After hearing eccentric Australian band XL Capris first single, U.K. producer John Peel was rumored to say, "If that's what Australia's like, I don't want to go there." Released in January 1979, "My City of Sydney," was an unconventional cover of a Tommy Leonetti track used to close the local Channel 7 news broadcast each night. The track received wide local airplay and a second single, "Skylab," followed in 1979, later appearing on the punk compilation Why March When You Can Riot in 1985.
Michael Farmer replaced drummer Julie Anderson for the group's 1980 release, "World War 3." Guitarist Kimble Rendall then left the band to form the fledgling Hoodoo Gurus and was replaced by Todd Hunter in November 1980, while Michael Churnside joined on bass allowing Johanna Pigott to concentrate on vocals. Their first album, Where Is Hank?, was released in March 1981 and spawned the single "Red Bikini Runaway." A second drummer, Barry Blackler, joined the band for their next album, Weeds, in October 1981. XL Capris broke up the next year; Johanna Pigott went on to pen several songs for other artists, including the John Farnham number one hit "Age of Reason," co-written with Todd Hunter.