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The Beasts of Bourbon grew from simply being a side project to being a true supergroup on the Australian pub rock scene. Forming in Sydney in 1983, the original Beasts lineup comprised Tex Perkins (vocals, later of the Cruel Sea), Spencer Jones (guitar, also with the Johnnys), James Baker (drums, and a Hoodoo Guru), and a pair of Scientists in guitarist Kim Salmon and bassist Boris Sudjovic. The band began playing together in small venues in Sydney, recording their first album, The Axeman's Jazz, in a single afternoon in 1984. Despite the album becoming an underground success, the Beasts continued to be just a side project for its members. It wasn't until 1988 that this situation began to change. With both the Johnnys and the Scientists imploding, the Beasts re-formed to record arguably their best album, Sour Mash. The swamp rock of The Axeman's Jazz had given way to a fusion of blues-based pub rock and punk with great effect. 1990's Black Milk expanded on this idea. 1991's The Low Road saw the addition of two new members. Baker and Sudjovic left the group to concentrate on their band the Dubrovniks, and were replaced by Tony Pola and Brian Hooper from Salmon's then band the Surrealists. In 1993, a double album (From the Belly of the Beasts) was released to mark the group's ten years together, and the group toured extensively in support of the album. Following the tour, it appeared as if the Beasts would announce their demise. Salmon left the group to concentrate on the Surrealists, and Perkins' group the Cruel Sea was achieving huge success with their album The Honeymoon Is Over. However, the group re-formed in 1996 with former Divinyl Charlie Owen on guitar and released Gone in 1997. The album received lukewarm reviews, but managed to produce a minor single in the form of "Saturated."