News August 5, 2019

Vale Damien Lovelock of the Celibate Rifles

Vale Damien Lovelock of the Celibate Rifles

Damien Lovelock, singer and songwriter with Sydney hard rock band Celibate Rifles since 1980, has lost his battle with cancer aged 65.

The son of jazz singer & ABC radio presenter Joan Wilton and TV producer & writer, songwriter and record producer William Lovelock, Damien had a sharp intellect, a thirst for knowledge and freeform approach to creativity often hidden under a dry laconic speaking and singing style.

Wilton gave him a life motto: “Speak your own mind, absorb the beating, and carry on.”

After a spell at boarding school (Waverly College) where he got into sports and played in a band, he later moved into a bohemian boarding house where he dropped acid.

At, he appropriately went off the rails when his mother died and went into a brief self-destructive pattern which led to him moving to the countryside.

When he returned to Sydney, he started writing songs and stories to focus on a direction.

A “Singer Wanted” ad in a music store in Brookvale led him to the Celibate Rifles, named as a pun on the Sex Pistols.

“We came from different social and lifestyle backgrounds, me 26 and worldly and they just out of high school at 18 but it was a marriage made in heaven,” he told Juke Magazine.

“They had the sound I was looking for, and I gave them words different enough to match their unique high energy sonic assault.

“We were basically playing for ourselves but we clicked very quickly and eventually we took it overseas where there was an audience waiting.”

Lovelock was a compulsive reader, deeply interested in all kinds of spirituality (he wrote ‘Dalai Lama’ after he started raising money for Tibetan refugees and led to a meeting with the icon), studied yoga and became a sports broadcaster on SBS, Sky News and ABC Radio.

In 1995, after a soccer injury, he became a yoga teacher to help those with similar injuries – and his hippie stream-of-consciousness approach to yoga was so successful that professional football teams like the Central Coast Mariners, Sydney FC and the NSW State of Origin team hired him.

As with all aspects of his life, Lovelock’s interests intertwined in such a way that he provided a unique approach to the world which made him a stand-out.

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