was a founding member of JAB, an Australian punk rock band, in Adelaide in January 1976. It’s Feb 22. The band’s original lineup consisted of Bohdan X (Bodhan Kubiakowski) on guitar and vocals, Wednesday playing bass guitar, synthesizer and tapes and Johnny Crash (Janis Friedenfelds) on drums and vocals. I was curious to see what he was up to, although it is also Ash Wednesday, the day, today. Ash still has a band as far as I could figure out, and they or he played at something called Melbourne’s After Dark Festival in 2019. From what I read, “Ash plays with odd numbers and chance in this stunning response to the onset of illness and loss of use of his right side.” What happened to him? That’s what I want to know. That’s the trouble with leaving someplace you lived in for decades. All these names and people that you used to know, resurface from time to time and you have no idea what’s happened to them in the past twenty years. Ash Wednesday wasn’t my friend, but Johnny Crash who was in his first band played drums on Jesus Saves White Trash, the Slaughtermen’s first single. The Melbourne punk/new waves music scene was fairly small and everyone knew everyone else.
It was a good thing. I have no idea what it’s like now. Although I don’t think I’ll ever live there again, Melbourne was a good place to be in a band in the 80’s. It was indeed a ‘walkable’ city, in as much as when the public transport ceased to run at midnight, you were forced to walk home. 30 years after the fact, nothing had changed and the last time I was stranded in the city there was no way home other than on Shank’s pony. Great forward planning, not. St Kilda was the place to be though. A seaside suburb where rents were cheap. I can’t imagine what it’s like now. Probably horribly expensive. I lived in Robe street, which was allegedly a thoroughfare for hooker traffic. I never actually saw any that I knew for sure to be working girls, on the street the entire time I lived there. I saw a lot of junkies passed out, one of them was dead in a doorway. I don’t think I’ll ever get that out of my memory. Everyone who played in a band that I knew, lived in St Kilda. Our main gathering place was a cafe called the Galleon, run by some enterprising people, some of who I knew. One of them was my girlfriend for a brief time. Amazingly the place is still open today, although what happened to it while I was away is a mystery.
I found this on the internet from June 2012, “The Galleon of today is frequented by the bohemian society of St Kilda, the young and trendy, and Moms and Pops. The idea was conceived by the original owners Janet and Graham during the 80’s and the distinctive design of the cafes interior has remained intact with white wood, cafeteria style tables and comfortable booths, painted murals and a generally homely feel.” I don’t remember who Graham was, but I think the Janet in the story is Janet Mill, sister of Sally, who made me a beautiful blue shiny Elvis suit and an elaborate Elvis belt which I donated to budding Elvis interpreter David Last one night on the way home from a Slaughtermen gig somewhere.
It’s all a faded memory now, and I don’t see or talk to any of those people. Someone could probably tell me what happened to Ash Wednesday, but then they could tell me a lot of stuff. When you leave one side of the earth and travel to another to stay permanently, you have to expect that your old life isn’t going to follow you. It’s fine. I wrote a song about it.
I couldn’t find any Ash Wednesday videos. A few people have taken the moniker, as have some others taken the Jab (no pun intended) name as well. I found this relic of 1977 Jab video from Melbourne. Ash Wednesday (I think) is the guy on the right with the funny sunglasses. I know what Bohdan and Johnny look like so it must be him.
Some Ash Wednesday info I found https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Ash_Wednesday_(musician)