Negro says the police vice squad pressured the sites to ban the group for a year. So the band played at the Prince of Wales Hotel under different names.
“We didn’t really pose a problem. It was just a party band,” he said.
“All punk bands were so serious. They were very political. So, I thought we were going to have fun. We started writing songs about going to buy pizza at Toppo (the restaurant in Topolino).
Negro drew cartoon posters for St Kilda halls, then for over 20 years, from 1989 he drew a weekly satirical cartoon, called Pubin the street newspaper In the press.
The cartoons depicted genitals, drug use, bodily excretions, orgies, and swearing. Negro says he was also documenting his community, from books he read to meeting funny taxi drivers.
St Kilda was his muse. Many characters were real people like musicians Tim Rogers and Tex Perkins. Negro drew the birth of his own son, Rowdy.
The late guitarist of The Birthday Party, Rowland S. Howard, said: “You haven’t made it in the Melbourne music industry until you’ve appeared on Fred Negro’s Pub Strip.”
Rising complaints about the cartoon led to a parting of ways between Negro and Inpress, after over 1400 strips, but the strip is still running in the Munster Times zine.
Negro, now 63, has shown his art in exhibitions and created several pub books and a graphic novel Piranhas in love which he co-wrote with Elizabeth Reale.
Negro still plays in bands such as the F— F–s and The Peptides, and organizes walking tours of St Kilda.
Pub: The movie Director Andrew Leavold, 52, first saw Negro on stage in 1992 when one of Negro’s bands, Brady Bunch Lawnmower Massacre, played in Brisbane.
Leavold considered Negro a genius, booked him for gigs in Queensland, and became his friend.
Asked what drives Negro, Leavold says there is a hedonistic aspect “but I think it’s more about liberation”.
“Fred doesn’t like being told what he can say in his art, or how he can do his art and he certainly doesn’t like being told what he can and can’t do. on the scene.”
Negro plays the clown but Leavold hopes the film will help people take him seriously as an artist.
“I think art can be hilarious and entertaining and irreverent and salty and earthy, and all those epithets you can apply to Fred’s work,” says Leavold.
“I would really like people to see the whole of Fred’s experience and say, ‘Yeah, he’s done an amazing job over the last 45 years’.”
Aside from an unhappy three-year stint with an ex-wife in Brighton, Negro has remained at St Kilda and has no intention of leaving. “Why? I’m happy where I am,” he said. “It’s a great place.
“I walk around in a daze, making up songs, thinking of cartoons to make.
“I know about a million people. I laugh everywhere I go. Because everyone is so funny.
Pub: The Movie screens Thursday at the Kino1 Cinema and Saturday at the Astor Theatre.