Beloved Sydney band, The Welcome Mat, announce digital release of their album Lap of Honour, ahead of digital catalogue release
The Welcome Mat were a seminal four-piece Australian band from 1989-1997. This week they announce that their landmark album Lap of Honour will be available for the first time on digital services ahead of the release of their full catalogue.
Their very first performance featured founding members Cory Messenger and Wayne Connolly playing in a Redfern basement not completely dissimilar to the Cavern Club in Liverpool for C24 Television. They played The Beatles’ ‘We Can Work It Out’ an early rendition of their classic “Only Going Through a Phase’ and the Zager & Evans hit ‘In the Year 2525’. Soon after, Pete Bennett joined on the drums and Dave Moss filled out the lineup on bass guitar.
From there, the band’s feet hardly touched the ground, except to load gear in and out of small venues like The Hopetoun and the Lansdowne.
Early highlights included playing with as yet unknown Smudge and as yet relatively little-known You Am I at The Castle Hill Community Hall. Later highlights included being the first band on at the first Big Day Out before the as-yet-little-known Nirvana.
Cutting a swathe through the landscape of good Sydney indie music, the band played semi-often and won accolades for their first singles, ‘Last of the Great Letdowns’ and ‘Cake’. It seemed like they were unstoppable.
‘10,000 People With the Same Idea’ and the ‘Fairydust’ EP followed, and the band had a firm trajectory towards the top of the indie charts.
They played memorable, and forgotten, venues such as the Mars nightclub, supporting the Clouds, with Glide and the as-yet-unknown Benedicts.
It was at this time that the band attracted the attention of a little-known impresario and manager named Brett Oaten. He was investigating a copyright infringement for Mars confectionary at the aforementioned club. He impressed with his tidy manner and joke about stadium rock at pub prices. The band signed on to his burgeoning management stable.
Dave Moss left the band soon after, and Leo Mullins, who had impressed with backstage versions of his songs at Mars Nightclub, was invited to join on the strength of him being a brilliant singer and songwriter.
Two Big Day Outs were quickly dispensed with, and the band signed to Regular Records. Director Martin Fabinyi was an enthusiastic supporter.
The ‘Spare’ EP was a high water mark for the band. They embraced a more aggressive rock sound but kept their strong melodic sensibility.
An album was recorded in a few wondrous weeks at Paradise studios in Woolloomooloo with US Producers Sean Slade and Paul Q Kolderie (Dinosaur Jr, Pixies, Buffalo Tom, Lemonheads). They brought with them stories of a new band they had just recorded from Oxford called Radiohead – an obviously stupid name.
The resulting album, Gram, achieved great acclaim and airplay and the band again looked unstoppable. Film clips were made, press conferences were arranged and bunting was rolled out. Industry cynicism about the band becoming a permanent touring support act for major artists was treated with contempt.
Then, the band parted ways with Regular. They suddenly looked stoppable.
But soon they were back on track with new management and an interim single 'All Or Nothing’ along with subsequent ‘Headset’ EP appeared on Melbourne’s Summershine label.
The band’s second album, ‘Lap of Honour’, was released through Polydor and again attracted robust praise and industry acclaim.
It was soon after this that the band decided to cease touring. They also decided to cease recording and being a band. Receipts were counted and people were taken in to back rooms for chats. Blame was apportioned and the band quietly decided to go their own separate ways.
Until the siren call of digital distribution bought them hurtling into the 21st century. In what is now nearly the year 2025, the band’s full catalogue will be available.
‘Lap of Honour’ will be available through Gaga Music Distribution on all streaming platforms from December 19, 2018, with the band’s complete catalogue to follow soon after.