They’ve recently broken into the kiddies’ market thanks to Regurgitator’s Pogogo Show (on the ABC), corresponding children’s albums and live shows, but those among us who were peaking in the ‘90s will remember Regurgitator as the creators of brilliantly quirky songs – some of which were simultaneously pop and anti-pop – with often-hilarious accompanying music videos.

The ‘Gurge emerged in the mid-‘90s, immediately becoming triple j darlings thanks to their string of genre-bending songs boasting hooks aplenty. Also renowned for their attention-grabbing, risqué song titles (eg. I Sucked A Lot Of C**k To Get Where I Am, I P**s Alone and I Will Lick Your A**hole), X-rated lyrics (see: Blubber Boy’s recurring c-bombs) and shiny pop sensibilities (especially 1997’s Polyester Girl), Regurgitator are fiercely original masters of punk, hip-hop, funk, electro-pop and everything in between.

In the lead up to their ‘Drivetime’ tour (date below), take a trippy trip down memory lane with these five memorable Regurgitator tunes.

‘My Friend Robot’

The entirety of Regurgitator’s 2004 album Mish Mash!, which contains the delightful My Friend Robot, was the result of their Band In A Bubble project: a reality TV-inspired media stunt sponsored and broadcast by Channel V. “It was based on the idea of Big Brother but also doing something creative in the space,” Regurgitator’s Quan Yeomans later explained. “When I was living in London I’d seen David Blaine sitting in a bubble just doing nothing and Paul [Curtis, the band’s manager] had talked about doing it a long time ago. We just kinda woke up with, like, crowds of people staring at us in our underpants and stuff – it was super surreal.”

The Bubble at Fed Square.

Said bubble – where the band recorded Mish Mash! – was constructed in Melbourne’s Federation Square. As well as the band, producer Magoo, engineer Hugh Webb and Channel V presenter Jabba (who supplied some BVs on this record) also took up residence inside the bubble. No one could enter or leave this bubble, but passersby were able to watch the band hard at work, sleeping or whatever they happened to be doing at the time.

‘Fat Cop’

“Fat cop, hey!” – so goes the chorus of the lead single from Regurgitator’s hilariously titled fourth album, Eduardo And Rodriguez Wage War On T-Wrecks (2001).

The story goes that Ben Ely felt inspired to pen this rap-rock classic featuring killer, fuzz-drenched riffs after clocking his local constable stuffing his face with donuts. “Oh my god, hey, just jump back/ And make a little way for the blimp in the blue hat…” – you’ve just gotta hand it to ‘em, the ‘Gurge are supremely LOL-worthy! 

In this song’s film clip, we simply cannot get enough of the scene featuring Yeomans and Ely portraying conjoined-twin DJs, mixing one turntable each.

‘Blubber Boy’

Just how the ‘Gurge got away with performing this song live and uncensored during Recovery’s early Saturday morning timeslot back in the day is an unsolved mystery! During an interview with Dylan Lewis for 2019’s excellent Recovery Reunion, Yeomans revealed that Blubber Boy, with its show-offy 6/8 time signature, is the only song he ever wrote based on someone else’s story. 

“I’m your blubber boy, you should rub me/ I look like your love drowned in the sea/ I’m fishing in the sun, I’m melting/ Rub me on your c**t, I’ll come back again…”

According to the Inuit folktale that inspired this Regurgitator classic, a girl whose boyfriend had drowned at sea took desperate measures since no one else would do. After carving a likeness of her deceased beloved out of whale blubber, she rubbed this over her vulva and voila! Her handsome boyf was miraculously resurrected. But sometimes he would start melting away and the only way he could be revived was by rubbing his entire body with her genitals. Who knew!?

‘I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff’

The story goes that I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff began its life as a punk-rock track until Regurgitator decided to try it out in a more minimal, synth-heavy style à la Gary Numan. “Adding a vocoder gave the song something we were excited and terrified by at the same,” Ely said during an interview, also revealing it was this track that ultimately inspired the ‘Gurge to change musical direction. 

Apparently the band members were also alarmed by the sheer amount of gig injuries and broken bones that were sustained by their dude-heavy early audiences. So Regurgitator deliberately tweaked their sound, hoping to attract more feminine energy to their gigs. Ely and Yeomans have also admitted they had Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual album, Devo and Don Henley on high rotation around this time.

Staying true to their madcap tendencies, Regurgitator also created I Like Your Old Remix Better Than Your New Remix (plus accompanying film clip), which was released as a bonus track with ! (The Song Formerly Known As) – the fourth and final single release from Regurgitator’s outstanding multiple ARIA Award-winning second album Unit (which came out 25 years ago in November, 2022).

‘! (The Song Formerly Known As)’

Funky guitar flourishes, whiplash-inducing beats – this one sounds like Prince, even if you didn’t pick up the clue in the song’s title (Prince was referred to as The Artist Formerly Known As, after all). ! (The Song Formerly Known As) will coax you to you feet the millisecond it kicks in and although it makes us wish we were at a rave, this song’s protagonist is actually a bit of a recluse: “You won’t see me tribal ravin’ baby/ ‘Cause I won’t ever look that good/ I’d rather dance in ugly pants/ In the comfort of a lounge room in suburbia.” 

Be sure to check out the film clip, which was shot in Tokyo and incorporates many seamless transitions. 

Chin-stroker alert: this track’s “Thank you mister DJ…” outro is sampled from a 1976 song by Silver Convention called Thank You Mr DJ. 

Regurgitator’s ‘Drivetime’ Shows

Friday, November 11
Magnums Hotel, Airlie Beach, QLD
Tickets here

Saturday, November 12
Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville QLD
Tickets here

Sunday, November 13
Edge Hill Tavern, Cairns QLD
Tickets here

Words by Bryget Chrisfield