The Missing Links

Driving You Insane 1965: Before it was fashionable – and long before it was acceptable – a bunch of musical maniacs called the Missing Links were tearing up the stages of Sydney’s inner city with their furious live shows. The length of their hair and manner of dress caused genuine concern among the establishment. Johnny O’Keefe, the so-called ‘wild man of rock & roll’, refused to allow the Missing Links to appear on his TV pop program.

The Missing Links were a band without pretence or compromise. When they were billed as ‘Australia’s wildest group’, it wasn’t the just the usual industry hyperbole or rhetoric – it was a statement of fact. And it’s a fact that still holds true today. They predated punk, hard rock, metal and grunge. If you saw the Missing Links walking down the street today, as they appeared in the mid-60s, you’d think nothing of it; their image hasn’t dated at all. The Links’ brief history is convoluted and confusing – even those involved don’t recall exactly how events unfolded. Originally featuring Peter Anson, Danny Cox, Bob Brady, Dave Boyne and Ronnie Peel, within less than a year the line-up had changed completely to consist of Andy James, Doug Ford, John Jones, Chris Gray, Ian Thomas and Baden Hutchins. All were in their teens.

As wild as the first bunch had been, it was the second line up who would really create the legend with their incredibly innovative sound and untamed stage behaviour. Their live shows were characterised by an auto-destructive performance held together by extended feedback rave-ups to a pounding jungle rhythm. On one occasion the squealing pitch of their guitars caused a mirrored ceiling to shatter and collapse into the audience.

“Before Masters Apprentices I was a musician in Sydney and I was playing in a band called Running Jumping Standing Still and that was a Blues-styled band with R&B influences and Soul and all the types of music that I really liked to do. Before that I was in a band called The Missing Links which were quite a famous band at the time and did a lot of good things in the Blues/Soul style of music. Then I was living just down the road from a bunch of musos who I didn’t know at the time and I got to meet them and I found out they were the Masters Apprentices from Adelaide. After speaking to Jim Keays, the singer in the band, I sort of felt we had something in common.” (Doug Ford interviewed in the Turn Up Your Video documentary 1999)


Buy Music

Driving You Insane


3/1965 We 2 Should Live / Untrue [Parlophone A 8145]

8/1965 You’re Driving Me Insane / Something Else [Philips BF 213]

9/1965 Wild About You / Nervous Breakdown [Philips BF 224]

10/65 H’tuom Tuhs Part 1 / H’tuom Tuhs Part 2 [Philips BF 231]

1999 Come My Way/Wild About You 7″ [Half A Cow moo11]

4/66 Links Unchained [Philips PE 31]
I’ll Go Crazy / Don’t Give Me No Friction / One More Time / Woolly Bully
(re-released as Raven RVEP 14, 1984 and as part of Sundazed reissue of the album LP 5422, 2013)

1979 The Wild Cherries [Raven RV 04] 7″ EP (limited edition of 1000)
All I Want / We 2 Should Live / Don’t Give Me No Friction / Wild About You / Some Kinda Fun / Speak No Evil

12/65 The Missing Links [Philips PDS 199] / [Raven RVLP19] / [Sundazed LP 5422]

1999 Driving You Insane [Half A Cow hac76] gatefold card sleeve (28 tracks  including the first line-up, The Showmen and Running Jumping Standing Still tracks)
re-released 2009 in jewel case 17 tracks (all by the second line-up)


The ‘Links came out on the drag end of the surf craze. Inspired by an imported Stones record they then started to brew their own brand of thuggish beat in the conservative hot-house of Sydney. The rip curl sneer vocal tells us they really didn’t give a four-X about convention. I look at Peter Anson’s shaggy mop and see that they should be wearing Captain Caveman uniforms, clubs and all. A Neanderthal experience from the land time forgot. the Missing Links indeed. They were billed as Australia’s Pretty Things but I’d say they were closer in sound and spirit to the first incarnation of the Electric Prunes. There’s a take on Bob Dylan’s ‘On The Road Again’ and one of the best versions of ‘Wooly Bully’ I’ve heard away from the Sam the Sham original. Fuzz is omnipotent and simultaneously softens and hardens the bare bones of the tune. Y’know, the way the fuzz does. The sleeve notes are particularly extensive to the point of having half the gatefold digi-pack to themselves and adding the weight of a small feral rodent to the record company’s postage bill every time they send one out. If it was a jewel case they’d have to stay there permanently. It’s jammed full of anecdotes. Richard Neville puts in a word on behalf of the boys’ (bad) reputation and remembers an Oz benefit they once played. They “made Oz legends look so straight”, but then he would say that, they were fellow countrymen. Highly recommended Antipodean aggro. – Steve Hanson, Ptolemaic Terrascope, UK 2001

The Missing Links Driving You Insane (Half a Cow) If this is the quality of Half a Cow’s retrospective series, bring ’em on! In a word: Classy. I’d been eyeing an obviously pirated CD version of the Missing Links’ first album for many months, hanging around as it was at Sydney’s only record fair. And just like the old faces at aforesaid fair, the cd was just…hanging around…every time I’ve been there. Luckily, the fact that this was in the pipeline (and a 40 buck price tag) made me invest cash elsewhere.

For the uninformed, the Missing Links were only around in Australia from 1964-66. They toured outside their home state only once. Their recorded legacy was an album (The Missing Links), a smattering of singles pressed in runs so small that no-one could have bought them if they’d heard them, and a posthumous EP (The Missing Links Unchained.) The music is rawboned, crude garage R and B at its best, though, and up until now almost impossible to find or sporadically documented on Australian 60s punk compilations. Driving You Insane is the Real Deal; 28 tracks, five of them unreleased, and even a few from offshoots like the wonderful Running Jumping Standing Still and The Showmen. Most I-94 patrons will know Wild About You (it was covered by The Saints) and Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut and You’re Driving Me Insane have been compiled, but other examples of the Links’ driving, low-fi rave-upmanship are thin on the ground. And you receive a 40-page history book into the bargain. – The Barman, 1-94 Nov ’99

The Missing Links, Driving You Insane (Half A Cow, Australia). In addition to assembling all two dozen cuts known to exist by both the first and second line up of the Missing Links, this exemplary reissue adds three songs by the Showmen (whose rhythm section joined the second line up) and a live 1966 TV version of “Diddy Wah Diddy” by Running Jumping Standing Still (founded by a couple of ex-Missing Links). It’s quite a package, consisting in the main of everything from their sole LP The Missing Links; the non-LP B-side “Somethin’ Else”; all four songs from their 1966 EP The Links Unchained; “We 2 Should Live”/”Untrue,” the only single (and only official release) of the first Missing Links line up; and five tracks recorded by the first line up that were unreleased at the time. Not everything here is boss, but the best of it establishes the Missing Links as the best Australian ’60s garage/punk band, and one of the better ones from anywhere on the globe. Note that although, confusingly, not one of the Missing Links in the first line up was in the second one that recorded, the recordings by the first line up are engagingly raw R&B/British Invasion pop-style numbers, even if they lack the manic frenzy and feedback experimentation of the second line up’s best moments, such as “Speak No Evil,” “Don’t Give Me No Friction,” and “You’re Drivin’ Me Insane.” Another significant plus is the detailed 40-page booklet, which gives as comprehensive a lowdown on this mysterious cult band as is likely to ever appear. – 2001

WOW. Received CDs & 45s on Friday. They are unbelievable. What a beautiful testament to such a great underrated group. Those outtakes from ’65 are great. That’s really my sound. The photos and packaging are fantastic. I can’t believe that the shot on the other side of the Unchained EP really existed in colour, but my favourites are of the live shots of the band from ’65. I would love to know what their set list was like — it must have been pretty cool. Thanks again for mailing them out so quickly. Best regards, Bruce Kelso 9 Sep 2001

…and what they’ve been saying about Driving You Insane:
“What a fantastic package, one of the best I’ve seen!” – Skinny, Action Records, New Zealand