Back in July, we shared some unearthed footage of Tame Impala playing to a largely empty audience at a festival in Perth in 2008. It was an intriguing insight into the past of one of Australia’s biggest bands.
But the truth is that the band in that footage was already well on its way to stardom. In fact, there’s an even earlier incarnation of Kevin Parker’s flagship project that most fans may not have heard of.
In 2005, Parker formed a band that he dubbed The Dee Dee Dums with friends Dominic Simper and Luke Epstein. The group achieved some local notoriety, placing high in several battle of the bands competitions.
But more importantly, the band set the template for what would become Tame Impala. In October 2006, drummer Epstein was replaced by Sam Devenport, with the new lineup going on to the state final of the National Campus Band Competition.
The band even recorded an EP together, featuring tracks like ‘You Haven’t Been Telling The Truth’, which was eventually reworked as ‘Half Full Glass of Wine’ and appeared on Tame Impala’s self-titled debut EP.
The band’s sound at the time was influenced by riff-heavy ’70s bands like Cream and oddly similar to fellow Australian rockers and future label-mates Wolfmother, with Parker’s voice sounding strikingly similar to that of Andrew Stockdale.
In late 2007, Parker renamed the band Tame Impala and switched the lineup once again. With Devenport intent on pursuing an acting career, Parker tapped Jay Watson, a fan of the group, to get behind the kit.
As Watson told Rip It Up, he used to “go watch [The Dee Dee Dums] all the time and I was this little 17-year-old fan boy rocking up at their gigs… I knew it was an awesome band. They were my favourite band in Perth actually.”
“I think I told Kevin once that they were in my top 20 bands ever.” Armed with a new drummer and with a new sound brewing inside of Parker’s head, Watson was only a member for two months before they were approached by Modular Recordings.
“Those two months before (then) no one cared when we played. Dom and Kev had been playing together for years and we had a good two months of gigs to like seven people at our local pub before we got signed. And they were the best two months ever man!” Watson recounted.
“There were a couple of months where there was a seismic shift in [Kevin’s] thing from the Cream influenced, Dee Dee Dums era, and fairly quickly there was the blissed-out, pretty melody, psychedelic thing,” former live bassist Nick Allbrook told Noisevox.
“And then there was a name change, and then a new drummer whose style was more elegant than the last drummer.” Readers can check out more clips of The Dee Dee Dums in all their glory below.