Belinda “Lindy” Morrison was the drummer in the post-punk band The Go-Betweens from 1980 to 1989. Growing up in Brisbane, Australia, Lindy had cut her musical teeth playing with an all female acoustic band called Shrew, until in 1978, and as Punk hit Australia, she moved on to a band called Xero, whose starting point was a mix of classic Punk covers and Patti Smith songs until the band started writing their own original material.
In 1980, and across town, Robert Forster and Grant McLennan founder members of the Go-Betweens, returned from an extended stay in the UK, and once back in Brisbane started to search for a permanent drummer.
After releasing a couple of singles and their first official album “Send Me a Lullaby” in their native Australia, the new super-powered, Lindy infused Go-Betweens headed back to London to record “Before Hollywood” which spawned the single “Cattle and Cane”, which was critically acclaimed and brought the band to a much wider audience, via radio plays.
Lindy’s drumming on the track, and the unusual, almost machine-like, stuttering rhythm she contributed was an integral part of the Go-Betweens sound, and something that Robert Forster went on to describe as “… a great rhythm which I don’t think any drummer in the world could’ve played except her. That rhythm never ceases to amaze me.”
Despite their classic songwriting and good reviews The Go-Betweens, never quite hit the heights in terms of chart success, so in the late 1980s and after 6 albums it was no surprise that the band disintegrated among “competing egos”. Like a post punk Abba, the band dynamics crumbled as the two couple relationships within the group did the same. Lindy who was with Forster, and Amanda with McLennan found themselves dumped both as musicians and partners when the two founding members decided to go it alone.
“Both of us refused to be defined as the girlfriends, and that’s what they did, when they dumped us. They treated us like ex-wives, and that was the greatest insult.” – Lindy Morrison
After the band split, Lindy and Amanda briefly played together as Cleopatra Wong, and the newly stipped down McLennan and Forster Go-Betweens found themselves competing against their own “classic line-up” – the one with Lindy and Amanda.
Film maker Kriv Stenders, who made a Go-Betweens documentary “Right Here” summed up his feelings on the band by saying “I know it’s an extreme analogy, but when soldiers go to war, that bonds you forever, and I think it’s the same with the Go-Betweens. That’s why the music was so great, because they lived it and believed in it so passionately.”
But that’s not quite the end of the story. After the tragic death of Grant McLennan in 2006, The Go-Betweens were honoured by the city of Brisbane in 2010, when in a surprising move, one quite possibly unprecedented in the history of rock, they named the city’s new bridge after them, with both Forster and Morrison attending the opening.
“We walked across the whole bridge together, just him and I,” Morrison says. “Just chatting, like a couple of old codgers. That was very, very special to me, and I’m sure it was special to him. We’ve had our moments where we’ve been able to find each other again. It’ll never return to what it was. But we found each other on that day.”
In 2013, Morrison received an Order of Australia medal for her services as a performer and an advocate.
Quotes from andrewstaffordblog
1 thought on “Lindy Morrison – The Go-Betweens”
Lindy Morrison is amazing. Until I saw the “Right Here” film, I never knew anything about the band other than what was on the albums. I had no idea that she and Forster were a couple nor did I know about Amanda Brown being Grant McLennan’s partner. Post-Punk ABBA® indeed. She really carried the emotional center of that film with her unfettered honesty, with the reticent Forster showing why he was incapable of moving forward with Ms. Morrison. I have the second Cleopatra Wong EP but never knew about the first one until recently.