released November 1, 2013
Starring Mick Thomas, Tim Rogers, Brian Nankervis, Jeff Lang, Ben Salter, Darren Hanlon, Sal Kimber, Van Walker, Liz Stringer.
Directed by Mick & Steve Thomas Produced by Steve Thomas and Catherine Pettman
Classification: M (Some sexual references and coarse language), 105 mins.
Vandemonian Lags is the film of an extraordinary musical journey that weaves a live concert performance together with dramatic, true stories from Tasmania’s convict gulag. The concert was a centrepiece of the inaugural DARK MOFO festival and was filmed at Hobart’s Theatre Royal on 16 June 2013.
Vandemonian Lags was performed by seminal Australian singer/songwriters; Mick Thomas, Tim Rogers, Jeff Lang, Ben Salter, Darren Hanlon, Van Walker, Liz Stringer, Sal Kimber and Andy Reid. Backing them was an all-star band featuring Weddings Parties Anything’s Jen Anderson, Mark Wallace and Michael Barclay together with Craig Pilkington. Australian music icon, Brian Nankervis, strutted his stuff as the colonial anchor man.
Dark Mofo and Screen Tasmania present
A Roar Film Production
Musical Director: Mick Thomas
Produced by Steve Thomas and Catherine Pettman
Directed by Mick and Steve Thomas
Filmed at Hobart’s Theatre Royal in June 2013
NEW SONGS FROM THE PRISON WITHOUT WALLS
Songs by Mick Thomas, Ben Salter, Van Walker, Liz Stringer, Darren Hanlon, Jeff Lang, Rory McLeod and Adam Gibson
Narrators Tim Rogers and Brian Nankervis
Performers Mick Thomas, Tim Rogers, Ben Salter, Brian Nankervis, Darren Hanlon, Mark Wallace, Jeff Lang, Michael Barclay, Van Walker, Jen Anderson, Liz Stringer, Sal Kimber, Craig Pilkington, Andy Reid
Dramaturg: Tania Bosak
Video Projection: Raef Sawford
Lighting Designer: Reuben Hopkins
Graphic Designer: Chris Rees
Production Designer: Gus Smith
Costume Designer: Paul Rubie
Tour Manager: Dave Butterworth
Front of House: Stuart Morris
Stage and Guitar: Adrian Lombardi
Production Assistant: Annie Venables
Jane Burton & Fabrice Bigot
James Shuvus Williamson
Holly Standish Greaves
Live filming: Caleb Doherty, Solid Orange
Technical Manager: Ben Lacey
Editor: Raef Sawford
Sound Mix: Craig Pilkington
The producers wish to thank:
Associate Professor Hamish Maxwell Stewart for his guidance and enthusiasm
Professor Janet McCalman and the Founders and Survivors team
Ross Latham and the Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office
Female Convict Research Centre
Researchers Andrea Gerrard and Melinda Standish
Collette McAlpine for her contribution with the Ann Meyers song
Gary Adams and Tracey Harvey in the Considering Self's song recording
John Kelly and the State Cinema
The many people who participated in the films
Let's Show you Tasmania Tours
The Prince of Wales Hotel and The Hotel Launceston
The Hobart Penitentiary Chapel
Kate Fletcher & Sara Irving
Suzi & Lawrie Barton Johnson
Jane Hyland and The Hobart Repertory Theatre
Theatre Royal Hobart and The Princess Theatre Launceston staff
Vandemonian Lags is based on the project - Founders and Survivors Storylines
Produced with assistance from University of Tasmania (UTAS Logo)
Produced with assistance from Screen Tasmania
Commissioned by the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) for Dark Mofo 2013
A Roar Film Production
As the front man for seminal Aussie group Weddings Parties Anything and an established solo artist in his own right, Mick Thomas is renowned as a storyteller. Boasting an ear for rich, warmly weathered folk, he has a knack for nailing the minutiae of Australian life without resorting to cliches.
Best known as the front man of legendary Australian rock band You Am I, Tim Rogers has described himself as a 'pockmarked streak of pelican shit'. Not the colossal ego you usually associate with rock stars – but then again he has never been one to do or say what is expected of him. In a business filled with phoney rebels and wannabe artists, he is the real thing.
Brian is a writer, producer, actor and comedian and is co-creator and host of Australia’s most enduring rock music show, Rockwiz. The Rockwiz national tours, co-hosted by Brian, have been attracting thousands of punters around Australia.
Jeff Lang has been called the godfather of Australia's back-to-basics blues movement. A guitarist, singer and songwriter, Jeff has built a reputation with his startlingly original performances, working without a set list and allowing the unique energy of each night to shape the songs.
Best known as a founding member of The Gin Club, Giants of Science and The Wilson Pickers, Brisbane singer-songwriter Ben Salter has also been a solo performer in his own right for over ten years. He has played throughout Australia and Europe, where his striking vocal range and captivating lyricism have drawn comparisons to Neil Finn, Elliot Smith and Nick Drake.
Darren Hanlon is a gifted storyteller who wins over large and small audiences alike with his particular brand of urban folk. He has released five solo albums, three EPs and eight singles on Candle Records and Flippin Yeah Industries as well as several compilation tracks. He has toured with Billy Bragg, David Dondero, Tim Kasher, The Violent Femmes and The Magnetic Fields.
Liz Stringer's innate musicality merges with a true storyteller's soul to create a truly powerful and unique presence. She has seamlessly fused folk, country, blues and bluegrass in a manner that can be gentle, but which can also pack dynamite when the mood calls for it.
Born on the northwest coast of Tasmania, Van first heard the music of Bob Dylan around adolescence & began picking guitar & writing songs. Drawing on the storytelling tradition of Ray Davies, Townes Van Zandt and John Prine, he has created a sound with a laconic familiarity that speaks to the heart with effortless intimacy.
Craig Pilkington is a composer and founding member of ARIA award winning band, The Killjoys. He owns and operates Audrey Studios and has produced albums that have received multiple ARIA awards and nominations. He also spent many years playing alongside Mick Thomas in The Sure Thing.
MARK WALLACE (SQUEEZEBOX WALLY)
One of Australia’s great accordian players, Mark is a foundation member of the seminal Australian Band, Weddings Parties Anything and has supported many of Australia’s top roots artists.
Jen has toured and recorded with many of the country’s best-known rock, folk and country artists, including the Black Sorrows (89-93), Weddings Parties Anything (93-98), Tim Rogers (You Am I), Tiddas, Archie Roach, and the Waifs. She has produced and/or engineered albums for Ruby Hunter, Tim Rogers and The Waifs, along with four CD’s of her own work.
Sal Kimber is one of Australia’s most exciting emerging singer-songwriters. Based in inner Melbourne, Kimber has been quietly stealing hearts on the city’s live music scene for the past five years. Her unique style has captured a strong following and garnered many awards.
Michael Barclay is a ‘honey-voiced’ percussionist who has toured Australia and the world with Maurice Frawley, The Zimmermen, Paul Kelly and the Coloured Girls, Weddings Parties Anything.
Andy is a founding member of The Band Who Knew Too Much who play exciting Australian songs propelled by energetic jazz-like, wood-chop rhythm! Add some strong local lyric, with gang vocal delivery and their unique sound is complete. They are a highly energetic act that is at home singing on the festival stage, busking unplugged in the city streets, or anything in between!