The group's ringmaster, Tom Ellard, recounts the hilarious 30-year saga of the cult Australian band.
Ask Tom Ellard about Severed Heads and he'll give you a look of exasperation; after hearing the story of the visionary Australian band you'll understand why. Ellard is, by his own admission, "the ringmaster of the circus that was Severed Heads" so he takes the successes and the failures personally—and it's fair to say there have probably been more failures. Formed in Sydney's suburbs in the late '70s, Severed Heads forged a long discography, until in 2008 Ellard decided to call it quits. The group attained mainstream success with their 1984 single "Dead Eyes Open" but, as Ellard says, "it was all downhill from here." Severed Heads is the story of creative self-sabotage, of the refusal to settle for one sound or audience, and of experimentation that turned up its nose at trends.
In anticipation of his return to stage at the Adelaide Festival in March, which will see him collaborate with Atom TM, RA's Sanjay Fernandes met Ellard in his office at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney.