David McComb’s Long Lost Solo Album Finally Resurfaces

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David McComb’s Long Lost Solo Album Finally Resurfaces

david mccomb solo album love of will
(Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images)

We are pleased to report that the long lost solo album Love of Will by the late David McComb, singer-songwriter for much loved West Australian band The Triffids, has finally received a digital release, here. 

Originally released at the end of 1993, nearly half a decade after the dissolution of the band with which he made his name,  Love of Will was McComb’s final major release before his unexpected passing at the age of 36 in February 1999.

The album, which the NME later described as “a full-blown foray into country rock and reconciled his dark, almost Leonard Cohen-like songwriting with the Velvets-like psychedelia” was the only album that McComb recorded and released following the Triffids final album, 1989’s The Black Swan. The album originally appeared without much fanfare;  remember The Triffids only received limited commercial success in their time, and their 2008 induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame would have seemed unimaginable in McComb’s lifetime. And it has disappointingly remained out of print for nearly two and a half decades, despite continued generational rediscoveries – and upgraded reissues - of McComb’s work with the Triffids. 

Of course, that work with The Triffids includes classic albums like 1986’s Born Sandy Devotional and the now iconic minor hit “Wide Open Wide.” Hard works to live up to perhaps, but many of McComb’s fans believe Love of Will found McComb still at the peak of his writing and performing powers. 

Although it was recorded from June to August 1993, and it was a return to something akin to The Triffids style after a couple of single releases that flirted with hip-hop, McComb reckoned the album was four and a half years in the making. His chosen band of musicians for the recording included some ex-Triffids, and members of the Black Eyed Susans, a group that McComb had formed and worked with part-time after The Triffids demise with a couple of old friends from Perth, Phil Kakulas (who had played in the original line-up of The Triffids) and Rob Snarski. That band of musicians included amongst both Kakulas and Snarski as well as former Triffids Martyn Casey and “Evil” Graham Lee, and, on violin, Warren Ellis (who McComb described to Juice’s Toby Creswell as “the best musician in Australia”) who was then on the cusp of coming to prominence with the Dirty 3. Not long after the release of Love of Will, McComb and Ellis both appeared on Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ Let Love In, and Ellis became a full-time Bad Seed alongside Martyn Casey.

Love of Will inadvertently caused the demise of The Triffids, who had initially stopped playing just to take a breather. Their final gigs in New York in 1989 weren’t meant to be the end (although Casey did join the Bad Seeds the following year.) According to Graham Lee: “We didn't know they were final performances. Dave wanted to do a solo album, and we were due to get back together after that. Much to his chagrin, his solo album took longer than expected, and he kept writing songs that sounded like Triffids songs. Domesticity snuck up on most of us, poor health snuck up on Dave, a planned '94 reunion tour was put on hold, and The Triffids faded into the mist.”

Let’s remember David McComb with a Triffids classic before we look at video made for “Setting You Free” from his solo album’s original release, and a 1994 live performance by David and his band the Red Ponies (Warren Ellis, Graham Lee,  Peter Luscombe on drums, Bruce Haymes on keys and Michael Vidale on bass) from Later… with Jools Holland in the UK. You can stream the entire album on Spotify too. 

The Triffids “Wide Open Road”  

David McComb “Setting You Free”  

David McComb & the Red Ponies  

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