The Hoodoo Gurus, the beloved Australian surf-rock veterans, are searching for a new drummer following Mark Kingsmill’s decision to quit the band.
Kingsmill, the Gurus’ drummer for the past 30 years, is retiring from the band citing a loss of enthusiasm for touring, their label Sony Music Australia confirmed today.
The sticksman joined the Sydney fourpiece in 1984, replacing original drummer James Baker shortly before the act embarked on its first U.S. tour. Mark’s first album with the Gurus was 1985’s Mars Needs Guitars, which yielded two of the band’s signature hits, “Bittersweet” and “Like, Wow – Wipeout!”. Mars Needs Guitars was ranked No. 66 in the 2010 tome, The 100 Best Australian Albums, and peaked at No. 140 on the Billboard 200.
Mark, the brother of Triple J music director Richard Kingsmill, played on eight of the Gurus’ nine studio albums, including the most recent effort Purity Of Essence, which opened at No. 16 on the ARIA chart in 2010. He also performed on the band’s 2014 Gravy Train E.P., which also featured Baker along with all the act’s current and former members Dave Faulkner, Brad Shepherd, Rick Grossman, Clyde Bramley, Rod Radalj and Kimble Rendall.
The remaining members “contemplated breaking up the band rather than seek to replace their friend and colleague of so many years,” according to Sony Music Australia.
Frontman Faulkner had announced on the band’s Facebook page that Mark would depart in March. Sony has issued a separate statement confirming the line-up change. “Though he still enjoys playing drums, Mark has completely lost his appetite for the endless travelling and the many hours of hotel room boredom. The physical demands of playing the drums as energetically as he does are also exacting a higher toll on his body than ever before. Really, who can blame him for wanting a change?,” Faulkner wrote.
The band will push on and the remaining members are auditioning candidates for the drum position, which will become vacant when the Gurus complete their touring engagements with a show March 14 in Ballarat.
The Hoodoo Gurus were inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame in 2007, a testimonial on the night describing them as “one of the most inventive, lyrically smart and exciting rock ‘n’ roll bands Australia has ever produced.” The group celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2011. “Most of Mark’s adult life has been dedicated completely to music and it’s easy to understand that he wants to begin a new phase,” says Faulkner. “We’re just grateful we’ve had the opportunity to work together for as long as we have. Thanks for everything, Mr. Kingsmill, it’s been amazing!”