ISSUE #1 UNBELIEVABLY BAD is proudly excreted by: Von Helle 10 Unwin Street Bexley NSW 2207 Australia
Page 6 - The Front Bit
Starring The Drips, Mouth, Massive Appendage, Mac Fields riots and The UNBELIEVABLY Bad News.
s Page 10 - The Devil Wears Clodhopper legend Part One of a never ending interview with trash cinema Herschell Gordon Lewis. By Mil Mascaras.
Editor Danger Coolidge
Page 14 - The Stabs
Layout Ron Dayview Faye Kinnitt Contributions Owen Penglis, Kit Containment, Eleanor Logan, Graeme Kent, Tom Lyngcoln, Mil Mascaras, Ivan “The Terrible” Bonghead, Arse-Lick Nick, Matt Reekie, Nutso Ward, Moonie Ringworm, Broderick Sledge Photography Stian Andersen, Mel Gathercole, Grand Fatal, Gazoonga Attack, Glen E. Friedman Illustration Angelica Von Helle, Ben Brown, Marty Spacejunk, Angus Harpo, Phoebe Scarlett Production Bra Fazaratti
Melbourne masters of sludge, discredited by all who see them. By Owen Penglis.
Page 16 - Gazoonga Attack / Hard Ons Tour Diary The Dirt part II: A Hard Ons/Gazoonga Attack tour diary. By Gazoongas bassist/vocalist Elea Logan.
Page 20 - Against Me!
One of the last punk rock bands on Earth that actually count. By Danger Coolidge.
Page 22 - Ian MacKaye
So UNBELIEVABLY good in every way, we included this chat with Ian MacKaye purely for balance. By Danger Coolidge.
Page 26 - Turbonegro
Denim demons discard the leather and bring the party. By Kit Containment.
CD Mastering Swerve Thanks All the bands on the CD, all the advertisers who came on board straight up, all the weed growers Australia-wide, Luke Logemann, Fahri Cantas, Johanna The Tulip, Nik Tropiano, John Denison, Click Printing, Oporto Chicken Strip Rolls and most of all my awesome family. For advertising rates please email email@example.com. Send all material for review to: UNBELIEVABLY Bad c/o Von Helle HQ 10 Unwin Street Bexley NSW 2207 Australia UNBELIEVABLY Bad is published every now and then.
All material contained herein is copyrighted to its owner. Please don't reproduce any part of it (except the bits we've stolen) without asking permission first. The opinions expressed in UNBELIEVABLY Bad are probably the same as those of the publisher and editorial staff, but you never can tell sometimes, so don't jump to any conclusions, okay?
Page 30 + 31 - UNBELIEVABLY Shocking CD CD contents information and cut-out cover.
Page 32 - Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic Ribbon Device Casualty ward regular smashes and slashes shit up. By Moonie Ringworm.
Page 34 - The Saints
An interview with Australian punk icon Ed Kuepper regarding the recently released Saints boxset. By Broderick Sledge.
Page 36 - Hot Snakes
Drive Like Jehu, Rocket From The Crypt, The Sultans and Hot Snakes according to John Reis. By Arse-Lick Nick.
Page 38 - The Mint Chicks
UNBELIEVABLY annoying New Zealand new wavers out to piss you off. By Ivan “The Terrible” Bonghead.
Page 42 - Grand Fatal / Shihad / Grinspoon Tour Diary Grand Fatal guitarist/vocalist Graeme Kent takes us around Australia with Grinspoon and Shihad.
Page 46 - Blood Duster
Messed up Victorian metal crew release the sickest DVD known to metal. By Nutso Ward.
Page 49 - UNBELIEVABLY Opinionated
CDs, 7”s, Films, DVDs, Books and 'Zines reviewed.
Page 58 - My Favourite Freak
The Hilton Sisters. Plus, Bad Band Photo of the Month!
Dear well-informed person of exquisite taste,
Considering I'm about as reliable as a Great White pyro display I reckon a lot of people doubted UNBELIEVABLY Bad would ever get off the ground. Just about everyone I know has been subjected to some drink or drug-fueled rant about how much arse this 'zine is going to kick, but I understand that it must been hard for such average, puny little minds to fathom just how much that was going to be the case. Read it and weep, suckers! But all jokes aside, as the great Nik Kamvissis of Sydney noise merchants Phlegm once told me: “If you can't reach a certain standard, then just go well below it.” And that's what I've done here. Thanks go to: everyone who contributed words and pictures, all the awesome bands on the UNBELIEVABLY Shocking CD, all the advertisers, Dayview, Faye, Fazarrati, and, most importantly, my gorgeous little family of Angie, Angus and Phoebe, who rock harder than AC/DC on the back of a flatbed truck. Eternal peace and love to everyone who loves rock. Danger Coolidge
BLY) Shit Job The Soundtrack To A (UNBELIEVA e of my house, which if nothing shape I did some painting of the insid
hile bashing this first issue into bad this 'zine could possibly s with which to wonder at just how else at least provided a few idle hour e time I had the same five whol the and lete comp thon sessions to be. The job took three and a half mara the afternoon of one day discs in the CD stacker on random. y as painting ceilings and walls from If you're ever doing something as shitt gh. Feel free to adjust the throu you get help to s album five these always end on an upstroke. until 4am of the next, then I recommend and wet to dry from back remember: paint selection to suit your own taste, and
Black Flag - Damaged The day before I started painting I went to a party at some mates' in Stanmore. Somewhat embarrassingly I was involved in a sing-along of Belin da Carlisle's “Summer Rain” (and that was early in the night too, before I was even wasted!). The musi c at this trendy hardcore bash was everything from Eazy E to D.R.I to Beyonce to Converge, but out of every thing that was played Black Flag grabbed hold of my ears like nothing else. So I threw Damaged into the paint mix. Hadn't heard it for a while. Fuck me there's some hits on there. “Depression” is perfe ct for rolling the roof.
Nih Nightmare) hties Jap G.I.S.M - S/T (aka ld you not adore eig s Is Hippies” how cou nk inion online that “Pu op s like rd' n ne ga e slo a som th d Wi rea metallers G.I.S.M? I've tter than this S/T one. I wouldn't political punk glam er pilation is be com r Wa of ce an ve never heard anoth their Perform d still to this day I ha owing rocks at an o ag rs yea 10 s know, I bought thi kevi Yokoyama thr aring about leader Sa s or stabbing a fan for wearing GISM track. I love he he orc wt blo h wit rs punte in a future issue audiences, attacking this band are probably worth an article ce of War? rch an rm me M rfo Pe bootleg G.I.S. ow where I can get kn e yon ring music. An d. stir d Ba an of UNBELIEVABLY .au. Brutal mixing firstname.lastname@example.org bly va lie be un ail Em
Blood Brothers - Crimes No one else seems to like this latest Blood Brothers record but I think it's a ma sterpiece. I was just sing ing that “Scarecrow” song (“Li ve At The Apocalypse Cabaret”) in the shower this morning like it was a hit single. It fucking shoulda been. Out of all five albu ms in the list, this was probably the most frustrating one to use in the random mix becaus e as kept wishing for the procee soon as one track ended I ding album track to follow. Still, it was probably a goo d thing, considering the lack painting compatible rhythm of s Crimes provides. Burn Piano Island… snobs get fucked would ya! Heartattack - Burning Heart comp One of the most consistent labels in the world, Sweden's Burning Heart Records did this double comp to celebrate their 10th year in business. The second disc is all novelties like guest appearances and covers (Turbonegro doing Iggy's “Repo Man” and Nine doing SOD's “United Forces” slay. Division of Laura Lee sound like pussys trying Minor Threat's “I Don't Wanna Hear It”), but for the painting sessions I stuck to Disc One. With Refused, Nasum, (Int) Noise Conspiracy, Turbonegro, etc, you can't go wrong? I really dig that hip hop track by Promoe, “These Walls Don't Lie”, even though they're singing about graffiti and rapping and other shit I could care less about. Satin semi-gloss acrylic and punk rock forever, I say.
The Germs - (M.I.A) The Germs' complete anthology, I used to love this CD a few years ago when I first heard it through my mad mate Harold, but I suddenly have this newfound heightened appreciat ion for The Germs. I suppose I'm getting more nostalgic for the old shit lately, early midlife crisis or something. Been indulging in lots of trash cinema, listening to more vinyl than I have the past few years, and really coming to appreciate the true power of trashy old punk bands like The Germs. The demo version of “Lexicon Devil” has the perfect tempo to get your brush strokes flowing evenly.
having grown up on a diet of preening foreign notion in a town like Hobart and derthals I thought that access to Nean l meta hair and ists vaun glam rock chae videos and albums. , zines maga gh throu bands was only possible opportunity to witness any live the given At that stage I had not really been ar 13-ye this for s 1990 and I found the environment in the to of me ning alvation from hairspray hell at the begin music except things my parents had taken 's Addiction on one side scary. This rare experience had Jane y with totall tape and a ing of helm form the overw in dibly came old kid initially which I stood incre I stepped into the until 't Beats Off Tour. I must admit 23 wasn it their of But . part other a as the zi on and the Dead Kennedy's been granted to me by Fuga ed. rewir got I it was a chance to see an that use beca 1993 in show night that I had initially been drawn to the Hellenic Hall in Hobart one December of rised comp was it like ent feeling. d differ looke ly entire the PA American punk band, but I left with an The venue was nothing like a pub and , but more immediate were the minute I walked in to ation From . infatu yield later a could me ania beco to Tasm were that Little Ugly Girls every pair of speakers omy. I had no lobot ed them. Mouth wielded al front follow full who a s ed figure rienc ted expe I -shir ic” elette the three towering flann Little Ugly Girls playing “In Plast like a ed totally unrelenting. seem c were musi and Punk axe . r’s unity tione comm power and volume like an execu idea that this was going on in my local or even shouting g talkin e wher It was the first time I had been in a room tion beyond that between band unica comm Joby no rist was guita There got . e futile you'v y was totall n one hand led to believe that such a frenzied and audience and I had been previously J. Ford and vocalist Matt Caughthran act. I spent the majority of the line head the for day reaction remained reserved of Los Angeles' finest modern ng all that noise. Randomly maki were night trying to figure out how Mouth punk rock band The Bronx. On the other Stops with his bass unplugged ron Came catch d and woul go I set Hidal their Vince t st throughou you've got bassi e for walls of noise, or Tim Evens using the lead as the detonation devic drummer Dave Hidalgo, two brothers who his amp while flicking switches to of s. parts Lobo ent pushing his guitar into differ served over 20-years together in Los wasn't a single guitar solo and do trigger different tones of feedback. There What the fuck would they ever have to cal knowledge where anything musi of n in, catio d appli rippe s lla dude gueri of a lot oyed One they empl with one other? essentials and innovation. bare the of 's place in scene rded punk disca unnecessary was grabbed hold and turned the overweight my ideas on and ed bloat how of a of It was a brutal demonstration arsehole inside out with the album relieved that I was am I and age g “La music had become even at that youn coupla years ago. The other lot played 15 years time when my cover in than r rathe h then, matc a ation like ds inform Soun that privy to fucking Bamba”. er lead guitarist to replace Nimble 'em band, Crystal Shit, are looking for anoth made in fucking Cuckoo Land. But put us tribute show. Incub hy's new Garry in time for our Irish Murp together and you get The Drips, a wild h's Victim Chant album NOW from Mout of that on touch versi l ued schoo old re-iss an the with Buy punk group Solar/Sonar through Shock. kick so much arse they catch a bit of your scrotum too. Hostage Records, the label d second that released their debut single, reckons they've recorded a debut album, and adde punk they’re “as near to perfection of what lers. Distil The of ey Bradl Tony guitarist , two should be… the complete package.” But “The Drips is a racially insensitive group they gotta sell the thing, so… dudes,” Joby Ford joked white three and ans Mexic of light The first Drips track to see the joined the to UNBELIEVABLY Bad. “Tony Bradley has r album day was “Coastline” on Hostage's Towe the of parts ck re-tra a gonn are we band so 13 compilation (LP-only limited to 1,000 g, that way it's not just another band playin him with as ure pleas the copies), but I haven't had tunes on with me on guitar. He is learning all the yet. Everything else I've heard, though, Har Mar Superstar!” for bass g playin while tour ented: “Shit is nasty. Our has been killer. First there was the Asked to describe the band, Ford comm tes.” joyous Bronx-meets-TSOL celebration, minu 15 r unde at in full-length will clock .com. Download some “Mexico” b/w “All Kids Are Dead” 7”, on Buy the single from www.hostagerecords if ld have a Hostage (there's a review on page 54 .thedrips.com. Oh yeah, The Bronx shou www from stuff new about. give two fucks), which was sure you not I'm s s dude Lobo Los llers . Disti soon out and d s new recor Bronx, Los Lobo recorded in '03. And another two . make “racially insensitive” punk rock tracks, “Destroy The Chemistry” and “Foundations”, are available to stream By Matt Reekie. from thedrips.com. But since then
North Hobart Mouth vs. Fugazi: 1993 - Hellenic Hall, By Tom Lyngcoln.
Alike! Brad from Gyroscope plus Zoran from Gyroscope equals Omar from The Mars Volta!
UNBELIEVABLY Unforgotten Albums #1 Massive Appendage
Records) The Severed Erection - 1990 (Original
ger to t was difficult as an impressionable teena e stood ndag Appe ive Mass fuck the what out figure idea. g fuckin no have still I and for. 15 years later - and a “The cover of this record is pro-feminist , statement against drug abuse, alcoholism n, statio mole child , elism evang lity, homosexua war,” says communism and the threat of nuclear it just the the blurb on the back sleeve. And ain't ism in most succinct expression of pro-femin d women modern art you ever did see, folks? Nake stuck into ges syrin with other getting off with each uded from their backsides and buzzsaw blades protr 'em even their vaginas. If you squint a bit one of heyday! looks kinda like Germaine Greer in her and With a moniker, image, artwork, song titles d lyrics that all sought (presumably) to offen lines on everyone, when you read between the Happening t's “Wha and s” Spice A.L “A.N. tracks like actually were e ndag Appe ive To The World”, Mass d. To where, (ironically?) taking the moral high groun their stance I cannot say? Perhaps they summed up B of The Sideon vinyl the in ng etchi an best with only one is re “The : reads which Severed Erection, way.” way to live your life, and that's the right Sarcastic bastards!
By Danger Coolidge. masturbating (“Stop torturing Auntie Claire, even though no one's there”). A quirky number that was way different to the drinking-theblood-of-screaming-virgins metal about the I was into at the time, I used to wonder ack playb many the g durin it band who created ors were sessions on my ghetto blaster. The Ment ensation for more offensive, but wasn't that just comp not only could ives Mass play? n’t could they the fact s. darie boun genre down ing play, they were knock mach Understandably, though, their hard-to-sto probably humour and offensive lyrics and artwork of hand. out them iss dism to le peop of lot a forced y finall was ion Erect red When The Seve want to buy unleashed, the front cover art made me irony, I knew it straight away. But, in a cruel twist of saw that she if fit lute abso an have d woul my mum best my was ps perha ironic More in my collection. snapped up mate at the time, Damian, who happily more liberal a copy because his folks were slightly er his plast to ed allow was he e wher point (to the but s), chick d nake fully of res bedroom with pictu when his mum caught him playing it
From Sydney's seamier side, Massive Appendage were formed in '85 by Jed Starr (guitar), Snuff Beastly (bass/vocals) and Big Bird (vocals/guitar), who were all members of LA-via-Sydney psych glam rockers King's X (check the Psychedelic World album from '86). Completed by drummer Oxx (R.I.P), Massive Appendage were one of the first bands in Australia playing thrash style metal - the were most original too. Mortal Sin wished they Slayer were they d wishe rd hterlo Slaug . Testament h it thoug even Death Of l Ange 's (and so did Hobb l cliché). came out like one gigantic extreme meta like no one. But “Massives” had a sound and image n Darre by '86 mber Septe in ced Produ Appendage's McCormack (aka guitarist Jed), Massive ion, was one and only album, The Severed Erect saved up the delayed for a full four years while they around them on ears laid first I out. it put to money one Show l Meta 's 2RRR g tapin was I mid-to-late '89. “Auntie night and caught host Steve Murray giving a kid who Clare” a spin. My mind spun. It's about ing his aunt catch of ience exper the by sed gets confu
he told her it was mine! I eventually bought the autographed copy seen in the bottom left corner - so never let anyone tell you patience and fear of your mum ain't virtues. The cover art was done in 1988 by (Sadistik Exekution guitarist) Reverend me Kriss Hades. A few years later he told how much he hated it and how who amateurish he thought it was (anyone has seen Kriss' art these days would the probably agree). Still, it complimented It doesn't sleaze of the music and lyrics perfectly. it doesn't look like your average metal record and and gh enou fast it's Sure, r. eithe it like sound aplenty, but thrashy enough, with face-melting solos fusing of there is such amazing originality in the I can't punk, glam and even pop influences that to. it are comp to album er anoth of think such a It has the feel of a sleazy dream (is there ge thing as a wet nightmare?), with a stran t of the production quality that enhances the effec - the echo now it hear I When r. matte ct subje taboo the layered chamber effects on the far away vocals, tic operatic guitarwork, the enchanting acous hes - I interludes, the baffling spoken word sketc ver songs remember what it was like to first disco corrupt about gay sex, whorehouses, snorting coke, of sperm” cops and “killing our youth with essence it really before I understood what the hell any of back that me gives sheet lyric the ing Read t. mean myself piss still I and , ment excite same sense of sive cocks laughing at sing-along choruses like, “Mas god they shot gliding through the atmosphere, Oh my a load in her ear.” I imagine If I was hearing it for the first time today ards. I might have to take a shower straight afterw
LY P. rouBydDanger Coolidge. UNBERioLtsIEJuVst ALikB e Old Times Mac Fields
riots in headlines about the see the newspaper the place to s see wa I to g ud tin pro ow s year. Really comfor thi lier difficult ear it's lds d Fie an e o Macquari 10 years ag de my escape over ighbourhood. ne old the hasn't changed. I ma in wn do eelie bins up with what's going pushing flaming wh sometimes to keep es flash on the tele fac old r ilia fam ck. ba few Seeing a ries flooding ught the old memo ost looks inviting towards the cops bro e Fields now it alm ari cqu Ma gh ou thr burnt out cars. And s les y wa When you drive s re' the in the day. For one, ck and individualise ba h -up wit uce red spr pa d an com ort has gone in to try eff an eably, though, t tic tha no st see you can public housing. Mo the of k loo ric t used to slice ne tha ge the bland and d handy shortcuts all the alleyways an nment spent ver Go W NS the they've blocked up 03 20 Between 1996 and out” of the severely through the estates. ve the design and lay to me like blocking off pro “im to n llio mi 0 almost $5 t it seems mission situation, bu of the design and cramped housing com ving the workability pro im t ou ab s les s pects. sus g ein fle ch the alleyways wa cat to it easier for police g r to lose the kin rde ma t ha ou it d ab fin re mo BMX or on foot now es, bik tor ve to walk the long mo ha on nts s ide Dude e, while innocent res blu in ers n’t distinguish eat do t t nu bumbling do State governmen arie , the local cops and if you live in Macqu d en cer con e way ‘round. You see y’r the as far As nt. oce inn between guilty and bt (unless ilty of that fact. the benefit of the dou Fields then you’re gu never gave anyone their ice ned pol ow lds ple Fie e peo ari ere The Macqu e of Harold Street wh sid er e siv oth abu the h on wit d they knew you live life criminal bludgers refore were not low sn't difficult to grow owned house and the king guts, and it wa fuc ir the ed hat al loc ry ded and dubious eve han lly vytua hea Vir en parents). hority due to the oft aut of ion pic re. sus the p d up with a dee ir work aroun police conducted the with brawls at the nature with which the way of life - along a re from we ses cha cars, scoring drugs len sto in High-speed police ns ight burnout sessio Jesse Kelly e-n old lat ar , -ye ern 20 Tav r, rie yea Glenqua ry 25th this , 17, and , etc. But on Februa ers, Dylan Rayward the Mr. Whippy van police. His passeng by ed that ed im rsu cla pu ve ha ing s be sse hit a tree while ed. Local eyewitne kill th ne bo ryo re we eve , w, 19 , no Matthew Robertson at the scene, but y'k ver sparked dead boys' friends ate Wh the t. d fac nte up tau de lice the po ld be a ma , lice so that just cou lotov cocktails, bricks fucking hates the po g followed, with Mo nts, tin ide rio res id sol gry of an of hts ble it, though, four nig riot squad by a rab the at d rle . hu 13 tal as me young rocks and pieces of arrested - some as etch of road o whom were later ghly 3km circular str rou a more than 60 of wh ve, Dri us ypt off into a Eucal ing on n nch bra dow , nt urb we t sub The shi sing sector of the hou where it blic to pu ost the alm h in oug aga that winds up thr winding back down ore bef the start cs ore -sa bef -de eet cul ich is one str multitude of dodgy rrigan Crescent, wh the notorious h ug tho n starts. We lived in Be Eve us. of Eucalypt
Kelly family, or “Kelly Gang” (Jesse Kelly is apparently one of the new breed), lived five doors up from us, life was still relatively tame down in Berrigan. Sure, we had an unlicenced brothel across the road and Mac Fields' biggest pot dealer less than a minute's walk away, but we were not really in the thick of the action. The further you went up Eucalyptus Drive, the more hectic shit got. Some of those cul-de-sacs you just wouldn't wanna walk into alone if you didn't know anyone that lived there. You wouldn't even fuck with the pets of the people in some of those places. Some folks have a bad reputation to uphold and not much to lose besides. Often those people will have tracksuit pants on with thongs. The suburb has always had a bad name (which is why I have always been proud to say I come from there). When you're really young it's not obvious, but as you get older and you see the reactions of people when you tell them you're from Macquarie Fields, or you stay over at a friends' house who doesn't get bonfires in their street every night and you realise that you are actually the scum of the Earth. Every stereotype in the media reinforces it. A local favourite was when Triple M radio in Sydney aired the pisstake “Macquarie Fields Forever” to the tune of “Strawberry Fields”, with lyrics like, “Dad can't decide between the Tavern or the TAB…”). Everyone loved that song. It made us all feel good about the fact that we'd be stuck in a shithole this depressing for the rest of our lives. After the recent rioting, New South Wales Police Commissioner Ken Moroney expressed surprise at graffiti that read “Police Will Die”, “Cops Kill Kids” and “We Will Kill You Dogs”. Moroney said, “I've been a police officer for 40 years and have never seen these sorts of slogans written on walls at any time in this state.” But he, just like the Federal Police Minister Carl Scully and NSW Premier Bob Carr, is trying to deflect any criticism of his department back onto the community. All three of those bastards have got the death of two kids and a riot on their hands, and none of them want a bar of it. I've always said that anyone who gets out of Mac Fields is a suburban Houdini. And that goes for places like Airds, Minto, Claymore, in fact, most of the surrounding suburbs of Campbelltown. Absolute fuckstick, Bob Carr, who I'm sure has absolutely no fucking idea what it's like to live in housing commission in a place like Macquarie Fields said, “I will not have it said this behaviour is caused by social disadvantage. This area has not been neglected.” Obviously that last comment was referring to the money the State has spent on making it easier for police to harass the locals, and not to reports of escalating victimisation and incidents of police intimidation since the riots. In fact, those cocksuckers in authority sent the riot squad, a team of Mounties, detectives and a search helicopter into the area to conduct a ridiculous intimidation mission on the night of Dylan Rayward's funeral. The government obviously wants to get everyone who lives there to start thinking about moving out now. In similar stinkholes like nearby Minto and inner city Redfern (who, if I remember correctly had a little riot of their own last year sparked by police intimidation) the process of selling off former public housing allotments to wealthy property developers for profit has already begun. It's not hard to imagine them doing similar at Macquarie Fields, what with the current population boom being so profitable and all. It all makes me feel like moving back there and joining in the brick throwing.
HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS FILMOGRAPHY
Devil s r a e W Clodhop
Part one of a never-ending UNBELIEVABLY BAD interview with the wizard of gore Herschell Gordon Lewis. By Mil Mascaras.
t’s hard to recover after seeing a Herschell Gordon Lewis picture. Your face aches from clenching your teeth so intensely, your sides hurt from laughing so hard, you may feel the urge to vomit, you look a mess, your hair is a bird's nest, you're as white as a ghost, and for a few seconds you're too stunned to even begin to attempt to pick your jaw up off the floor. You don't know whether to laugh or cry, but you sure as shit know you got your money's worth - usually. Blood Feast, Two-Thousand Maniacs, She-Devils On Wheels, The Gruesome Twosome, This Stuff'll Kill Ya!… fuck sake, just the titles alone are enough to place HG Lewis at the top of UNBELIEVABLY Bad's official list of the coolest filmmakers of all time. I can't imagine what audiences who sat down at the cinema or rolled up to the sound box at the drive-in in 1963 must've been thinking as the carnage in Blood Feast unfolded before their startled eyes. A new precedent in utter sickness was set with the cutting out of one young girl's tongue, the scooping another's brains out and other such graphic nastiness, with Lewis' camera lingering wantonly on the carnage for longer than most stomachs could handle. As you'd probably expect, the public went absolutely apeshit for it. The first ever gore flick, Blood Feast was created on a meager budget and returned a small fortune for exploitation filmmaker Lewis and his partner at the time, producer David F. Friedman. Up until that point the pair had been applying their knowledge of the advertising and film Attack Of The Jam Donuts!! (aka Blood Feast) industries to successfully make and distribute nudie films like The Prime Time and The Adventures of Lucky Pierre. But the success of Blood Feast saw Lewis spend the next decade churning out a slew of the most scandalously horrific, uniquely-twisted, brilliantlytitled cinematic oddities ever committed to celluloid, most notably his '64 masterpiece Two-Thousand Maniacs, '65's Monster a-Go-Go (arguably the most plotless movie ever made), and '68's She Devils on Wheels.
1960: The Prime Time 1961: Living Venus 1961: The Adventures of Lucky Pierre 1962: Daughter of the Sun 1962: Nature's Playmates 1963: Boin-n-g 1963: Blood Feast 1963: Goldilocks and the Three Bares 1963: Bell, Bare and Beautiful 1963: Scum of the Earth 1964: Two Thousand Maniacs 1964: Moonshine Mountain 1965: Monster a-Go-Go 1965: Color Me Blood Red 1965: Sin, Suffer and Repent 1965: Jimmy, the Boy Wonder 1967: A Taste of Blood 1967: The Gruesome Twosome 1967: Something Weird 1967: The Girl, the Body, and the Pill 1967: Blast Off Girls 1967: The Magic Land of Mother Goose 1968: She Devils on Wheels 1968: Alley Tramp 1968: Suburban Roulette 1968: Just for the Hell of It 1968: How to Make a Doll 1969: The Ecstasies of Women 1969: Linda and Abilene 1970: Miss Nymphet's Zap-In 1970: Wizard of Gore 1971: This Stuff'll Kill Ya! 1972: Year of the Yahoo! 1972: Black Love 1974: Gore Gore Girls 2002: Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat
Forty years after the initial shock and the now 69-year old Lewis is still residing in sunny Florida, the state where he made Blood Feast and most of his other deplorable filmic treasures. He's a wealthy man thanks to his “other” life as a copywriting and direct-marketing guru, author of books such as Effective Email Marketing and How to Make Your Advertising Twice As Effective at Half the Cost. But despite a life spent in marketing and moviemaking, he's not (and never was) some coke-snorting, faketanned, infomercial-starring-in arsehole. Down the phone line he has an authoritive tone that is polite, upbeat and inviting. He sounds like a voiceover man from the fifties, a true relic from a bygone era. Herschell does most of the talking. He no longer owns the rights to any of his films, but clearly he still loves yapping about them. He dissects (no pun intended) Blood Feast and Two Thousand Maniacs with the same joyful enthusiasm with which he does his 2002 comeback, the first HG Lewis movie in almost 30 years, Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat though it's safe to assume the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification is definitely off his Chrissy card list. Just this year Siren Entertainment (local distributor of Something Weird Video, who handle Hersch's flicks) has begun to release some of these masterpieces on DVD, with the “Blood Trilogy” of Blood Feast, TwoThousand Maniacs and Color Me Blood Red hitting stores in April, and other titles like Something Weird, Blast Off Girls and Gruesome Twosome following. But Lewis' 1974 gore satire The Gore Gore Girls was banned from DVD release by a three-person review board set up by the Office of Film and Literature Classification, who claimed to be following guidelines that refuse classification for films that contain “gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of violence with a very high degree of impact or which are excessively frequent, prolonged or detailed.” OFLC spokesprude Maureen Shelley said, “The cumulative impact of the violence, including some sexualised violence, was very high. Such that under the guidelines the film must be refused classification.” Here is Part One of a never-ending interview with Herschell Gordon Lewis...
I got a press release the other day with a statement from you about the banning of Gore Gore Girls (1974)… What press release are you referring to?
You're dealing deeply in human psychology. There's bloodlust in all of us, it goes back to the Roman Coliseum and far beyond that. If you look at people like Tamerlane who invaded the Middle East in the 14th century, he got his jollies by building pyramids out of human heads. That kind of viciousness is not what any of One was sent out recently here with a quote from you concerning the my movies espoused. They all were fantasy. And they all have this ridiculous banning of The Gore Gore Girls. sense of humour. The very first one, Blood Feast (1963), was as primitive a I didn't know there was a news release on that. I'm sure they quoted me as production job as anybody could possibly make, because we weren't even sure at saying the whole thing was idiotic. that time whether anybody would ever show this movie. My movies were designed as entertainment on a vertical level; that is, they are not for everyone. No movie is Yeah, something like that. But wasn't The Gore Gore Girls (1974) intended for everyone. One looks at a motion picture and even some of the most lionized as a pisstake? movies, ones that the critics applaud, some people hate them. Censorship is not Of course it was, it was a satire. What is funny is that we have a movie that is something to be superimposed by one person on another based on the sensor's forty years old that has shown everywhere, audiences have laughed at it because personal sensibilities. I'm really opposed to censorship in any form. I'm for good it is obviously a satire; it's a joke! Yes, it's a judgment, but that is really a family matter. There are gore movie, that's what I did. But to come back motion pictures aimed at people under age 12, just as “Any movie with into the arena all these years later and ban this there is music. I would not spend 2 cents to go to a movie, I think the only word to describe that is rap music concert. But that is my personal reaction funny. It wasn't as though the movie was and I'm not about to say because I don't like it you suddenly burst upon their consciousness; it's can't hear it. Nor would I ever say because I don't like been out for forty years! [Actually, it's only been For all I this movie you may not see this movie. I see pictures thirty years old but you know these old all the time and I say, “How could they have done know they got a standing set that?” Not necessarily based on gore, based on exploitation guys - Ed] Great balls of fire! The fact that anyone wants to even see a movie that artistry, based on a stupid idea… Zoolander, what there and they go, is forty years old is an indication that there is the devil!? I came to the conclusion that any movie some appeal to it. It's stupid to ban a DVD with Ben Stiller has a mandatory scene in a men's release in the first place, and especially since urinal. What is the point of that? It makes no sense so many films since then have gone far beyond whatever. Now, am I going to send a letter to Miramax The Gore Gore Girls in terms of raw gore. or whoever makes those pictures and say, “Please, in your next movie don't have him in a urinal.” For all I know they got a standing set You’d think the scene where chocolate milk squirts out of the woman's there and they go, “Okay time for the urinal shot.” Who am I, other than an outside breast would be a give away that it's not meant to be taken too seriously. critic, to say I don't like that. I don't like that, I think it's stupid, but I'm not saying The chocolate milk thing is proof that it's a satire, unless you know of a don't do it. As the waiter said, “it's not my table.” woman who can deliver chocolate milk, in which case let's quickly bottle it. A lot of films before and since have tried to claim to be more appalling It at least shows that you were having fun making that picture. than anything in the annals of horror, did people get a shock to see that it Oh yes, well you see by the time we made The Gore Gore Girls it was deep was actually true with Blood Feast? in the cycle, and the major film companies had already invaded what I regarded Blood Feast was a watershed picture because it was banned in many places. as my proprietary area, so we had to keep outdoing ourselves with ridiculous In fact, here's an indication of the hypocrisy that often underlies procedures of effects. And really, until we did Blood Feast 2 (2002) a couple of years ago, Gore censorship: in the UK, for some years, it's not true anymore, but for some years Gore Girls was my last movie. Blood Feast could only be shown in film “clubs”. It was banned in theatres but it could be shown in private film clubs. I was invited to attend a horror film festival What is the psychology behind getting someone to watch a gore flick, how in London, which I did with gusto because Gieves & Hawkes the tailors sits on can you make people pay to be sickened? Saville Row in London. So I asked where this festival is playing and I'm told in a
Ben Stiller has a mandatory scene in a men's urinal. 'Okay time for the urinal shot.'”- HG Lewis
theatre. I knew it had been banned in theatres but the fellow said, “Well, not tonight because tonight the theatre has become a private club.” So instead of buying tickets people bought memberships to this club for that one night and they showed the movie. There is very little logic behind something like that. I'm quite sure that even as we speak there are bootleg prints of The Gore Gore Girls dancing around throughout Australia - maybe on top of Ayres Rock? Did I tell you I climbed Ayres Rock? I signed my name in that book at the top. As part of my other career I used to attend direct-marketing conferences, which were held in Darling Harbour in Sydney, so for a while that became almost a regular stop. I still have fond memories. Can you give me the story of Blood Feast's infamous “tongue scene”? We were staying at a place in Miami Beach called the Suez Motel, and the Suez was the genesis of Blood Feast because out front of the Suez Motel was a fake Sphinx, which gave us this Egyptian overtone to use in Blood Feast. So we had rented a room that had a little refrigerator in it. We didn't want the kind of sheep’s tongue they sell in supermarkets or flea markets, we wanted all that stuff that hangs off the back-end of the tongue, and to get that we had to get it from the packinghouse and Miami had none so we had to go to Tampa to get the tongue. So we got it and we put it in our refrigerator while we were out shooting. It was a blistering hot time and the hotel had a power failure and when we got home you could have smelt that tongue two blocks away. We didn't know what to do because we were supposed to shoot that scene the next day. So one of the braver members of the crew put a handkerchief around his face and got a bottle of this stuff called Pine Sol, which is a sort of deodorant they use on carpets. So he doused that tongue with Pine Sol to kill the smell and the next day we shot that scene. Well, the girl we shot that with was a woman named Astrid Olson, and the problem we had was to find someone with a big enough mouth that she could have her own tongue in there and also this tongue. So my partner, Dave Friedman, who was always very good at casting that kind of role, found this girl with a mouth big enough to take all of it. And that was her part! Just to have the tongue pulled out was her whole part. We shot this in a hotel room at the Suez and as we started to shoot in came the maid to make up the room. She said, “Is there anything I can do to help?” I said, “Just forget you've seen this!” So I said to this girl, Astrid Olson, I said, “Miss Olson, this man may get a little rough with you,” to which she replied in a very thick Swedish accent, “I like a man who is rough.” So we shot the scene and she had to turn her head to the side and all this stuff came dripping out, it was really quite effective. And she had her boyfriend there, one of these muscle-bound people with a moustache and tattoos all over him and a headband and he had no idea, nor did she, as to what this was all about. So afterwards he says (in a tough voice), “When's her next scene?” I said, “We'll call you.” I take it she's still waiting for her next scene. But that scene, I was talking to a fella named Charlie Cooper who owned a theatre in the
REVIEW BLOOD FEAST (1963)
blot on the American film industry,” said the LA Times. “Worst movie of the year,” said Time. “Should be seen by all, especially impressionable kids,” says me. When Blood Feast was made there weren't even censorship laws in place to ban it, which means plenty of American kids caught this early sixties shockfest while sat frozen stiff with fear in the backseat of their parents' car at the drive-in. It was the first film to show victims dying with their eyes open, to show hacked off limbs, gouged out organs, splattered brains, all in glorious 35mm colour. Blood Feast made HG Lewis and his partner Dave Friedman rich; astounding for a no-budget film with no plot, crude production, cheap sets, terrible acting and a homemade timpani music soundtrack. The main character, Fuad Ramses (played ever so badly by Mal Arnold), is an Egyptian caterer and author of a book called Ancient Weird Religious Rites. This creepy little Bela Lugosiwannabe with fake eyebrows and a clubfoot worships a painted gold mannequin and hopes to raise an ancient Egyptian goddess by hacking people up in preparation for a 5,000 yearold feast. He rips out hearts, scoops out brains, hacks out
Be Careful With That Axe, Jerry Lewis (Two-Thousand Maniacs) ghetto section of Chicago. He made what I regarded to be the definitive comment on Blood Feast. He said, “When I was showin' that movie Blood Feast and these guys in the audience are slashing up the seats and putting bullet holes through the screen, it comes to that tongue scene and all you see is a bunch of white eyeballs.” We sure did startle them. Well, the poster warned 'em. And the trailer for the “Coming Atrocity” warned them. “Ladies and gentlemen you are about to see scenes from the most unusual motion picture ever to play in this theatre. We caution you that if you have a heart condition or if you are with a young and impressionable child that you leave this auditorium for the next 90 seconds…” We were figuring if that didn't keep 'em there nothing would! But we did warn 'em.
Look Mum no tongue! (Blood Feast)
The Stabs knife wins! (Blood Feast) tongues and cooks up a human leg in a pizza oven. Despite the clubfoot and serious limp, somehow he is able to get make a quick getaway every time, and though he appears to take no care at all in the plotting and execution of the atrocities, detectives claim he hasn't left a single clue. In the end Ramses tries to coax Suzette Fremont (played atrociously by Playboy bunny Connie Mason) to lie down on a bench and become the final sacrifice to the godess Ishtar, but it backfires, she gets away and Ramses' is soon chasing her club-footedly cross country before meeting his grisly end in the back of a garbage truck compactor. Blood Feast is out now on DVD through Siren Entertainment.
The Stabs: (LtoR) Buffy Tuffnel, Brendan Noonan, Mark Nelson
ometimes you just need to listen to a certain record to ditch the downer that you've been stuck on, the harsh on your buzz, the bum on your trip, or whatever outdated colloquialism you can recall if you're still trying to affect Peter Fonda. I found myself camping during a three-day festival in another state. The rain fell, the mud rose, and I sank. My tent blew away, I got myself ditched by a girl I'd been aching to see for a month, and resultingly managed to take three days worth of assorted substances in what was maybe a couple of hours, all stupidly placed in the slowly damping pocket of my parka. I'd figured I could exercise some kind of control. And all I wanted was to hear The Stabs playing “That's It”. If not for anything than to get my closure, and to prolong the avoidance of inevitable burn out. I pleaded with people, I took more drugs, and I babbled about The Stabs to strangers, but it didn't get me the song. Everyone in the socalled festival bar, finding refuge from the rain under what was a leaky tent, got to hear some part of my longwinded story, my so-called heartbreak, and how they should hear The Stabs, or whether they may have brought The Stabs 7” with them. No one had it, few people had heard it, and somehow I thought people cared at the time. I drove 10 hours thinking I was in love with a chick, and drove 10 hours home knowing all I had was a stupid infatuation with a song, and a new inability to deal with people. I am a cynical motherfucker. The first time I was offered the chance to hear The Stabs' first 7” I only accepted on the strength that I was taking advantage of a friend's hospitality, and that she usually had good taste. Otherwise, no way would I have been interested - especially in a new “current” band. By the time I'd heard both sides, all of “Wading” and “That's It”, I was impressed. I even felt hopeful about the state of new music in Australia. Sure, it didn't last long. But my interest was piqued, briefly. Four months later I was in Melbourne, The Rob Roy was having its final night before closing to bands, and The Stabs were playing. I'd been waiting for this, sort of. Or I'd been at least planning on getting the 7” while I was in town anyway. So I could try to do both in one evening.
The Stabs played, and were absolutely awful. They sucked. They ate shit. They had a guest vocalist for the worst version of The Creation's “How Does It Feel To Feel” I could have imagined. And one of the guys (it was Brendan) was playing without a guitar strap and only two strings after breaking everything some time around the beginning of the set; I walked in late after vainly trying to convince the people I was with to watch this band with me, I couldn't figure out why they were refusing beforehand. I left with the record, listened to it, and got stuck on “That's It”, in a bad way. The kind where I seriously considered moving to Melbourne in case The Stabs ditched Buffy and needed a drummer, or at least buying a second copy in case I wore it out. I was trying to think of a way to describe “That's It”, but all I got was the following whilst high: “That's It” screeched at me through papery speakers, bitterly announcing the end of something. It doesn't matter what it is, it's just the end. It's over. “That's It”. The track jerkily beats away, growling, screeching and yelling, slightly beneath a murky pool. And that's just the B-side. It took me another 6 months to discover “Wading”, but sometimes a fixation can be all encompassing to the point that one can ignore a side of a record, or, optionally, the truth.” Recorded on a reel 4-track at the homes of The Stabs, someone told me the reason the single is so loud is that one of The Stabs actually worked in the record pressing plant. I forgot to ask them about that when I interviewed them. I even forgot to ask how they got their latest 7”, “The Woods The Rain”/”6Ft Rodent”, released on Ben Blackwell's [the Dirtbombs] US label, Cass. The Stabs have never been to Sydney. They've been to New Zealand though twice. And got themselves arrested the first time after being in the country for less than 48 hours. To interview Brendan Noonan (guitar), Mark Nelson (bass) and Matt G - aka Buffy Tufnel - (drums) I had to trek back down to Melbourne…
w The Stabs intervie by Owen Penglis.
Tell me about The Stabs, give me something print-worthy. Brendan - Well, I hate both these guys. Matt - These went to school together (points to Mark and Brendan), and I didn't go to school with them. These guys are intellectually challenged emotional cripples, and I'm all right and normal. Who's that dude on the New Zealand Live At Arc bootleg recording who kinda jumps onstage halfway through? Mark - That's a girl. That's a girl?! Talking about how she got stabbed? All - Yeah, oh, Kimmy, Kimmy. Matt - I thought Kimmy was a man and I was wrong. Mark - Matt, in the tour diary of that trip, wrote that Kimmy was transgender. Brendan - So contrary to Matt's previous statement that he's on the ball and together, he actually doesn't know the difference between… Matt - …Because I can't pick a lesbian transvestite! Mark - I hung out with her the next day… Matt - …A homicidal lesbian transvestite who you hung with. Mark - She said she liked music, um, Peaches. Brendan She busted a few raps... Matt - Yeah she did, she could rhyme. But we get there and she's come to see our band because of the name, The Stabs. She assumes that we're really into knife fighting and all this and starts to tell us how she's really good at it and how she did prison time because she stabbed her girlfriend in the heart and did time for attempted murder. But she said that the girl deserved it because she first of all tried to garrotte her with a piano string, and she turned around and stabbed her. And we're going “yeah, right!” And then she jumps up midway through the set and charges Brendan down with a stool. But not because she hated it, it reminded her of the stuff she was trying really hard to forget. Mark - At that point when she jumped up on the stage she was stripped down to a pair of pink underpants and that was about it. Who's the guy who sang with you at the last Rob Roy show? All - Oh, Paul Kidney! Matt - Paul used to play with heaps of great Sydney bands he was in Southern Fried Kidneys and Monroe's Fur and Kiss My Poodle's Donkey's first line-up as well. But then he was a hippy and travelled 'round for ten years and when he came back to Melbourne we found him and said “oh, you've gotta get back into rock because you're the best frontman we've seen,” so he got up and sang that song with us by The Creation and funnily enough after that he was asked by this guy who's writing a book on late sixties psychedelia in Australia to form a one-off band for the launch doing sixties psychedelic covers from Australian bands and stuff. So that band's gonna be called the Paul Kidney Experience. They'll easily be the best new band, ever. But we've never played a good show at The Rob Roy; I hate every show (there). And every time someone says to me “I saw you guys at The Rob Roy” I get really ashamed and embarrassed and just wanna run away from them because I don't think we've done more than 3 or 4 songs at The Rob Roy over 3 gigs. Brendan - Were you at that gig? Yeah. Matt - And yet you still want to do the interview? I bought the 7” afterwards. I just thought “Wow, that was fucked!” Matt - I remember after that one finished I went to the bar and bought a drink and I was halfway through drinking it and I turned around and I could still see bits and pieces of the drum kit flying around in the dance area.
BOOTLEGGED STABS Here are two unofficial live Stabs recordings reviewed. Recorded on successive NZ tours, Live At Arc is available on request through Weather Records. Live At Valve was given to me by Buffy. He told me not to tell the other two guys about it... The Stabs - Live At Arc Café (08.05.04) Halfway through this tinny, single track, 50 minute live show, an audience member charges guitarist Brendan down with a stool to get up on stage. Sounding like a man but later identified to be lesbian transvestite Kimmy, she rants: “Now, before they start, I'm stoked, (incoherent), but they're called The Stabs, and I've got a stab I wanna show you. I nearly killed my girlfriend in New York City, okay? I smoked all this pot. And you know what? When I was strangling her I coulda done 25-tolife in a prison (incoherent yelling from crowd)… Shut up! I'm telling a story! Anyway, I was in New York City, had a girlfriend at the time. Anyway, I smoked pot, she was an alcoholic. Anyway, she came back home, wanted a smoke, I said 'Baby, I've smoked it all.' You know what she did? She tried to stab me while I was strangling her. I fucking strangled her and then she got a knife and stabbed me, right there. Right there. (Incoherent) ... my stab routine, I would've been doing, I would've been doing 25-to-life and died in prison... in New York. STABS! I PRONOUNCE THE STAAAABS FROM MELBOURNE. I used to live in St Kilda. I used to fucking snort heaps of heroin, I love heroin. HERE'S THE STABS! (The sound of guitar tuning, amidst yells of “get off”) YOU'RE FUCKING FUCKING AROUND, THE STAAABS. LIVE UP TO YOUR FUCKIN' REPUTATION. YOU ARE CALLED… THE STAABS, FROM MELBOURNE, ST KILDA, EARL'S FUCKIN' COURT HOTEL, that's in Fitzroy Street, I used to live in fuckin'… (crowd yells)… oh shuuut up. Here's the Stabs!” Brendan: “I hate St Kilda.” (The Stabs play) The Stabs - Live At Valve (18.03.05) At the end of the first track of this far superior recording (it sounds as good as the 7 inchs, and the lyrics can be heard!) someone yells “STAB THAT FUCKING GUITAR! KILL IT!” He just reviewed the CD for me. It's a fucking excellent show. Only complete songs are played too, with none of The Arc show style fucking about.
It was funny; one of you guys busted your strap and was holding the guitar, playing it like (motions playing guitar in a retarded, strapless fashion). Brendan - Yeah, all our stuff is held together with string and paper clips. Mark - Smoke and mirrors. Matt - We had a damage tally on the NZ tour - I think I did 5 kick pedals. What else did we do? Brendan - One guitar. Matt - We did the fucken Jazzmaster; tragic. Brendan - The first tour. Matt - Yeah, the second tour was nice, we call it the All Apologies Tour, and that was nice. That was where we went back and instead of wrecking people's houses we cooked breakfast and stuff to make amends.
Did you guys actually get arrested that first time in NZ? Brendan - Yeah. Mark - We just climbed a 20m crane, or a 22m crane and got caught. Brendan - Oh, we were really drunk; we hadn't been in NZ for more than 24 hours. And we, I can't remember, but we had all this duty-free booze and no gigs to play for the first couple of days so we just drank and drank and then I can't even remember what led up to us actually being on the crane. But then us two (Brendan and Mark) tried to run away from the security and the cops got called, we got arrested, and Mark was really excited about getting put in handcuffs for some reason. So we got locked up for the night and then we were supposed to go to court the next day but we slept through it so then they put out warrants for our arrest and we had to hang around in Wellington for a few extra days to finally go to court. We got fines and alcohol counselling and we had to send a bunch of flowers to our Mums, which I didn't do, but Mark did. Matt - But they didn't do it! This hippy fuckin' legal treatment they received, it's all well and good, but they are so totally non-rehabilitated and non-apologetic. Mark faked a bloody note from his Mum and a receipt from the florist or something. Mark - No I didn't… Matt - You guys cheated and lied and fooled the NZ authorities and you're proud of it and you'd do it again. Mark - The only thing I cheated was the volunteer community service, volunteering at a radio station - I did a couple of hours and wrote down I did 24. Matt - Yeah, your punishment was to host a radio show and play obnoxious punk and boast about having been arrested. What's your favourite Stabs track? Matt - That's a good question. Brendan - The new record, we've got a new 7” and there's a song on that, “6ft Rodent”. I reckon that came up pretty good.. Matt - I like an unrecorded one - “The City”. It was great when we sang it in Wellington 'cause we were actually stranded, we didn't have flights home and we didn't know how we were getting home, and whether or not it would even happen. Yeah, that song “The City”, it goes “You're never leaving this city,” seemed quite funny at the time. Have you heard the recording? These Kiwi's are heckling us and Brendan goes “You're never leaving this city, that must be what it's like when you live here in Wellington,” and someone goes “Not at all bro!” (laughs) Mark - Fuckin' Kiwis. We were caught in Wellington for an extra week so we booked a really low-key solo show for each of the three of us. It was in a bar probably the size of this room [a small radio studio]. It was kinda fun. Matt - Yeah, it was fun. We've all got radically different styles. Mark - There was not even 10 people there. The bar was selling nitrous balloons behind the bar, $2.50 a pop or something like that. We didn't have any money, so when we finished we swapped a 7” for a nitrous balloon for each of us. Matt - That was mad actually. What a great idea for a night getting 3 members of the same band to do solo sets. There should be more of that… I'd see more of that if bands did it. Mark - You'd want it to be bands you like. Matt - You never know you see, 'cause you never know what kinda songs the drummer writes on guitar. Look at Michael Noga, the tub-thumper from the Legends of Motorsport, he has all this sensitive singer-songwriter stuff that no one knew was in him. My favourite Stabs track is “That's It”. Matt - Yeah, “That's It” was one of the first three we did when we just sat around and said “who's got some ideas?.” I really like the recording of it, that whole 7” I really like. I'm very proud of it. Did you actually do more than 200 copies of that? Brendan - Yeah, there's 200 numbered copies and another 200 unnumbered.
Because I've got #207. Brendan - Oh shit! We did that for about four copies then decided it was lame. Then we just cut it off the stamp. Was the second single, “The Woods/The Rain”/”6ft Rodent”, delayed because you were stitching the covers? Mark - Oh yeah, it's a big job to do them, so we were just lazy. Really. And we recorded it before we went to NZ the first time, so it was last March… (Tape cuts)
Birthday Boys - The 21st Anniversary Hard Ons: (LtoR) Keish, Ray, Blackie, Pete
Elea Logan. by y ar Di ur To ck ta At ga Gazoon
From June 16th to July 16th 2005 Australia's legendary punk band the Hard Ons embarked upon a tour to celebrate their 21st anniversary. Original singer Keish De Silva rejoined Hard Ons bretheren Ray Ahn (bass) and Blackie (guitar) for the first time in over 10 years, taking up a position behind the mic and leaving all stickwork to his replacement on drums, Pete Kostic. Playing support on most dates were Brissy all-chick powerhouse Gazoonga Attack, whose bassist Elea Logan penned this UNBELIEVABLY Bad tour diary...
Thursday 16th June: Coolangatta Hotel, Coolangatta
Friday 17th June: Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay
azoonga Attack pulled up at the Coolangatta Hotel and loaded all our gear through the front door, past the solo singer/guitarist on the downstairs stage, through the pokie room, past the front desk of the gig room, up 2 flights of stairs and across the gig room to the band room. Worst fucking load-in we've ever done. So we drank our weight in beer. The first band on was complete rubbish. Shit Gold Coast punk. Can't even remember what they were called, but they super-sucked when they went on to steal our beer and trash the car-park(?!). The Hard Ons cleaned up their stoopid fucking mess. While Gazoonga Attack played, some punkers up the front held up a sign that said “Suck Me”, right when I was taking a sip of beer. So guess where that mouthful ended up? Sticky punkers are the worst. Turns out they didn't mean to give us shit and they enjoyed the beer shower, so they bought us all about 5 rounds of Tequila shooters. Tonight was the first time Keish had fronted a band doing just vocals ('coz in his new band Feed The Horse he sings and plays guitar). Us Gazoongas had never seen him in Hard Ons 'coz y'know, we were all still in school when he left the band. We'd met him once - on a rooftop somewhere in Kings Cross, having had too much of EVERYTHING after a Hard Ons/Gazoonga Attack 2 years ago. We all watched up the front, and decided that 1: Keish has the best voice. 2: Keish has the best dance-moves - he's like running on the spot, then stops to smirk at the crowd, then jumps up on the drum riser, then off. 3. Keish is unreal. 4. Keish shares his red wine. It was going to be a fine tour. The Coolangatta Hotel got 66 noise complaints from tonight's show. Of course they did - it's the fucking Hard Ons!
Serinda and Tamara (Gazoonga guitarists) had to work in Brisbane today, but Renae (drums) and I bummed around Byron with the Hard Ons. We started drinking at midday when we met up with our old mate Ben. He took us and Pete (Hard Ons drummer) up to his friend's recording studio. There was no one there so we started a band called “...And Then They Fell Apart”, in which we all played instruments we don't normally play. Renae and I played guitar, Ben played drums and Pete, for the first time ever, played bass. For a dumb thing it wasn't half bad, we got 3 songs together and asked the rest of the Hard Ons if we could open the show tonight - 'coz there was no opening band scheduled to play - but they said NO! So ...And Then They Fell Apart
broke up. Classic story of drug abuse and irreconcilable differences. This show wasn't any different to every other time we've played Byron Bay, except this time it nearly sold out. The usual trippers attended, dancing like they've never come down from that night when the fondu got spiked with acid. Hard Ons aren't too keen on the in-house sound dude there so they asked Renae to do their sound. And she did a fucking great job. Dave (Hard Ons' manager) came up to me during the set and said “Fucking hell! It's intense but clear... Renae's fucking good.” And I'm like, “Yeah, we keep asking her to mix Gazoonga Attack, but she won't!” Tonight was Blackie's show; windmilling that mass of matted hair around and screaming like he was telling off a retarded dog for shitting in his shoe. Most people attending these shows are there to see Keish sing for the Hard Ons one last time, but I'm much more of a fan of Blackie's newer hardcore songs that fill the first half of every set.
and Newcastle to catch those gigs too. Hopefully after seeing the Hard Ons so many times his own band will get better. Oooooooh, I'm a bitch! I should apply these philosophies to my own band. Well, I'd like to say we have, but I honestly can't tell. Serinda should let her hair dread at the back and I should play with my bass behind my head with my shirt off. Hard Ons have a Sydney-based documentary maker named Michael along for the rest of the tour, and so Tamara and I watched Hard Ons from behind the stage through the viewfinder of his camera. Michael's been collecting footage for this doco for three years, and this tour is the final chapter. Tonight he gets footage of Keish crowd surfing straight into the Espy lighting rig - scoring himself a Harry Potter scar above his eye brow. The next time Keish goes to crowd-surf he changes his mind and just kind of pauses on the edge of the foldback like he's surfing the foldback wedge. Awesome. I drank and drank but couldn't get drunk!
Friday 1st July: Green Room, Melbourne
Saturday 18th June: The Rev, Brisbane
The Green Room has already sold out as I walk in to see Melbourne's Sin City setting their gear up onstage. Our rider is ridiculously large so I start cracking beers like they're going green. Sin City have really become something special over the past year - they're still pretty glam-rock, but now a bit more like The Divinlys than Motley Crue. I like it. Gazoongas got on and tore the place a new cunt-hole. This is the first show of the tour where we really take the audience to task, and we continue to for the remaining three shows. Some bitch in the audience didn't dig it and threw an ice-cube at me.
Drove back to Brisbane, had a few drinks at my house then went down to The Rev. Dick Nasty played a totally hot set. I was setting up merch with Ray (Hard Ons bassist) and he was shitting on about how great they are. Later I told Geordie (Dick Nasty guitarist/sometimes vocalist) that he should give Ray a CD, and he was all like “No fucking way. We suck. That was shit.” Those Dick Nasties need to masturbate more. Gazoongas played, and the sold-out crowd just stood and stared. The most movement came from drool escaping from the corner of their mouths. There really is no place like home. Hard Ons played an absolute cracker and the crowd came back to life. People were there who hadn't seen live music in 15 years, some had travelled 10 hours, others used their “get out of jail free cards”. As the set progressed the crowd got more and more crazed. By the end people were hanging from the support beams, crowd surfing, dancing on the merch table (that was me), and skulling stubbies (me again). Hard Ons were bummed to find their whole rider had been drunk while they were on stage. They think it was Dick Nasty, and subsequently don't like that band anymore (I don't know who it was, but it wasn't me - I was drinking my own rider).
Thursday 30th June: Espy Front Bar, St Kilda Hard Ons played the northern and southern suburbs of Sydney last weekend, but we couldn't make it as we had our own QLD shows, so we met up with them again in Melbourne. This is where the tour really kicked in. The Espy was packed - totally fucking overflowing with punk rockers. Luckily they've recently knocked a wall out or they wouldn't all have fit. I missed the first band, The Gingers. The other Gazoongas saw them and fell in love. They tell me they're an all-girl fucking cool party band with spasticated dance moves. I wish I saw them instead of the next band - 77 Melbourne-style Oi punk called Angry Kid. The crowd dug it, but it's not my thing. Lovely people, though. Their singer had driven 1000km to see Hard Ons last week, and went on to drive 900km to see the Adelaide show. Two weeks later he drove back to Sydney
Got me right in the eye. Then a guy comes up to me between songs and says, “Hey, I saw that slut throw the ice. When I see her again I'll sort her out for ya!” There must be something about four girls screaming onstage that makes it seem like any girl can defend herself in a bar brawl. Next on: The Meanies. Gazoongas had never seen The Meanies before - another case of being too young. It was fucking as good as I expected it to be, the crowd was way more rough though. I spilled most of my beer, but I had the best time. Had hiccups before the Hard Ons even started, which continued through their entire set. Fucking sucked!! The only way I know to get rid of hiccups is to eat a spoonful of sugar. But the place was fucking packed, fucked if I was gonna get to the bar let alone hassle the staff for sugar. Then I remembered I had a Chunky Kit-Kat in my bag, so I put as much of it as I could fit in my mouth, trying to get the sugar effect. Hard Ons were standing near me before they went back on to play two encores. Oh yeah, they had a good laugh at how ridiculous I looked: drunk, hiccupping with almost an entire chocolate bar in my mouth (I did offer them some but they declined). Well, my hiccups went away, then Pete and Keish stayed out drinking with us until 8am. We challenged the bar staff to rounds of 21 and I won every hand. I was pissed off 'coz no-one wanted to bet…
Saturday 2nd July: Enigma Bar, Adelaide Tonight I saw the worst haircut I've ever seen (very short all over on top, then really long around the edges), the worst tattoo (Big Brother eyes on a fat guy's butt), the most people singing along to Gazoonga Attack and Hard Ons songs, and the most incorrect words, spilled beers, crowd fights, everything - it was a night of extremes. I was disappointed that Alice Cooper didn't show up. His people had called in advance to get him on the door list. Billy Thorpe [who'd opened for Alice that night] made it along, but left after one Hard Ons song, complaining to the door bitch that it was too loud. Alice Cooper's daughter came too. I think she stayed.
Gazoonga Power Live: (LtoR) Tamara, Renae, Elea, Serinda
cool). It was Adam's (Hytest Drummer) birthday and he looked like he was absolutely dying on the kit. Probably hadn't slept all week. After the 12-hour drive I had a few Tequilas to wake up and probably ate a bit too close to the show 'coz I did a little spew in the second song. It was so tiny, I just kinda spat a chunk of vegetable on the stage. Ooops. I don't know if I should be admitting that. Luke (Hytest bass player) made us announce that his video camera was missing and everyone was really concerned. That thing records straight onto DVD! Later in the set he said he found it - under his car. What was it doing under your car, Luke? You put it there when you were outside getting stoned, didn't you? That guy needs a minder. Hard Ons tonight, motherfuckers..., I don't know if it's because the Annandale is the fucking best venue, with best PA, whether it's because Jonboyrock [who recorded Very Exciting! with them] is mixing the show, or if it's because they know the set's being filmed to be sold over the bar as a DVD (like The Bronx DVD the Annandale made)... but fucking hell, it was the most gnarly sounding, intense, fucking awesome Hard Ons show I've ever seen. During “Suck
Friday 15th July: Annandale Hotel, Sydney Stockholm Syndrome pulled out at the last minute 'coz their drummer has been shitting piss and was scared he'd do so onstage. Bad news for them. Good news for Hytest, who got to replace them. Those 'lil Wollongong rockers are super-awesome right now 'coz they'd been recording an EP all week (which I played organ on, by the way. I got to sing a bit too. Soooo fucking
'N' Swallow” Ray stubbed a cigarette out on his tongue, then Keish went crowd-surfing. Then Ray joined him. Then Pete left the drum kit and went for a dive too. So for about a minute it was just Blackie kinda squealing away on stage. Some guy in the crowd got a blood nose but didn't want to leave for fear of missing the greatest thing he's ever seen. So I gave him my hanky. He was pretty happy about that. Then Keish arrived back on the stage and got behind the kit - which he hasn't done for almost 10 years, and he played the dirgy end of “Suck 'N' Swallow” while everyone was just kinda looking around with their mouths open thinking “Is this for real??.” Then everyone went fucking crazy. People were fucking, and shitting, and pissing, fingering and spewing all over the place. I just made that last bit up. Got pretty drunk after that.
Saturday 16th July: RSL Band Room, Newcastle Pete came in the Gazoonga Attack tour car to Newcastle. He introduced us to his carton of Carlton Draught, we introduced him to our collection of McLusky records and by the time we pulled up at the venue we were all the best of friends. Conation opened tonight. Last time I saw Conation they'd slept on my couch and been awoken by my housemate waving a clawhammer at them telling them to get the fuck out of our house, so it was a little awkward seeing those dudes. Their set was nothing short of amazing. Their songs are like the sun battling with thunderstorms for the sky - some of the most furiously angry shit parting into crystal clear angelic melodies. Fuck. And this time they played with all their clothes on. People danced like nutters while we played. I mentioned that I'd be downstairs in the bar drinking tequila after the set, which was a mistake because I soon got roped into selling the Hard Ons merch. A few guys had a go at me for standing them up for shots. Oh yeah, this crowd knew how to celebrate the last show of the tour. Best dance-moves: one girl snuck in front of the crowd barrier and sat up on the front of the stage, lay back with her legs apart and flashed her minge at the crowd. Security let this go on for a few songs before moving her along. Another guy
was just letting loose with his own avant garde moves - pretending like he was pushing imaginary people away from him, dropping down and doing one push-up, back on his feet jiggling around and then for real, he took the shoe off his foot and held it to his head like he was talking on Max Smart's shoe-phone. Genius. He even had one finger in the other ear. Some loser stood up right onstage taking Hard Ons photos with his crappy camera-phone. Keish booted him back into the audience. The guy was standing around as if to say, “Who the fuck do you think you are kicking me off the stage?” and Keish was standing there all like, “I'm Keish from the motherfucking Hard Ons and this is my last time singing with this band so kindly get the fuck off!!" Now I just heard a rumour that Keish is touring Europe with Hard Ons at the end of this year, but he'll never do any more shows with them after that, anywhere in the world, camera-phone cunt onstage or not.
Against Against Me! Tom Gabel interview by Danger Coolidge.
t's tough writing about Against Me! on this shitty computer of mine. Every time I type in their name, Microsoft Word's built-in preemptive spellchecker wants to start a fresh sentence. Doesn't fucking Bill Gates and his dorky cronies understand this band are something worth getting excited about, not to mention babble on endlessly? From Gainesville, Florida, Against Me! are a punk rock band who inspire you to do something, anything - laugh, cry, puke, sing along, jump up and down, smash up the place, snatch control of the people's army and seize the State by force, whatever the fuck! The music sweeps you up in a kind of pure elation while the lyrics fantasize of a left-wing revolution from the standpoint, not of an activist, but of an individual burdened with the same anxieties about the profundity of life and scepticism of the mundane drudgery that is the reality we all share. Helping soften the blow of the dark emotional and heavy political themes is a sarcastic sense of humour that seldom eludes them. Their 2002 debut album on Gainesville's No Idea Records was called Reinventing Axl Rose, and contained such silly song titles as “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong”, and “Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious…” The bastards even wrote a song called “We Laugh at Danger” - but that was before they'd met me. Following the release of Reinventing Axl Rose they farwelled bassist Dustin Fridkin, and ever since then the line-up has remained solid: Thomas Gabel (guitar/vocals), James Bowman (guitar/vocals), Warren Oakes (drums) and Andrew Seward (bass). In 2003 they signed to pop punk label Fat Wreck Chords and recorded the absolutely monumental Against Me! As The
Eternal Cowboy album. With the best long stupid titles of their career (“Unsubstantiated Rumors Are Good Enough for Me To Base My Life Upon”, “Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists”, etc), and their most accessible batch of songs, … As The Eternal Cowboy found the band accused of selling out by the more righteous sections of their fanbase - fucking retards missed out on one of the best albums of the past 10 years! The second half of 2004 saw the foursome treat us Aussies to their supremely uplifting live shows for the first time. I can't remember leaving a gig with such an overwhelming positive charge as I did the night I saw them at the Annandale. Great songs, sing alongs and good times it was, with the crowd all joining onstage for anthemic closer, “Baby I'm An Anarchist”. For anyone who missed those shows, the We're Never Going Home DVD of last year gives a great insight into the atmosphere and energy of an Against Me! show. And, in addition to the live footage you get an even better handheld tour-documentary made at a time when Universal Records were sniffing around the group, trying to lure them away from Fat Wreck Chords. I won't spoilt the ending for you, but Against Me!'s latest Fat release, Searching For A Former Clarity, has just hit the shelves and is yet another thought-provoking modern punk masterpiece with only one really long jokey title, one which sums up the band quite well actually: “Even At Our Worst We're Still Better Than Most.” The following interview was conducted with Tom Gabel, who originally started the band as a solo acoustic side-project…
Against Me! was just you playing solo at the start wasn't it? Yeah, I was in another band and I started doing it with just an acoustic guitar and a four-track and some bad songs I recorded in my room. I never really expected anything to happen with it but my band broke up and I didn't have anything else so I started concentrating on that more. After a while I started playing with my friend, Kevin (Mahon), who had a homemade drum set and for a while it was just the two of us. Then eventually James (Bowman) started playing guitar and it all just naturally came together. It was never intended to be ongoing. And knowing exactly where it came from, just a stupid tape that I recorded on a four-track to something as ludicrous as being on Fat Wreck Chords, never ceases to blow my mind. Was it always your aim to stand out and create a niche? It's very important to me as a musician to be unique and creative and not try to cop anyone else's style. You can have your influences and the things you like and it's okay to build off those things but I think you have to challenge yourself. We took a lot of flack for …As The Eternal Cowboy in the beginning just because it didn't sound like everything else we'd done, but all my favourite artists and bands haven't written the same record over and over, they've taken different routes and tried to be challenging and interesting.
AGAINST ME! DISCOGRAPHY 2000: Against Me! 12” EP 2001: Crime as Forgiven By... 7” 2001: Against Me! 7” (aka “Jordan's 1st Choice”) 2001: Acoustic EP 2002: Reinventing Axl Rose 2002: The Disco Before the Breakdown 7” 2003: …As The Eternal Cowboy 2004: Cavalier Eternal 7” 2004: We're Never Going Home DVD 2005: Sink Florida Sink 7” 2005: Searching For A Former Clarity
Some of the …Eternal Cowboy songs like “Sink Florida Sink” and “Cavalier Eternal” could've easily found a massive audience; I often wonder why those songs didn't. That's definitely a huge complement. I could see why you would say that - they are catchy songs. You want to write about things that everyone can relate to and mixing in a political message with that you have to find some kind of human element in it that identifies you as a normal person so people aren't so put off. You don't want to be completely anti-social if you want to get people to listen to what you want to say. 'Cause people feel persecuted, and why are you going to listen to music when you feel judged? I'm very thankful for any audience that our songs can find and anyone who takes the time to listen to them I appreciate them. I can't really complain in any way. I wish more people would hear them but it is all just a natural growth. Maybe someday more people will listen to us maybe someday less will? The DVD focuses on your struggle with the decision of whether to stick with Fat or switch to Universal. It looked as though Universal wanted you guys bad, and it didn't seem like they wanted to change you or force you to be something else, so why not switch? With major labels, I don't think it is necessarily an intentional thing in wanting you to change, but it's definitely something that I recongise right now that even with this record, the level with where we are at compared with when we released …Eternal Cowboy has definitely changed. There are certain battles you have to fight in maintaining control of what you're doing that take a lot of your energy and a lot of your time and a lot of your focus. You really have to keep check of everybody working at a major label so they know how you want to be taken, and it's not a position I want to be in right now. I realise that had we signed to a major at that point we would not have been ready mentally to face all those challenges and maintain control over what we were doing. I think it would have destroyed our band. Even now with the level we're at, it's still a battle to maintain control over what we are doing, so we definitely made the right decision.
So you don't like the Ramones? I do like the Ramones (laughs). There are exceptions, I'm not talking totally blanket statements here! AC/DC, Motorhead, they're both still writing the same record! Yeah, but you can't fuck with AC/DC or Motorhead or the Ramones.
So did you want to put “Miami”, with the brass section, as the first track on Searching For A Former Clarity to let the people know straight away that album this would be different to …Eternal Cowboy? Yeah, there was that, and “Miami” lyrically just set a tone, it gave it this bleak, “everything is fucked” tone. Musically the songs are arranged Against Me!: (LtoR) James Bowman, Tom very specifically and they are in the order they Gabel, Andrew Seward, Warren Oakes are in to tell a story and get from point A to point being B point and beginning the being is B - point A You had the old Jawbox legend J Robbins produce the new album, which and the ending. It starts off very, “Everything is screwed, everything is collapsing it's bands who want to sound exactly like Jawbox usually because g interestin n. redemptio finds we're all going to die,” but by the end it hopefully that hire him. How did that come about? he It was Warren (Oakes)'s idea. I knew who J Robbins was, I knew the bands like don't you last; the on Sink” Florida “Sink record, this on “Miami” You've got he and fan real a was Warren bands. those with familiar so was in, but I wasn't the place do you? where definitely pioneered it. We were going through all our favourite records, saw sums It's a love/hate relationship I have. My friend Adam has a great tattoo that of recording at those places possibility the into look to tried then and recorded they and Florida of up our view on Florida. It's a tattoo on the back of his leg with a map or with those people. A lot of those places didn't exist anymore. Really, when a banner above and below which says, “Never Forget, Never Forgive”. approaching situations like that, even if it seems absurd and like it would never a happen you've really just got to pursue it just to see what would happen. I'm clear? seem to used things Why are you searching for a former clarity? Did that I was looking at their records with even so Queen, love I fan, Queen big really the of kind I don't know. I'm not sure that things ever were that clear. That's and going, “Let's try and record at these places 'cause these records sound a other end to that. I don't know how to explain the title. I started writing about time awesome!” But it ended up just working out right with J, he had some spare of thought I why r remembe don't I , beginning the at year and a half ago and I had it and we were the first band to record in the studio own his built just had he and a For g Searchin title the it. For the past year and a half I've been writing under studio. Working with him was a great, relaxing experience. record. Former Clarity and whatever came up under that context is what's on the said, was In the artwork it also says, “searching for a (rumored) former clarity”. As I At least two of the songs were ones that you played acoustic versions of there it ever clear? Did it ever make sense? Or were you just as unhappy or were you were on Stu Harvey's radio show Short. Fast. Loud. in Australia about when just as many problems back when? a year ago, “Joy” and “Holy Shit”, I don't even think they had names then. “Holy Shit” was always called “Holy Shit”, but “Joy” didn't have a name. can be Is your idea just to be the kind of band that writes and plays songs that scene? punk the just not and appreciated universally by everyone What a logical title, “Joy”! I thought you would've come up with some great to Completely. I think that's just a matter of survival. If you're limiting yourself monstrosity for it. 10-word only appeal to one group of people that's just suicide. To be honest, my least favourite part of making records is when it comes titles. the 'Cause you gotta name the songs, unfortunately, but I don't fucking care about from The DVD, We're Never Going Home, gives an insight into that when Vanessa way it sounds and playing them. We always just the about care just I names, song whether be to want you band Fat says at one point that you can be the kind of end up being like, “Fuck, what are we going to name these songs?” you're on Fat or Universal - is that your feeling? I don't know necessarily. That's one of the things that is very frustrating about How did you like Australia when you were here? that being in a band in that the context people perceive you in is sometimes very It was awesome, and I'm not just saying that. Coming from Florida it wasn't would I or band, punk a d frustrating and limiting. I would hate to just be considere in a different part of Florida were we like seemed just it shock, culture a of much to going hate the idea of someone thinking that because I'm on X label I'm only that hanging out. I mean, we're used to the weather, we're used to the attitude d sound X way. It's so frustrating sometimes because you want to be considere s whatever' cool the is which beach, the on living are they people get when band. I individual 'cause that's what you are. You want to be considered a unique Florida. happening is happening attitude. So it was great. It was like a big island of don't want to belong to any club or anything like that. I want to be doing something Australia. to move definitely could I that is completely original to us.
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What is the situation with Fugazi at the moment? The four of us are in touch, we speak to each other regularly. The family still exists we're just not working at all. Brendan (Canty) and his wife had their third child - they already had a 5-year old and a 3-year old - so he just really wanted to take some time out. And since Fugazi from the very beginning has always maintained that if anyone leaves the band then that's the end of the band, we asked him, “Are you quitting?” He said, “I don't want to quit but I just cannot work right now.” So we said, “Okay then, we'll just put the band on a hiatus and we'll see what happens.” Congratulations on getting the Dischord Records boxset out for the 20th Anniversary. Thanks, that was an enormous amount of work. I'm not someone that celebrates anniversaries, but from my point of view, the reason that box set was so satisfying was not like, “Wow, look what we've done,” but I felt like it was an important statement because from the very beginning of the label people repeatedly told us that our approach to music, our approach to business, our approach to our label and our approach to our community was idealistic and unrealistic. But they're wrong. People said, “Well, you can get away with this now but at some point you're going to have to get real.” And I think after two decades, I suspect this kinda counts as real. The fact of the matter is the label has stayed in the black almost the entire time. We're not rich by any means, but we stayed in the black and we have people working for us who all have health care and retirement funds and I think it's quite a close crew of people. I think what we represent is the possibility of the denial of the American way of business. It's not just the American way but they really have expertise in thinking only about the profit and I think there's other ways of doing things. They think profit has to do with money all the time but there are plenty of other types of profit in business. Is it hard being the label guy and holding back from ramming stuff down people's throats? The thing with Minor Threat was, and with Fugazi for that matter, obviously I was interested in people hearing my music otherwise I wouldn't have made it. Obviously I wanted to play to as many people as possible, that's why I made records and played shows. I was interested in pushing the music but what I was not interested in doing was hyping it. I wasn't trying to sell it. I wanted to expose people to it and if they wanted to hear it, great, the more the merrier. In terms of having a record label it's a little bit trickier because it's not my music necessarily, so I feel a little more challenged in how I should present each record. I don't want to hype people's music, I don't want to tell people, “This is good, you have to buy it.” I'll tell you right now one-on-one that the Black Eyes are a great band, but I'm not going to make an advertisement that says that. I have a philosophy in advertising, which is, advertisements with no adjectives. The idea is to let people know the records exist but not tell them how they're supposed to feel about them. I think that it's a little bit tricky for me because I'm obviously enthusiastic about the bands that are on my label; I love them, that's why I put their records out and I want people to know that. But I don't want to use merely my leverage or my reputation or whatever to sell a record, I want the music to be central. So I do think we have a limited approach to promotions and although we may underplay it a little bit I think on balance we contribute a far smaller slice of the incredible waste that goes into over-hyping and over-promoting records. I know people who send out 1000 or 1500 promos of an album that they end up selling 700 of. That's just obscene. If we had hyped our records harder we may have gotten the message out and helped more people hear them, but you just can't compare it to the kind of wastefulness that goes on the other side of it. The world is full of trash I don't want to add to it. CDs and records are plastic and paper trash with no intrinsic value unless people listen to them. I am not really interested in creating another pile of fucking trash. If 100 people want to hear this record I want to make 100 copies. If there's 100,000 I want to make 100,000 copies. I want to make as many as are necessary, I'd rather make less than more quite frankly.
THE EVENS. IAN MACKAYE INTERVIEW BY
What was the main thing you felt putting together the Minor Threat First Demo Tape CD and the DVD releases last year? Those guys were a great band and I mean that really, sincerely. One thing about working on that stuff, when we recorded it I was in the band, I wrote a lot of the songs, so that music was personal to me and my perspective of the band was obviously biased. But the four of us had a really intense relationship, we didn't get along great, we fought all the time. We were kids, Brian (Baker) was 15 when we started playing. So we would argue all the time, we were freaking out about all kinds of stuff that was going on at the time, we were freaking out just growing up. There was so much frustration and we got so angry with one other that in a lot of ways I never had the chance to get a clear view of that band. 20 years later when I started to work on the boxset I came across the first Minor Threat demo and listening to it, what struck me was what good players those guys were. When we recorded that first demo we had only been playing together for about a month and a half and it was only a couple of weeks after our first show. So the fact that those guys were playing so solidly at that point already is pretty astounding, and I'm not talking about me, I'm talking about the three of them (Brian Baker - bass, Lyle Preslar - guitar and Jeff Nelson - drums). And again, when I was working on the DVD, just to watch them from an objective point of view, or at least a more objective point of view, was really fascinating. And it was exciting in the sense that I just thought, wow they're fucking great.
Minor Threat show, when I watch that it freaks me out because I can see that my reflexes are slightly off the whole time. I'm slow, I'm in pain, you can see when people bump into me I'm totally grimacing. I passed out on the way home and they got me into bed but I was such a wreck I couldn't move for three days after that.
Was that Buff Hall show so intense because there were bands from all different areas creating like a factional thing, or were all Minor Threat shows like that? That's early American punk, man, that's the way it was. The hardcore scene was seriously driven and intense and that tension always existed. When punk first started it was confrontational but it was a kind of a creatively confrontational thing and I think for a lot us kids, we were happy, we were just goofing off. Like, we were happy being weirdos and dressing silly and doing funny things with our hair, but we had no idea of how furious society would be about it, how ugly they would get about it and how aggressive they would be. You have to take into consideration the fact that it was the kind of thing where you were walking down the street and people were just jumping out of cars and beating you up. It was really incredible. The United States in 1980 was not the same as it is now by any stretch of the imagination. It was a revolution, a cultural revolution, and any time you have change of that order taking place you're going to have friction and when you get friction, you're going to get problems. So what started to develop was, to defend ourselves from outside attacks On the Minor Threat DVD there is a people started to develop more bootleg of a show at Buff Hall in defensive postures and it Camden, New Jersey, which is became more aggressive and absolutely off the chain. that started to blend into the What a nutty show, huh? That show music. In a way it became was crazy. I seriously got hit by a car more of a boys thing because before it. We played with SSD Control it just got to be more and more from Boston. We had driven up from violent. There was a period of Washington that day, which is about time where every show you three hours, they were driving from would go to there would be a Boston, which is five or six hours. So I fight, without fail, and not just was standing out in the street talking one, people were fighting all to some people, there were some kids the time. And initially it was skating, it was in a really crappy punks against jocks or punks neighbourhood, and SSD Control pulled against rednecks, but then it up in their van. I walked out to tell became infiltrated because them what was going on, they were people were mad, they were friends of mine, and I was standing by frustrated, and soon it became the car door talking to the guy driving, part of the proceedings. Al, and at that point I heard a car Violence can be a really moving pretty quick and I looked down provocative, exciting form of the street and see this car barreling communication - at least it's a Spooking out the fans with Minor Threat towards us. I said to the kids very direct form of skateboarding, “Y'all better watch out this communication - but it's a stupid guy's coming pretty fast.” And I squeezed up against the one ultimately because it doesn't have anything to offer door as close as I could get to give as wide a berth as other than itself. That violence resulted in the stripping away possible, even though there was plenty of room to get past. of the most vital aspects of the scene. Obviously a lot of But as the guy approached we were all looking at him and women bailed out, they were just like, “This is ridiculous,” he just centered his car and hit the van head on. The front and a lot of men felt the same. They were not interested in half of his car hit the front half of the van and I was standing right in the crux of that and all I remember is seeing an orange light go in a big circle and a giant explosion. When I came to I was in the field position behind the van, my left shoe was 40 feet down the street and I had hit my head so hard. Some kids apparently grabbed the guy out of his car but when they were trying to help me he got back in and drove off. I was sitting there waiting for an ambulance to come and one of the kids there said, “How did you know what to do?” I said, “What are you talking about?” And he said, “The moment the car hit the van, you grabbed the roof of the van and you jumped straight up in the air so that the grille of the car passed underneath your feet because your feet hit the windshield.” I have no recollection of this at all. I went to the hospital and they checked me out and they're like, “It's a miracle, but you're fine.”
“If 100 people
Did the doctors say not to play the show? Yeah, they did, but one thing about me is the gig, I gotta do the gig. In fact it wasn't until fucking Australia with Fugazi that I ever had to cancel a gig because of my health. It was in Sydney in '96, I was too sick. I was in St. Vincent's Hospital for two weeks, I was definitely out of it. But this
IAN MACKAYE DISCOGRAPHY 1980: Teen Idles - Minor Disturbance EP (Dischord #1) 1981: Minor Threat - Minor Threat EP (Dischord #3) 1981: Minor Threat - In My Eyes EP (Dischord #5) 1983: Minor Threat - Out Of Step EP (Dischord #10) 1985: Minor Threat - Salad Days EP [Recorded 1983] (Dischord #15) 1986: Egg Hunt - Me and You/ We All Fall Down 7” (Dischord #20) 1987: Embrace - Embrace [Recorded 85-86] (Dischord #24) 1988: Pailhead - I Will Refuse 12” (WaxTrax) 1988: Minor Threat - Live Video VHS [Recorded 80-83] (Dischord #27) 1988: Fugazi - Fugazi EP (Dischord #30) 1988: Pailhead - Trait EP (WaxTrax) 1989: Fugazi - Margin Walker EP (Dischord #35) 1989: Fugazi - 13 Songs [Compilation of Fugazi and Margin Walker ] (Dischord #36) 1990: Minor Threat - Complete Discography [Recorded 80-83] (Dischord #40) 1990: Fugazi - 3 Songs 7” (Dischord #43) 1990: Fugazi - Repeater (Dischord #44) 1991: Fugazi - Steady Diet Of Nothing (Dischord #60) 1992: Skewbald/Grand Union Skewbald/Grand Union 7” [Recorded 81] (Dischord #50) 1993: Fugazi - In On The Kill Taker (Dischord #70) 1999: Fugazi - Instrument: A film by Jem Cohen and Fugazi [Shot 87-98] (Dischord #80) 1995: Fugazi - Red Medicine (Dischord #90) 1998: Fugazi - End Hits (Dischord #110) 1999: Fugazi - Instrument Soundtrack [Recorded 88-98] (Dischord #120) 2001: Fugazi - Furtniture + 2 EP (Dischord #129) 2001: Fugazi - The Argument (Dischord #130) 2002: Various Artists - 20 Years Of Dischord boxset compilation [Recorded 80-00] (Dischord #125) 2003: Minor Threat - First Demo Tape EP [Recorded 80] (Dischord #140) 2004: Minor Threat - DVD [Recorded 80-83] (Dischord #27a) 2005: The Evens - The Evens (Dischord #150)
want to hear th is
want to mak e 1 0 0 c o p i e s. If there's 100,000 I w a nt to make 100,00 c o p i e s. I'd rathe 0 r make
less than more quite frankly.” 23
violence. Violence dumbed down the scene in a way and it became so clear to me early on, but it took years and years and years for that violence to get out. People have often accused Fugazi of admonishing their crowds and all, but ultimately it was the only thing that could be done because violence had become so ritualistic by the time we started that every show we'd have guys beating other guys up for wearing red t-shirts or whatever, just the most ridiculous reasons in the world. We had to step up and say something because we're human beings. If I'm in a restaurant and someone starts punching the fuck out of somebody I am going to say something, and if I'm onstage and someone starts punching the fuck out of somebody I am going to say something. We were definitely not the soundtrack for violence. What's your take on the modern hardcore scene? I mean, I hear a lot of that stuff and I can see the connection but it doesn't strike me as what I consider punk. I am always interested in hearing what the kids are excited about but the one thing I tend to notice about a lot of young bands is they don't seem to have a direct vision, they have the sound and the look down. I think that probably all over the world in garages and basements there is some pretty amazing stuff going on done by kids, but it's really difficult to say anything about it until I see those bands. The bands I see mostly are like, y'know, they're being presented through their video or something and it just doesn't make any sense. For us it was like being in a club or a street gang, we were looking for a family because mostly kids in the 1970s, at least the ones I was involved with, were really disenfranchised and marginalised in society.
MacKaye wonders how long this Fugazi hiatus will last
to I “Obviously if I wanted could put together a very loud band and do
coming from exactly the same place. What compelled me to be in Minor Threat is what compels me to be in The Evens.
Fugazi, The baritone guitar music more consistent with gives the sound something different. r no Mi th wi t en ist ns or more co The track “If It's Water” works well because of ay pl d those strange bass Threat, I'm su re I co ul
tr ad iti on al ve nu es an d t. re al ly pa ck th e jo in ts ou
Do you give a shit that Straight Edge as a movement continues today? I think that it's an incredible phenomenon but it's something that I can't claim other than coining the phrase. Somehow it continues and that's incredible. I don't have anything bad to say about it at all, I'm pretty blown away by it. Like all things there are aspects of it which are really fucked up, and the more intolerant aspects are something I am not interested in, but I think that 95% of the people into what they call Straight Edge are really just people trying to do good things in their lives. They are not trying to be bad people. But like most things in this world, the violent ones get all the attention. So when you ask me that question and does it bother me, the only thing that bothers me are the fundamentalists. The other kids who say, “I don't want to wreck my body up, I don't want to use drugs,” I don't think they're bad people.
frequencies that leap out. It's a really interesting instrument. It's an instrument that as I understand was initially created with surf music in mind. But I think it didn't really work out for the surf people because it's kind of a clumsy thing. Instead of being loud it's very hard to make clear chords that allow volume. So it ended up being used primarily in spaghetti westerns - Clint Eastwood movies and stuff have been the baritone guitar's only application. Bands here and there have used them, but as an instrument most bands find it difficult to use. Because of the fact we're a two-piece and because of the fact that both Amy and I are attached to the low end it was perfect for us.
But that's not interesting to me.”
Why did you start up the Evens with Amy? I've known Amy for a dozen years and we were dear friends and we always talked about playing music together; it just seemed like a good idea. But then when we actually did play music together we realised that it wasn't a good idea it was a great idea. I think she's an incredible musician but she's also an incredible thinker, so I'm really happy to be able to work with her. Bands are relationships and what comes out of a band is sort of what the people in the band are like when they create together, a separate entity of the relationship. But there is no way to know. I didn't know that Amy and I would connect like that, we just wanted to play together and it felt really good. Would you have got The Evens record out this fast with without Fugazi on hiatus? I don't know, I can't answer that because Fugazi is on hiatus so there's no way to really say. It's not like Fugazi is steering the whole ship here. Fugazi is just a reality and whatever it's doing that's what it is. But whatever Amy and I are doing is what we're doing; it's a real band. It's not a side-project it is a band, it's what the two of us are doing together. The Evens seems like something a bit different for you. It's the same to me. I don't think of this as being different to anything else I've done, other than the obvious aspect that it is different to anything I've ever done; but not the sound, the person is different. It's not 1981 and it's not Brian and Lyle and Jeff. It's 2005 and it's Amy, so it's a different reality. But for me it's
Some of The Evens’ lyrics have the same aggressive tone of your earlier stuff, but the delivery is so sweet. Do you find lyrics can have more power when they are delivered calmly as opposed to shouting them like you're really pissed off at the world? I don't know, do you? I think sometimes, yeah. When you whisper, “I don't like to speak ill of the dead…” in “All These Governors”, that made me start listening for the lyrics. When you're really yelling something, it has its effect, but sometimes if you say something really quietly it has more gravity. If you and I are having a conversation and I'm just yelling in your face then it would certainly affect you, it would have its results. If I'm speaking to you very quietly, you might feel more inclined to lean in and listen and maybe then be a part of the conversation. That's a way of thinking about it. I've often been accused of being angry, which is
The icy cold Evens just chillin’
Give me back the mic Henry, you ‘roid rager, you! interesting because on the one hand, of course I'm angry, there's a lot of stuff in this world to be angry about. But I think people who say I'm angry are basing that on a misunderstanding. They see me playing music in Fugazi and they think that I'm angry because of my body or because of the way I'm yelling, they're not taking into account that the music's extremely loud and extremely physical and it's hard work - exertion is playing a role in this. I was never angry to be in Fugazi, I always loved being in Fugazi, so it wasn't just that I was screaming at the tops of my lungs because I was angry; I was passionate. There's confusion about that. If I have anger, it's more about the injustice and the cruelty and things in this world that could be so easily avoidable if people would just reconnect to the fact that they are of the world, not just for themselves. When I read the lyrics on paper they read the same, like you've never changed your stance even since you were a kid; but I didn't think you sounded like you at first. Some people who know me might think it sounds much more like me. Last time we spoke to each other did I scream at the top of my lungs? This band is just the music we're making. I understand that some people are like, “Well, I'm not really into quieter music.” Cool! I think there's more than enough offerings of very loud bombastic music out there so anyone who is not interested in what The Evens are doing have a lot of other things to choose from. The bio I got says you play libraries, coffeeshops and churches; do you get Fugazi fans packing into these places? No, because we don't advertise it as Fugazi. We're The Evens and I think because we're playing off the beaten track… If we were playing really traditional venues, if we were participating in the general public relations game, then I think we would have that. Obviously if I wanted to I could put together a very loud band and do music more consistent with Fugazi, or more consistent with Minor Threat, they are really different kinds of music, I'm sure I could play traditional venues and really pack the joints out. But that's not interesting to me. What's interesting to me is playing with Amy and letting The Evens be a real band and playing our music in the right setting. I understand that we all carry our past in a sack on our back, so I understand that people will connect me to what I've done, but I hope they won't be so consumed with that that they'll miss out on the idea that I'm still doing. I'm not living in the past and I hope nobody else is either.
Kit Containment. by s ew vi er int m To ppy Ha d an y bo ro Turbonegro. Eu
urbonegro are fucking wrong. They're wronger than George Bush ever was. They've already wrapped up the Wrongest Band of The Century Award and there's still 95 years to go. I don't even know what the fucking question was but Turbonegro are wrong. In terms of pure, polyunsaturated wrongliness only Michael Jackson can compete. “Every time I walk down the street (Erection) / When I see a woman that I'd like to beat (Erection) / I think of blood, I think of love (Erection) / I think of blood, I think of love (Erection) / Oh, oh, oh, I Got Erection!” - from “I Got Erection” (Ass Cobra 1996). A bunch of wrongdoers? Yes. A bunch of hard rockers? Fuck yeah! Lemme hear you say fuck ja! Turbonegro hard klippe anal kjønn huler utlendinger som dør aldri!!! Wronger than an online English-to-Norwegian translator, mate. So, so wrong, and yet so fucking right, Turbonegro is the greatest rock 'n' roll band of our age. While their latest album, Party Animals - the follow up to 2003's comeback effort Scandinavian Leather - could never hope to recapture the same magic and innocence that spawned their dual nineties masterpieces, Ass Cobra (1996) and Apocalypse Dudes (1998), it is yet another slab of Turbo-charged uber-rock to appease their frighteningly devoted following the Turbojugend. Slickly produced by Steve McDonald of Redd Kross and featuring guest appearances by Keith Morris (Circle Jerks, Black Flag), Nick Oliveri (QOTSA, Mondo Generator) and a 50-piece symphony orchestra, it boasts some of Turbo's cheekiest humour (“If You See Kaye”), catchiest choruses (“Blow Me Like The Wind”) and dumbest riffs (“City Of Satan”) yet. If Ass Cobra was the Sticky Fingers of the Turbo discography, Apocalypse Dudes the Exile On Main Street and Scandinavian Leather the Emotional Rescue, then Party Animals is the Tattoo You. It still has all the classic hallmarks and really shines in patches, but in the scheme of things is just a reason for Turbo to bring their monolithic live show back past our way again. Bring it on - I still know it all off by heart. Here are two separate interviews I did, one with bassist and the captain of the ship, Happy Tom, and one with guitarist Euroboy.
“I remember hearing “Search and Destroy” by Iggy and the Stooges as a kid and feeling like I was in rock shock. I was blinded by rock and it's a very electric experience and that's an element we're always going for. We want it to be like a fucking firework.” - Euroboy
The most memorable show I saw on Turbonegro's Australian tour in 2003 was in front of that crowd of hostile rednecks in Newcastle (NSW). Well the thing about Turbonegro is that there is several layers of quality in what we do, so we can win over almost any audience. I don't know how we would do at a reggae festival in Jamaica or in a hotel bar, but basically we can blow the minds of any crowd. Great songs, pretty sharp lyrics, and then you've also got really fucking cool stage outfits and some theatrics onstage, like throwing a bucket of blood on people and we rip a pillow apart and there's feathers all over the place so it's almost like the audience is getting tarred and feathered by Turbonegro.
in Oslo during holidays so we put a party band together from '93 to '95, when I was around 18 or 19. We only played cover material, a bunch of classic rock stuff like Cheap Trick, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, y'know, and it sounded good so we decided to write some stuff and go into the studio. Tom had the riff for “Good Head” and to me it sounded like a typical Turbonegro song. It could have been on Ass Cobra, it had the typical Turbo drive if you know what I mean by that. So I suggested we throw in this huge solo at the end and have a big AC/DC ending on it, Tom had the title and then I threw in that “Whoa Whoa Whoa Whoa Whoa Whoa” and we wrote the lyrics together and it turned out to be an awesome song. It quickly became the killer song in the Vikings' set - everybody loved it. Then Pål left Turbonegro and went traveling in Asia and in Australia and for a while after Ass Cobra Turbo were split up. Then they got offered to do some well-paid festivals and Tom asked me if I wanted to be Pål's substitute for the summer and I said yes. I remember on my way down to the venue on my first show he just says, “Go and pick up a white cowboy hat, I think we're gonna call you Euroboy.” I was nervous because I had been told to grow a moustache because at that time everyone in the band had moustaches. It was a much meaner and hard gay image. Have you ever seen those Tom of Finland drawings? Of guys grinding in leather and stuff? Yeah, that's what they were trying to look like back then, so I came down there and I said, “Hey I'm sorry guys I can't even grow a moustache.” After two weeks I looked like what a Pakistani 12-year old boy would look like in a wedding photo.
The feathers is such a cool touch. Yeah, I love that part because Hank (Von Helvete) usually rips the pillow during “Prince of the Rodeo”, which is where I like to climb up on Pål (Pot Pamparius)'s shoulders to do my rodeo dance with a towel and my guitar. That is a great moment. I always get the feeling when the pillow is torn apart and there are hands in the air and lights and the feathers are everywhere, it reminds me somehow of a western movie and a bar fight in a saloon. I think I hear some banjos and some mandolin and ragtime piano in the euphoric crescendo at the end of the song. We first did that in '97 and still now if I ever walk into a place we once played and we did the pillow thing I'm sure I'm gonna find one feather somewhere. We have left our mark on clubs around the world with that.
We call that “bum fluff”. Bum fluff, alright - that's a good word! So I brought a little make up and we put on some make-up and after a while that took over as the thing because the guys were getting sick of having a moustache. It was cool to have it when you were at the show and onstage but back in those days it was up to five weeks between
The shit Hank says in between songs in the live set is pure genius. If there is one true genius in Turbonegro it is Happy Tom. He is the guy who founded the band originally and while there is talent all over this band and I may be the most musically gifted and Hank the most crazy, Happy Tom is the visionary and the captain of the ship. But on the other hand, nobody could have done it alone. When Hank joined before Ass Cobra it took things to another level, then when you joined for Apocalypse Dudes it seemed to go up again. I brought in some new ideas, man, and I tried to unleash what I knew was already there. At the time I joined they didn't have the musical ability to bring in the classic rock elements that they wanted to, like blazing guitar solos and more cocky sing-along choruses. But on the other hand, the scene wasn't ready for that either. This was 1996 and that was still a couple of years before everybody started to spread their legs and go down on their knees in a guitar hero pose. When we started doing it it was quite radical and the way it happened was, me and Tom played together in a band called the Vikings with Steve Baise from a cool New York band called the Devil Dogs. Steve was married to a Norwegian girl so he used to be
Pre Euroboy Turbo
every show and I don't think their girlfriends' dug it that much. So after a while everybody started shaving them off and we started to put on a little make-up and we started to play “Good Head” in our set and we went into a new direction that was more rock 'n' roll and more glam. We just became a lot more flashy and then we wrote a couple of new songs like “Prince of the Rodeo”, which started out sounding like Motorhead to my ears, and then I added that riff, which fitted perfectly over the chords. Tom was like, “Hey, don't make it too difficult, because remember Pål's gotta play it when he gets back.” I said, “No, no, relax, it sounds maybe a little difficult but it isn't.” Which is a fuckin' lie because to this day I have heard lots of people try to play that riff and nobody can get it quite right. So when Pål came back I tried to learn him the “Prince of the Rodeo” riff but he just couldn't figure it out because he hadn't played guitar for six months, so the band decided to keep me in and Pål was going to dance and play keyboards and be all over the place, but these days he's back on guitar for the new stuff. That's how I came to be in the band and that's how the band changed from being a really nasty punk band somewhere between Slayer and Venom and Abba to be what we are today. What it sounds like now is like intergalactic rock 'n' roll, like punk from outer space. We always want our stuff to be hypnotic or a little magic, and my urge a lot of the time is to blind people with rock, you know what I mean? When you hear some amazing rock like say “Search and Destroy” by Iggy and the Stooges. They rock so hard with Iggy's screaming vocals and [James] Williamson's screeching guitar during that fade-out, I remember hearing that as a kid and feeling like I was in rock shock. I was blinded by rock and it's a very electric experience and that's an element we're always going for. We want it to be like a fucking firework. Turbonegro songs all have such great singalong bits that work so well live. Miles Davis once said, “If it sounds good, it is good.” That's a mantra for me and I think the crowd is going to like it if it sounds good. Tom is
fascinated with a lot of pop music and keeps a close ear on stuff. Like, if he hears something like Evanescence he pays attention to it and asks, “Why do 14-year old kids dig this, what's the hook?” If he hears a new Christina Aguilera track, he's listening to the chord structure, like, “Where's the magic?” I'm more trying to push it in the direction of cool rock in terms of influences and references, he really wants to communicate with a huge audience and that's why on every Turbo track you will hear something you can sing along to. Some of the lyrics are hilarious and sometimes I have a problem controlling myself and staying as Euroboy as well. I just think “Age of Pamparius” is fucking great and sometimes I have to turn my back on the audience and sing along too. How do you bring something new as a classic rock influenced guitarist? Rock, and especially hard rock and punk, is basically about good riffs. What makes a good riff is a certain feeling, a certain attitude. Y'know, it is hard to write a good new punk song today because the best stuff has been taken, the best chords have been used. At the start of modern rock you have a band like the Beatles who had a lot of technicalities in there in regards to the writing and arranging and use of orchestra and stuff, whereas with a band like the Rolling Stones it's more about the vibe and the feeling you get from the groove. You close your eyes and you can just visualise a scenario and that's almost taken to the extreme when it comes to hard rock music. You need to come up with the shit that has a nasty groove, and that is why someone like the Stooges are so classic and why people are still listening to it. Those riffs, man, they're just on another level; they're just from another world. For Turbo, James Williamson is my big influence and I think it's a shame how underrated he is as a guitar player. There has been lots of stuff on Iggy and the Stooges written these days but James Williamson is never mentioned. There's a lot of resentment that Ron Asheton was forced to go play bass. Oh yeah, well I'm a huge bass fan.
Hi Tom how are you? Fine, how are you? Oh man, it's 6:30 in the morning here, I'm drinking soluble aspirin, it was a big night last night. What are you up to? It's nighttime here in Norway; I'm watching TV. My girlfriend just made me suffer through my first complete episode of Sex & the City. I thought it would be cooler if it were called Anal Sex & the City. Ah, who needs Sex & The City, I can hear girls talking dirty anytime. Yeah, it's all about high heels and dildos - same as Kylie Minogue. Or Turbonegro. Speaking of which, let's talk about your new record. It is the third album in the Apocalypse trilogy. The first was Apocalypse Dudes, which was about sex and pizza. Scandinavian Leather was the second one; that was about nature and survival. Now the third one is Party Animals and it's about war. The title changed from Babylon Forever to Party Animals, why? There was even a pre-release website at www.babylonforever.com but that has been taken down. We knew quite a long time ago that it was going to be called Party Animals we just wanted to create some misunderstandings, as always. When you put it in context with the cover and the themes of the songs it's much darker. We had some other working titles too, Babylon Forever was just one of the titles. We had another one called A Rush Of Blood To The Penis, and there was Post-Ejaculation Depression… Your new outfits are a nice change. People were asking about our gay image and calling us a gay band and we were like, “What are you talking about?” Then I realised that it's just because we are really, really good looking, people assume we have a gay image. That's wrong! That's sexist! So with our new image we represent a precise cross-section of the Norwegian workforce. Because Norway has been this wealthy oil nation for 30 years now, nobody has traditional jobs anymore; everyone is in the service sector. So Chris (Summers - drums) is the rollerskating gangster. Hank (Von Helvete - vocals) is the warlord from the deep forest. Rune (Rebellion - guitar) is a professional best man at weddings. Euroboy (guitar) is the totalitarian guitar hero. I am decks boy and a gentleman. And Pål (Pot Pamparius - keyboard/guitar)'s day job is as a Michael Hutchence look-alike but with a German helmet. It's Michael Hutchence with a twist. It's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it.
looking. This album is about the weekend and the war, or you could call it the final weekend, which is a really cheap metaphor for death. You know we've got the Norwegian National Radio Orchestra on two tracks. Some of the strings on “Final Warning” are just like, fucking hell! Ha ha ha. It is a fifty-piece orchestra; it was huge.
New-Look Dudes: (LtoR) Chris Summers [aka Christer Engen], Happy Tom [aka Thomas Seltzer], Hank Von Helvete [aka Hans Erik Dyvik Husby], Euroboy [aka Knut Schreiner], Pål Pot Pamparius [aka Pål Bøttger Kjaerness], Rune Rebellion [aka Rune Grønn] Can we expect these outfits in the live show? Yeah, we even have duplicates so we can wash them occasionally. That's the benefit of being the biggest underground rock 'n' roll band in the world, is that now, in addition to making money, we can have a clean outfit every now and then. We might work some costume changes into the live show, or we may not, because I think people are expecting us to go there and maybe we shouldn't, maybe we should just keep it stale and static? Musically, Party Animals is similar to stuff you've done before, did it feel like a continuation of deathpunk? We stopped calling it deathpunk and we started calling it rainbow rock because it was for freedom and shit, but now we just call it super rock. It's a dark record in a way, but it's also much more in your face, much more accessible, much more urgent and much more bubblegum than the stuff we've done before. I think it's very negative in a beautiful way. The label [Burning Heart] came over from Sweden to listen to the rough mixes and try to figure out which song should be the first single, and after they listened to it twice they decided there are eight singles on this record.
TURBONEGRO DISCOGRAPHY 1989: [as TRBNGR] Computech CS + Route Zero 7” 1990: [as TRBNGR] Turboloid EP 1990: [as TRBNGR] Route Zero 7" 1991: [as TRBNGR] Vaya Con Satan 7” 1992: [as TRBNGR] Hot Cars and Spent Contraceptives 1993: [as Stierkampf] Grunge Whore10” 1994: Never Is Forever 1995: Denim Demon 7” 1995: Bad Mongo 7” 1995: Stinky Fingers split 10” w/Flying Crap 1995: Split 7” w/Anal Babes 1995: [as Turboneger] I Got Erection 7” 1996: Ass Cobra 1996: Prince Of The Rodeo 7” 1997: Suffragette City 7” 1998: Apocalypse Dudes 1998: Get It On 7” picture disc 1999: Darkness Forever - Live 1999: Turbonegro: The Movie VHS/DVD 2001: Love It To Deathpunk - The Life and Times of Turbonegro 2001: [V/A] Alpha Motherfuckers - A Tribute to Turbonegro 2003: Scandinavian Leather 2003: Fuck The World (F.T.W) 7” 2003: Locked Down 7” 2003: Sell Your Body (To The Night) 7” 2005: The Res-Erection DVD 2005: Party Animals
So what did they come up with for the first one? They don't really have a say because we have a very special record contract. But the first single is going to be “High On The Crime”, then, I don't know, we'll see where it goes from there. We could keep releasing singles from this record for three years. We could probably tour on this record for three years too, so…
You say it's more accessible, Euroboy told me you are interested in pop music and pay a lot of attention to things like Evanescence. Yeah, but I think that sounds kind of calculated. I think at the heart of many great punk bands there is a pop sensibility, and at the heart of good pop there's that punk rock sensibility. I think the reason the Swedes have put out great music is that they approach pop as if it were rock 'n' roll and they approach rock 'n' roll as if it were pop. And at the root of all great rock and punk there is a certain pop sensibility. With the Australian tradition there is a lot of that sensibility too. We're as much into Phil Spector as we are into Discharge. Some of the tracks on the record could be early Van Halen or Judas Priest, but you have the Runaways and Black Flag and some good Rolling Stones in there too. So it's yet another attempt to make the perfect rock 'n' roll record, and I think since Ass Cobra we've tried that and this is like our fourth perfect rock 'n' roll record. So we'll just keep turning those records out, especially now with this huge popularity we've gained in these past few years. I think it's hard to dislike us because what we're doing is really good. All the funny hats and silly make-up aside, we're a classic rock 'n' roll band and we shouldn't be too modest to not say that.
“Thatrifffrom“City OfSatan”islikethe riff youwritewhenyou're12yearsold,thesecond day afterChristmasafteryougotyour electricguitar.”-HappyTom first
Lyrically on Party Animals there's not as much homoeroticism, did you deliberately downplay that this time? Well we're not gay we're just really good
The main “I Love Rock 'n' Roll”-style riff in “City of Satan” seems like something you would've come up with in rehearsal, was it? No, I came up with the sort of main riff there, me and Euroboy and Chris usually figure out how to approach the songs. Most of the stuff we do is rather simple but we just arrange it to get more bang for the buck. We knew we would have the symphony orchestra on there so we had that up our sleeve. But that riff from “City Of Satan” is like the riff you write when you're 12-years old, the second day after Christmas after you got your first electric guitar. I only have a promo version of the album so far but there is some insane dude from Serbia who delivers a rant at the end of the disc... Yeah! That is so fuckin' good, is that just on the promo version? No, that's going to be on the actual record. That's genius, man. Is that you or Hank? It's a guy up here, Boyan Milankovich, he's a real Serb; he's insane. It's scary. You start off by laughing at it but halfway through you realise that it's not scripted and it gets uncomfortable. We've played it for people, some pretty tough people have heard it and they call me the next day and say, “Man, that Serb, I had fucking nightmares.” I play it for my black metal friends and they think it's the scariest thing they've ever heard. We out evil-ed fifteen years of Norwegian black metal with a fourminute spoken word piece. Speaking of black metal, tell me about your role in “black metal supergroup” SCUM. That was Samoth from Satyricon - who I've hung out with - he hung out with Casey Chaos (Amen) a lot and they wanted to put this band together so they asked me. So I played on some of the songs on the record and it was great playing with Samoth and Faust and those guys, and it was fun playing some metal too. Even though it's kind of complicated compared to our songs, where you can have five or six packs of beer and still play them. That was like my jazz odyssey. I think you being in the band gave the project a different level of interest than if it were just black metal dudes. I think that's why they put the band together that way. Those Emperor guys were into hardcore punk back in the day and so it's like the ultimate crossover project. It has a punkish touch to it but it's very heavy. Faust plays great drums and it just sounds amazing. So is Turbonegro ever coming to Australia again, I got the impression that you didn't have much fun last time? Oh really? I loved it. That was the end of a six-week tour and I was in bad shape, but I really liked it. I think we will go back next year. All we want is some champagne and some caviar and some money and we'll go over. Our cocaine is really bad; I wouldn't come here for it either. That's a problem y'know…
UNBELIEVABLY Shocking CD #1
Cut-Out Cover!!! Contents:
! Beasts Of Bourbon - The Low Road @ Bird Blobs - Gettin' Ready To Crawl A Long # Blood Duster - Looking Forward To Toxic Death $ Grand Fatal - Baker Boy indavalanche % Children's Hospital - Typhoonwhirlw ^ The Holy Soul - Roadmaster & The Scare - Skeleton That Breathes A Dudewolf * Blacklevel Embassy - Evolution Of ( Six-Foot Hick - I Got The Swamp ) Sugar Kane - Beach Romp Sex Party FOLD
!! The Nation Blue - Chase Music !@ Gazoonga Attack - Junky Music !# Further - Snakes & Ghouls - I Wanna Go To !$ Steve Towson & The Conscripts Indonesia Baby !% The Colytons - Argument/I Want You Kiss !^ Group Seizure - Smoke Is A Poison d !& Tucker Bs - Lord We Are Your Playlor bon Device Rib !* Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic - Berlin ey Brains !( The Windmills - Eyeball Soup/Monk FOLD
2. Cut along the inside of ther dotted lines. 3. Fold where indicated. 4. Locate the most embarrassing CD in your collection. 5. Dispose of the disc, booklet and inlay card, remembering to retain the highly valuable jewel case. 6. Insert your UNBELIEVABLY Shocking CD cover artwork into the jewel case and pray youâ€™ve cut and folded it correctly. 7. There you go, just like a bought one!
Instructions: 1. Photocopy this page.
The Dynamic & m ha ld Ye e ic st Ju Ribbon Device. . By Moonie Ringworm remember the first time my sister ever met Lucas Abela (or Lucas Abel as he was originally known to me); she thought he was the single biggest scab on the devil's red Earth. It was early evening at a street party we'd put on in Waterloo about 10 years ago where she witnessed this shabbily dressed, barefoot son of a Greek caravan park owner (yeah, he once could proudly be called true trailer trash!) bludge seven ciggies off me in the space of an hour, ask if he could have a drink, cone, packet of chips, whatever else was going. I was lucky to get away without blowing him 'sis reckoned. But Lucas is one of the most resourceful people I know. Why would he pay for durries when he knows I'll pack him up? He doesn’t pay for something if he doesn’t have to! I remember he was billed as Peeled Hearts Paste for one of the early What Is Music? Festivals, would've been 'round '95 or '96 at the old jazz joint the Harbourside Brasserie (R.I.P), and he needed me to help him steal these two gigantic arched metal frames - kinda like massive semi-circular ladders. His idea was to weld to these gigantic arched metal frames a series of rotating motors from old household fans with saw blades and sanding discs and drum cymbals and all sorts of stuff attached. He then planned to switch them all on at once and “play” them with hand-held contact-mic'd metal skewers which were plugged in through a 1996: A Kombi - Music To Drive By chain of effects pedals (Contact mic = 1997: Peeled Heats Paste - Peeled Lucas' best friend). The plot to “acquire” Hearts Paste these gigantic arched metal monstrosities 1998: Peeled Hearts Paste - No More Gun had come about after Lucas, being the
LUCAS ABELA DISCOGRAPHY
7” [split w/Schimpfluch Gruppe] 1999: Noise Ramones - Rocket To DNA [provides four remixes as DJ Smallcock] 2000: DJ Smallcock - yinyue 2005: Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic Ribbon Device - Live In Lisboa/ Minneapolis 7” 2005: Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic Ribbon Device - Live In Germany 8” Acetate [Limited to 23 copies] 2005: Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic Ribbon Device - Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic Ribbon Device DVD 2005: Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic Ribbon Device - Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic Ribbon Device CD
imaginative young noisemaker that he was, had spotted them resting up against the walls of a manned State Rail control office situated adjacent to the lines just north of Redfern station. We didn't bust out the Balaclava's for the mission, but we still looked dodgy as all fuck, right there on Elizabeth Street heaving two huge hunks of metal over the barbed wire fence and chucking them through the side doors of an illegally parked Kombi van with only one hazard light working - the same Kombi Lucas used to record his debut CD. Having carried out our noise crime we drove away laughing maniacally, barb scratch blood pissing down our forearms but otherwise unharmed. But Lucas wasn't laughing when he played the Brasserie a few months later, slashed an artery or two in his hand with a saw blade and had to be rushed to hospital. I wasn't laughing to be one of the one’s rushing him there. And I'm sure whoever's car it was he was bleeding all over was laughing least of all. He's either the most dangerous or clumsy musician on the planet. He needs tetanus injections as regularly as a diabetic needs insulin. When you meet a mutual friend and you suddenly discover that you both know Lucas, invariably one or the other always says, “I rushed him to hospital once.” His blood has the power to bond total strangers. Since he released his first CD, Music To Drive By, under the guise A Kombi in '96, Lucas Abela has made performance-based noise under a glut of aliases Peeled Hearts Paste, DJ Smallcock, and lately, Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic Ribbon Device. This latest handle seems perfect, since living precariously and provoking reaction are his primary aims. Justice David Yeldham, the muchly celebrated old pedophile judge who gassed himself in '96 after being fingered (he wished!) by a Royal Commission against police corruption for sucking young boys’ cocks around inner-city railway station toilets throughout the eighties and nineties and having the Special Branch cover everything up, together at last with the jewel in the Coca-Cola Company's crown, The Dynamic Ribbon Device ™, very possibly the most uninspiring and pointless thing anyone has ever bothered to trademark in the history of blind greed. But just as his moniker waves a red rag flagrantly in front of Coke's lawyers, so too does the blood-spattered Justice Yeldham live
He's either or the most clumsy musician on the planet. ns He needs tetanus injectio ic as regularly as a diabet needs insulin.
experience scream out to be seen. Playing an amped-up sheet of glass with his face, the Justice holds court like no other. Sure, some folks have to stick their fingers in their ears to shield themselves from the excruciating volume levels that give this guy a stiffy, but you can bet your arse no one is leaving. Whether they're hoping he emerges with only minor abrasions, or praying he takes out a ventricle and makes it his final performance, every punter's eyes are glued to that stage until his sheet of glass is milked to its final shard. And invariably, unless he has to skip a bus to the emergency ward early, his â€œgigsâ€? always do go down to the very last shard, driven on by his great performance instincts. Living the role of wild, barefoot, Australian warrior spilling claret profusely in the name extreme audio violence, Lucas knows all the visual tricks to heighten the drama in the mind of his captive audience. From the globs of KY Jelly he ritualistically squirts into his mouth at the start of a performance, to the startled, blood and lube-smeared faces he makes up against the glass, to the stupefied stagger he employs at the turbulent climax, his public masochism has all the power of the finest Greek drama mixed with the gore of Blood Feast. Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic Ribbon Device has been on the road touring the world for almost two years straight now. So far he's crunched glass in America, Canada, England, The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Sweden, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Korea, China, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Italy and there's probably even some places I've left out. His last Australian appearances were earlier this year on the E.A.R stage at the Big Day Out, and he aptly supported Regurgitator on their Breaking Glass Tour when they came out of recording that dodgy album in a glass bubble on TV. I really should have gone to see him on those shows, if only just to see the look of horror on those little recoiling 'Gurge fans' faces. The last Regurgitator show I had seen Lucas at was probably the only other one he'd ever been to, when the Boredoms supported Regurgitator (strange but true!) at the Metro almost 10 years ago. That night, Phlegm played the opening support as part of a quasi-reunion show for them where they were joined onstage by members of the legendary Mu Mesons. It was a momentous occasion for all of us because Phlegm had broken up and swore they'd never play again, and the Mesons hardly ever played. But obviously some rude, thick Regurgitator-associated fuckstick didn't appreciate their twisted avant noise and after about 25 minutes had the audacity to close the curtains on them while they were still playing! Well, Lucas wasn't standing for it, and he jumped the barricade at the front and grabbed hold of the bottom of the heavy curtain only to be dragged mercilessly along towards the centre of the stage and into the waiting arms of security, who heartlessly ejected him. I vaguely remember people running around frantically trying to locate members of Regurgitator to help get him back in and those guys not being able to cut any ice even at their own show. As the curtain reopened for the start of the Boredoms' set, I spared a thought for poor Lucas outside in the gutter. And then, suddenly, there he was! Front and centre, with the stupidest haircut EVER! He'd gotten a pair of scissors from somewhere - bloody resourceful motherfucker that he is and hacked all his long hair off so the door gorilla wouldn't recognise him. That was probably when I first realised the extent of his resilience. Nothing can kill this guy. No saw blade, no electric current, no piece of glass, nothin'. But then again, starvation might, so you should check out his records and the records he releases through the label he co-owns, Dual Plover: www.dualplover.com. They also do good deals on CD manufacture. If you're lucky the long awaited Justice Yeldham DVD might even be out by now, made up entirely of amateur footage contributed by audience members who have filmed his performances from Lebanon to America to Wagga Wagga. The Justice continues his world tour throughout 2005, where he will play Switzerland's Lausanne Underground Film and Music Festival, visit Norway for the first time and maybe even play a few shows at home. See him before he kills himself.
er The Saints. Ed Kuepp ick Sledge. interview by Broder 'm writing this on the day of the death of the most hideous, oppressive, spiteful, underhanded, dimwitted and deranged of all Australian politicians, the personification of the anti-intellectual, Queensland's longest reigning premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Peterson. May he suck cocks through glory holes in Hell's broom closet for all eternity. A few months back I had the chance to interview a genuine hero of Queensland and Australian rock, Ed Kuepper of The Saints, after EMI got their arses into gear and finally paid back some of the respect they've owed the band for 27 years by releasing All Times Through Paradise, a boxset which extensively covers The Saints' Ed Kuepper years (let's face it, the only years that mattered) over four discs. The interview took place around the same time as Andrew Stafford released his book, Pig City, which documents the Queensland rock scene (as the cover blurb says) â€œfrom The Saints to Savage Garden,â€? so Sir Joh and The Saints were fresh in my mind. When I quizzed Ed about Joh he stopped short of admitting what a real cunt the guy was. At first that surprised me and I wondered why someone who had lived his formative years through that horrible period in Queensland in the seventies would not exude the same level of bitterness as even someone like me, who was born later and only ever holidayed in Joh country.
Rock historians have long subscribed to the theory that the oppression of surviving in Joh's Queensland acted as a catalyst for the fuck you attitude that pervaded over everything The Saints did. But Joh was merely one enemy. And since The Saints never had any allies, they did it tough. They thumbed their noses at literally everything and everyone - the police, other bands, local radio station 4ZZZ, Radio Birdman, the London punk scene, EMI, even each other. If outside resentment didn't drive them, then inside resentment certainly drove them to their death. And it's in death that I deliver this Ed Kuepper interview to you. The death of a scoundrel called Joh. The muddled old dictator's corpse has compelled me to finally transcribe my chat with Ed, if for no other reason than to pay respect to The Saints for rising above so much animosity and disapproval to deliver some of the most vital rock 'n' roll ever made. The interview deals mostly with the All Times Through Paradise box, which Ed helped remaster with Don Bartley. In addition to the first three classic Saints albums - I'm Stranded (1977), Eternally Yours (1978) and Prehistoric Sounds (1978) - it delivers the One Two Three Four EP, two live performances from 1977 - including six tracks from the now mythical Paddington Town Hall show with Radio Birdman - and the original, eventually discarded sessions for Eternally Yours, dubbed The International Robot Sessions...
Are you happy with the effort EMI put into All Times Through Paradise? Why did the band decide to go to London, was it I think it's brilliant, really good. Even if it hadn't of included the bonus stuff, after fit into the because you thought you UK punk scene? ’d all this time it's fantastic to have had the opportunity to master the albums properly Australia would've been a waste of our time. We for the first time. Every time the albums have come out on CD they've always been record com had no rea l inte pany. We needed to get out rest from the ; Australia was too small. done in a pretty crappy way. The original album releases were done in the eighties when record companies were churning them Backs to the wall - The Saints out, getting everything onto CD just to make Everyone talks about the isolation and people buy it because it was a new format, but the oppression of Joh's circa ‘77: (LtoR) Kym Bradshaw, Queensland, was they didn't spend any time making them sound it easy to feel like outcas Chris Bailey, Ivor Hay, Ed Kuepper ts? good. I made it a stipulation of my involvement There was definitely isol ation but when that they be remastered with the mastering we got out and went to Syd ney and engineer I wanted to work with. And the label Melbourne I didn't sudden ly feel like these had no problem with that. There have been places were Utopias. Syd ney was fairly Saints releases come out before and I just conservative actually. In Brisbane you had wasn't happy with the way they sounded, so I a fairly reactionary govern ment and an wasn't gong to get involved if it wasn't going to enthusiastic police force; Brisbane was be done properly. There have been enough hard. mediocre releases, this one needed to be special. It's been great, the packaging and Were there any other ban ds to play everything, it's been good. with, history almost pai nts this picture as just you guys, your mates and no How does it compare to the respect EMI one else giving a fuck. paid The Saints back in the day? There weren't any other bands, there In Australia, I have to say, I don't think there was no scene, we were the scene. It's was a lot of regard for the band at all. I think kinda hard for people to accept these there was antagonism and hostility for the most days but we existed in tota lly musical part, so this is kind of the other end of the isolation. planet. Pressing up your own single with “(I’m) Stranded” was a totally What specifically did you want to fix up in the DIY move before there was DIY, but you remastering? For me it's I'm Stranded that weren't doing it for the cre sounds the most improved. d were you? I wanted us to be heard. With I'm Stranded I wanted to get the volume When I saw that you could do it, I just wen onto it because there was a technical flaw in the t for it. The music industry had a lot of blac recording. It was done so quickly and we had k holes in it for us at that stage, we hadn't bee some technical phase problem and we discovered n through the processes and found out it was transferring to the tapes; this frequency was how it all worked. But once we did it, it didn't turn wiping out some other frequencies. So we were out to be a big deal. If we hadn't have gon able to cancel that out and then lift the clarity and e through the pro ces the level quite a lot. We also re-did the (“(I'm) s it's doubtful anyone wou ld've paid us any attention. Stranded”) single, which on the EMI release had been cut directly from the 45. I actually think We're you disappointed Prehistoric Sounds has been opened up a lot too. that people missed the point of “Kn But I think you're right. ow Your Product”, or that as a single it never sold what it should hav The International Robot Sessions, how were e? Yeah, I thought it was a they rediscovered? Are there any tracks that you hit single. To be honest, wit hou t sou ndi ng didn't release with the box set? like a total egotist, I was over the moon with the reaction to “(I'm) There might be extra instrumental tapes but I don't Stranded” and “This Per fect Day ”. “(I'm) Stranded” did fair have copies of those. I remember we were working on ly well, “This Perfect Day got into the charts in the ” some songs that were never finished but I don't know UK, but when “Know You r Product” didn't I couldn't where they are. This turned up because we asked EMI in understand because I tho ught it was really strong. Manchester Square to send over everything they had and these tapes just showed up. When I saw the labels on Were you resentful bac the boxes I remembered what it was straight away. k then? Yeah, I did have a tenden cy, especially in those day get s to a bit shit ty about that stuff. What were the reasons for scrapping that recording? Some bands might tak It wasn't totally scrapped; Chris (Bailey) wanted to e these failures on boa rd and take steps to improve redo some of the vocals… the commercial viabili ty of their music, especially ones on a major label, but you guys seemed to go in the Chris doesn't sound as up for it on those versions opposite direction every time? as he did on Eternally Yours, that's the major The aim was to get the mu difference between the recordings I think. sic down as we wanted don't think any of us wer it. I I think he hits it a lot harder on the record but I quite e trying to tailor what we were doin g to a particular market. like the tentativeness of his singing on those because But to me (“Know Your Product”) stood out. It was it's quite vulnerable in a way. It's a bit out of character the start of what we wer e doin g on Pre his toric Sounds, which was for him. I like it, but I understand it's not going to me making exactly the music I wanted appeal to everyone the same way it does to me, or in the same way as to. the versions we actually released. But the big reason for not What did you think wh en you heard Chris had proceeding with that recording was that it didn't sound complete to gotten a new lineup together? me. “Know Your Product”, the second single off the album, hadn't been Well, the band had split up. Chr is had left the band before written at that stage and I felt we needed another single. Sounds and came back Prehistoric just to make the record. It was apparent at that tim had lost our manager, the e, we re was no interest in us The '77 Paddington Town Hall show with Radio Birdman is called from the record company guess Chris and I had gro and I wn apart musically. It was in the liner notes “The Woodstock of Australian punk rock”; a long time ago now, I don give a shit these days, but 't it hurt me a bit because does it deserve that status? it wasn't his band. The Sai was Chris, myself and Ivor nts (Hay). But anyway, I've got It's kind of coloured by the fact that I've seen footage on Rage ten over it now. I think tha most people that care abo t ut the band realise there and stuff like that over the years. I think some of the recordings are are two versions. There's original band and there's the Chr is' ban d. really good, the version of “Nights in Venice” on that I like. I remember it being both funny and tense. There was some inter-band Thanks for your time Ed, good luck with the box rivalry going on, but ultimately I remember it being a really good set. I know you don't car No, I do actually. e. night. As far as I know that was the last show we did in the country.
“I've gotten over it now. I think that most people that care about the band realise there are two versions. There's the original band and there's Chris' band.” - Ed Kuepper
f you don't know who John “Speedo” Reis is I haven't got time to explain it. I've only got these two pages to run an interview with the Hot Snakes guitarist and Swami Records owner, and we're wasting valuable space crapping on here. The only thing I will say is that from Drive Like Jehu to Rocket From The Crypt to Hot Snakes to The Sultans, everything Reis has done is worth checking out and you should do so. And if you're reading this in September and you didn't see Hot Snakes when they came here in July I feel real sorry for you. This interview was conducted just prior to Hot Snakes’ Australian visit. A week later the band would make the shock decision to dissolve. Several months later Rocket From The Crypt likewise announced they would play their final show on Halloween this year. Wow, that’s one double-whammy I didn’t see that comin'! R.I.P Hot Snakes and Rocket From The Crypt - Long live Speedo! Rocket From The Crypt impressed everyone last time in Australia with that medley of The Saints, The Leftovers and Radio Birdman. That was really cool. We butchered all those songs but we figured at least it would show our admiration for the punk rock music that Australia has produced. I mean there are so many other bands we could've done too, but those just worked for us. How is it that you know more about Australian rock than the average Australian? Well when you're really into music and you have this insatiable thirst to connect with sounds that excite you, you can't listen to the same three of four records over and over again. You've gotta find more and you've gotta find more so you start digging deeper and talking to different people and you start getting turned onto some good shit that excites you. It's a bit hard to find out about some stuff but I think the reason why you have so many people looking to the past, not necessarily just the seventies or the eighties, but the fifties and the sixties and even earlier, is because there were sounds created then that you just can't recreate now. Technology has come so far and yet the soul and passion has been all but stripped away. So when you hear something, even something by The Leftovers, like a 2-chord punk song that is probably played out of tune by guys who could The Sultans hardly play their instruments, that still sounds better than anything you're going to hear in this day and age. It's more powerful and it has a lot more character and it sounds like they mean it a lot more. To some people The Leftovers are not that obscure. There are certain circles of people who would consider “Cigarettes and Alcohol” to be kind of like a hit song.
They know The Chosen Few and they know these bands and they know that this stuff is no longer being made. It's aged like fine wine. Rocket From The Crypt (R.I.P) It seems like on Audit in Progress the Hot Snakes sound is getting more and more streamlined. It seems the same as always to me, but obviously the records sound different. I think the first record we did [Automatic Midnight] was pretty straight ahead in the sense that some of the songs are conventional but only sound unconventional because of the instrumentation used. There's no bass anywhere, it's just organ and guitar and drums and we tried to bring out sparseness although we wanted it to be very dense as well, we wanted to combine those elements. But the whole record was made in three days so there's not a whole lot of experimentation or a whole lot of thought going on because the clock is ticking and I'm paying for it. We've taken more time on each record because on each record there has been a little bit more collaboration. The first record was recorded before Gar (Wood) was even in the band. The band was just me and the drummer, Jason (Kourkounis), and we just recorded some stuff and I thought it would be really cool to have Rick (Froberg) sing on it and it was just as simple as that. It was only after we did the record that we decided to do this band for real and we enlisted Gar to come and play bass. So the second album [Suicide Invoice] was more of a collaborative effort, although there were a lot of ideas lingering from the first record. But Audit in Progress was completely new from the start. It was all done with our new drummer Mario (Rubalcaba) and he lives in San Diego whereas Jason didn't, so it gave us a good launching pad in that we all could get together and work out those initial inspirational riffs or whatever. Rick lives in New York so we don't practice that much, we'll get together and practice for four days and then go and record. Some things are written completely on the spot. That song “Lovebirds” was written then we just basically rolled the tape. We don't have a lot of time together so we throw our ideas out there and the ones that don't work we don't have time to waste in trying to make them work, we just move on to something else y'know. Our clock has been ticking since the moment we started playing together so we use it to our advantage. We're very economical with the way we do things.
Hot Snakes R.I.P: (LtoR) Mario Rubalcaba, Rick Froberg, Gar Wood, John Reis
Is Jason still playing with the Burning Brides? He recently quit the Burning Brides. The way Jason naturally plays is more like he played on the Hot Snakes albums, and playing the drums stylistically is what gets him off so I think with Burning Brides he had to play a bit differently to what came. You mean he had to play like he was in the Black Crowes. Which is actually one of his favourite bands so…
There seems to be growing interest in Drive Like Jehu these days, do you sense that and how do you feel about that? I'm glad people like the music. It's a bit old and I'm glad that people still enjoy listening to it this long after we stopped playing. The band was never very popular when we were around. I think it was a matter of what we were doing wasn't connecting with people at the time. But it's a smaller world now and also there's a bit of a legend built up because people can't see us play, so there's a bit of mythology that might not be justified. We were a good band and we had a lot of fun doing it but looking back on it I can see that it probably wasn't meant to last forever - as obvious as that may sound now! It was pretty explosive and because of that it was meant to burn really bright for a short period of time. Would it have been nice to get more recognition when you were actually around? Like Cedric from the Mars Volta said that Drive Like Jehu were a huge influence on At The Drive-In. I don't know, when we were playing people would
SELECTED JOHN REIS DISCOGRAPHY 1990: Pitchfork - Nemesis 1991: RFTC - Paint As A Fragrance 1992: Drive Like Jehu - Drive Like Jehu 1992: RFTC - Circa: Now! 1993: RFTC - All Systems Go 1994: Drive Like Jehu - Yank Crime 1995: RFTC - State Of Art Is On Fire 10” 1995: RFTC - Hot Charity 1995: RFTC - Scream, Dracula, Scream! 1998: RFTC - RFTC 1998: Back Off Cupids - Speed Kills 10" 1999: RFTC - All Systems Go II 1999: RFTC - Cut Carefully And Play Loud 2000: The Sultans - Ghost Ship 2001: Hot Snakes - Automatic Midnight 2001: RFTC - Group Sounds 2002: Hot Snakes - Suicide Invoice 2002: RFTC - Live From Camp X-Ray 2004: Hot Snakes - Audit In Progress 2004: The Sultans - Shipwrecked 2005: Hot Snakes - Peel Sessions EP
So is recording and playing with Hot Snakes a hell of a lot less complicated than with Rocket From The Crypt? Not necessarily no. Writing with Rocket and recording with Rocket is so much fun. But Rocket has two extra people and it's a bit more of a production as far as putting on a show goes. I guess Rocket is not as casual, we're a bit more performance oriented in the sense that we like to put on a show and that's what the band is about. Whereas the thing with the Hot Snakes is it's more about losing yourself in the instrument and getting into the energy of playing with three other people. I don't think there's any real concern about trying to entertain the crowd, which I hope doesn't come and bite us on the arse, but it seems to be fine so far. I think as long as it sounds good to us and as long as we're having fun you just hope other people feel the same way about it.
Like Jehu Was forming Hot Snakes done because you needed a different outlet to Rocket? Yeah I think so. It was just one of those things where as much as I love Rocket and it's a part of who I am, I knew these songs wouldn't really sound good with the accompaniment of a horn section and my vocals and just the sound that Rocket makes when the six of us get together. I was just hearing something different with those songs and I wanted it to sound different. It wasn't a reaction it was just something cool to do with my friend Jason who I'd always admired the way he played.
come out and they would dig it; there wasn't a lot of people, but they dug it and it felt good. It didn't feel like we were wasting our time, it felt like we were appreciated. I don't hold any regret or resentment about it. But I don't consider the Mars Volta to sound like Drive Like Jehu at all. I think it's cool that they list us a band that influenced them but it doesn't sound the same to me. The same thing is going to happen with Rocket in 10 years - it’s a cult band of the future if ever I heard one. We always were all about the moment, we existed in the moment, so we never considered whether our music would stand up 10 or 20 years later. We were all just consumed by the heat and passion of playing in front of sweaty people wanting to get their ears blasted and celebrate the finer points of life - good music, good times. It's communion for people who are alienated by the rest of the world. I don't really go to church, I very rarely go to a sporting event; I don't really do many things where I can feel like I belong to a group of people. Playing makes me feel that by connecting to this group of people that maybe I'm not a complete outsider, maybe there is some place where I fit in, some place I have a tribe that I belong to. So what if they're smelly and they're freaks, that's my people. Was there a specific reason why Drive Like Jehu disbanded, had it run its course or was Rocket just too much fun? I think for me Rocket was just a lot easier to continue with. The second and last Drive Like Jehu record [Yank Crime] it took a long time to write the songs for that record and record it and it just seemed like everything was bogged down by over-scrutiny. It was hard to let things fly. My favourite thing the band ever did was a 7” on Merge ("Hand Over Fist" b/w "Bullet Train to Vegas”) and those were songs that we busted out really really fast and it just felt good. So basically the band just fizzled, we never really played a last show, it just ceased happening. It's kinda unfortunate but that's the way it played out.
The Mint Chicks. Ruban Nielson interview by Ivan The Terrible Bonghead.
arly 2005, the Mint Chicks were three dates into a tour. The schedule was manic. They'd played Hamilton and Auckland in their homeland, then they hit Melbourne. Went over like a lead bomb they did. The two Victorian dates with Japanese blues explosion King Brothers were memorable for the absolutely stone cold crowd response the Mint Chicks were afforded. And this is despite a list of provocations from vocalist Kody Nielson that included entering the stage by crashing through the roof (he'd climbed across from the backstage area!), bashing a microphone to death on one of drummer Paul Roper's cymbals (the cymbal had to be replaced too), and abusing the shit out of stunned onlookers for… well… being stunned onlookers I s'pose. It's fair to say Melbourne and the Mint Chicks didn't get on. In fact, they got off like a house on fucking fire. I only wish I had of been there to see it. When the hyper New Zealand foursome played Sydney the next night a mostly well-behaved Kody told the audience at Spectrum, “It's hard to believe this is the same country.” They got a good reaction in Sydney, but that didn't stop Kody's brother, guitarist Ruban Nielson, from trying to smash one of the mirrors that adorn the many pillars that hold up Spectrum with the butt of his Telecaster. Actually, he had two cracks at it towards the end of the set, and I for one was really hoping he'd do it. I love Spectrum - the mirrors, the mirrorballs, the wallpaper, the soothing sight of barmaid Sonny's gigantic bosom - and I think that doing that inside a venue that is allowing you to expose your art is totally disrespectful. However, and you can call me voyeuristic all you like, I just wanted to see what the repercussions would be. The Mint Chicks deal with repercussions on a daily basis. These kids have put more noses out of joint than Jack Dempsey. A big part of the appeal for me is their near pathological desire to push everything too far. At the moment they're going through this phase of playing the most obvious covers imaginable in their live set, like “Ever Fallen In Love” and “Orgasm Addict” by the Buzzcocks, and Ramones classics like “Beat On The Brat” and “Judy Is A Punk”. Like most everything they do, it's a reaction, and an attempt to challenge audience perception - almost a mutant form of shooting yourself in the foot. They certainly are a most trigger-happy band in that department. Their past is littered with incidents of career sabotage by their own hand. Making enemies has been just as easy as making fans. Why, just a week or so after this Sydney appearance, at South-By-Southwest in Austin, Texas, they really pissed off Kevin Brybee, drummer of Austin, Texas group The Arms. Local newspaper The Austin Chronicle reported that Brybee had stormed the stage during one show to reclaim a drumkit that he had lent the band that was allegedly being mistreated. Brybee got his head split open and the Mint Chicks got their picture in the papers. On the PunkAs.com web forums Ruban later wrote, “We didn't damage the guy's drum kit AT ALL. Kody kicked the guy's ass in self-defence.” “Kody cracked him with the mic stand, Ruban got rid of the guy, and me and Paul kept playing the song,” bassist Michael Logie elaborated. A random PunkAs forum poster named Scott Birthday offered: “It must've been funny seeing a gang of transvestites beat up a drunken Texan redneck though (you didn't break your glam sunglasses did you?).” Here's an interview I did with Ruban to promote the Mint Chicks' Flying Nun/FMR full-length debut F**k The Golden Youth, conducted mere hours before he recklessly tried to vandalise our beloved Spectrum…
Your touring schedule is mad. You played New Zealand on Wednesday and Thurdsay, Melbourne Friday and Saturday, Sydney tonight (Sunday), then tomorrow night you will be playing in LA before Texas and then New York. Yeah, we don't get many days off; I think we get one day off in three weeks - that's probably an exaggeration. It's pretty exciting. I haven't started drinking yet, because if you start drinking then you have to take something else to counteract that, so I think you have to turn into Lemmy if you want to
yourself four hours sleep a night you realise that you can still be energetic the next day as long as you're busy. You guys are playing Ramones and Buzzcocks covers in the set, what's that about? We've just gone through this phase… because when we started we did covers but then we stopped doing them because we wanted to get our own sound and stuff, but after a while we just felt like doing our favourite songs. We've been criticised for
that once this record comes out we have to be committed to those songs. It's like those songs are frozen. One thing we had trouble with before was, we'd write a song, record it, but then just play it different every time. People would come and see us for the first time and we'd play “Licking Letters” twice as fast and they’d think we were being arseholes or something. But at the same time, if I go and see a band I love, I want a little bit of that. It's about working out what is a good compromise and what's a bad compromise. We've done a lot of re-
“Nothing is ever simple with us and it's getting to the point where every single step of the way the whole thing is almost falling to bits.” - Ruban Nielson party hard. We've done some pretty bad mistakes, like partying too much. Even partying two nights in a row and staying up all night, the rest of the tour can suck because you can still do the shows, and the shows don't really suffer, but the rest of the time does. You're in a bad mood and everybody's quiet and the laughs are over and it's not as cool. I think we'll just save a big meltdown for the end and then we can throw up on the plane all the way home. It's a tough schedule but this is part of what you play music for in the first place, right? What else are we going to do? All I'd be doing besides this would be going to work or something. You start doing these things and you realise how resilient your body is, like if you start giving
doing the big songs like “Beat On The Brat” and “Ever Fallen In Love”, but those are the ones I like. I don't want to dig into the most obscure 7” I've got and cover that. Friends of ours are playing Antioch Arrow covers with their band and it's like nobody's going to know them. I'm not trying to get any kudos from anyone, I'm not trying to show anyone how obscure my record collection is, it's just that when someone sticks on “Beat On The Brat” at 2 in the morning I just fucking go nuts. It seems like the Mint Chicks are ahead of the fans every release, like you've already moved on by the time stuff comes out. We haven't moved on from the album yet, were really proud of the album. One thing we realised is
writing of songs for fun in the past and now we think it's better to say, “Once that song’s recorded, it's frozen, if you want to do any experimenting, write another song.” So that's what we're doing now rather than fucking with the songs we've already written. So that's been good, we're getting all these new songs now. We're are looking forward to the next album and we want to do it as soon as possible. I already came up with a name for the new record, but then I found out it was already taken. I came up with this name, Trouble Gum, and then I found out Therapy's third album was called that. When I got that title I felt like I could hear the record, like I already new what it was going to be. Well Trouble Gum would be embraced much more easily by larger retailers than F**k The Golden Youth; it's almost like an anti-title. It was the most obvious name for the record… F**k The Golden Youth was not about being difficult it just suited the record the most. Bringing out a lead single called “F**k The Golden Youth” is the same deal. Yeah, but the song is the most obvious single. I don't know if anyone will listen to it or if anyone will pick it up because it's got fuck in the title. But you have to go for the best thing, not the easiest thing.
we did was a risk or not, but then when you get to making your first record and there's pressure on you to put your money where your mouth is you realise, “Oh no, we haven't even got it in us to sellout.” We couldn't do it even if we wanted to. It's kind of a bummer, thinking, “I wonder if I can still make money out of this?” But at the same time it's like, “Yeah! We haven't got it in us!” If we did something lame or compromising it wouldn't work. You'd know in two seconds. For one we'd probably be laughing our heads off. We're ambitious in lots of ways, but that's not ambition. That's lack of ambition, caving to that sort of pressure. Let's talk about recording, I saw a picture of a place that looked like the most remote fishing village in New Zealand. It was in this place called Owaweni Bay, it's just this little bay. The cool thing was that there was a house on the beach that had power and water and stuff but you couldn't drive to it, you had to drive along the beach when the tide was out. We wanted a place where no one could disturb us, where no one could come in a tell us they think the guitar sound needs to be like this or like that. Dion Palmer from The D4, they had done some rehearsing there or some demoing there so he told us about it. We set up in the lounge room with a computer and a bunch of mics. It's not made at all for recording, it's just a holiday house, but anywhere remote enough was going to do the trick. So we moved our gear in and we could make noise at any time of the night. The noisy section at the end of “Bored Because You're Boring”, that was done around 2 in the morning. We needed to be able to make noise whenever we wanted to and to be able to totally melt down. We got in a lot of arguments but there was nowhere to go. One time Kody got in a really bad mood and stormed off but he couldn't go anywhere; he just had to walk around the beach until he calmed down. We were all stuck together and there was nothing else to do so we had to make the record. It came together really quickly. The first track, “Fat Gut Strut”, was done first and we were like, “Fuck yeah, that's what the record is going to sound like.” We recorded the whole thing in one week. We thought it would take us two weeks, so on the Monday of the second week we mixed it and then it was just worse because we were stuck there without even a record to make. Paul (Roper) got this kayake out from the back of the shed and we were kayaking and catching crabs and stuff - it was weird.
“It's unhealthy for brothers to get in fights, but in a band it makes it harder because everyone else just sort of stands around and watches it happen and it becomes almost acceptable when all you just want to do is stop it.” - Ruban Nielson
I don't want to suggest that you are shooting yourselves in the foot every step of the way, but it seems so sometimes. Rock 'n' roll is about shooting yourself in the foot; that's what it is. There's no way around it really, if you're not shooting yourself in the foot then what are you doing? There was pressure for you to go to the UK and tap that market before you recorded the album, but you didn't do that… No, I don't know if the people who were putting that pressure on really know what they're talking about. I want to be proud of this when it's over. I don't want to look back on it and think, “what a pile of shit.” I don't want to waste my time. Nothing is ever simple with us and it's getting to the point where every single step of the way the whole thing is almost falling to bits. But it's like, fuck, to get close to the real thing you have to be almost falling off the wagon the whole time. People know that,
everyone knows that. How could these commercialas-fuck, paint-by-numbers rock 'n' roll bands know about Nirvana and yet still think that [paint-bynumbers] is the way to make real music? It's not really worth naming names or calling anybody out, but it's like why not study commerce if you want to make some dough. If you want to make music, make music. But then, not everybody is into things falling to bits. Where do things come unstuck mainly? We're a tight unit but me and Kody are always at each other's throats. If something is going to happen then it's almost not going to happen. But for it to be worth it it's always gotta be dangerous, it's always gotta be exciting and it's always gotta be difficult, otherwise it doesn't seem worth it. Some bands don't need that but that's what we're about. It's really weird, I never thought about anything in terms of our career or whether anything
band with my brother.” Or when I see him during a show hanging from the rafters or something. And I think he thinks the same. From running around together as little kids and making little movies together, to starting to play instruments and stuff and now we're in a band together that's going to America and Australia and everywhere, it's fucking cool. There's definitely a living the dream aspect to it. The other guys in the band, too, Michael has been Kody's best friend for a long time, but me and him have a great crossover sense of humour. He's a very talented guy. Paul is the sane one. He counts to ten, takes deep breaths… some of the shit he puts up with is unbelievable. We could've started a band with a bunch of potheads but we wouldn't have lasted this long. I guess it's just like everything else, the thing between me and Kody is just difficult, it's touch and go all the time. It's because we're brothers and if we piss each other off we'll just say it and we say it in a way that hurts the other one's feelings and then the next thing you know we're swinging mic stands at each other. It's unhealthy for brothers to get in fights, but in a band it makes it harder because everyone else just sort of stands around and watches it happen and it becomes almost acceptable when all you just want to do is stop it. It seems like with this band, arguments make everything happen. Me and Kody arguing is what the Mint Chicks are. Me and him arguing about something makes things happen. When we agree it's fucking magic, but mostly everything good that has happened so far has come from us almost breaking up the fucking band.
Talk is cheap, so shut the fuck up - The Mint Chicks: (LtoR) Paul Roper, Kody Nielson, Ruban Nielson, Michael Logie
Do you think you and Kody will always butt heads? Anyone who's got a brother will understand. We used to be attached at the hip when we were kids, and we're still attached at the hip, but now it's different. It's just like when any pair of brothers starts a band; it's a real cliché, like some Gallagher brother's bullshit. When you get older you want to separate from your family and start a family of your own, but we've started this thing where it forces us to be together and there's so much tension and competition and that kind of thing sometimes. But then, at other times, he'll bring a song in and I'll be like, “Fuck this is a good song, I'm really glad I'm in a
MINT CHICKS DISCOGRAPHY 2003: Octagon Octagon Octagon EP (Flying Nun/FMR) 2004: Split 7” w/Whirlwind Heat (Tour only vinyl) 2004: Blue Team Go! 7” (Fierce Panda) 2004: Anti Tiger 7” (Tour only vinyl) 2004: Anti-Tiger EP (Flying Nun/FMR) 2005: F**k The Golden Youth 7” (Flying Nun/FMR) 2005: F**k The Golden Youth (Flying Nun/FMR
Grand Fatal Earlier this year rapidly rising Sydney post-HC powerhouse a national on Shihad and on Grinspo ting suppor headed out on the road us stadium tour. Here, Grand Fatal guitarist/vocalist Graeme Kent gives the whole UNBELIEVABLY Bad story…
Er… okay… er… so we're driving to Melbourne right, for the first date of the Showpony Express Tour featuring Grinspoon, Shihad, the Cops and us. In the fucking traveling ghetto that we call a Tarago is me, Jimmy, Rusty, Nick and Luke (our manager), and we're blasting down the Hume. Arguments quickly ensue as to who can DJ with Luke's' ipod (given the selection)… but of course my good taste and tenacity win out and I treat every one to the first minute of about 78 track s. Luke fills us in on his plan for our tales of my drunkenness. It's an unev world domination and we regale him entful trip compared to some we've with had, and we pull into M-town to a warm rock. Then it's off to Ding Dong to see welcome from Megs and her house of our buddies from My Disco! and get pissed.
We're feeling a bit second-hand as we drag ourselves to Vegie Bar for lunch . Walking down Brunswick some heavy looking dudes start yelling at us from some shitbox car till one leans out the window and we realize it’s Karl, Jon and Phil from Shihad shou ting incoherently at us about rock or something! Reluc tantly we head off to tangle with the people in guitar shops… what the fuck is it with these dudes? One guy tries to sell Jimmy a gauge of string he doesn't use, then gives him attitu de when he doesn't buy them!!? It's like saying “I know you want to buy a dog but how abou t this hamster instead. It's easier to keep!” When the guy asks where his show is tonight, Jimm y says “Festival Hall”, seeming mildl y embarrassed. Then it's off to the gig… it's actually a pretty daunting feeling walking into a venue of that size. The production is immense. It's a very cool to be met with hugs from the Shihad boys, it makes us feel like we actua lly belong at this size gig! We get given our laminates with a warning that only one will be issued for the whole tour (Jimmy prom ptly loses his), then meet so many crew that I forge t all of their names instantly. Karl asks us from the stage how to spell avocado, as he has an important text message to send. Jimm y, upon opening his guitar case, notices he has a broken machine head on his guitar only hours before showtime and has to make a frenzied dash back across town to the same guita r shop dildos who gave us shit earlier. Doh! There are more firsts to come, a dressing room, a rider, foldback that works! Soundchecking on the same hallowed boards once trod by Bon Scott (RIP) is an awesome feeling. We hide in the dressing room till showtime drinking and laughing at our good fortune… Before this whole thing started we were fully prepa red to play this tour to empty rooms, first on, we figured kids woul d be straggling in with the house lights still on so we were in for a fucki ng big surprise! About 3500 people were packed to the front of the stage as we went on… and they were psyched for a big night! The next 25 minutes is validation of all the years spent working shitty jobs, having no money and playing crappy shows to no one… I busted off some shots of the crowd on a disposable and then hit the piss… exce pt that I had promised Jon Shihad I'd be his stage roadie (mic stand bitch) for $50… after that, the celebrations began in earnest. Outside after the show kids come up wanting me to sign stuff, CDs, arms, scraps of paper. I'm sure most of them didn't even know who I was! The after-party was upstairs in some boozer where you had to dial a numb er to gain access. Goes without sayin to let me in… Megs, Justin (Shihad’s g, the guy running the show didn't want tech), Tom and I scrape together some change for a pint and talk shit. Betch adupa's drummer corners me at the babbling incoherently and smelling stron bar gly of vomit. Jimmy Stacks and Nick Kennedy from the Cops try to persuade me to go to Cherry Bar with them… I decline. When we get back to Megan's I pass out only to be woken 45 secs later by Megan offer ing me a toasted sandwich, which i'm pretty sure contained an image of Sinead O'Connor.
Blurgh!..we have to get up WAY too early and start driving to Adelaide. No one wants to sit next to me because I stink too much and I'm way too good looking and witty… it's not what you would call a scenic drive, so we entertain ourselves with a game of taking the piss out of each other! With about 200 kms to go we stop for a piss and Rusty ponders whether we should fill up with petrol or not. “Nah we'll be fine.” I pronounce. Now, I dunno how many of you have ever driven into A-town but there are NO servos! So there we are, Jimmy's driving, the little red light comes on and the atmosphere becomes suddenly tense. Everyone is wondering how we are going to make it to the show from the side of the road with only 2 hours to go! Rusty is silently smoking and working out the best way to dispose of my corpse! We turn off the AC, coast down the hills, then finall y take an exit and pray for petrol. The mood is lifted by several litres of planet destr oying petroleum. Adelaide Entertainment Centre is very new and our dressing room is huge and has showers, which bring us all back to life. Jeremy, Shepo and Ben come to visit bringing us very necessary pizzas and a quadbox. Karl from Shihad told me when they toured with Pantera and Biohazard that our dressing room was the band 's gym! And Shihad’s was a broom closet abou t 2kms away! We feel blessed. Onstage the vibe is awesome, with about 4000 kids in the room before we even start. At this show something clicks to me: these venues are nothing like playing Spec trum! Apart from the obvious size difference, big and
simple songs translate best, so we slow down some of the more frantic to moments in the set to give them time to sink in. Also, the crowds are here better.” have fun not to stand there with their arms folded thinking “my band is Consequently, they go nuts and two songs in people are tumbling over the to barriers. Shepo gets some great video footage. We feel comfortable enough s”. really work the breakdown/improvisation parts in “Solarise” and “Bayonet Then it's over… me and Nick watch the Cops from the floor and chat with to some cool locals. One kid is completely stunned when I tell him we have drive back to Sydney tonight. Upon lugging out Jimmy makes the awful it discovery that his Marshall head has been soaked in beer. He literally pours out onto the driveway. I contemplate drinking it. Hyped on Red Bull and a great show, we hit the road… Rusty's behind the out of wheel (his 2nd favorite place to be), I'm sitting shotgun bugging the shit everyone by playing Van Halen [sample dialog: “it was so uncool to be into I this band when I was I kid” and “check out this tone!”] and Iron Maiden. and night the thru roll We piss. a take can I so kms 43 every stop Rusty make all of the next day, about 16 hours, till we hit home. Little were we to know that tonight Karl from Shihad's dad passed away tragically, and they had to head to NZ straight after their set.
Grand Fatal in pose mode: (LtoR) Jimmy, Rusty, Graeme, Nick
a massive hanger and sounds as Newcastle is a funny old town. It and I go way back! Newie Ent. Cent. Is by us, then the Cops then the followed first, on went Jeans Pink Dirty band local you would expect. Tonight Cheers! Some young cabs. their use us let kindly very They 'Spoon, due to the Shihad boys being in NZ. to their rightful owners. ladies throw they're shoes on stage and Jimmy attempts to return them 3.Unload truck. 4.Restring Justin's day looked something like this: 1.Fly to Sydney. 2.Drive to Newie. . 9. Play gig. We helped him Auckland to Fly 8. plane. on freight Load 7. Sydney. to guitars. 5.Load van. 6.Drive slogans! ing encourag by standing around drinking beer and shouting
Front End Loader and Man it is cold in Canberra! Tonight's lineup runs like this, us, the Spazzy's, a university lecture theatre than a like more tic, bureaucra almost clean, very is Theatre Royal The . Grinspoon long corridor (like something from rock venue. Our dressing room is up 3 flights of stairs then along a VERY Gregg (Grinspoon's manager), Tonight, love! all we who Loader, Spinal Tap)… we're all stoked to see the introduces us to the world of secret wall tattoos… whole shebang… Joe from the We rock the show and Mel and Kath take photo and video footage of the I'm guessing he liked it… The so horns, the me flashes and stage of side the from 'Spoon watches our set family tragedy to contend a had also Kat as drums on 's Spazzy's played with Jordan from the Casanova rock legends and diamond geezers. with, but they still rocked it! What can you say about the Loader, Aussie years ago and got hated Bow tells me before their set that they played a 32-date tour with the 'Spoon a little puzzled at Davis look do kids younger the of some and here same the everynight! He's expecting and his moves… but they still smoke. ' young ladies backstage. Luke gets his first taste of the power of rock when he brings two 'refreshed home. Drive 2. and beer more Buy 1. to leave me and Kath Rusty, le, Meanwhi
Wollongong. WIN Stadium. This venue has a tennis court painted on the floor! Here our dressing room is a footy locker room with a toilet block attached, so we engage in some appropriate homoerotic behaviour… Jon from Shihad drops by for a chat while we sit around nervously waiting to play. By now we've really honed our set into a bolt of soulrock lightning, and the 'Gong kids respond… I'm really getting used to this! The Spazzys, however, get a much less friendly welcome and the kids spit and throw bottles at Lucy. Like true professionals, though, they keep playing and don't even flinch. Lucy is in tears when she tells me they had a car accident that morning driving to the gig so theirs was not a great night. Of course, Shihad come out and lay waste to everyone, with Jon making full use of his wireless rig and running to the back of the venue during “General Electric”. He stands up on the balustrade about two stories above the floor to pull some shapes and very nearly falls to his death until a concerned security guard grabs him by the belt! Grinspoon are a seasoned arena machine, and they don't disappoint their crowd, serving up the hits consistently night after night. But it's just not my cup of tea.
, the same venue where I've seen so many awesome bands: Janes Addiction This is the big one for us. The Hordern Pavilion. I'm finally getting to play at sweat cold a in up wake I r. remembe can't brain oaked that my poor alcohol-s Metallica, Suicidal Tendencies, the Ramones, Rollins Band and heaps more is sold-out, so many desperate texts and show the and in get to wants us knows who everyone course, Of 4am, stressing about the show… I'm that nervous! (4pm) pick up a van to do the Brisbane trip, and then to the hallowed hall. Already calls are made trying to get passes for everyone. In the arvo we go and ly! complete us ignore they famous… be might who else and anyone there are kids milling around the fences hoping to catch a glimpse of Phil to imagine it full of people. The backstage facilities are probably the crappiest Walking around the empty Pavilion after soundcheck is a buzz and it's hard a school canteen with the roller-door down. We drink beer, put new strings basically is what share Spazzys the of all we have encountered this tour. Us and seem pleased that there is a huge lineup waiting to get in, but as our ent managem tour on and sporadically jump up and down with excitement. The
stage time approaches there is still no one in the venue! When we walk onstage, to the tune of “I Fought the Law” by the Clash, there's only about 200 kids at the front of the stage. As we light it up I see more and more people pouring in. Apparently the doors didn't open till 7.15pm, our stage time is 7.30! My mate Rossco waits in line so long he gets to see Rusty throwing sticks into the crowd at the end of our set! It's a fucking awesome set, though, and the crowd goes stupid to “Baker Boy”. We get it all on camera so we can jerk off to it later! After a quick beer and a group photo for Rolling Stone with Shihad, The Spazzys and the 'Spoon, we pack our van and hit the freeway to Brisbane. The buzz of the show lasts for quite a while, keeping me and Rusty up while the others sleep in the back. Somewhere on a deserted stretch of the road Rusty and I have a disturbing experience, we drive past a car sitting on its roof by the side of the road, in the front yard of some house. Everything is strangely still. There is no-one around. As we're driving at 110kph it takes us a moment to realise what we've seen and a bad feeling sweeps over us both. We start to slow down to go back and see if everything is okay, when an ambulance roars past heading to the scene and we decide to press on. I dunno how many dead bodies you’ve seen, but in my personal experience I've seen enough!
We arrive in Brisbane feeling totally rancid, sleep deprived and a bit shirty. Megan directs us to her friend's house where we are staying and we have to wake them up! Turns out they play in the Grates and they're all massively hungover from a huge show the night before. We try not to piss them off and lie down on the floor for a few minutes before heading to the Convention Centre. QLD is a fascist state, remember, and here are some of the things we encountered! 1. No smoking within 8m of a public building! 2. Sound level must not exceed 95db within 5m of front of house (we all had a good laugh at that one!). 3. Crowd surfers were marched off to a room where they were given a stamp and a stern talking to about their actions, repeat offenders were ejected from the building! 4. No alcohol in the arena. Despite all this we still threw down our shit with a vengeance before heading back the 2.5kms to our dressing room! After Shihad's set we sat in their room drinking their beer and talking shit. Sample dialog - Jon: “I was still playing pretty tight right?” (referring to his journey to the back of the arena while playing guitar). Dave (sound guy): “Nah, I just turned you off and turned Phil up!” Jon: “…” The after-party was at Depot and everyfuckingone was there. Phil DJ'd by playing the worst eighties shit he could find. Debbie Gibson anyone? We drank, talked shit and danced. At one point Tom started to back away from me as I delivered a lengthy and detailed discourse on the state of art and music in the 21st Century. It was time to go the fuck home.
Blood Duster. Jason PC Fuller interview by Nutso Ward.
Europe, you better lock up your bitches and hide the fucking drugs, Blood Duster are about to wreak havoc. That's the vibe coming from Blood Duster chief, bassist Jason PC, several days before the Aussie death stars began their invasion of Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, England, France, Italy, Slovenia and the Czech Republic (not to mention Japan). Despite being in a lastminute pre-tour rush getting everything prepared for the release of the Duster's first DVD, The Shape Of Death To Come, and the reissue of their first album Fisting The Dead (Again), PC still found time to give this cracking UNBELIEVABLY Bad interview. You're heading to Europe; you must be pumped. We go away on Monday so it's pretty close. I've been doing all this fucking work just trying to get everything done because the DVD is out on the 1st [of August] and we're back on the 1st. You really need a week for that shit. Shit like making sure the posters are going to be done, booking all the print ads, booking all the store windows three months in advance; window displays are a cunt. Plus, all the other shit I have to do like trying to convince everyone in the band that we'll get into England without work visas.
good album. I fuckin' love it.
Just show up with all your equipment going, “We're not really here to play shows, we're backpackers!” Well, the plan we've got now is [to say], “Nah nah, we've just done a tour of Europe and we're coming here for a holiday. We can't leave our gear in Europe.” A couple of American bands pulled it off last week so I feel a bit better about the whole scam now. Hey, did I hear you've been going around dissing the new Electric Six album?
It sounds funny but I fucking hate that band. I fucking love 'em. It's awesome. He says “Fire” on that album thirty-something times, and “Nuclear War” thirty-something times. Whenever he's stuck for a word he just pops out “Fire” or “Nuclear War”.
Yeah. You don't like the Electric Six? It's a fuckin'
I would expect that. And how could you not like that Queen cover [“Radio Ga Ga”]? Have you seen the video? It's got Freddie Mercury written on a gravestone and the singer [Dick Valentine] pops up with a moustache and these buck teeth in this leotard looking like Freddie Mercury dancing on his grave with a ghetto blaster. Then when it gets to the guitar bit it's got all these poodles busting some moves like Brian May, it's fuckin' awesome.
Some of their shit is like the riff from the Screaming Jets' “Better”, like shit that you would be embarrassed to have come up with in your bedroom let alone to play to anyone. Exactly! It makes me happy every time I hear it. I love the fact that someone followed through with an idea like that.
Can we expect plenty of shitty ideas from the new Shape Of Death To Come DVD? We've got crack smoking on there… We were outside of Albury in this tiny shithole of a hotel. We'd just played the worst gig we've ever done, had like 20 people there. So we went back and smoked crack at this little hotel. The pool looked like a pool of mud or green slime with a sign saying “Don't Swim” and we're in a room with the door open smoking crack thinking we're cool as fuck. It was exactly like you would imagine, pulling into the shittiest place ever on the outskirts of Albury and someone pulls out their stash of crack it's like, “Wicked.” So that's on there. We've got live stuff from the last few years. We've got a full live show, which is pretty ugly. It's five cameras, we didn't do any 5.1 surround sound because most of
I remember seeing you at Caringbah nearly a year ago and before the show the whole band was watching out of the corner of their eye while Tony (Forde - vocals) tried to pick up some chick. Apparently you needed one final shot to complete the DVD. We got some really cool shots of him fucking this chick in Perth somewhere. He had her doing all kinds of shit and we thought it was hilarious - we all watched it the next day. He had her fully naked in this hotel lobby with these big glass doors that open out onto the street and he's just filming her doing all this shit and he's doing like full porno talk. Your friends don't normally get to hear your porno talk. He was like, “You're fuckin' so hot baby, I fuckin' love you.” I'm like, “You dodgy cunt!” We got to hear all the classic lines. But we did use one scene on the DVD. She's upside down on the bed giving him a blowjob but it's dark and you can't actually see the penetration, you can just sort of see the throat movement. So we got it in there and
This Euro tour you're going on looks sick, did you organise that? I organised it in so far as I took the call from the dude and I negotiated the chunk of cash going into my bank account. So has the same guy booked you before? We've never been there before. Blood Duster, as a band, have never been outside Australia in 13 years. I thought you must have because a friend of mine who toured Europe with The D4 said everyone over there when you tell them you're from Australia asks if you know Blood Duster. Are youse that huge or is everyone in Europe just a sad cunt? Well all our records have been out over there since '95 or something. The label [Relapse] originally were really supportive of us, and now we're on this French label [Season Of Mist], so
“I see bands like Cannibal Corpse who try so hard to be offensive and I think, it's a lot simpler than that.” - PC if you know what it is you'll spot it. Maybe we'll put up a link to the website and put the whole thing up there with some porno music or somethin'. You don't wanna get sued. We got legal advice about a bunch of things and apparently you can do it because she's consenting the whole time, but it’s the repercussions from a big boyfriend that worry us more than any legal threat.
Duster Dudes: (LtoR) Jason PC Fuller, Beltsy, M-Lo Collins, Matt Rizzo, Tony Forde those 5.1 things sound shit anyway. Like a shit band in a shit joint so now you've got more speakers of crap comin' at ya. We've got just the two speakers of crap comin' at ya. Stereo is quite sufficient for our crapness. So yeah, we also show just the usual shit that goes on on tour, some titties, a couple of cunt shots and stuff. We could've put some really full-on shit on there but we left a bit off because we needed to get it through the censors and we didn't have time or money to fuck around. It costs 1000 bucks to put it through the process and if they reject you you have to pay again. But now we know we can get away with crack, we can show a vagina as long as there's no penetration, we can show people pissing as long as they're not pissing while erect, which is kinda hard to do anyway.
I showed the DVD cover to some people [a pisstake of Refused's Shape Of Punk To Come] and one person in particular was horrified. It was as if he was a Christian and you had shit on the Pope's coffin. Punk rock. Apparently you can't stab the sacred cows? That's the good thing about doing those mockery covers, although we're not really mocking them, just stealing their idea. Just because we're Blood Duster and everyone knows we really don't give a fuck they get offended a little bit. It's like tweaking their nipples. Some people are precious about their stuff, especially punk dudes everyone's a sellout, you know how it goes. So I can't imagine that we're going to win too many friends with it, but the enemies we make will be worth it. As long as people like or hate it, you don't just want people looking at it going, “Oh yeah.” Shape Of Punk To Come is one of those albums, it's too ripe for some people, it's the sacred cow of the punk scene; Refused split up before they could suck. 28 Days have made a career of basing their video clips on that band. But I think what we did was more genuine than the 28 Days thing; and no disrespect to those guys because I think they're fucking awesome.
we've been flogged over there for years, we just haven't found anyone who's actually willing to tour us. Blood Duster have this reputation, like The Dwarves, who had trouble coming out to Australia for years. Even I was like, “I don't want to lend these dudes my gear, they're gonna fuckin' wreck it.” It didn't click at the time but that's the same rep Blood Duster have over there, people think we're gonna destroy everything we touch, and it could be true. If you've toured once then people trust you enough, but we had some European festival promoter a few years ago saying, “Nup, I'm not having any bands like that, we had a band set fire to the stage once.” He thought we were gonna come out swinging barbed wire and lighting the joint on fire like some kind of Great White memorial show. So is everyone in Europe just a sad cunt? They are just sad cunts, mate. But we were on a big label over there, the biggest underground metal label, so if you're into metal in any form you would've heard of us. I guess we're one of those bands that really do represent our country so people can latch onto that, like people know that Motorhead are from England. You do the Australian thing quite naturally and not bung it on. Like calling your album Cunt. The word cunt is not of Australian origin, but calling your album Cunt is so Australian. When we toured with Brutal Truth I called the girl I lived with a cunt and one of the Brutal Truth dudes pulled me aside and was like, not threatening, but made it be known that that was not what you did; you don't say that to a lady. I was just like, “Fuck dude, how long have you been in Australia?” That's classic! I'm just like, “Man you're gonna have to get used to it pretty fuckin' quick.” At the time we were
How come bassplayers get all the hot naked dudes?
Tony Lee Roth - What a fuckin’ aerosol!
going through our Confederate flag stage too, we had the Confederate flag plastered everywhere and they were a bit concerned that we were racist and all this kind of stuff. Then after about four or five shows they realised, “Fuckin' these guys are just takin' the piss, man!” They relaxed quite a bit after that. It's good to fuckin' push buttons y'know. It's not for any reason it's just amusing. I see bands like Cannibal Corpse who try so hard to be offensive and I think, it's a lot simpler than that. Cannibal Corpse was the death of death metal. Bands like that and Deicide was where I lost major interest. We played with Deicide way back in the day and I was just like, “Fuck man this cunt [Glen Benton] burns an upside down cross into his head, they're gonna be fuckin' brutal,” and you look at 'em, they're massive cunts. But they were some of the most polite dudes I've ever met. I was selling some dope to 'em, as you do to help out a touring band, maybe it was a quarter (of an ounce) or something. And y'know, they're fucking massive cunts, but they're standing there going to each other, “Ah, man, do you have an extra five bucks?” I mean, if I had've been Deicide and that massive I just woulda beat the fuck outta me. I just woulda taken the pot and gone, “Get the fuck out skinny.” I consider them polite.
“I like films where the poor girl goes to another country and discovers she is a descendant of royalty and has to learn to become a princess even though she's a little klutzy.” - PC
Who are madder Blood Duster or The Dwarves? The Dwarves are getting on a bit, but I'd still say they're fuckin' madder. I've seen them do some shit that's pretty fucked up. There were some incidents in Melbourne on the first tour where we had to take He Who (Cannot Be Named) around to a street whore and get his dick sucked. These chicks were covered in cold sores and shit and I had to do the shopping for him because he was too off his head. He wouldn't be sedated so we had to take him down to St. Kilda… So he didn't want an upper-class bird? No, had to be street. It was like his tourist thing, like some people go to art galleries and shit. So we're not quite as insane as The Dwarves. I've
done lines with Blag (Dahlia) and I can tell you right now that that guy can roll a note quicker than anyone I've ever seen, ever - so you know they've been around.
there with their arms crossed, so I just pissed on Matt Collins' (guitar) leg. It was just like, “Yeah, fuck you, I'm drunk, I'm pissing on the stage, I don't give a fuck.” Matt has never quite forgiven me. Have you learned any tips off He Who Cannot Be Named? He’s rubs his cock into the faces of the bogans in the front row and they love it. That doesn't worry me, the nude thing. But he licks his finger, shoves it up his arse and flicks it at people. So there's no way I'm going up the front at a Dwarves show. You are gonna get hit with shit.
Fisting The Dead (Again), what's the story, and is it easier or harder to fist a corpse this far after the original fisting in 1993 or whenever it was? Fuck it's just so long ago it's like another band. The album has been sold out for ages and we've been holding off and holding off and I just got sick of answering emails saying “no” to people. Then the American company [Relapse] started bringing their copies over here, Fisting The Dead and Yeest (EP) on the one CD, which we can never get paid for, so we just thought it was a good time to get it 1993: Fisting the Dead (Dr Jim’s) back out there. 1995: Yeest EP (Dr Jim’s)
BLOOD DUSTER DISCOGRAPHY
You and the Dwarves have 1997: Str8outtanorthcote (Dr Jim’s) 2000: Cunt (Dr Jim’s) got quite a thing going huh, You were known in the early 2002: D.F.F. EP (High Voltage) you all seem to be quite days for using samples from 2003: Blood Duster (High Voltage) comfortable with one some classic fucked up movies 2005: The Shape Of Death To Come another's backstage nudity like Bloodsucking Freaks and DVD (Madman) anyway? Brain Dead… Yeah, we're all cool. I think Yeah, let's not talk about that, I everyone else looks at it a bit weird, but don't be don't want to get sued. Peter Jackson is a big dude afraid it's only a dick. now, he could crush me, back in the day he was just a little dude, I don't think he'd even made When did you first play nude? Heavenly Creatures then. I'd been saying for a couple of years that I was gonna get nude and all this kind of shit. At the time Who were the big gore hounds? I didn't know who The Dwarves were 'cos I didn't I used to be, I used to just watch gore films get into them until really late. So I chickened out constantly, and Tony did as well. But these days, about 20 times at gigs and then at Metal For The although I'm in Blood Duster and everyone expects Brain one year I tried to smash my bass but instead something else, I love a feelgood film. I like films of smashing on impact it just bounced back and where the poor girl goes to another country and smashed me in the head. It was pretty ugly. I can't discovers she is a descendant of royalty and then remember much of the rest of it. I got naked and she has to learn to become a princess even though someone threw my pants into the crowd and shit she's a little klutzy - I love those films. I'm dead and it just turned into this mess, some drunken serious. My girlfriend fuckin' hates it because she nude retard on the stage, but ever since then I've likes art films and you can't get any further from art been free. Mates were showing me the footage than an American feelgood blockbuster - and going, “Look at your arse!” but I was just like, “Ah nobody does feelgood like America. I still watch the well, I'm nude now.” I took it to another level at occasional gore film, but nothing makes me happier some emo gig we did in Brisbane a while back. than a feelgood film. I like a switcheroo, like Tom Someone thought it would be funny to put all these Hanks in Big. emo bands on with Blood Duster and someone else, Fort I think it was. So by the time we came on Fort Freaky Friday? had scared all the emo kids down to the back, they Yep, hired that. Soon as it came out I was there. all had their backpacks on and shit, so I'm standing I wouldn't go to the cinema because you can't hide onstage, pissed as hell, and I could see them out that shit.
At The Drive_In
Medway Wheelers (Damaged Goods/Shock)
Wild Billy Childish never stops. The old bastard's got over 100 releases of rock 'n' roll with groups like Thee Milkshakes, Thee Headcoats, Thee Mighty Caesers, as well as several poetry records. His prolific nature is abetted by the fact that he rehashes the same ideas over and over again. On “The Man I Am”, track one of Medway Wheelers, Childish plays the same riff as on the Buffs' most well-known song, “Troubled Mind”, only adds the lyrics from The Singing Loins' lament, “I Don't Like The Man That I Am”. The “Troubled Mind” riff then gets another workout for “Lie Detector”! Kinks/ Who/ Hendrix/ Buff Medways, the Buffs only rip riffs from the best. Childish once scolded people, “who think progression is more important than preservation.” May he never change his ways - “Troubled Mind” forever.
Brian Jonestown Massacre
Anthology: This Station Is Non_Operational (Fearless/Shock)
Tepid Peppermint Wonderland: A Retrospective (Tee Pee/Smash)
At The Drive-In have had smoke blown up the arse of their corpse since the day the “hiatus” was announced, so I'll keep this felch short as possible. This Station Is NonOperational is a double-disc CD/DVD grab bag from one of the only important rock bands formed in the nineties. There's B-sides, live stuff, a Smiths cover, a Pink Floyd cover, and, according to the sticker on the front, “greatest hits”. Exactly what constitutes a greatest hit for a band that never had a hit is debatable, but the absence of “Invalid Litter Dept.” is mystifying whichever way you look at it. Makes you wonder why Fearless bothered at all. They were obviously biting off more than they could chew just taking on such a project. The music here is amazing, and the rarities precious gems, but as a homage to ATDI This Station Is Non-Operational does just enough to be of interest to both newcomers and diehards without satisfying anyone fully. It feels halfarsed, it feels like compromise, and that was something the band proved they'd rather break up than do.
Call me slow off the mark but the only shit I'd heard of Brian Jonestown Massacre was some of the more recent albums, which sounded somewhere between a throwback Velvet Underground and a lo-fi Dandy Warhols. They didn't sound at all as desperate and raw and evil as some of the mad, suicidal, psychedelic, shoe-gazing monoliths of truth on this double-CD retrospective. Sure, I have to be in a certain mood to not finish up asleep, but at the right time this shit dynamite. Anton Newcombe is a freak of nature. His ego is out of control (no more so than his drug abuse). But when I read the liner notes quotes for songs like “Ballad Of Jim Jones” from '96's Thank God For Mental Illness I realise why I love the guy's style. Newcombe: “I borrowed a cheap eight-track and knocked out that album in the time it took for two people in my group to go out and score drugs.” I hear it's been scientifically proved that 7 outta 10 self-respecting junkies prefer to nod off to BJM. Get addicted.
Blueline Medic / Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
Split EP (Casa Del Disco/Shock)
A six-track split between respected Melbourne indie/emo foursome Blueline Medic and New Jersey trio Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - two salt-of-the-earth rock bands from the opposite sides of the globe who might not share a too similar sound but who connect through their honesty and passion they both have. I'm still upset about missing their show together at Spectrum in June (went and saw Gazoonga Attack support The Mess Hall instead). Blueline kick off in fine fashion with their most streamlined single yet, “Newtown Rag”, following with two more brand newies. Troubadour Ted Leo and his Pharmacists then offer up “The Angels' Share” from their last album Shake The Sheets, before Ted gives the full band treatment to two tracks recorded solo on his Tell Balgeary, Balgury is Dead EP (2003) - Split Enz's “Six Months In A Leaky Boat” and the very awesome “Loyal To My Sorrowful Country”, which is like a harder Hoodoo Gurus gone political.
Triple J “Live At The Wireless” [Live] (Not Released)
Recorded live at Melbourne's Metro on April Fool's Day 2004 for Australia's “national youth broadcaster” Triple J, The Bronx's second Australian show somehow ended up in my sweaty little hands on CD. I have no idea if it was ever actually broadcast, but the production is not much better than a desk-tape. Minor mistakes that would've been glossed over by distortion on the night are plainly heard, like the fluffing of the start of set opener “I Got Chills”. The fearsome foursome hurtle into “Heart Attack American”, flinging breathless versions of “Gun Without Bullets” and “White Tar” out in rapid succession. Around halfway through they really start to find their feet, the brutal “Cobra Lucha” a turning point in the set (or maybe I'm just getting used to this crappy sound). The superb “Notice Of Eviction” and a tight cover of The Saints' “Private Affair” close out this cool-arse curiosity piece. If you want an authentic taste of that first Australian visit, though, nothing beats The Bronx Live @ Annandale DVD.
The Dead Walk!
Re-Animation EP (Resist/Shock)
One of the most interesting bands to burst onto the beefy, burly, hairy balls hardcore scene in a while, Newcastle abomination The Dead Walk! look like a pack of flesh eating zombies in their promo pics, but a right bunch of Madball bogans in big shorts and singlet tops on stage. Their sound is a bit old school hardcore, a bit metal, nothing that Integrity or Terror haven't done first, but they do it well and have a most righteous lyrical style that is serious and not serious at the same time. The track “Lesson 1: NCHC” is a shot at Brisbane's North Coast hardcore scene for stealing the letters NCHC when the Newcastle scene has been called that since forever. “No disrespect to the North Coast scene, but you can't rewrite Aussie hardcore history,” sings vocalist Luke Crew, a Newcastle veteran who formerly fronted the excellent Arms Reach and Life. Love. Regret. It's only a playful dig at their North Coast brethren, but fuck hardcore dudes are precious about their shit, huh?
Baby (Rough Trade/Shock)
Liquored-up rock 'n' soul
cover band Detroit Cobras bask in the glow of the success that has reflected from their appearance on the Jackass soundtrack by re-recording their old chestnut from '99, Hank Ballard's “Cha Cha Twist” for a European Diet Coke commercial. Problem is, it just spotlights how niced-up their new sound is. After two full albums and a 7-track EP of covers, the Cobras' first-up attempt at an original song, “Hot Dog (Watch Me Eat)”, wasn't worth the wait (which I find even more disappointing considering it was co-written with ex-Oblivians/current Reigning Sound legend Greg Cartwright).
The Dead Walk
UNBELIEVABLYInaccurateCD Reviews CAution: DAN ger Concentrated
The Buff Medways
At The Drive-In
Die! Die! Die!
S/T EP (Unstable Ape/Stomp)
But there are still a few passable tracks, my favourite being the dramatic, swinging country of Gary US Bonds' dirge “I Wanna Holler (But The Town's Too Small)”. Live, though, they ate rancid shit. If Rachael Nagy and Mary Restrepo weren't such true-to-life trashbags I really would've walked away from that show disappointed.
You go see Die! Die! Die! live and these three New Zealandish nerds are kicking foldback speakers around and acting all crazy and it's messy and it's noisy and it's seldom if ever pretty but it's great. Some find their behaviour a tad contrived, but as long as they're fucking shit up they should be saluted I reckon. However, as calculated as it may or may not be, that wanton live destruction doesn't translate as well to this recording. Here Die! Die! Die! sound tame, and don't do enough in the songwriting to compensate. With a sense of melody that is fairly flat, they rely largely on sped-up, quirky post-punk rhythms to carry the songs, but everyone is doing that shit these days. It's style over substance, but if you dig The Mint Chicks, The Scare, Group Seizure, Bit By Bats and those kind of bands check out Die! Die! Die! at a show soon.
Oh Me Oh My… [Re-issue] (Young God/Smash)
Late one night about eight months ago watching Rage I first saw Devendra Banhart looking like the whacked-out hippy he is and warbling some weird acoustic dribble. I thought he was funny; some throwback joker in kaftans taking piss from the psychedelic era, but the music didn't grab me at all. I was completely oblivious to his November visit to Australia, but then I got this reissue of his 2002 lo-fi debut Oh Me Oh My... The Way the Day Goes by the Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs of the Christmas Spirit (2002), with 2003's Black Babies EP included as bonus tracks, and about ten seconds after he opened his mouth to sing the opener “When The Roots Of The Tree, I Don't Play No Rock And Roll”, having quickly processed the shock, I was convinced folk music had a new saviour. These recordings could be from the future, they could be from the past, they could be from a parallel dimension, another place in space and time. I haven't heard folk this inspiring or just plain enjoyable to listen to maybe ever. He plays it mellow, yet at the same time very highly-strung and tense, possessed with an ability to create a mood that is light-hearted and happy yet intense and dark, familiar and yet totally alien, calm but anxious, tender yet somehow frightening. He's Donovan, Charles Manson, Tiny Tim, Nusrat Fatah Ali Khan, Tim Buckley and Syd Barrett all rolled into the body of a kid who can grow a mighty fine beard for his age.
Rejoicing In The Hands (XL/Remote Control)
This is probably the Devendra stuff I first saw on Rage, the better-recorded Devendra, after he'd been taken under the wing (no pun intended) of Swans leader Michael Gira. In 2004 Gira, who had issued Banhart's debut on his Young God label two years prior, took the 22-year old prodigy to the home of engineer Lynn Bridges (Hellacopters, Immortal Lee County Killers II) on the Alabama/Georgia border. There Banhart sat on a stool in Bridges' living room for ten days, playing constantly for 12 hours a day as they laid down 32 songs, half of which made it onto Rejoicing In The Hands. The recordings were overdubbed in New York, and the artwork once again handled personally by the young wandering minstrel. The version I have even comes with a book full of his doodles called Light Aligns. Enchanted as I was by the Oh Me Oh My…/Black Babies re-issue, I made it my business to give this more polished effort a good chance to impress me, and it does, especially Banhart’s improved guitar playing skills. However, it's a much more restrained and contained effort, one
Digger & The Pussycats Watch Yr Back
An artist’s impression of Devendra Banhart that ultimately suppresses certain facets of Banhart's unique approach in favour of more traditional traits (i.e. the songs end in logical places, the added instrumentation is quite unimaginative, and he's ceased screeching in falsetto halfway through songs). In applying the straighter approach to arrangement and production the amazing bipolar emotion of his earlier work is stifled, but it's still a decent fix if you get the Devendra bug as bad as me.
Devendra Banhart Nino Rojo
When critics went wild for Rejoicing In The Hands this “companion” piece to it entitled Niño Rojo was swiftly issued, a 16-track collection of tracks that didn't make the cut but could just as easily have. Banhart refers to Rejoicing… as the mother and Niño Rojo as the son. The mother he explains, “she is observing, having already experienced, commenting, this is this... this is that.” While the child is “not observing but participating, exuberant and foolish he begins his journey onward!” Sons acting as their mothers' companions, huh? That sounds like incest to me folks. Which is natural considering these tracks were culled from the same Michael Gira-produced sessions that birthed Rejoicing…. Opening with a haunting cover of Ella Jenkins' “Wake Up, Little Sparrow”, followed by the strange “Ay Mama”, the early signs seem to indicate less commercial aspirations than Rejoicing In The Hands. But then “Little Yellow Spider” and “At The Hop” appear in quick succession and blow that theory right out of the water, both tracks being delicate slices of trippy, acoustic, folk, pop. Also included is an enhanced component
featuring the clip for “Little Yellow Spider” and an alt. version of “At The Hop”, where Banhart and his mates perform in a grassy field looking like freaked out extras from El Topo. A case of the exuberant child running rings around the tired parent, out of the two albums Niño Rojo is the go.
Cripple Crow (XL/Remote Control)
Instead of recording onto a mate's answering machine or in some old dude's living room, for album number four, Devendra threw the Persian rug in the back of the Kombi and hiked over to Bearsville Studios in New York's Catskill Mountains to make a big budget record with collaborators Tom Monahan, Noah Georgeson and Andy Cabic. Easily his most accessible album as well as his most diverse, Cripple Crow sees Banhart trying to take his weirdness to the mainstream by paying deeper respect to pop structure, while simplifying the presentation of his spaced-out imagery. Lacking the tension and raw passion of his earlier work, some really catchy melodies are offered as compensation, but they don't quite do it. When anti folk goes adult contemporary you can call the whole thing off, and I can just imagine a bunch of 702AM listeners in their air-conditioned BMWs driving to a marketing meeting listening to this with the latest copy of Mojo on the passenger seat feeling really “up with things”. I can appreciate what Banhart is trying to do to push his career forward, but I can't help but feel regret at the fact that the otherworldly sounds and unbridled emotion that made those first recordings so special have given way to explorations of traditional song formats or, in the case of “Chinese Children”, straight up nursery rhyme.
Made up of two-thirds of the more refined, less exciting Kamikaze Trio, Melbourne punk 'n' roll twosome Digger & The Pussycats use the shitiest gear to compliment their rotten attitudes. It started off that drummer Andy Moore wanted to catch public transport to gigs so he adopted a twopiece kit. Guitar player Sam Agostino doesn't like lugging gear either, so he stripped back to basics as well and the cheap and nasty Digger aesthetic was born. Watch Yr Back - the pair's second album after 2003's crankin' Young, Tight & Alright - comes rocketing out of the starting blocks with the lean, fast and aptly-titled “Catch Me If You Can”, and for the next four tracks Sam and Andy put their heads down and pummel shithouse terms like “punk blues” to death. Then they drop down several gears to build walls of guitar on top of a pounding trancelike rhythmic foundation on the track “No Vacancy”, before tearing into arguably their catchiest tune yet, “Comin' To Get You” (aka “You Drive Like A Cunt”), with added guitar work by legend Spencer P. Jones (Beasts Of Bourbon, Johnnys, etc).
Dinosaur [Re-issue] You're Living All Over Me [Re-issue] Bug [Re-issue] (Shiny/Shock)
As a kid I listened to heaps of
SST bands (Minutemen, Black Flag, Sonic Youth, Husker Du) but it wasn't until grunge happened that I was prompted to give Dinosaur a decent try with Where You Been (1993), right around the time we were all getting pumped full of “Get Me” on Rage every Saturday night (along with Nirvana, Sonic Youth's “100%” and Fishbone!). I listened to Where You Been occasionally over the years and I still like it, but now it seems like I was trying hard to connect with that album and not quite getting there. It certainly didn't lead me to check out Dinosaur’s other stuff. That's why I
clothing label and appearing predominantly in the kinds of magazines that are for the most part only read only by graphic designers and the yuppies that advertise in them. But I love these Goons. They play like a bunch of your mates doing covers at a party; only instead of covers they write originals in a kinda Nuggets-meets-Butthole Surfers vein, only dodgier, with references to being fucked from behind by Godzilla and chasing chicks in rat skin boots. They are hell dodgy and hell catchy and hell, I feel like getting wasted and going and seeing them try to barely play right now.
Allies (Set Fire To My Home/Shock)
hear these first three reissued Dinosaur Jr. albums and feel so stupid. I realise I wasted my time with the wrong damn record! Firstly you've got the '85 self-titled debut, an untamed and unrefined nugget encompassing all sorts of wild and wonderful styles, all drenched in a downpour of mercurial feedback. It's everything I love. The following two slicker efforts, You're Living All Over Me (1987) and Bug (1988), are not as raw or primal or messy or weirded-out, but they're a pair of indie rock-defining monsters of feedbackin' solos, grungy riffs and melody. Fuck I was a dumb shit as a kid.
Wait Long By The River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By (Shock)
Less menacing than their debut masterpiece Here Come The Lies, The Drones' second effort Wait Long By The River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By is still swampy, and it's yet another masterpiece. Recorded more than 18 months ago by Spooky Records owner Loki Lockwood, this sat around unreleased for that long when the Drones were forced to buy their contract and the recording back from Lockwood after deciding to leave Spooky. Sounding way less psychotic in terms of violent guitar noise and unrefined screaming vocals, these nine songs are crammed with the most amazing and explosive moments as the band turn down the gain knobs, pull back on the sheer audio violence and amp up on melody and plain good songwriting. With Birthday Party fingerprints still heavily smudged on the sound, the fiery foursome retain that glorious effect-soaked twin-Fender attack, but there's an attention to melody and understanding of musical space that makes Wait Long By The River… suited to occasions other than merely those draped in bleak nihilism.
Ian MacKaye on baritone
guitar and vocals unveils his new outfit The Evens, a twopiece he formed a few years ago with his girlfriend, drummer/vocalist Amy Farina from now defunct Dischord act The Warmers.
Shunning volume and aggression for quietude and closeness, the music has a dreamy indie pop vibe that still oozes the same passion evident in Minor Threat and Fugazi. With MacKaye busy nailing intricate riffs that are not a world away from his Fugazi-stylings, Farina nips in and steals the show with her jittery brush and stick work. Both of them share the singing duties. It's quaint, soft, almost folkish music, but the straight-speaking lyrics show that MacKaye has lost none of his fire. Addressing both political and personal relationship issues through the words, The Evens touch on a range of emotions through the music, creating an intimate and inviting atmosphere that is simultaneously straight-faced, serious, and stifling in its truthful intensity.
And speaking of Fugazi, Further have made a record that doesn't sound like them at all. Three years after their Fugazi (some say ...Trail Of Dead) influenced noise rock opus Punkrockvampires and they're back with a fresh new album of stirring indie rock that forgoes the public experiments with sound and violent riffing of the debut to explore their melodic capabilities and perfect their sweet harmonic guitar interplay. Embracing influences like Sonic Youth, Husker Du and Ride, Further! has a real nineties indie vibe about it, with no real aggression to speak of except for a small part of opener “In The Sticks” and the 54-seconds that make up absolute
belter “An Adolescent Punk with a Smouldering Grudge”. Few bands write songs that rely so heavily on the interplay between the members. Further have got one another's backs every step of the way, showing a real confidence in one other and the new material to create one cool fucking album.
Goldie Lookin Chain Greatest Hits (Warner)
The scumbags in Welsh rap posse Goldie Lookin Chain make Mike “Dry Your Eyes Mate” Skinner look like a bleedin' choirboy, innit? Quirky radio song “Guns Don't Kill People, Rappers Do” catches this group of white boys at their most together, but they are capable of getting pretty fuckin' loose and raw on Greatest Hits, a collection of years of material from their mostly CD-R back catalogue. Puerile in extremis (I have to skip the track “Your Mother's Got A Penis” every time just because it's so embarrassingly stupid), Goldie Lookin Chain are like a Welsh mix of Curse Of Dialect and Suicidal Rap Orgy, with their own stupid in-jokes and fucked up sense of humour. Yet another one of those bands I love but wouldn't recommend to anyone. “Half Man, Half Machine”, what does it bloody well mean, in-fucking-deed?
Rising from the ashes of Sydney post-hardcore outfit Seconds Away, local Sydney foursome Grand Fatal have really made an impact in a short space of time. Two excellent EPs (Kick The Star and Chaser/Eraser) in 12 months and a reputation for thrilling live performances have helped lay the groundwork with fans, while industrywise they've received good fortune with mostly positive press, several notable support tours, and radio airplay for songs like “Baker Boy”. So how do they live up to the hype? By releasing a stunning album that rocks with supreme power and emotion - that's number one. It's only 10 songs long, which feels like a shortchange, but there's no filler to speak of and thankfully they've resisted the temptation to revamp old hits like “Kick The Star”, “Baker Boy” and “Chaser/Eraser” the way Sleepy Jackson, Gyroscope, Faker and End Of Fashion did on their debuts. Blessed with the forward drive of Drive Like Jehu, the genuine passion of At The Drive-In, the work ethic of Midnight Oil, the melodic inclination Superchunk, and a chemistry on par with all of those bands, there are few other local acts worth more of your time.
Without having ever heard them I went and saw Japanese trio Guitar Wolf live at the Iron Duke (R.I.P) years and years ago. Fuckin' ms they did, posing all eardru my busted Doom Goons Of sunnies trying to look in stage the about Bikey Zomby EP (Volcom/MGM) d to obnoxiously cranke amps with cool Goons Of Doom are going to loud. They weren't the slightest bit have a hard time being taken concerned about hitting the right notes seriously, what with bringing or providing any definition or dynamics out records through a to their sound. They sucked total balls and I left disappointed. Then, about six s Drone The months later I finally heard one of their records and realised that I'd kinda missed the point. I went there expecting to hear songs, not realising that it's primal rock 'n' roll sludge that Guitar Wolf specialise in. Loverock, their fifth long-player, is searing noise punk 'n' roll as only this trio of nutty Japs could play it. I've pissed a few people off with it already. [R.I.P bassist Billy Wolf, who died of a heart attack in March this year after this was recorded]
High On Fire
Blessed Black Wings (Relapse/Riot)
High On Fire get their
Motorhead-meets-Slayer mix perfected on Blessed Black Wings, their third effort and first since the addition of bass player Joe Preston (ex Melvins, Earth). Recorded by Steve Albini this has an absolutely massive sound, as former Sleep leader Matt Pike (guitar/vocals) and the rhythm section of Preston and Des Kensel (drums) hammer their instruments with all the force of a natural disaster. Untamed and unrelenting, the simplicity of this extreme stoner combo is a welcome change from the technical approach of most modern metal. These guys just put their heads down and get stuck into it, and the intent and intensity at times is frightening. The only pompous thing about it are lyrical passages like, “Stolen ancient amulet, Black the hexed sarcophagus / Summoning the hound, The bringer of impending doom…” So damn metal, though, you can't knock 'em, can you?
Peel Session EP [Live] (Swami/Shock)
The most exalted, now defunct Hot Snakes (R.I.P) record a live session for the even more exalted, now deceased John Peel (R.I.P) just before the celebrated BBC DJ carked it last year. With only four tracks on offer, it's not only short but pretty tame and controlled for a live session. Opening with “Braintrust” from their last album Audit In Progress (2004), the dudes keep it steady and tight as “This Mystic Decade” delivers the second of the Audit… tracks. The final two numbers, “No Hands” and the killer “Automatic Midnight” are from Hot Snakes’ 2001 debut Automatic Midnight, with no selections from Suicide Invoice and no new material. It's undeniably great, and if you're a fan you've gotta get this quick, but at the same time it's so well recorded and played that I think I'd rather just listen to the albums - they're longer.
Safety Second, Body Last EP (Ipecac/Shock)
If you were to attempt to accurately interpret through dance this 10-minute, twotrack effort from the San Diego masked psychos The Locust you would break every bone in your body in several places. Briefly off Epitaph and on Patton's Ipecac, their undiagnosed Dadaist insanity has clearly intensified. Retaining their anonymity through their TISM-meets-Louis The Fly image, musically The Locust seem to be going all-out for the title of “Most Fucked Up Band On Ipecac”, which is no mean feat. The song titles, the artwork, the fact that there are four “movements” and only two tracks, the music itself - all of it is psychotic. While not totally relentless from start to finish, Safety Second, Body Last is ceaselessly challenging, with The Locust removing any audible trace of song or melody and just kicking out the tightly executed spastic migraine jams.
Mangled Demos From 1984 (Ipecac/Shock)
An official release of rare demos that have been bootlegged to buggery, this stuff dates back to the very early days of the Melvins, pre-Dale Crover, with a lineup of guitarist/vocalist Buzz Osbourne, future Mudhoney bassist Matt Lukin and drummer Mike Dillard. It starts off with
6-minutes of surreal audio from something called the “ELKS Lodge Christmas Broadcast”, a Montesano, Washington local radio fundraiser where the young Melvins answer a few generic questions each then blast the aging Elks with the feedbacking punk noise of “If You Get Bored”. Most of the remaining 20+ tracks are taken from a barelyremembered but nonetheless inspired demo session from '83, beginning with the fast hardcore track “Forgotten Principles” and including early versions of “Snake Appeal” and “Set Me Straight”. Debatably more priceless than the rare tunes, though, are King Buzz's scattered recollections in the liner notes, in particular his trashing of ex-Metal Church gaylord Kurdt Vanderhoof when he writes: “…years later, the Melvins have a career in music and my old friend Kurdt works as a waiter at Gray's Harbor Golf Course and still talks shit about us.”
Victim Chant [Re-issue]
There once was a band called Mouth. A trio, they ruled in Hobart's tiny scene in the early-nineties, moved to Melbourne, played a handful of shows, recorded an album as good as any by Jesus Lizard or Slint or Sonic Youth, played a few more shows, then broke up. The world would have been in mourning if it had ever acknowledged Mouth's existence in the
UNBELIEVABLY LITERATE REVIEW FOR ROCKIN' BOOKWORMS Hard Road: The Life & Times of Stevie Wright
Jack It's Stevie's attempt to set the record straight after grimy 1999 account, Sorry: The Wretched Tale of Marx's d less Glenn Goldsmith (Random House) Little Stevie Wright (Pan Macmillan), which focuse While it might be written with about as and more ats Easybe The and Stevie of s ement achiev the on much flair as a shopping list, Glenn t. on the author's dope-shooting sessions with his subjec Goldsmith's account of the life one of Goldsmith is the godfathers of Oz certainly no The Easybeats rock, Stevie Wright, is Hemingway (or Jack still worth a read. Marx for that matter), Despite Nic Cester and Hard Road is not from Jet's assertion on written with a critical the back that the story eye. But one thing it has been “told brilliantly”, it does have is the actually reads like a textbook written input of Stevie on behalf of Stevie explaining the story of Wright, which is still how this little kid from Leeds, England worth a few worthy wound up fronting Australia's biggest pop insights to a born and rock sensations The Easybeats before raised Easybeats sinking into heroin addiction, electrofreak like me. shock treatment, alcoholism and obscurity.
first place. Now, thanks to Solar/Sonar, a label run by The Nation Blue's guitarist Tom Lyncolgn, the one and only Mouth album, '94's classic Victim Chant, is available for re-discovery. Remastered by original producer Lindsay Gravina (Jet, Magic Dirt, The Nation Blue) and packaged with new artwork five previously unreleased tracks, this is undoubtedly one of the releases of 2005 so far. 11 years on and most bands are still catching up with what guitarist/ vocalist Tim Evans (later of Seas Scouts, now of Bird Blobs), brother and drummer Paul Evans and bassist Cameron Stops (now of Legends Of Motorsport) were doing. So many great moments to speak of: The duality of the emotion in upbeat opener “One Disease”, the wailing guitar insanity and pumping rhythms in the title track, the deeply affecting harmonic droning in “Symptom Of The Problem”, the strange, languid funk parts in “Demon Grip”, the slight feedback-filled pauses that act as the hook in “Private Property”, I could go on and on. One of the best Australian albums of the nineties (or ever), Victim Chant does not deserve to slip through the cracks twice.
How The Great Have Fallen (SPV/Riot)
Oh fuck yeah, another Raging Speedhorn record! The last time we encountered this stellar B-grade UK version of Blood Duster was the release of their killer Live & Demos double-disc set from last year or whenever. They ain't released a proper record since 2001's We Will Be Dead Tomorrow, which I think totally justifies the exclamation mark at the end of my opening statement. This is the third album from this fugly-arse sixpiece from decaying former steel town Corby, England. The mix of extreme metal and rock 'n' roll is similar to stuff Entombed have attempted, only with more of a sense of humor. Two bonus coves are included (KISS' “God Of Thunder” and “Hatred” by the Kinks), but by far the highlight of the peripherals is the secret prank call embedded 13 minutes into closer “Don't Let The Bastards Grind You Down”, where a badass black dude from the ghetto calls up to answer a classifieds ad requesting a lead player for a “black” metal band.
The Sailors Viva La Beaver
Extending the scope of their offensiveness, Melbourne miscreants The Sailors shift the focus off their feigned homosexuality and find new targets to aim at. Tracks like “(I've Got A Cock) You've Got A Snatch” and “Back In The Closet” hint that gayness is done and dusted for Viktor, Hector, Vernon and Geronimo, so now it's onto race-related ditties such as a take on Lou Reed's “I Wanna Be Black” and their own “Cracker In The Niggertonk”, which was the subject of a complaint letter received by the Esplanade Hotel after the Sailors played there last year. The band wrote back explaining that they were merely attempting to recontextualise the objectionable words. Well, firstly, that's easy to say when you're some white kids from Victoria, and secondly, as if the Sailors are trying to do anything as
highbrow as recontextualising language! They wrote “Cracker In The Niggertonk” for the same reason they write all their songs - to offend the arse off of people. It worked, so what the fuck are they on about?! Other themes explored on Viva La Beaver, their third full-length effort and the follow up to 2003's excellent Failure. Depression. Suicide. EP, include self-loathing (“I Hate Myself”), drug abuse (“Speeded It Away”), ejaculation (“Why Piss?”) and that old chestnut, man love (“Set Your Ass On Fire”). Like everything the Sailors have ever released, I recommend you buy this and a few extra grains of salt to take it
The Early Years (Ozit Morpheus/Chatterbox)
Sister Gwen McKay Hand Job
More nutso stuff from demented Sydney indie label Dual Plover, this is a whole CD of weird prank calls made to former 2GB radio talk show host Peter Hand by some guy (Sydney music and performance artist Sweden, in fact) calling himself Sister Gwen McKay. Frail old Gwen calls Peter to basically talk around and around in circles about as many pointless topics as possible, asking stuff like, “Do you know how to make pork chops like those found in a Chinese restaurant?” But Sister Gwen is only one of this lunatic caller's many alter-egos. He also assaults the AMairwaves as a crazy Indian character, a senile old woman in a nursing home and Judith Durham's father. What's the point? Ummm...
Steve Towson & The Conscripts / My Precious
Venom In My Veins Split EP (CrimInAll/MGM)
Steve Towson from Queensland is a guy with his heart in the right place, a guy who embodies the true ethos of punk rock in everything he does. As a self-financed solo artist he has released a few CDs and traveled to almost every part of Australia spreading his message of social justice. He's also been across Asia a couple of times where he found himself billed with one of the most astounding thrashcore bands on the planet, My Precious, a bewitching dualfemale fronted quartet from Singapore. He brought me back a copy of their S/T debut from 2003 and I was just blown away; it was like Singapore had an answer to Refused or Fingerprint, only with what sounded like two vicious bloodthirsty banshees out front screaming. A band this intense and original needs to be heard, so Towson is bringing them to Australia, both on tour and via this 6-track split EP. Towson's half of the songs are some of his most solid yet, enhanced by the presence of his latest band The Conscripts, while very the intense My Precious show just how far they've come in the two years since the debut. Most songs struggle to take you on a journey as exciting as the all consuming “Stars”, which clocks in at a mere 27-seconds. The real proof of the added dimension to their unique sound, though, is “Middle Finger Jeopardy”, a winding atmospheric nightmare that threatens to tear your speakers cones open with its savageness. They're touring in a few weeks. I'm expecting much.
The nineties offspring of the New York Dolls and Wayne County, it doesn't get trashier than NYC punk rock sideshow the Toilet Boys. With transvestite frontman/woman Miss Guy bringing his/her camp and frivolous tongue-in-cheek sense of humour, these degenerate punkers wield a high-octane sound with bad attitude spray painted all over it. The Early Years is a trip back in time to the mid-nineties when Guy first formed the band, and takes in all their early recordings. The pick of the lyrics is “Paul Stanley (Was A Lady)”: “Sexy lips and swinging hips, In high heels he never trips / He wore more make-up than a movie queen, He had the highest heels that I've ever seen...” Includes covers of Motorhead's “Vibrator” and Poison's “Talk Dirty To Me”, as well as enhanced video of them doing Culture Club's “Karma Chameleon”. Unlike their live extravaganzas you don't get pyro explosions, confetti-shooting guitars or the overt visual overload of Miss Guy in full flight, but at least the sleaze carries across loud and clear.
Party Animals (Burning Heart/Shock)
The second postresurrection recording for Turbonegro and their worst in over a decade, Party Animals is still on high rotation round my place two months or so after release. The catchiest album the denim deathpunk renegades have ever made, there is nothing on this Steve McDonald (Red Kross)-produced effort that will really surprise old fans. It's basically a further streamlining (dumbing down if you like) of the Apocalypse Dudes sound, with a slight change in tack in regards to subject matter (where's all the songs about ass!). As the title suggests, Party Animals is about getting fucked up and fucking shit up, with some killer calls like, “My body is a temple, and tonight I'll tear it down,” from “Wasted Again”, which boasts a guest appearance by Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks). Nick Oliveri (Dwarves, QOTSA, Mondo Generator) screams on the last track “Final Warning”, alongside a 50-piece orchestra playing the most overly extravagant arrangement since Metallica's symphonic abomination.
The bonus DVD features Hank Von Helvete's “Workout Video”, which sees the frontman down at his local gym taking you through his workout routine and giving advice on how he maintains that chiseled Deathpunk physique. Flip your burger and shake your buns.
Blood Run (Relapse/Riot)
The song remains Unsane. Longstanding New York noise rock trio return from years of inactivity with an album that sounds just like all the others. As violent-sounding and pissed off as ever, singer/guitarist Chris Spencer shows no signs of mellowing with age, ripping vocals out straight from his gut and digging hard into his guitar strings with his right hand as he squeezes sap from the maple neck with his left. Matching their leader for intensity is longserving rhythm section, drummer Vinnie Signorelli (ex-Swans, ex-Foetus) and bassist Dave Curran. Fans who had begun believing that '98's Occupational Hazard would be the final chapter in the Unsane chronicles should rejoice at the fact that Blood Run picks things right up as if the hiatus never happened. Anyone looking for an introduction should check out 2003's retrospective, Lambhouse: Unsane 1991-1998.
Alternative Animals: An Interactive Documentary of the Australian Punk Scene 1976-79 (Shock)
While the Ramones were rockin' NYC and the ‘Pistols creating anarchy in the UK, Australia was the only other place on the planet breeding its own bands in the punk mould. This unique set comprises one CD and one interactive CD-Rom and attempts to highlight Australia's contribution to early punk. The 15-track CD has live rarities from The Saints and Radio Birdman, plus a random selection of early Oz punk like The Leftovers, Boys Next Door (an unreleased demo track called “Sex Crimes”), X, Rocks, The Chosen Few, Whirlywirld and more. The CD-Rom takes things further, offering video interviews with the members of many seminal bands, with supporting documentation in the form of photos, live footage, flyers, setlists, family trees, fanzine material and discographies. Using well-designed menus that divide the bands up into their respective states, Alternative Animals is a non-linear interactive doco that allows you to click through and explore at your own whim. This is one of those releases, like Do The Pop or Tales From The Australian Underground, that as an Aussie punk fan I feel obligated to own.
Burned Mind (SubPop/Stomp)
What started out eight years ago as a one-man bedroom project for Nate Young, Wolf Eyes are now a trio (Aaron Dilloway and John Olson are the other blokes) that sit on the cusp of taking noise terror to the masses. Ever prolific, they have something stupid like 40 releases to their name, but it's Burned Mind, their Sub Pop debut, that has got everyone all foamy. From The Stooges' hometown of Ann Arbour, MI these poster boys of noise have turned heads with a refined version of what Nurse With Wound and Swans were doing 20 years ago, although they play it more like a rock band. Expect music as aggressive and anti-social as titles like “Stabbed in the Face ” (which is actually one of the more listener-friendly songs), “Urine Burn” and “Black Vomit”, and don't count on being able to hum along.
SeVEn InchES of DanGer The Drips
“Mexico” / “All Kids Are Dead” (Hostage)
A side-project of LA rulers The Bronx, The Drips is Bronx vocalist Matt Caughthran and guitarist Joby J. Ford, along with Mexican-born brothers Vincent (bass) and Dave Hidalgo Jnr (drums) who did 20-years hard time with Los Lobos. Their debut, this limited edition 7” (I got #537 / 550) issued through Huntington Beach, CA's vinyl-only Hostage Records, was recorded around mid-2003. The striking cover artwork (which doesn't look even the slightest bit striking in a shitty black & white 'zine) was done by Ford, who has done graphic design work on heaps of Vagrant releases and recent Paul Westerberg albums as well as all The Bronx stuff. Rockin' A-side track “Mexico” is your introduction to The Drips', with Caughthran's familiar voice and lyrical phrasing and Ford's manic riffs giving Bronx fanatics plenty to get excited about. “All Kids Are Dead” continues the breathless punk barrage; like The Bronx if they'd formed in 1981, smiled more often and seemed slightly less intent on total annihilation.
In Name And Blood / The Collapse Split
(Trial & Error/Sightline)
This hardcore split has got some wicked packaging. Firstly it comes in a brown sandwich bag stamped saying “Trial & Error and Sightline Records Present: In Name And Blood and The Collapse split 7 inch.” Peak inside the bag and you're confronted by a regular plastic 7” bag with a hand-numbered photocopied sleeve (I got #257 / 300), inside which - in addition to the vinyl itself - there is a double-sided A5 piece of paper (one side per band) with lyrics, thanx lists, etc. The clincher, though, is the “split” cloth patch, a patch with both band's logos screen-printed side by side! Judging from the quality of material on the wax I'd sew them both on. In Name And Blood from Melbourne take up a whole side with one track, a sixminute excursion through atmospheric metalcore that is epic without being too over-the-top. A band to watch. The three tracks from The Collapse from Western Australia (with a Polish singer) are so good you'll kick yourself when you find out they broke up years ago. The 46-second grind assault, “Factories”, is one of my new favourite “under-a-minute” songs.
Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic Ribbon Device
Live In Lisboa / Minneapolis 7” (Dual Plover/Freedom From)
Justice Yeldham is that insane dude that blows weird noises on a piece of glass and slashes his face to buggery in the name of performance. This is the release he claimed he would never do. Side A is a recording from Lisbon, Portugal 2004, which the Justice himself has described as one of the most intense ever. Side B is from 2003 in Minneapolis, USA and benefits from wildly enthusiastic crowd participation that drives the performance on. Unfortunately, though, the sound of Justice Yeldham doesn't hold up as well without all the supporting elements. Watching him get cut, being gripped by the tension, wondering if he's going to be all right, moving the fuck out of the way of shattering glass, feeling those sub-sonics - all those things are diluted in translation. This 7” seems like something you'd buy at a show as a memento of the experience. The copy I have is smeared with a few traces of the Justice's dried blood, which I must say you just don't see enough of in music these days. Maybe you better get to a show soon and pick this up. He's liable to slash an artery in his throat and be dead tomorrow.
The Mint Chicks
“F**k The Golden Youth” / “Oh Yeah, Oh Yeah” (Flying Nun/FMR)
Coloured vinyl; the experience of receiving a piece of the stuff was described to me by Mint Chicks guitarist Ruban Nielson as being “like a fetish overload.” I wonder if he's come down from the joy of getting the shipment of these transparent fluro yellow babies back from the pressing plant yet? “F**k The Golden Youth”, despite its title, is debatably the poppiest thing on this New Zealand new wave crew's debut full-length of the same name. Actually, the word that comes to mind with this is “anti-pop”. It's a fast and punky little number that has an extra note chucked into the end of the bar every now and then just to fuck things up, with a sweetly-sung, catchy chorus that works in contrast to the bitchy sentiment. The B-side is a previously unreleased track entitled “Oh Yeah! Oh Yeah!” which lasts less than a minute and sounds like it would've taken that long to write. It starts off with a constant and repetitive drum strike, which is soon accompanied by one unchanging and repeatedly stabbed guitar chord before singer Kody Nielson joins in screaming one word that sounds like it could be “Oh”. Then it finishes. Without so much as a “Yeah!”
My X Struggle
Demo (Trial & Error)
“Wading” / “That's It” (Weather)
If it didn't say “recorded in April '04” on the back you'd swear it was 1983 all over again looking at this 33rpm single by Melbourne straightedge kids My X Struggle. The black & white photo-copied cover, the limited run of 100 copies (on camo green vinyl god bless!) and the bonus cloth patch tucked inside recall a time that is lost to most of today's so-called hardcore scene. My X Struggle are a group of young kids (I'm talking 15 year-olds) keeping it real, keeping the metal out of their HC and singing against the flood of pretenders that this new eyeliner fad-core attracts. Y'know, you don't really wanna fuck with angry sXe kids. They might be iron-deficient due to a lack of beef, but this cover of Negative Approach's “Ready To Fight” is still pretty meaty.
The Nation Blue
“Idiot” / “Is That Love?” (Trial & Error)
One of my favourite bands in the country who can pull it off every time both live and on record, The Nation Blue dropped a devastating bundle last year with their second album Damnation. Out of all the tracks on it, “Idiot” stood out as the most obvious pick for a single. Brilliantly constructed, it's like The Nation Blue distilled their all their dark atmospherics, passionate screams, odd polyrhythms and thick bottom end down into its most easily digestible form. On the other side is a cover of Beasts of Bourbon track “Is That Love?” which has been heavily Nation Blueified. Obviously recorded live somewhere, Dan McKay's drumming and Matt Weston's trademark wall of bass are likely to cause bowel eruptions, just as assuredly as those squelches that guitarist Tom Lyngcoln extracts from his speaker cones will give you a multiple eargasms.
The Nation Blue
The first release for cooler than shit Melbourne label Weather and the debut for three-piece swamp rats The Stabs, this filthy dirty slab of marvelousness is among my favourite Australian releases of the past few years. Packaged in a recycled cardboard sleeve, the fact that there are no notes of any kind to say where it was recorded or even who the band are adds an air of mystery (and cheapness) that suits the way the record sounds. Rawer than Elton John's arse after a big night in London, both sides are grating, feedback-drenched lo-fi monstrosities that go beyond the swamp. Ultra tense, “Wading” gets dragged along by a pensive yet bullocking Birthday Party bassline as a gutwrenching guitar wail intensifies the audio violence. The flip, “That's It”, is like mid-tempo Mudhoney produced by the Mummies, with a loose swagger, grungy harmonics, hard hit drums and an unbelievably fierce attack. For fans of pure filth.
“The Woods/The Rain” / “6Ft Rodent” (Cass)
Released on Detroit label Cass Records which is run by the younger and blonder of The Dirtbombs' two drummers Ben Blackwell - Melbourne grungeoids The Stabs get to expose them thar Americans to their ungodly racket. On side A, “The Woods/The Rain” is a tension-filled brooding beast with busy drums, driving bass and guitar that sounds out of whack. “6Foot Rodent starts off as a steady and fairly simple rock song with a wasted stagger that's very Lubricated Goat. Then, right in the middle, the din dies down to nothing but indecipherable mumbles and hesitant flashes of sneaky feedback. When it bursts out again, the trio bring it all home in violently overloaded fashion. The unsure finish as everything steadily breaks down, well that's the icing on the cake. Worth getting just for the crookedly stitched and dodgily printed cloth sleeve. Wonder if Ben’s mum stitched them?
AC/DC: Family Jewels
AC/DC is so ingrained in my blood that there is simply no way I can judge them objectively. Not so much the new stuff, but everything up until 1980, all of that Bon Scott (R.I.P)-era shit, is the shit. I can't separate that sound from my being. They were built into me and will forever be a part of me. I can't go back to listening to AC/DC with fresh ears because I've been blasted with the shit for 30 years. That's why rare footage is to be treasured. Judging from the tracklisting I'd assumed this would be mostly stuff I already had from old video compilations and late night Rage taping sessions, but there are actually a few new bits and pieces. And to see and hear all the old gold on DVD instead of my shitty 10-year old VHS tapes replete with fuzzy ABC reception makes it that much better. It kicks off with one of its highlights, Acca on Countdown in '75 playing “Baby Please Don't Go” with Bon Scott dressed as a schoolgirl. Right from their earliest days the dual-headed charisma attack of Angus Young and Bon Scott was mindblowing. As schoolboy and schoolgirl, they play off one another during the call-and-response section of “Baby Please Don't Go”, at which time Bon cheekily sparks up a cigarette and takes drags in between vocals. Angus is like a human piece of electric current. I remember my parents showing me him on TV as a kid thinking he was easily the most intriguing phenomenon I had ever encountered in my young little life. Anyway, that's my excuse. Haven't even got to the Brian Johnson disc yet and I'm not in a hurry either.
Iron Maiden: Part 1 The Early Days (EMI)
Leather, denim, back patch, mullet and studded wristband action galore on two DVDs rampacked with Iron Maiden footage. The feature-length doco, The Early Days, takes you through the Maiden's history from a time when they were a mere twinkle in the savvy Steve Harris' eye, up until 1983. A substantial package and not a mere cash-in, this includes the previously available on VHS Live At The Rainbow, the never-before-seen Beast Over Hammersmith show from Bruce Dickinson's first tour as singer, and a killer 20-minute black & white TV segment from the early eighties with some outstanding dated set design, dodgy production values and interviews with dumb metalheads. If you're a fan without this, get going now!
Nailbomb: Live At Dynamo
An extreme metal side-project that existed very briefly in the mid-nineties, Nailbomb was a hideous stepchild born to Sepultura's Max Cavalera and Fudge Tunnel's Alex Newport. They unleashed one startling jolt of metal, hardcore, punk and industrial with their '94 debut Point Blank, played two shows, released a recording of the second and final one at the '95 Dynamo Festival as the live album Proud To Commit Commercial Suicide and were never heard from again. Cavalera would eventually leave Sepultura and create the shitty world metal act Soulfly. Newport would give up making music altogether and produce records for At The Drive-In, The Mars Volta, The Locust and others. This DVD is Proud To Commit Commercial Suicidevision, the complete Dynamo '95 show in front of a seething crowd of mad Dutchmen. Max and Alex, both on guitar and vocals, lead a revolving All-Star cast of Igor Cavalera (Sepultura), Barry C Schneider (Tribe After Tribe) and D H Peligro (Dead Kennedys) on drums, Rhys Fulber (Front Line Assembly) on samples, and Dave Edwardson (Neurosis), Evan Seinfeld (Biohazard) and Scott Doom (Doom) on bass. A lack of special features and a crappy cover of DKs “Police Truck” are the only disappointments here.
Ramones: End Of The Century (Warner Vision)
Johnny Ramone is dead but I doubt he could be colder now than when he was alive. Some of his calls in End Of The Century are sheer heartless gold. “The Heartbreakers were a bunch of junkies so I knew they wouldn't last too long...” “I cared when Joey died, I cared. I even questioned it myself, I'm like, 'Why am I caring?' and it bothered me.” Johnny's frank assessments are the highlight of End Of The Century for me, along with the archival footage of Dee Dee King, Dee Dee's cringe-worthy shot at eighties rap stardom.
The definitive documentary on the Ramones, this dishes up the whole dysfunctional story from the formation of the band to the deaths of founding members Joey and Dee Dee (Johnny was still alive when shooting wrapped). With leather jackets and mop tops as standard issue, the Ramones looked like a gang you wouldn't fuck with, but really they were a group of misfits who didn't get along at all. Of the core trio who formed the band and stuck solid through most of the 20+ years of their existence, Joey (vocals) was a much too sensitive obsessivecompulsive, Dee Dee (bass) a wasteoid with a girlfriend that terrorized him, and Johnny (guitar) a cold-blooded Nazi who stole Joey's girl. Dysfunction was how the Ramones functioned. It's actually incredible that they stayed together for so long. But, then again, maybe it's only a fraction as incredible as the fact that they never had a hit in all that time. In addition to the long list of Ramones songs, it features tracks by The Stooges, Alice Cooper, New York Dolls, Television, The Clash, The Heartbreakers and Blondie.
Turbonegro: The Res-Erection (Bitzcore/Music Farmers)
“A friend of ours compared it to some other band DVDs around and said that on all the other DVDs the bands always say the right thing at the right time, whereas on the Turbo DVD we consistently say the wrong thing at the right time. I think that basically sums our whole band and career and life.” So says Happy Tom of this made-for-Norwegiantelevision doco, which details the reformation of Turbonegro in 2003 after a four-year hiatus, and the reunification of the band with its wayward singer Hank Von Helvete. Unlike the billions of deadshit Warped Tour punk bands who try to act all zany and wacky in their DVDs and play up for the cameras, Turbonegro are presented here not as the larger-than-life glitter bombs that you see on the stage, but as serious musicians who actually think a fair bit about their craft and the effect it had on people. It's Turbo in their tracksuit pants and it's totally enthralling.
Various Artists: Fuck This… I'm Going To The Annandale (Livecast/Reverberation)
I once went to the Annandale so many nights in a row I had www.annandalehotel.com stamps up my arms like the track marks of a rock 'n' roll junkie. Hardly a week goes by when I don't go there. As a Sydney resident with tendencies toward loud sweaty beer drenched rock shows, it's virtually impossible to stay away from the place. The pub started filming gigs around early 2003, I think The Bronx was the first show they did (available as its own Live at the Annandale release). Now they've done this compilation with one track from 30 bands recorded live at the pub and the list is pretty sweet. Bronx, Dillinger Escape Plan, Isis, Dallas Crane, The Icarus Line, The Mess Hall, After The Fall and heaps more. The sound and pictures are first class. Just wish they had've included the footage of that Vines fuckwit making a fool of himself yet again.
Big ScrEEn Danger
The Sadist (1963) “What fiendish passion twisted his mind - made him torment, torture, kill?” screamed the posters for The Sadist, a criminally unknown trash classic that predated Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers by decades in it's portrayal of a cold-blooded thrill-killing teen couple intent on murder and mayhem. Forget Texas Chainsaw, this flick is so goddamn ice cold you're liable to get pneumonia watching it. Not as widely celebrated as some of the other American exploitation masters, Arch Hall Sr. was an ex-Hollywood actor who had a crack at no-budget film production by putting his teenage son, Arch Hall Jr., in a series of dirt cheap drive-in pictures in the sixties. The father and son team hoped to turn Junior into an all acting all singing Hollywood sensation ala Frankie Avalon or Ricky Nelson. But with a face like a smashed crab, a great big melon two sizes too big for his body and fairly primitive songwriting and acting skills, it's fair to say they were pushing shit uphill all the way. Under the banner of Fairway International Pictures Arch Hall Sr. wrote, produced and sometimes acted in these wild feature-length vehicles for his lad's unique acting ability and musical prowess. The first was the 1961 motorcycle gang thriller The Choppers, quickly followed by the rock 'n' roll adventure Wild Guitar (directed by another UNBELIEVABLY Bad favourite Ray Dennis Steckler) and the wonderfullytitled caveman-out-of-water film Eegah! - each certified classics in the annals of psychotronic cinema in their own right. But after them came The Sadist, and The Sadist is the shit - no songs, no guitars, no young people grooving to the “now” sound, just sadistic intention and stifling tension as a couple of hick teenagers get their kicks in infinitely
more anti-social Using a stifling close-up style and ways. In what is ambitious framing to really nail home the undisputedly his impact of the violence and enhance the greatest ever mounting thrill of not knowing what in performance, Jr. Satan's good name is going to happen drops the widenext, the young Zsigmond lifts the overall eyed and professionalism of a black & white film wholesome façade that cost virtually nothing to produce and to portray utterly yet packs in more action, suspense, unhinged teen emotion and excitement than a dozen psycho redneck Guns of Navarone (1961). Charlie Tibbs, who is I can't stress how great The Sadist is on the run from the for genuine shock and terror, not to law with his cute mention a few killer comedy moments. mute girlfriend Judy Track it down or suffer. (played astonishingly Arch Hall Jr. has a Greatest Hits CD, Wild by Marilyn Manning). This pair of violent Guitar, out on Norton Records. Go to young lovers have a good ol' time www.nortonrecords.com/arch/ to get your terrorising three high school teachers official 1962 Arch Hall Jr. Fan Club Card. whose car has broken down in an eerily deserted junkyard. Star Wars: Episode III (2005) Written and directed by James Landis, Course I ain't gone to see this shit yet, I The Sadist was made to cash in on the ain't gone that fucking soft! I can't success of Psycho (1960), but besides understand why anyone bought into the twist at the end (which everyone these fucking rinky-dink Ja Ja Binx hiknows about before they see it anyway) jinx in the first place, let alone have kept Psycho has got shit all on the gutup with the fucking plot for two utterly wrenching tension and relentless shock shithouse cash-ins full of ham acting and provided by The Sadist. dodgy special effects just to find out that With his big round medicine ball head, Anakin Skywalker turns into Darth Vader. turned up pug nose, beady, piercing eyes We knew that to begin with. And the and rockabilly quiff, Arch Hall Jr. is one of merch is shoddy as these days. the weirdest looking leading men ever to grace a big screen. Somebody once Dig! (2005) described him as a Cabbage Patch Elvis, Anton Newcombe is fucked up in the which is perfect! He had a natural acting head and the Dandy Warhols are nothing style that was hammier than a Christmas but a pack of industry sluts who'd like to lunch, which worked brilliantly for his think they're not - that's the main gist of portrayal of the cold-hearted Tibbs in The Ondi Timoner's handheld masterpiece Sadist. Using a confusing mixture of Dig! To make this documentary, Timoner confidence and vulnerability, he plays it hung out with the Brian Jonestown dumb, laughing a lot and looking thick, Massacre and Dandy Warhols for seven which helps fuel your anxiety as he years then sat down continues the and tried to edit torment of his together the story of captors. But aside two bands with from little Archie Jr., bright futures all the actors put in hoping to start a good performances, musical revolution especially together but ending perpetually panting up apart. Although victim Doris (Helen narrated by Dandy Hovey), who annoys Brian Jonestown Massacre Warhols frontman you so much with her Courtney Taylor, the star of the show is pathetic inability to cope with any maniacal genius, BJM leader Newcombe, situation that you're praying for her to die who Greg Shaw (R.I.P) of Bomb Records at every turn. compares to other “prophets” like Jesus Another huge contributor to the Christ and Charles Manson. The success of The Sadist was cameraman dysfunction of the Brian Jonestown Vilmos Zsigmond, who cut his teeth on Massacre and the surreal love/hate other Arch Hall Sr. productions before relationship between Newcombe and the shooting the greatest movie of all-time, Dandies are joys to behold. When R.D. Steckler's The Incredibly Strange Newcombe gets Taylor in the BJM tour Creatures Who Stopped Living and van and plays him the latest single, “Not Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1967). If You Were The Last Dandy On Earth” Later he won an Academy Award for (BJM's reaction to the Dandies' candyClose Encounters of the Third arsed hit anthem “Not If You Were The Kind (1977) and shot Deliverance Last Junkie On Earth”) you should see (1972), The Deer Hunter (1978), the look on Taylor's face. He doesn't The Last Waltz (1978) and “the know whether to laugh or cry. You'll film that sunk United Artists”, know what to do, though. Heaven's Gate (1980).
ALSO SAW SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2005) Night Of The Living Dead comes to old London town in not only the best Pom comedy for ages but the best flesheating zombie flick since the glory days of the eighties. All the best clichés of the genre are retained and used to maximum effect. And using the Specials' “Ghost Town” as an opener is pure class. Out now on DVD through Universal. BUBBA HO-TEP (2003) I've always said Bruce Campbell was the original Jim Carey. Go watch Evil Dead 2 again. That bit where his hand becomes possessed and he has to fight it to the death, that's the greatest comedic scenes in a horror film ever! Maybe he just never got the breaks Jim got, or sucked cock and licked balls the way Jim did, who knows? But looking at Bubba HoTep it's clear Bruce has still got the moves. He stars as Elvis, now old, clapped out and depressed, living in a retirement home with a pus-filled growth on the end of his knob. He teams up with a crazy black dude who thinks he’s JFK and together they take on an ancient Egyptian mummy who’s been scribbling graffitti on the shithouse walls and stealing the souls of the old folks at the retirement home by sucking on their arses. Out on DVD via Magna Pacific. VISITOR Q (2001) Ichi The Killer creator Takashi Miike is one twisted dude and this is one of the most out there movies I've ever seen. I thought Todd Solandz' Happiness (1998) was a fucked up movie about dysfunctional families, but sheeesh! It starts off with this dude who just wanders round smacking cunts in the heads with rocks. He smacks this one cunt in the head with a rock and somehow ends up at his house sitting calmly at the dinner table with him while his son bashes his wife around the house and knocks her through walls. The visitor dude stays for a few days, bearing witness to acts of extreme domestic violence, drug abuse, prostitution, incest, and necrophilia, which all conspire to bind the divided family together. If it sounds extreme, it bloody well is, but what is clever about it is that halfway through it manages to shift the tone of utter bleakness and become an ultraultra-black comedy, which adds yet another dimension to your discomfort as a viewer because now you are laughing at things you should be abhorred by. Out on DVD through Siren Entertainment. WHAT ABOUT ME (1993) An obscure black & white film by NYC writer/director/actress Rachel Amodeo, it stars her as a chick who ends up living as a vagrant when her aunt dies and the landlord rapes her and kicks her out on the street. Has great cameos by Dee Dee Ramone, Richard Hell, filmmaker Nick Zedd and Johnny Thunders (R.I.P).
UNBELIEVABLYSmaLLTIMe'ZineReviews TheDanGERousWorldOfSelf-Publishing Better Done Than Better Said - vol. 2.5
www.sound.jp/bdtbs_fanzine Email: email@example.com Cost: Free. Format: A5 size. 8 pages - b&w.
A free Japanese 'zine I was sent by Yuichi Kasanuma who runs endless/ nameless Records (the label who released the amazing My Precious/Gauge Means Nothing split), the awesomely named Better Done Than Better Said is one A3 sheet folded in to make up an 8 pager - it's not even trimmed at the bottom so you actually have to fold it right out to read it. Alas, for an ignorant uni-linguist like me, looking at the photocopied pics is as good as it gets - the whole thing is in Jap. Godfuckit! A two-page interview with My Precious and I can't even read the bastard! Anyway, through Kasanuma I have been checking out all these wild Asian bands like Bright Side Dark Side, Umbra and Black Line Fever (featuring ex-Love Like Electrocution bassist Jordan). I was so stoked with this 'zine, even though I couldn't read it, that I checked out www.sound.jp/bdtbs_fanzine for earlier editions and found they had released one with a free CD-R of a bunch of bands I'd never heard of. I emailed the editor, Takumi Shouji, who got back to me with this awesome reply: “Sorry that sending the letter slows. I am Takumi Shouji that makes Better Done Than Better Said ZINE. It is very glad to be interested in ZINE!! If your address is taught, ZINE can be sent. Money is unnecessary because mail has been sent by Australia it is happy!! /*These sentences are being written with a translation machine. /*When it is strange sentences, sorry.” Watch out next issue for a review of that baby when it arrives. Meanwhile I'll brush up on my Japanese.
P.O. Box 255 Westgate NSW 2048 Australia Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cost: $5 ppd. Format: A5 size. 48 pages - b&w (with 4-colour cover).
Self-published comic book excellence by local artists Ross Tesoriero and Glenn Smith, Entrailer Trash was drawn a couple of years ago and I've seen it round for ages but I only got smart like and grabbed a copy recently. Tesoriero is known for his underground comic Radiation Sickness and various
other collaborations. Smith was one of the two bassplayers from nineties Sydney punk group Lawnsmell and is one of the best purveyors of detailed comic art in the country having created or collaborated on things like Glenjamin, Country Cousins and the utterly genius Necrotardation 'Zine/CD tribute compilation. Entrailer Trash is Tesoriero and Smith's homage to (or pisstake of) American culture, and features some classic strips starring characters like Creeping Jesus, Iron Monger Lloyd and Reg McGoon, as well as various odd & sods such as the killer centre-spread of the famous smoking dogs mulling up.
Piss Throw / Go. Get. Fucked. - Split 'Zine Email: email@example.com Cost: Free. Format: A5 size. 36 pages - b&w.
A split between two similar Sydney 'zines, Piss Throw and Go. Get. Fucked, this text-heavy little double-sided bewty offers bizarre little snippets on an unending range of topics, from reflections on growing up to observations on the current decline of civilization. Both 'zines are one-man efforts that are well written, insightful and sarcastic as all fuck. Of the two sides, Piss Throw is my favourite, with a cheaper cut & paste look and more lowbrow content. Actually, maybe lowbrow is the wrong word. The thing is, where Go. Get. Fucked. is clever and doesn't mind showing it, Piss Throw plays at being dumb and innocent to reveal insights that you kind of already knew, but still find hilarious when they're pointed out. I'm strongly considering taking up a few of the activities suggested in their “10 Things You Might Want To Consider To Make You A Better Person” list. “Buying Heaps Of Shit”, “Loving The O.C.” and “Wanting To Free Refugees” are now on top of my To-Do list. Shame I never get around to actually doing anything ever.
Long Gone Loser - 10
P.O. Box 18 Modbury North SA 5092 Australia Email: Damo@longgoneloser.com Cost: $5 ppd. Format: A4 size. 56 pages - b&w (with 4-colour cover).
A kick arse rock 'n' roll 'zine from Adelaide, Long Gone Loser just keeps on getting better. For issue 10 editor Damo has taken his time pulling together an impressive
collection of rock interviews, the highlight being the six-page cover story on the MC5/DTK reunion tour where he chats with MC5 guitarist Brother Wayne Kramer and bassist Michael Davis as well as Mudhoney's Mark Arm who toured Australia as part of the reformed MC5 extravaganza. All the regular LGL stuff is there: an update on Damo's love life, some pics of girls' bosoms, an obligatory live wrestling review, and as many pictures of Jennifer Connelly as he can possibly jam in! You also get reviews and opinion from the one and only Horst. Rock-wise you get action from Soledad Brothers, Wild Billy Childish, Gyroscope, The DTs, Burning Brides, Monster Magnet, The Dexateens, The Immortal Lee County Killers, The Kowalskis and The Mistreaters, plus a fine overview of the life of The Runaways. No interviews with porn stars this issue (unless you count a quick Q&A with a cute internet stripper), but there is an insightful chat with American artist Marco Almera where he repeatedly gives out his phone number to try and attract some of our “best sheilas”! You need LGL, rockers.
Off The Hip # 5
P.O. Box 1211 Carlton, VIC 3053 Australia Email: Chris_baty73@hotmail.com Cost: $13 ppd. Format: A4 size. 56 pages - b&w (with 2-colour cover + free CD).
Melbourne psych beat 'zine returns after a long-ish layoff. And to make up for the temporary absence they've jammed an extra section in and thrown a few more tracks on the free CD. On the front cover sits a drunk-looking Timmy Rogers, and inside is a mammoth 12 pages or something ridiculous on the history of You Am I. Written by Neal McCabe, the piece is great, despite the obvious lack of a current interview with Tim (would it have been that hard to get the bloke on the blower?). Another highlight is a smarmy interview with Billy Childish obviously done by correspondence, which includes an impressive Childish discography. There's a recent interview with Radio Birdman legend Deniz Tek conducted by Birdman expert The Barman, plus local interviewees such as The Booby Traps, The Double Agents, Dollar Bar and Groundswell. The funniest shit is a US tour diary by Beau Cassidy from Sydney band Starky - really sounds like those guys had the time of their lives. The bonus CD is great (some handy paper CD slicks are included inside the mag), with Brisbane fuel huffers The Hymies coming out winners with their track “I'm Stressed”.
Rest Assured - #5 The Final Chapter
P.O. Box 259 Engadine NSW 2233 Australia Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cost: $5 ppd. Format: A4 size. 86 pages - b&w
The last ever issue of Ryan Wilmott's great local hardcore 'zine Rest Assured comes brimming with its usual shizerload of interviews with many local and American hardcore bands. Ryan's been doing Rest Assured for a couple of years now and every issue has been solid, but he’s just got a job as editor of Australian Snowboard Magazine and couldn't find the time to continue it. It’s a real shame for the hardcore scene, but maybe it'll get someone else motivated to fill the void with something as professional looking but perhaps a bit more cutting-edge in its opinions. Rest Assured, for all the service it provided in exposure, often got bogged down in friendly rhetoric instead of just telling it like it is. For instance, the weak opinion piece on how Day Of Contempt haven't sold out in this issue, which observantly points out how great it is that an Adelaide band are making a real go of it in the good 'ol U.S of A while managing to completely avoid the issue of DOC's new emo-friendly sound and the extra money being spent on eye-liner these days. The highlight of the issue is Newcastle scene legend Luke Dolan (ex-Life. Love. Regret, exArms Reach, current-The Dead Walk!) detailing in hilarious fashion the rise and demise of Life. Love. Regret. R.I.P Rest Assured.
Fucked Is Fine / Fine Is Fucked
Cost: Free. Format: A5 size. 20 pages - b&w.
I have no idea who it is that slaps together this brilliant little effort, but theirs is a genuis that should be locked away for the good of society. They’re taking the piss, but what they’re using it for we can only wonder about. With a fine cut & paste design job, the content is cutting social satire focussing on a range of topics such as road rage, the Shapelle Corby trial and people who read Green Leaf Weekly. One article on “Why Cockroach Killers Are The Real Vermin” reads: “Most [killers] don’t even touch them with their fingers - they don’t feel their struggling little bodies just trying (like us) to live... but being torn apart.” Really makes you think, doesn’t it folks!
o, not those bleached blonde silicon freaks from your NW and Who rags, I'm talking abou t the original Hilton Sisters - the conjoined twin movie stars. Now they were a pair of real cool freaks! Daisy and Violet Hilton were a couple of English lasses who shared a pelvis for their whole lives back in the days before doctors figured out how to prise Siamese twins apart. Born in Brighton in 1908, they were sold as babies by their barmaid mother to her boss, a woman named Mary Hilton who jetted them to Amer ica when they were not yet five years old. Under Hilton's guardianship the pair endured rigorous training in singi ng, dancing, piano, violin, clarinet and saxophone and were treated little better than slaves as lady Hilton reape d untold profits showing off the in-demand twins in freak shows in the US, Germany and Australia. When Mary died, her daughter Edith and Edith's husband, Meyer Meyers, took over contr ol of the sisters' act, but several years later in 1931, Daisy and Violet filed a lawsuit against their owne rs and were awarded independence and $100, 000 in damages. They were 23-years old at the time. The twins left the sideshow circuit and joined Vaudeville, calling their act The Hilton Sisters' Revue. In 1932 they made an appearance as themselves in Todd Browning's classic film Freaks befor e returning to England after Daisy beca me engaged. Don't laugh; it's not as unbe lievable as it sounds. Apparently the twins were notorious hornbags; floozies, who comp eted with one another for men's affec tions. Both were married at different times, the most publicised being Violet's marr iage to one James Walker Moore in 1936. Eventually held in Texas in front of an estimated 100,000 spectators, the staged wedd ing followed a series of applications for marriage licences in 21 different US states, which were all rejected for reaso ns of morality and public decency. Daisy marr ied dancer Harold Estep in New York in 1941,
but the marriage only lasted two weeks. Maybe the poor guy couldn't get it up with someone else watching? Throughout the forties the girls ran a hamburger stand in Miami, but when that eventually went belly-up they returned to the dreaded limelight, starring in the film Chained For Life in 1950. While the posters screamed, “See why 21 states won't permit them a marriage licence!” Chained For Life's plot actually revolved around the dilemma of what might occur if one Siamese twin committed murder and the other was innocent. Do you hang 'em both? In what is one of the worst pieces of shit movies ever, the radiant Daisy and Violet sing songs and try to act. Their performance in the film stood for 50 years as the most wooden dual-acting display in cinema history, until Arnold Schwarzenegger went and played his own clone in The 6th Day. After they faded from public view the sisters got a job at grocery store in Charlotte, North Carolina, weighing up veges and bagging them at the same time. On January 6th 1969 they were found dead in their home of complications relating to Hong Kong flu. They were aged 60.
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Maiden issue of Australia's worst music fanzine, UNBELIEVABLY Bad. Contains stuff on Turbonegro, The Stabs, The Saints, Hot Snakes, Against...