From The Corner Hotel’s 15 Year Anniversary 1996-2011 (p. 34) [note: Humphrey refers to this as taking place in 1988, but the two consecutive Corner Hotel shows were actually in 1987]:
Melbourne band TISM, who satirised the rock scene but conquered it from the late 1980s, played at The Corner a lot. They were always guaranteed a full house. To singer Humphrey B Flaubert it was “the phalanx at the front line of rock dirt-bagism”.
“My main cherished memory of The Corner Hotel,” he says, “was from our motormower phase. We had three of them on stage, it was a leitmotif in our work.
“We did two nights in 1988, a Friday and Saturday, and it was packed beyond Worksafe limits. Inside was absolutely stinking, you could barely breathe. So on we’d come and in our last song, which was Death, Death, Death, Amway, Amway, Amway, we would rev up the motormowers, and they would kind of swell up over the song, it was quite an operatic touch.”
Avant-garde? Well, yes, he says. Or avant-gardening.
“It was one moment in my TISM career where I thought I was going to die because the petrol fumes couldn’t go anywhere. It was already asphyxiating in there. I was literally standing there praying for the song to finish. After the gig we put them in the bandroom, then we turn up the next day and someone had broken the door open and stolen one.
“Which makes us the only rock band in history who have had a motormower stolen from a gig.”