David black with award for "Best Desert Island Cartoon" at Rothmans International Cartoon award.

Punkz ran in Juke Magazine for one year.  The exposure from Juke helped David get art jobs working for clubs and pubs around Melbourne, and pretty soon, you would see a page or two of every edition of Beat and Inpress filled with band and club advertisements that had been hand drawn by David.  Most of the busier streets in Melbourne were pole posted with his artwork too. He was given full license to go wild when designing fundraiser posters for Ska TV and 3PBSfm. These proved to be the most popular.  

Punkz eventually came to an end and David was hawking around an updated version, Punkz in Space, when he landed a job as the editorial cartoonist for the infamous tabloid, The Truth.  Although he was now making a living from his artwork David didn’t forget the Punkz in Space and eventually co-published a comic book with Melbourne artist, Peter Mathieson.  Punkz in Space hit the newsagency shelves around Australia in 1993 and the launch included a 2 week exhibition of the artwork at the Capricorn Gallery in Fitzroy, Melbourne.  Unfortunately, the years of hard slog and working around the clock as a cartoonist left David burnt out and there was no follow up to the cartoon strip. 

David did do some cartoons and wrote stories for the gothic magazine in 1994, Dark Angel and that led to his returning to music with the band Darkness Visible.  Darkness Visible is still going to this day and has been covered in Mick Mercer’s books – "The Hex Files" and "Music to Die For", as well as having had songs on many goth compilation CD’s, including "Candles and Intrigue" and "Dark Eyed and Starry They Were".  At the time of writing, Darkness Visible has also produced nine music videos and is in pre-production for their tenth.

Darkness Visible photo for Mick Mercer's book "The Hex Files"

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