Insurge -- sometimes spelled iNsuRge by the band -- were Australia's answer to Rage Against the Machine. Their pounding industrial rock, shading toward techno later in their career, was the foundation on which singer Chris Dubrow planted his soapbox and delivered impassioned rants to the world. Radical left-wingers, Insurge's lyrics dealt with subjects including the contrast between Third World debt and First World affluence, homelessness, solar energy, and the cancer of suburbia. For seven years they were the soundtrack of choice for angry Marxist teenagers across the bedrooms of Australia.
Dubrow formed the band in 1993 after leaving his former band, alternative rockers Soulscraper. He played guitar as well as singing, and Monique Wakelin -- who would prove to be the only other constant member of the band over the years -- played keyboards and provided samples. The original lineup also included Matthieu McRoth on bass, Matt Richmond on drums, and Paul Bianco on percussion, hitting trash cans, kitchen sinks, and other assorted pieces of scrap metal. Their first demo, I.M.F., was released as an EP to coincide with that organization's 50th anniversary by East West Records, a division of Warner. Paul Bianco was replaced on found percussion by Adam Logan immediately before the release of their second EP, Political Prisoners, in 1995. The title song, which was essentially a spoken word piece about property law over a churning heavy metal riff, became a hit on alternative radio. A third EP, called Speculator, and an album, Power to the Poison People, followed a year after.
Writing a follow-up album proved difficult and Dubrow briefly moved to London, where he worked with members of the KLF to find inspiration. Witnessing London's homeless problem firsthand, he decided to record a cover of Australian country singer Kev Carmody's song "Images of London" to draw attention to it. He brought Insurge back together for the task, replacing bassist Mattieu McRoth with Mark Avery and drummer Matt Richmond with Daryl Simms (who in an odd twist would go on to write song lyrics for Bardot, winners of the first season of reality TV show Popstars). Taking a more dance music approach -- dubbed "pub techno" by the band -- they recorded their last album, Globalization, in 1999. A final lineup change saw Sean Burnett take over as percussionist. A year later, during a concert in Sydney, Insurge announced their breakup. ~ Jody Macgregor, Rovi