Months after an Australian politician called for a Victorian freeway to be named after cult band TISM, the local Government has offered up a disappointing response.
Back in November, Melbourne politician David Limbrick put forward a call for Aussie music legends TISM to get the recognition they deserve; formally requesting the Minister for Roads to “change the name of the Mordialloc Freeway to the TISM Mordialloc Freeway”.
Having served as a staple of the live music scene for close to 25 years, TISM were an enigmatic outfit whose envelope-pushing music, combined with their verbose and biting lyrical style, helped them curate a strong fanbase. After all, there are few bands out there who had the ability to get a Melbourne pub crowd screaming along to lyrics that referenced literary figures like T. S. Eliot, Simone de Beauvoir, or James Joyce.
“This week the Liberal Democrats have spoken about sex and drugs, and I rise now to speak about rock and roll,” Limbrick noted in his November speech, which took place one day after the 15th anniversary of the band’s final gig.
“Liverpool had The Beatles, the Rocky Mountains had John Denver, and my electorate – south east metro – has TISM.”
“For those of you who have tragically missed out, TISM stands for ‘this is serious mum’. They are an anarchic rock and roll band who were active during the ’80s and ’90s. They are one of our greatest cultural exports.”
Noting that he managed to see them play live twice, Mr. Limbrick went on to quote from “their hit, ‘The Mordialloc Rd. Duplicator’ from the album Machiavelli And The Four Seasons” (despite the fact the song was never a hit, and was actually released on their Great Truckin’ Songs Of The Renaissance album).
“From Lower Springvale to the Frankston Freeway, until you get to that bitumen stain/That runs between two road highways, happy people trapped in its invidious single lane,” he quoted. “There ain’t no better roadworks in the nation, than the Mordialloc Road duplication.”
“Yes, TISM were a visionary band who understood the importance of infrastructure,” Mr. Limbrick continued. “In other parts of Melbourne, artists with little or no connection to the city, such as Michael Hutchence and AC/DC, have been honoured with statues and street names. They didn’t live in Melbourne or even sing about it.
“My request for the Minister is to right this historical injustice and change the name of the Mordialloc Freeway to the TISM Mordialloc Freeway.”
A stirring request that Aussie music fans from across the country quickly got behind, it appears as though the campaign for the band to be immortalised via Vic Roads has now been knocked back, with the Victorian Government issuing a response today.
Signed by Minister for Roads and Minister for Road Safety and the TAC Jaala Pulford, the carefully-worded rejection undoubtedly treats the whole affair with good humour, but sadly cites examples of TISM’s discography as a reason for the declination.
“I commend Mr Limbrick for his advocacy of local music,” the response begins. “TISM were certainly one of a kind and I have some wonderful memories seeing them perform at University.
“However naming one of our Big Build projects after TISM would be problematic given the mixed messages on road safety in their songs like ‘Greg, The Stop Sign’ and ‘Anarchy Means Crossing When It Says Don’t Walk’.”
It appears that the Hon. Ms. Pulford overlooked other controversial traffic-themed TISM tunes in the process, as ‘Get Thee In My Behind, Satan’, which revolves around the terrifying notion of pulling a hook turn on Swanston Street.
As the response goes on, Ms. Pulford also makes a number of suggestions of musical icons that may be more deserving of the honour.
“However, my office advises there are other opportunities to recognise great Victorian bands and other Australian acts that have contributed to making Victoria the number one state for music in our nation,” Ms. Pulford adds, before listing other notable songs by Paul Kelly, Courtney Barnett, The Triffids, Skyhooks, and Australian Crawl, amongst others.
“It would be nice to include some [Cold] Chisel but “Cheap Wine” should never be associated with driving,” the response continues. “Putting the Bee Gees, “Stayin Alive” on every licence plate in the state would be a much better option.
“I thank Mr Limbrick again for his advocacy and recommend that If he wishes to pursue his quest further he should review it in light of the Victorian Government’s Naming rules for places in Victoria.”
This response also comes just weeks after TISM finally made their debut on Spotify, satiating the appetites of eager fans who had been only able to access the band’s tunes on Apple Music up to that point.
Although it seems that TISM might not be immortalised by way of the Mordialloc Freeway, there’s still a hope that the Victorian Government’s numerous upcoming rail projects might see those in charge of naming taking a listen to “Mourningtown Ride” and giving the band the honour they so deserve.