The mark of success with Adelaide band’s Hall of Fame arrival

Heavy-hitting Adelaide band The Mark of Cain has been inducted into the SA Music Hall of Fame, joining The Angels, Cold Chisel and Masters Apprentices as legends of the local music scene.

Aug 19, 2022, updated Aug 20, 2022
The Mark of Cain. Photo: Brett O'Malley

The Mark of Cain. Photo: Brett O'Malley

The veteran alternative band was formally inducted at Friday’s sold-out gig at The Gov, with the ceremony taking place before the band played as part of an ongoing national tour.

SA Music Hall of Fame selection critieria demands “unquestionable music excellence”, influence, career length and body of works, local and national fame and innovation, style and technique.

Born in 1984 and fronted by brothers John and Kim Scott, The Mark Of Cain have spent over three decades honing an uncompromising brand of alternative rock noted for its bottom-end power, intricate timing and military precision.

The band originally began as a four-piece with vocalist Rod Archer, who left after two years to become frontman for The Iron Sheiks, while The Mark Of Cain adopted the classic three-piece format with John Scott on vocals and guitar.

While never seeking mainstream acceptance or approval, TMOC’s distinctive sound and style has won the respect of punters and industry professionals alike both here and overseas.

The Mark Of Cain bassist Kim Scott. Photo: Brett O’Malley

The band is also (in)famous among the alternative crowd for its lengthy roll-call of drummers, with the most notable to pound out TMOC’s trademark rhythms being Campbell Robinson, Aaron Hewson, US-based ex-Helmet and current Battles and Tomahawk stickman John Stanier, and talented local incumbent Eli Green.

After making underground waves nationally and overseas with debut LP Battlesick in 1989, backed up by 1990s The Unclaimed Prize, TMOC in 1993 recorded the Incoming EP with respected US producer Steve Albini.

1995 saw the release of breakthrough LP Ill At Ease, produced by ex-Black Flag singer Henry Rollins, who was impressed by their records and then the band’s performance when they supported his Rollins Band in Adelaide.

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“I heard the song Battlesick and it was all over for me, that’s just an amazing song,” he said.

Ill At Ease boasted powerhouse new tracks which earned strong radio airplay and propelled them onto the national stage with numerous tours, festival appearances and a charting cover of X’s Degenerate Boy for the film Idiot Box.

In 2001 the band released This Is This, co-produced by Gang of Four’s Andy Gill, and 2013 marked the launch of LP Songs of the Third and Fifth.

The Mark of Cain is notable for staying in Adelaide and recording all its material here, resisting the urge to move interstate.

The Mark Of Cain’s John Scott. Photo: Brett O’Malley

John Scott said the band appreciated the industry’s recognition, disproving the myth that bands had to leave Adelaide to make it.

“We were always proud to be a band from Adelaide that could tour other states and show that Adelaide can and does produce great independent music, and we have never compromised on that vision or belief,” he said.

“So we take it as a great honour for this recognition and invitation from SAMIA.”

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