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Page 6 – The Front Bit Starring Grong Grong, Blowfly, Ian Rilen (R.I.P), Horst’s Guide To Marriage and a few other arseholes with a bit too much to say. Page 16 – Chesshire Rick Chesshire savages Yngwie and attacks the retro hair metal menace. Page 18 – The Devil Wears Clodhoppers V Part five of a never-ending interview with trash cinema legend Herschell Gordon Lewis. By Mil Mascaras. Page 22 – My Disco From DIY to death’s door to the dancefloor. By Jake Stone. Page 24 – FROG ROCK Scouring France in search of decent rock. By Andy Moore. Page 26 – Converge Kurt Ballou gets dropped, Converge get fired up. By Nutso Ward. Page 28 – The Nation Blue Convict rock from the island of apples and inbreeding. By Matt Reekie. Page 32 – Curse Ov Dialect Psycho suburban skip-hoppers with skillz to thrill. By Richie. Page 36 – Scum System Kill All-girl Anarcho crusties wage war on the transit police. By Genghis Young. Page 40 – Massappeal II Part two of last issue’s interview with Brett Curotta. Nerds only. By Danger Coolidge. Page 44 – All You Can Eat… And Then Some All You Can Eat, What Happens Next?, Conquest For Death, Artimus Pyle, Stitchface, High On Crime and the amazing Treehouse Of Horrors. By Glenno. Page 48 – The Mummies part III The final part of an UNBELIEVABLY uncooked interview with ex-Mummies leader Trent Ruane. By Owen Penglis. Page 50 + 51 – UNBELIEVABLY Shocking CD#3 CD contents information and cut-out cover. Page 52 – Napalm Death The origins of grindcore with Napalm Death's ultimate survivor, Shane Embury. By Danger Coolidge.
Page 56 – Terrorizer One of the last ever interviews with late Terrorizer leader Jesse Pintado (R.I.P). By Danger Coolidge. Page 60 – Twin City Faction Ragin' Sydney northshore crew Twin City Faction load up, lock-in and lash out. By Mar Garvey. Page 64 – Radio Birdman tour diary Reformed Aussie legends rockin' and ruling in America. By Rusty Hopkinson. Page 68 – Beltsy From Mindsnare to Mid-Youth Crisis to Blood Duster to Throwing The Goat, Beltsy rocks hard. By Sam Hill. Page 72 – Lobby Loyde Godfather to some, God to many, Lobby Loyde gives it to us straight. By Julian Culpan. Page 76 – LIMP Wrist Having a gay old time with hardcore homos Limp Wrist. By Dan Stapleton. Page 80 – Isis Beard growing and headbanging the Aaron Turner way. By Darkie Krebs. Page 84 – UNBELIEVABLY Opinionated CDs, 7”s, Films, DVDs, Books and ‘Zines reviewed. Page 98 – My Favourite Freak Freak of the week: Gary Coleman.
UNBELIEVABLY Bad is proudly excreted by: Von Helle 10 Unwin Street, Bexley NSW 2207 Australia. Editor Danger Coolidge. Layout Faye Kinnitt. Cover Illustration Glenn “Glenno” Smith. Text Owen Penglis, Matt Reekie, Mil Mascaras, Sir Dugless, Mar Garvey, Nutso Ward, Darkie Krebs, Julian Culpan, Jake Stone, Horst Sjaelland, Glenno, Greasy Belcher, Dr. El Suavo, Genghis Young, Blackie, Andy Moore, Dan Stapleton, Rusty Hopkinson, Eggs Benedict, Sam Hill, Rhys Davies, Rod Hunt. Photography Rod Hunt, Mel Gathercole, Ben Butcher, Richard Sharman, Veve Steale, Radio Birdman, Viv Baldwin, Jurgonomics. Illustration Glenno, Rick Chesshire, Ben Brown, Angelica Von Helle. CD Mastering Swerve. CD Manufacture Dual Plover. Printing AviVa Printing Ashfield NSW. Thanks Our UNBELIEVABLY supportive (not to mention sexy) advertisers, all the amazingly talented contributors, all the bands on this issue’s cover CD, all the shops and distros who stock UB, weed growers Australia-wide, Jay & the dudes @ AviVa Printing, Swerve & Justice Plover, Harry "DNA" Butler, Grant Lawrence, Brett & Randy & Massappeal, Blackie & Ray & Pete, Ben Butcher, Matt & Nat Tanner, Jason PC, Pete Hyde, Lou Ridsdale, Jay Blurter, Steve Veale, Angie, Angus and Phoebe, and loyal UNBELIEVABLY Bad readers everywhere. For advertising rates please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Send all review material to: UNBELIEVABLY Bad c/o Von Helle HQ 10 Unwin Street Bexley NSW 2207 Australia. UNBELIEVABLY Bad is published every now and then - when we can be fucked. 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 first. The opinions expressed in UNBELIEVABLY Bad are almost definitely those of the publisher and editorial staff, but you never can tell sometimes, so don't jump to any conclusions, okay?
UNBELIEVABLY Duped! Y
our culture is under question, are you just going to fucking sit there? When the Beatles first touched down in America from England on February 7th 1964 they were mobbed upon arrival at the airport by hundreds of screaming teenage girls. Chaotic images of teen hysteria were splashed across the nation’s broadsheets and television sets as the media happily announced that the USA was in the grip of “Beatlemania”. Youth culture had been altered irreversibly. But haven’t you heard it was all a sham; that the whole circus was merely an elaborate marketing ploy orchestrated by Beatles promoter Sid Bernstein; that all the girls had all been recruited from a school in the Bronx and paid for their screaming; that pop culture as you know it was built on a foundation of bullshit. The Fab Four wobbling their moptops in front of an audience of crying, fainting, manic teenyboppers several days later on the Ed Sullivan Show seemed to carry the promise of something exciting and new. But, like everything cataclysmic to have happened in pop music and youth culture since then, it was manipulated by marketing men and the media, whose interest in reducing the youth population to a brainless herd was fed by a greater interest in their own bottom lines. Worldwide Beatlemania was merely the thin end of the wedge. Almost half a century down the track and the modern pop chart is almost completely bereft of talent and originality - it’s quite clear you were duped. You got told consciousness was being expanded but instead minds were slamming shut as imagination was hijacked by the big corporations pulling all the strings. Through more and more elaborate marketing schemes, like the one that ushered in the arrival of the Beatles in America, everything was steadily dumbed-down to the level of the retarded. Now all you got left is third-rate horseshit like Kaiser Chiefs and the Vines and UNBELIEVABLY Bad. Sorry, Danger Coolidge
ration: Best Film or Television Appearance by a Disembodied Hand… This issue we look at a new Academy Awards category we think deserves conside MAD LOVE (1935)
THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS (1946)
THE HAND (1981)
EVIL DEAD II (1987)
Horror classic based on the 1920’s French novel Les Mains d’Orlac (The Hands Of Orlac), which had already spawned the Austrian film Orlacs Haende (1924). Peter Lorre plays a macarbe surgeon infatuated with a chick who is married to a famous pianist. Freakishly, the pianist’s hands are mangled in a train wreck, so the cracked quack Lorre grafts on the hands of a freshly beheaded knife-thrower. Tinkling the old ivories then becomes a bit of a struggle for the poor bloke, but his knife-chucking skills improve outta sight.
Peter Lorre steals the show once again in an out-of-control-severed-hand extravaganza. Playing the scheming secretary of a paralysed pianist whose detached hand goes on a murderous rampage after he dies, Lorre is typically creepy and totally brilliant. The amazing hand sequences (at one point the hand plays piano) were filmed under the guidance of the master of surrealist cinema Luis Bunuel.
Not the 1961 British disembodied hand flick but Oliver Stone’s coked-out psychobabbling horror of the same name, this stars Michael Caine as a depressed cartoonist whose amputated drawing hand comes back to keep him company and bump off anyone who gives him the shits. At times the hand looks a little too rubberglovish, but it still does a respectable line in vengeful strangulation.
Most horror movie sequels suck all kinds of ball juice, but not Evil Dead II. And as far as great comedy/horror scenes go, I don’t think you can beat Bruce Campbell locked in mortal combat with his own possessed hand giving himself the funniest arsekicking ever. The bit where the hand knocks Bruce unconscious, spies a meat cleaver across the room, starts to drag the entire body across by the fingertips to get it before Bruce wakes up and thrusts a knife into his own hand and quips, “Who’s laughing now?” - that's just pure genius.
THE CRAWLING HAND (1963)
THE ADDAMS FAMILY (1964-66) Though he never uttered a single line, loveable handin-a-box The Thing was the star of The Addams Family. The Harpo Marx of disembodied hands, with a subtle flick of the wrist (or should that be neck?), Thing could get the show’s ridiculous cannedlaughter track working overtime. Only Fester could get more laughs, but first he’d need a light bulb in his gob and smoke billowing out his earholes.
This cruddy sci-fi oddity from Roger Corman’s AIP sees B-grade leading man Peter Breck (Shock Corridor) as an investigative scientist hot on the trail of a killer hand once belonging to an astronaut whose rocket exploded in space. It’s by the director of I Was A Teenage Frankenstein so you just know the quality is there. Should I spoil the ending for you? Oh, okay. A cat eats the hand.
DUDE, Got UNBELIEVABLY Bad #4 today. Haven’t really looked at it yet except Comets On Fire – thank you for telling us they’re coming here!! I won’t tell anyone that you have a hard on for their impending show if you won’t tell that my panties are dripping wet (truly)… I wanted to write to see if you got the postcard and articles I sent for your mag. Saw you printed letters from all and sundry except me so thought maybe you don’t use the PO Box that you directed the competition entering public to send stuff to. If so, fuck! fuck! fuck! ‘coz I spent t-i-m-e doing that shit! Don’t want it lost in the mail. Maybe I was too late for UB4’s deadline. Hope this is the case. My boyfriend did say to me, “Don’t worry if nothing happens,” because I’ve never really bothered submitting anything (unsolicited) to a mag before. I did think subject matter was interesting though. Maybe I’m just a freak.
If there is some lame-ass reason why you don’t want people collaborating with you then I’d have to says fuck you, fuck you and fuck you too! Otherwise I apologise. The world is pretty messed up at the moment and needs all the sonic love it can get. I dig your mag, like your writing style. Quite a few of my friends know you. I particularly liked the articles on Lubricated Goat, Stabs, Hard-Ons/ Gazoonga Attack tour diary, Comets On Fire – amongst others. Your reviews are particularly good. Have been inspired to see/buy/download lots of interesting freak out/fuzz out / rock out stuff, thanks, Heir Danger. I did have this fantasy that you’d let me interview one of my all time favourite rock-out bands Von Bondies, who have a new album coming out next year. YOU MUST DO THIS. Please. Maia
[Maia, I’m sorry. I sincerely loved the fact that you sent me 25 pencil-scrawled pages on Satanism in rock. I especially liked the little pics of My Little Ponies and buttplugs shaped like baby Jesus. But what did you think I was gonna do, type all that out? Christ, I’ve got enough to do around what with interviewing legends of rock, baby-sitting the little Coolidge’s and cutting up cadavers to that Extortion record. I think you should make up your own mini-zine and I’ll put it out free with a future UB. Otherwise, maybe your article will have to wait till UB’s team of typing monkeys end their rolling strike and drop all charges. Von Bondies? Um, no.]
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IN AN EFFORT TO ENCOURAGE BETTER COMMUNICATION BETWEEN YOU – YES, YOU, THE COOL CUNT READING THIS – AND US – YES, US, THE SAD CUNTS WHO COULDN’T COME UP WITH ANYTHING FUNNIER THAN THIS HALF-ARSED SPIEL – WE’RE PREPARED TO RESORT TO BRIBERY. WHAT BETTER INCENTIVE DO YOU NEED TO SEND US A LETTER – YES, A REAL HAND-WRITTEN LETTER, NOT A TEXT OR EMAIL OR SOME BUM CHUM MYSPACE BEST BUDDIES BULLSHIT – THAN THIS MEGA PRIZE PACK CONTAINING A BUNCH OF THE COOLEST PRODUCT AROUND, ALL PERSONALLY RECOMMENDED BY US DICKWADS AT UNBELIEVABLY BAD.
U N B E L I E V A B LY U N W O R T H Y C R A P
ONE LUCKY UNBELIEVABLY BAD LETTER-WRITING READER WILL WIN: 1 X JAWS - Slow Motion Suicide CDEP 1 X NIRVANA - Live! Tonight! Sold Out! DVD 1 X PLUG UGLIES - Anthology CD 1 X VARIOUS ARTISTS - Live At Bar Open DVD 1 X THE MINT CHICKS - Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! CD 1 X DWARVES - Fuck You Up And Get Live DVD 1 X GHOSTS OF THE CIVIL DEAD SOUNDTRACK CD 1 X FUNNY SHIT ZINE VOL. 2 1 X TENACIOUS D - The Pick Of Destiny soundtrack CD 1 X THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES - A Present From The Past 2xCD 1 X FROM HELL - Destruct Tonight! CDEP 1 X SUNN O))) & BORIS - Altar promo CD 1 X GG ALLIN & THE MURDER JUNKIES - Terror In America 1 X ALIEN CHRIST - Alien Christ CD 1 X FULL HOUSE - The Complete First Season DVD boxset 1 X DEATH BREATH - Stinking Up The Night promo cassette 1 X LEGENDS OF MOTORSPORT - Mess It Up CDEP 1 X NINETYNINE - Worlds Of Space/Population/Robots CD 1 X WITCH HATS - Wound Of A Little Horse CDEP 1 X HOUSE OF WHIPCORD - ex-rental VHS 1 X SEX PISTOLS - Spunk bootleg CD 1 X SABERTOOTH TIGER - Extinction Is Inevitable 1 X HUNSTMAN - It's Just Four Songs CDEP 1 X THE HOPE CONSPIRACY - Death Knows Your Name CD BEST LETTER, AS JUDGED BY HEIR DANGER, WINS ALL THIS SHIT. SEND LETTERS TO: UNBELIEVABLY BAD -10 Unwin Street, Bexley NSW 2207.
LOVE LETTERS TO DANGER
F O T R A THE
E H T G N I T A ST
S U O I V B O By Dr. El Suavo
irstly, let me thank the lovely people at UNBELIEVABLY Bad for asking me to write this column. It will provide an outlet for me that my therapist cannot. Secondly, thanks to my legions of fans, both old and new, for your continued support. Also, to you! For taking time out of your stressful schedule to read the rantings of a depressed, lonely, unhygienic, alcoholic magician/DJ. It was only a matter of time before you saw an “unbelievably bad magician” in an UNBELIEVABLY Bad magazine!!! The idea of this column is for me to lend you my insights into subjects such as entertainment, politics, relgion, sport, toys, current affairs and more. You may not necessarily agree with my opinions but just remember, at the end of the day, they are right!!! Being my first column, I thought I would start with a bit of a background on myself, Dr El Suavo. I was brought up around magic and music, which is why I am now regarded as Australia's leading parlor magician. My father was a magician and he and his magician friends taught me the mysteries of the world of magic and took me under their wings as their mascot. The fez also comes from my father, as he used to travel the Middle East performing magic in the fifties. The mask comes from being terribly disfigured in my early teens. Getting a little bit too clever for myself, after years of being taught magic, I started to hit up tourists in Sydney by scamming them with the three shell game until eight scallies chased me down and beat the bejesus out of me after I “won” $50 off them. The scars are still there, physically and mentally, so that's why you won't see me without my mask. I am the modern day Phantom Of The Opera. Why a wrestling mask you might ask? When I was young, I loved to wrestle anything - the dog, my sisters, neighbours, the sprinkler, Mormans, my dragster bicycle, anything!!!!! If it was good enough for my hero El Santo, it was good enough for Dr. El Suavo!! My late teens were a very lonely time. I went through puberty not knowing what was happening to me and no The great El Santo one wanted to tell me. As for girls, forget it! A man in the mask does not pull the chicks!!! As I drifted into my twenties I decided to do a mailorder course which found me as the leader of an underground cult in the eighties. Hence the Dr.! I soon saw the error of my ways, as come the early nineties I was being investigated by the federal police. After that, I “disappeared.” I decided to resurface in Adelaide, as anything seemed to go down in that town. With so many sickos there I figured I’d blend in easy. Somehow I found myself on radio playing songs from the record collection my parents left to me. It was very selfindulgent, but people seemed to enjoy it. Nowadays I reside in Melbourne and I do not follow AFL so NEVER ask me about it! I have been doing my theme night Exotica on and off for ten years with dancers, etc, before it all became too trendy. I enjoy traveling the world performing my magic and entertaining both you out there and myself. So there you go!!! If you have any issues you would like to throw at me, you can at: www.myspace.com/DrElSuavo. Make sure you check out the next issue of UB as I will be writing a tour diary of the first Australian tour by legendary US funk artist Blowly!!
By Greasy Belcher
’m now open for business. My first John Brogden: going for the customer is the recently disgraced sympathy vote Former NSW Minister Milton Orkopoulos. Caught by the knackers shagging young boys and paying for the pleasure with our tax dollars. What a disgrace. I demand John Howard resign with immediate effect, or sends me a hooker as a apologetic form of tax return. Wasn’t it funny when he walked out of the police station to be surrounded by a horde of angry journos and local residents only to find his chauffeur had fucked off? What’s the betting this is the same chauffeur that has had to drop off countless tearful ten-year-olds and shove a greasy tenner in each of their hands for a new pair of untorn and non bloodstained underpants. He was probably parked around the corner laughing his bollocks off. These political pricks are all a shower of useless cunts, not one of them is worth my vote. I’m sick to death of their pathetic attempts to stay out of prison and out of court. If you can do the crime, you can do the fuckin’ time. Half of them would love a free colonic courtesy of the prison shower heavies anyway, so why the desperate struggle to stay out of it I don’t know? John Brodgen is another one, thank fuck his grimy mug is no longer in the business of kissing babies for a living. John Brodgen, rich boy, political brown-noser and true pro when it comes to turning up anywhere just to get on fuckin’ news. So his career takes a nosedive and how does he respond? He makes a pissweak attempt at self harm. I’ve inflicted more self harm having a wank than Brodgen’s so-called suicide attempt. Listen up all you political jokers. Next time you feel like a bout of public sympathy give Greasy Belcher a call, I’ll pop around with a two-pound lump hammer, a silver tipped wooden stake and the hosepipe for the Merc exhaust. I’ll get the fuckin’ job done of it kills us both. The basic message here is, you don’t have to be a failure in death just because your such a pathetic vapid soulless git in life. Do us all a favour. kill yourself like a man all you fuckin’ political poofer bastards.
s n o i t s 20 Que S
leazier than Kings Cross on a Saturday night, more X-rated than a billion Deep Throats, able to piss off feminists in a single song… Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? cable Is it a plane? No, it’s Blowfly, the most despi supervillain to ever defile a slab of vinyl. s As his alter ego, mild mannered sixtie he R’n’B singer and songwriter Clarence Reid, and is penned many hits for other performers rap often credited with recording the first everfly, he song with ‘65’s “Rapp Dirty”. But as Blow and reworks popular hits from whatever genre . His gives them disgusting sex-related lyrics albums are routinely banned. While the first official Blowfly album, Weird the BlowWorld of Blowfly, was issued in 1973, that fly character goes back much further than ht (indeed, Reid claims his grandmother caug “Do him singing “Suck My Dick” in place of He has The Twist” when he was just a nipper).singles, a issued over twenty albums, numerous Best Of and a boxset. After a period of inactivity starting in thethe with late-nineties, Blowfly returned in 2005AlternaFahrenheit 69 album, issued through Punk tive Tentacles. His latest effort, Blowfly’sng on Rock Party, sees the sixty-year old waili Stay Or a set of classic punk tunes. “Should I This Should I Go?” becomes “Should I Fuck Party”. Big Fat Ho?” “T.V. Party” becomes “V.D. a Be “I Wanna Be Sedated” becomes “I Wann Fellated”. You get the picture. With Blowfly out in Australia for his first ever BLY tour, we slapped him with some UNBELIEVA Bad questions and this was his reply…
1. Who invented rap music? I did in 1965 when I recorded “Rapp Dirty”. 2. Who will destroy rap music? Either me or the “White Rap Show”. 3. What was the first song you ever wrote and how did the chorus go? It was a hillbilly song called, “I’m Jerking My Dick Over You”. “I’m jerking my dick over you / I’ve been jerking it so hard, it’s true / I’ve been jerking it so much, my balls turned black and blue / I’m jerking my dick over you.”
11. Who should be running the world? Blowfly should run the world! I can solve the overpopulation problem. I’d have all female virgins get financial aid – and when they turn 18, they get to have their pick of who gets to eat them out. And I can solve the terrorist problem. I’m gonna send Paris Hilton, Pam Anderson, Tara Reid and Kylie Minogue over to the middle east to fuck their brains out! By the time those bitches are done with them, they won’t be able to blow up a balloon! 12. Who is the most convincing porno actress of all-time? Linda Lovelace – I believed that clit was in the back of her throat!
4. What is the sexiest song of all-time? My song, “Girl Let Me Cum In Your Mouth”, because what is sexier than begging a girl to let me bust my nuts in her mouth?
13. If you could fight one other superhero/supervillain in an ultimate battle to the death, who would it be? Superman. I would win because my dick is made of Kryptonite
5. If you had a time machine and could go back or forwards in time, what concert would you like to attend? James Brown at the Apollo, or the Grand Old Oprey in Nashville in the forties with Bob Willis and the Texas Gayboys.
14. Who is the funniest person to ever have lived? Either Richard Pryor or Redd Foxx – both of them were mean sons of bitches, and to be really funny you can’t give a fuck about anyone onstage.
6. Describe the biggest musical low you've ever had. When motherfuckers sample me and don’t pay.
15. What is the ultimate mood-destroying party-killer of an album? Picnic of Love by Anal Cunt. That will clear any room, any time.
7. What song is most likely to cause a female to orgasm? My song, “Who Did I Eat Last Night?” because in order to properly listen to it, you have to eat a girl out. 8. Who is the best-dressed person in music history? Sammy Davis Jr. would change into five different $10,000 suits in one show. He’d be in the middle of a song, and you’d wonder where he went and then suddenly he was in a new beautiful suit. He wore diamonds and all kind of shit. 9. Describe the stupidest tattoo you’ve ever seen? Everyone’s seen it: a tattoo of someone’s girlfriend or boyfriend’s name. You’re just asking for blue balls when you’re in the middle of fucking your next lover and they ask, “Who the hell’s name that is written on your ass!” 10. Why is R. Kelly so misunderstood? He ain’t misunderstood – everyone knows he likes unpottytrained girls who are 11-years old.
16. Who would you go down on last, Rickie Lake or Oprah Winfrey? I’d rather go down on Hitler than either of those bitches – but I guess I’d take Rikki over Oprah. 17. What song is most likely to leave you bawling your eyes out? Clarence Reid’s “A Real Woman”. Because if anyone remembered I wrote a song that pretty, my reputation would be ruined! 18. What is your favourite TV show? I love Dexter’s Laboratory – especially DIDI. 19. What is the greatest Bony M song of all? Who? 20. What will they write in Blowfly’s epitaph? I never thought that motherfucker would leave!
Dow Jones & The Industrials
“Can’t Stand The Midwest” It’s not surprising that in the wilds of America’s most straight-laced heartland, the punk candle burnt brightly. We all know about Ohio and the freaks that sprung from that well, but less heralded is the great state of Indiana, who can claim The Zero Boys, The Gizmos, MX 80 Sound and, of course, the wonderful Gynaecologists. Something about the bland nature of their society brings out the dissatisfied teen in what should be normal red-blooded American youth. The tastiest punkoid morsels from this region, however, can be attributed to Dow Jones & The Industrials, and this number from their very first seven-inch is a tasty fuckin’ entree indeed. Powered by high-speed hook-laden riffs and a time signature that lurches like a drunk about to be violently ill, “Can’t Stand The Midwest” rails against the group’s very surroundings and never loses intensity or indignation over it’s 1.23min length. No solos or other guff, just a solid hook and a big pounding beat, if you don’t find yourself punching walls and singing along, then check yo’ pulse sucka!!
The Psycho Surgeons
“Horizontal Action” Teenage brethren of Radio Birdman and the group that would become the apocalypse that was the Lipstick Killers, The Psychosurgeons are sturdy revved-up blooz with a stick insect on a pogo stick out front for vocals, a nice line in shiny distorto guitar sounds and a pub rockin’ rhythm section that keeps the party swingin’ all the way through this paean to getting one’s leg over. Featuring one of the shortest middle eights in the history of recorded music and lyrics that manage to rhyme “Horizontal Action” with “Hospital Traction,” the first copies of this record featured sleeves smeared with pigs’ blood. And why not - even punks have to have a go at marketing sometimes.
s t i h S k n u P t Grea
Dow Jones & The Industrials
tries ries by Sir Dugless. Iftoanytell jerk se ar ul eg irr you that an of IV rt Pa the Swedes got good at rock ‘n’ roll
“Tryin’ To Mess With Me” Seemingly recorded under a tarpaulin somewhere in Texas, this is super lo-fi punko sludge and it pounds along like a fuck-you freight train. Distilled into a distorted concoction, the instruments blend together like some mythical four-headed beast straining at its leash trying to rip the beating heart out of your sunken chest. Just when you think you’ve got this mob figured out the song breaks down into an almost Beefheartian guitar break that stops the whole flow until the clunko drums and bass/guitar/ cymbal melange fires you toward the inevitable conclusion of this remarkable two minutes and four seconds of your life.
The Rude Kids
around the time the Hellacopters came to prominence, then give ‘em a swift kick to the nether regions for me, will ya. Completely disregarding the great work done in the field of sub-Discharge noise in the early eighties and the excellent sixties scene, you only have to fire up this single to realise the Swedes have had this punque rock thing under control for decades. Recorded for a major label in 1979 this song is completely over the top and sounds like Sonic’s Rendevouz Band channelled by a gang of Vikings who’s singer goes even further out there in his quest to be the punkest guy on the Longship. It’s the musical equivalent of an exclamation mark with the occasional punch in the face for good measure. And just when you think they’re done, they start up again for another bout of musical pillaging. Barbarianism has never sounded so inspiring.
unbelievably Unforgotten Albums #5 By Danger Coolidge
Grong Grong Grong G r o ng Aberrant Records (1984)
nsung pioneers litter the Australian musical landscape like rotting roadkill on the side of the Eyre. Some, like Grong Grong, should not be wasting away there. Not only are this trashy Adelaide four-piece innovators in a form of chaotic primordial grungy post-punk, they’re also one of the saddest examples of wasted potential in the chronicles of Oz punk. Formed in late-’82 by Michael Farkas (vocals/saxophone/ keyboard), his half-brother Charlie Tolnay (guitar), Dave Taskas (bass) and George Klestinis (drums), Grong Grong made their live debut at a party in February ‘83 and for the next two years engendered extreme reactions from punters, venue owners and other bands with a harsh, punishing, rhythmically repetitive sound. When Grong Grong supported Dead Kennedys on their one and only Australian tour in ‘83, frontman Jello Biafra reported back to Maximum Rock N Roll [Issue #10]: “Imagine, if you can, a singer with a black ski mask pulled over his head, with a cowboy hat, pacing back and forth on the stage growling at people for 45 minutes straight; a guitarist who just plays the same riff over and over and looks like a parody of a ‘50s greaser; a bass player whose sound was very similar to Will Shatter’s and visually looked like Randy from the Alleycats if he'd been in a mental institution doing speed for 10 years; and a drummer with a carefully quaffed ‘50s pompadour that looked like a younger version of Tim Y. I lay awake for about two nights after seeing Grong Grong, still wondering if I actually saw what I really saw.” In May of ’83 Grong Grong let fly with an electrifying liveto-air radio performance to win a listener-voted 5MMM Battle Of The Bands contest, first prize consisting of some studio time. So in July the four converged upon Hitsville Studios and hammered out four songs. Opening track, “Grong Grong” (the name is taken from the NSW town. Farkas found it hysterical while driving from Adelaide to Sydney on acid) was the group’s intro number, a slacker call-to-arms written spontaneously one day: “Grong Grong, Grong Grong, Grong Grong is a-comin’, and now we’re here to stay / Grong Grong, Grong Grong, Grong Grong is a-comin’, because we lost our way…” Like most of Grong Grong’s songs it rides on the back of a repetitive bassline and simple thudding drum thwacks, a continuously rolling, clattering rhythmic base over which a guitar is scraped, strangled and mangled half to death. Adding to this violent cacophony are these bloody raw guttural vocals, like Popeye gone feral all flipped-out on spinach with no one to punch. “Angels And Demons” is like a slo-mo collision between the tribal weirdness of the Butthole Surfers’ “Bar-B-Q Pope” and the loose sax stylings of the Stooges’ “Funhouse”. “Club Grotesque” is what the Birthday Party would’ve sounded like if they were from the gutter instead of privileged private schools, while “Louie The Fly” is like “Shake Rattle ‘N’ Roll” gone completely haywire set to a crude lyric about a fly living
on a lump of shit: “His ways are pretty crude, contaminating food / From the stinkin’ garbage dump, twentythousand of ‘em jump…” Sounds like it was written in about five minutes. While these four tracks would later comprise the A-side of Grong Grong’s one and only LP, originally they were intended merely as a demo for a band with much greater ambition. A second demo session was undertaken in June 1984, producing three tracks (“Grong Grong”, “Japanese Train Driver” and “Black Hell”), but even after intense remixing the group were unhappy with the results. The master tapes were later accidentally wiped and the recording lost. On the 22nd of December 1984 Grong Grong supported P.I.L at the Thebarton Town Hall. Two days later, on Christmas Eve, tragedy struck when Farkas overdosed and spent the next nine months in a coma. With the singer practically brain dead and with little chance of making a recovery, his brother Charlie and the other band members decided to release the demo as the Grong Grong LP as a tribute, filling up the second side with rough-asguts live tracks dubbed off a video recording from St. Kilda’s Seaview Ballroom in October ‘83. “Poor Herb” features the same repetitive thudding rhythm as always, only the bass and drums stumble every second bar, reuniting on the upswings only to stumble yet again at the next bar break. The spinescraping guitar goes utterly ballistic, scratching indelible lines into the tune like your favourite band logo into an old wooden school desk. Farkas meanwhile mumbles, growls and yowls indecipherable lyrics made all the more murkier by the shit-can recording. “Vlad The Impaler” is arguably the weakest track of all, with a bassline and beat too dull to carry it the distance. “Swine” suffers a similar fate, though comes alive near the end as sax and axe tangle in a no-holds-barred punk battle on free jazz turf. Despite a drum sound similar to the homeless guy who plays buckets for coin downtown, “Who’s Got It” has got a wicked sort of decrepit groove about it, with a guitar just on the verge of feeding back the whole time. While set closer, a cover of “The Hills Have Eyes” by the Meteors, swings like a blunt machete in the hands of a smacked-out psychopath – heavy, clumsy but doing the damage all the same – with a
guitar that hacks and claws away frantically, oblivious to the churning rhythm and the snarl of the singer. It’s the kind of no-bullshit finish that says, “Hey, we might be insane and we might be loose, but we sure ain’t fuckin’ around!” The self-titled Grong Grong album was to be released in Australia by Bruce Griffith’s Aberrant Records, with the American release handled by Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles. This resulted in a slight variation between the two. As the story goes, the band left it up to the respective labels to decide on the selection of live tracks – Biafra chose a version of the MC5’s “Looking At You” in place of “Swine”. After much delay Grong Grong was finally issued in Australia in May 1986, and in America the following month. By this time Michael Farkas had made a remarkable recovery. Though he had to virtually re-learn how to live again and would always suffer paralysis in his legs, he would go on to form Hack with DNA zine editor and Fear & Loathing frontman Harry Butler and record two full-length albums. Tolnay forged the twisted garage noise behemoth King Snake Roost (originally featuring Klestinis), who released several powerhouse albums and toured the US in the lateeighties, yet, like Grong Grong, never fulfilled their awesome potential. Tolnay also spent time in Lubricated Goat, participated in one-off studio-only project Tumor Circus with Biafra and members of Steel Pole Bathtub and recorded an album with all-star-ish spontaneous studio band Bushpig. George Klestinis went on to forge a career as a DJ in the dance music scene, while Dave Taskas for a time worked with experimental and industrial bands in Melbourne. Still residing in Adelaide, the brothers Farkas and Tolnay have occasionally been overheard discussing their intention to reform Grong Grong, but the dark cloud of drug use that continues to hover over the pair means it’s unlikely to eventuate. Still, you can’t just sweep roadkill under the rug and hope that someday it isn’t going to stench you the fuck out. For the past few years a Grong Grong anthology disc has been mooted. Made up of the original LP tracks and extras such as the 5MMM live-to-air that won them the recording time, this should be available around mid-2007 through Sydney’s Reverberation Records. Hopefully it’s the jolt needed to prompt some reinvestigation into this gnarled, twisted, tragic entity, lurking in the shadows of our largely forgotten punk past.
e g a i r r a M l u f A Success A HORST SJAELLAND’S GUIDE TO...
…UND WHY NOW?
chtung! Mein overmedicated und codependently-inclined functionally illegitimate homo skillets from the Amorikkkan Bush lands of culture illiteracy und uncreative alcoholism, Horst here und muchly announcing the almost immediate publication of Horst neuest sheiss buch, Horst Sjaelland’s Guide to a Successful Marriage… Und why Now? In mein newly overwritten und easy to reading wording self-helping book, I attempting to showing the welt that anyone-providing they to muchly following mein strictly Aryan rulings-can haben a marriage that lasting longer than a Milli Vanilli career. Firstly und most impotently, Horst wanting to discussing the marriage communications. Strictly verboten! Horst aware other malchik gay self-help sheiss authors like the Dr. Phil und Dr. Drew to believing that the communication to being oder nicht to being the cornering stone of a healthy sheiss marriage. Well, Horst here to announcing that nothing to being farther from the truth, with the impossible exception of a Green Day sheiss record. When Horst returning from Mega Records arbeit, he immediately to haus-calling Frau Helga and demanding she to leaving as soon as Horst arriving. Horst nicht to wanting to opening the front door und sehen Frau Helga there mit the opening arms and closed legs. Horst rather to sehen Tunsi oder the Christian rocking band on the run, Mercy Me. Naturlich, when Horst leaving late at nacht to sexgopumping mit mein underage und up the butt teen sex-retaries, he immediately calling Frau Helga, so she to wissen it safely to return home. It going without sagen that Horst und Frau Helga haben a very happy marriage because we never to haben to unnecessarily talking to each other. That ist what happening mit the Sid Vicious und the Nancy Spungeon. They to spending way too muchly time talking und look what resulting: two dead corpses! To showing that open communication is the Led Zeppelin Breakdown of any relationship, Horst just haben to looking at the failed engagement of Herr Jarvie the Sheisswriter to the Not So Fabulous Ms Noir. They to openly sprechen each day und where that to leading? Ms Noir breaking off the sheiss engagement und declaring the immediate finding of the self is now required, which is just a euthanasia for: “I just want to find myself in someone else’s bed.” Horst laughing nowly! Horst to hearing the Dr. Phil und the Dr. Drew declaring a successful relationship muchly to needing a healthy sex life. Well, Horst here to declaring that nothing to being more absurdly… except for the impossible exception of a Peter Tork solo album. Achtung! A healthy sex life only leading to open communication und Horst already to stating that open communication ist the end of any long-term relationship. On the other gland, an unhealthy sex life can help a marriage last longer than the Frank Sinatra’s singing career. Looking at the Horst und Frau Helga, Horst never to touching Frau Helga. Und the Horst-Helga marriage now going on the 20 yahren. Insteadly, Horst seeking heavy meddle more attractive. In other wording, Horst desiring the constant sexgopumping mit mein under teen sex-retaries from the Mega Records. As for the frua Helga, she occupying herself mit the overmedicated fichen monkey, George W. Fichenchimp und several of those musclebound gay Chip and Dale dancers. Und why nicht? The last thing Horst wanting ist for frau Helga to demanding the sexgopumping from him. Strictly verboten. Horst to also wissen that frau Helga haben everything from the crabs to the AIDS. Und Horst haben to timing for AIDS when there are DSL Girls CDs to producing. As for Herr Jarvie, the Sheisswriter, well, he haben been born without a Baum sausage, so there never to sex becoming an issue. No wonder he to sheiss writing the Spice World screen playing. Too much non-sexgopumping time on his Styx hands. Und Horst nicht to emphasizing enough the supreme Aryan impotence of stalking. Horst haben been successfully stalking the Ostrich-ralian disco queen, Kylie Minogue for a long timing now. Und frau Helga supporting Horst in his uberstalking. The last thing fra Helga wanting ist for Horst to sending her
The highly stalkable Alyson Hannigan
cryptically email, demanding constant Baum sausage attention. Frau Helga haben soap operas to watching und a drug habit to supporting. Once again, looking at the failed relationshit of Herr Jarvie the Sheisswriter und the Not So Fabulous Ms. Noir. He devoted his entire life to his Aussie Ophelia, sending her love letters und love poems. Nicht to mentioning the countless poignantly poignant emails of destiny. Und that ist exactly where he to failing. If, instead, he ignoring the Not So Fabulous Ms. Noir und insteadly concentrating on his uber stalking of the Alyson Hannigan, Horst believing he still to being engaged today. Naturlich, if any marriage ist to succeeding, there haben to be muchly drugs involving. Horst can‘t to John Lennon imagining what it too being like haben to sprechen to frau Helga while nicht under the influencing of everything from beer beer beer to Jerry Garcia Mountain oysters. Once again, there ist what to dooming the Sheeiswriter; he to spending all of his timing mit the Not So Fabulous Ms Noir stone coldly sober. Und look where it to getting him! A Nietszche abyss looking back at him und more repetition und grief than Molly Simpson ever to imagining. Right now, Horst to being muchly overmedicated on Ashlee Simpson cleavage und Reba “Big” McIntyre Valley Muffins, which, naturlich, are muchly old und red. Und Horst very muchly looking forward to gehen home und nicht
sehen frau Helga. Und Horst wissen that frau Helga ist also muchly overmedicated und dreading the arrival of the Horst Man Machine. Naturlich, Horst to calling Frau Helga before returning home, so that the overmedicated chimp ficher to vacating the premises. That ist the essence of love, mein co-dependently dependent homo skillets. According to that famous Urethra Franklen song, every woman needing muchly R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Well, Horst here to declaring nothing is more pathetic, with the impossible exception of an Amorikkkan shit-com starring Bono und the Edge. Frau Helga nicht to wanting the Urethra Franklin respect! Frau Helga wanting Horst’s geld, for shopping, drug respelling, und the anonymous sexgopumping mit the gay musclemen. Und once again, Horst using the Sheisswriter as an exampling. He haben nothing but respecting for the Not So Fabulous Ms. Noir. Und looking where that getting him. If he haben taking the Rick James way, Horst to wissen the sheisswriter und the Not So Fabulous Ms. Noir still muchly being fianced today. Naturlich, this ist only Horst sheiss book in a busted nutshell. If you want to learning more about how to saving our defunctioning sheiss marriage, you habe to kaufen Horst’s book when it to being published. Und Horst also hoping to embarking on an Amerikkkan lecturing tour of destiny next Summer, where Horst to discovering new Mega Records talent of the underage teenage variety. Und why not? Thus Spoke, Horst Sjaelland
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l i v e D s r a e W Clodhoppers V Part five of a never-ending UNBELIEVABLY BAD s. interview with the wizard of gore Herschell Gordon Lewi By Mil Mascaras.
hat knowledgeable online source for movie info, The Internet Movie Database (www.imdb. com) has got Herschell Gordon Lewis listed as director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, actor, sound recordist, special effects wiz and production designer for a plethora of pictures. Of particular interest to us UNBELIEVABLY Bad types, though, is the great man’s work as a composer, arranger, musician and vocalist. Having penned the title tune for his first full-length feature, The Prime Time, in 1960, Lewis turned his hand to film scoring the following year. Of course, back then there was nothing whatsoever honourable about being “DIY”. Everything was done in the name of “exploitation”. Lewis regularly used pseudonyms such as Sheldon Seymour and David Lewis to make it seem like someone else had written the music. In the liner notes to the 2002 CD The Eye-Popping Sounds of Herschell Gordon Lewis, he wrote: “I’m a guy who had enough background in music to be able to write some primitive melodies and background scores, not to establish a reputation (after all, I used and alias on half these entries) but to save money.” Faced with the prospect of either forking over thousands of dollars to a professional jingle writer or else using standard “canned” music on the soundtrack to the 1961 naturecamp picture The Adventures Of Lucky Pierre, Lewis decided to have a crack himself. His prime motivation was to save money, but his actions were DIY to the core. With the assistance of friend and “musical genius” Larry Wellington, Hersch wrote and recorded the music for the hugely successfully Lucky Pierre, the experience arming him with the confidence and know-how to then create the legendary score for Blood Feast (1963). With slow, ingratiating kettledrums signaling impending slaughter, churning church organ meandering over no tune in particular and a tortured cello staggering about in step with the film’s creepy, kill-crazy antagonist Fuad Ramses, the Blood Feast soundtrack, while undeniably primitive, displayed the auteur’s unfailing ability to evoke just the right spirit to enhance the effect of a film. And his greatest triumph in this regard is Two Thousand Maniacs (1964). The banjo pickin’ bluegrass opening theme - sung/spoken by Herschell himself - is up there among the
greatest openers ever. With its unconventional yet addictive catch cry of “Yee-Haw!”, it sets an uneasy tone for the bizarre celebrations of torture and death to follow –the perfect theme for the perfect HG Lewis film. Across the next decade and a half Lewis composed a vast array of songs and scores for his movies, applying the same primitivism and economy to music as he did film. However, aside from the odd unique flourish (see the aforementioned “YeeHaw!” refrain) Lewis’ songwriting was generally more reserved and refined than his filmmaking, even if the recordings themselves had a tendency to be quite rough. Amongst his finest efforts is the cool lounge theme from Suburban Roulette (1968). Recorded (ironically) in his living room in Florida, it features jaw-dropping lyrics about partnerswapping in the ‘burbs; the kinda high sleaze cheese the Rat-Packers, whose style it attempts to emulate, could never hope to get away with: “What’s our favorite evening game? Night Baseball? Oh Baby, you’re all wet! / Let’s swap partners is the name - Suburban Roulette.” Another brilliant one-off composition is the folk/psych/ garage number, “Destruction”, which serves as the opener to ‘68’s Just For The Hell Of It. Like much of Lewis’ music it has a streak of melancholy slicing through it, amplified by the heavily medicated vocal delivery of the unknown Tary Rebenar. Also from ’68, the She-Devils On Wheels theme “Get Off The Road” is probably the most recognisable of all Lewis compositions thanks largely to The Cramps, The Booby Traps and a billion garage bands in between covering it. A misanthropic trash rock belter enhanced by a junk recording that captures rawness, exuberance and nothing besides, the nasty lyrics and tough girl gang vocals (courtesy of some unnamed friends of Lewis’ son, Bob) set the scene exquisitely for a licentious little flick about a group of “man-eaters on motorbikes.” Having returned to filmmaking in recent years, Herschell continues to think deeply about the impact of music on his films. Why, even before his latest project Grim Fairytales got the green light he was happily singing the theme song to me down the phone line. Here is Part Five of my never-ending interview with Herschell Gordon Lewis…
Eye-Popping Sounds on CD A 37-track compilation released in 2002 by Birdman Records, The Eye-Popping Sounds… shows off HG Lewis’ talent as a composer, musician, vocalist and voice-over man. All his greatest musical triumphs are here, starting with the ominous kettledrum-dominated soundtrack for 1963’s Blood Feast (including such tasty musical interludes as “Brains Knocked Out” and “Tongue Torn Out”). Other highlights include the banjopluckin’ theme from Two Thousand Maniacs (sung by Herschell himself), which I rate up there among the best movie themes in history; the theme from Suburban Roulette (1968), a risqué lounge act about swinging in the suburbs; the theme from Just For The Hell Of It (1968), “Destruction”, a dark psych rock brooder; and the theme from She Devils On Wheels (1968), “Get Off The Road”, a trash rock classic that has been covered by many garage bands including The Cramps, whose singer Lux Interior designed the Herschell Gordon Lewis lettering that adorns the cover art of this release. With music from many other HG Lewis films, The Eye-Popping Sounds… also boasts several original radio promo spots for films like She-Devils On Wheels, with it’s awesome tagline: “Riding their men as viciously as they ride their motorcycles!” Includes a booklet with gruesome stills and informative notes by Herschell plus a bonus track of him directing an actress to scream.
I’d like to discuss the music for your pictures, which I believe you first started doing fully on Adventures Of Lucky Pierre?
On Lucky Pierre I had a partner on music, an absolute musical genius named Larry Wellington. I was in this period where all hell had broken loose and I had no income at all and so I had taken a job at a place called United Film and Recording Studio as their Staff Director for television commercials. And their Music Director was Larry Wellington and he and I developed a fast friendship. So when we began to make Lucky Pierre, that was the picture that really brought [producer] Dave Friedman and me together as partners. I said to Larry Wellington, “We need a theme for Lucky Pierre, because we’re not going to pay for canned music.” So I sat down with Larry and we hashed out the main music for Lucky Pierre (whistles the theme). So Larry helped put it together and we got a flautist called Kenny Soderblom in to play it. And what that proved to me was that scoring a movie was not the great mystery that Max Steiner and some of those others said it was.
Did you always feel you had musical talent?
your life. Had he said, “With those beautiful fingers you should play the cello,” my life would’ve gone in a totally different direction, I’m convinced. But as it was, I finished the semester and never played again, and so there went my possibility of conducting the London Philharmonic. But when I came to score a picture I had some background. With Blood Feast (1963) I knew what I wanted and I was really prepared to hire outside help for musical composition but the outside estimates I was getting were just beyond a joke - they were more than what the movie cost! That is a very good spur. So I picked up a copy of Anderson’s Orchestrations. In fact, I had had that book since my old school days. I went to a concert and at that concert was the famous composer Igor Stravinsky and I got his autograph in that book, which gave me inspiration. So I wanted to make sure I had the right range. I knew what I wanted. I wanted a cello, I wanted a trombone, I wanted weird sounds and kettledrums. And when it came to record the thing, the day of the recording, I realised I had not hired a kettle-drummer. It meant nothing whatever, I picked up the sticks and played the kettledrums. Because Leopold Stokowski, the famous conductor, never played an instrument, and when he wanted to get into the musicians union he had to say he played kettledrums. So I felt that this puts me at least on par with Stokowski. In TwoThousand Maniacs at the end where there’s that harmonica, I played the harmonica. At the time I thought nothing of it.
“Blood Feast is pure child psychology. Someone once said that the only thing wrong with child psychology is that it doesn’t work on children. Fortunately for us, it does work on
I had always felt that my destiny lay in being the conductor of the London Philharmonic. It never came to be. To this day I will be playing “The Russian Sailor’s Dance” by Reinhold Gliere and I’ll conduct it and I’ll say, “Where is my damned orchestra? I know where this bit should speed up, I know when to bring the brass out…” It’s a frustration of mine, really, a lifelong situation. When I was a child I studied the violin, all kids studied the violin when I was a child. So I played the violin, but my career as a violinist came to a fairly dramatic conclusion. I was playing in the high school orchestra and the fellow who conducted that orchestra was a backbencher from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and one day he wasn’t there and the fellow who conducted the brass band substituted for him. He walked through the desks and as he did he stopped and looked at me and said, “How could you play the violin with hands that big?” And it really was traumatic. That’s how outside forces can be a Deus ex machina, they can change
The theme in Blood Feast is so evocative, what was the inspiration behind it?
Blood Feast is pure child psychology. Someone once said that the only thing wrong with child psychology is that it doesn’t work on children. Fortunately for us, it does work on adults. With Blood Feast, nobody had ever made a movie of this type before, so I was in terror that people were not only going to walk out of the theatre but bomb the theatre or sue somebody. The idea of the kettledrums was to tell people in advance, “This is going to happen.”
Who played the organ and cello? I had my old buddy Larry Wellington on the organ and the cello player, that fellow, I can’t recall his name, but what a fine musician he was.
Was the music written beforehand or were you just constructing rhythms and recording them on the spot? It wasn’t that casual, we timed the takes to match the scenes. We recorded it at United Film and Recording. Their equipment was ancient but that didn’t bother me at all. It was good enough and they were most cooperative. I’m delighted to hear compliments from people; I didn’t realise that I had broken as much ground as apparently I did.
Do you mean in terms of multi-tasking? In terms of multi tasking and in producing a movie that was going to have the profound effect that Blood Feast has had. Not just on cheap horror movies, but in the history of motion pictures altogether. That’s proof, I think, that if you live long enough you become legitimate.
The Two-Thousand Maniacs theme is one of the most perfectly suited songs to a film ever, how did you come up with that? I had no problem at all from top to bottom I knew what I was going to do and how I wanted it. The only problem I had with that theme was that I did not expect to sing it myself. I only sang on it because I felt that the vocalist I’d enlisted had a voice that was too high. Now, after all these years, I’m thrilled that I did sing it myself because now I have no problem when someone says, “I want to use that,” or “Will you sing it for us?” I own that song. I wrote it, I recorded it, and I sang it. So at this Chiller Theatre thing last year when they asked me if I could stand in front of the group and re-sing Two-Thousand Maniacs, absolutely I can, and I did.
“We recorded ‘Get Off
The Road’ in my office, which didn’t have a lot of soundproofing equipment - that was really funny.” –
Who were The Pleasant Valley Boys, the band who played on Two-Thousand Maniacs? The Pleasant Valley Boys were three musicians in the Orlando, Florida area. One of them, the guitarist, was called Chuck Scott, but his real name was Charles Glore, G-l-o-r-e, and he in fact played the lead in Moonshine Mountain (1964) later on. One of the other fellows was Paul Champion, who is still to this day the finest banjo player I have ever met in my life. He had hands of gold.
Birdman Records released The Eye-Popping Sounds of Herschell Gordon Lewis CD, how much did you get paid for that deal? I got thirty-six copies of the recording! I couldn’t believe they were serious, I could not believe it. But again, they were willing to make that investment and my sense of greed has long since been eroded. If somebody has that kind of dedication, and it’s dedication to me, I’m not about to go putting up obstacles. I’m glad to have those songs out there.
How long did it take you to write that theme? The writing is usually fast because as I come to write it I
Herschell's myspace pic
Moonshine Mountain (1964)
Well “Get Off The Road”, I wrote that and my son, he had a garage band at the time. In fact, we recorded “Get Off The Road” in my office, which didn’t have a lot of soundproofing equipment - that was really funny. It was Bob and some people that he knew. Every person on that soundtrack was a high school student. The main line in the song, “man-eaters on motorbikes,” that was the original title I had for the picture. But then I decided She-Devils On Wheels was a better box-office title.
Well I haven’t seen any royalties as yet. Tell them I will settle for Australian dollars, but I want ten thousand of them and they better be here by noon tomorrow or I’ll do what everybody else does, I’ll sue McDonalds the hamburger chain.
Well yes, except you don’t want too much attention paid to the theme song. I have seen people come out of movies… Disney made a movie called The Black Hole (1979) in which the music became so dominant that the movie itself became secondary. You don’t want that. It should be a one-piece deal. One of the wonders of Two-Thousand Maniacs still to this day is how all the pieces fit together so well.
aving already tapped the lucrative markets for nudity and gore, in 1964 HG Lewis discovered a new type of money-spinner in the redneck rampage Two-Thousand Maniacs, introducing the extreme blood and guts from his earlier hit Blood Feast into the Deep South (where the predominance of his audience resided) to marvelous effect. Around the same time Lewis says he was told by a film distributor in the Carolinas that he could do well in the South with a film that had a loose relationship to 1958’s Thunder Road, which starred Robert Mitchum as a Korean War vet who returns home to take over the family moonshine business. Moonshine Mountain (aka White Trash on Moonshine Mountain) was his answer. A city-slickin’ country and western singer called Doug Martin (played by Charles Glore under the pseudonym Chuck Scott) heads for the Carolina hills to discover his roots, only to stumble into a hotel run by Jeb Carpenter (played by Lewis regular Jeffrey Allen) and his in-bred family of moonshiners.
“Get Off The Road” from She-Devils On Wheels is a favourite, where did that one come from?
We’ve got a band here in Sydney called The Booby Traps who play “Get Off The Road” in their live set.
Is writing a film similar to writing a theme song in that you want it to grab people?
ruminate on it the previous night and the pieces come to me somehow. It’s a hard thing to describe the creative process. I had that same thing making a movie called Just For The Hell Of It, which had a theme (“Destruction”) that my son, Bob, played the guitar and on and a friend of his sang on it because my voice wasn’t high enough. I just had this feeling for it.
Doug falls in love with Carpenter’s gorgeous daughter, Laura (Bonnie Hinson), but soon finds himself caught up in the middle of a good ‘ol fashioned Southern feud. What’s the feud about, you ask? Why, moonshine o’ course - what in tarnation didja think it was gone be ‘bout? Doug helps in the crusade against the evil local sheriff, Asa Potter, played by the enigmatic Gordon Oas-heim. Oas-heim had starred in Lewis’ previous film Color Me Blood Red (1964) under the alias Don Joseph but was
billed in Moonshine Mountain as Adam Sorg, which, strangely enough, was the name of the character he played in Color Me Blood Red. Described by Lewis as “a madman,” Oas-heim was difficult to deal with during the Moonshine Mountain shoot, and his wild antics did not sit well with the nice folk of quiet South Carolina town where the principle filming took place. After one rowdy outburst Oas-heim was arrested by the authorities and spent the night in the local lock-up, at which point the entire production was forced to pack up and leave. Projecting this same despicable persona onscreen as Sheriff Asa Potter, Oas-heim’s performance is one of Moonshine Mountain’s redeeming features. When Doug’s jealous girlfriend, Delia (Marilyn Walters), shows up in town and rejects his sleazy advances, Potter rapes and murders her in cold blood. He then rapes Mary Lou Carpenter (Gretchen Eisner), Laura’s unattractive little sister, who later extracts her revenge by planting an axe right between his shoulder blades just as the moonshine still (full of dead FBI agents) gets blown to smithereens in a dynamite blast. Not a bad non-gore entry in the Lewis filmography, though it’s fair to say a few severed heads and hacked-off tongues wouldn’t have gone astray during the more tedious parts.
My Disco. Ben Andrews interview by Jake Stone. Photography by Ben Butcher.
ormed in Melbourne in 2003, My Disco is the combined sound of Rohan Rebeiro, and brothers Liam Andrews and Ben Andrews – a grinding, angular stab at hardcore punk in the tradition of Steve Albini set to sparse, danceable rhythms. What makes the band so interesting is their unique, deliberately monochromatic sound; My Disco produce block colour and bold contrast, a boiled-down aesthetic that is a simple as it is compelling. As much an art band as they are a punk act, My Disco spent their formative years honing their unlikely sound in front of an underground crowd of vegan hardcore fans in warehouses across the country. That’s where I first saw them, at an underground party in a Marrickville warehouse, and they grabbed me from the word go with their raw, unrefined intensity. While Liam’s drops bass time alongside Rohan on the kit, occasionally leaning into the mic to yell a slogan while Ben Andrews’ virtuosic, grating lead guitar noise lends thrilling contrast to the thumping rhythm section, the whole package concentrating into a hypnotically danceable blend of punk, hardcore and groove. The intensity and idiosyncrasy of the band live and on their recent LP Cancer has won the band support slots with groups like Mogwai, Deerhoof and The Gossip, and bringing them to fans across the country, as well as Europe and the USA. UNBELIEVABLY Bad leapt at the chance to sit down and chat with Ben Andrews on the eve of their national tour for Cancer, about an album very close to the band’s heart…
Are you just about to tour? Just about to; our first dates are up in Brisbane, which we’ve done a couple of times before. The first time, we played an RSL Bowling Club and pulled 150 payers, which was huge at the time. Is it hard to find a like-minded audience in traditional venues in a place like Brisbane? It’s a hard place to find a following since the gentrification of The [Fortitude] Valley began, because a lot of the places that we used to play, like Rics, are all closing down, or having problems with sound restrictions. We’d have to find different ways to play, warehouses and house parties, galleries… We played an art gallery in the city, which was awesome. Are the crowds who show up aware of you, or are you launching the band on an unsuspecting public? We’ve done enough touring, and have a fanbase of people who know what we do and are into our sounds. The last couple of times we’ve gone and played places without advertising, often at illegitimate venues, and occasionally under different names for a variety of
incorporating funk and disco elements alongside the grinding punk you are known for… It’s hard to pin-point what we want to do, but it’s always a heavy rhythm base. We don’t focus on things that, in my previous experience, most rock bands do. We don’t focus on melody, chorus and verse. We focus on placement of beats, bits and pieces of guitar… tempos, and where a kick drum lies. We focus on giving everything a lot of space. The music that I like has a lot of room in it, dry and somewhat uncompromising. If there is a sound there, it’s because we’ve orchestrated it that way. Liam is quite abstract and poetic as a lyricist, but also brings the intensity of a hardcore punk performer to his vocal performances. How would you characterise your brother’s lyrics on Cancer? It’s really easy to do with this album, because it’s conceptually based around a disease, something that Liam went through personally. There is pretty much one main theme for the record, and it fits in with the clinical nature of our sound, the artwork, and for the most part predominantly revolves around his battle with [Hodgkin’s] disease. It went on for about a year, was pretty gripping
How did you cope? It was pretty full-on. Initially he’d lived at home, but then he had to move to the hospital for the final stages of treatment. Up and until then you are planning out tours and fleshing out ideas, and then instead of doing that you are going to visit your brother in hospital. It was a bit of a shock. I feel a bit estranged from it, as if it was a weird dream. I went from being really busy musically to going to a period of having no shows, no writing, no nothing. I found myself working a lot, which was very strange to me, because I haven’t done that for the better part of a decade. My Disco was such an important thing that, with that gone, I was thrown into this weird world.
reasons. For the album tour, we wanted to step it up a bit. It’s part of our nature to do things on a smaller scale, but we wanted to get it to shops that we haven’t been able to before, to maybe get a couple of people involved that hadn’t heard of us before… It’s a really different sound for the general public. That’s something that we’ve never really thought about before. This time around, we have a bit more push in a semi-commercial scene. I’d be interested to see how people take it. Our sound might be something different for more mainstream people, but compared to the music I listen to, I don’t think it’s that Avant Garde. What is it about the band that works for you, and for the listener? The members had played together in other bands since 1989, and from the onset we seemed to have a connection that I have never found with any other musicians. It’s quite striking, quite unique, and gripping for us. We started playing a long time ago in a band called Heartfelt Self, were a lot younger-minded in our music, but had the impression that what we were doing was important, and that it was important that we do it together. I was living overseas and I’d come back for a holiday over Christmas. We got together for a jam just for fun, and instantly came up with two or three songs in two hours! Then we played two shows, and it felt so… unique, powerful and remarkable that we decided to drop everything else and concentrate on the band full time. I knew what my priorities needed to be. …And so you moved back here for My Disco? We said ‘let’s not pin any hopes on it, it might not go anywhere’. That was three or four years ago now, and we haven’t ever decided to do this or that. It’s just evolved. You’ve evolved in an interesting direction,
You’re right. He got diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease, which is a cancer of the lymph nodes. I suppose that kind of thing can’t ever happen at a great time, but it happened at a time when we were putting out our EP, and lots of other stuff. I was going overseas and he was meant to come, and I was living with him at the time… it was a crazy time… He then had this schedule where, to get treatment, you have to attend one session of chemotherapy every two weeks, for three months. At the start of the disease, we’d have to schedule gigs and rehearsals around that two week schedule. If he had it on a Wednesday, he couldn’t do anything for three or four days because he’d be really sick, and the week after that he’d be cool, so we could play or rehearse. We played a few shows, and in fact did a full Australian tour two weeks after he’d gotten out of hospital. There are varying pictures of him looking bald, or having weird looking hair around that time, and its weird looking at him like that. When we looked at Sticky Carpet, this locally made doco on the Melbourne punk scene and saw our footage in that, it was around the time when he was ill and he had huge bags under his eyes. It was weird.
Could you say that the band contributed to him getting well? Well, there were always positive things happening with the band, and I would come into hospital and tell him we’d been offered this or that. I don’t know if it was the right thing to do, but at the time I felt like I’d rather talk about the band than about… the illness. I know he did like talking about (the disease) because it was something that was affecting him, but I tried to focus on the positive things. We could talk about that when he got better. and obviously emotional, and it’s something that you’re not going to forget. He draws on that. In the past, we’d both written lyrics that were a bit vague and not as streamlined. I like the way this has really summed up a unified perception of the band, and really ties in with what we’re doing at present. We didn’t sit down and say “we’re going to write an album like this…,” it just came out like that, and we were happy about it. Can we talk a little about Liam’s process with the illness? Obviously you are brothers, so that must have been full-on for you.
Now that he’s written this material about the illness, and you are both playing it together, it must be very cathartic for everyone? Yeah, it’s an important album for us, both in terms of the band’s career, and because we’ve delivered this heartfelt blow. We’ve always done that anyway. Music has never been anything other than a very personal statement for us. It just happens that this one is… …very personal. Ha! Yes. It’s a bit rare. We don’t mind having our hearts on our sleeves, because we aren’t in it for anything fake.
ow many bands do you know from Europe? Not too many, I bet, and chances are that most of them will suck dick. Of all European countries, I think the French have the best track record. But even then, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything remotely credible after the 1960s. Lucky for us, while the world was going crazy to the Beatles, the Stones and the Monkees, the frogs were pumping out such musical genius’ as Jacques Dutronc, Francoise Hardy, Nino Ferrer, France Gall, and, of course, the legendary Serge Gainsbourg. Since then, French music has generally fallen into the same European cesspool that has brought us the likes of Boney M and the Scorpions. Even the efforts in later decades of these classic artists of the sixties were left wallowing in the pitiable euro-pop wastelands. So it’s safe to say that there hasn’t been a lot of French music to kick you in the nuts in the last thirty years. Sure, I've been to see Air play live, and I was surprised at how good they were given how dull their records are. And yeah, I'm flattered that the eighties saw Rita Mitsouko, featuring a French porn-starcum-pop-diva, write a discothèque anthem called “Andy”. But I only feign liking the song to entice French girls back to my hotel
leaving you lying there in your bed quietly going insane, as you listen to their bump and grind while enduring one of the most gratingly galling songs ever recorded merry-go-rounding through your dreams. The torment suffered was much along these lines. The music was so ghastly I locked myself in a toilet cubicle after five songs. How could I escape? I found myself hugging the bowl in the fashion I would in a vomitous flurry, continually flushing in an attempt to hypnotise myself as I watched the water spiralling down the hole, the sound of each flush doing just enough to ensure I couldn't understand their godawful Pidgin English lyrics. One line will be forever imprinted in my mind: “Rock and roll will make me young again / we can rock with all our friends.” Someone please get this tattooed
Acurrently first-hand guide to the good and the bad sounds blasting out of French garages. By Andy Digger. were a middle-aged couple playing sixties garage and pop covers like a church band would. What can I say; they were French. Lovely people though. To make matters worse, I later found out they had played support to such bands as MC5, New Bomb Turks and Nashville Pussy. They also had a “techno remix” CD. No shit. Things were looking bleak. I was stuck standing in this bar surrounded by a happy crowd contently dancing away to one of the worst bands I’ve ever seen. These poor, deprived people. What would they think of us when we start screaming and jumping around like burning lunatics? There was another local band on next, called The Magnetix. I hate to be a snob, but they dressed a little better than the sandals and Hawaiian shirts adorning the aforementioned band. As they set up their instruments I got the feeling things were about to get better, and I may have stumbled across the only good band in France. There was a girl on drums, dressed in knee-high white boots and
"These French folks scarred me so bad I couldn't bring myself to masturbate for nearly a month.." room when I get them to sing the lyrics “Andy... dites-moi oui??” (Andy - tell me yes). On my first trip to Europe with Digger & The Pussycats in 2004, I considered myself lucky that I only had to sit through one shitty French band. They were fucking awful. Only a blind person would want to see a band whose members were in their mid-40s with died black hair, wearing leather pants and sleeveless T-shirts revealing stretched tattoos from days gone by. Well, that’s what these guys looked like, and they sure had the Johnny Thunders attitude to go with it. Predictably, they were talentless slags. Have you ever lived in a share house where the couple in the room next door have “their song”, and it’s something like REM’s “Shiny, Happy, People”? When it comes time for their anniversary they put it on repeat, crank it up to 10 and then have dirty, sweaty sex for the next four hours,
on your forehead. I will then kill you. I’ve neglected to mention the name of this band. They were called The What. These French folks scarred me so bad I couldn't bring myself to masturbate for nearly a month, which is pretty serious given my thrice-daily (breakfast, lunch and tea) routine. By the time of our second European tour, I was well and truly willing to take up arms to fight against the French rock ‘n’ roll scene in a bid to ensure that they would lose any war against them, just as history shows them losing nearly every other war they were ever involved in. I genuinely couldn’t find a single French band that was any good. We showed up at a show in Orleans to play with two French bands. The first, which will remain nameless, were just in it for a bit of fun. Or at least that is what I initially thought. They
a skimpy go-go frock. She wasn’t wasting time with a massive sparkly drum set. She just had the simple set up of kick, snare, floor tom and a crash cymbal. The guitarist was an imposing man over six-feet tall, with broad shoulders, a shitty white T-shirt with holes burnt in the stomach from cigarettes and a pair of black jeans. He set up two vintage amps, a few pedals, a delay machine and an old Farfisa organ. I guessed that these guys were gonna be playing some sort of retro rock, where the guitarist would sometimes play organ, and at other times guitar. So they started playing, and fuck it was loud as hell. Heavy tremolo guitar drenched in reverb thumping away at trashy riffs, backed by swinging primitive drums with frenzied vocals from guitar player, Looch, and the occasional hysterical scream from drummer, Aggy. I was mistaken when I thought Looch would play some songs on
"The Fatals are pretty close to the best band in the world at the moment. I'm Not One To Exaggerate." The Fatals
organ and other songs on the guitar - he was doing both at the same time! While singing he’d be playing the organ with his feet, or at least he was until it fell over, and he then went and sat on it while playing a guitar solo. Fucking brilliant. When he wasn’t singing he looked like a gorilla dancing the emu; if that makes any kind of sense. Aggy was hitting the drums like a motherfucker, and just couldn’t keep her mouth shut while she played. The expression on her face was very “hot-food-mouth”, and she was able to dance the shimmy while she played. A classic rock moment occurred halfway through the set when the amps overloaded the power and blew the building’s fuse. The band were left in complete darkness with no power, but the drums didn’t drop out for a second – they kept on ploughing through – with Looch pacing the room, singing into the audiences faces and clapping his hands in time with beat. Not only were The Magnetix the best French band I’d come across, they were one of the best bands I’ve seen in my life. We got to play with them four more times on the tour, and even partied at their home in Bordeaux after tearing a new arsehole in that city together. The Magnetix, what a great fucking band. But surely they were standing alone in a country where the cheese is good, infidelity is compulsory and the bands are flat-out wrong. The next French band we would encounter was in Amsterdam at the Sleazefest, where we were playing with such cool bands from around the world as the Black Lips, King Khan & The Shrines, Coyote Men, Zzz, The Magnetix and a
bunch of Frenchies known as The Fatals (pronounced fatahls). They played straight after us and seemed like pretty nice guys. I mean, I was expecting them to be pretty good because the Sleazefest is an annual festival with the cream of the world garage scene invited to play a 24-hour party.But then I saw the leather pants. The bassplayer was the culprit. I could have sworn I’d seen those pants on a Frenchman before, and the show that ensued on that ocassion had not been pretty. They were the last band on. It was 8am, and I’d had more drugs than a touring funk band. Did I really need to put myself through this? If things went pear-shaped, it could be like taking acid at a Butthole Surfers show and then having to watch a female circumcision while Gibby Haynes sings about how little a fuck he gives about the CIA through his deluded, paedophile voicebox. I needn’t have worried, as The Fatals are pretty close to the best band in the world at the moment. I’m not one to exaggerate. Get a few beers into me at the pub and you’ll see me put on my rock Nazi hat and tell you that every band you like is shit unless I suggested them first. These guys had the songs of the Oblivians, played with the feedback/distortion of Dead C, combined with the all out intensity of At The DriveIn. It was wild, it was loud, and fuck, they were dangerous. They played five songs before the sound engineer gave up because he couldn’t control things. One of the organisers cut the power, but someone turned it back on. The band didn’t care; they just kept playing. The organiser of the festival’s girlfriend got up on stage with some beer and begged them to stop. The drummer took the jug and threw it in her face and the band finished their last song. The stage was then destroyed and they walked back to their backstage caravan swearing and telling the festival staff to get fucked. Sweet fucking Jesus! So my two new favourite bands come from France: The Fatals and The Magnetix. They’re both from the southeast, with members coming from Perpignan, Toulouse and Bordeaux, and Vince from the Fatals grew up in Montreal. If you want to peg shit on the pitiful state of European music, save it for the Germans, the Dutch, the Belgians, and especially the Austrians (Falco – what the fuck?), but count the French out. These two bands will make you blow your load.
Converge. Kurt Ballou interview by Nutso Ward.
anger, you fuckin’ stingy cunt; only giving two pages to one of the most important heavy bands of the past decade, what kind of shoddy operation you trying to run here? I hope you go see Converge when they come out in March and I hope they cave your fucking head in. I hope they snap your fucking neck. I hope they turn your mind into YoGo. Then I hope you fall to your knees in repentant worship, only to be trampled by pent-up, shirtless moshers and end up in some kind of institution for the physically and mentally handicapped. And I hope you never recover. In fact, I’m sure you won’t. Here’s an UNBELIEVABLY brief interview with Converge guitarist and hardcore producer extraordinaire, Kurt Ballou. With love, Nutso. You seem to be a very busy guy Kurt, was it difficult to set aside time to make the latest Converge album, No Heroes? I was the one really pushing on this record because I have a studio at home [God City] and I am usually working there seven days a week so whenever we doing anything with Converge I need to know three or four months in advance so I can schedule time off to not do anything. So I just decided, “We are doing a new record.” Because I knew that if we didn’t have a record in at a certain time in 2006 then we wouldn’t get a release date and it had already been two years since we put out a record. So I just decided that we were going to do a record, even though we didn’t have any songs. I basically took three months off from producing in my studio to write and record. Then, coincidently, right at the same time, my girlfriend of three years and I broke up, just about at the beginning of the time we started writing. No wonder it sounds angry. It’s not so much that the music has anything to do with her directly; I'm not even going to give her that satisfaction. It’s more that I'm very much a hermit, and when I'm not recording I would either spend my time alone or spend my time with her. Because I didn’t have her to spend time with and I wasn’t recording any bands, I basically spent three months almost all by myself. Except that we would practice maybe three times a week so I would get to see my band for a few hours a week but aside from that I was completely alone for three months.
Fuck, sounds like a prison album or something. Yeah, that’s basically what it was. I was just fucking going insane and I was just writing maniacally. And also, another nice little bonus is that the music channel, VH1, were having something in May called Heavy Metal Month; it was literally just an entire month of metal. It was like videos, documentaries, guest programming, heavy metal history, reality shows about metal, there was just a whole bunch of stuff going on. So I would basically sit on my couch all day, watch Metal Month, and just riff and write and go crazy. I think that’s the main reason why this album is a little more metallic than
Converge: (LtoR) Ben Koller, Jacob Bannon, Kurt Ballou, Nate Newton
You Fail Me was. I have VH1 to thank for this record. I owe them for the royalties. When I was a kid it was always like half metal, half hardcore for me, and this record is probably more on my metal side than my hardcore side. How much compromise is there once you introduce a song to the band? There’s a lot of yelling, but ultimately we all trust each other. Whenever you bring something to the table you always have a little bit of ownership over it and it’s hard to let go of that ownership and its hard to allow something that you have put time and effort into be reinterpreted by someone else or in some cases shot down by somebody else. There is definitely a fair amount of yelling that happens, but it has been getting progressively better the longer we continue. It’s both because we have learnt how to deal with each other as human beings better over time, and also because we have learnt to trust each other’s musical instincts. I'm not going to go as far as to say this record was easy, but like there wasn’t nearly as much conflict in creating this record as on previous records.
things. The things you read on one-sheets I find hilarious. At the same time, heavy metal and hardcore were terms that were laughed at by the bands that were originally called those things. Good music is just good 1991: Gravel demo (self-released) music. It shouldn’t be at the forefront of the 1991: Self-titled 7” EP (FAR/Exchange person’s mindset when they are creating Records) it as to what genre they are going to fit 1992: Where Have All the Flowers Gone into. But I guess when it comes to what journalists and marketing people say, one EP (self-released) thing I am really glad about is that we don’t 1993: Dog Days demo (self-released) really get defined in terms of other bands. I 1994: Halo in a Haystack CD never read a Converge review and hear us (Earthmaker/Stolnacke) being compared to another band, which I 1995: Unloved and Weeded Out 7” EP see in a lot of other bands reviews. That’s (Orionquest/Heliotrope) not something that I necessarily strive for 1995: Caring And Killing EP (Lost but I am happy. I wouldn’t say we are totally And Found) insulated from outside influence but we 1996: Petitioning the Empty Sky 7” EP have just spent so long playing together that it would be really hard for us to mimic (Ferret) 1996: Petitioning the Empty Sky CD/LP somebody else, so we sort of have our own sound by default. (Equal Vision)
1996: Caring And Killing EP (Hydrahead) 1997: Serial Killer 5” (Ellington) 1997: Among the Dead We Pray for Light split 7” EP w/ Coalesce (Edison Recordings/Life Records) 1997: In These Black Days: Volume 2 (Sabbath tribute) split 7” EP w/ Brutal Truth (Hydra Head) 1998: When Forever Comes Crashing CD/LP (Equal Vision) 1999: Y2K 7” EP (Ferret) 1999: The Poacher Diaries split EP w/ Agoraphobic Nosebleed (Relapse) 2000: Jane Doe demos (self-released) 2001: Deeper the Wound split CD/LP w/ Hellchild (Deathwish Inc.) 2001: Deeper the Wound split Picture Disc LP w/ Hellchild (Bastardized) 2001: Jane Doe CD/2xLP (Equal Vision Records) 2003: Unloved & Weeded Out re-issue CD/4x7” EP (Deathwish) 2003: The Long Road Home DVD (Deathwish Inc.) 2004: You Fail Me CD/LP (Epitaph) 2005: Petitioning the Empty Sky reissue CD (Equal Vision) 2005: When Forever Comes Crashing re-issue CD (Equal Vision) 2005: Petitioning Forever 2xLP (Deathwish Inc.) 2006: The Poacher Diaries split EP re-issue w/ Agoraphobic Nosebleed (Relapse) 2006: No Heroes CD/LP (Epitaph)
How do you know when an idea is not going to work for Converge? If I am writing something that I think is cool, but I can tell right off the bat that it’s not really suitable for Converge, I will still play it for the guys and sometimes they might say, “Yeah, definitely not a Coverage song.” Or sometimes they might say, “Hey maybe if we did it this way…” and then it turns into a Converge song. There’s two songs on the new record that I can think of off the top of my head that are like that; that I didn’t think would be Converge songs that turned into Converge songs. One of them is called “Sacrifice,” which I think is the third song on the record. I had a pretty good idea that it could be a Converge song but I was originally going to start this more spastic hardcore group with some friends but that fell through.
You’re also a band that is name-dropped on every young metal band’s bio. Yeah, but a lot of times that’s not justified, it’s just journalists and marketing people needing to sell records and attaching a known name to an unknown band. And I think a major part of the reason they get away with it is that Converge is so indefinable it can be easily attached to various different things. Yeah, I think that any time a band is remotely like a non-standard or an innovative hardcore band, our name gets attached to them, even if they don’t sound anything like us. But y’know, that’s just the way it is, I don’t get bent out of shape about it. A lot of things are going on in the business of music right now - it is what it is. A lot of it is not what I like, but it’s just how it is.
might be in their interest to have a sound that is a little less conventional. Not to say that my sound is conventional, but a lot of bands have got the sound that I can do – it kinda bums me out actually. If I had more money I would record a lot fewer bands and record better quality bands. Was there anything you wanted to try out production-wise on No Heroes? No. I mean, when I’m recording a band like Converge basically what I'm trying to do is make everything as loud as possible all the time. There’s pretty much no room for any kind of subjectivity whatsoever as a producer. It actually makes the recording process kind of boring, kind of tedious and really frustrating because you’re always fighting to get everything really loud. You read recording magazines, I don’t know if you get Tape-Op in Australia, like a DIY recording magazine that is free in the US? If you want to check it out there is tapeop.com. It’s a pretty cool magazine. It has an indie rock type of focus kind of thing; Steve Albini is like the hero of Tape-Op. You read all these romantic recording ideas in Tape-Op, like, “For this kick drum sound we recorded it with a thirty foot-long carpet roll with a microphone in one end,” and all these things that sound really awesome because they’re these long, convoluted processes that get these really distinct original sounds. But all that’s just completely worthless when you are recording hardcore because there is so much density in the music that you really can’t turn a lot nuance to the tone of the instruments. You can still get the nuance of the performance but you are not hearing a lot of the nuances of the tones. It makes the recording process a little less fun. Anytime you get to do something that’s not just ultra loud and ultra compressed balls-to-the-wall all the time it’s just a lot more fun. The Genghis Tron record that I did recently [Dead Mountain Mouth] was a lot of fun because they don’t have a drummer and it’s just like 90 tracks of stuff that is really dynamic and all over the place. I just did this band called Pygmy Lush, they’re on Robotic Empire. Half their record sounds like Jesus Lizard, which is really fun, but the other half is like acoustic songs and other stuff that was fun to do. We also did some
“I couldn’t do anything too creative 'cause nd loud I was mostly trying to make it sou Is that why it’s cool to lou have your own studio, and And insane and awesome.” – Kurt Bal
can work on bands’ records you want to work on? Yeah, but I still have a mortgage to pay though, it’s not like I can record every band that I want. Gospel, Doomriders, Breather Resist, Genghis Tron - these are the kinds of bands I want to record. Unfortunately, because I do have to pay the mortgage, I am obliged to record a lot of bands. And because a lot of these more innovative bands that I’d really like to record have a similar mindset to Converge and they want to set themselves apart from the pack; that’s almost a reason not to record with me. Because I do record a lot of bands it
tracks that were just arranged on the spot, sort of junkyard, burlesque, Tom Waits-y sounding stuff and that’s like the most fun thing we can record because there is just no rules whatsoever. I'm a no-rules songwriting kinda guy, but to have a no-rules production aesthetic is what I’m really into. I suppose the main thing this time was that since it was the first serious Converge album that I have actually mixed myself, I felt like I owed it to my band, who put their faith in me, to do something that sounded every bit as good as Jane Doe and You Fail Me. I couldn’t do anything too creative cause I was mostly trying to make it sound loud and insane and awesome. It’s not really the kind of recording that I enjoy doing, but it’s something that I am good at.
It reminds me enough of that kind of style, like Breather Resist, that kind of fucked up stuff. Yeah, those [Louisville] guys all have the same sort of influences as me. I’ve always been into like DC and earlynineties Dischord stuff, Hoover and that type of thing, and I’m trying to deliver a more metallic interpretation of that, which is basically what do minus the metal. The other song is the last song on the record called “To The Lions”, which has changed a lot from the original way I wrote it. Originally I was watching Headbanger’s Ball and just thinking that all the music on Headbanger’s Ball sucks and that I could write a song like that that was way better. It was just like, literally, a joke song that Ben (drums) and I were like joking around on at practice one day when the other guys showed up and they thought it was good and we ended up working on it and putting it on the record. Do you get annoyed or find it amusing when people start trying to describe the music of Converge? I find it amusing; I don’t get annoyed. It’s funny to hear all these different genres; we get called bloodcore, screamo violence or post-metallic kill teen - all sorts of
“ANY TASMANIAN WHO LF TRIES TO DENY THAT HA THE POPULATION ISN’T INBRED, HASN’T BEEN TO NEW NORFOLK AND WORKED IN THE PAPER .” MILL THAT I WORKED IN LN
– TOM LYNGCO
THE NATION BLUE. TO
M LYNGCOLN INTERVIEW BY MATT REEKIE.
always knew Tasmanians were angry. The first inkling I got was seeing something on TV as a kid where all these irate Tasmanians were spouting off about that fact they often got left off maps of Australia. Over the years I noticed that every Tasmanian I came into contact with had an angry streak a mile long. The place looks so beautiful in postcards and on tele; all that lush forest, all those apple orchards - what 28 have they got to be mad about? “It’s their criminal roots,” someone told me. The first successful settlement of Van Dieman’s Land was established at Hobart in February 1804. Of the party of 260 sent across Bass Strait from Sydney, 178 of them were convicts. Starting in 1812 convict ships were sent directly from England to the penal colony, resulting in approximately 75,000 convicts in total being transported to the tiny south island, renamed “Tasmania” on the 1st of January 1856 to remove the evil connotations associated with its former name.
It’s too small and isolated for the population to not have been affected by inbreeding. “Any Tasmanian who tries to deny that half the population isn’t inbred, hasn’t been to New Norfolk and worked in the paper mill that I worked in,” says Tom Lyngcoln, guitarist/vocalist for The Nation Blue and yet another angry Tasmanian. Okay, so I may be going a bit overboard in painting Tasmanians as detached inbred criminal savages running free in the wilds of an island paradise, but there is simply no other place on earth that could have bred its own type of Devil. Just as there is no other place that could have bred our most successful mass murderer. And then there’s The Nation Blue… The Nation Blue wallop like a rusty shovel to the face, heaving and lurching like a convict ship maneuvering through chaotic waters on a mission to someplace strange and new. In barren Australian accents, Lyngcoln and Weston deliver impassioned out-of-body cries of desperation, as they sing, shout and scream at mankind gone
mad. The earnest basslines of Matt Weston swing like a woodsman’s axe, locking in with the heavy pounding hammers of drummer Dan Mackay as guitarist Lyngcoln rams his pickups through his speaker cones in search of feedback, scraping his strings along his forehead and letting them ring out as blood and sweat trickle down into his eyes. Having hopped the Tasman for Melbourne in 2001, The Nation Blue have developed their own unique sound over three scintillating full-length albums - 2001’s heavy and petulant Blueprint For Modern Noise, 2004’s seismic Damnation, and their latest effort, Protest Songs, a darker, starker, moodier, broodier blood and thunder masterpiece. Throwing caution and self-consciousness to the wind, they’ve tapped into a “traditional” song style to create their rawest, most intimate album yet. It proves you can take the boys out of Tasmania, but they’re still gonna retain a bit of a psycho streak over on the mainland. Here’s what Tom reckons…
How often do you go back to Tasmania? My dad lives here in Melbourne so it’s only my mum and sister still down there, but when I’m down there it’s 24 hours and I’m out. I’ve hardly ever been there for more than 24 hours at a stretch. I go down, feed the dogs, say G’day to mum and then I’m back on a plane. Even when we tour down there it’s only 48 hours at the most that we’d spend there. If I was back there for any longer it’d give all the arseholes a chance to catch up with me and I’d be fucked. Like, I still have heaps of mates down there but I prefer to see them over here. You just get locked back into the same old patterns; like you’ve been there for half an hour and you’re already going to the same place you used to go to ten years ago, doing the exact same thing.
were some really good things going on down there and it was more like, “Fuck the mainland, they’ve got half of what we’ve got and they’ve got a hundred times the population.” One of the first things I saw was Mouth and the Little Ugly Girls play with Fugazi in ’93 and from that point on I started tracking down these local bands because they would just do my head in. I quickly figured out there were a couple of segments of society down there that were well worth subscribing to.
ONS Did you grow up with a big chip on your shoulder because of the isolation down there? I did have it for a bit but then I kinda realised that there
Obviously the scene didn’t last, because you eventually left. When we left, there were still people down there doing stuff but Legends Of Motorsport had left, Mike Noga who joined the Drones had gone, the Little Ugly Girls moved over, Sea Scouts were over here – the place just got gutted. Everyone jumped ship and so it made sense for us just to go as well.
It must be such a tiny gene pool for finding band members in Tasmania. It was incestuous as fuck but everything that came out of there at that time had some element of genius about it. You’d get such anguish from these bands, and I guess this is the isolation side of things, you’d get highly developed artistic concepts coming out of all these particular individuals but when you put them together in different combinations you had this miraculous thing where they really were the sum of their parts. Musical personalities would come together just to see what would happen and the sound would be a direct correlation of those personalities coming together. There was a guy who played down there, Adam Rowel, the first time I saw him play guitar, the motherfucker didn’t even take his gloves off. He couldn’t be fucked. He was wearing woolen gloves; it was the middle of winter. Then a couple of weeks later I heard a recording of another band he was in - he was in a couple of bands while I was down there - and you can hear him every time. The last thing I saw him in was KCR, which later mutated into Witch Hats. I didn’t even know he was in the band, I couldn’t even see the stage as I walked into the place, but I heard the guitar playing and I went, “If that’s not Rowzer I’ll pay double.” When did you meet Dan McKay (drums)? We went to school together so it would’ve been '95 or '96. Me and him used to play basketball out the back of the school pretty much every day, but when I saw him play drums I was like, “Holy shit.” I was in a band at the time and relationships were strained with our drummer but I introduced Dan to the guys from 50 Million Clowns and they made a fucking amazing album together, First Class Experiment, then we stole him away from them. So at that point it was me and Dan and this guy Andy Stacey, who didn’t end up making the move, and that’s when it took off. We changed the name to The Nation Blue and everything clicked. Was it an easy decision to leave Tasmania in 2000? The thing about The Nation Blue is we’ve never discussed a single decision ever. It was like, “You’re going? Okay. Cool. See ya there.” We never communicate about important plans, and I guess we didn’t communicate particularly effectively to Andy what our intention was and he didn’t want to go. He’d met a girl and they got married and he’s kind of rocking his own good scene down there now. I can kind of understand, because we did one tour over here with Andy and he hated it, he just wanted to punch everyone. We’d get out of the car after driving through the city and he’d be kicking parking meters and going mental - it stressed him out too much. And I can kind of understand that - it takes a while to acclimatize. It definitely is the “big smoke”. So Dan moved away first? Yeah, Dan had done a few tours with 50 Million Clowns and I think he really enjoyed getting out of there and having more things on his palette. After twenty years there it can get a little claustrophobic and people do have a tendency to leave. So I kind of followed him over. I was halfway through a uni degree so I had to arrange to finish that at Melbourne University. Once that was finalised I just packed up all my stuff in my car and came over and moved in with Dan and Sloth, who engineered our first two records. The first year I was lonely as hell, but it worked out well; I’m rapt I made the move.
Dead animal photography: Aaron Farley
When did you meet Matt Weston? Weston was in Tasmania a fair bit of 1999 fruit picking in the Huon Valley. He’d been talking to Neil Thomason from Ricaine who we’d played with and Neil told him, “Go check out this band while you’re down there, you might like ‘em.” So Matt rocked up and introduced himself and said he knew Neil and I’d broken up with my girlfriend the day before and was pretty keen to keep myself busy and so me and him played a shitload of basketball for the next week. It seems like the centre-point for all our relationships in The Nation Blue is playing ball. But anyway, we moved over here and Weston was a guitarist at the time, he’d played in a few bands, but we just asked him if he’d like to play bass and he agreed. Was it hard to get established in Melbourne at first? It’s weird because in Tasmania you don’t have any expectations, you just do it to have fun and that’s all there is. We played the same venue for the first four years and we did a couple of other more interesting things where we supported some bigger bands but for the most part we were happy – it didn’t matter if there were five people or five hundred. The most we ever got to a show would be around 150 or something, but you didn’t give a shit one way or the other, you were just enjoying being part of a community that you could tell was doing something good. But still, within that Hobart scene, if you went and did a tour of Melbourne, certain factions would consider that selling out. Or if you tried to release a CD, that was also considered to some degree to be selling out. So I had that instilled into me and it took me ages to get over other people’s ideas. And then once that happened I started to think we were
Pic: Mel Gathercole
probably better than we were. My ego fluctuated back and forth for a couple of years after arriving in Melbourne because of my conflicts over engaging with the industry and the business side of things. Like, if you played a gig down in Tassie and there were three bands on the bill and a solo act, everyone would get the same amount. There was no headliners and there was none of that shit. But when we came over here that’s all we heard about. You’d have to negotiate and deal to make things happen and it all of a sudden hit me like, “Woah, this is a fucking business.” Once you realise people aren’t doing this with totally pure intentions you start getting paranoid. I didn't know how to deal with it at all and so I’d put up resistance just for the sake of it. I put Dan and Matt through hell, second-guessing everything and over analyzing every situation and it got to the point where I was so irrational that Matt called me up and said both he and Dan didn't want to do it anymore because I was unbearable to be around. That's when I realised that while there were business-based motives behind other people’s interaction with the band, it was actually my reactions to all of that that had sucked the fun out of playing together. So was the first full-length, Blueprint For Modern Noise difficult to make because of that adjustment? It was weird, and as Nigel (Melder) from Trial & Error who put out the album will tell you, I was a little prick to deal with at that time. But at the same time, we’ve never really second-guessed our music. Even back then we never asked, “What would work well in the context of what everyone else is doing?” Like, my reference point is Hobart ’95-’96 - there are sounds from then that I yearn for and I am constantly trying to recreate. Critics are generally pretty nice to you in reviews but many seem to misunderstand exactly where you’re coming from with influences and so forth. Yeah, I think a lot of the time that is the case. Even when we first came over here we had a lot of kids in the hardcore scene trying to tell us who we sounded like and we’d go and track down albums by those bands and go, “I don’t think hear the connection at all.” So around the time of Blueprint… and just after, we had started to concern ourselves with what other people thought, but most of the time I thought the references were a mile off. I always thought it was obvious that we’d stole shit off Fugazi and Shellac, and then all the Hobart bands. Another band that me and Dan used to rip off big-time was Dazzling Killmen. In the first four years there was bits of our songs that were like, “Dude, that’s pretty much the entire song.” We’ve never denied it, we’ve always advertised the fact because we reckon they’re a kickarse band and people should hear them. At the same time, there are elements of what we do that is like a total Mouth cover band, which is a bit dangerous because as I said, Tasmania is small and people can find you within a matter of days. You could take ‘em couldn’t ya? No way, they’re all Amazonians over six-foot. Tim (Evans) loves fighting. That’s been the basis of our relationship over the past five years is that we get together and watch Pride and UFC. He’s prone to the random punch in the head, doesn’t mind it at all. What bands has Tim got going on at the moment? He’s got nothing. He’s been over in New York since Bird Blobs went overseas and split up. Bird Blobs should’ve been enormous. I think they were just starting to get the acclaim here when they broke up. It’s like The Drones, they’ve been around for ages but then they won the Australian Music Prize in 2005 and it’s all starting to happen for them on that next level now. It’s good to see bands like that get the acclaim because they’ve worked their arses off. I’m proud of Australia when I see The Drones garnering that kind of attention.
Speaking of The Drones, even though your bands are totally different, I can hear an affinity between you and Gareth (Liddiard) as songwriters who are embracing Australian history and trying to tell a few wicked tales. Yeah. On Damnation the song I loved the most ended up being “Van Dieman” which was about the logging industry down in Hobart and how it’s tied into the political system. My mum works in heritage down there, she maintains heritage-listed huts and helps upgrade them and she was trying to get to some remote area and flying over the Southwest and it was like Apocalypse Now – the whole Southwest was on fire. Tasmania’s greatest export should be tourism, but instead they’re destroying all the scenery. So “Van Dieman” was the song on Damnation that meant the most to me. It was something I hadn’t said before. And I tried to do it in a non-preachy way and I think it worked. So I wanted to do more of that but I was still unsure because you know, musicians talking about politics, there have been plenty of those in the past. But when Rob Hirst gave his speech at the ARIA Awards, it rang pretty true. He was just talking about how there was music that opened up discussion or set agendas or just got people communicating about issues, as opposed to just ignoring them. He was saying there weren’t really any Midnight Oils left in this country and that it was a bit disappointing that everyone was more concerned with pre-fabricated TV rock. So after I saw that I felt a bit better about trying to tackle these kinds of issues.
“my reference point is Hobart ’95-’96 - there are sounds from then that I yearn for and I am constantly trying to recreate.”
– Tom LynGcoln
Rock ‘n’ roll was born with an American accent and for some people there is a major cringe factor associated with Australian accents in rock songs. Well that’s other people’s problem, it’s not something we’re concerned about. I have a problem with the American accent on the whole, but particularly coming out of an Australian. I know it’s easier to sing that way. Tonally and in terms of pitch it’s much easier to sing in that style - you come off sounding like the bloke in Alice In Chains so it makes sense - whereas with the Aussie accent, every bum note is going to be clearly heard. But we were never singers and we never pretended to be, we just didn’t want to get a singer in the band so we did it ourselves. For the first few years we would only sing a couple of lines per song, just use the vocals percussively or as a barking noise in the background. This is the album where we finally decided we are going to have to take this instrument seriously and give it equal status within the band. But we’ll still never claim to be singers; that’s for sure. What is the song “Walk Them Home” about? It’s about immigration. It’s a weird feeling to be politically displaced and feeling like the majority of people around you don’t think the same way you do. I mean, it’s great that people have differences of opinion and that’s what society is about, but it’s weird to be in the minority. People think it’s fine to accept the fact that we’ve got a pretty racist government and all of that and since this whole terrorism shit started, the last five years have just been a crock of shit. Hearing all this bullshit from the government that is so far off the money, and seeing people subscribing to it out of fear is fucked. And also seeing the way the media has shifted in the last six months so that now it’s alright for these media personalities to speak out against the war in Iraq and things like that and you’re like, “Fuck, where were you three years ago? You’re just part of popular consensus now, you’re not saying anything that’s politically challenging.” Hats off to the Dixie Chicks for actually standing up when the shit started and going, “This shit’s wrong.” Society is being lulled into submission, talking out of turn is not encouraged. With the recent Industrial Relations laws that were brought in, in France they tried to bring in the same thing and people were flipping cars and burning shit in the street. And that submission carries to all facets too, like you’re not seeing a hell of a lot of good angry art these days. I think we’re going to start to see some, but right now I find the anger is still in the guys who were doing it back in the eighties and before that. Like, you go see a Massappeal show and then you go see… well, I won’t name names but you could pretty much throw a rock and hit one, and it’s like, “Get some balls. Get some guts.” Seeing Massappeal, it’s like being punched in the face and suddenly rock feels dangerous again but it’s coming from guys who’ve been doing it for the past twenty years. “We Lost Everything” is quite bleak and you and Matt really sound anguished when you sing the refrain, what’s that song about? It’s pretty tenuous but I guess it charts urban progress and the way the suburban sprawl has impacted on the environment – again, it’s an environmental song. But it’s really about how people get along in these shitty urban environments. I think it’s a shit existence for the most part and the way we’re going about things at the moment is all wrong, the emphasis is all wrong and I think if the environment doesn’t kick our arses first, the fallout from it is still going to be pretty dire.
Pic: Mel Gathercole
Protest Songs seems to haves a bit of a traditional song element, do you agree. The way we did it was just as raw as we could. We’d learn the song in rehearsal and play it until we could play it from start to finish, then we’d tape that version and never play the song again. Then we relearned all the songs in the studio from the tapes and generally we just played them three or four times and got them down. On Damnation we’d played the songs for years before we recorded them and Dan had mapped out all his drums parts and really thought about it. This time we went the total opposite and just played it as raw and stripped back as we could – and got relaxed to make as angry a record as we could. It sounds raw for sure, and it especially sounds like it’s not trying to top Damnation. It would be kinda hard because that record cost a lot of money and we knew we’d only ever get one crack at making a record like that. For this one we had no money going into it, that just came together sort of last minute, and so we knew that we had to do it fast. Damnation took three months to record; Protest Songs took two weeks. We played everything together
You recorded at Michael Gudinski’s getaway retreat, why the fuck and how the fuck? I went up there one time because Mushroom do our publishing and I went to a songwriters workshop with Heinz from Not From There and we just fucked around for a couple of days and tried to get feedback out of computers and shit like that and I was surprised at the house, it was a nice place to hang out and record, it was pretty relaxing. So The Nation Blue were desperately looking for a house to record in because we didn’t want to go into a studio because studios are pretty sterile and they’re hard work and there’s always someone looking at a clock and someone thinking about money. So we put out the word and Michael said yeah. He’d never had a full band up there since (Cold) Chisel in the eighties so you’ve gotta hand it too him, that’s pretty fucking generous. So we just lived there for two weeks, totally alone. I only left the compound once the whole time we were there. Most of the shit was recorded with room mics. We had mics in every toilet, mics fucking everywhere. Because we didn’t have the money to make it sound enormous we took the Dirty Three approach and just tried to make it sound like three dudes in a room. Were you more chilled making an album in those surroundings than at Metropolis Studios? We were fucking furious making Damnation. Nobody knew what was going on because all anybody could hear was the sound of money getting sucked through the hourglass. We just
kept thinking we were wasting everyone’s time and Dan’s like, “Fuck, I didn’t nail that thing the way I’d planned to for the past 1999: Descend EP two years…” - we just 2001: A Blueprint For Modern Noise put so much pressure 2004: Damnation on ourselves. Whereas 2004: Idiot 7” for Protest Songs we 2006: Protest Songs went up there and we didn’t even know the songs. We were like, “Fuck it, let’s just play together because that’s what we like doing.” If you don’t want to play today, whatever, if you do, whatever. If you want to sleep, drink, go for a walk in the bush, whatever. The first day we got there we were having a kick of the footy on the tennis court and Voity [producer Matt Voight] speared a pass straight into my million dollar guitar hand and it was like, “Maybe we should go do something now because I might not be able to move this hand tomorrow.”
The Nation Blue
There is a guest keyboard appearance from Something For Kate’s Paul Dempsey, of all dudes. Yeah, that was a weird one. We needed to borrow an organ and so we put the word out to see if anyone we knew had an old Hammond type set-up. So halfway through our recording, Matt went off and directed a film clip for Something For Kate and mentioned it to Paul and he said we could borrow his. Then the drummer, Clint (Hyndman), came up to Matt and said, “You know he can play it pretty good, you should ask him if he’ll play it because no one ever does.” He’s definitely got tabs on it; he knows what he’s doing. We got him up there and he was telling me what chords I was playing before he’d even taken the thing out of the case. Then he nailed it in one take and left. We had a crack as well. We definitely looked at some other options for that part but the guy got it first go so hats off. Well done for keeping him away from the microphone – his singing could put a crack addict to sleep… Well fuck, if that’s the case there should be somebody policing us!
Pic: Mel Gathercole
and limited all the songs to a couple of guitar overdubs and tried to avoid any clutter. We like the wall-of-noise thing that we’ve gone for in the past but we can do that with three instruments and so we wanted to only use those three instruments and not try to embellish it too much. Sometimes when you give too much information you don’t send a clear message so we thought we’d strip it back and use our instruments and the sounds of the rooms we recorded in. We had a philosophy going with it, which was basically just “get it down.” But get it down in a brutal type of fashion. And it’s kinda worked. And I guess that traditional element you’re talking about is a carry over from the whole concept of Protest Songs, because that’s what it is, it’s a throwback to the sixties and the folk music of the time, so it does have traditional elements for sure.
he first time I saw Curse Ov Dialect was in 2003, at a random musical gathering where the band I was in at the time was playing one of the opening slots. The show was for the release of their fulllength album Lost In The Real Sky. Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly entertained by the absolute FUCKING MADNESS that ensued. After my band was Justice Yeldham, - crazy dude with electrode claws connected to all fingers fondling a metal disc spinning at uncomfortable speeds like Edward Scissorhands with a deathwish. Then shortly after him, Curse Ov Dialect take the stage. Dressed in a variety of outfits ranging from skintight plastic bags bound in sticky tape and decorated with twigs, to a Macedonian priest outfit or something, the group starts belting into their unique brand of hip-hop, rich with crazy samples, energetic beats and razor sharp vocals. Each of the four MCs split the stage with their own individual vocal style, theatrics and mannerisms, yet somehow, this individualism works so well together. In the context of musical genres, they often have been labelled as “avant-garde hip hop opera”; something you don’t hear that often, hey? With the recent release of their new album, Wooden Tongues, and the irregularly frequent visits to Sydney, I jumped at the opportunity to do an interview. So I ride my bike into the gloomy industrial part of Alexandria to find the warehouse they are staying at. Nestled in-between old printing equipment, broken computers, random parts of + machinery and other shit on the bottom floor of the + ++ ++ + + warehouse, I try to talk to Adam, Darryl, Earl and + + Borce through the sonic ear-fuck of the fucking ++ + + maniac living upstairs playing electric guitar and ++ + + ++++ singing like he is burning alive... +
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V O E G R SCOU ICT.
ENED B S G G E Y WB
RVIE E T N I . T C E AL RSE OV DI
How did you guys begin? Adam [Raceless]: We started in early 1994. I met a friend at uni called Malice and we decided to form a group. I met DJ Paso Bionic through a mutual friend and we formed Curse Ov Dialect. A little later on, a female mc called Mystique joined. We were originally doing pretty jazzy type songs with political lyrics. The first EP released in late 1995 was Evil Clownz. Four years later we recorded the debut first album Hex Ov
PICS BY VIV BALDWIN.
Intellect. Soon after, Mystique left. We had Darryl (August The 2nd) and Earl (Aturungi) as friends around that time who were already involved in the early gigs and album. Darryl actually did the intro for the first album. Malice, Paso, Darryl, Earl and I then did an EP in 2000 together. It had taken a long time for it to get together. Malice left halfway through the recording of this EP, which was eventually released in 2001. Borce (Vulk Makedonski) was hanging out with us as mates at the time... Borce [Vulk Makedonski]: Yeah I was sucking Darryl’s cock for about two years, but I got over that and thought, why don’t I just MC in the group, that would be better. Darryl [August The 2nd]: Yeah we thought lets just replace the cock with a microphone. Adam: So we started doing tracks together and everyone and everything sort of got absorbed into the one thing, after which we recorded Lost In The Real Sky, which was finished in 1993 and released in 1994 - that was our first record together.
Lost in The Real Sky was received pretty well in Australia. Adam: Yeah, we started getting more gigs, we played with Anticon, which helped get the group exposed to more of the country, and started getting offered more gigs interstate. In 2004 we ended up going to America, Europe and Japan. How was the music received overseas? Adam: It's different because they don’t know us for our stage show; they know us for our music. It puts a different spin on things. We went to Germany and everybody knew the lyrics to the songs and was singing along to tracks from Lost In The Real Sky. Darryl: I think if you compare a hip-hop crowd in Germany, to a hip-hop crowd in Australia, you might be bold enough to say that the German audience was a lot more open-minded. Did you find that generally, international audiences are more open-minded? Darryl: They can be. Um, well I’ve never had any bottles thrown at me overseas, but I have in my own country. I think that says a lot about the Australian mentality. Adam: Anywhere where there is a good knowledge of hip-hop makes a difference. In Europe and America there is so many more groups, so because we’re coming through with original sounds musically, then they will be open to hear something fresh. It seems like that’s the reason we got to go over there in the first place, the fact that we were making music that not really anyone over there was even doing, in terms of hip-hop. Here in Australia, it’s more about
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live Pics by jurgonomic following a certain guideline of an emerging Aussie hip-hop scene, where as we think of ourselves as more international hip-hop. Darryl: I think you have to consider the language barrier as well. Because foreign audiences often can’t understand the accent, let alone the language well, they tend to appreciate the costume and the dancing in the shows a lot, whereas in Australia the lyrical content becomes an important topic of focus. The Live Performances are definitely an important part of Curse Ov Dialect. Darryl: Yeah, it's definitely something different to look at on stage. We all have quite different acts to add to the performance. We all have unique body movements, which are not always in tune with each other, but nevertheless always complementing each other. I suppose from a visual perspective it’s a lot more interesting to look at than someone who is trying to act cool on stage. Also, people pay to see a show, and it's important to give them one. Adam: The whole costume thing started for a bit of fun. It wasn’t a gimmick as such, it just made it more fun to get dressed up and put more effort into the performance.
Earl, you’re stage attire is predominantly an assortment of multicoloured plastic bags sticky taped to your body, do you carry a kit when touring? Earl [Aturangi]: Yeah I do, it’s pretty much a plastic bag in a bag. I did have this really cool costume though, that was like a reptilian turtle shell suit that, over time, accumulated
sweat from many countries. It went through Asia, Europe Australia and America without being washed. It’s a pretty unique hip-hop performance comparatively. Adam: Well in rock music it’s accepted to dress up. In hip-hop it's still not as widely recognised to dress up and act mental on stage. Dressing up covered in plastic bags like Earl may not be perceived as hip-hop to some, but look, we’re just being ourselves - that is, hip-hop artists being individuals. If people in Australia don’t understand, that’s because they’re too busy following what America is doing, when we ourselves aren’t following anyone. Darryl: Sadly enough I think that’s true. People are saying, “Let’s keep it real,” and all this nonsense, but are they really keeping it real to themselves? It seems most are just conforming to a subculture or a genre. A lot of Aussie hip-hop is focused
me overseas, at n w ro th s le tt bo y “I’ve never had an y.” – August The 2nd tr un co n ow y m in ve ha but I
What about the musical side of Wooden Tongues? Adam: I think we do a lot more happy sounding, bouncy tracks. Maybe the last album was darker musically. We wanted to tackle different moods in the new one though. Darryl: Yeah, so obviously if some of the new tracks on Wooden Tongues are more up-tempo it’s because we are talking about lighter-hearted issues than Lost In The Real Sky. There are samples from different ethnic musical backgrounds in both albums. Darryl: I think often in a track, because they are different and new to some listeners, those samples are the ones that stand out more. There are plenty of samples in there that aren’t necessarily ethnic. Borce: Eighty percent of the sounds we use, aren’t made from traditional music anyway, Adam: It is easy to connect ethnic sampling and ethnic diversity with the group, especially when everyone in the group is from different backgrounds, however, it’s not necessarily what we are trying to do. I mean, for example, there is a lot of classical samples in the music, psychedelic rock samples, basically any sound you can hear and think of, we’re trying to find and use that.
E HARDEST THING H T E B O T G IN O G M “THE NEXT ALBU K THE CASE, AND IF IT C A R C A N N O G ’S IT WE’VE DONE… D!” ATURUNGI EA H Y M K C A R C A N DOESN’T, I’M GON towards a certain community, subculture or background. Our music tends to try to reach out to all communities and backgrounds, musically and lyrically. How was doing shows in Europe with Justice Yeldham? Darryl: We played a lot experimental shows with him, so it was kind of an interesting mix between experimental and hip-hop shows. We played a lot underground arty shows. Adam: It was an interesting crowd of not really hip-hop fans, but arty people treating the performance as art, standing around clutching on to their beers going, “Hmmm, yes, it’s definitely hip-hop, yes.” It was good though. Lots of blood and glass spilt? Darryl: Yes, lots!!! How is the new album Wooden Tongues different to Lost In The Real Sky? Darryl: Lyrically, we’re definitely coming from a different angle. We can say that Lost In The Real Sky was a journey of fantasy, like Jason and the Argonauts (1963), something like that y’know? We were talking about places we’ve never been to and things that we’d like to do. Wooden Tongues I suppose is more experimental. We’re talking about our life experiences and things that are more fun. You know, it's not always about politics and world issues and the rest of it. I think we have a lot more fun with this new album. Adam: It was also the fact that we got out a lot of stuff that was important to us in the first album and we did still touch on that again in Wooden Tongues, but there was other stuff we needed to get out as well. It wasn’t a direction; it was just happened to be timing and where we were at. Almost every other album in the past was concept driven, so the idea of exploring yourself was still something new. Darryl: I personally think that the lyrics in Wooden Tongues are a lot more real. Adam: I think it’s the first time ever we’ve really been personal. So it’s not as political? Adam: No, it's still very political. Darryl: Well, it's socio-political. In most of my lyrics, I’m talking about real life issues. Adam: But that’s just Darryl. The thing with our group is we have four MCs and everyone is talking about different stuff, so we have multiple opinions. You can’t say: “In this song the group is talking about this topic.” In almost every song I am mentioning cultural stuff. I mean, for most bands in general, every member has the same theme and concept, but for us it’s the opposite. Darryl: A lot of band members are the same, y’know, they have the same influences, they have the same image. That is something that we can’t relate to because we feed off the fact that we are all different.
music is - besides that of the early roots of getting into hiphop. Hearing something new coming from America and trying to copy that is not new. You are just copying one dominant culture. It is getting better in Australia though… slowly. Any ideas for a next album yet? Adam: Maybe the next record we’re gonna challenge ourselves musically a lot more. Earl: The next album going to be the hardest thing we’ve done. For me it’s going to be the culmination of too many years of effort, it’s gonna crack the case, and if it doesn’t, I’m gonna crack my head! Adam: For me personally I wanna make some darker songs and also find more unusual sounds that haven’t been used. Darryl: Maybe just even messing with pure frequencies…. Like the brown noise? Darryl: Yeah (laughs), we would like to perform a song at a show live where everyone in the audience will start vomiting everywhere or something. Adam: Maybe using sounds like the sound of a brushing your teeth or the sound of a dolphin, or both mixed together, odd stuff like that. Did you know the lowest tone in the universe is produced by a black hole 250million light years away? Darryl: Really? Yeah. It’s a B-flat, 57 octaves below Middle C on a piano. Darryl: So what, like, can dogs hear it? No.
What do you think about the evolution of Aussie hip-hop? Adam: I think it's getting the exposure and respect it deserves now. It's been around long enough, so it's about time. I just think that new, emerging Aussie hip-hop needs to stop following that characteristic style and sound that is sort of happening now; that kind of Anglo-style Aussie hiphop, I guess. You know, Aussie hip-hop doesn’t mean Anglo hip-hop. Aussie hip-hop means anyone in Australia making their own form of hip-hop. I’ve met people who think that a dark person, or Asian person or anyone other than Anglo making this music in Australia is not “real” Aussie hip-hop. That’s bullshit. I’d like to see more diversity in Australian hip-hop, like the rest of the world has. At least people like Macromantics for example, are getting out there with different styles and stuff. Do you think that it is developing into something unique and diverse from the rest of the world? Adam: Yeah, it is, slowly. Borce: Australia is a lot slower compared to the rest of the world in terms of innovation of music it seems, after seeing other parts of the world. Darryl: Generally, hip-hop music here is following in the footsteps of other cultures, y’know? They’re not really creating things from a grassroots level, and not creating new genres and their own unique sound. Borce: People are still too heavily influenced by America. I don’t believe that Curse Ov Dialect’s
athy C d Steale. n a e v e i e h V p ill. So ung. Pics by K m e t s y Yo Scum S by Genghis w intervie
irl Power” was invented by Courtney Love™ and The Spice Girls Inc. Everyone knows that. But if you’re looking for real extreme female power (non-fossil fuel of course), look no further than inner city Sydney crust metal fivesome Scum System Kill. The fact that they are an all-girl outfit (well, at least they were an all-girl outfit till new guitarist John Irish aka Scum-Kissed’Em-Bill replaced original axewoman Jyoti) matters very little to them. Gender seems quite low on their agenda. Scum System Kill’s manifestos are more inclined to focus on popular issues like the evils associated with climate change, immigration detention centres and the woodchip industry. Of all the things they stand against, though, at the top of the shitlist sits one name: City Rail. The very first Anarcho punk band ranted on with how much they hated the fucking cops and the very last Anarcho punk band will doubtlessly be doing the same. But Scum System Kill have chucked an original spin on the idea by targeting the more pathetic state transit police. One of their biggest anthems is the track “Shitty Rail”, which they have even based T-shirt designs around. Occasionally at gigs they are joined onstage by the Tranny Cop Orchestra, a posse of girlfriends who send up mustachioed men in authority backed by a cheesy dance music mix tape. Heavily embedded in the DIY aesthetic, most of SSK’s shows take place in warehouses, art spaces, squats and the like. They have played Maggotville a lot. Though they’re not above playing at licenced venues, they have not been offered that many pub gigs since they would probably intimidate the shit out of the average male metalhead – or at least they would if they didn’t have so much fun up there onstage. Scum System Kill’s live shows are more akin to parties. Though their music might make them sound like the ultimate sorceresses of doom, their
between-song banter is always lighthearted. They have a little joke with the crowd or an in-joke amongst themselves then climb back aboard the turbulent crust hardcore express - as unpredictable as the City Rail timetable but about a billion times more exciting. Drummer Karli Munn barely manages to keep the runaway behemoth rattling on track as the guitars of John Irish and bass of Bek Howe blaze away at the coalface adding constant fuel to the raging furnace. While bellowing steam through fraying pressure valves, the dual smokestacks of Sophie Potter and Cathy Dowd melt microphones with a vocal fire and brimstone. Anyway, it’s inappropriate to be using train metaphors here. Especially seeing as this band hates our rail system with a passion that borders on the psychotic. The cover illustration for their latest release - a split seven-inch with New Zealand all-girl grinders Poodles on Spin Control - depicts the skeletal remains of a transit cop flayed beside the tracks. The ironic thing is, there aren’t even any anti-City Rail songs on it. Of SSK’s two contributions to the split one, “Bite The Hand”, using some cute imagery about circus animals turning on their trainers to make a statement on the strong arm tactics employed by those in authority. While the other song, “Penile Carnage”, flips the tables on bands like Blood Duster, GG Allin and even The Prodigy by quoting their lyrics verbatim only reversing the gender every time a female-specific insult is used: “Rip the skin from the balls to the throat / On clit you choke!” I got together with dual vocalists Cathy (the growler) and Sophie (the screamer) recently in the beer garden at the Courthouse in Newtown just days after an amazing show with Limp Wrist at beloved Sydney space Maggotville, where Cathy dropped the bombshell that she was leaving Scum System Kill to concentrate fully on her burlesque photography website Shot With Desire (www.shotwithdesire.com) and her other band Vae Victus.
Cathy, was the other night really your last show with Scum System Kill? Cathy: It’s really heartbreaking, ‘cos I love the band so much, but at the moment I just don’t physically have time for two bands and my photography website, which has started to take up more and more of my time lately. I never had any idea two years ago when I started Shot With Desire that it would get this huge, but it’s gotten so huge now that I unfortunately can’t do everything that I want to do. It’s really hard for me because I’m the sort of person who likes to take on everything but I’ve realised I can’t do everything and it’s really really really crap. Didn’t a doctor already tell you to stop growling as it was? Cathy: Yeah, I’ve heard how I shouldn’t sing in two bands and how I’d be getting things cut out of my throat soon and blah blah. I guess it is hard when you scream in two bands because it’s actually physically demanding. Like, say if I sang in one band and played guitar in another then I wouldn’t be always stuffing up my throat and getting sick all the time. Sometimes I’ve had band practice four times a week and played two gigs on the weekend, so that’s a lot of damage. Sophie: And we’re really bad at warming up. We have this warm-up we do, but we do it for about one second; it’s really boring. Cathy: It’s a tokenistic warm-up. Sophie: It’s because at the end of the New Zealand tour I lost my voice. I mean, I lose my voice all the time and I only sing in one band. Cathy: Sometimes I do a gig and I’m fine but then I’ll lose my voice screaming to all my friends afterwards. When did you each start listening to hardcore or punk or crust or grind? Sophie: Maybe when I was in Year 10 I got a mixed tape off a guy on my school bus with heaps of bands like Toe-To-Toe, Subversion and Blitz Babies and I was hooked straight away. I used to go and see pop punk shows, Gilgamesh and Blitz Babies and Lawnsmell all the time. Then I started listening to more heavier political stuff after that. Cathy: I started off being obsessed by Anarcho UK punk, Crass, Conflict and Subhumans. I grew up in the suburbs so there were bands like Stalin’s Organ that I used to go and see and then Subversion and Red Stain and all that. So I sort of started off into loving crust and loving punk and that’s been my narrow taste in music ever since. But I have broadened my taste so that now I don’t just listen to D-beat, I listen to a bit of metal as well. I’ve really expanded the horizons. What bands had you both been in prior to this? Sophie: I grew up in Wollongong for quite a few years and firstly I played in this band called Vomit. Then I sang for Charcoal Human who were around for a few years and ended in about 2002. I also sang in a band when I
“I have broadened my taste so that now I don’t just listen to D-beat, I listen to a bit of metal as well. I’ve really expanded the horizons.” – Cathy was over in Scotland called Svartskit and then when I came back we started this band. Cathy: When I was really young, like fourteen or something, I drummed in some bands but I gave that up fairly quickly. The first serious band I was in was World On Welfare and I screamed in that one. That finished in about 2001 and I went travelling for a couple of years and then when I came back I joined Scum System Kill and Vae Victus. How long have you known one another? Cathy: Charcoal Human and World On Welfare used to play together, so that’s how we met. Sophie: Yeah, when Charcoals all moved up from Wollongong to Sydney, that was when we were playing with World On Welfare a bit and even back then I said to Cathy that we should sing in a band together one day, that would be so brutal. Cathy: I remember that. Wasn’t it at some doof? We were there listening to some really bad music going, “Let’s start a band!” Sophie: I’ve known Bek (bass) since Wollongong as well but I’ve only just become really close to her the past few years. I’ve known John (guitar) for years as well because Charcoal Human and Iron Sausage used to play together. Cathy: Yeah, same, I’ve known John and Sophie the longest. Sophie: Karli, our drummer, we’ve only been friends with for the past few years. She’s getting good now, maybe a bit too good. Sophie: Yeah, she’s come a long long way, which is so awesome. She used to be into a lot of hip-hop and she was a doofer Cathy: Yeah, it’s the first band she’s ever been in so it’s pretty cool.
Do how did you get together? Cathy: I think it was New Years Eve 2004/2005 at Iceland, I’d just gotten back from overseas and Bek and Jyoti (part time-guitarist) were there... Sophie: Yeah, I had been talking to Bek about starting a band and I had been talking to Cathy about starting a band and we started jamming in the basement of our friend’s house. It was Jyoti on guitar before John joined. Jyoti left for Seattle but she’s back in the country for a visit with her new husband so she played with us the other night. Is the name Scum System Kill from that SDS (Societic Death Slaughter) song? Cathy: Jyoti and me spent hours and hours trying to come up with names and we wrote all these lists. We were looking through seven-inches, doing the cheesy punk thing like bands do where they use the title of a song as their band name, and I saw that SDS seven-inch and I wrote Scum System Kill at the top of the list and another name that was even worse - I found that piece of paper again just the other day. Sophie: We thought of some really bad names, like The Curse. Cathy: The thing I really like about the name was that we didn’t use the fact that we were an all-girl band as an excuse to have some cheesy name that had something to do with vaginas or whatever. We’re not The Slits or The Holes or any of that, we’re just a band that happens to be all girls but we’re not into highlighting it in the name. Sophie: Or in the lyrics really, up until recently. I think we felt like we were making enough of a statement of gender just by being all women onstage because it doesn’t happen that often. People have told us that it means a lot to them to see us play, so that’s really amazing to hear that from people. Also, there were just so many other issues we felt like singing about; we’re kind of tired of singing about gender in a way. So do you get a reaction from the crowd based on being all girls, like are people surprised or even intimidated by your intensity? Cathy: Every time I play Canberra with whatever band I’m playing in, guys come up and go, “I thought you chicks were dudes,” or, “I’ve never heard a girl scream like that.” I think it was when World On Welfare played there, it was like, “I’d hate to leave the toilet seat up in your house.” Sophie: When we were just in Canberra for Territory Clampdown in November we got this dude in a Slayer shirt come up and said, “I just didn’t know chicks could do that!” Cathy: And I was really drunk and was quite obnoxious and looking for a fight so I said, “What do you mean, why not?” We got into a big fight because we said he didn’t think it was possible for our vocal chords to do that. He said that because I sang so deep, how could I be a woman. That was fun. But other than Canberra we don’t get much of that kind of reaction.
Why was it a priority to record the demo so soon after you’d been together? Cathy: Everyone except me was about to go overseas so it was a race against the clock to try and get the shit happening. Sophie: Yeah we started writing in January, we played our first show in April, recorded in May and then I went away in June. I think we were all really desperate to start playing shows so we had to write as many songs as possible so we could start playing as soon as possible. Jyoti was pumping out riffs - she wrote the majority of those first six songs that were on the demo. How has the reaction to the demo been? Sophie: I want to say not that good but actually we’ve had to do a second run of them and I think we’ve sold about four hundred, which is amazing. But I think we’re all critical of the demo. Karli recorded that demo as well as playing on it so we were all doing it all ourselves at this studio at UTS...
“I’ve always hated transit cops. I don’t know why but I just hate them more than normal cops because they seem like such second-rate wannabes.” – Sophie
Was it her project? Sophie: Yeah. She handed it in as her final project. Cathy: She passed. Sophie: And that demo is what got us over to New Zealand. Pure Evil Trio took some copies over for Punkfest the other year and we just started to get letters from kids just totally into it. It was an amazing response we got over there, just from our friends making copies of the demo and selling the demo over there for us. There is a song on the demo called “Meanwhile Somewhere In Iceland...” (Also a better version on the second UNBELIEVABLY Bad compilation), can you explain what that is about for the readers? Sophie: At the time when I wrote that I was living at Iceland, which is this squat in Balmain. It’s a big old ferry building right next to the Balmain East Ferry Wharf so it’s right on the harbour, the Harbour Bridge is right there. I lived there for a year and a half and Karli lives there now, it’s still going. So that song was about how squatting in Sydney seems really hard, because it is harder than some other places like London or Amsterdam, and it’s about how great it was to be living on this $28million property on the harbour for free and living around all the yuppies in Balmain.
Playing shows in squats and non-traditional venues, are you staunch about that? Sophie: Not at all actually. We made jokes for a long time that we’d become the Maggotville house band because no one else would ever ask us to play. Everyone at Maggotville was our friends so we’d just hassle them to let us play. Cathy: You make it sound so terrible, like “Let us play, please please!” We have played a few pub shows as well but it’s just more fun to play shows at Maggotville and awesome DIY spaces that aren’t owned by a pub owner... Sophie: And there aren’t bouncers at the door and whoever wants to come in can come in. Climate change, old growth forest and boat people – how involved are you in fighting the evils you sing about? Cathy: I wrote the Tasmania song [“What Old Growth Forest Have You Wiped Your Arse On Lately?”) after I went to Tasmania and it’s based on my experiences living in Sydney with its huge air pollution problem and how I try to make my way around on foot or bicycle or on public transport, try not to use my car all the time, but it’s a city that is built for cars. I mainly went to Tasmania to take photos of all the protests and the antilogging stuff that’s going on there and I haven’t been as politically active recently really because I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with not much time to do everything. Sophie: I haven’t been as active either lately but I still think it’s important that we focus our songs on some of these specific relevant issues because otherwise the message can just get blurred. This way if the records or the tapes go out of the country there
You hate City Rail with an almost unbridled passion. Were there any particular incidents that sparked the song? Sophie: Not really. I remember I used to get busted years ago before they had those uniforms. I can’t get my Learners Permit right now because I’ve still got fines from 1997 or something. I lived in Wollongong and I was travelling up to Sydney for gigs all the time and none of us ever had any money and so we’d all just get on the train en masse without tickets and it built up this long-term hatred of the transit cops because you’d get busted or you’d have to run off trains and dodge them and have these elaborate escape plans and stories about fakes names. Yeah, I have this long history with those guys. Cathy: I used to have to get the train for years to uni because I lived really far from uni and I could be on a crowded train and they would come up to me and go, “Where’s your ticket?” and not ask anyone else. Sophie: My friend works at City Rail and apparently there was a study done that concluded that if they didn’t spend all the money paying the people patrolling to bust people without tickets and installing all the electronic gates and so forth and just made it free to catch the train, they’d be in a better financial position than they are now. Cathy: Transit cops are up there with parking inspectors only they represent more evil. It’s more evil because you’re only trying to catch the train right, it’s not like you’re in some big polluting car and going, “I wanna park where I want.” But surely parking cars is better than driving them? Cathy: Yeah sure, just park it and leave it there for hours because then you won’t drive it and pollute anything, great! It’s just frustrating the amount of money that is spent on new roads and highways in Sydney and then you’ve got the trains falling apart, drivers having heart-attacks at the controls, they’re all running hours and hours late... The whole thing is just so stupid. People don’t care enough about the environment to do anything about it unless you make it incredibly easy and convenient or make them save a lot of money while doing something that is going to help the environment. And that’s what frustrates me about public transport and the lack of bike lanes in Sydney; it is not a situation that encourages people to do something other than drive their cars.
is information out there about what is going on in Australia, but more importantly for people locally to know what’s going on. Cathy: And I really hate with a lot of crust bands how it’s those really generic, nihilistic, war-is-crap, the-environment-is-dying kind of lyrics where they don’t offer any hope just a general angry everything-isfucked thing and that really pisses me off because that just compounds the problem because it makes people feel depressed and like there is less they can actually do to fix things. “Shitty Rail” is like your anthem; you even made T-shirts and everything! Cathy: That’s a beloved song. That was the second song we ever wrote. Sophie: Yeah, it is our anthem. I guess I’ve always hated transit cops. I don’t know why but I just hate them more than normal cops because they seem like second-rate wannabes. Cathy: They couldn’t be real cops, they’re like security guards who had a criminal record and got rejected. But that song is great because we both wrote it coming at it from different points of view; Sophie’s more from her experiences with the grey-shirted pigs and mine more from the experience of living in Sydney for years and trying to do the right thing by the environment and live without a car and trying to get around on public transport in Sydney with just shit trains and shit everything.
You were saying it was only recently that you have addressed gender issues in songs... Sophie: One songs has... Cathy: “Penile Carnage”. I wanted to talk about that because that song is fucking awesome. Cathy: Every single guy has said that they think it’s awesome. It puts into perspective just how fucked up some of the words of GG Allin and Anal Cunt can be. Cathy: I wrote those lyrics because I was getting really frustrated about everyone being into these bands like Anal Cunt, which were a bunch of four dudes singing songs about killing women, raping women, really really full-on shit. And everyone would say, “Oh they’re just being funny, they’re just making a joke, the music is brutal, it doesn’t matter.” So then I thought, okay well let’s go with that fucking logic shall we? If it is so fucking funny, if you are telling me, “Just relax Cathy, what’s your fucking problem, just laugh, it’s a joke,” then I will fucking relax and I will use your stupid logic and how about if it’s a band of five women and we’re screaming, “Kill men die, Kill men die, You’ll be my butt boy, You’ll be my anal boy...” I wanted to see people’s reactions to that and it was an interesting social experiment. I didn’t make any of those words up, they were all exact quotations from Anal Cunt and Blood Duster and all those bands; I just changed the gender. The thing is,
there’s thousands of words that are gender-specific that can be used as an insult towards a woman, like slut, whore, bitch and so on, but I couldn’t think of any words that described men like that. That just says everything really. So we had to resort to using words that weren’t even cutting and mean, like “stud boy” - stud is not even an insult. So I couldn’t even complete the exercise successfully because our language doesn’t actually have the words I needed to turn the tables to make my point. When Sophie and I were first working out where to sing each bit it was really really weird to have stuff like that coming out. Sophie: It made us laugh hysterically, like, “I can’t believe we’re saying this, this is hilarious!” “Penile Carnage” is on your most recent split 7-inch with Poodles, how did that all get hooked up? Sophie: In December 2005 Pure Evil Trio brought out Poodles to Australia, this all-girl band from New Zealand who we immediately fell in love with and thought were amazing. We couldn’t play with them at that time but we got along really well and we liked each other’s bands heaps. We decided then to do a record together and started communicating via email. Then Aaron [Clarke] from Pure Evil offered to put it out because he was putting out the Poodles record but then Bek ended up going halves with him in it even though it was the first release on his Spin Control label. And he is doing the Vae Victus seven-inch as well, it’s a split release with Endless Blockades. Touring New Zealand, how was that? Cathy: That was insane. Sophie: That was the best fun ever. I think we we’re just used to only ever playing Maggotville ever and all of a sudden we’re in Auckland about to play our first show; I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. We made some fucking excellent friends, we went camping, went in hot springs, all stuff like that. We played Punkfest, which is this long-running punk festival over there. Cathy: We had this amazing crew of people that came from Auckland to every single one of our shows and they were up the front singing all the words. At our first show like as we were setting up or it may have been in between songs this guy just steps up and screams the first three lines of “Shitty Rail”, we were like, “Oh my god!” That was a bit weird. Where else have you toured? Cathy: We’ve played in Brisbane... Sophie: …Melbourne, Canberra, we went to Lismore and Nimbin in Northern New South Wales with Brain Resin. Cathy: Oh Nimbin; can’t wait to get back there to play again. You should have seen how they begged us to come back. Seriously, it was just like playing in some pub to some people who just happened to be there that were looking at us from across the room with bemused interest like, “Who’s this bunch of sheilas?” So Sophie, will Scum System Kill carry on with you as sole vocalist? Sophie: Well we’re going to make a quick recording just at Maggotville of this line-up; the two-guitar line-up that we had the other night while Jyoti is in town. Aside from that we’re writing a couple of songs at the moment and have a couple of shows planned but I guess we’re in limbo a little bit. I think we’re gonna talk again with Cat in a few months when things settle down for her and see what everyone has time for. For now, yeah, I’m gonna sing by myself and maybe Bek or other people will to do some vocals. It’s going to be different because all our songs were written for two singers, I’m scared that it’s gonna lose some intensity or whatever, but we’ll give it a go. So Cathy, will you carry on singing for Vae Victus? Cathy: Yes, Vae Victus are going to Europe in June. It never rains, it pours. I spent two years not being in any bands because I was travelling and I didn’t find the people around that I wanted to be in a band with and now when you find two sets of people that you want to make music with at the same time, what are you supposed to do? With only one throat? Cathy: I know. Maybe if I was a two-headed monster I’d be fine?
Massappeal part II. Brett Curotta interview by Danger Coolidge.
Letter #1 M
in ‘87 (aged 12) just after the y first time hearing Massappeal was back mate of mine’s older brother used good A er. release of Nobody Likes A Think at The Venue in Dee Why or the Mosman to go see them quite a bit back then down onto them... I was way too young to see us g gettin for nsible respo Hotel and he was s around at that time, but all that show Ages All them, as there wasn't that many (god bless fake IDs… ha!). Saw 16 aged , changed in Jan '91 at the Lansdowne , RSLs, the first ever Big Day pubs , at them too many times to list after that show ey show between ‘91 to ‘94 Sydn every y nearl es centr youth Out, surf clubs, halls, gh. enou get n't before they broke up. I could younger years got to play with Some of the bands I was in during my always an honour. And my current was me for which , times few a al Massappe
, played a couple of the shows with them bands, Twin City Faction and Frank Rizzo were back then. Can't wait for the new in 2006. They are just as unreal as they too! time big rule s issue re-re record! The orable experience would have to be Apart from all the shows, my most mem legendary 301 Studios. Whilst on a the at ience back in 1990 doing work exper of the master tapes of stuff that some gh break I thought I'd have a browse throu year or so. Low and behold, I ous previ the over o studi the at ded had been recor had just recorded that album al appe Mass as tape er mast came across the Jazz ing it from start to finish at crank of ure pleas the about eight months before. I had the control rooms. That of one in too!) ed full volume (the way it should be listen it rates as one of my all time day, this to Still fe!! ear/li day/y my absolutely made fav albums EVER! GRANT RIZZO
Pic: Fiona Polkinghorne
ACK BY POPULAR DE M for diehards and di AND, eh ardesses everywhere, the co mpletion of last issue’s interview w ith guitarist Brett Curo Massappeal tta. I asked you guys to get in touch and tell me a story, so first up, here’s a fe w reader recollectio ns on the mighty Mas sappeal…
Thinker-era Massappeal: (LtoR) Kevin McCraer, Randy Reimann, Darren Gilmour, Brett Curotta
Again Letter #2 T
After this realisation I made it my missi on to hurt these kind of macho gig wreckers. I would deliberately encourage the divers to jump my way by holding my arms up in a manner that looked like I was preparing to catch them but, at the last second, I would move out of the way so they would smash themselves on the ground. This was great fun, espe cially when they hurt themselves so bad that they could not get up for a short while. I later developed a style of moshing wher e I used my elbows to stop the extra aggressive macho divers and mosh ers by planting the elbow into the smalls of their backs when they rushe d back towards me. Or, for those behin d that smash into you, I used a variation where I would twist my torso and let my elbow swing back into the stomach of the person behind. So I thank the security at that first Masa ppeal gig because if I was not thrown out after my first dive I could have possibly turned into one of these arrogant, stage-diving, look-at-me fuckw ads. DAMOLITION FROM THE WARM FEELINGS
Handbill art: Ben Brown
he first time I ever stage dived was at the same Massappeal All Ages show at Sutherland Entertainment Centre ment ioned in UNBELIEVABLY Bad [#4], back when I was just a mid-teener. The experience was not what I had hoped for at all as I was thrown out immediate ly after my effort of climbing the 5-ft stage and leaping onto the fools below who were happy to catch me. I managed to talk the security into lettin g me back in by explaining I had trave led an hour on the train to get there and that I would not dive again. I was not impressed by this whole diving thing that looked so cool in the videos, once I was on the receiving end of a few Doc Martins to the head by the inconsiderate macho fools that were diving. Experiences like this lead me to analyse the whole concept of diving and to realise that the people who did it were mostly arrogant selfish fools that were chasing their five seconds of fame. I noticed there are two types: the get-up-and-jumpers and the hey-lookat-me-I'm-a-fuckwit types, who won’t get off until the band or security throw them off.
Letter rest#3of the Massappeal interview most should run the I was also at the Mortal Sin / Massapeal show at Ytheoudefinitely. Sutho Bop [mentioned in issue #4] but I don’t think this my
first Massappeal experience being underage at the time. I think I saw them play with Anthrax at the Hordern before that? Okay, for my Massappeal story…. I bought a copy of the Nobody Likes A Thinker 12-inch when I was about 15, and soon after, one of the ACME shirts from Paddy’s Markets. I used to wear that shirt to death. One Christmas my cousins from Canberra came and stayed with us. My uncle was this stereotypical uni philosophy lecturer who had never worked a real job or experienced the real world outside of what he knew through his life spent at universities across the country. Had the long beard, would read the Sydney Morning Herald every day cover-to-cover, looked like fuckin’ Matisyahu for fucks sake. He loved the Nobody Likes… tee as the imagery was this brilliant juxtaposition to him; the guy wearing the WHAM Choose Life shirt as he was committing suicide. He would praise the shirt every time I wore it and on a trip to the markets he decided to buy one for himself to wear while he lectured at uni. The thought of this guy lecturing to a class of dorks in a Massappeal shirt used to kill me every time I thought about it. RYAN FROM ENGADINE
Danger responds… ear Ryan, D Cheers for the cool story. Paddy's used to have THE bomb shirts. Shows you how far the standards of bogans
has dropped that you can't even get a decent “Bon Scott R.I.P” singlet at the markets these days. Now about this Sutherland Entertainment Centre show - Anthrax was definitely after it, as I had already seen Massappeal a few times by the time they came out. Anthrax could've been ‘90(?) and I remember my mum gave me $40 for a ticket but me and my mates bought beer instead (pre photo ID days ruled!) and hung outside the Hordern Pavilion getting up to mischief and listening to the throb of the bands through the wall. Another memorable Massappeal show from when I was a kid was from your neck of the woods - Engadine Youth Centre, 1989, with S.U.X. There were more kids outside the show than inside, since none of the locals wanted to pay the $8 or $10 or whatever it was cover. Me and two mates had caught the train all the way from out Campbelltown way and it was probably the worst Massappeal show I have seen. They were on that tall stage with barely anyone in the place and they looked like they'd rather be any place else. I still have the ticket stub from that night somewhere. It was a shit gig but it turned out to be a memorable night anyway. Since the show finished late we missed the last train back and got stuck in Engadine for the night. Had a minor scrape with the local skinheads who were chucking train rocks at us – your neighbour hood could get pretty hairy back in those days. As an aside to that, it turns out my missus, who I did not know at the time, was one of the local scrags hanging outside the Youthie that night. DANGER C
You and Randy [Reimann – vocals] have gone through so many different permutations of rhythm section, why is that? I don’t know, when I think back to it, although I probably wasn’t aware of it at the time, I had really strong ideas about what the band should be like. I still remember the drive back from rehearsal after Kevin [McCraer – bass] said he was leaving. I was dropping him off at Wynyard Station and his words were, “It’s your band, it’s your band, this is basically your band...” I thought, No it’s not. But now I think that that’s what it was like and I was just unaware of it. I think it was because I was older and I had been overseas and I had seen all the bands and I knew what was crap and what was fair dinkum and I guess I was staunch about what I wanted to do. Another classic line from a girlfriend at the time was, “I wish you’d put as much of your energy into doing something positive.” She saw the band as being a negative thing. I think I was just unaware and focused on doing it. It’s the same with these re-issues [of Nobody Likes A Thinker and Jazz], I have done it all and I haven’t let the other guys have any part in it because I knew if everyone started meddling in it’d never get done. So no one else had seen the artwork, the only people that saw the artwork were Cameron Moss the designer, and me. Some things require a democracy and some things don’t, otherwise they will become diluted. Or maybe it’s just that people come and go? Darren [Gilmore – drums] was the first one to leave and I still don’t actually know why he left. Then we got Tubby [Wadsworth – drums] in the band and after that, Kevin left.
The Bar Of Life single was the next release after Nobody Likes A Thinker… Yeah, but what I just realised is that the version of “Fun Again” on the new re-issue [of …Thinker] is not actually the proper version from The Bar Of Life single. I took it from the original American CD release version of Nobody Likes A Thinker, which was a different mix of “Fun Again” that appeared on Pushead’s skate thrash compilation, Noise Forrest, which came out with Thrasher Magazine. I forgot that that was the version that I’d put on the American CD, so it’s not officially The Bar Of Life version but a slightly different mix. Around the time in between The Bar Of Life and Jazz you were truly crossing over and appealing to both punk and metal crowds, was that good for the band? Yeah, I think metalheads saw something in us
"I think metalheads saw something in us because we were loud and fast and antisocial.” - Brett Curotta because we were loud and fast and anti-social and when we started playing with metal bands that was really good. Mat Maurer from Mortal Sin, we used to talk a lot and he saw something in the band and he always wanted us to play with Mortal Sin because obviously there was the crossover thing. So he could see the advantage of us and them and the Hard-Ons all playing together. That is still probably my favourite time and a really great time for the band because all of a sudden there was just piles of people at the shows. That crossover period was really good; some of those metal bands were really good. I really miss those shows, I wish there was more of them. That’s something I want to do is do a big gig that has more of a crossover thing, not some crappy pub gig but a decent one. Why did Massappeal fizzle back in 1994? I went to a rehearsal and I pulled the plug. I think I was a bit frustrated and I felt like I was doing everything. I think I asked some people in the band to do some specific job to help me out and it didn’t get done and I was just like, “You know what, you can go and get fucked.” I was over it, I was burnt out, and so I walked into rehearsal and said I was bailing. The funny thing was, as soon as I said I was bailing, Peter [Allen – drums] said, “Well, in actual fact, I was going to leave as well.” He had been rehearsing with Nunchukka Superfly and so he was going to leave anyway. So it just happened at rehearsal and then the Nommo Anagonno album came out and I had to phone up Shock Records and say, “Hey look, we’re splitting up.” We didn’t play any shows on the Nommo… album.
Pic: Rod Hunt
What did you do after Massappeal split? It was a bit of a weird time for me. The guitars went under the bed and I didn’t touch them for two years. It felt like ages but now it feels like nothing. But I didn’t touch the guitar for ages and I split up with my girlfriend and she went to Europe and lots of other shit went on as well and I went pretty bad there for a while. In 2002 Massappeal reformed for some shows supporting Henry Rollins and his backing band
Mother Superior covering Black Flag songs, how did that come about? We got that up and going in about three weeks. The line-up was me and Randy and James [Meek – bass], who was doing Seconds Away at the time, and Peter, who was drumming in Seconds Away at the time. But we did those shows and the response was great and Randy was into continuing with Massappeal; even though Randy was the last one anyone expected to even agree to do the Rollins shows in the first place. Peter just laughed when he heard we’d got offered to do it. He’s like, “Randy’s not going to do it,” because Peter had been up and visited Randy living in Byron Bay and seen what he was doing; he’s right into mellow electronic stuff and does Kolliope with his partner Michelle. But Randy had no concerns at all – James and Peter were probably more concerned about him. But it worked out great and after that I asked James and Peter if they wanted to do the band in bits and pieces but they said, “Nah, we’ve got this other thing going on with Seconds Away,” this was before they became Grand Fatal, so I was like, “Sweet.” So those guys went off and me and Randy wanted to continue with Massappeal so we got Sean [Fonti - bass] back in. Sean had come to the October show with his brother Jamie and after that we contacted him and he wanted to do it and so we just had to find another drummer. We came across Alex [Wood] who was in Dot Dot Dot and Headless Horsemen just from a message on an internet site. Alex was bullshit; Alex learnt all the old stuff exactly the way it was played on the records. We’ve never seen anyone do that; we were just dumbstruck. He works in his dad’s lawn mowing business and he’d go around with the headphones on and listen to it all day. He would play them exactly the way Peter or Darren or Dave had played them on the recordings. It was incredible. I heard you recorded some new stuff with that line-up as well? We did new recordings with the line-up of me, Randy, Alex and Sean, and also Harry [Hill] from Furcurve played drums on three newer tracks after Alex had left the band. We recorded nine new songs in all, just in this really intense period just before
Handbill art: Ben Brown
Pic: Rod Hunt
Pic: Rod Hunt
You lost Alex just before The Mark Of Cain return show at the Gaelic Club [January ‘06], but it wasn’t announced that you’d pulled out of the support even though I had heard about Alex leaving a few weeks earlier; what was the story? Even weeks after that show I was hearing from people down the beach or on the phone who said, “What’s the story? I went to the show and you weren’t there!” We had to make a decision basically and Sean and I were concerned that it wouldn’t all run smoothly with Alex and we had to bail. This was six weeks out from the show we blew it out and the ad that ran in Drum Media over the Christmas period and even the ad after that, still said “Massappeal.” We didn’t want to piss anyone off. I’ve always wondered if people showed up just for us.
Grand Fatal filled in for you and between one song, Graham [Kent – guitar] said something like, “This is one of our new songs, it’s not quite as good as anything off Nobody Likes A Thinker…” Classic. The funny thing is, we didn’t want to blow the gig out and so Sean and I decided to ask Peter to play drums but I couldn’t get a hold of him for that week. He was away from the house or something and by the time we got back in contact we had already pulled the pin on it. So we were talking on the phone and I told him I had wanted him to play and I thought he’d just say, “Ah well, the gig’s gone, bad luck,” but then at the end of the phone call he’s just like, “Well okay, send me the new tracks and we’ll get it happening.” So it went from, “Nah we’re not doing it, sweet,” to, “Oh yeah, I’ll give it a go!” The problem was Sean had to bail; he was moving to China to do some teaching. So after that, Randy said, “Give Kevin a call because he’s listening to all the shit you’re listening to.” I’m like, “What!” Last I’d heard from Kevin he was playing reggae and now he was getting off on Isis and Converge and going berserk buying up all the old thrash stuff on CD. So we got back together and me, Kevin and Peter have been rehearsing ever since. I wanted to learn some of the stuff off the recordings we did with Alex and Sean but we’re only doing three songs off that. Alex has a different drumming style and Peter doesn’t feel like learning the rest so we’ve just been writing new ones. We want to do some of the old stuff we haven’t been doing, like some of that stuff off Extra Jazz. We’re trying not to play the same old shit and put some new old ones in there. But basically we just want to make new music. Do you resent having to play old songs for the fans? Kind of. It’s just time consuming. To be practicing up old songs is taking time away from us working on new songs. We can only rehearse one or two
Pic: Rod Hunt
Jamie [Fonti]’s studio closed down and just before Sean moved to China. We had to get it all done really quickly because Jamie called up and said the studio was closing but Alex was already out of the band so I had to call him back up. Alex said, “Fuck yeah, let’s do it,” so we had a few rehearsals and we went in and recorded six songs with Alex, then Harry came in and helped us out writing another three. So it was a really intense but we got nine songs all recorded, as well as a tenth track, which is just Randy playing around with all this feedback that I’d recorded. But we’re still writing more now because we’re playing a couple of those new songs live, but Peter plays drums on one of them differently and he is not really into learning all the new stuff we did with Alex. But we’ve already got half a dozen news ones on the go and I just want to get these new ones into the set and start playing new ones for the up-coming shows. Because we play so sporadically, I wish we could get more new ones in the set. If we could just be writing new ones and playing new ones, that would be great.
nights a week so I just want to spend all our time on new stuff. The way the band is working with the line-up now, can you see it lasting forever? Not really. It went a bit funny after the Luna Park Show [Come Together Festival in June ‘06] because Randy is up in Byron and has to fly down to play and no one wants to do it for nothing and we had a bit of a problem and there was money but people couldn’t get paid because we had to pay for the T-shirts and Relapse Records in America wanted the master CDs for the re-issue and there was no contract money there and we had to get artwork and mastering done. So Randy went back and it ended up costing him money and it went bad, it nearly went pearshaped. People have jobs where they have to work on weekends and I’ve got kids and so it gets hard, but I enjoy doing it and I’m more than happy to drive into the city every week for practice. With Randy is in Byron, he doesn’t come to rehearsal so he has to write the songs screaming along in his car over the top of the cassettes we’ve given him. He had to come down and do vocals for the recording without having really played with the band, which makes it hard. Do you think it would be impossible to play a set of all new stuff, considering your diehard audience? As much as you’d want to. But one of the things we’ve realised from playing this early stuff is that maybe we kind thought they were old and clunky but because we are playing them the way we are now, twenty years on and we’re more experienced as players, it’s like, “You know what, these songs aren’t that shithouse.” In actual fact, there was some stuff there that was good to play and other stuff that wasn’t an issue to play, but there are a couple of old ones that a few of us have issues with. Some of those early ones have got that Duracell rabbit drumming, so I think it’s got a lot to do with it. But if we were getting ready to release a new record I think there’s enough new stuff there that we wouldn’t have to rest on the old stuff.
All You Can Eat
n the summer of 1994/95, both All You Can Eat from San Francisco and Propaghandi from Canada put together a true DIY tour that included covering a good part of Australia. I was playing in Lawnsmell at that time and there seemed to be an American or Swedish band turning up every couple of weeks. A week or so beforehand we had played at Caringbah with Blink 182 to about three-hundred surfie cocks and I’d started to think most of these overseas bands were personality-free rock fucks. But not A.Y.C.E… This band was totally new to me in a hundred ways. They were down-toearth, hilarious, fearless, fun-loving, and their music depended as much on the performance as the tunes. Let’s talk about performance… Devon Morf, the singer, would swallow both fists, hand-stand, backflip, mime, tell jokes and make you feel welcome in your own backyard (well, Sean No Deal’s backyard). Myron Seth, the drummer, was not your conventional drummer. His crash cymbal was elevated four metres above him, causing him to jump, frog-like, in order to punctuate his unorthodox drum patterns. Craigums was on bass, his hyper-active playing almost as renowned as his once-red, now pink pants, that I believe he still wears to this day. A.Y.C.E were something else - it was like seeing Weird Al Yankovic for the first time after thinking comedy meant Hey Dad or Eight is Enough (Craigums would like that analogy). We had collectively fallen for each other as bands and friends, and a split All You Can Eat/Lawnsmell record would follow. Fast forward a couple of years... I receive a phone call at work saying that a fellow called Devon Morf was at my house and needed to be let in. You see, I had mentioned to Devon in a letter how cool it would be to do a band if he was ever in Sydney again. This was how Stitchface came about. I wrote about the Stitchface experience in the liner notes to the CD…
all You Can Eat. .
And Then Some 44
By Glenn "Glenno" Smith.
kay... Lawnsmell and All You Can Eat kind of ran out of juice at the same time, and, seeing as we had done that nice split CD together I suggested Devon come and sing in a band melding both our idiocy into a band of sorts. I got a ring at work that Devon had rocked up to Godfrey Street... And there he stayed on my floor for three months. We spent a few feverish nights nutting out riffs to Devon's scribbles and listened to much metal... and watched much Bad News on tour. Devon spent his time wisely, writing a book about A.Y.C.E’s global D.I.Y adventures, eating mush - lentils and rice plus a cup of curry powder, boiled - and drinking pineapple juice. Devon entered the country with about $250, so our hiring the original line-up of Rose Tattoo was stopped right there. Me, Dez Lawnsmell and Troyvod had a few preDevon jams (sometimes all of us turned up!) and jammed on scrapped gems. Finally we all ended up at Sound Level, where Troy works... rockin'. Troy was also in Malibu Stacy, Melma Hydrogen, Mortal Sin so he was pretty primed to do something hard and stupid. Slowly but surely the four of us made noise go from A to B so we quickly organised some gigs... One that didn't blow out was in Stanmore in a lounge room in front of Lemonade-guzzling short-hairs who were totally mystified at our spastik-metal performance art. At least Sean got to see us and I sang his song to him in the backyard. Post-gig enthusiasm from Devon involved him returning to his training routine of somersaults, war dances and beard growing Stitchface fever. Unfortunately, Dez was pressed for leisure time and his heart was wandering elsewhere. After many aborted gigs and practice we waved goodbye to Dez (who is still a legend drummer and fella xx). We waited for Dez for an hour or two and realised we had to act fast... Only three weeks to go til Devon cruised to HK. Troy walked up the hall to the room Peter Allen was practicing in with fellow ex-Massappeal Brett Curotta. He said, "Alright, I'll practice with ya." He learnt every song in
30 minutes and played "The Trooper" [Iron Maiden] fill for fill! Dez finally turned up and we had one of those shitty band meetings. Pete was in. We practiced twice and played the Caringbah gig. It was cool. Some Digger was yelling at the Yank to shut up and play. Your Mother was in town and we desperately wanted to play some gigs but... we blew out a harbour cruise because Pete was going to a bris or something. Then Peter goes swinging across a river by a rope and fell feet-first into a few inches of water and fucked his foot and our hopes of recording in Australia with Devon. Stitchface Japan! USA! Broke punks with big, dumb ideas. We organised a BBQ farewell for the great man and about thirty physically-challenged folk played cricket. Pete's foot healed nicely and we recorded in the studio at the rehearsal studio and pretended to be confident... First take heroes in five hours. Troy did that solo in two bits in one take (twice!)... autopilot... we'd send it to Devon... he'd do his thing... and it'd be fresh on the shelves May '98. Wrong... somebody told Devon the tape we sent him was in an Aussie video language and no good... yawn... Troy racked up a crazy phone bill to say it's really fine... do it... the executives at Blind Records Intl. are nervous... Have you heard from Devon?.... No, Adrian, you?... When can we put the CD out Glenn?... Don't worry it'll be great... Devon was in Japan setting up some punk embassy while the tapes sat under a pile of Angelwitch vinyl and wrestling garb... Shit!... zero hour... Glenn, what are we going to do?... Adrian, I swear, if it's not here by Christmas I'll do it all myself, celebrities to contribute a few screams, whatever... Anyway, it finally turned up. I'm writing this before we somehow scam some cheap time to make this shit smell like flowers. And if a rock journo wants to use the "Stitchface didn't manage to make their shit sound remotely like flower" line, I'll track you down and play you some of the crap we had to reject! Although, "The Ballad Of Yngwie Malmsteen" had potential... 16/1/99
evon Michael Morf is a toy peddler at San Francisco's famous Super7 Store where he is up to his neck in vinyl collections and zines about robots. He is also one of those rare SxE vegan types that doesn’t persecute the stupid carnivore. Actually, one of my favourite recollections of the Stitchface experiment was his accidental sip of beer in my loungeroom. Since the Stitchface days ('97) Devon's been dividing his time between bands - Colbom, War All The Time and the remarkably productive What Happens Next? The latter band features all of this articles' subjects - Devon, Craigums and Robert Collins - as well as drummer Max Ward, who has played in Spazz, Scholastic Deth, Plutocracy and others. Max also runs the 625 Thrash label that issues twenty-five or so releases a year, all stuff that matters. It was this love of fast, politically-charged music that helped kickstart the prolific nature of What Happens Next? Influenced by European style hardcore bands like Larm, Heibel and Heresy, nostalgia was more than satisfied as WHN? collectively got back to the way they dressed in high school - flannelette and bandanas. Almost a dozen years on from high school, Devon had found the band he'd wished he'd been in all those years ago. Like all his previous projects, this band was all about fun - balanced with a serious message. What Happens Next? were criticised for their retro feel, especially the overt flipped-hats and bandana fashions in the early days, and were written-off by some as "bandana-core". It’s very difficult, however, to maintain such a stupid hardcore stance once you’ve seen Devon take control of a room with a microphone. I've seen him flip, handstand, jump, twist and basically morph about like a possessed gymnast. I've also seen him deliberate over a lyric in a song with all the passion of a Poet Laureate. Devon is famous for his lyrics, dialogues written in English but sometimes Spanish, Japanese or Italian. It is this wish to communicate internationally and bring down the boundaries of language that really endear WHN? to the international hardcore community. Devon is a world traveller. A.Y.C.E went everywhere. I remember him in Australia wanting to leave for Taiwan because he'd heard there was a punk rock band there and he wanted to bring it to the world's attention. And did I mention he is a tragic metalhead, a French Foreign Legion nut and creator of Wajlemac zine? Wajlemac is also the name of his label, which has just released a 7-inch comp featuring Sacrilege B.C., Violent Coercion, Abigail and Conquest For Death. I believe he has almost finished the adventures of A.Y.C.E book, which should be released immediately. Only a book could document the ideals and conquests of these pauper-like jet-setting punks.
What Happens Next?
raig Martin Billmeier, or Craigums, is a chocolate-driven rock freak. As bassplayer for the A.Y.C.E travelling circus, I got to know this fella as "the guy who loves Weird Al Yankovic way too much." Circa '90 to 2000-ish Craig-ums was vocalist for a bunch of pop-punk musical humourists known as Your Mother, who visited Australia in 1997; Craigums' third time to our country [It seems travelling and recording are the main things that keep the Morf/ Billmeier machine lubed].
Despite all the hilarity, it takes a discipline that stays just clear of total seriousness to get things done, especially in that great D.I.Y way that modern musicians are slowly repelling. When asked what motivates him into the kinds of senseless acts of musicality he has performed over the years in A.Y.C.E, What Happens Next?, Colbom and other groups, Craigums responds: “I get to jump around and yell and scream and break things and from time to time I get applause and small amounts of money..." Yes... money... day jobs... Craigums often works with folks with disabilities but is currently working at a fancy SF studio transferring and mixing the first Billy Joel recording circa-'87. Despite this career low, he has also been busy in his own D.I.Y studio The Dutch Oven recording local bands on the cheap. But there is more...
Conquest For Death
Essential Listening Guide 1995: Your Mother - One Big Inside Joke (Probe) 1996: All You Can Eat - Un Oeuf (One Foot) 1999: Stitchface – S/T (Blind) 2001: What Happens Next? - Second Year [comp] (625 Thrashcore) 2003: Colbom – Famous Last Words 7-inch (No Idea) 2004: Artimus Pyle – Fucked From Birth (Prank) 2004: High On Crime - Until No Flags Fly (Hungry Ghosts) 2006: Conquest For Death - S/T 7-inch (Wajlemac) 2006: Love Songs - Behind Enemy Lines in G. Minor (Wajlemac)
Hot Lixx wins
What Happens Next?
Not only does Craigums wear his heart on his sleeve musically, he also carries the hidden weight of his country in an invisible air plectrum. Recently he entered an air-guitar competition on a whim under the moniker Hot Lixx Houlahan and ended up taking out the United States air-guitar crown! He was officially declared the nation's top-ranked airguitarist after defeating thirteen other competitors from across the U.S. in front of a sold-out crowd at NYC's Bowery Ballroom. "After watching these guys," Craigums explains, "I had to stop making fun of air-guitar. They had turned it into performance art and it wasn't just wanking in front of the mirror with a tube sock around your head - it was art." If you go online and check out www.hotlixxhulahan.com you will be able to see vision of Craigums in sombrero and moustache beginning his routine with a flamenco riff then crashing into Metallica's "Shortest Straw". Fuckin' awesome is all I can say, and it's also what the
crowd said. Then, there's what Craigums said: "It's strange, really wanting to win this... usually I take pride in how little pride I take in things." So Hot Lixx Houlahan went to the 11th World AirGuitar Championships in Oulu, Finland in September 2006 where he went up against the world's airiest guitarists tackling classics like Lordi's "Who's Your Daddy?" Craigums came in sixth! Japan's Ochi "Dainoji" Yosuke won it, with Australia's Clay "Bangers" Connelly running second. "The Aussie dude was through-and-through," Craigums reckons. "Broke four bones while competing in air-guitar contests and I got the
feeling that for him, any night ending in either fucking or fighting was a success." As a final little footnote to this brief report, Craigums, under the name Love Songs, has put out two incredible CDs, the latest being Behind Enemy Lines in G. Minor, a love-themed concept album which documents his tragic love for a girl who is caught in the maelstrom of shit religion Mormonism. Through killer riffs, anti-religious lyrics and pure heartfelt delivery, this is a fine introduction to the world of things Craig has turned his creative, chocolate-smeared hands to.
obert Collins (AKA bearded genius or Captain Beardo) is a hardworking bartender/manual labourer who just happens to play in some of San Fran's most brutal bands. Playing bass for What Happens Next?, Fuckface and others, Robert continues his tour of duty with Artimus Pyle, High On Crime and the insanely good Conquest For Death. His recent tour of Australia with thrash trio Artimus Pyle left many jaws on the floor and a real hunger for a return. In between roadie-ing and working and playing in bands, Robert is married to Karoline, who herself lives a hyperactive life immersed in the D.I.Y punk scene. If there is a motto for their lives it's "Little sleep - Big plans." Robert has recently roadied for Limp Wrist, Sunday Morning Einsteins and Citizen Fish, recommending to me his favourite local bands - Ludicra, Deadfall, No Dice and Born/Dead. I asked him what was the most impressive thing he'd seen live... "You mean besides the Mr. Hands video on the internet? NK6 live at Antiknock in 2000; Lost Goat live at Debauchery in 1998 (but I was out of my fucking skull that night); Chromatics at Onopa in 2005, but not because they were good... they were just the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen; Lifes Halt at Mission Records in 1998; some dude picking up a car battery with his balls; Fly sewing her mouth
shut during a spoken-word piece at the Cat Club..." I was surprised to discover Robert's massive passion for ZZ Top and (my own favourite old guy of wisdom) Willie Nelson. "Willie has released a few duds but with an output topping 200 albums that is to be expected. His most recent record, a collection of Cindy Walker songs from the western swing era of the forties and fifties, is totally brilliant and easily his best since 1998's Teatro. "Poor ZZ Top on the other hand, have been churning out garbage since 1985. Even live they leave a lot to be desired. However, their releases up to and including El Loco are all flawless - the best rock band of the seventies for my money - and I'll even make a case for Eliminator if you want..." Robert is currently a member of Conquest For Death, which brings all three stars of this family tree together again (Robert once filled-in for Craigums in A.Y.C.E). Their debut 7-inch is out now, but I'm assured by Devon that a full-length is soon to appear on Wajlemac. I'm glad to say I will catch up with Devon later this year as he mooches his way around Australia, South-East Asia and South Africa. There is ALWAYS talk of a tour soon...
I have always been fascinated with this little family of extended Yankee-cousins, so I have decided to document the various bands to feature the talents of Devon, Craigums and Robert. I hope you like this family tree thingo. I know I've always loved these things (because I am a rock nerd) but it feels especially great to be on one of those little branches.
You toured the US steadfastly for a while. How did you keep things together on the road, and how did you all manage to pay your bills? How did some of the varied bills go down, like the Billy Childish (Headcoats) and Nation of Ulysses string of shows? There were several things that occurred every time we went on tour. Of course we'd manage the usual printing of T-shirts and packing up of 45s to sell, but we also had a few “budget-rock tricks” up our sleeves while on the road. One of them was the old “drive-thru scam.” Whenever we were in a new town, we'd steal a copy of the phone directory, locate all the fast food restaurants in the immediate area and we'd all apply for jobs - as many as possible. Undoubtedly one of us would secure a job (usually our bass player - he was the most respectable looking of the lot), and that's all it would take. At an arranged time, we'd drive the Mummymobile to the drive-thru window where our “working man” would start throwing as much food as he could through the window to the rest of us. He'd then run like hell out of the restaurant, around the corner or down the street where we'd be waiting for him. As you can imagine, a 1963 Pontiac Bonneville ambulance is not the most inconspicuous vehicle to be pulling a stunt like this off. We had an amazing string of good fortune though, and in only one case did things go awry (but that's a story for another time). We also did a fair amount of shoplifting on the road at thrift stores, guitar shops and record stores, and we'd turn around and resell
by trade, and he'd always bring his big-ass toolbox with him on stage where the rest of us would inevitably trip over it. I would also fuck with the guitarist quite a bit during his solos, like pulling him around the stage by the head of his guitar or unplugging him or turning off his amp, so an inordinate amount of time was spent re-tuning or trying to find why it wasn't making any sound anymore. I always thought the funniest joke was the fact that all these people who had paid to see a show spent more time waiting for us to play than watching us play. That is some seriously funny shit. I mean, we're talking about incredible power here - kinda like a puppet master or something. OK, how long can I keep these people interested enough in this shit before they just pack it in and leave... There's definitely a limit to people's patience, but after enough shows, you get a feel for what their threshold is, and playing with that is an incredible rush.
IEW BY OWEN PENGLIS. RV TE IN E AN RU T EN TR . III THE MUMMIES
the guitarist got into an all-out, knock-down fist fight over a misunderstanding and I got kicked out of the club for trying to break his head open by throwing beer bottles at it. I also tried some kung fu moves on the bouncer, but he pretty much beat the shit out of me. So here I go, flying out the doors of the club where I land right in front of my girlfriend who then totally kicks my ass all over again (over the same misunderstanding), outside the club in front of Billy and crew (who were pissing their pants watching this comedy unfold).
d-then the road with a beyon their Budgetm fro grave stink leaking mmies pillaged rock ambulance, the Mu the group in 1994 of lit sp on until the final nion tour. Head after a brief European reu of losing teeth, ks tal e an Mummy Trent Ru r really eve mmies only thrifty living, how the Mubalding sweaty record appealed to drunks and ultimate death at the collector guys, and their sodomites. hands of primitive tribal
S E I M MUM
most of the stuff to folks we'd stay with or others we'd meet at shows (collectibles are always a hot commodity with the hipster crowd). This would help pay for gas. I don't know what clubs are like down your way, but clubs in America pay dick, so you have to exercise a fair amount of creativity to make ends meet. One of our favourite little habits was stealing equipment from these cheapskate clubs, like microphones, cables, stands and the like. And since you brought them up, I just want to say that the guys in the Nation of Ulysses were fucking great. We crashed at The Embassy when we played in DC and they showed us a fantastic time.
When playing live I figure the Mummies always talked between songs so much because you were either a bunch of loudmouths or you were really hot in those suits and needed to cool down for a minute. What are the best and worst jokes the Mummies have been responsible for on stage? The actual reason for our lengthy between-song banter was due to the quality of the equipment we were using. Our drum kit would literally fall apart during a set, requiring the drummer to do a bit of on-the-spot fabrication and repair whenever we played a gig. Luckily, he was an auto mechanic
There’s a great video I came across of the Mummies live at the Shamrock in LA, by the last song you’re loading your equipment out into the car park while the others finish with an instrumental and it was actually a pretty fucking cool show. What do you think was the worst Mummies show ever? Every Mummies show was the worst show ever. I think the truly worst part of playing any show though (especially if you're headlining) is having to suffer through all the other fucking horrible bands on the bill. The cherry on top of the turd is when a really horrible band is made up of a nice bunch of people. What the hell do you say to them when they compliment you at the end of the show? What we used to tell bands like this was that they were “really tight,” which was no lie - next to the Mummies, any band pretty much fits that description. A particularly funny show though was one of the Billy Childish shows you mentioned earlier. We did a summertime tour of the Northwest and Canada with Thee Headcoats in '91. The first show of the tour was in Seattle at a club called the Off Ramp, and after the show me and
Anyway, the bass player and drummer had already split by then, and after retrieving my missing teeth, I decided to as well. What I didn't realize, however, was that I took the only set of keys with me, which meant the guitarist was stuck with all the gear and the Mummy-mobile in front of the club all night. Well, as you can imagine, he was pretty pissed off the next
morning, so much so that he quit the band then and there after the very first show of a 3-week tour! Well, the rest of us successfully blackmailed him into re-enlisting as he was flat broke at the time and none of us were about to loan him any dough for a bus ticket back home. Re-releasing the Mummies Never Been Caught on CD and later the REMASTERED CD compilation Death By Unga Bunga seemed to be the ultimate Fuck You to fans and the buying public holding the primitive scuzz of the Mummies to heart. Essentially, isn’t this the Mummies truly railing against one of their original ideals – Viva Vinyl and all that? See, the problem with the Mummies - and this is proof positive that we were never in it for the money, the girls or just to be cool - was that we only really appealed to two types of people: record collectors and drunk males. Now the drunks won't really remember ever having seen or heard us anyway, but the record collectors can go fuck themselves. If they really want to pay a lot of dough for our old records on ebay or wherever, then that's the Mummies curse working on them. But if some poor kid who was
6-years old when we broke up and is just finding out about us now, then why should it be expensive for him or her to hear what we sound like? Likewise, if one of those drunks sold off their record collection for booze money but is now a born again Christian or Buddhist or something and just wants to sit back and chill to “Stronger Than Dirt” - again, why should the poor sap have to pay a lot of dough for that? I mean, he's probably already been through enough shit. I figure the Death By Unga Bunga album title is based on the old joke - is that how you see the end of the Mummies career, being like a death by unga bunga? [Note: that is, like being sodomised by a gang of angry pygmy tribesmen] Yeah, when I was working on putting together that compilation, I kept thinking about that joke because to me having heard all those songs so many times already was kinda like one of those ass-stretching shots from a cheap porno after way too much hide the salami -total distended, bloody dilation - exactly how my ears were feeling. You had me fooled with the photo on the cover of ...Play Their Own Records, until I found the full shot on the website revealing the curtain rod in someone’s living room the band are standing in front of - whose place is this and where did you get the idea to not only dress as Mummies, but to top it off with tuxedos?
Believe it or not, the Mummies were a class act, and sometimes we were required to play some pretty upscale fucking events - you know, black-tie things. As for the photos, they were taken at the former Mummies/Pre-B.S. HQ where members of the Mummies, Phantom Surfers, Supercharger (and for a short while the Fingers) all lived in a tremendously large and dangerous house, which was precariously perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking both the Pacific Ocean and the Daly City Municipal Garbage Dump. What made it dangerous was the fact that the house was located right along the San Andreas Fault. Nevertheless, it was a huge house and dirt-cheap rent because of the danger, and it had a 3-car garage underneath it besides. The whole affair was a fantastic setup if you were in a band. See, we were the last house on our side of the street - every other house on that side had literally collapsed during quakes. So no neighbours to our left, sheer cliff drop-off on the back side, and since it was on a hill, half the right-side of the house was below grade, which meant we could be really loud without resulting in the cops getting called (much). The garage was converted
we only had one set of costumes at any given time. We were too stupid and lazy to be more conscientious about the whole thing. After each show, we'd cram all the wet and smelly costumes into a milk crate and load it into the Mummy-mobile just like the rest of the gear. I can remember touring in Washington in the dead of winter and having to crawl into ice-cold, soaking wet Mummy costumes that smelled like asshole before going out on stage (a large reason why we didn't appeal to the ladies much). We used to carry around a can of Lysol disinfectant and we'd take turns spraying each other down after donning our costumes. If we had time to kill after soundchecks, we'd hit the nearest laundromat and throw them into a dryer. (Of course, we were too cheap to wash them too, mind you.) Watching the costumes spin around in the dryer was pretty disgusting, as they'd smear gray grime all over the little round window. And yeah, we got sick an awful lot.
into a studio where a number of our recordings were made, like the “Planet of the Apes” 45.
band broke up. How was that for post-break-up tension? A guy I borrowed a van off in Europe reckoned the second Mummies European tour (specifically in Groningen) was for the money and didn’t match up to that of 1992. Is he a bearded Dutch van-hire liar? That's just the sort of thing a bearded Dutchman would say. Honestly we fought regularly while the band was active, but mostly about stupid shit like fighting over finds at thrift stores. After we split, there was never any real tension, I think largely because we didn't see each other much, so when the opportunity came up to do Europe, it was by mutual agreement. As far as the second tour, yeah, it really sucked. But to be honest, neither of the European tours were about money. We didn't make anything from either tour over covering our expenses. Touring for the Mummies was always about subsidizing travel - a way to visit new places for free - even before we split. Anyway, on our first tour of Europe, I had insisted that Supercharger be brought along, and we only played like a dozen shows over the course of 3 weeks, so we had a lot of time to just fuck about and have a laugh. When we went back in '94, it was just us and we played something like twice the number of shows we did the year before in about the same amount of time, which worked out to playing every night for 2 weeks straight. We were burnt out, I had become a big fat fuck and the tour organisers definitely turned it into a moneymaking venture (of which they kept the profit). I mean, there is a reason why we never did another tour again.
What is the story with the Party at Steve’s House LP, where does the noise and introduction actually come from? When was this recorded and why was it not released until the demise of the group? Furthermore, what are the origins of the track about Kingsmen founder/Stooges producer, “Don Gallucci’s Balls” and is it a coincidence this track appears on the record with overdubbed crowd noise much like a couple of Kingsmen records, and who’s playing saxophone on it? The Party At Steve's House LP was released as a condition of the second European tour. The songs were originally things I wrote for another band project that Darin Raffaelli (Supercharger) and I were tossing around at the time. It was to be a Northwest frat-type thing meets Alvin Cash & The Registers, but we both got busy and then a reason to sit down and record it came up. That's actually him on bass on that album, and me doubling on the sax. The crowd noises are from “The Kingsmen In Person,” Wand 657, and well, Don and the Goodtimes were always one of the big influences on the Mummies, hence the shout out to Mr. Gallucci's nuts. How were the Mummies outfits constructed and how were they maintained? Were there multiple costumes per member to overcome the touring stink? I won't tell you how they were made, but I will say that
You toured Europe after the
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Rises The Napalm Death. Shane Embury interview by Danger Coolidge.
e raised ourselves on Napalm Death. As teenagers in the late eighties, their first album Scum (1987) was the most extreme thing we’d ever heard - way more intense than any Venom or Slayer album. Faster, harder, looser and more savage than anything we’d been exposed to at that point, Scum was not only our introduction to grindcore, it was the soundtrack of our lives. Until we got Mentally Murdered (1989)… After discovering Napalm Death, we would devour anything carrying the Earache Records logo virtually on spec. The label became so trustworthy we could buy any of those early Earache releases and virtually be guaranteed to like it. In addition to Napalm we were exposed to several “offshoot” bands like Carcass, Godflesh and Cathedral, as well as other extreme pioneers like Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower, Terrorizer, etc. That’s not to say we didn’t waste money on the occasional dud. But generally speaking, Earache was the shit - until it went to shit. But more on that later… Napalm Death have a rather disjointed history. Since original bassist Nic Bullen left in December 1986 (that’s twenty years ago,
right) the band has contained not one single foundation member. The closest thing they have to an original these days is bassist Shane Embury, who didn’t join until 1989 seven years after their formation, and after the recording of Scum. While some might prefer to break it down differently, basically there are three distinct phases of Napalm’s existence - pre-Mick Harris, with Mick Harris, and post-Mick Harris. The pre-Mick period lasted from ’82 to ’86, when school kids Nic Bullen and Miles Ratledge bashed out their own form of Anarcho-punk with a Joy Division influence. The duo would be joined in 1985 by guitarist Justin Broaderick (later of Godflesh, Jesu), then pursuing his own solo recordings under the name Final. But it was at the end of ’86, when new drummer Mick “Human Tornado” Harris joined, that the band kicked into full gear. Copping influence from local crust punk groups like Amebix, Heresy and Concrete Sox as well as Boston hardcore band Siege, Napalm Death kickstarted the grindcore genre (Harris coined both the term “grindcore” and “blast beats”) with their first few classic releases, ‘87’s Scum), ‘88’s From Enslavement To Obliteration and ‘89’s Mentally Murdered EP.
The post-Harris phase of the group began with the drummer’s departure in 1990 after they had just released the death metal-influenced Harmony Corruption LP. Harris formed ambient industrial group Scorn, whose first album on Earache, Vae Solis (1992), ironically featured a lineup identical to Scum-era Napalm Death: Harris, Bullen and Broaderick. At that point, Napalm Death’s membership was comprised of more Americans than Englishmen, and their sound fell largely inline with the death metal scene while very occasionally recalling its hardcore roots. The following interview was conducted with the longest-lasting member of Napalm Death, one of extreme music’s great survivors, Shane Embury. In plain Napalm speak, I was “fooking chuffed” to interview the bloke. Though it was done a couple of years back, the interview centres itself around the kinds of things a sad fan like me would be interested in - the early line-ups of the band, the peak years of the Birmingham hardcore scene, etc - so it really has no used-by date. Apologies if Mr. Mildly Interested out there in Readerland finds my line of questioning a little too pointed and elitist, I was just keen to find out…
Rises Harmony Corruption-era: (LtoR) Mitch Harris, Barney Greenway, Mick Harris, Jesse Pintado, Shane Embury
When did you first come in contact with Napalm Death? I first saw the guys at a show in March 1986. I’d been a big fan of heavy metal originally and then thrash, and I got into tape trading about mid-’85. In ’86 we heard of a show with Napalm playing, I think Amebix were headlining and Heresy was also on the bill. We went along to see them and I was pretty blown away by Napalm. I’d been one of those people who wanted to get into faster stuff over the years so I as soon as I saw them I thought, well this is the next step for me. So I became good friends with them and followed them around on tour - when I say on tour I mean just a few gigs here and there around the country. I was really good friends with them, used to go to rehearsals and I was there when they recorded the A-side of Scum (1987). So you came into it during the Bullen (bass/ vocals), Broaderick (guitar) and Harris (drums/ vocals)-era? Because there was a history that went back much further than that wasn’t there? Pretty much, yeah, Napalm split into two camps really. There was the ’82 to ’85 period where they were more of an Anarcho-punk band I guess. It wasn’t until Micky joined in ’86 that they sort of went into the more speedcore/grindcore way of things. Aside from the sound, though, early Napalm Death were heavily into vegetarianism and more of those Anarcho-punk ideals, right? Well yeah, they were all vegetarians when I met them. I mean, the whole scene at the time was. It was kinda weird for me because I came from a heavy metal background and had never questioned the whole political sort of vegetarian thing – I was brought up on bands like [Judas] Priest so you didn’t really think about it. So it was interesting for me when I became more aware of the hardcore thing. Obviously I was into Discharge but it was more because their music was intense; I didn’t really think about the lyrics. So when I came into that scene I hung out with Nic, Justin and Mick but it was mainly Micky who I became friends with. I used to hang around with him, go to shows and all that and eventually I became quite involved with the whole Birmingham hardcore/grindcore scene. Where were you from? I’m from about forty miles from Birmingham. I come from a place called Ironbridge, in Shropshire. It’s literally an hour away, not even that. I’d come to Birmingham on the weekends and that sort of thing and eventually I ended up moving here. I moved here in late-1990 after I’d been in Napalm for three
“I came from a heavy metal background and had never
questioned the whole political sort
thing. I was brought up on bands like [Judas]
Priest so you didn’t really think about it.
- Shane Embury years. Coming back and forth on the train to rehearsal became a pain in the arse so I thought it was better to use all the money I was spending on train fares on rent in Birmingham, which at that time was quite cheap, so that’s what I did. When did the Birmingham scene reach its peak? Around ’87-’88 was a pretty exciting time around here. There was a lot of hardcore bands around, you had Concrete Sox, Heresy, Stupids, Ripcord, Deviated Instinct, Extreme Noise Terror, stuff like that. It was quite an exciting time really. But one by one those bands kinda died down, which was a bit of a shame. Obviously with Napalm we went on to tour in Europe and managed to survive somehow, I don’t know whether it’s through just determination or what. I suppose Mick’s drumming separated Napalm Death from a lot of other bands though. I guess apart from Heresy it was the fastest out of the lot of them. I suppose the rest of the bands were more laidback, well not laidback, but you know what I mean, just different styles. Napalm had a brutality that the other bands didn’t have. The demo from ’85, Hatred Surge, has a Joy Division feel about it, but by the time of Scum it was obvious the band had heard Siege. Yeah, I mean we were definitely big fans of Siege. That
was the interesting thing, I discovered Siege through tape trading before I had even met the Napalm Death guys. When I met them it was interesting to me that two of their favourite bands were Siege and Celtic Frost – they were the two main influences that they really used to construct the origins of Napalm, or the A-side of Scum anyway. I haven’t heard the Hatred Surge demo in a long time but I think, and the old drummer (Miles Ratledge) would say this as well, it was basically just a case of Micky joined the band and they went even faster. I think Nic had discovered Siege and that’s all he was bothering about at that point and that’s when the band started to take shape. How did you come to join the band? Well they recorded the A-side of Scum then Nic asked me to play guitar for them because Justin had left to join Head Of David on drums but I said it’s not really my thing because in my old band Unseen Terror I played drums. Then Nic decided to leave Napalm shortly afterwards and at that point they had Lee Dorrian on vocals, Bill Steer on guitar and Jim [Whiteley] on bass. Then they recorded the B-side of Scum and Jim left and I joined. So it’s a weird thing that between the A-side and the B-side I got asked to play guitar, but I think I chickened out a bit. What were the recording conditions like at Rich Bitch Studios for your first Napalm session, From Enslavement To Obliteration (1989)? Pretty cramped, pretty tight, just a small studio room. Our studio experience was so little at that point that it’s like you’re playing the songs but you’re scared at the same time. You’re thinking, fucking hell I hope I get this right. Up until that point I’d only ever been into a studio once or twice, maybe for the Peel Sessions y’know. It was kind of nerve-wracking. I wish I had a video camera back then because it’s hard to remember exactly how things were. I can remember little bits but it’s a shame. It’s a weird time to remember back then actually just because it’s a totally different line-up now and like, you don’t forget about those times, but they sometimes seem like a very distant dream almost. It’s been a lot of years really. So how long after the release of Scum was that famous BBC documentary filmed? About two years, that was about 1989. That documentary was pretty important really in getting us exposed. It was a big thing, it was on mainstream TV over here and especially back then, like Guns N’ Roses were really big at the time and I think we got more airtime on that documentary than bands like that did and caused a massive uproar. There was a bunch of glam rockers who couldn’t understand why a noisy band like that
was getting all the exposure. But I think it was just a case of we had connected with the people who were making the documentary. We were just kids playing grindcore and I think they’d met some of the bigger bands and realised there were egos there and all that. We were just down-to-earth and being ourselves and so they included more of us in that documentary, which annoyed a lot of the more traditional metal fans because they couldn’t get their heads around it. Why did Lee Dorrian and Bill Steer leave the band? I think for several reasons, we did a tour of Japan and me and Micky were very closely knit. Micky’s quite an intense character. I think Bill had decided that he really wanted to concentrate on Carcass, I think Lee was very much focused on what he was doing with Cathedral, and I think Micky was driving them insane as well. Also, the immaturity between all of us - not relating to each other properly. I’ve remained friends with Bill and Lee over the years, especially Lee, and we’ve talked about it, we just weren’t aware of what was going on. The band was becoming popular and we weren’t communicating. It’s a problem with a lot of bands that it’s very hard to maintain the same relationships. You start off as great friends but then you start to forget how to talk to each other and that’s where problems arise. It’s weird that Lee and I have remained such good friends but at the time we just weren’t relating to each other and so Lee just said, “Fuck it.” That’s the way it goes
sometimes. So Bill, well he already had Carcass going so he thought, “Fuck it, I’ll concentrate on Carcass.” Lee wanted to do something else entirely, and Micky and I carried on with Napalm and brought the American guys into the band. Yeah, well that Terrorizer album (World Downfall) that came out around then (with guitarist Jesse Pintado) was fucking awesome. Yeah, I mean Jesse at that point had definitely proven himself. I had been writing to him for a long time and Mick had been writing to Mitch [Harris] from Righteous Pigs and we couldn’t find anyone in England really, I don’t know why, a bit of a strange one, so we brought them over and Barney [Greenway] was a good friend of ours so we got Barney in on vocals. I guess the line-up was set in stone really and we just carried on.
That is, until Mick wanted to get all crazy and electronic and form Scorn, right? I think Mick, at least he was back then, he’s a very impatient person and he looked at musical directions and wanted to change every five minutes and we just didn’t want to do that really. We’d just done Harmony Corruption (1990), which musically was Napalm, but sound-wise was quite different from Napalm. We were still so young at the time that we were wondering whether we were doing the right thing but as it was it went on to become a very popular album. But still, we wanted to solidify and make sure we were on the same page but Mick was eager to change again so we were like, “Fucking hell, hold on a minute. We’ve just done an album that’s mixing the death metal and grindcore together and you want to go off and do something else completely? I’m all into progressing and moving forward but
Mentally Murdered-era: (LtoR) Lee Dorrian, Shane Embury, Bill Steer, Mick Harris
Napalm Death discography 1987: Scum 1988: From Enslavement To Obliteration (incl. bonus The Curse 7”) 1989: Live in Europe 7” 1989: Mentally Murdered EP 1989: Peel Sessions (live) 1989: Split 7” w/SOB 1990: Harmony Corruption 1991: Peel Sessions II (live) 1991: Mass Appeal Madness EP 1991: Death by Manipulation (EP compilation) 1992: Live Corruption (live CD/VHS) 1992: The World Keeps Turning EP 1992: Utopia Banished 1993: Nazi Punks Fuck Off 7” 1994: Fear, Emptiness, Despair 1994: Hung EP 1995: Greed Killing EP 1996: Diatribes 1996: Cursed To Tour split w/At The Gates 1997: Inside the Torn Apart 1997: Breed To Breathe EP 1997: In Tongues We Speak split w/ Coalesce 1998: Bootlegged in Japan (live) 1999: Words From The Exit Wound 1999: Leaders Not Followers EP 2000: The Complete Radio One Sessions (live) 2001: Enemy Of The Music Business 2001: The DVD 2002: Order Of The Leech 2003: Noise for Music's Sake (Best Of and rarities 2-CD) 2004: Leaders Not Followers: Part 2 2004: Punishment in Capitals (liveCD/DVD) 2005: The Code Is Red... Long Live The Code 2005: Tsunami Benefit 3-way split w/The Haunted and Heaven Shall Burn 2006: Smear Campaign
Smear Campaign-era: (LtoR) Danny Herrera, Mitch Harris, Barney Greenway, Shane Embury
'when people say you're a pioneer, it's very flattering really...'
let’s do it at a nice pace y’know.” But Micky was just like, “Nah, nah, nah, let’s do this…” I was like, “Mate, you’re trying to leap ahead too quick,” and that’s what the rest of the guys felt and I think Micky felt he had less control in the band, which is probably true because Barney, Mitch and Jesse were making their feelings known. So he just said, “I’m off,” and decided to go into his Scorn trip y’know. That’s when we got Jesse’s friend Danny [Herrera] from LA. He had been an old school Napalm Death fan and came straight into the band and went really well and since then we’ve had pretty much the same line-up over the past ten or twelve years [note: this interview was conducted before they kicked out Jesse Pintado in 2004]. So things happen for a reason y’know. People who grew up with Napalm will always remember the early line-ups but I mean, to a lot of fans of Napalm now, this is like the line-up I suppose. It’s a bit of a different thing altogether really, but things do happen for a reason and we’ve been able to get through and hopefully we will still go on and make some better records. Do you feel proud of Napalm Death’s achievement as pioneers of extreme music? When people say you’re a pioneer, it’s very flattering really. I’m very pleased with what we’ve been doing these past sixteen years. I mean, it’s a long time really and I’m at that point where I can look around and smile a bit and be quite pleased that we’ve made as much music as we have and been an influence on people. It’s pretty satisfying. I wanted to be in a band as a kid but I never thought about what it would be like to get to this stage. It’s pretty rewarding at the end of the day. There was one more hiccup in the band’s ranks when Barney left briefly in ’96, why was that? Communication, yet again really. He wasn’t into touring so much and I don’t know, there was a bunch of problems between us that we didn’t really resolve. The weird thing about that is he always says he left and we always say we kicked him out, so it depends on who you speak to really. Whatever, it lasted about six months. I look at it as a trial separation. Being in a band, it’s like being married, it just becomes a fucking hard task sometimes really. You have to be honest about it, as good a friends as we are, we are hard to deal with at times. I’m sure I’m a pain in the arse sometimes because y’know, if you feel strongly about things you don’t want to back down. Me and Barney are always, not so much now, but back then we were going against each other a lot because we’re both such strong individuals. The others are all quite laidback but me and Barn are always saying, “Let’s do this,” or “Let’s do that,” and it can reach a stalemate quite a lot. I guess he just said, “Fuck it” for a while and so we tried to see if we could carry on with a new vocalist and we got Phil [Vane] in from Extreme Noise Terror, which was a good thing in a way because Phil had some new ideas but unfortunately I don’t think he had the confidence to pull it off the way Barney did. I don’t know, again, I guess it was a strange period for us. It gave us a chance to concentrate on the album we were writing next, which was Inside The Torn Apart (1997). Then right at the last minute it didn’t seem like it was going to work and I sort of sat there thinking what the hell am I going to do and I just went, “Fuck it, I’ll just call Barney and
- Shane Embury
see if we can patch things up a bit.” So we managed to set a lot of our differences aside and Barney became a bit more open-minded in regards to the direction of the band at that particular point and things were better y’know. I think Barney, he’ll be the first to admit that he constantly changes his mind about where he wants to go.
It’s strange that you got Phil from Extreme Noise Terror in the band considering your long-standing public feud with them. There always has been that rivalry, I mean Micky played drums for Extreme Noise Terror for a while back in the early Napalm days. The bizarre thing when Barn left or got kicked out or whatever, was that Dean [Jones] from Extreme Noise Terror straight away asked Barney to sing on their album [Damage 381], which is really kinda bizarre. Barney said, “Yeah fuck it, I’ll do it.” So it seemed like we’d traded vocalists for a while, which is kind of a strange thing, but if you know the industry like I do you’ll know that these things happen. The least likely thing you’d expect to happen is going to happen. Phil joins Napalm while Barney sings for Extreme Noise Terror – to the public it looks quite bizarre, but knowing Dean like I know him he probably thought it was a good chance to get ENT back in the press a little bit. Not in a bad way, but that’s the sort of thing Dean would do y’know.
I was barely even aware Extreme Noise Terror had carried on. Yeah, their last couple of albums were very death metal-orientated. I like bands that progress and do what they want but ENT doing death metal is kinda weird when you remember the old stuff they used to do. Early ENT for me was great y’know.
Why did Napalm Death leave Earache Records? We had one more album to go and I think our manager had put in for some walloping great advance that no way did (Earache owner) Dig [Pearson] want to pay. Record sales at that point weren’t what they used to be for him and we just seemed to be clashing all the time. To be blatantly honest, we did a tour of the States for Words From The Exit Wound (1999) and the advertising budget was so pathetically low people there barely knew the album was out. So it was just like, “We’ve been on your label so long it doesn’t seem like you care too much anymore. You seem like you’re more interested in Pulkas or Dub War or something like that.” And whatever, again, everyone has a right to move forward so we realised it was time for us to get away. It was a shame in some respects that it happened but it probably needed to happen. There was a lot of bad words exchanged, especially between me and Dig, and Barney as well. Christ, I’ve known Dig since mid-’86. There was a lot of bad blood there and I guess things stayed that way for a few years and then there was a few unresolved matters that we managed to patch up, which is a good thing. I mean, when it was first suggested that they would release the Napalm Death Best Of album (Noise For Music’s Sake - 2003) we didn’t know whether we wanted to get involved. But then my thing was, they’re going to put it out anyway so far better to get involved with it and make the packaging and everything as good as it can be. Earache was once the greatest metal label on the planet, then it totally fucked up and released some real dog shit. Yeah, it’s a tough one really. I always felt Earache should’ve stuck to what it did best but I think Dig got to the point where he had all these so-called originators or whatever and didn’t need anymore – that’s kind of a bad way to think. There was a period around the mid-nineties where there were these, I don’t know, I call them experimental albums. No disrespect to bands like Dub War, they are a fine band in what they do, but it seemed like the guy was spending so much of Earache’s budget on them and was neglecting the bands that helped build the label. I thought that was a little unfair but whatever, it’s in the past and we’re still around and that’s all that matters I guess. What are the priorities for Napalm Death, and how have they changed over the years? We don't have any priorities really. We just do what we do, we kind of exist outside all the scenes that there are. We’re lucky because we can play to a hardcore crowd, a metal crowd, we can play with pretty much any band really and we have done in the past. Priority-wise I suppose we just hope we can make a decent album every time and hopefully it means something to people.
Terrorizer 2006: (LtoR) Anthony Rezhawk, Tony Norman, Pete Sandoval, Jesse Pintado
TERRORIZER. JESSE PINTADO INTERVIEW BY DANGER COOLIDGE.
n a laconic Latino-American drawl Jesse Pintado loosely explained his departure from Napalm Death and the relaunch of his groundbreaking grindcore band Terrorizer. He sounded kind of vague over the phone. Not wasted or anything, just a bit vague. But then again, it was late-July (2006), and he was stuck in Germany doing interviews on the hottest day that country has experienced in a hundred years. Nevertheless, the long-haired guitarist used his vagueness to dodge certain questions, in particular the real issues surrounding his
exit from Napalm. When I asked him directly about it he said, “I’ve heard so many rumours. I heard I was dead.” One month to the day of our interview, he died. On August 27th, 2006 Jesse Pintado was pronounced dead in a Netherlands hospital from “complications relating to a diabetic coma.” He was 37 years old. A pioneer of grindcore, Pintado made a name for himself on Terrorizer’s masterful 1989 album World Downfall, Downfall which also featured Oscar Garcia of Nausea (vocals/ guitar), and David Vincent (bass) and Pete Sandoval (drums) of Morbid Angel. From there he was poached by English grind godfathers Napalm Death, making his debut on 1990’s Harmony Corruption as that band experienced upheavals in personnel and a changing of their sound from grindcore to death metal. Playing in Napalm for fifteen years, Pintado was said to have become unreliable around the time of the recording of 2002’s Order Of The Leech. In April 2005 his guitar partner Mitch Harris told Aussie metal webzine
www.themetalforge.com, “He didn't actually leave the band; we sent him home. We knew that being in the band wasn't the right environment for his current state of mind so we sent him home to get some help and support from his family and stuff. “We waited for two years for him to get his act together. We gave him 200 million chances and he came back after two years, and his condition hadn't improved and we decided to let him go because he just became unreliable. It's a shame.” Jesse seemed to have landed on his feet though. Having struck a deal with Napalm’s current label, Century Media, he and drummer Pete Sandoval set about reviving the long dormant Terrorizer. Just one week before Pintado’s death, the group’s second album, Darker Days Ahead, was released across Europe. Made seventeen years after its predecessor, it was definitely worth the wait. Sad that Jesse couldn’t stick around to enjoy the kudos. R.I.P. Jesús “Jesse” Pintado: July 12, 1969 – August 27, 2006.
Why did you take so long to make another Terrorizer album? We always talked about it and the thing is we never really broke up. In LA at that time we were teenagers and to play a club you had to be 21 and over because they served alcohol. So we could never play clubs so what we did is we played a couple of parties here and there or played youth clubs and benefits and stuff. So after a while I used to run a fanzine called Filth and I used to tape trade and was good friends with Trey (Azagthoth – Morbid Angel guitarist), still am, and he asked me if I knew a good drummer just for a session. I said yeah, Pete (Sandoval)! Then Pete moved to Florida to be in Morbid Angel and he ended up staying. So we still made World Downfall together and after that I got the call from England and Napalm Death because I had been tape trading with Shane Embury their bass player and Mick Harris their drummer. Mick’s like, “Come over ‘cos Bill Steer can’t do it, he’s going to university.” So I went over, thinking it was just for the one tour, and I stayed. I did one tour as the only guitarist before Mitch Harris came over and joined as second guitarist. Can I ask about your departure from Napalm Death and why that came about? Maybe at that time it wasn’t meant to be. It was a difficult time, not that it was difficult. The departure was a mutual thing. We lived together, we toured together and sometimes you don’t want to be together. I moved to Holland and y’know, when you live together for that amount of time you could get in an argument here or there. With Terrorizer, we work in different ways. There’s three writers in Napalm, or four, actually. In Terrorizer there is only two writers. It’s less complicated. We grew up together, it’s cool, we’re buddies, Terrorizer is simple. So then why haven’t you made an album in seventeen years? That’s a good question but I guess everybody moved their own ways and this was about the right time. Is there any truth to the rumours that substance abuse issues were affecting your position in Napalm Death? I’ve heard so many rumours. I heard I was dead. I woke up and I was amazed! I heard I was dead, drug problems, I’ve heard everything. I could say the same thing about anybody
but y’know… There’s no truth to that. Maybe it got blown out of proportion somewhere along the line. Nowadays with the internet people talk all kinds of stuff. MySpace, stuff like that, man, people go crazy. If you have any, I wouldn’t say enemies, but people with nothing better to do, all they do is talk shit. So y’know, I don’t have time for that. Were the issues that led to the split quite complicated? Not really. We had lived together and there was a plan to sell the house so we all moved out. Mitch got married, we sold the house, things changed and I wanted to concentrate on my new life in Holland and take it from there really. When did you decide to relaunch Terrorizer? That’s been coming a long time. We always talked about it over the years. Every time Morbid Angel crossed paths with Napalm Death I’m like, “Oh Pete, we gotta do it, I got some new riffs.” He’s like, “Yeah, we gotta do it man.” But it was always a little bump here, a little bump there, but this time it came through. Did you feel you had to stay true to what Terrorizer had been? I thought about it, yeah. ‘Cos I know people are going to say something about it. They’re going to look for the differences between this record and the first record. But there is just a certain style to the band. We’re not trying to jump the wagon on black metal or death metal or nothing; it’s just a Terrorizer thing. That’s the way we play and that’s the way it is. Do you like the record? I think it’s the perfect follow on from World Downfall in terms of the songwriting but production-wise it obviously sounds cleaner and crisper. Well, the first record was recorded to eight-track and this one was recorded digital. So that would make a difference. Also, when we recorded the first album we didn’t have the equipment we have now. We didn’t have the means or whatever you want to call it. I think the first record sounds great. This one, I wouldn’t say it’s polished, but we have better equipment and all that. It’s obviously going to sound different and that’s what we wanted as well. It’s old school with a touch of modernness. Where is Oscar Garcia (original vocalist/guitarist) these
Original Terrorizer: (clockwise from left) Dave Vincent, Oscar Garcia, Jesse Pintado, Pete Sandoval
days and why didn’t he want to be a part of the new Terrorizer? Basically he’s a married guy and when it came to travelling he couldn’t do it. I don’t know if he was worried whether his voice would no longer hold up but he’s got a really good job and he just told me before we started recording, “Y’know, I’m not really interested.” He goes, “I’m interested but I cannot tour, I cannot do shows so why not get someone who’s into it, who’s willing to do it?” That’s what happened there - there’s no hard feelings. When we were recording in Florida he would hear every song over the telephone. He’s like, “Killer man, excellent.” What about Dave Vincent (former bassist and Morbid Angel frontman), did you ask if he was available? With Vincent, he was never really a member of Terrorizer; he just played on that first record. He didn’t want no connection this time around so we felt comfortable asking somebody else. It’s interesting that you’d recruit Tony Norman (Morbid Angel guitarist), keeping up the Morbid Angel connection. Well I’ve known him for a long time and I just called him up and was like, “Wanna play bass and a bit of guitar?” - because there’s always twin guitars in Terrorizer - and he said, “Yeah, fuck yeah.” At first Frank (Watkins) from Obituary was going to play bass but they had some shows coming up or something, they were going on tour and we only had a certain amount of time. Because Norman is in Morbid Angel and he has the same schedule as Pete, it worked out. New singer Anthony Rezhawk has got the perfect voice for Terrorizer, where did you meet him? I’ve known him growing up. They had a band called Resistant Militia like back in the mideighties, a punk band. I played with those guys before Terrorizer. They still have a band called Resistant Culture, you gotta check them out, they’re killer. So when Oscar told me he wasn’t going to be able to do it I’m like, man, who can we get? I was thinking of LG (Petrov) from Entombed or somebody of that nature and then I’m like, Ah, what about Tony? So I talked to him and he’s like, “Fuck yeah, let’s go to Florida and do it.” Anthony also did the cover art, which very much ties in with the old spirit of the band. He works for Walt Disney as an art designer. He does graphics on cartoons and games; he’s a computer freak designer. He had different designs for the cover but some of them were too much so we went with that one. We’re anti war and all that but having really extreme images means people could take it the wrong way, especially with a name like Terrorizer. Having a name like Terrorizer is almost like free advertising - you put that word out there and people are like, “What? Terrorizer? Terror? Terrorists?” Why did you sign with Century Media and not go back to old home Earache?
Basically Century Media is the best going metal label at the moment and Earache rips off people. I don’t wanna go there. Plus, Earache are not even interested in this type of music anymore, they’re into techno and different stuff. Century Media is full-on metal and it was the logical choice. I’ve known the guys here for a while and they were into what we do so it makes sense. Earache weren’t good businessmen and they ripped us off big time. Who, Terrorizer or Napalm Death? Both – double whammy! They still have the rights to release World Downfall unfortunately. We’re looking into getting it back but I don’t think it would sell. It wouldn’t be worth putting all the effort into getting it back and re-issuing it I don’t think.
Jesse Pintado discography
1989: Terrorizer – World Downfall 1990: Napalm Death – Harmony Corruption 1991: Napalm Death – Peel Sessions II (live) 1991: Napalm Death – Mass Appeal Madness EP 1991: Napalm Death – Death by Manipulation (EP compilation) 1992: Napalm Death – Live Corruption (live) 1992: Napalm Death – Live Corruption (VHS) 1992: Napalm Death – The World Keeps Turning EP 1992: Napalm Death – Utopia Banished 1993: Napalm Death – Nazi Punks Fuck Off 7” 1994: Napalm Death – Fear, Emptiness, Despair 1994: Napalm Death – Hung EP 1995: Napalm Death – Greed Killing EP 1996: Napalm Death – Diatribes 1996: Napalm Death – Cursed To Tour split w/At The Gates 1997: Napalm Death – Inside the Torn Apart 1997: Napalm Death – Breed To Breathe EP 1997: Napalm Death – In Tongues We Speak split w/Coalesce 1998: Napalm Death – Bootlegged in Japan (live) 1999: Napalm Death – Words From The Exit Wound 1999: Napalm Death – Leaders Not Followers EP 1999: Lock Up – Pleasures Pave Sewers 2000: Napalm Death – The Complete Radio One Sessions (live) 2001: Napalm Death – Enemy Of The Music Business 2001: Napalm Death – The DVD 2002: Napalm Death – Order Of The Leech 2002: Lock Up – Hate Breeds Suffering 2003: Napalm Death – Noise for Music's Sake (Best Of and rarities 2-CD) 2004: Napalm Death – Leaders Not Followers: Part 2 2004: Napalm Death – Punishment in Capitals (live) 2004: Napalm Death – Punishment in Capitals (DVD) 2005: Lock Up – Live in Japan (live) 2006: Terrorizer – Darker Days Ahead
How does World Downfall sound now when you listen back to it? Like I was saying before, with the equipment we had and the resources we had that was the best we could do. Maybe we got lucky, maybe we just wrote good songs or maybe it was influenced by brutality, but that’s the way that happened. Now we can sit down a little bit more and figure out what we want to do. You grow and change, but the music is still Terrorizer and that’s the most important thing. Are there going to be any live shows, are you even equipped to play live? We’re equipped to play live, we might do some Christmas festivals or something. There are two shows that are supposed to happen here in Germany in November. We’re supposed to headline but I don’t know if they’re going to be able to provide the set-up that we’ve asked for. We want screens and we want all kinds of crazy stuff. What kind of shows did Terrorizer play back in the day? We started out playing backyard parties and benefit shows. We played this one show at a youth club and they couldn’t charge money because it was a government institution and it was a free entrance so this lady that ran the place said, “It’s a benefit so why don’t we charge kids four tins of food.” We’re like, “Four tins of food, what do you mean?” She’s like, “Beans or rice or vegetables, anything in a tin, just four tins per person.” The gig was sold out. Imagine 800 people all bringing four tins each? There was all these punkers with fucking beans and ravioli and spinach and spaghetti hoops! We had half a normal sized room stacked to the roof and it was all given to the homeless. That kind of thing shows you that we were coming from a hardcore and punk background. You can hear plenty of that in the mix of styles that Terrorizer do. Yeah, it’s just a mixture of the old hardcore and punk and then I got into metal and then it became grindcore and I don’t know… as long as it’s fast and extreme I don’t give a shit.
TWIN CITY FACT
Twin City Faction: (LtoR) Chris, DG, Jimmy, Grant, Johnny
IF SOMEONE TOLD YOU SYDNEY’S TWIN CITY FACTION STARTED OFF AS A GIMMICK YOU’D DIDN’T BEGIN LIFE AS A PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE. SURELY ONE OF AUSTRALIA’S TOP PUNK ROCK ACTS PUT TO REST YEARS AGO… DRUNKEN JOKE? WELL, UNBELIEVABLY, IT DID AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN
he best way to get to the bottom of all this crazy talk was to ply a couple of band members with booze and get them to start talking; enter front man Chris City and guitarist/vox man Jimmy Fatal. Location; The Townie in Newtown. “Jimmy and I were drunk and I decided we were going to start a band and we were going to play five shows, we were only going to rehearse five times for the five shows and that was it,” recalls Chris. “Yeah,” continues Jimmy, “we thought it would be a laugh to play these low key, crazy punk shows, like start this crazy punk band just do five shows and then disappear. But we ended up having too much fun and we started writing cool songs. It was all meant to be throwaway, just disposable.” And crazy punk it is my friends. The immense intensity of Scandinavia’s JR Ewing (no, not the oilcore king, the hardcore kings) and the unadulterated no holds barred rock ‘n’ roll motherfucker-ism of The Hellacopters, there’s even a smack of The Bronx in there too, if you can believe such goodness. There’ll only be a select few amongst you than can claim to have been there on the fateful night of The Faction’s first ever gig back in 2002. It was a rainy night and the venue was quite cramped… “The first proper gig we played was in a friend’s lounge room in Manly on a long weekend,” Chris remembers fondly. “It was Good Friday, pissing down with rain and we got every friend we knew and shoved them all into the lounge room and wheeled all our amps in there. It’s the show that
sticks out most in my mind, even now. We always have an intro at the start of our set and those words were going around in my head, I started off shouting ‘We are the Twin City Faction!’ and remember just going into it with all these faces looking at us going, what the fuck?!” “It was fucking awesome,” Jimmy pipes up, “because no one had seen us play before and they didn’t know what to expect. They didn’t know our music or anything. It was pretty funny; people were standing like an inch away from us.” Thankfully not long after sense was seen, and with the release of their first EP, the ‘five show only’ nonsense was put to bed. “With the first CD we pressed it all ourselves,” says Chris. “I think that’s one of the things that helped us when we started, people asked us what did we sound like and we were able to go, ‘Here, have a CD’.” After settling on the line up of Chris City, Jimmy Fatal, DG (Damo) Chambers on guitar, Grant City on drums and Johnny Faction on bass, all seemed right with the world for the couple of years that followed. EP number two, Your Secret’s Safe With Me… And All My Friends in 2004, saw TCF play to bigger crowds and it looked like TCF was here to stay.
But then unsettling rumours started doing the rounds in early 2006 that there was friction in The Faction camp and that they were to play their last show at the Empire Hotel in July. But the tears in our beers were premature. Mercifully it was just an unexplained bad patch they were going through. “We hadn’t jammed for ages and we were playing like shit,” admits Jimmy. Chris agrees, “Yeah we were really messy, I was kind of over it actually, I think we all were. That Empire gig was going to be our last for a while but I think someone must have read that wrong on a forum
Words By Mar Garvey. Pics by Mel Gathercole.
CK IN ACTION… somewhere and everyone thought we were breaking up.” Then came the good patch, the very good patch. In fact, they were all a bit taken aback themselves, as Chris explains, “I don’t know what happened, it was like an explosion. We started writing all these songs in a row really fast late last year.” The result boys and girls? Why, a brand spanking new album, of course! Locked In is just about to be released on fledgling independent label Deathshed Records, headed by Paint It Black shop co-owner Will Bastard. And if you like the good old days of vinyl on your stereo as well as on your kitchen floor, then get out ye olde record duster because Locked In is going to be on limited old school wax too. Chris wasn’t going to have it any other way really. “Will’s going to be pressing CDs and vinyl. It’s going to be a pretty short run but I was adamant about the vinyl. The first lot of vinyl we’re only going to do 100. So I think we’re going to do something cool with the covers, maybe hand number them or something.” “Chris is like ‘it’s only coming out on vinyl!’” laughs Jimmy, “and I was like, “Well, okay, where are we going to get it done, no one’s going to buy it so why even bother! Kids will be like, ‘what’s a turntable?’” I love vinyl too but if we’re
going to record it we need to get it out there.” So with a victory for vinyl, all that was left to do was to write a few songs. Easy! Or at least Chris makes it sound easy. “We wrote about eight or nine songs over the space of a couple of months. It was last Christmas holidays, we went into the studio, got a slab of beer, you know how it is! The studio we rehearse at is on the beaches at Brookvale, Scene Around Sound, it’s a pretty funny place.
“IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, MOST GREAT PUNK RECORDS HAVE BEEN A 7-INCH. T HERE’S NOT THAT MANY FULL LENGTHS THAT CAN MAKE IT THE WHOLE WAY.” – CHRIS CITY It’s a pretty relaxed atmosphere and we just get to hang out and do whatever we want.” The twelve songs the guys decided on is proof that it wasn’t all relaxing and boozing in the studio, far from it. “I think our album sounds like three 7-inches. I reckon you could split it up,” states Chris, not that he’s obsessed with vinyl or anything…
“Some of the songs come out of stupid shit we’ve been saying while having beers, or just topics in general we’ve been talking about. The next week I’ll usually come in and say, ‘Alright this is what the song is going to be called, this is what the chorus is.’ “In the end it only takes two jams then we’ve got the song pretty much how we want it to sound. Some songs we spend ages working on but I like to throw them away if it’s taking too long.” They’re conscious too of having fun and not being over enthusiastic when it comes to fancy chords or riffs, as Jimmy admits. “They’ve got to be fun to play, we don’t like to play anything that’s too hard. I like to write stuff that I know will feel fun to play on the guitar as
affecting us you know. I think the lyrics are a reflection on how old we are and what affects us.” He gives title track “Locked In” as an example. “It’s just around and around and around, this vicious circle we seem to get ourselves into. The more money you make the more bills you’ve got, the more bills you’ve got the more in debt you are. You just don’t seem to get out of this cycle. And whether it’s people who have gone out and bought something with interest free terms and they default on it, or if they’ve gone out and bought a house, people just get stuck in these circles. I mean people are now paying more out of their weekly wage on living expenses than they ever have in Australia before. You read lyrics of bands and so often got these themes that are so alien to where the band is coming from.” “I mean you can’t sing with any conviction something that’s not happening to you,” adds Jimmy. Don’t worry though, if you’re debt and mortgage free then there’s still something on this album for you. Take arseholes for example, who doesn’t know one of those? Even if it is
“WE’RE NOT A BAND THAT WANTS TO PULL A MILLION HEADS. WE JUST WANT TO HAVE A GOOD TIME AND MAKE SURE EVERY GIG IS MEMORABLE.” – JIMMY FATAL “If you listen to the album the songs try to be quite different from each other. I think it breaks it up. I reckon when it’s on vinyl there’ll be like a more rockier side and a more grindier side.” We get it Chris; you’re down with the vinyl! “If you think about it, most great punk records have been a 7-inch. There’s not that many full-lengths that can make it the whole way. There was talk of taking some songs off this album and maybe putting out a 45 12-inch or a 7-inch, but it ends up getting too expensive.” Chris leaves the vinyl issue aside for a moment to tell us that in the TCF camp everyone’s involved in songwriting and that it just wouldn’t work any other way. “We’re all involved. Jimmy normally comes in with the riffs and then plays it to us. There will be just bits and pieces of songs, then we’ll start arranging them. I can’t write music but I help arrange by saying, ‘This bit here, that bit there,’ y‘know.” “Yeah,” Jimmy butts in, “Chris isn’t a musician!” “He likes to say this all the time!” retorts Chris. “Then Grant will drop some beats on there, Johnny will just sort of travel along backing Grant up. Then we always say Damo drops the gravy on there, just on top. He always brings out something, some melody or some riff over the top that just makes it sound awesome. Then I start squawking over the top and playing with different ideas.
well as sounding good. Because we’re such a physical band, when we play a lot of the riffs are physical to play. I know that there’s movement in them, with your body and that’s how you’ll get them to sound a certain way.” Chris might not be the note writer amongst them, but when it comes to the lyrics, he’s your man. “Sometimes I can see a bit of graffiti on a wall and that will trigger my thought process, or I’ll read a book. I read that book The Dice Man from the seventies and at the same time I was listening to a whole lot of stuff on the radio about choice and how we think we’re surrounded by all this choice and really we’re so limited to one or two things. So the ideas for songs come from all those places. “I try to make most of our songs mean something or say something. Some of them might be a little bit ambiguous but they’ve always pretty much got a meaning behind them. I always try to make them a little bit tongue-in-cheek as well.” “I just like the way you deliver stuff as well,” adds Jimmy. “It’s so cliché in punk to say, ‘Fuck the system, smash this, fuck that.’ We don’t really do that.” And as with all of us, the old bastard Father Time is slowly catching up and making a definite impact on Twin City lyrics and sentiments, which can be a good thing as Chris tells us. “I think we’re getting a little older as well. Some of the lyrics I wrote back when I was twenty were a lot different to what I’m writing about now. I try to write about things that are
your own. “The song “Make Sense Tomorrow,” that came around that same time at Christmas, after the Cronulla riots,” reveals Chris. “It was just so disappointing that it came to that. I think just what it showed is that it doesn’t matter where you’re from, if you’re an arsehole, you’re an arsehole. You watch these shows on the TV about it afterwards, on Four Corners or whatever, and they’re trying to make sense of it. It doesn’t matter what side of the fence people are on, it just doesn’t make sense. I tried to give that an Australian theme and a feel to it. One of the songs at the end of the CD, I have a spoken word thing.” “The rant!” Interrupts Jimmy. “Yeah, the rant!” he continues. “I was just so conscious of trying to sound Australian, even my accent. I mean you hear bands that sound American or English as soon as they start singing. Even in my delivery I made sure I sounded Australian, without being a caricature of myself, but I think that’s important. You need that to be identified as being Australian. “I think that maybe makes us quite different too.” He goes on, “A lot of people that come and see us are our age but there there’s a lot of people who come and see us that are way younger. Maybe they don’t connect as much
with what we’re saying but I think they do, I think a lot of our themes are pretty universal.” To be at a TCF show, as those in the know will know, even on an average night is usually to feel every fibre under your skin stand on end, giving you a warm tingling feeling, kind of like an electric shock, except in a good way. Like someone reviving you internally with some kind of audio probe. I’m sure you’ll agree that at times other bands can hardly compare, which can be a bit of a challenge when it comes time to decide on shows to play and who to play with, as Chris explains, “It is hard to figure out who would suit us to play with. I think the last really fun gig we had was at the Lansdowne with Pure Evil Trio and New Justice Team and Crime Spree I think. That was heaps of fun.
“So it really depends on who’s around as far as picking who we’ll play with. It depends on the crowd too. I remember back in the day it wouldn’t matter what sort of band you were in you could play with all sorts of bands, metal bands, death bands, punk bands, hardcore bands and people would just get into it no matter what. It seems a bit different now, it’s quite cliquey. In a way that’s good for us but in a way it makes it a little bit harder. But we try not to play all of the time too.” As Jimmy says, that’s definitely something that harks back to the early days. “Because it was only going to be the five gigs at the start we just adopted this guerrilla tactic, just going in and super promoting one show and then not playing for two or three months. We wanted to make our shows more of an event rather than picking up street press and going ‘Ah, Twin City Faction are playing again.’ I mean, we do play but we’re always playing around in different places.” Something else that stems back to the band’s beginnings is the kind of venues they feel most at home playing. Chris admits that they’d rather be in your face than appreciated from afar. “I think in small venues with real up close stages is where Faction plays best. If we play on big stages it just feels alien. Other bands can pull it off but we just can’t I don’t think. I mean I love places like “22” [R.I.P] or there used to be The Clubhouse in Glebe but that’s closed down. “I think when there’s no stage and there’s people all around you, it doesn’t matter if there’s thirty people there you can have this awesome show. But then when you play these huge rooms it’s not so much fun. We played The Gaelic Club when Vitamin X was here and it was the worst vibe.” Jimmy wholeheartedly agrees. “When it comes to gigs we always talk about
picking and choosing our shows a little bit better. To make sure we do shows that are a little bit more intimate or where you can better connect with people and things like that. We’re not a band that wants to pull a million heads. We just want to have a good time and make sure every gig is memorable.”
over america In August 2006 the reformed Radio Birdman embarked upon their first ever US tour. Drummer Rusty Hopkinson kept this UNBELIEVABLY Bad tour diary.
Auckland [NZ] - August 28 S
o it is that Radio Birdman sets off for it’s inaugural American tour. There’s been a four-week slog around Australia including some shows with The Bellrays, who prove to be not only a very hard act to follow but also some of the sweetest folk you’ll meet. Australia has got the Birdman jet engines running smoothly. We’ve got 30 gigs in 36 days across the US of A and Europe, but first we convene at Sydney Airport with the not-sosmall matter of an Auckland gig to contend with before we hit the land of readily available Pacifico Beer and more record shops that one can poke a stick at. We land in Auckland and are, of course, met by Mr. John Baker - New Zealand Rock impresario, White Stripes tour manager, Pretty Things enthusiast and all round beautiful human. We swing by the venue for tonight’s proceedings, The Kings Arms - a neat little drinker and venue with lovely, well-tattooed staff and some great coffee and sangers to get that 5am start out of the system. Soundcheck is quickly done with and we’re happy to get our arses to the hotel in the centre of town. Back to the gig, some cheeba is procured and all are excited to be getting proceedings underway. The gig itself is great. Whilst the room isn’t super packed, the locals give us a wonderful reception and we tear through the set with vigour, crammed onto the Kings Arms’ tiny stage like sardines. The band bounces off each other and the whirling Birdman dervish satisfies a hungry crowd. We bound of the stage happy and sweaty. 1 down, 29 to go. It could be a big night, but whilst I have a beer with some mates, I’m not looking for too much action. I head back to the hotel and soon my roommate, Mr. Rob Younger, and I are entertaining John Needham [manager], Jim [Dixon - bass] and Deniz [Tek - guitar]. John regales us with tales of European tour madness with the likes of Died Pretty and The Trilobites: stories of bad luck, insanity, booze and crazy rushes to make bizarre gigs follow, leaving us all exhausted and amused. We don’t leave NZ till late, so the day is spent strolling the streets of Auckland retiring to the relaxing surrounds of Real Groovy’s vinyl racks. Last time I was in town I pulled some heavy-duty rekkids outta the piles - a mono Downliners Sect album, Heinz Live At the Starclub and AK79 amongst others. Today I’m on a 45 hunt and soon I find myself with Larry’s Rebels version of “I’ll Make You Happy”, a seven inch of “Autobahn” and most amazingly a Rodd Keith single (THE song poem singer) amongst a hefty stack that sets me back not too many NZ rubles. Eventually Rob, Jim and Matt appear, we’re like moths attracted to a flame! We get to the airport and manage to get our large array of luggage and band gear onto the plane with only the minimum of fuss and financial pain. Soon I’m aboard a jumbo and relaxing down to a nice glass of wine, some of the finest prescription medicine known to man and the 13th Floor elevators on me iPod... g’night.
Always nice to turn up to a venue and see that they haven’t spelt the band’s name wrong!
bad DJ ruin what is normally one of my fave places to have a sly drink in a dark room. Still, I have a good chat with Deniz before retiring to some well-earned rest. Gig day, Jim and I kick around Kmart to buy tour essentials: bags of jocks and socks and a pair of cheap Dickies jeans for gig pants. We head off to Melrose but it’s hot and we don’t even make it to Pinks for a hot dog before we decide to head back. Time for soundcheck and it’s into the van and off to tonight’s gig - the very salubrious Wiltern Theatre. A guy from Creem is backstage and although the Creem tee I snag is the size of several tents, I do manage to swag myself a “Boy Howdy” beer can. “That’s going straight to the pool room,” I think to meself. Tonight’s bill is a cracker - Birdman, Bellrays, Burning Brides and an opener. The problem is that the Wiltern is MASSIVE. Holds 2500 folks and is more used to being home to big bands like Wilco or The Flaming Lips. We don’t have a hope in Hades of selling it out but we get a more than a respectable crowd. Later, a local scenester will complain that the venue and ticket price have scared away the punk contingent. I have to agree. The crowd is very lacking in bad Mohawks and The Business t-shirts - both an LA punk staple. I miss the ‘Brides but manage to catch The Bellrays wow their local crowd. Our gig is tight and tough and the crowd digs it. The band doesn’t gel as well on the mega theatre stage but we lock in eventually and rocknroll wins hands down. There’s a party downstairs and I manage to walk straight into Speedo and the San Diego contingent, much love is exchanged and it’s so good to see them motherfuckers. It’s an early start tomorrow but Deniz and Jim come over to me and Matty’s room, and, over Pacifico, regale us with tales of Deniz’ Indian mates and the curious tale of how Jim Dickson’s “Indian” name came to be “Snot On Face.”
Los Angeles - August 30 L
AX is a daunting place but we manage to get ourselves through the immigration thing pretty quickly, those couple of days spent at Sydney’s US consulate getting our working permits suddenly seem very worthwhile. Thankfully all the gear is accounted for and we maneuver our array of drums, amp heads, keyboards and other crap through customs without any problems. I love the smell of LA when you get out of the Airport - it’s when you know you’ve arrived. We wait patiently for our van and then we pile in. It’s a night off and I can think of about seventy places I’d like to go. A few of us head of to Farmers Market for the great Mexican grub and a poke around. I’m keen to head to El Carmen around the corner on Third for some Mexican beer and Tequila. Everybody is piking and then Den turns up and we head over to what has always been a favourite bar - killer booze and kickin’ Lucha Libre inspired decor. It’s still great, but the OC-like crowd and the
Pip tackles another weighty tome, as we wait for a vehicle to whisk us away from LAX.
San Francisco - August 31 U
p early and straight to LAX for a flight to San Fran, we stumble in and not only find ourselves with a huge excess baggage bill but also an hour delay. Mexican brekky time; stupid thing is, the crappy Baja Grill at LAX shits over any Mexican I’ve had at home. We land in SF and a vehicle finds us and transports band and gear to “The Great American Music Hall,” a fantastic place to play. It has all the echoes of the great SF ballroom scene of the sixties; I can imagine the ‘Elevators, Sir Douglas Quintet or The (Original) Charlatans tearing it up in this room. Soundcheck ends up a bit heated, with some onstage personality fire, but that’s part and parcel of the Rolling Birdman revue. The hotel is in walking distance and I eschew seeing the excellent supports for some downtime. A couple of hours later, we stagger into the venue and within minutes this very recognisable voice says, “Hey Rob,” and out leaps Jello Biafra and he follows us down to the band room. He’s a pretty fascinating guy and he holds court before excusing himself to let us get ready for our show. I’m quizzing John as to the paucity of beverages in the band room - it’s a sold-out show and I’m not trying to get all Nigel Tufnel on management but one would expect SOME kind of hospitality rider. John hands me a fax that has our entire rider on it, this has a single pen stroke through it denoting that the venue would not give us any of the trifles we like to have before we go onstage (i.e. a few beers, some wine and maybe a bottle of vodka for some pre gig shots). Words are exchanged and eventually a case of beer, some cheap vino and an even cheaper bottle of voddie are produced for our enjoyment. Meanwhile upstairs, 700 folks (plus guests) spend thousands on overpriced swill and I’m sure it’s not gonna break the venue’s bank to give us some drinks to whet our whistles. Stage time and the heaving crowd just go nuts, from “Do The Pop” to “New Race,” it’s a storming show and we bring the house down. It’s a sell-out and the crowded, sweaty room wants a rocknroll jamboree and we seem to supply the right jams for the evening - it’s the perfect venue and the onstage sound is rich and full. The kit joyously goes over at the end and I leave the stage sweaty and happy. It’s another really early start but I have a few beverages, bend Roy Loney’s ear and leave the venue to find pizza and beer. Finally the hotel is a safe haven for a few quiet drinks with Matty and Deniz and I finish the evening sitting on my fire escape, joint in hand, watching the passing trade go on down on the street below trying to decide what stories go with the human activity at 3am - hmmm, drug dealer or prostitute?
The Double Door - Radio Birdman, Brutal Truth AND an assortment of Liquors: What more do you want?
Seattle - September 1 P
ip Hoyle [keys] spends his working hours making sure that 16% of NSW’s population get adequate health care, and the kind of problems he would face in a normal day would make the average situation on a rocknroll tour seem like the merest of trifles. To put it simply, Pip is an incredible human; so prepared and calm in the face of a crisis. After a trying morning getting our gear onto the plane, we find that Pip’s suitcase of keyboard modules, power supplies and general stuff hasn’t arrived in Seattle and nobody can tell us where it might be or when it may turn up. I’m amazed at the serene aura Pip is exuding. I would be apoplectic if even my underpants were missing but Pip is very calm and is already thinking scenario B for his keyboard world by the time the van picks us up. Due to our early departure tomorrow, we’re not staying in Seattle but her sister Airport city Tacoma, a bland, depressed strip mall slice of sub urban America. I have an hour or two and sleep seems like a good choice. Around 3pm, we jump in the van for a ride to the El Corazon for soundcheck, but unbeknownst to us there’s an afternoon All Ages show on, so soundcheck will be late. I pass on a sit down meal; I just wanna check the drumset and then have a poke around the hip area up the Hill. I’m thinking Fallout Records and Comics until I’m reminded that it closed years ago - d’oh! The venue is a fair-sized concrete box next to the freeway and anywhere decent is a fair hike, so I decide to stay put and make some enquiries about supplies for tonight. The last band of the All Ages gig is grinding away on some sub stoner shit to a handful of fanzineclutching, fresh faced Seattle youth and I end up sittin’ there watching and, as always on a rock tour, waiting for something to happen. The Matinee is over and I help the crew with the gear and get my drumkit all set up nice
and pretty looking. Pip is furiously trying out the internal settings on his keyboard to see if he can summon up some sounds for tonight’s gig. All of his sounds are in a module in a suitcase whose whereabouts are unknown. The problem seems to be getting solved but once the guitarists strap on their weapons and start gunning the amps, Pip has to throw his hands in the air and walk off. He doesn’t seem too happy about proceedings. Soundcheck is long and the shallow depth of the room and concrete walls are playing hell with the onstage sound. But hell, it’s like my grandma always said - shit soundcheck/great gig. We head back to the hotel to refuel and the supplies I’ve located have me and Rob smiling with red, red eyes. We walk down the Tacoma strip looking for food but this is the badlands and after 8pm all the bad takeaways are drive-thru only and the car parks are full of people who may or may not be involved in gang-related activities. We see a hold-up take place at a servo in the distance and pretty soon the whole place is swamped with cops and curious gang-bangers getting a look see. I decide to forgo a bad hamburger and grab a sanger back at the gig and make my way past the hookers parading outside the local Chinese restaurant to my room to wait for the bus to rocknroll central. Back to the gig. Past the Boeing factory and down into the hothouse that is tonight’s venue, the room is packed and very hot. It’s one of those gigs where time seems to slow down, it’s almost otherworldly. The crowd morphs into a heaving mass of tattoos, piercings and rocknroll haircuts. Crowd members yell out song titles like orders barked from the trenches. The band stays on course, driving this juggernaut through the 75 minutes of old and new. By the time the band hits “New Race,” we are raving at full pace and the crowd is with us all the way. We collapse back up the stairs to the band room and enjoy a beverage. An old friend has turned up who I haven’t seen in years and it’s that perfect moment of contentment, the job is done for the day and I can relax back to talk about stuff, beer in hand, happy and tired.
Chicago - September 2 U
p early to wince at the coffee on offer in the complimentary “continental” breakfast at the Travelodge reception and we wait and wait and wait whilst Chris [Masuak - guitar] says goodbye to his folks, who’ve driven down from Canada to say g’day. The local promoter guy is looking at his watch nervously - we gotta get 9 people and 39 pieces of baggage on a flight to Chicago in an hour. Once Chris turns up, we jump in the Club wagon and hightail it to the airport. We rush our gear onto the flight, with the help of curbside check in, and the assistant at the desk is so flustered trying to get us on the flight that she forgets to charge us the obligatory grand worth of excess baggage. Boarding pass in hand, it’s a mad scramble for the gate and I just manage to get myself on. We land in Chicago and a quick count is done of the gear, all is accounted for apart from Pip’s missing case. I quip that at least we made it without losing anything else. Pip looks at me and dryly says, “What, apart from Jason?” I look around and see that we are one stage tech short. In the rush Jase missed the plane and won’t be hitting Chicago till this evening. Executive decisions need to be made and Pip and I decide to forgo the hotel and just head straight to the gig to help out Matty with the gear. The Double Door is a long, low room and it will be packed. The stage is pretty small and we spend some time trying to do the mental arithmetic required to work out just how the six-piece Birdman and the load of backline are gonna fit on the stage. The PA folk are still mucking around with the PA and unrolling leads, so I see this as a good time to make my way to Reckless Records up the road. I find some great, smutty 60’s comedy records on the Laff label and I’ll be the first to admit that I am chuffed to be able to cross the first Skillet and Leroy record off my wants list. An eternity follows, but finally the rest of the band arrives and we check. Volume will be a problem on this stage but no one is gonna turn down; that doesn’t seem to be the Birdman way. Some tempers are flaring, and not all the onstage issues are settled by the time the sound guy starts making throat-cutting gestures. Back to the hotel to call home and stare at the ceiling for an hour. Great bill tonight, one of my fave current groups SSM is playing and the DJ is cutting loose with some great 45’s like “Hot Smoke and Sassafras” by The Bubble Puppy. SSM carve it up and their Silver Apples-meets-garage sound is most pleasing to this writer’s ear. Chicago is chaos onstage, the sound is awful and equipment is failing all around me but the band powers through a typical set and the sold-out room goes bananas. The room is boiling and I’m feeling weak approaching the twin peaks of “Maelstrom” and “Come So Far,” but I make it through and a second wind pushes me all the way home through a completely out there “Golden Helmet” that seems to almost hit a Beefheartian skronk-zone before we close out the set with “Search and Destroy” and “New Race.” A few drinks and then we’re outta there.
Detroit - September 3 M
uch to our collective relief we are no longer flying everyday. We now have a van and a truck to transport ourselves and our gear. Tonight is a big night: Detroit with both the Dirtbombs and Mudhoney in support. Before this it’s a few hours in the van. It’s a bit cramped and we have a new traveller amongst our midst, Travis is a man mountain who’s covered in the traditional array of rocknroll tattoos and piercings. He’s a sweet guy and he’s here to sell our merch in punterland. After a drawn-out stop at Denny’s we wind our way through Illinois into Michigan. We’re headed for Ann Arbor, this will be our port of call for the next couple of days; tomorrow being Labor Day and a day off with no show and no traveling. After a quick hotel stop we make our way to the gig. We’re running late and soundcheck will be missed - it shouldn’t matter too much. We seem to be in cruise control mode at the moment. In fact, by the time we squeeze into the bandroom the first band is on stage and the bandroom is crowded with various members of Mudhoney and the ‘Bombs. Pip tutts at the cigarette smoke and beats a hasty retreat to a cafe to escape the fumes. I’m happy to see a whole gang of friends, especially Mudhoney bassplayer Guy Maddison, who I played in a punk band back in Perth some twenty years ago. Gig wise, both the Dirtbombs and Mudhoney are amazing. I actually think Mudhoney kinda blew us away... the crowd just loooovvveeed them (and so did I), they are tight and loud and great. It’s our turn and
If every venue had a jukebox where you could play Esquerita whilst waiting for soundcheck, the world would be a better place.
I quickly get the drumkit happening and tell the tattooed monitor girl that all I’ll be needing is some kick and snare in my fill, the rest will roar at me off the stage like always. A quick shot of vodka with the lads and then we climb onto the Majic Stick stage to give it some. The crowd is responsive but perhaps a bit more reserved than the last few nights. We work hard though and by the time we stride back for the encore the crowd are firmly on our side and the final blast of “New Race” gets the whole joint heaving. Relief, it’s a day off tomorrow and we sink a few beverages and I banter with Mick Collins about Vic Simms and Ben Blackwell about the Muldoons. I wish we were staying in Detroit so I could head out on a drink with Guy (who’s pointing me in the direction of a good bar ‘round the corner) but we have to make the 75-mile trip back to Ann Arbor. Me and Matty manage to sweet-talk some take away beers out of the bar gals and I hit the hay tired, half-drunk yet feeling strangely refreshed.
Ann Arbor - September 4 T
here is the offer of a BBQ at Deniz’s bro’s house but I don’t wanna step in a van or feel like socializing. For me today is about laundry, catching up on emails and lying on my bed staring at TV. I succeed, and, with Jase and Matt in tow, hit the Bob’s Big Boy for some diner food before continuing to wallow in my own crepulence.
Cleveland - September 5
p early to hit the road with Cleveland in our sights. Tonight’s venue is a U favourite - The Beachland Ballroom - and I know it’s gonna be a fun gig. First we head into Ann Arbor proper, I find food and Deniz points me in the direction of a neat little rekkid
store - quality records are purchased, Jimmy Lynch The Funky Tramp is a very cool looking
African-American comedy record, whilst Go Go With Buddies is a great hotrod instrumental album and I walk out of there with handful of albums and a smile on my face. It’s a few hours and then we’re combing the streets of Cleveland looking for the venue, an old community hall that’s been turned into a killer band joint with great kitsch decor and not one but TWO killer jukeboxes. I grab a soda and start pumping quarters into the juke out the back - Esquerita, Sir Douglas Quintet, The Choir all tumble out of the ancient speakers and all is good in the world. I’m trying to buy a tee-shirt for my mate Timmy who loves this place as much as I do, and Mark the owner informs me that they have a bunch in the downstairs RECORD STORE!!?? Oh yeah! Mark tells me they just opened a little second-hand store and there’s loads of cheap 45’s. One hundred dollars later I am surveying a huge pile that includes ? & The Mysterians, Tim Tam and The Turn Ons, The Del Vetts, The Bubble Puppy, Ted Taylor, The Wailers (no not B. Marley!!) and loads more. Phew. Soundcheck is completed and after a lovely home-cooked meal we venture back to the hotel to relax. I just know Cleveland is gonna go nuts and the crowd are already doing so when I rock in to see the New Bomb Turks going ga ga in front of an appreciative home crowd. By the time we go on, the room is packed and in one corner there is an entire punk rock family squeezed against the stage, punk mum and dad (who look old enough to have seen the Pagans) and two boys and a girl all in punk finery. Ahhh family bonding is a beautiful thing. The crowd are animals tonight and the solid sound system holds up well and onstage all is fine. Me and Pip share a few smiles. Deniz and I lock into “Locked Up” and push that beast all the way. The band fires on all cylinders and Rob’s dancing is outta control. Me and Chris lock eyes and start the nightly count off to “New Race,” he wants to keep me on the leash but I send it off into the stratosphere at mach 3 and the kids in the crowd belt each other senseless in delight. I end up getting pretty drunk and can vaguely recall badgering someone about how the Pagans and the Cleveland scene were the true working class heroes of American punk. A joint does the rounds and the friendly natives are happy to have us in their world. I love Cleveland, and if you are ever in town drop by and have a pint of Crooked River Ale and tell ‘em Rusty sent ya!!!
Washington DC - September 6 U rgghhhhh, call this first hangover of the tour. I miss my alarm call and find myself with ten minutes to hit the shower, throw on some clothes and jump in the van. I feel quite shit but some codeine and my PSP help me while away a few hours. Lunch is not to everyone’s liking, the day’s long drive means a sit-down meal is not appropriate and a quickly scarfed snack is all we have time for. Some find this to be not to their liking and opinions are raised but I couldn’t give a fuck, I really, really couldn’t. Just get me to the hotel and then to the gig and all will be good. After an eternity we arrive at our hotel, which is thankfully just around the corner from tonight’s gig. The Black Cat is in a new venue and is larger than the old version. The staff are icy cool DC fuckwits, which is something that hasn’t changed since the first time I came to this town. There are some stuck up motherfuckers here. I head out of the venue and stroll the Boulevard watching the daily grind go down. After a while I head back and help with
the kit. Soundcheck is unremarkable, the in-house system is great and the monitor guy very good, a surly motherfucker but as long as that drum fill is loud I couldnae give a flying fuck. Easy Action are opening, a tough punkish group made up of ex members of legendary Detroit groups like Negative Approach and the Laughing Hyenas. I was a huge NA fan as a hardcore kiddie, so I’m impressed. They’re a great sludge rock group and if you haven’t already, you should check ‘em out. The gig is pretty uneventful, a solid night but nothing that leaves an impression on me. The band is playing real tight now, and everyone is locking into a vicious grind. Pip is moved inside of Chris and this seems to balance the stage sound a bit better. The crowd is appreciative but after the excitement and absolute chaos of Cleveland, DC seems a bit average. The record company is here and we press the flesh and have a drink and a chat. I exit with Jim and we watch for a while as John Brannon, Easy Action’s very-near paralytic singer, tries to stuff a stinky old mattress into their van for him to sleep on, much to the amusement of all watching and the dismay of his fellow passengers. We leave John to his inebriated struggle and wander through the eerie, quiet streets to our hotel. Whilst the talent sleeps, management works.
Cambridge - September 9 U
p early and we’re out the door and heading towards Boston. It’s a dull drive broken up by some highway food and deep discussion about last night’s gig and the fact that no one has had a decent coffee in weeks. It’s straight to the gig in Cambridge, a student zone that’s a pumping little area full of cafes and shops and other crap. The Middle East is a restaurant and gig; the downstairs room is long and narrow and has a system that would appear to be decades old. No matter, it works and the sound onstage is pretty good. It’s another show with the Rogers Sisters and they play another great show. Their funky no wave jams seem to sit well with the crowd and we’re glad to have ‘em on the bill. The crowd isn’t huge tonight but it’s certainly not bad and once again, America is happy to welcome Birdman with open arms. There are certain points in the set where you can see this tremendous rush of excitement from the Birdman fans, to hear the roar of approval when one kicks into the surf drum intro of “Aloha” is a privilege I’ll never forget. The band is firing on high energy, driven by the fact that the room is insanely hot and soon we’re reduced to puddles of sweat. Sweat is literally dripping from the ceiling on to the kit and the crowd is in danger of engulfing the stage. At some point my foldback gives out but in the midst of the heat and energy, I don’t even notice. The encore is dispensed with utmost energy and abandon and the drum kit winds up in several pieces on the floor. We leave the stage to a roar of approval ringing in our ears. An impromptu party starts up and all manner of local scenesters are keen to hang out. It’s the usual gig ritual with drinks, laughs and Pip in the corner reading a book and waiting for everyone to get some sense and get in the van. Actually, tonight Pip is loosened up and has a couple of wines and at 2am the venue turfs us out into the street. Back to the hotel and then on to our last gig in the states.
Philadelphia - September 10 A
New York - September 7 I
t is to my annoyance that instead of the 10.30am leave I’d been informed of, nobody actually appears in the lobby (where I’d checked out and was waiting) until two hours later after changing their mind in my absence last night. Fuck I wish I had of jumped on the train with Pip. I’d desperately hoped we could avoid the NYC rush hour and get in at a reasonable time, and I am not in the finest mood by the time we depart at 1.00pm. The absence of a tour itinerary and the fact that it seems that preordained leaving times can change with the whims of members of the band is starting to do my head in. Why are we hanging around DC? We have A NIGHT OFF IN NYC and if I’m not chugging a margarita and listening to Ted Taylor in the sweet confines of the Jones Bar soon, I will be most annoyed!!! After an interminable drive, we finally crawl into traffic chaos in Lower Manhattan. Some directional chaos ensues before we find our way to the Sohotel off The Bowery, just seconds from loads of great places to go. A shower is quickly had and I grab Rob and Jim and head for the Jones Bar. This is one of my favourite places in the world and I’m thrilled to find that this Thursday the joint is unusually quiet and we can grab at a seat at the bar and order drinks without any effort whatsoever. A few rounds of margaritas later, we’re all nicely buzzed and the talk is light and humorous and we all keep finding things we wanna hear on the free jukebox. A waitress comes up and asks if one of us is Rusty, which I am! She hands me a phone and it’s my old buddy Mike Minto, “the powerpop king of Staten Island” on the line. He took a guess looking at our schedule and correctly guessed where I’d be! Am I that predictable? Mike turns up soon and has us all in stitches with his whirlwind of New York knowledge, love of music and sparkling wise-ass humour. After a few more drinks we traipse across the East Village towards Manitobas to meet up with Deniz, Pip and Chris. By the time we get there, the rest of the Birdman gang have long gone and Manitobas is a sterile environment after the cozy confines of Jones.
New York - September 8 A
day to run around NYC. Me and Jim grab some Matzoh ball soup at Katz’s Deli and then cruise around looking at record stores, music stores and whatever we pass by. Up through the East Village and then down west towards Broadway and beyond. I love a day strolling around this city. It’s a madhouse, but as madhouses go, it’s unreal! Tonight is Irving Plaza, a big room towards Midtown that I’ve had the pleasure of playing at a few times before. Soundcheck is as soundcheck does, utterly unremarkable. It’s Easy Action and the Rogers Sisters tonight. The Rogers may seem like a weird choice to some but it’s nice to play with a band that’s a bit different. I like watching Pip react to their post punk stylings in a positive manner and the final, long, loping, dubbish workout has us all silently getting into the groove. Soon it’s shots of vodka for all those that want one and then we jump down the stairs to hit stage. The large crowd roars in appreciation as we rip into a trio of high-octane classics from the seventies. I’m starting to see some familiar faces in the crowd, people who’ve been following us across the country. The band is getting tighter and tighter, the riffs are tougher, the beats faster, Pips hands a blur and Jim is locked into his wonderful loping groove. Rob flings himself around like a man possessed. I have an endless amount of respect for the way these guys do it every night; it makes you play better when everyone is on the same page in terms of energy and bloody-mindedness. New York is slayed and the crowd howls down every song till we leave “New Race” ringing in their ears. The night ends up with various scenesters hanging out in our band room until all of the booze, weed and cigarettes are long gone. Taxi!!
nother daylong drive punctuated by highway food and non-stop philosophical arguments between various members of the group. The highway is starting to blend into one long drag, staring out the window at strip malls and fields and highways and RVs and cars. It’s not just America, try driving around Germany or the UK or hell, even good old Aussie for a week, and you will find yourself bored by the constant similarity of everything you pass. Is that the same mall we passed 100 miles ago??? Case in point is our lunch destination, Cracker Barrel: a highway restaurant supposedly devoted to good ol’ home-style country cookin’. The fact that every one of these restaurants is an identical, pre-fab, faux rural building that looks and smells the same and seems to be populated with the same mix of elderly people in trucker caps and immense obese people, is an ironic twist that is seemingly lost on the local inhabitants. It’s passable food but you wish you could actually find a real, old school country cookin’ joint on the highway run by toothless hillbillies rather than this poor facsimile with it’s sad-faced Employee Of The Month display and waitresses who refer to you as “Hon” like they read it off a script. We make it to Philadelphia with an hour to spend at the hotel staring at the wall. Tonight’s gig is in a Unitarian Church built in the 17th century. Deep in the basement I come across the venue and am instantly reminded of the All Ages shows we used to put on in Melbourne in the punk scene in the early eighties. The promoter is some punk guy and he’s not really up to speed with putting on a proper professional rock show. A hire kit is supposed to be supplied to the specifications I send through. The only specification that our promoter seems to have followed is the word drumkit - the thing is an appalling piece of falling apart shit. The stands will barely hold my cymbals and the skins look older than the kit itself. Add to this the surly sound guy and completely inadequate foldback and you have an evening of frustration. There will be 500 people in the room tonight and the equipment is not up to scratch. In fact, the amps are buzzing and the bass rig looks like it has seen many better days. Soundcheck is frustration incarnate and I am not happy about the level of professionalism displayed by the promoter. All this would be fine if we were some bunch of young scruffs, but this is Radio Birdman and we’re supposed to be giving a show to a bunch of people who’ve never seen us before. The equipment is sub standard and the promoter doesn’t seem to give too much of a fuck. Great. Still, it’s time to hit the stage and we down a vodka and stride down the stairs into the sweltering basement venue. First song my seat collapses, second song the cymbal stand goes over. I am getting angrier and angrier as the drum kit refuses to hold together, but after twenty years of playing gigs I’ve learned to channel anger into the task at hand so the gig becomes righteously fast and furious. Nobody can hear themselves and from my point of view it sounds like a dull roar. By the time we hit the encore I’m completely enraged, overcome by adrenalin and frustration, and the final songs are played with murderous intent. I want to crush this awful drum kit into dust and be rid of this terrible stage sound. I return to the band room pretty inconsolable. I hate it when things don’t go right, and when Jim tries to cheer me up, I inform him that at this point I can’t handle his relentless positivism and I wish to brood in silence. I find a bottle of vino I’ve hidden in the rider and head back to the hotel to drink and lick my wounds. Tomorrow we leave America for the European leg of the tour. It’s infuriating that so many good gigs can be spoiled by one rotten egg, and the promoter seeming oblivious to the fact that the gig was substandard only makes it worse. I would dearly like to punch the smirk off his face, but I won’t. Tomorrow is another day and before long I shall be ensconced in the Angel Pub near Denmark St. on a night off with me good mate Joss Hutton. The States have been a success; Birdman has come through with flying colours. In the long run the frustrations of a poorly organised gig in Philly will fade, but the triumphs of San Fran, Detroit, Cleveland and NYC will live with me forever.
Tune in to the next issue of UNBELIEVABLY Bad for Part II: Radios Over Europe.
Beltsy’s Mindsnare / Mid-Youth Crisis / Blood Duster / etc. Scott “Beltsy” Pritchard interview by Sam Hill.
e is obsessed with metal, hardcore and punk rock, and plays guitar in some of Australia’s premier metal, hardcore and punk rock bands. Above everything else, is obsessed with AC/DC, with one whole arm-full of AC/DC tattoos – Bon Scott-era naturally. He doesn’t drink or smoke or take drugs, yet he has never labeled himself straightedge. He’s a good bloke, but he’s too humble sometimes when he’s being interviewed. His name is Scott, but for some reason everyone calls him Beltsy…
How’d you get the name Beltsy? Oh god, there’s nothing much to it, I used to do karate when I was a kid and one of my mates just started calling me Beltsy. It’s not really exciting at all; it just makes me sound like a cockhead when I explain it. Did you know there’s a Republic Of Beltsy in Moldova? Yeah, I know, I’m getting the postcode tattooed on me. Ben Godnose was the first one who told me about it. It’s apparently one of the poorest places in Europe. Comes with the name. How did you come to join Mindsnare in ‘94? They started in about ’93 and I used to just go and watch them. I think they played about five or six times before I joined but I was at every gig; this was when they were still called Mad Circle. I sorta knew Matt (Maunder – vocals) from going to shows and Bomber the drummer I had known for years. I basically knew everyone in the band and they knew I loved the band and so they just called me up one day when Skull, the old bassplayer quit. Annabel [previously on guitar] switched to bass and they asked me if I wanted to play guitar but then Annabel quit so Nigel (Melder – bass) joined. Nigel and me joined the band at the same time and in fact we were both meant to play our first show together but Nigel had fucked off to the snow or something so I had to play bass for my first show. Brad (Johnston – guitar) was still in the band then of course…
Was Under Fire your first recording session? Fully. I didn’t know what I was doing. We got there and I set up, recorded half the songs and I was getting into it and just starting to let the stress go a little bit. We were recording with Scott Harper who used to do a lot of the Melbourne bands back then. I got halfway through tracking and I see his face getting a bit weird and he’s like, “What’s that fuckin’ sound?” He’d found some sound he didn’t like in there and so I had to go back and record everything again. That sucked. I had never been in that situation before so I was freaking out a bit. I was stoked once it was done. I still love recording though.
Pic: Rod Hunt
It was Brad who wrote most of Mindsnare’s debut album Under Fire (1995), right? Yeah. There was one song on there that I had something to do with and something else that Nigel had something to do with but apart from that, musically it was all Brad.
By the time of the next Mindsnare album, Credulity (1997), you were writing most of the stuff, yeah? I had started to write some stuff with Brad when he was still in the band but I don’t know whether Brad hated the shit that was getting done or what happened really, but he left. By then we already had some new songs, it just took us a couple of years to get the album recorded. The first few years there were constant band member changes and that held everything up. From when Nigel and I joined, a year later Brad left, then we recorded a split EP with Toe To Toe and after that Bomber quit; so we never had a real steady line-up. As far as writing goes, there was a fair change in style from Under Fire to Credulity but that’s understandable because I wrote Credulity and Brad wrote Under Fire. There’s a big difference between those albums but it’s pretty much stayed on track ever since then. Around the time of Hanged Choked Wrists Slit (2001) Mindsnare went to Japan, how do you remember that? We went over for two weeks; that was full-on. We only did it because by this time Gordy (Forman – drums) had joined the band by then and he was touring Japan with Frenzal Rhomb and Nigel was the tour manager or something, so all we had to do was pay for me and Matt to fly over and organise the dates. That was the only way we could do it because Mindsnare has never got any money. So we did a few shows, it was cool. The guy who booked the tour didn’t really know what he was doing and booked us with some really weird bands. The first show was in Osaka and that was really shit and then after that Gordy and Nigel fucked off and toured with Frenzal Rhomb for a week, so, having played one shit show, me and Matt were sitting in Japan for a whole week thinking, “What the fuck are we sitting here for if all the shows are going to be like that?” It seemed like a waste of time. But the next lot of shows were a lot better. We did Tokyo and Kyoto and we were playing with proper hardcore bands so that was cool. That’s where we first played with Numb, in Tokyo. Me and Matt also saw one of Earth Crisis’ last shows in Osaka in that week where Gordy and Nige fucked off. I remember, apart from it costing one hundred Australian dollars to get in – luckily they put us on the door – the venue was up on the eighth or tenth floor in some random building and it held about five-hundred but there was only about fifty to a hundred people there. Why hasn’t Mindsnare done any more overseas touring than that? We’ve been to New Zealand, if that counts, and we were going to go to Singapore a couple of years ago but I had to cancel it because I had Blood Duster shit on. Then Blood Duster didn’t even end up doing it because Tony (Forde – vocals) jumped into the crowd and shattered his collarbone beforehand. But Mindsnare hasn’t got any distro overseas or anything at the moment so that makes it hard. Hopefully it will be different with our next record. Mindsnare never seems to be up to much, even when you release stuff… Yeah, we usually will release a record and tour the record… It’s just one of those thing where Nigel is married and he is busy working, touring with other bands and running his label (Trial & Error), Matt has got a kid, Gordy has got Frenzal Rhomb, so we just find it hard to organise shit. Also, I don’t want to overdo it so that people don’t want to see us anymore so I’m happy to only play every couple of months or whatever, that’s why I do other shit as well. The funny thing is, I reckon from December 2005 till June 2006, I didn’t play one show with any band. I was freakin’ out. It was six months of doing nothing. The Mindsnare 7-inch we recorded in March or April (2006), but that had been written long before so we weren’t really rehearsing, none of the bands were really rehearsing, I didn’t know what I was doing with myself.
Mindsnare: (LtoR) Matt Maunder, Nigel Melder, Gordy Forman, Beltsy
At least the Ringworm crowd understood Mindsnare a little better than some of the old thrash heads in white sneakers at Kreator. At one of the Melbourne Kreator shows apparently someone was in the crowd watching us going, “How’s this fuckin’ nu-metal band.” Hahaha! Tell us some Kreator or Ringworm stories. Well Kreator, we didn’t see ‘em much. Ventor (drums) was always there when we were soundchecking and shit but he was a bit standoffish. I don’t think they were rude or fuckin’ rock stars or anything, maybe they just felt weird in a different country or whatever. But at the end of the tour I went up to get a photo with Ventor, ‘cos I wasn’t letting that fuckin’ opportunity pass, and he was cool, he goes, “I’ll grab Mille (Petrozza – guitar/vocals).” So that was great, Mille came over and said, “Hope you had fun on the tour,” he was real cool, but the best part about it was we were about to get the photo taken and Ventor goes [adopts dodgy German accent]: “Make sure you hold out the invisible oranges.” Ringworm were off their fuckin’ faces from the second we met ‘em, so we got along with them pretty well. How is the writing for the new Mindsnare album coming along? We rehearsed last night and we’ve got eleven songs for the record now. We’ve demoed seven of them and we’re going to demo another four of them next Monday. The songs are a little bit shorter these days. Usually we have about ten songs on the record but we might go for twelve this time. So it’s pretty much done, Matt’s just gotta write some lyrics and we’re in business. The 7-inch from last year was a bit thrashier in style, is that where it’s heading? Nah, it’s kind of a mix between that and The Death (2005). I think The Death is sort of heavy old school thrash and the 7-inch is more like skate-thrash or whatever you want to call it, so it’s kind of a mix of the two - it’s real heavy but real thrashy. How did you come to join Mid-Youth Crisis in 1997? Well I joined when they were still called One-Inch Punch; they asked me to fill in for a little bit after Heath (guitar) left. Mindsnare used to play with One-Inch Punch and I used to go see Steadfast and One-Inch Punch right from the start – I used to love it. But I didn’t want to join fulltime because Mindsnare was fairly active back then and so I just agreed to fill in until they got another guitarist. So Trent joined and they changed the name to Mid-Youth Crisis and recorded Happiness And Authority (1997) and then Trent left and Dave (Collins - bass) called me up and said, “Did you want to help us out again?” I was like, “Yeah cool, whatever.” Then he goes, “Oh yeah, we go to Europe in three weeks.” So that was all good. And that was around the time Mindsnare started slowing down a bit so I thought, “Oh yeah, I can
do two bands.” But then not long after we got home from Europe MYC split up. So you never got to record with Mid-Youth Crisis? We had written five or six songs and we were getting ready to do a new record but it all fell apart. One of the songs was on the Live At The Arthouse (2002) release and also the live tracks on the Discography that came out last year but we never recorded any of them in the studio. That was the direction it was going in, though, a bit rockier, it started to slow down a bit. Why did MYC break up, was it just not working with a metalhead on guitar? Yeah, I probably fucked it for everyone. Nah, Steve (vocals) was moving to Ireland and there’s definitely no use doing it without Steve. He he went to Ireland and that was the end of it. Then he came back a few years later, I think it was for his sister’s wedding, and we did a reunion show and that’s how all that shit started. We did a few of them and now Steve’s back living here again so we’ve done a couple more. It’s good fun just to be able to start it up whenever we feel like it and play a couple of shows. Nobody has got the time to do it as a proper band anymore but we all enjoy doing it. There is still huge interest whenever you guys do a show. It’s one of those things where the whole punk and hardcore thing has exploded and there’s just more people at the shows now. I suppose there is still interest as well because when Mid-Youth Crisis split up it was still going well. You know, it wasn’t like we flaked out and cunts were over it – I think we split up on a good note and it’s just held through. People remember the band like that, rather than the band that hung around too long. You joined Blood Duster around 2003, did they just ask you to join or how did that all go down? I knew a few of the dudes and I just got a message from Tony one day saying, “You busy?” He’s funny, that cunt. So I called him up and he goes, “Wanna join a band?” I thought he must have been talking about his other band, The Day Everything Became Nothing, because I had been seeing Blood Duster quite a bit and it seemed to be working well with Josh (Nixon – guitar) and Matt (Collins – guitar). But Tony said, “Josh is gone, do you want to play in Blood Duster?” I’m like, “Yeah. Why not? I’ll give it a shot.”
Blood Duster had recorded more than half of that selftitled album (2003) by the time you joined, hadn’t they? Yeah. The way Blood Duster record an album is completely different to the way Mindsnare do. Mindsnare will write and rehearse and get it to the point where it’s like, “Yep, we know what’s going on, let’s record.” Blood Duster will be like, “Okay, here’s a few songs, let’s go record them,” and sort of build the record up. So that last self-titled record I think was
Pics: Rod Hunt
But then the Kreator tour happened. I was lovin’ that. I loved Ringworm too; I was stoked on that tour as well.
Blood Duster: (LtoR) Matt Rizzo, Betsly, Jason Fuller, Tony Forde, Matt Collins,
out and it’s got every band that played on it, like forty bands or something, and by the time we went on Tony couldn’t even stand up. Keep in mind, the guy organising this festival was the guy who funded our whole trip over to Europe. How was that 2005 tour? Fucking insane. I toured Europe with Mid-Youth Crisis who were pretty much unknown over there but just because Blood Duster had been on Relapse Records a lot of the shows were pretty packed. There were some empty ones, but we were headlining festivals over Pungent Stench and all this sort of stuff; pretty insane. Japan as well, like we were talking about Mindsnare going to Japan we were unknown so I was expecting the same type of thing but when Blood Duster pulled up out the front of the venue in Osaka it was like we were fuckin’ Guns N’ Roses. There were cunts that had been there all day waiting for us to turn up so they could get autographs and meet the band; it was full on.
“In the past thirteen years I have only drank three times – twice was at Bon Scott’s grave, and once was at home on the night of the 25th anniversary of his death.” - Beltsy completely done by the time I joined but then (Jason) Fuller (bass) was like, “Write a couple of songs and we’ll record them and put them on the album.” It was just to give me a chance to be on the record because there was always the chance I’d be kicked out a few months later and then I would’ve had nothing to show for it. Just when you joined Blood Duster started to lose the more grinding aspects of the sound and go for like a death rock ‘n’ roll style – I bet that pissed you off? They’d been going for that for a while. Blood Duster to me had always been grind and rock, like there was rock on the first album it was just a different kind of rock, it was more Sabbath-y. But we’ve just recorded a new double album and one album is complete grind, not one bit of rock on it whatsoever, and the other album is complete rock. Actually, it’s a double and there’s another album you can download as well. That one’s a bit weird.
So let me guess, you like the grind record best. How’d you guess! To be honest, I’m starting to come around, some of the shit on the rock album is pretty fuckin’ cool. It’s full seventies rock, some of the stuff is in a Mötley Crüe vain, there’s some great riffs on there. Of course I love the grind shit but the rock stuff is real fun to play. Is Blood Duster an easy band to play with, just because of that couldn’t-give-a-fuck attitude? No, it’s harder. ‘Cos they’re all fuckin’ pissed and I don’t know what’s going on. I just play and hope that everyone is on the same song as me. But they write the songs as simple as possible so that they can remember them when they’re off their faces. Have you seen that DVD of us playing the Obscene Extreme Festival in the Czech Republic? There’s a DVD
Got any tour stories not fit to print? It got pretty out of hand at times. We were playing in Italy and headlining this festival and we were staying at the organiser’s house. So after the festival this guy had to stay and pack up and shit so he got his girlfriend to drive us back to his house and he was going to cook us all breakfast in the morning. So we get back to his house, after a while everyone fucks off to bed, later on the dude comes home and finds (Matt) Rizzo (drums) fucking his girlfriend. The guy walks in on them rooting, doesn’t even kick us out, tells Rizzo to go sleep in his bed. Then we get up in the morning and he tells us to leave, obviously without cooking us breakfast, and Rizzo is standing there going, “Why isn’t he cooking us breakfast? He fucking said we were going to get breakfast.” How was it when Blood Duster toured with Danzig recently? Well, I love Danzig, but he’s a fuckin’ cockhead. We were playing the Palace in Melbourne and on either side of the stage there is a band room. So they’re in one dressing room and we’re in the other, so we’re nowhere near them and you can’t see the stage from the band room, but we had to leave the room when they were playing and even when they were getting ready to play. Then Fuller’s wife was taking photos from the side of the stage and [Danzig] pointed her out to his security guard or whatever you call him and told the guy to make her go to the back of the room because he can’t perform looking at her face. I reckon the reason he gets so angry is because he’s bald as fuck and he doesn’t want any close-up photos of him going bald
getting out. Don’t get me wrong, I watched every night and I loved every night of the tour… I didn’t go to the show but I heard Glenn seemed a bit tired. Well he didn’t want to come out here from the start. He was whinging the whole time apparently. We only really saw him once, after the Brisbane show at The Arena, they had to walk past our room to get out. So we were standing there, it’s an hour after the gig, and Danzig walks out with Doyle (guitar), Doyle’s still got his make-up on, Danzig’s in a leather jacket, no shirt, with a towel around his neck. He just sort of looks at us and goes [in a husky voice], “Hey guys.” That was all we got out of him the whole tour. I did steal Doyle’s pick though. He had his guitars set up on the side of the stage so I jumped up, grabbed his guitar, took some photos with it and stole his last pick with the Doyle head on it. Tell us about the black metal band you sing for, Throwing The Goat, and the hows and whys of that project? I’ve known Danny Young (guitar), who now plays drums in Eddy Current Suppression Ring, since I was in high school and he was doing this black metal band with Craig (drums) from Blacklist and he just asked me to be the singer. But Throwing The Goat was really short-lived. I think we only jammed about four or five times and then went and recorded the 7-inch. We recorded four songs at the time but only two were on the 7-inch, the other two are coming out on a CD version which Drug Bust is putting our soon. Actually, I bumped into Craig the other week and he told me the full-length album is nearly ready to record. Hahaha! So you’ll just have to come up with some lyrics? Well, the 7-inch never had any lyrics. I just went in and screamed. But I hate it when bands put out records with no lyric sheet so I sat down and tried to make up words that went with what I was screaming.
Beltsy discography 1995: Mindsnare – Under Fire 1996: Mindsnare – Split EP w/ Toe To Toe 1997: Mindsnare – Credulity 1997: Mindsnare – The White EP 1999: Mindsnare – Split EP w/ Congress 2000: Mindsnare – 3-way Split EP w/ Powerhouse and Numb 2001: Mindsnare – Split 7” w/ Numb 2001: Mindsnare – Hanged Choked Wrists Slit 2001: Mindsnare – 3-way Split 7” w/ Day Of Contempt and One King Down 2003: Blood Duster – “I Wanna Do It With A Donna” / “Midnight NAMBLA” 7” 2003: Blood Duster – S/T 2003: Mindsnare – The Bootleg [Anthology. Recorded 97-99] 2003: Mid-Youth Crisis – Live At The Arthouse [Live. 2002] 2004: Blood Duster – “Six Six Sixteen” CDsingle 2004: Throwing The Goat – “Feast On The Blood” / “I Blasphemer” 7” [Vocals only] 2005: Mindsnare – The Death 2005: Blood Duster – The Shape Of Death To Come DVD 2006: Mid-Youth Crisis/One-Inch Punch – Discography [Live tracks] 2006: Mindsnare – S/T 7” (coming soon) Early-2007: Blood Duster – Split 7” w/ Venomous Concept (100 copies with latex “human skin” covers) (coming soon) Early-2007: Blood Duster – New double-LP (as well as a third downloadable full-length) (coming soon) Mid-2007: Mindsnare – New LP on Resist Records
Rock And Roll Damnation is an AC/DC covers band you sang in with some other dudes, what was that about? That was something I wanted to do because AC/DC have been my favourite band ever since I was seven, they are what got me into music and I’ve always wanted to sing all those Bon Scott songs. So it was coming up to my 30th birthday and I was going to have a party so I formed the band to play at the party and it was fucking awesome fun. It was me, Bomber who was in Mindsnare and 28 Days on drums, Danny from Eddy Current on bass and his brother Mikey (Young) who is also in Eddy Current on guitar and Simo Rowley on lead guitar, a guy I’ve known as long as I’ve known Danny. It’s basically all us cunts who grew down up in Frankston and played around in bands. The best part about it was that Danny and Mikey’s last name is Young, so we had the Young Brothers in the band! We only intended on doing that one show but after that people were offering us shows left right and centre so we ended up doing a fair few. Danny quit after a while and we got a few other people on bass and we finished up with Grant (Relf) from Bodyjar on bass. It was getting a bit out of hand at the end, like we played this after-party for the Globe Skateboarding World Cup and I fuckin’ hated it, bunch of fucking cockheads in the joint. Everyone is screaming for “Back In Black” and we’re like, “Nah, we do Bon Scott songs only,” so then they’re calling out “Hells’ Bells,” it’s like, “Fuck off.” You’ve got a whole left arm dedicated to AC/DC, how did you get started on that? I always wanted to do it, have a full AC/DC sleeve, but it’s hard to just stick to the Bon Scott-era imagery because there is just not that much from back then to get tattooed on you. If I wanted to get all the later shit I could have cannons and bells and switches and flies and tons of shit. So the first one I got was the Dirty Deeds tattoo, the same as the one Bon has on the cover of the Australian version of Dirty Deeds [Done Dirt Cheap] with the bird and the scrolls. Then, the same day of my 30th birthday party I dropped in to see one of my mates at the tattoo shop in Fitzroy and I met one of his friends there who was also a tattooist and I invited him to the party. Never met the guy before didn’t even think he’d turn up at the party, but he did and that night he said, “I’ll do a portrait of Bon Scott on you for your birthday if you like.” I didn’t even know if he could tattoo but he did a portrait of Bon on my arm that is insane – looks like someone
stuck a fucking photo of him on there. It was the first portrait he’d ever done. After that I got the Angus Young Highway To Hell picture, which Nigel’s wife, Sara (Melder) did. If I can keep getting awesome portraits like I’ve got, I think I could keep getting more stuff. You’ve gotta be a bit lucky with portraits I reckon, and I’m lucky enough to have two of the best portraits I’ve ever seen. The next thing I’m getting is the High Voltage cover with the dog pissing on the electrical box. I’ve been meaning to get that for a while but I’ve been broke. Your dedication to AC/DC is pretty unquestionable in light of the tribute band and tatts, but another significant thing was sculling a beer at Bon Scott’s grave, which was captured in the Blood Duster DVD, since you don’t really drink. That’s actually happened a couple of times. In the past thirteen years I have only drank three times – twice was at Bon Scott’s grave, and once was at home on the night of the 25th anniversary of his death. I sat at home with my girlfriend on the bed, watched Bon Scott DVDs all night and drank until I spewed and passed out. I wasn’t happy till I’d passed out and spewed everywhere. The first time, though, it was just a spur of the moment thing. I was in Perth with Frenzal Rhomb and we were walking towards his grave and someone said, “We should have beers for this.” I said, “I’ll fuckin’ drink beers for this!” And then, next thing, there’s a slab sitting in front of us and I’m drinkin’. You get in the mood when you’re there. This cunt is the biggest legend of alltime and I’m standing here - as if I’m not going to have a beer for him. Why were you attracted to a straight lifestyle? I was a bad pisshead and a bad bonghead when I was younger and I’m not the sort of person who can just have a couple and then stop so I just thought, “Fuck it, I’ll stop.” I actually never planned on stopping full stop, I just wanted to have a break for a little bit but then I just stuck at it.
You must see evidence of why it’s a good idea to stay straight for life, like every time you go on tour with Blood Duster for instance? Well that overseas tour was two months and they were pissed every single night. Sometimes it can be a bit punishing being around drunks but I love playing in bands man and at the end of the day I really don’t care if someone else is pissed. If they make a dickhead out of themselves, I’ll laugh at ‘em. You’ve never called yourself “straight-edge” though have you? Nah, because, well for a start, why do you need to label it? You either drink or you don’t drink. And if you’re going to be straightedge it’s something you do for yourself and you do it for life. I’ve never said I’m never going to have another beer again. If I decide when I’m forty that I want to sit down and have a beer and watch the tele then I’ll do it.
Invisible oranges at the ready: (LtoR) Mille, Beltsy, Ventor
he influence of Lobby Lloyd (real name: Barry Lyde) on Australian guitar-driven music is undeniable; as undeniable as the single-cell lung cancer that he reckons will take him in the next few months. This is a man that in the last forty years has forged a titan’s path based on dirty, driving, overdriven blues-rock. He has been name-checked by an envious array of modern musical heroes; Kurt Cobain, Slash, Henry Rollins and Angus Young. As a producer and guitarist he has helped forge the sound, and influence the careers of Billy Thorpe, X, The Sunnyboys, Painters and Dockers, Intoxica, You Am I, Depression, Rose Tattoo, Cosmic Psychos, Machinations and many more. He is also distantly related to Oscar Wilde. When I meet Lobby he has just managed to move a chemotherapy appointment to the day after his benefit gig at The Palace in St Kilda. We celebrate by having a smoke outside and he tells me that he’d never be able to play the benefit if he had the chemo beforehand. “I’m over it, I don’t give a fuck. I’m dead. I’m not gonna be a dribbler, I'm gonna hit the wall. Bang.” Australia’s original punk had decided it would be his last dose of chemotherapy. I had prepared myself for meeting Lobby with 36 hours of high volume repeated listenings of Ball Power, trying to imagine what if that album, or indeed Loyd himself, had never existed. I’d argue that we wouldn’t have the same hard rock pedigree that sees Australia placed so near the stinking, vile and passionate heart of dirty rock ‘n’ roll. I had also made some calls to different people who knew Lobby, played with him or just religiously went to see him play in the seventies. The feeling was unanimous: gentleman, scholar, dreamer, catalyst. So, with a half hour to talk, half a pack of Champion Ruby and four papers left, Lobby and I sit down to chat…
LOBBY LOYDE. INTERVIEW BY JULIAN CULPAN.
The Purple Hearts
You are universally regarded as a gentleman… Well that’s bloody nice. It’s been mentioned to me that you were like everybody’s older brother. Well that’s nice... the young guys call me a father figure, y’see I take ‘em into a studio and show ‘em all the stuff and they say, “God you’re patient,” and I say, “Well I'm not actually, I'm a really impatient bastard.” They say stuff like, “You’re the father I wish I had,” which is an incredible compliment from some crazy, ratchewed-hair rock ‘n’ roll musician. They say I'm a gentlemen, it’s probably because I have patience. I sit with ‘em in a studio and I don’t care how long it takes. I'm not gonna say shit to ‘em, because everyone breaks their balls. It’s like fishing for trout, you gotta lure ‘em in, you can’t give up, you gotta keep swinging that lure over their heads. You gotta extract the performance. But some I call every name under the sun and I abuse the living shit outta them and unless I do that, I'm never gonna get the performance outta them.
I guess it’s knowing who you can do that to… Yeah half these guys, they’re sooo bloody sensitive that if you call ‘em fuckhead, you’ve just lost ‘em for an hour. If you say, “What the Christ are you doing there, man, you coulda played that better with your willy,” well then they’re not gonna talk to you for weeks, so what’s the point? So you are talking about your times as a producer, who are some of the people you’ve worked with? Brian Hooper, Tim Rogers, Machinations, Sunnyboys... The Sunnys, they were an extreme case because on one hand Jeremy [Oxley]’s bipolar and he’s starting to have a meltdown. He talks complete gibberish and it slowly got worse. At first it was hard to tell that’s what it was. He was so gifted lyrically and he played this beautiful singing guitar. Mate, I gave him my TB Gibson, which was one of about 55 and I’m never gonna see another one in my life (roadies ended up dropping an amp head on it and killed it). When he picked it up and played it, it sang, it talked to him. Why was I gonna be bothered playing it again, ‘cos when this guy played it he went to a magic dimension. He played it on that first Sunnyboys record. He just knocked me over that guy because he was so sensitive and whatever it was, fluid in his guitar playing, and his lyrics were intense. They were all deep within the psyche; they were all trying to express love. Like “Tunnel Of Love”; it might sound like an average vaginal love song but it wasn’t, it was intense, it was really birthy and all that. So the Sunnyboys was one of your first as producer? Yep. I’d been doing stuff in England. I recorded a bit of stuff over there, it was very different. The English didn’t require the same sort of coaxing as Aussies required. The English wake up thinking, “Hey, we’re good!” And the Aussies don’t. They think, “Oh we might be all right.” There was a big inferiority complex here. How long did you spend in England? From the end of ‘75 til ‘79, it was very enjoyable. I did lots of live sound, studio work, played live a lot, I just had a lot of fun, I was there for the pleasure of it. And I learnt a lot. I learnt a lot about studios. I learnt about the difference between our studios and those over there. Here they’d say, “What do you want to do that for?” Over there they’d go, “Fantastic lets try that! What colour do you want it? Do you want it with strawberries and bananas?” Whereas the Australian would go, “Why would you do what Stevie Wonder does, what would you do that for?” We’ve always had this inferiority complex that everyone else is better, but the English, they go with your idea ‘cos they already believe they’re right, so you might be right too! When I was talking with [Masters Apprentices singer] Jim Keays prior to this we talked about what it was like in Australia starting out in the late sixties and making a go of it and trying not to be a carbon copy of what was happening in the UK or America… They (the Master Apprentices) invented heavy metal if you don’t mind thank you very much! Totally! But you had all these dinosaur rock bands coming through at that time… Oh fuck yeah. And a few of these guys, and especially you and a lot of the stuff you were involved in, was... Different. Yeah, it seems you created something that was less concerned with making it big. What Jim was saying, and I wondered what you reckoned about this, was that when
DAWN CRACKED ON
THE HILL ALL OUR FEEDBACK
CRAZY, IT WAS ALMOST
TRIBAL MAN MAN, I REALLY FELT I WAS ALMOST LEVITATING!” – LOBBY LOYDE you were playing then you had to try a bit harder to win over a pub full of pissed yobs, who, a year before woulda been trying to punch you out ‘cos you looked weird. Fuck yeah, if you didn’t walk on water you were fucked. I mean, turning fish into a feed wasn’t even good enough. I remember (Masters Apprentices’ guitarist) Doug Ford. As a guitarist this guy came from the Missing Links to Running Jumping Standing Still to the Masters. Well, single-handedly that prick invented heavy metal! Yeah, “Future of our Nation” to this day still puts shivers down my spine. Shit yeah. When you take what Doug was and added it to what Keasy and the other boys had, you had genuine fair dinkum The Coloured Balls
pre-Purple, pre-Black Sabbath metal in Australia that had more grunt more edge and more attitude and more angst than any of them. If you listen to Purples’ (Lob starts humming “Black Knight”) and if you know music it’s actually Porgy and Bess (sings) “Summertime And The Living is Easy” (re-hums the riff and it’s the same). So they were actually a cover band pinching riffs from Porgy and Bess! And they called it “Black Knight”! You came out playing guitar that was screaming, but then on the Coloured Balls’ “G.O.D (Guitars Over-Drive)” you had a sound that hadn’t been heard in Australia, maybe anywhere (apart from Hendrix). “G.O.D” happened at the first Sunbury Festival. What happened was, we were all off our heads, no one could sleep, so I said, “Fuck it we might as well be playing.” So it was 3am and I told (sound engineer) Frenchy to turn everything on and he goes, “We might as well record it.” So thank Christ he was thinking straight. So we turned everything on and went for it. Songs were going for 20 minutes, we woke everyone up, the dawn happened when we were playing all this feedback, it was fantastic. As the dawn cracked on the hill all our feedback was going crazy, it was almost tribal man, I really felt I was almost levitating! I looked out and it was almost like the three shepherds scene, I was waiting for the sky to split open; it was awesome! I've spoken to people who were there, y’know thirtysomething years later they’re like, “What the fuck was that sound?” It was the first time they’d heard anyone play like that. It was crazy man, it just evolved. Prior to that with Wild Cherries it was just the riffs y’know, but that night, it just came alive, bigger than Ben Hur. But just watching that crack of dawn
I was virtually overcome. I said to myself, “Holy fuck talk about perfect timing, how the hell could you be playing on this thing and then the sky starts to blink at you?” It was just... (sighs) ...one of those moments where you think life has pushed you towards this point without you knowing it. Yeah Yeah! Everything you’ve done you’re whole life has brought me to here at 4am. It was very late, it was pointless sleeping, there was a lot of LSD around at the time as you might be aware and people out there were very stoned. The show wasn’t supposed to start til the next day, well the audience was all primed, someone had to get up and go for it, ‘cos everyone needed to hear something! And in the end we went out and did it and the rest, as they say, is history. When Frenchy was mixing it, he rang me up and went, “I’ve just been listening to that Sunbury recording, I want you to come down here and listen to it. I want you to come and sit in the chair and listen and tell me if you feel like you are falling.” So I get outta bed, I go over to Frenchy’s, he says, “Sit in the chair and I’m going to turn all the lights off and turn up the volume full and tell me when you feel like you’re falling.” And there’s this bit where the guitars do some strange shit, harmonised pitch bend or tremolo or something where the pitch just goes down and down and down and I had my arms out and feet off the floor in pitch darkness listening to this wall of feedback at 1000watts. Of course I’m fuckin’ falling! When the feedback hits at the end it feels like you are falling through space, it’s just insane. It was awesome man. He said, “Let’s not touch it, let’s just put this on the record as it is!” And that is the master, so the record company wanted to cut all the shit off the end and do a fade out, but Frenchy went, “Fuck that, that’s the master, that’s what they are getting!” It was that thousand-foot drop as we called it. It was like dinosaurs fighting in a quarry, it was tar pit shit! I can’t think of anyone, apart from maybe Doug Ford, who got such a violent sound out of their guitar as you. Yeah, well thing is we were just being colourful, Doug was a very colorful player I thought. Of all the players in this country he is the least recognised; he was the first of the killers. Y’know, they inducted me into the Hall of Fame, probably ‘cos I’m dropping dead, but while the Masters have been inducted, he himself, personally, has never been inducted. Man, Running Jumping Standing Still were awesome, and he was up there in Sydney with all those crazy freaks at Suzie Wongs putting tape loops backward and doing all sorts of crazy shit for the first Missing Links single. The other guitarist from the Missing Links [John Jones] went to America and wrote Amityville Horror ! So I mean, these two guys were sick fucks! The two most progressive guitarists in Australia, one goes to Melbourne and starts Australia most progressive band (The Masters Apprentices) and the other goes to Hollywood and
makes horror movies, what can you say? Well, I've got to say you are living up to your reputation. Someone said, “Just get Lob talking and the stories will fall outta him! Yeah, I’m the storyteller of the gang, I’m like an ink blotter I just soak it all up. I love it, all that stuff is so exciting, I love rock ‘n’ roll mate, and I lived the myth and loved it. It’s exciting for young 'uns like me to talk with you because it’s a crappy cliché but you were there at the dawn of where we got loud. What does anyone remember of rock ‘n’ roll? It Julian Culpan and Lobby Loyde - 2006 almost went to a bad place where no one gave a fuck. In came all the samplers and the stealers rapping about chicks’ bums and guys making loops and dance music that you Oh yeah, ripper song. That came from their genuine love of wouldn’t have a crap on. Okay, there were some good bands black chain gang music, they really knew their shit did Chain. though. But I’m just doing my part to keep it all remembered. Matt [Taylor - vocals] and Phil –Manning – guitar] and I have When I die, whose going to repeat the stories? There’s a bunch been mates for a long time. I used to get wire recordings sent of guys out there with good memories for this shit, you should over from the States, we had this one from a Georgian prison talk to Doug Ford sometime man, he knows. You know he lives gang (at this point Lobby goes off on a very passable Negro on the street now? lament complete with rocks breaking and chains shuffling). “Oh mama I'm gonna get down!” When you hear that, you Bullshit? don’t need much convincing. And writing “Black and Blue” is He’s a very intense, interesting man. Best jazz player live ever the next step really. They went home and wrote a really good heard in my life. The guy from Godwin Guitars gave him a guitar prison song and they had the rhythm perfect and everything for free ‘cos he walked into a music shop, the owner mistakenly came from them genuinely understanding the blues that went thought he was his demo guy and passed him a guitar and said, into those original chain gang dirges. “Play this for this customer.” He wailed out some insane jazz shit and the guy said, “Nice work Brian,” and he went, “I'm not Brian, That live version off The History of Chain reissue is spine I'm Doug. You just gave me a guitar and told me to play,” and the tinglingly spooky! Real Australian blues. owner went, “Keep the guitar, you’re fantastic!” Yeah, it’s awesome shit. I've never heard music from anywhere in the world have so many profoundly different What guitars and amps did you play? influences as here in Australia. Doug Ford, Phil Manning had a My favourite guitar is the Jaguar. massively broad set of influences. “Black and Blue” is the only song that straddles a prison song, blues song, rock song and The one with BB king on it? anthem. People used to sing every word! Yep, these two arseholes got us big time. We went to a party opposite the Botanical Gardens. Got there, locked the What kinds of music were you listening to? van, it was awful dark, go inside, go up to the fifth floor to Listening to myself. I’ve always been obsessed by my guitar. where we were told this party was. Knock on I’d go home and I’d have terrible relationships ‘cos I’d be the door and this little old lady says, “Hello?” sitting there trying to watch TV or something and my fingers We were like, “Fuck! The gear!” would be tapping and I’d be looking over at my guitar case y’know, have twenty cigarettes, ten cups of coffee then go You had ALL your gear in the truck in a bam! Pull out the guitar and then play after everyone went to dark alley? bed, play for hours. Til the sun came up and I’d go, “Fuck I’d Umm yep! All gone, they had jemmied better go to bed, I gotta drive the kids to school in an hour!” it open. My Les Paul, one of only five in That was my biggest problem in life; it would have been better Australia, my Jag, and my mates’ ‘54 not to have had those twenty smokes and ten coffees and just Telecaster bass. They left the Strats ‘cos who pick the guitar up and gone for it as soon as I got home. wants them; they just took the good stuff. Pricks! Kill ‘em! Nah, it was a long time ago, So you recently did a Purple Hearts show in Brizzo how back in Wild Cherries days. was it? It was good but I burnt myself out, came back and got crook It still breaks the golden rule, you don’t again. I worked myself up about the gigs. All these people were steal someone’s tools! looking sad, looking at me like, “Oh you poor cunt, you’ve got Yeah, it’s crass. It’s like stealing a blind cancer,” and I was, “Jesus Christ, fuck off!!” I could do without man’s cane and killing his dog, but what the bullshit. Can I induce you pricks to throw rocks at me or the hell. something? Can we get angry? Not all sighing and shit.
“ ROCK ‘N’ ROLL
I LIVED THE
MYTH AND LOVED IT.” – LOBBY LOYDE
I got to ask you about one of my favourite songs that’s come out of your fingers, “Human Being”. “Human Being,” great song. When did you write that? Hmmmm Aztecs. That’s why I stopped playing with the Aztecs. Once we wrote “Liberate Rock” as a joke for the Aztecs I was writing all that stuff and I knew I needed to form a band to play that heavy riffing shit, that riff stuck in my mind. For me it was a transition between that song with its simple heavy blues riff that to me sums up everything a heavy riff could be and Chains’ “Black and Blue.”
Everyone I've spoken to who knows you couldn’t stop taking about how much you meant to them, I couldn’t get off the phone. It’s great to have so many good friends, but geez it gets a bit tedious too. When do you find time to play the guitar anymore... When do you find time to tell your friends to get fucked anymore? You know they’re your friends when you can tell em... To get fucked! As of printing I’m not sure how Lobby is doing, probably feeling pretty shitty. If only he could put on Ball Power and feel the way I do. Totally.Fucking.Tough.And.Invincible. Thanks for everything Lob, we owe you one. Probably two.
ou should have seen the smile on my face when I first heard “I Love Hardcore Boys, I Love Boys Hardcore” by Limp Wrist. Although I’d listened to tunes by other queercore bands in the past, these cock-hungry delinquents were the first gay punks I’d encountered whose music was enjoyable as their message. “Finally!” I thought: “Aggressive hardcore that I can really relate to!” I’ve never made a big deal of my homosexuality, especially within the musical circles I frequent. Before I heard Limp Wrist, I thought that keeping my sexual preference close to my chest was my own choice: something I did because I didn’t want to be arbitrarily defined as a ‘gay’ person. But hearing the band’s music and absorbing its message made me question whether ‘acting straight’ was really an act of self-empowerment, or whether it was merely self-preservation in a society that still views gay people as somehow inferior. By honestly addressing these issues onstage, Limp Wrist force crowds to acknowledge the band for who/what they are. Until I heard Limp Wrist, I didn’t believe that gay people could be truly accepted and respected by the hardcore community. In the past five years, Limp Wrist have helped bring gay issues back into the punk arena, mixing the serious with the satirical and drawing huge (predominantly straight) crowds to their live shows in the process. In January 2007, the current lineup of Martin Sorrondeguy (vocals), Scott Moore (guitar), Andrew Martini (bass) and Paul Henry (drums) embarked on their first Australian tour, drawing crowds of 300+ to their warehouse and club gigs. They also played a show at Manacle, a gay leather bar on Oxford Street in Sydney. It was there that I caught up with the band for a pre-gig chat, the same night that I decided Andrew Martini is the seriously hot stuff.
Limp Wrist recently reconvened after a hiatus. Why did you take a break in the first place, and what brought you back together? Scott Moore: It was basically down to personal differences between three people and the original guitar player. I had quit - I was the original drummer. So we went on hiatus, and then basically the getting back together was spurred by the fact that he released a not-so-legitimate discography CD of our material without our permission, without consulting us, and had made quite a bit of money out of it, from what I hear on the rumour mill. So we were pretty pissed, the people who were illegitimately left out of the whole thing, so we put out our own CD, which is significantly better and more affordable. We decided to play some shows to sell it, and we had such a good time doing it that we thought, “Why not just pick the band up again?” Martin Sorrondeguy: We wrote new songs and we did a new seven-inch, so we're fully functioning as a band again. We've been writing new material and we’re
scene. That's what made us say, “We've got to do this.” Martin: As far as queer punk bands, I'd say the Dicks was a big influence. But we just have so many influences... It spans from really early punk stuff that was slanting in a queer sort of direction to more contemporary bands. I mean Mukilteo Fairies were a more contemporary band. I think that's kind of what spawned it, but also the fact that it just seemed like a lot of the queer bands in the late nineties were a lot more pop-oriented, and that definitely wasn't what we wanted to do. We wanted to do something that was much more aggressive and spoke to more of a hardcore/punk audience, because that's basically the music we like. To what extent would you say you're defined by your sexuality? Martin: To a certain degree it's a defining point, but it's not the only thing either. I think we all identified as punks before we identified as gay. We were involved in punk for so many years: that was like pre- coming out the closet
going to do a new twelve-inch record. It’ll probably be a couple of months before that starts sees the light of day, but we’re in the process. The band’s members have always been based in different cities. Was that a conscious decision when you formed, or could you simply not find enough gay people in your respective local scenes? Martin: We were selective. When we started, we brainstormed and thought about who else we could ask to be in this band. It wasn't just about finding anybody locally, we wanted to really be selective about that, be a little choosy. And that's how we ended up with the band members we did. Have other queer bands been an influence on your sound and ethics? Andrew Martini: Our inspiration at the start was to do something that we thought was missing from the punk
stuff for us. We were coming from a place that was basically just straight-up punk. And as we became older, we came to these realisations that, y'know, “There's another side to us” [laughs]. That's when we decided that we were gonna fuse it - because our sexuality is important for us. Because we don't just hang out with punks all the time. Y'know, I don't, personally: I like to do other things too. I like to go to certain bars, I like to fuckin' go cruising - I like looking for dick. It's not always punk, but it's like I have to balance that shit. So the band is sort of like a balance. Us playing at the Manacle tonight is the perfect balance, perfect for us, as opposed to just playing a rock club or something. Scott: Everything I see and hear kind of goes through this filter of things that I've learned growing up in the punk scene, so I would say that I definitely identify as a punk first. But sometimes identifying as punk can just be a little too much, y'know what I mean? As for identifying as queer, that can mean so many things to so many
different people. I mean, I don't identify with probably 99.9% of what's out there as, y'know: “This is what's gay” or “this is what it mean to be gay.” It's just not my thing. But I don't think that makes me any less of a faggot than anybody else. Martin: Scott just cannot stand being in certain bars that are like “the happening gay bars.” All the definitions get limiting after a while, y'know. We don't go to the white parties and the pink parties and the black parties and whatever fucking parties, the foam parties. Scott: There's like these disco parties where the whole room is filled up with foam. I've never been there but I can't even imagine. It's like walking into Queer As Folk or something. Were you out of the closet when you first started going to shows? Scott: I came out when I was about 21, and I've been into punk since I was about 15. My sexuality wasn't something I dealt with at all; I just didn't deal with it. It
was fine - that's just the way it was. But eventually I had to deal with that whole other part of me. Andrew: For me, I would never ever have come out when I first started going to shows. It was so intimidating, and such a threatening sort of scene. Y'know, going to shows where you'd walk past tonnes of kids with black eyes and stuff... I was like, “I ain't ever going to fucking talk about this in this kind of environment.” And at that time, I wasn't even ready to take on my sexuality. I was so young and just not ready for it. Over time, I found a pocket of people who I felt comfortable with, and that's when I was like, “Okay, I can start really being myself without being afraid of getting my ass kicked, or of getting jumped by ten dudes,” which used to happen at shows. It took me some time to get to that point, though. Although I'm younger than you guys and have only been going to shows for five or six years, the idea of people getting gay-bashed at gigs, at least within the Australian scenes I'm familiar with, is totally alien to me. Would you say that attitudes, in America or elsewhere, have progressed since you guys first started going to shows? Andrew: I've been going to shows for twenty-two years - I'm talking like since 1985. And yeah, it was a very different scene back then. You had this overwhelming feeling of coming into a space where you know nobody. I came from a community where there was no punk - it didn't exist. To go into that, and just be like, “Who are these people? Why am I here? Where do I fit in this…?” there were so many questions. I was trying to make a whole new set of friends and trying to meet people who I could engage with, and it was scary as fuck. I would watch people getting the shit kicked out of them at shows because their hair was too long. Ten or fifteen people would just come at you from everywhere, and you'd be a fucking mess on the floor that they'd have to pick up and drag out. So I wasn't coming out [in that environment] - I wouldn't hit that shit, because it was that scary. Do you believe the battle against homophobia in the wider punk community has been won now, or do you have to pick the areas/venues you play carefully? Scott: The battle has definitely not been won, even though we want to believe that maybe, within our own little bubble, things seem really okay. But if you wanted to search out some really shady, dodgy motherfuckers, it's not that hard to find them it's really easy. Because now, aggressive music or like hardcore music has gone out to so many different people in so many different places, places that we rarely frequent. When we go to those sort of spaces, it's like, “Oh no, what did we just walk into?” It's honestly not our style of punk: it's a whole different thing. Doing what we're doing, I think it can still get under people's skin, but we have managed to get an audience that really appreciates it. The battle hasn't been won, but it was definitely scarier for other people in the past, I think; not necessarily on a punk level, but on a world level. When you talk about the Dicks and the Big Boys, and Texas in 1980... I mean, Texas in 1980 - that's all I've gotta say. Hell, Texas in 2007 is pretty scary, but 1980?!
Andrew: When we started we definitely wanted to really put the gay thing out in the forefront, because if a band that people are watching is onstage telling people that they’re gay, it definitely makes other gay people who are in the audience feel comfortable, and that definitely was an aim of ours too. It makes people feel safer, because they know they’re not the only gay person in the venue and they don’t have to worry about it. Martin: It’s us telling them that someone’s got their back. Do gay kids approach you after shows to tell you that your music has helped them? Martin: Absolutely. All the time. Scott: It’s often people who obviously come from a less accepting scene, and have been directed to our music - people who definitely haven’t told anybody within their macho dude scene about their sexuality. Andrew: Some people are hesitant to say it to us. Really young kids don’t mind, but other people I’ve found are more hesitant, I think because they don’t want to be licking our asses. But I’ve had people approach me who I didn’t know and tell me that we were an influence to them - y’know, “You fucking saved my life” kind of shit. It’s weird, but it’s cool. Paul, do people have odd reactions to the fact that you’re the only straight member of the band? Paul: It’s more of a confusion thing than anything else. Some people are a little disappointed [laughs]. Scott: I guess it’s kind of odd. It does break up the “100% gay” thing. But I don’t even give a shit, because Paul is the most awesome fucking drummer I know and he’s an awesome person. If Paul wasn’t in the band any more, I wouldn’t even know if I would want to continue the band. That’s how I feel about him. He’s the fucking raddest straight drummer we could have [laughs]. Paul: They’re punks and I’m a punk, and this is what punks do, y’know.
One of your songs is called “We Started This Band To Get Dates”. How successful have you been on that front? Scott: Some tours some people are single, some tours they aren’t. It depends on how available we are and where we go, but it can happen, yeah. Being in the band definitely has its perks, y’know. It definitely puts us out there. Just before [outside the club] there was this one guy who was like, “Oh, I saw you guys online, blah blah blah, I’d never even heard of you guys before but I listened to some songs and it’s fucking great.” So if I pursued that it could happen tonight [all laugh]. But I’m in a relationship, so I’m not gonna pursue it. Have you been enjoying your first Australian tour? Martin: We’re having a great time on so many different levels. The people have been amazing. What is it with older Australian men and really short shorts? The weather gets pretty hot here. Martin: Well, it’s fucking awesome. Scott: Like Kenny, that comedian. Kenny, if you’re listening, if you’re reading, my number is 503-8606065. It’s a throwback to the fifties I think. Scott: It’s a nice throwback. I like it.
All Into Space
All Out Of Time, All Into Space Isis. Aaron Turner interview
by Darkie Krebs
p i c s b y Ro d H u n t
omewhere around 1995, a 17-year old Aaron Turner gave the turgid New Mexico peyote the flick and went straight-edge. Refreshed, clear of mind, and with a new sense of purpose, the Santa Fe native went about setting up a modest distro company which would operate out of his bedroom and deal in obscure underground punk. Shortly after, Turner relocated to Boston, ditched the distro company, enrolled in art school, started smashing cones again and set about establishing Hydra Head Records as one of the more influential and respected underground extreme music labels of this century. In Boston, Turner found himself at the centre of an increasingly productive East Coast hardcore scene. Good news for Hydra Head Records. Across the next few years Hydra Head would release material for a slew of New England acts such as Cable, Cave In, Converge and Drowningman, as well as singles for groundbreaking acts from across the States including Eyehategod, Coalesce, Botch, Brutal Truth, Soilent Green, Today Is The Day, Neurosis and The Dillinger Escape Plan just to name a few. Very much the music geek, Turner along with his partner in crime Mark Thompson began differentiating the label by offering exquisite, limited edition vinyl pressings aimed at the discerning underground record collector, the majority featuring artwork by either Turner or Converge’s Jacob Bannon, helping to establish a distinctive Hydra Head visual aesthetic. Somewhere in amongst all this, Turner managed to fit in a few solid jams with mates Jeff Caxide (bass) and Aaron Harris (drums), and the nucleus of Isis was formed (following some initial line-up changes the group would be joined by guitarist Mike Gallagher and keyboardist Cliff Meyer). At first, the group wanted to sound like Neurosis, and kinda did across their first two EPs, 1998’s The Mosquito Control EP (Escape Artist Records) and 1999’s The Red Sea (Second Nature Recordings). However, on their 2000 debut album, Celestial, the band began to articulate their own warped vision through some particularly jarring and memorable riffs (check hip-hop flavored opener “Celestial (The Tower)” and the stop-start devastation of “Deconstructing Towers”). The head-fuck didn’t really kick in though till their stunning 2002 album Oceanic, which had hardcore and metal tragics the world over getting in touch with their feminine side with its melodic ebb and flow and delicate subtleties. The head-fuck continued with 2004’s Panopticon, a concept album based around the Jeremy Bentham post-structuralist notion of social control through surveillance or some shit. It was around this time that it became apparent Turner was operating on a somewhat different cognitive plane than your average metal head, drawing on 18th Century essays for lyrics and espousing complex social theories in interviews. On the eve of the release of Isis’ new album In the Absence of Truth, I got in contact with a rather tour-worn, weary sounding though affable Turner to conduct an UNBELIEVABLY patchy interview to discuss all things HH and Isis.
Where are you at the moment Aaron? We’re in Philadelphia at the moment. We’re actually close to the end of a very long tour and we’ve got about a week left to go. We’ll be home a week from tomorrow or something like that. Is that the tour with Tool? Yes, it is actually, although tonight we’re playing our own show. It’s a day off on the Tool tour. Wherever we could we booked one off shows of our own so we wouldn’t be left standing idle. Also, we’re not making quite the same amount of money that they are so it’s good for us to fill in the gaps where we can. I’m interested to about how you started Hydra Head. I understand it began as a mailorder distribution company run out of your bedroom? Yeah, it started when I was still living in New Mexico. I had started to come into contact with, I guess for lack of a better word, you could call it DIY culture, maybe three or four years prior to starting Hydra Head. I’d been involved in booking local shows and doing very small run zines and that sort of thing, and the more I did, the more I wanted to participate. Initially my idea was to provide an outlet for underground indie records in an area that really didn’t have much to offer in that respect, so that’s how the distribution thing got started. It wasn’t much to speak of really. I mean, I sold a handful of records here and there at local shows and I did a very small mail order - I’m talking tiny, a couple of orders a week maybe. It was gratifying for a short period of time but as I said, the longer I went on the more I wanted to be involved on a really deep level. I thought the next obvious step would be doing my own label, which is subsequently what I did probably two years after having started the distribution. After the first four or five releases, it became fairly labour intensive so I just decided to liquidate the distribution all together since that wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be doing anyway. I moved to Boston shortly thereafter. Being in Boston, there was much closer proximity to a lot of active and underground and unsigned bands, so I think that’s when the label started to really take more of a recognizable shape. What sort of stuff were you initially distributing? Labels like Vermiform and Gravity, a lot of labels that were sort of doing things that were similar to what I myself wanted to be doing. A lot of hand made packaging and more esoteric bands I suppose. You know, bands that were perhaps a little more progressive or forwardthinking than the run of the mill hardcore or emo bands of the time. Also in New Mexico there was a fairly big punk and sort of crusty punk scene so I was selling some of that stuff too, early titles by Econochrist and Neurosis and Antischism and stuff like that. Because it was such a small scene it wasn’t as secular as a lot of other scenes in more metropolitan areas have a tendency to be. I think people were more open and didn’t focus specifically on one type of music or another so I was able to sell a pretty good cross-section of things. I understand that at somewhere around this time, you became interested in straightedge. What sparked this interest and is it something you’ve maintained to this day? Definitely not! (laughs) But at the time I think it was a really good thing for me. It was very motivational. I think it was more a reaction to a lot of the apathy that I felt was surrounding me at the time. I mean, in Santa Fe, where I grew up, much like a lot of other towns of that size, there wasn’t a lot of things for young people to do. So naturally doing drugs and drinking was a pastime for a lot of people in my age group and in my school and so forth. Straight-edge to me was just sort of a reaction against that and, like I said, a motivating force for me to do things. I think I could have very easily gone down a different path that at the time could have been dangerous and I still value that experience and what I got out of it. I don’t find it necessary to adhere to that set of values any longer; it’s been quite a while actually. Again, like I said I think it was for me at the time a positive force and I still think in certain ways, the dogma of it aside, it can be a really healthy way to live. There’s a lot of controversial politics that surround it that are sort of questionable but the idea in and of itself I think is an admirable one.
As you mentioned, shortly after starting up your distro company you relocated to Boston. What prompted the move? Mostly it was my desire to go to a school that was located in Boston. There were a number of places that I applied for and that one seemed the most interesting to me, with a programme that I thought was well suited to my personality and my desires at the time. I also knew that Boston at the time was fairly centrally located in terms of being a hot spot for East Coast hardcore. That was definitely appealing to me as well, just knowing that I would be in an area where there were a lot of active bands in close proximity. I think that was a secondary reason. And I also had, and still have, some family that live in that area so that was another reason to head up there. What did you study at school? Painting primarily, but also printmaking. I went to an art school. Much of the early Hydra Head releases were bands from Boston, or the North East New England area. From an outside perspective it would appear that Boston at the time was going through a really creative and exciting period. Would you agree? Yes and no. Actually I think that’s a misconception to a certain degree. There were bands that we worked with from the New England area but I think we’ve always had, or we did at the time have, bands of an equal measure from other locales, so it wasn’t like a Boston or even a New England-centric label. There was sort of, definitely from an outside perception, a big bang at the time of a lot of different bands sort of coming out and doing interesting
“A lot of the things that were really exciting to us and exciting to the bands that we worked with say five, six, seven years ago have become much more standard in today’s underground.” – Aaron Turner things. You know, I think it was there to a certain degree but I think a lot of it got blown out of proportion by people outside of the Boston area having this perception that it was this really tight-knit scene of a bunch of people who were all doing things on a similar wavelength, when that really wasn’t the case at all. Or it was, but not nearly to the scale that people imagined. That sort of leads onto my next question which is, do you think this level of creativity was confined to Boston, or was it just more visible because you had labels like Hydra Head, and in fact the case was that a lot of great stuff was going on in regional scenes across America? Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think for the most part Southern California and Northern New England is where a vast majority of especially the hardcore underground was emanating from. But like I said there were plenty of bands early on that we worked with and still work with now that are from a multitude of different locations, so I think it had more to do with coincidence and circumstance rather than any real tangible explosion of bands or whatever. What were some of the labels that you held in esteem when establishing Hydra Head? Some of those that I mentioned that I had been distributing prior to starting the label were definitely inspirational; labels like Vermiform and Gravity, they come to mind. I’d say Dischord would be another one. It’s not necessarily because of the music that these labels were putting out as much as it was just their general ethic and approach to doing things. There were a lot of bands on each of those labels that I enjoyed but you know, there was probably an equal number that I didn’t really care for. It was just more about the overall vibe of the label and also the cultivated aesthetic that each of them had, especially Vermiform and maybe even more so Gravity. I know Gravity was a label that I was really interested in
because they had a somewhat specific focus with the type of music that they were doing but they also had a very specific visual persona that I found really interesting and inspiring. In 1997 you formed Isis. How did you want Isis to be unique from other bands making music in that period? It’s hard to remember now, but I feel like that, especially being in New England, there was a whole lot of emphasis being put on playing really fast parts and having moshy breakdowns and stuff like that. I think we really wanted to take a slightly more experimental approach to what we were doing, focusing more on the drone-related aspects of the music, and tuning a slightly different set of influences than a lot of the other bands of the time. Focusing more on things like Eyehategod or The Swans or The Melvins; bands that were heavy but not necessarily metal bands or hardcore bands per say. Also, I’d say the early AmRep stuff was pretty influential on us. A lot of those bands seemed to defy categorisation in a certain sort of way. They were definitely heavy or metallic in some respect, but they also had a lot of other different elements that made their stuff appealing to us. And I suppose that was sort of what we were going for. I think we weren’t necessarily so much concerned with being unique as we were just concerned with making music that was exciting to us and that we felt was necessary to make at the time.
Aaron Turner discography 1998: Isis - Self-titled tape (self-released) 1998: Isis - Mosquito Control EP (Escape Artist) 1999: Isis - Red Sea EP (Second Nature) 1999: Isis - Sawblade EP (Hydra Head) 2000: Old Man Gloom - Meditations In B (Tortuga) 2000: House Of Low Culture - Submarine Immersion Techniques Vol. 1 (Crowd Control Activities) 2001: Old Man Gloom - Seminar II: The Holy Rites Of Primitivism In Regressionism (Tortuga) 2001: Old Man Gloom - Seminar III: Zozobra (Tortuga) 2001: Isis - Celestial (Escape Artist) 2001: Isis - SGNL>05 EP (Neurot) 2001: Lotus Eaters - Alienist On A Pale Horse (Hydra Head /Anja Offensive) 2001: Lotus Eaters - Four Demonstrations (Self-released) 2002: Isis - Oceanic (Ipecac) 2002: Lotus Eaters - Mind Control For Infants (Neurot) 2002: Lotus Eaters - DR-55 7” (Drone) 2002: House Of Low Culture - Gettin’ Sentimental 2x7” (Robotic Empire) 2003: Old Man Gloom - Christmas Eve I & II + 6 3” CDEP (Tortuga) 2003: House Of Low Culture - Edward’s Lament (Neurot) 2004: Isis - Live.01 [live] (Hydra Head) 2004: Old Man Gloom - Christmas (Tortuga) 2004: Isis - Panopticon (Ipecac) 2004: Isis - Live.02 [live] (Hydra Head) 2004: Isis - Oceanic Remixes and Interpretations (Hydra Head) 2004: House Of Low Culture - Live From The House Of Low Temperature! 12” [live] (Hydra Head /Double H Noise Industries) 2005: Isis - Live.03 [live] (Hydra Head) 2006: Isis - Live.04 [live] (Hydra Head) 2006: Isis/Aereogramme - In The Fishtank 14 (Konkurrent) 2006: Isis - Clearing The Eye DVD (Ipecac) 2006: Isis - In The Absence Of Truth (Ipecac)
A subsidiary of the Hydra Head label, Double H Noise Industries, releases predominantly minimalist electro drone music. What is it about this style of music that appeals to you? Well, maybe because in a lot of ways it’s almost the antithesis of the primary things that we do. Once in a while I like to have things that are more abstract and don’t necessarily have the same connotations as the standard rock band line-up. They just represent a different atmosphere. I like a lot of space in music and I find that a lot of that music contains a lot of air and breathing room and so forth, and it provides a pretty different listening experience to, say, something like Discordance Axis or Agoraphobic Nosebleed. Without mentioning specific bands it’s hard to generalise what it is I find interesting about that type of music, and I think even within the parameters of what we’ve done with Double H Noise Industries, it’s pretty diverse. I mean, there are some things that are very placid and serene and melodic and then there are other things that are the exact opposite, just blasting and abrasive and claustrophobic. I think for me it was just about setting up another part of the label that could be home to some things that I really enjoy and am inspired by but which don’t necessarily fit in with the rest of what we do with the label.
You relocated Hydra Head to LA in 2003. In an interview conducted shortly after the move you said: “We are making pains to move away from the sound and the look that made us get to where we are, and are trying to evolve because now what we did a few years ago has become the norm so to speak.” In what ways do you think the label has evolved since relocating from Boston to L.A.? I don’t think it’s been one massive step from where we were before to where we are now; it’s just been a gradual thing. I think our tastes have expanded a little bit more. Not even so much our tastes but what we allow to be released under the banner of Hydra Head. I think that we’ve become more open in that respect and we’ve tried to diversify our roster, not to the point where we don’t have some sort of coherent thread that’s tying things together, but I think a lot of the things that were really
All Into Space
ecapS otnI ll
You’ve maintained a fruitful working relationship with Jeff Caxide, Michael Gallagher and Aaron Harris to this day. Would you say that you guys have shared a similar musical vision from day one? Well, in the beginning it was only me and Aaron and Jeff, we were pretty much the initial core members of the band and then Mike and Clifford both joined in the years following. Mike joined in ’98 or ’99 and Cliff the year after. But I think there is a certain commonality of vision that we all share. I think probably the other thing that makes us function well as a unit is the fact that we all still have individual tastes and individual visions that contribute to the greater whole. I think that there has to be a certain amount of common ground otherwise we wouldn’t be able to accomplish what we do. But I also think there has to be a certain divergence of opinion and taste amongst us to keep things interesting.
exciting to us and exciting to the bands that we worked with say five, six, seven years ago have become much more standard in today’s underground, or whatever you want to call it. So I guess we’re searching for another set of bands and musicians who are forward thinking and who aren’t necessarily perpetuation a lot of the current trends. I can’t pinpoint any specific band because I think they all in one way or another represent a different facet of what we’re into and what we want to do. I think the main thing for me and for Mark [Thompson], who’s basically the other half of our label, is to continue working with bands that we feel really strongly about regardless of how they might sound in comparison to our past catalogue. I think there are certain parts of what we did in the past that are still quite relevant and valid today and others that aren’t so much. Overall I think the main thing is to keep ourselves happy and to feel like we’re still working with bands that are in one way or another sort of pushing the envelope with whatever it is that they do.
,emiT fO tuO llA
You’ve been able to indulge in your appreciation of drone through some of your side projects, Lotus Eaters, House of Low Culture, even Old Man Gloom. Why hasn’t your interest in drone manifested itself to a greater degree in Isis? I think simply because there are other people in Isis that don’t share those interests, or not to the extent that I do. I think that part of the reason I have those other side projects is to indulge in things that don’t necessarily work within the framework of Isis for whatever reason. I think that there’s something to be said for exploring different avenues with different people, and I think my work with other people in those outside projects has strengthened, or at least diversified, the palette from which we work with Isis. You know, there are times when I wish Isis went a little further in that direction, but then again, it’s not just about me and what I want, it’s very much about, you know, us as a collective. There have been times when I’ve tried to push it a little more to the fore but I’ve only done it to the point where I felt like it was acceptable to other people in the band. Like I said, not everyone is as interested in that type of stuff as I am; although there are others in the band who share that interest I suppose. But I think for the most part Isis really is, although slightly left of centre, definitely a rock band. Whereas these other projects are a little bit more out there and they serve a different purpose. The new Isis album In the Absence of Truth - can you recall the first time you took the finished product home, sat down alone and listened to it in your headphones? What were you’re initial feelings? Disappointment (laughs). I think that’s the way I’ve felt with pretty much everything that we’ve done after we’ve finished it. I just work so intensely on something and I have so many expectations that when I’m finally done and I can
sit back and listen to it I always feel let down. I always find that that’s a temporary state though. I mean, I’ve come back around now to feeling really good about what we’ve accomplished. I don’t feel that it’s perfect in any sense of the word but I am happy with it for the most part. To my mind, the songs on the new album seem to have a lot more direction than say Panopticon, they seem to take the listener on a more focused journey from point A to point B, would you agree? Yeah, definitely. I don’t view Panopticon as being a weak piece of work but I don’t think it was as coherent and dynamic as the new record is. When we were working on Panopticon we were still very much in a state of flux. A lot of us had just relocated to the West Coast, there was some tumultuous stuff going on in our personal lives and I don’t think we were able to devote the attention necessary to make it as focused
and dynamic as the new one is. At that time too a lot of us where still working day jobs and so forth and in the last year and a half or two, pretty much everyone’s been able to quit doing that. As a result we’ve been able to spend more time at the rehearsal space and devote more attention to the process of composition. I think ultimately that is why this record seems a little bit more coherent in that way. There are more clean vocals now than previously. What prompted this? The progression of the music. I mean, just based on the material that we wrote I knew I couldn’t be screaming over all of it and that I would have to find other modes of operation; or just become an instrumental band (laughs) - though I think we all felt that there is enough of that going around right now. I knew I had the capacity to do it, it was just getting over some of the psychological stumbling blocks. It’s still definitely a battle for me and I’m still not sure that I always made the right decisions with the parts that I wrote, but I think challenging oneself is a crucial component in any band, at least it is for Isis. I think we all feel like we have to progress each time we make a record, and this was an area in which I could grow and push myself. That’s not to say that I couldn’t with guitar playing, but I’ve been playing guitar for a lot longer and I’ve explored more possibilities with it as an instrument, whereas my voice has been relatively untapped up until more recently. And even still, I think there’s a lot more I could do with it, it’s just a matter of time and getting comfortable with it.
4D ea d
no pretense and no bullshit, Birds Of Prey are fans of metal making metal for metal fans.” It’s definitely metal, and it’s definitely no-bullshit, but it’s just a tad boring. For a more satisfying generic death metal throwback experience, and one that doesn’t seem to take itself so seriously, check out Nicke Andersson’s Death Breath.
Blood & Piss (Trial&Error/Stomp)
If music could sprout claws and fangs and physically leap out of the speakers and tear your throat box out without a tinge of remorse, I reckon it would sound a bit like 4Dead. Dishing out a frightening Converge-style hardcore and metal mix, and fronted by a psychopath Jon who regimentally fucks himself over in live situations, this Canberran mob play without concern for their own wellbeing or your sanity. Boasting the proud record of being banned from every venue in the ACT, Blood & Piss could never hope to be as dangerous as a 4Dead live show. The fact that it even comes close is a pretty fucking scary concept indeed. Packed with ideas, prone to shifts in tempo and tone, whether rattling your bones with screaming hardcore or marking time on the spot searing your psyche with evil distorted effigies, the intensity doesn’t drop for a second. If you enjoy anguished rockin’ hardcore intensity with absolutely no daylight whatsoever, you should be all over Blood & Piss like a fat kid on a Smartie.
Bang! Bang! Aids!
Tales CD-R (Self-released) A group of Bendigo, Vicsters who seem to have employed an army of infants to hand draw individual artwork for each of these home-recorded CD-Rs, Bang! Bang! Aids! have a special talent for masticating bits of post-punk, indie rock, posthardcore, pop and whatever other spare influences happen to be lying around then chundering them all back up in a display of colour and light that’s halfway between a Chinese take-away spew and the New Year’s fireworks. After the frivolous and fun jangly post-punk opening of “Dead Ant Dance”, halfway through the second track, “Mega Lipps,” and they’ve already taken a sharp inward turn, navigating the most delicate indie rock passage with a triumphant trumpet blowing along, before building to a crescendo involving thirtyplus seconds of grating guitar squalls. They then proceed to blow one mind valve after another, as they lay on another five lengthy tracks of spun-out, inspired, impassioned, indescribable post-punkindie-styled anti-pop, with trumpet.
Beasts Of Bourbon Little Animals (Alberts)
There’s no doubting Beasts Of Bourbon’s live show still rates among the best genuine rock ‘n’ roll experiences attainable in the world today – heat, sweat, steam and fire. But can the Beasts beat the curse of age and deliver another strong album of below-the-belt rock? Fuckin’ oath they can. Little Animals swings with the usual sweaty
Blacklevel Embassy B a r o c ( C h a tt e r b o x / MGM )
‘Stones-y swagger and hits up there with the best Beasts ever. Anyone who believes there’s not much life left in a standard dirty white boy blues riff needs to take note of how these gnarly old dudes grab hold of one and choke it for everything it’s worth. With second guitarist Charlie Owen now fully settled having replaced Kim Salmon in 2003, and bassist Brian Hooper back after several years out of action with broken vertebrae, the Beasts are riding the crest of a new wave, recently signing to Oz rock stalwart Alberts and recording this album in a three-day burst of inspiration. While it does sound raw production-wise, Little Animals evokes a spirit almost as rich as the Rolling Stones records it emulates – and the Iggy-influenced “The Beast I Came To Be” smokes the new Stooges material for breakfast. S’cuse me, I have to turn this up…
The Beatles Love (Parlophone) Achtung! Horst to muchly forgetting if it to being the Beatles oder the Charles Manson who to sagen, “All You Need is Love” but, Horst ist muchly nicht to needing this superfluously superfluous sheiss compiling from an alleged hippie musical of some kind called-inappropriately enough Love. Naturlich, this so calling Love sheiss show opening in 2006 in Viva Las Vegas-the home of slut machines und the anti-Christ wissen as the Wayne “County” Newton. For many a jahren now, Horst to often wondering what the Charles in Charge Manson to horen in his brainpan, when he to declaring that the Beatles sprechen to him, whichnaturlich-causing him to subsequently entering the Hotel Sharon Tate, where he to checking out anytime he pleasing but, but he to never leaving prison. Well, now Horst to wissen! Simply putting, this entire sheiss CD to sounding like “Revolution #9” without the revolution. According to prosecuting Charles Bugliosi, Charles Manson to horen the superfluous und very convoluting sheiss soundtrack for the Love musical in his Helter Skelter brainpan und then deciding to celebritygoslaughtering. Naturlich, this sheiss CD was overproduced by George Martin und his sheiss son, Giles, who to machen it sounding like it to being oder nicht to being compiling by a psychotic rapping musician
mit two turd tables and a Mansonphone. Horst nicht to wissen the plotting of the hippie Love musical from Vegas but, if the sounding track ist anal indicating, Horst to thinking the Manson Family somehow involving in the story. Maybe the Sexy Squeaky to singing the severely altering “Eleanor Rigby” after President Ford assassination attempting? That reminds Horst, just this morning, after a particularly fruitfully autosodomizing session of destiny, Horst’s overmedicated teen sex-retary, Mindy Mengele, to reminding Horst of the famously scene in the film The Magic Christian, where the Peter Sellers to spending millions of English pounds on a masterpiece painting, just so he to cutting out the nose. He then to discarding the unwanted non-nose painting parts. It to gehen without sagen that this sheiss CD ist nothing more than The Magic Christian nose, mit adding “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” shiess strings by the George und Giles Martin. Horst to muchly considering fragen the Michael Jackson for the permission to adding Bustanutbeard hippity-hoppity parrot vocals to “Yesterday” und Hey Jude”. As for the overproducing George und Giles Martin, Horst to thinking that the overmedicated ghost of John Lennon to fragen, “How Do You Sleep?” [Horst]
Long, long ago (November 2005 to be precise), in a galaxy far, far away (or Electrical Audio Studios, Chicago, USA at least), three Melbournian lords of scorch rock recorded this killer debut album. While it’s only just now getting a release through Chatterbox, I’ve had a sly CD-R on heavy rotation for over a year now and I’m still not sick of it. In fact, it just gets better. Tough, mid-tempo rock derived and blended from such pure sonic sources as Shellac, AC/DC, Melvins and Hoover, guitarist/vocalist Adam Cooper (ex-Hardware) stabs and scrapes his aluminum-necked guitar and urges forth vocal melodies with the vigour of a drill-sergeant while bassist Brett O’Riley (exWarped, Ricaine) draws a beefy sound out of a vintage Rickenbacker and the biggest bass cabs he can get, bringing his own yelping vocal style to proceedings. Drummer Dave Kneale keeps busy around his kit, hitting tight and taut without sounding like one of those drum-workshop dorks. Together with the help of producer Bob Weston of Shellac and Mission Of Burma, they have not only encapsulated their untold live power on tracks like “Their Own Stars” and “Setup,” but gone way beyond expectation with efforts like the mellow piano-based “Closing Comment” – at first I thought some bastard had switched discs on me. Knowing what a bad fan I am BLE asked me to provide a quote to stick on their advertisement in this issue and I whacked ‘em with: “Most Underrated Band In Australia.” I’ll stand by that, too – rate these cunts already, would ya!
Duster Kill Kill Kill [live] (Straight Up) Birds Of Prey Blood Weight Of The Wound (Relapse/Riot)
Getting a lot of notice due to the fact that the members feature in other metal bands – guitarist Erik Larson (Avail, Alabama Thunderpussy), bassist Summer Welch (Baroness), guitarist Bo Leslie (The Latest Van Zant, Throttlerod), vocalist Ben Hogg (Beaten Back To Pure) and drummer Dave Witte (Discordance Axis, Burnt By The Sun, Municipal Waste, Melt Banana) – Birds Of Prey make oldschool death metal with southern and stoner rock tendencies. It’s quite straight-up in places and doesn’t do that much to excite melodically, but the lyrics of murder and carnage in redneck suburbia and song titles like “The Old Lady Rots (But The Checks Keep Coming In)” and “To Kill A CoWorker (You Ain’t My Fucking Boss Man)” will still appeal to demented death rock heads out there. This is one of those reactionary albums where the bio says stuff like, “No keyboards, no breakdowns,
Sydney’s infamous Iron Duke Hotel has a proud history going back to when Neddy Smith and his underworld mates would get up to no good down in the cellar. Someone has now turned the joint into a shit tapas bar that no one goes to, but for a while there back in the mid-nineties it was a decent haunt to catch bands. Allegedly limited to 500 copies, this is an old desk tape from a decade ago when Blood Duster tore Brutal Truth a new one at the ‘Duke (I was there so don’t try to argue). The sound quality is exactly what you’d expect from the desk; the flat thud of Matt Rizzo’s kick drum dominates, with Tony Forde’s growl running a close second. The band sounds on form, though, especially considering their older songs were a touch more technical than most of what they write these days, sludge grooves aside. Oh to be ten years younger and moshing it up at the Iron Duke again.
unbelievably B lo w f ly
Blowfly’s Punk Rock Party ( A lternative Tentacles) Feminists and PCniks everywhere are gonna shoot me dead in the street for repping this piece of pure trash-a-rama by sixty-year-old black sex-obsessed superhero Blowfly (the alias of former R&B songwriter Clarence Reid). Having made a heap of albums since the seventies of sexually explicit parodies of other songs, Blowfly has now gone punk with his second album for Alternative Tentacles. More offensive than an allstar Australian Idol sing-along, Blowfly’s Punk Rock Party features a variety of your favourite punk anthems all funked up with the original lyrics changed to the filthiest sex-related stuff imaginable. Instead of the Clash’s “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” Blowfly gives us “Should I Fuck This Big Fat Ho?” He also gives us “I Wanna Fuck Your Dog,” “I Wanna Be Fellated” and “V.D. Party”. Worst of all, though, is the alt. version of Dead Kennedys’ best-known song, “R. Kelly In Cambodia,” with a guest appearance by Jello Biafra. I feel dirty just listening to it. Seeing Blowfly and his band rock it live in Australia last month was UNBELIEVABLY Bad personified! Made even cooler by the fact that when I met Clarence in the lift of the Mandarin Club before the show, he points to my Stabs T-shirt and mumbles, “Do you stab chicks in the pussy or in the ass?” This cat is the absolute filth.
The Blurters Dealing Drugs (Straight Up) For the uninitiated, imagine Sir Jeff Clayton turfing the washboard in favour of a Hill’s Hoist. Picture V8 Falcon utes doing doughnuts in a Dixie cornfield. Or simply view the photos in this fuckin’ greatest hits disc from these long-running Sydney cunts – raised pints, flipped birds, mull plants and flannel shirts. The blazing “20 Pages,” the hilarious “Hate Fuck” and the standout ‘’Dealing Drugs’’ capture the energy that is perhaps lacking in their slower, more plodding numbers. Running the lyrical scrum of everything from the ills of domestic violence to the joys of chemical revelry to
the agony of alcohol induced heart burn; this is a blurred fun-ride down Enmore Road with a carton of VB, a few stick books, a Rose- Tattoo/Cocknoose mix-tape and the great Cosmic Commander riding shotgun. Whilst not a ride I would take regularly, I can’t help but enjoy it when I do. [Rhys Davies]
T h e M i s ta k e ( T h i n k Fa s t ) Uber-slick, clinicallyexecuted SoCal hardcore featuring members of The Bronx and The Drips. The singer obviously possesses a great voice, yet comes off sounding monotonous and bored. The guitarist is that stoner guy that actually remembers his riffs. This is perfect for candid Snowboard video footage of a bunch of dudes with bleached hair torching wheelie bins and pissing in the street. Perfect as a diegetic audio track for the Corn Flakes commercial where the weirdo son emerges from his room for breakfast wearing eyeliner and a Circle-A long-sleeve. Perfect for the guy who likes hardcore, but is scared of FU'S, Negative FX and Nihilistics. [Rhys Davies]
Stinking Up The Night (Relapse/Riot) So I get a cassette in the mail with old school death metal artwork and “promo” written on it and I’m instantly transported back to 1987. I chuck it in my ancient tape machine and what a fresh breath of deathly air! Nicke Royale (aka Nicke Andersson) from The Hellacopters has dropped the soulful high-energy rock of the last decade or so for his early love, death metal. Reliving his teen years in Nihilist and Entombed, Andersson handles both drums and guitar, aided by the brutal vocals and guitar playing of Robert Pehrsson (Thunder Express) and bassplayer Magnus Hedquist. My instincts had me thinking this would be nothing more than a retro, project-only, therapy-band for guys who had played pop rock for too long. I needn’t have feared. Cunningly disguised as a bit of a laugh, with titles like “Heading For Decapitation”, “Christ All Fucking Mighty” and awesome creepy instrumental closer, “Cthulhu Fhtagn!” Stinking Up The Night
is a classic-sounding no-frills death album. Kids and old metal farts alike will be knocked out by the deathly stench of this gnarly gust of authentic Swedish metal; Entombed fans will shit themselves in delight. [Clown-fynder General]
The DTs Nice ‘N’ Ruff: Hard Soul Hits! Vol. 1 (Get Hip)
Like the Dirtbombs’ quintessential 2001 covers album Ultraglide In Black, The DTs (featuring Estrus Records owner and former Mono Men and Watts guitarist Dave Crider) offer up a platter of RnB covers done garage-y style. Singer Diana YoungBlanchard (aka Madame X) is in the Wendy Case and Rachel Nagy mould – a white rocker chick with the voice of a black soul singer. Their cover of Acca Dacca’s “What’s Next To The Moon” is a definite standout amongst a set of rocked-up soul tunes. As far as criticisms go, I don’t know why anyone would take on Janis Joplin’s “Move Over” when the original is poised to bury anyone in the dust, and Detroit Cobras already got to “Ninety-Nine And A Half (Won’t Do)” first – and did it slightly better. But with grunge engineer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney) giving the whole thing the balls it needs, fans of the Cobras, Paybacks and Bellrays and that whole kinda Mowtown soul-meets-Motor City garage rock will be instantly down with the DTs.
T h e T i m i d M i s c h i e f, o r O h ! Anomia (Dual Plover)
Pic: Rod Hunt
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New York solo anachronist Al Duvall channels pre-war ditties armed with a sarcastic old-world turn of phrase and a banjo as his main source of accompaniment. The Timid Mischief, or Oh! Anomia is his fifth album but his first local release thanks to the miscreants at Sydney label
Dual Plover. Opener “Bury Me In Shellac” drags you straight into Al’s world, its old-timey timpani and drunken tuba rhythmic base propping up his ingenious lyrics. Duvall has a broken old voice and an innate ability to fashion a double entendre that must qualify him as some kind of post-Dadaist poet. The genius “Labias and Genitalmen” walks the line of offensiveness to perfection, while “The Day Bartender” evokes the non-glamourous reality of its subject with astonishing wordplay. While Duvall plays the saw and the kazoo, he’s joined by several other musos like multiinstrumentalist “Jeet” Fowler, who guests on a variety of instruments including “wall”, “cuspidor” (otherwise known as a spittoon) and “bedpan.” Out by Dual Plover, so you know it’s warped.
Eat Laser Scumbag!
Eat Laser Scumbag! 1, Earth 0 EP (Must Destroy Mankind) Self-released punk rock by four Queenslanders out of their banana trees, Eat Laser Scumbag!, 1 Earth 0 is another product out of Briz rock factory Zero Interference Studios, run by one of the biggest champions of the local scene up there producer Bryce Moorhead. Hyped-up punk with added sound effects, “Solander” sounds like Suicidal Tendencies being covered by Devo, a decent opening to a promising six-tracker. “On And On” introduces some crazy overlapping vocals that you will either think are cute and endearing or amateurish and annoying, before “A Gentleman And A Scholar” hits a flat spot of unremarkable poppy punk rock. Bringing back the sci-fi vibe for “Ponies”, Eat Laser Scumbag! push their hyper punk, stupid sound effects and chaotic overlapping voices to new limits to produce their best and most original tune. “Boost” is a riffing instrumental, certainly nothing to trouble Man… Or Astro-Man? about, while closer “Exit” takes off on slight indie and pop bents while never really losing its straight-up punk focus, ala the Hard-Ons without sounding like them. Energy and enthusiasm Eat Laser Scumbag! possess by the buttload. Songwriting, they’ll need to work on.
the initial big recording budget jitters? Or perhaps a sign of what lies ahead? I’m sure their next 24 releases this year will reveal all. Ultimately, whilst I admire their audacity, I am not 100% convinced by their delivery. [Rhys Davies]
Get Evens (Dischord/Inertia)
Without the element of surprise up their sleeves that made their 2005 debut such a jolting experience, DC duo The Evens continue on their minimal indie rock way and find yet more pockets of quietude to explore. On the surface this followup may seem like a part rehash, as the limitations of the baritone guitar-drums-vocals format start to manifest themselves. But give Get Evens a chance and you’ll hear the many directions in which they’re trying to nudge it. Ian MacKaye (baritone guitar/vocals) makes the presence of the baritone guitar felt more sharply, frolicking freely amongst bottom-end frequencies normally horded by the bassist. Drummer/vocalist Amy Farina by contrast seems a touch more levelheaded in her approach, perhaps determined not to stem the flow of the songs by overplaying it too much. Once again the couple are in fine voice, their subtle dynamic seemingly more intuitive than ever. Though neither is a particularly great singer, it’s undeniable that one of the biggest strengths of The Evens lies the intimacy shared when their voices interlock. Wanna hear how rock instruments can produce power without volume? Get Evens.
Degenerate (Deep Six/Common Bond) I still remember how tripped-out I was when I first saw a Euro hardcore porn mag in the primary school playground. That was the day I realised you cannot un-blow your mind. I got a similar kind of dirty weird turned-on stunned and disgusted feeling upon hearing the first Extortion 7-inch – should I throw up, should I cry, should I jerk off, should I run, should I headbutt the nearest fuckwit, aaarrrrggghhhhh? They’ve gotten a lot of hype from the underground (and let’s just say that’s probably not the easiest thing to do when you come from Perth), but after living with this debut full-length for several months now I have to say Extortion (with ex and current members of Jaws, Aids, Nailed Down, Hailstones Kill 200, etc) are worth every last fucking syllable. Singer Rohan Harrison’s frightening lineillustration of some fuck getting his neck stabbed with a syringe on the cover captures the vibe perfectly. Degenerate is full of fast, intense and doggedly anti-social odes to human nastiness in all its forms; murderers, rapists, misanthropes, parents who stub out ciggie butts out on their kid’s eyelids. With most of the songs running less than a minute, the ideas are simple but the playing tight and the intensity raging; an atomic explosion of Siege, Crossed Out and Infest-style violence. Everything is so ridiculously pent-up; the tension would be almost asphyxiating if it weren’t for constant pummel of riffs, drums and screams hammering you in the heart, balls and brain simultaneously. Out of nineteen tracks there isn’t one that don’t get the blood racing. Even “Ramirez”, a song about and dedicated to Richard “Night Stalker” Ramirez,
Jerry Garcia The Very Best Of… (Rhino)
shows how Extortion can slow the pace and still be every bit as intense. Harrison sounds like his head’s going to explode, as he screams “Break and enter / Rape and dismembeeeeeeeeeeerrrrr!!!” It might be an early call to make but I feel safe in saying Degenerate is one of the most accomplished Australian hardcore albums yet made. The seethrough green vinyl is psycho.
TAt T hhe S pee e d OfFT wii s txe d
A compile of recordings by Lansing, Michigan’s The Fix, this release primes these lesser lights of the early US hardcore scene for rediscovery on a larger scale. Emitting more static than the local community-access television channel, The Fix started out playing punk rock as hard and fast as they could, embracing the early HC aesthetic upon discovery of Black Flag, who they sound most like. Touted in every biography as being one of the first bands ever to release a record on Touch and Go, there were only a measly 200 copies pressed of their ’81 debut single “Vengeance” / “In This Town”, and only 1000 of its more vital follow-up vinyl EP, Jan’s Room, also from ‘81. But this 24-track anthology, boasting all The Fix’s studio recordings plus rare outtakes and live tracks, will finally bring this Midwest quartet within the reach of everyone who can’t afford the US$1000 prices scored on ebay for their seven-inches. With a barely recognizable cover of The Box Tops’ “The Letter”(!) and a run-through of The Germs’ “Media Blitz” amongst the crappy live tracks, it’s Jan’s Room and the rare outtakes from that session that make this worth checking out for any fan of classic HC.
Destruct Tonight EP (Self-released) I bagged out the cover art in my review of From Hell’s debut EP, so the simple yet classic packaging of this second effort scores my “Most Improved” award for this issue. A simple one-colour black
print on recycled felt-lined card, it’s cool, classy and environmentally friendly too-boot. The tunes are still of the same kind of hard-hitting, high-enegry, ballsy, blues-infused rock ‘n’ roll variety, calling instantly to mind some true greats of Melbourne rock: Powder Monkeys, Warped, etc. From Hell handle meat and potatoes rock like old pros, yet can always find space to accommodate a hook. With catchy bits throughout all the songs, there is thankfully very little candy in the melodies, or in the actual delivery. The lyrics sound like they’ve ripped open fresh scar tissue in the throats of twin frontmen Wally and Dale (both guitar/vocals) on the way out, as secret weapon drummer Ando adds his strong back-up harmonies. It’s a shame misfit metalhead bassist Benno doesn’t sing on this one, ‘cos his “Drug Fucked Zombis” song is just the best.
FHidden u cWorld k e (Jad d e UTree) p Hidden World is the first full-length from this highly lauded Canadian band. A massive undertaking for a band that’s bread and butter has been a slew of singles and limited releases, this 72-minute monolith was always going to be somewhat decisive. The first four songs provide an effective interface between the indubitable focus of their early material, and the more exploratory nature of their recent output. The vocals, albeit more produced than on previous efforts, exude the requisite rage and bitterness that will always prevent this band from slipping into the nadirs of absolute accessibility. Building on the Dangerhouse/ Stiff Little Fingers platform laid on earlier records, the Hidden World guitar attack provides a far more textured, almost Husker Du-esque slurry. “Jacob’s Ladder”, the album’s strongest track and indeed the biggest musical departure for the band, demonstrates the impeccable rhythm section that this band possesses. The production straddles the realms of the produced and the authentic with relative ease, culminating in what is essentially a really good record. However, the songs are too long. There is far too much repetition of verses that don’t hold as much weight after their tenth to twelfth lap around Prog Oval. Extending a song two to three minutes beyond a reasonable length is not throwing a Rickenbacker headstock into the punk rock works; it is overindulgent songwriting. A result of
Achtung! Horst just nicht to ever verstehen the smelly Amorikkkan whodi peeps worshipping of the muchly untalented ubermellow sheiss hippies like the Cherry Garcia. Excusing Horst! Cherry Garcia ist a ice cream flavoring, which was-ungofortunately-namen after the Grateful Head Head, Jerry Garcia. Horst hating Cherry Garcia even morely than Jerry Garcia. It to becoming too clumpy for the anal fisting of Horst’s overmedicated teen sex-retary. Just this Mega Monday, Horst’s overmedicated teen sex-retary, Mindy Mengele - after becoming ananally fisting by the Horst fist of destiny -trying to explaining that Jerry Garcia ist a musical genie because he to never remembering what he guitar playing und his shiess reggae guitar to gehen on forever playing Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street” like the Led Zeppelin Song Remain spielen “Dazed and Confused”. The last timing Horst checking, “Posively 4th Street” was a scathingly scathing ubersong about the friend betrayal. Ungofortunately, the Cherry Garcia to sheiss singing it no differently than to “Deal” singing. Cherry Garcia haben only one singing emotiong und that ist hippie mellow. Naturlich, it gehen without the sagen that Mindy Mengele smoken on the water more spiffs than the reggae ghost of Bob Marley. If Horst wasn’t so overmedicated on the snowgoblowing, Horst to concluding a bigly connection between the spiffs und the deluding that Jerry Garcia ist a musical genie, like Rob und Fab oder Ralph und Florian. Analways, Horst to immediately smashing this sheiss CD mit the Mega Records hammer of destiny after forcing himmelself to listening to Cherry Garcia songgoslaughtering the Beatley Mia Farrow sister-inspiring song, “Dear Prudence”. Horst to thinking Cherry Garcia to better off covering “Revolution #9,“ which to turning on horst morely than anal thing recorded by this Grafefully Dead man machine. If you wanting to wissen what Cherry Garcia ist like live, Horst to wanting you to remembering the Spinal Tap and Puppet Show scene from Spinal Tap, where, because of the Nigel Tufnel departing, the desperate band on the run forcing to playing Derek Smalls’ free forming jazz exploration, whichnaturlich-causing the puppet crowd to giving the down thumbs. Cheery Garcia to song spielen like he to forgetting that all songs to haben a beginning und ending. All the Cherry Garcia songs to be oder nicht to being nothing but the middle. Especially when Cherry Garcia to songgoslaughtering the Jimmy Clitt classic, “The Harder They Come”. Horst ist not only Grateful that Cherry Garcia ist muchly dead but, Horst und the Vincely Neil to seriously thinking of gravegorobbing the Cherry Garcia spliff corpse und forcing it to listening to Cherry Garcia’s superfluously superfluous sheiss version of Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” until the Ben und Jerry appearing und using the remainings in their
unbelievably hippie ice cream, which-as Horst already to sagenist muchly useless in the anal fisting department. Of coarsely, after Horst being forcing to listening to this superfluously superfluous two-CD set, Horst almost feeling like Horst was anally fisted… by Rhino Records. [Horst]
Group Seizure Hybrid Vigour (SolarSonar/Shock)
After the gnarly lightening flash of DFA79-meets-Big Black madness that was their self-titled 2005 EP, Melbourne machine-assisted hyper rockers Group Seizure attempt to step it up for their debut full-length with mixed results. Songwriting-wise they’ve begun to move beyond mere breathless exuberance, as shown on more idea-packed tracks like “Spastic In Time” and “Shoot The Mirror With A Camera.” But handin-hand with this has come a need for cleaner production that has sterilized part of their attack. Whereas everything used to sound totally overloaded and totally awesome, clearer drum machine beats now dominate. While the vocals retain that same megaphone effect as before, and the guitar, bass and keyboards remain soaked in an acid bath of distortion effects, the doofs stick
out like dog’s balls on a rabbit. Ironically, one of the only tracks where everything gels is the reworking of “Piece Of Me” from the EP, mainly because the pre-programmed beats use dirtier sounds that weave in better with the fast, raw playing of the trio. The best place to hear Group Seizure is still live, where everything is nice and blown-out. For some reason they just sound better that way.
Guns Are For Kids T o o M u c h R e d , N o t E n o u gh R e d EP ( S e l f - r e l e a s e d )
Featuring two exmembers of Canberra band Brace, Sydney trio Guns Are For Kids revel in post-punky nowave chaos and could barely sound less like Brace if they tried. Like some dysfunctional jukebox spluttering out songs with the rhythmic patterns all jumbled up, the title track is a deliberately stilted Pere Ubu/Birthday Party affair with irregularly stabbed chords, emotive vocal pleas and a gatecrashing trumpet that brings a bit of life to the party. The highlight among the six tracks here, “Yes It Yes Is,” features scratchy post-punk guitars, off-kilter rhythms and shouted vocals that make you want to join in. Some of the vocals on the other tracks, however, are less infectious. Whereas the
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music grates on you in a good way, the loose, at times gothic, almost faux-English vocal wail of the singers is hard for me to get beyond. But that’s just me. Guns Are For Kids are a tight unit making music that no one else is – especially not in Sydney – and no doubt they’ll hold plenty of appeal for plenty of kids plenty cooler than me.
TNewhErections e Lo(Anti/Shock) c u st Words are almost futile once The Locust start playing. In fact, music is futile. Wait, no, what is music again? Exactly. Their second album for Epitaph offshoot Anti, New Erections utilizes a slightly new form of attack from the San Diego fly-guys, who perhaps felt they’d pushed their screamo electro powerviolence shtick to breaking point on 2003’s Plague Soundscapes. Though they haven’t completely kicked the schizophrenic tendencies, it’s like they’re now trying to create the same amount of chaos with cleaner instrumentation. Imagine a murder performed with a razor-sharp butcher’s knife; sure, it’s gonna be bludgeoning and all that, but it’s gonna be over pretty quick. Now try to imagine murder by plastic picnic set – that’s gonna be a shitload more interesting… and
messy. While Locust releases in the past have had a tendency to assault you so savagely and quickly that you only feel the shock after it’s all over – when the silence hits you like Narcaine into an OD victim’s vein – New Erections constantly lets you know its around, exploring many murderous moods and containing more substantial threads of song than ever. My only beef is that the second twelve minutes are not as good as the first twelve.
The Mint Chicks Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! (Flying Nun/Warner)
After a decidedly raw though undeniably spirited 2005 debut LP in Fuck The Golden Youth, New Zealand spaz popstars The Mint Chicks have taken their time crafting a second full-length that wipes their old stuff’s arse and hangs it out to dry. As guitarist Ruban Nielson’s colourful yet demented cover artwork suggests, Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! is a lolly shop stocked floor to ceiling with otherworldly pop treats. With way too much effervescence and energy to be described as “mature,” the band have nonetheless spread their songwriting wings wide, and in the process have forged a unique identity that can happily wear an influence on its sleeves without feeling threatened. There are shades of
Nick Oliveri and the Mondo Generator Dead Planet: SonicSlowMotionTrails
The Mint Chicks
( I m p e d a nc e /
Death From Above 1979 in the fast flowing riff of “Ockham’s Razor,” a hyper opener possessing just as much driving power as pop potential, at which point the sarcastic, spazzy, new-wavy “This Is Your Last Chance To Be Famous” mood swings effortlessly into the stabbing, upbeat “Welcome To Nowhere.” Any album, after such a glorious initial onslaught, would have earned the right to curl up and die in a trough of dodgy filler sludge, but Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! gets on a roll and stays there. Littered with awesome tunes, it’s the title track that shines brightest; an update on fifties doo-wop that rides on Paul Roper’s laconic military snare rolls and thrives on singer Kody Nielson’s simple, high-pitched melody. Befitting the straighter rhythms and melodies (unless, of course, you count the fucked up Devo-esque “If My Arm Was A Mic Stand, Would You Hold My Hand?”), the production job by Ruban and Kody along with their dad Chris Nielson, improves on the wham-bam-geddit-inthe-can aesthetic of old, adding definition without slicking everything out. The Mint Chicks have made one of the greatest pop records of our age – shame pop fans are too fucking brain dead to get it.
The Nation Blue Protest Songs (Casadeldisco/Shock)
One of the most interesting and powerful bands in the country, The Nation Blue gave themselves a tough act to follow with 2004’s Damnation. But while it contains many similar hallmarks, their third album Protest Songs is not Damnation MKII but a more introspective, less self-conscious effort that finds the Tassie-via-Vic trio mining the depths of their core to siphon their very essence. Tom Lyngcoln (guitar/vocals) makes his strings resonate by whacking on the timber of his guitar with a drumstick throughout the foreboding intro to opener “Exile,” before the whole band kicks into a huge riff that sounds like First Fleet convicts playing a dirge on the high seas during a thunder storm. Stark, emotive singing comes to the fore on “We Lost Everything”, Australian accents of as harsh at the midday sun on the Nullarbor Plain, as
Tom and bassist Matt Weston scream about human evolution and urban decay. Exposed and vulnerable like an open sore, “Walk Them Home” explores this country’s attitude toward immigration, enhanced by a softer, starker vocal and a rhythmic pulse that throbs like the dull plod of bureaucracy. “Sorrow” is probably closest to the Damnation songs, with all the classic Nation Blue trademarks in place – thick churning walls of guitar turbulence, dark pensive bass, primal tom-work and plenty of emotive shouting. Like many of the tracks on Protest Songs, “Holes” makes great use of the loud/soft dynamic, finding simple melodies to cut through the chaos. Peeling back the layers as it goes along, by the time you get to closer “Capital” there’s just Tom, his guitar and his voice, stripped as bare as they’ve ever have been. So where do you go once you’ve made two masterpieces in a row? I’m not quite sure, but when The Nation Blue goes there, I’ll be tagging along right behind.
Red Blue Green (Ummo/Tenzenmen) Three cute Japanese girls clad in different coloured Adidas tracksuits; two have bass guitars, one has a basic drum-set, all have nice voices. Led by the gorgeous Yukari of Limited Express (has gone?), Ni-Hao! toy around with weird A-capella vocals, quirky electro sounds, scorching punk riffs, finger-clicks and whatever else they think of in an impressive display of cutesy experimental j-pop. They’ll take you to Hello Kitty World and back again on a trail of coloured sugar sprinkles. The closest comparison I can make is short-lived Australian/Japanese duo Funky Terrorist – who, incidentally released an awesome three-inch on Dual Plover in the nineties – meets the Ramones. Comprising three previously released EPs, this fifteen tracker Red Blue Green (named after their tracksuit colours) was issued to support Ni-Hao!’s Australian tour of last year by those hardworking DIY networkers Tenzenmen. Just ‘cos you missed the gigs doesn’t mean you can’t play catch-up.
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Queens Of The Stone Age are not the same band without Nick Oliveri. While he may not have the melodic sensibility of high school buddy Josh Homme, Homme can’t project rage and inner fire like he can, as perfectly illustrated by the limp Lullabies To Paralyze (2005) made after Homme had punted him. And so it’s with much rage and inner fire that Oliveri has refueled and kickstarted the Mondo Generator, the pre-Queens project started by the ex Kyuss combo of he, Homme and drummer-turned-solo artist Brandt Bjork. Full of noodly desert grooves, wild screaming rock, boppy stoner pop and even a dreamy Southern lament, this more structured follow-up to 2003’s A Drug Problem That Never Existed rocks along nicely, suffering only occasionally from Oliveri’s weak vocal on a few tracks. Screaming at full force he’s capable of stripping paint from the walls, but some of his softer, more melodic forays sound almost out-of-tune, when he probably just meant them to sound a bit skewed. Overall, though, Dead Planet is the Mondo Generator’s most cohesive record yet – except for the unlisted bonus version of Johnny Cash’s “Sam Hall,” which sounds like nothing off the album itself; it being a wicked electrified trad. country number with wicked lyrics and even wickeder slide guitar.
The Paybacks Love, Not Reason (Savage Jams/Shock) The first time I ever heard the Paybacks it brought tears to my eyes. I didn’t cry because they were playing some sentimental country ballad designed to tug at the heartstrings. The song was called “Scotch Love” on Art Rocker’s New Blood Vol 3. comp and I cried just because it rocked so damn fucking hard. The vocals of frontwoman Wendy Case, especially, shook me to
my core. When it was over I felt like I’d just gotten off the Wild Mouse at Luna Park. The tears felt like those of someone who just got told they beat Cancer – pure shocked elation (of course, I was coming down off something or other). That was a couple of years ago now and I find it criminal that Love, Not Reason is their third album yet only their first locally distributed release. What makes it even worse is that it’s not even their raunchiest. With a certain finesse about it that works against the gutter sentiment of the group, it’s more mature and more country barroom as opposed to punk. Spanning nice country garage to hell-raising rock to soulful love song, Love, Not Reason wasn’t nearly powerful enough to make me cry, but maybe to at least give it a few more spins on a drunken Sunday arvo.
P riestess Hello Master (RCA) Not in the habit of reviewing major label releases in here but Priestess’ Hello Master was a bit of an addiction of mine over the Christmas period so it would be amiss not to mention this classic rock bell-ringer. Hello Master actually came out in the band’s native Canada in 2005, almost a year prior to RCA in the States snapping them up and repackaging the album in new cover art, though the Australian arm of RCA at SonyBMG did not even pick it up for local release (adopts Derryn Hinch voice: “Shame SonyBMG, shame.”). Straightup, unoriginal hard rock, bringing together the absolute rockinest bits of Sabbath, Soundgarden, AC/DC and Thin Lizzy, it has an escapist quality in its anthemic choruses and stoner grooves that makes it easy to put on anytime and rock the fuck out to. The Chris Cornell-meets-Ian Astbury-meetsOzzy croon of Mike Heppner (guitar/vocals) is just pompous enough without melting into cheese. By the end of track four, “Two Kids” (a song about lowlife parents drowning their offspring), you’ll be grabbing the CD cover to check how much more of this brilliance there could possibly be to go. Another eight tracks – schweeeeet! A hard rock/ stoner pop hit for fans of Queens Of The Stone Age, Soundgarden, or just anyone who likes their hard rock to rock fuckin’ hard. Basically, it's the musical equivalent of Starship Troopers.
unbelievably Regular John
Pic: Tristan Still
Marrickville 2204 EP (Chatterbox/MGM) Cool kids with long hair and skinny-leg jeans, Regular John may just be the band to get all the emo children to lay down their razor blades, grow their fringes out and rediscover the real power of R.O.C.K. They’ve been quickly embraced by booking agents, “alternative” radio programmers and rock journalist types, but do today’s teens - androids that they fuckin’ are - even care for genuine passionate rock anymore? When it’s done this well, they have little choice in the matter. While Regular John are just wee young pups, as songwriters and performers they have a maturity beyond their years. Like a clash of early-nineties Seattle grunge and late-nineties DC post-hardcore, they don’t just understand about the Sabbathy side of making things rock, but also a more intricate Fugazi side, and their live show leaves many a more experienced band in the dirt. Still perhaps a tad early for the second wave of grunge, but you can bet your ringhole you’ll be hearing more from these scruffy tearaways soon enough.
Syndicate falls slightly short of that mark. Don’t get me wrong, Absentium Existence is still a worldclass release, packing untold power and projecting a passion that is believable, but dynamically it just feels a bit flat. While the six songs here are good, they all rush by blurrily with very few distinctive signposts worth mentioning. Not the churning pot of emotions that was Ill Winds From Outopia, but maybe still worth a go.
Sherbert Super Hits (Liberation Blue)
Los Angeles trio Sabretooth Tiger toured the country a while back with our own post-hardcore/ post-rock powerhouse The Nation Blue but were left smouldering night after night by the ‘Blue boys and also Blacklevel Embassy. Recorded by the core two members, Aaron Farley (guitar/vocals) and Chris Burnett (bass/vocals), Extinction Is Inevitable features the talents of four different drummers, one of whom was exMars Volta ironman Jon Theodore. Produced by Alex Newport (The Mars Volta, At The Drive-In), the main problem here is not shit sound or sub-par performance, or even a lack of cohesion with the revolving drummers; basically it comes down to a lack of songs. While at times they make an undeniably propulsive post-HC rock noise, their ideas are generic, their lyrics boring and their tunes generally uninteresting. My favourite thing about this is the cover.
Achtung! Unless you whodi peep skillets to be living Down Under AD/DC und Men At Work, you probably nicht to ever horen of the rocking rolling juggernauting wissen as Sherbet, who to releasing numerous falsetto-laden bubblegummy sheiss hits during the last couple of decades. Horst to immediately wondering if they ever to be calling Sherbert. But that’s neither Ben nor Jerry Garcia. To Horst und Bustanutbeard’s Mega Recordstrained uber ears, Sherbet sounding like the Aussie version of Sweet, who to recording endless bubble gumming sheiss hits before being Stanlingraded at the “Ballroom Blitz”. Horst eversospecially to enthralling mit the falsetto-laden bubblegummy sheiss anthem, “Can You Feel It Baby,” which including the trenchantly trenchant lyric of destiny: “Love is desire for something you feel is wrong.” Naturlich! That ist a perfectly describing of Horst’s unholy desiring for constant auto-sodomizing of Kylie Minogue’s Locomoting Aussie sexgorump. Horst can’t get Kylie’s heart-shaping sexgorump out of Horst’s head. Kraftwerk und Seymore Butts agreeing. Ungofortunately, in 1977, Sherbet deciding to songgoslaughtering the Beatley classic “Nowhere Man,” by covering it mit Sherbet, which machen it sounding like Klaatu mixing mit Badfinger, as interpreting by Big Star und Beatlemania. In other wording, this anti-tribute to Herr Te Ching the Sheisswriter to sounding superfluously superfluous to Horst! Apparrotly, “You’ve Got the Gun” ist either about Squeaky Fromme oder falling in lust-love. Horst nicht to wissen which yet. “I’m amazing at the beating hearts can endure,” Sherbet declaring in the bubblegummy anthem “Hearts Are Insane,” which to becoming recorded in 2006. Horst haben to agreeing. Especially when thinking of the numerous
S chifosi Absentium Existence
(Thrash Steady Syndicate)
Brooding, haunting, down-tuned heavy crust with embittered socio-political lyrics growled by a dual male/female attack that sounds like a swamp beast facing off with one of Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones, Schifosi from Melbourne set a high benchmark for local melodic hardcore with 2003’s intense and epic Ill Winds From Outopia LP. This latest EP on Singapore label Thrash Steady
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bodgy 4-track black art. Opening this ten song CD-R, “Skeletal Perversion” features typical black metal guitar riffing with wicked experimental noise swirling over the top and some deathly rumblings below. “Junkie Extermination Clinic” has a Bathorymeets-Whitehouse-in-the-bedroom vibe, while “I Need More Drugs” is all grating distortion and delay effects on a solo microphone – fairly interesting for that kind of crap. At times the stripped-back aspect of Solitary Torture adds an extra injection of focused evil, which is especially true when Brook adds some demented growls to his loose guitar and drum machine attack on “Exterminate Me”, the best and most complete song on the disc (even if it does drag on a bit at four and a half minutes).
The Stooges T h e W e i r d n e ss
Sabretooth Tiger Extinction Is Inevitable (Gold
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orders of restraining Kylie Minogue’s sheiss lawyers to filing against Horst. But Horst can’t helping his desiring for something Horst feeling ist wrong. Und Horst can’t helping wondering why Mega Records never to signing the Sweet-sounding sounds of Sherbet. Horst now to playing Super Hits as the backing ground music during all Kylie Minogue stalking attempting und overmedicated teenage sex-retary sexgopumping meetings of destiny, because “Love never really stops ’til it’s gone too far.” Sweet und Ohio Express agreeing. [Horst]
House Of Heads EP (Valve) With so many bands popping up playing this style of scrappy post-punk it’s only natural for one to hate Skul Hazards on spec. Cool - I salute that kind of close-mindedness. But just quietly, I think this Brisbane four-piece is just shitty enough to pull it off. First track on this debut, “I Choke,” comes off like a crappier Birthday Party with singer/guitarist Steven Smith (you reckon that’s just his stage name?) trying to sound all high-pitched and cutesypoo through a telephone mic (yaaaaaaawn). Still, despite clichés galore there is an evil undercurrent to these five otherwise outwardly vibrant tracks that is at the very least intriguing. Like when drummer Matt Deasy plays those trendy dance punk beats, he sounds like he wants to make his hi-hats pay for it. Self-recorded by Smith and released through Briz label Valve, House Of Heads has an aura, a spirit, some fuckin’ shit like that, that guides my hand repeatedly towards its cute green cover featuring a knife slashing a hand. A nice tonic in-between my regular doses of black metal and grind.
Solitary Torture S / T CD - R ( S e l f - r e l e a s e d ) The world is full of homemade solo black metal Quarthonwannabe types. Varg Vikernes (aka Burzum) was one of ‘em, and so is Colin Brook (aka Solitary Torture) – metal enthusiast from Launceston, Tasmania, maker of chaotic,
If the old woman next door was Playmate Of The Year in 1970 would you have any interest at all in seeing her tits today? If you were a real perverted fuck like me, you would. But like most things in life, most of the enjoyment would probably lie in the anticipation; that moment just before you got to see ‘em, after you’d told yourself repeatedly there’s no way they could even be half decent, when the sudden thought that they could still be really fucking amazing rises illogically to the fore of your mind, just before she flashes ‘em at you and they’re so gross and haggard you have to shut your eyes and put your fingers in your ears and give it a bit of the old, “Lalalalalala.” I love stuff that’s unbelievably bad, but seriously, I had to suppress my gag reflex only a few seconds into this. I think it was right about the point where Iggy sings, “I see your hair as energy / My dick is turning into a tree…”
Sunn O))) & Boris Altar (Southern Lord/Stomp)
It’s probably sacrilege to a lot of trendy noise fucks to say I’ve never rated Sunn O))). Anything they were trying to say, lowdown Seattle lords Earth already said, only lower, deeper and with more laxative resonance. But this collaboration with Japanese bowel-erupting stoner-droners Boris boasts some fine moments indeed. Running the gamut from Melvins’ Lysol-style sludge (“N.L.T”) to subtle sub-bass avant-garde with gongs aplenty (“Blood Swamp”), Altar has amazing cohesion considering it is two bands into one with a host of guest appearances including Dylan Carlson (Earth), Joe Preston (Melvins, High On Fire) and Kim Thayill (Soundgarden). The piano ballad “The Sinking Belle (Blue Sheep)” sounds like some soft-cock like Conor Oberst has dropped by for a jam with Air – I really fucking dig it. I read one reviewer’s opinion that Boris have been brought down by Sunn O))) with this collaboration, but as a glass-half-full kinda guy, I prefer to see it that Boris have pulled up Sunn by the bootstraps and together they’ve given us a great album that neither group would’ve made on their own. Touring Australia together soon – bowels will quake.
Superpussy U p T o N o G o o d EP ( T r a ns
Elec tric/Music Farm ers ) The cover art is pretty bodge and the name Superpussy makes them sound like a punkabilly garage band, but rest assured, a pussy by any other name would sound as crushing. With cold vocals that do their best to avoid any real singing, basslines that grind like gristle through a mincer, drums that put an exclamation point on every single beat and guitars that sound exactly like Steve Albini, Shellac and Mark Of Cain fans will take this Wollongong trio instantly to heart. They also remind me a lot of the Godflesh/Head Of David side-project Sweet Tooth. Out of the eight tracks on Up To No Good there isn’t a single bad one to speak of, just a couple of fairly unoriginal ones. Personal highlights, however, include the relatively melodic brutal swing of “Closer” (no, not the NIN hit) and the simple tension and release at work in “Shiver”. Shit name, great band.
Teengenerate L i v e At S h e lt e r [ l i v e ] ( B o p ) Japanese lock ‘n’ loll combo who set the (fast) pace for garage punk in the midnineties, Teengenerate recently reformed to play a tribute show to fallen Guitar Wolf bassist Billy Wolf (R.I.P) and then were coaxed into visiting Australia to play two rare shows at The Tote in Melbourne last December. People flew out from Europe to see it; such is the dedication they inspire in record-collector dweebs. This recording from 1995 shows why. Always partial to a cover, they roar through versions of “I Don’t Care” by Belgian sensations The Kids’, Andy G. And The Roller Kings’ “My GTO”, Chan Romero’s “Hippy Hippy Shake”, and The Zeros’ “Wild Weekend”. It’s beyond garage punk at times, more like Black Flag
or something. It’s obvious why you’d fly to the other side of the world for it. Sadly, though, from reports I got (I wasn’t there so I’m talking through my arse yet again), the Tote shows didn’t live up to the “legend” that recordings like this help to inflate.
Post Mortal Archives (Self-released) Ex-Damaged hard nuts Jamie Ludbrook (vocals) and Matt “Skitz” Sanders (drums) reunite in their second postDamaged project Terrorust (the other was Walk The Earth with DW Norton which Jamie has now quit). With hopes of reviving Damaged-style “hatecore”, Terrorust play very much to the strengths of Lubrook. His multifaceted voice darts here there and everywhere; growling, grunting, squealing, squawking, bellowing, burping… wait a sec, this is starting to sound more like a Dr. Zeus book than a metal CD review. Basically, though, Ludbrook hogs the limelight to such an extent that there’s very little time when he isn’t singing. With a definite Damaged tinge to it, the musical aesthetic is flat-out intensity all the time, with little to no respite. It’s quite one-dimensional from that angle, but these guys have probably got fans who think they’ve gone pussy when they slow down. We call all still marvel at Skitz though. Even human windbag Lubrook can’t steal that animal’s thunder.
Steve Turner & His Bad Ideas
N e w W a v e P u n k Ass h o l e (Funhouse/Reverberation) Another solo release from Mudhoney guitarist Steve Turner, New Wave Punk Asshole is a healthy collection of songs with more
of a classic garage feel than the acoustic folk gear he was initially peddling on his 2003 solo debut Searching For Melody. With shades of things like Kinks, Bob Dylan, Sonics, it’s just simple good-time music played by a band who get the job done in fairly unspectacular fashion. Recorded and mixed by Seattle engineer Johnny Sangster, who contributes the vital Farfisa organ to most tracks, It’s easy to get into, yet at the same time hard to get all too excited about.
Twin City Faction Lo c k e d - In ( D e at h s h e a d )
Twin City Faction is about passionate hardcore that rocks, no bullshit. It’s about playing like your life depended on it. It’s about the huge thumping vein that bulges out of singer Chris City’s head when he yells. It’s about screamalongs in singlets. It’s about working man’s politics. It’s about being locked-in and knowing that your only escape is rock. Locked-In is an appropriate title for Twin City’s second full-length. This Sydney fivesome are locking together tighter than ever these days, and, like a bullock-team with blinkers on, they only know the way forward. The first three tracks are spat out at frightening velocity, and it’s difficult to pick a highlight among them they’re all so good. For something they recorded in their jam space for little more than the cost of the room hire, it sounds bloody excellent, though overall I feel like the songs could’ve been better served by a beefier bottom-end. “Drawn A Blank” and “Make Sense Tomorrow” bring a heavier post-HC sensibility, the former given a subtle freshness via a piano track sitting in under the guitars. Maintaining a steady pace all throughout SideOne, the slower instrumental “Heavy Method” at the start of Side-Two helps break up the monotony before the extremely hectic “You Want / I Got – Blackout” begins the pummeling once more. Get your wife-beater on and get with the Twin City Faction…
Uns a n e
Visqueen (Ipecac/Shock ) Springing back to life in 2003 after several years of inactivity, New York noise rock hardheads Unsane have signed on with Ipecac having spent time on Relapse, AmRep, Matador and various other labels over the course of their long history. But no matter what company logo adorns the back sleeve of the records, the sound never really changes. It may get a little heavier here, a little groovier there, but one reason it continues to impress fans is that it never gets softer. Visqueen is the trio’s sixth studio album and contains practically no surprises whatsoever, just slow, grinding riffs and heavy swinging rhythm. Their wall-of-sound is as dense and impenetrable as ever - perhaps a bit more reliant on groove than extremity ala End Of Silence-era Rollins Band – but across eleven tracks the similarly-paced 4/4 thud can get pretty boring. Good luck getting one of Unsane’s fans to hear a bad word about it though.
Various Artists Half Hearted CD-R (Kickstart My Heart) The compilation that never was, finally is once more - only now in slightly downgraded CD-R format with photocopied artwork. But hey, anytime you offer me unreleased Agents Of Abhorrence and St. Albans Kids (R.I.P) tracks I’ll be there like a hungry rottweiler on a bloody beefsteak. Kickstart My Heart Records from Wollongong NSW had planned to release this Australian/Japanese comp years ago, but due to the label folding it never happened. Now 100 numbered CD-Rs (I got #25) have been made and you can get one by sending AUD$5 to: 30 Baynes Street, West End QLD 4101. Twenty tracks in all, ten from Australia and ten from Japan, the surprises are plentiful, particularly among the less familiar Jap stuff. Kick-off by the incomparable Deep Slauter from Chiba and closed by the now sadly defunct Breeds There A Man from Melbourne, you get eighteen diverse DIY hardcore groups sandwiched in-between. Five bucks well fuckin’ spent.
W o u n d Of A L i tt l e H o r s e EP ( In - F i d e l i t y/ S h o c k )
Descendants of squalid rock bands like The Birthday Party and Lubricated Goat, Witch Hats are a youthful foursome dragging garage down into the swamp. They’ve cleaned up their live sound considerably for this debut EP, but, like fellow Melbourne miscreants Bird Blobs and The Stabs before them, their songs are strong enough beneath all the layers of molten noise to hold up to the clinical confines of the studio. “Pepperman”
unbelievably is a stunning opener, its Tracey Pew-like bassline and pensive guitar-work liable to bring on anxiety attacks, followed-up by meandering live favourite “Ma Birthday,” with its catchy refrain of “It’s my birth-day…” stuck on constant loop. “Jock The Untold” (a reference to Lubricated Goat’s “Jason The Unpopular” perhaps?) rocks in more reserved fashion, circumventing the established idea of where hooks go in a song, while “Heartaches” lifts the tone with a more up-tempo backbeat, yet feels slightly out of place because of it. Closer “Stupid Arrangements” restores the dark specter of The Birthday Party once more, it’s final note usually still fading to silence as you consider giving Wound Of A Little Horse another spin.
w O g
we are wOg (Chatterbox/MGM) A cute little duo from Sydney consisting of Ray Ahn (bass/vocals) of the Hard-Ons and Nunchukka Superfly, and Robbie Avenaim (drums/vocals) of ex-Phlegm and about a trillion other jazz/noise projects since, wOg make zany, unconventional, experimental bass-driven punk noise with lyrics in foreign languages both real and imagined. Jap noise nerds should imagine a collaboration
between the Boredoms and the Ruins, well kinda sorta. They are not out to impress you; they’re out to fuck with you, and amuse themselves while they’re at it. That’s why they called the band wOg; they know that’ll put a few noses out of joint, until everyone realises that Ray was born in Korea and Robbie is of Egyptian descent. They are even trying to make a point in the City Rail ticket stub from Lakemba to Cronulla scanned on inner tray under the CD, a reference to the race riots of 2005, no doubt. Don’t take it all too seriously and you might get a laugh out of wOg, or a kick up the arse.
R e v i e w s
Caution: Danger Concentrated
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was all meaty metal riffs and head-fucking rhythms, Young Widows work angular post-HC riffs into straighter heavy rock rhythms – ala Hoover and The Jesus Lizard on ‘roids. So, will Breather
Resist fans be slightly bummed at this leap between scenes? Very probably. But judged purely on merit, Settle Down City is a potent noise rock debut that lays a good platform for the future.
Young Widows Settle Down City (Jade Tree/Inertia)
Another solid offering from the incestuous Louisville, Kentucky scene splintering off from bands like Black Cross, Breather Resist and Coliseum, Young Widows is actually the line-up of the now defunct Breather Resist sans vocalist Steven Sidoni under a different name and playing a completely different style. Fronted by guitarist/vocalist Evan Patterson (Black Cross, Breather Resist, The National Acrobat, Standard Issue, etc.), the three-piece line-up is completed by bassist Nick Thieneman (Black Cross, Breather Resist, Crestfallen, Abscise, etc.) and drummer Geoff Paton (Breather Resist, Coliseum, Abscise, etc.). Where Breather Resist
Unbelievably Op i n i o n a t e d D V D R e v i e w s
Caution: Please Ignore Completely
92 ( A V C h a n n e l / Ma d m a n )
Not for the easily repulsed, this amazing Channel 4 television program hosted by crazy German pathologist Dr. Gunther von Hagens takes a look inside us – literally. Filmed in front of a live audience of medical students, Anatomy For Beginners is a series where the mad doctor (controversial inventor of the “plastination” technique of cadaver preservation) slices up dead bodies and shows you in awesome detail just how you function. Broken up into separate episodes such as Circulation, Digestion, Reproduction, etc, within about five minutes of the first episode on the first disc and Dr. Gunther has removed a whole human skin and hung it on a stand. He later saws and chisels the back of the skull open and removes the brain, then slices up a brain using a deli slicer. This is not like, “Hey look what’s underneath your skin!” It’s, “Hey, look what’s underneath your skin and looks what’s under that, and inside there, and behind that, and look what happens when I slice here and pull this tendon!” Anatomy For Beginners shows you what you’re really made of – though some people will be more comfortable not knowing. Better have a bucket handy; this could get messy… Dr. Gunther Von Hagens
Born To Controversy
It was in the pit, however, that a not too nice aspect of his character came out; a deep-seeded bigotry exemplified by the racist act of bashing Fijian grappler Jimmy Superfly Snukka over the melon with a coconut. This triple-disc set explores the career of the great (faux) Scot from Winnipeg, Canada - who is currently fighting the dreaded cancer - with one disc of documentary, one disc of classic match-ups and one disc of interviews from Piper’s Pit. There are similar triple-DVD tributes to Brett “Hitman” Hart and Hulk Hogan out there, but neither of those guys are as engaging in the ring as Roddy is out of it.
Every Time I Die
Shit Happens ( F e r r e t / S t o m p )
Shit Happens, for sure, but most of it is irrelevant. That’s why Every Time I Die have come up with a new word: “Shinfo”. Shinfo, as is explained near the start of this DVD, is “shitty info” - information that is not needed and is basically a waste of everyone’s time. Shit Happens is full of shinfo, but no doubt ETID fans will enjoy it because of this fact. It starts off on absolute fire, with a series of bizarre set-up sketches that make it seem like you’re in for some kind of surreal comedy film. But then it falls into a bit of a hole as we are forced to watch some guys sitting and watching a football game, followed by the band and some randoms playing cards (and no, unfortunately I’m not talkin’ strip poker in the spa with a posse of Playboy bunnies using a waterproof deck). Running for over two hours you’d expect certain parts to be patchy, but guitarist Jordan Buckley keeps the vibe up with antics you’ll either love or loathe. Scattered throughout are several montages cut to album tracks, which help unload a shitload of footage that would’ve been left on the cutting room floor otherwise. A few genuine live numbers wouldn’t have gone astray.
Fuck… I’m Dead Gore Grind Thrash
The Roddy Attack Live Piper Story (WWE/Kaleidoscope)
Rowdy Roddy Piper is the man… in a skirt. Debatably at his best out of the wrestling ring rather than in it, Piper’s loose mouth was possibly his greatest attribute as a sports entertainer. One of the most despised characters in wrestling, enemy of golden boy Hulk Hogan and biggest opponent of Mr. T, Hot Rod built a legacy with his always controversial interview segment Piper’s Pit.
( N o
E s cap e )
Drummerless Aussie gore grind trio with a blood-spattered stage attire gimmick and one of the best and cheesiest monikers of any band ever, Fuck… I’m Dead have spawned a surprisingly slick live DVD/CD package, the central focus of which is a four camera live set recorded in July ‘05 at The Arthouse, Melbourne. Playing blinding, relentless generic grind with a drum machine providing inhuman blast beats, the band are on point playing-wise and the
sound recording itself is first class. In fact, the audio track is so good they slapped the whole Arthouse gig on a bonus CD included in the same package. I normally think it’s ridiculous to do that, but in this case it almost makes sense since Fuck… I’m Dead have a quite lacklustre live show. There are multiple cameras on the job, but they’re not really needed since axemen Tom Raetz and Dave Hill stand as still as posts on either side of the stage trying to keep up with the beat machine, while big bald and gruesome centre-of-attention Jay Jones remains planted to the spot growling and making hand signals. This DVD also includes more raw footage from several other gigs with shittier sound but the same clinical playing and stilted performance.
Funnyman (Drag Cit y/Inertia )
I know most of you cynical arseholes out there are reading this saying, “How can Neil Hamburger's 'partner in crime' give an unbiased review???” Well, I'm actually more qualified than almost anyone on the face of this planet to because I have seen so many highs and lows in Neil's career - so there!!!! The World's Funnyman is the second DVD release by our hapless hero and is perfect for fans or the uninitiated alike. The feature presentation, That's Not Gold, That's Dung! was shot at the Newtown RSL on our national tour together in January 2006. We did two nights there to some of our best crowds yet and kicked serious arse!!!! This was filmed on the first night and Neil was in great form! Old and new material went down a treat. Neil had the audience chanting “Cranberry Sauce”, and he broke so many glasses that he to resort to plastic cups! The DVD also features a great
documentary, Neil Hamburger In Australia, which even features yours truly and Neil's legendary performances supporting Frenzal Rhomb at Big Day Out. Bonuses include the film-clip for the song “Seven Elevens” off Laugh Out Lord, which features music by ex-Meat Puppet Derrick Bostrom. Added to this is a Canadian made-for-TV doco called America's Funnyman and the award winning b&w short film Left For Dead In Malaysia, based on Neil’s album of the same name. This DVD is the COMPLETE NEIL and should be in everyone's collection. But then again, I'm biased!!!! [Dr El Suavo]
In Film/On DVD (Dis chord/ I ner t i a )
The legend surrounding a band so often overtakes the reality of the music, to the point where the band’s status now far outweighs anything that was ever achieved or created in their time of being a band. Make Up have been lucky enough to garner a wide-ranging and consistent status amongst the people, enough so that the past twelve months have seen the release of a live album, and now this here DVD including their incredibly pretentious 1998 concept film Blue is Beautiful along with some live footage and, the most interesting part, demos from their final studio release, their most coherent album Save Yourself (1999). It’s in the live footage that the reverse of the legend effect comes into play – you see a hepped-up Ian Svenonius grinding his teeth and falling down and you realise that, despite the ease that this band have fallen through to “cult” status, their live show was not as great as you always imagined it to be; that a lot of Svenonius’ live commentary is the word of an amphetamined white guy grinding his teeth down to a rounded edge. Still, it’s way better than most music DVD releases of last year, I’m just picking at this here thing – this band was pretty fucking good. [Bobby Bugliosi]
The Melvins Sticky Carpet Salad Of A M e l b o u r n e Thousand Delights
( M VD / M R A )
( S i r e n )
Really shithouse quality multi-handy-cam backyard production from the predigital age, barely worth the disc it’s etched on. You’d have to own at least twenty Melvins 7-inches (all on different labels) to be dorky enough to think this was worth sitting through.
Pat yourself on the back Melbourne... Oh wait, sorry, you have! I s’pose it was too hard to deliver a linear history of the filthy dirty uncommercial rock bands that old Melbourne town has spawned, so instead Sticky Carpet is just like a brag session on how great the bands/radio
Eddy Current Suppression Ring
stations/venues are, how DIY, how arty, how weird (even though they try and claim Justice Yeldham as their own when the dude is from the Gold Coast and has lived in Sydney for more than a decade!). Master sound man John Watson presents an interesting theory, placing former Labor PM Gough Whitlam at the beginning of a timeline that leads to an explosion in awesome Oz rock culture and is eventually eroded over time by business interests - but this is hardly an issue strictly confined to Melbourne. With just a sprinkling of worthy archival footage (Birthday Party, I Spit On Your Gravy, Bored!, Civil Dissident, Depression, etc), mostly it focuses on stuff shot in recent years. And while we do see some good bands here (The Stabs, Nation Blue, True Radical Miracle, ABC Weapons, Cosmic Psychos, Eddy Current, etc), it’s obvious the filmmakers’ tastes lean more toward the pretentious end of things. Where’s The Blacklist and Blood Duster when you need ‘em? Sticky Carpet gets the point across that Melbourne has a great scene – if Sydney was half as good I’d be out too much to ever get UB done – but the things it focuses on just don’t interest me as much as some of the bands/people that got left out. To me it comes across as more a self-congratulatory exercise in backslappery than any kind of coherent statement on Melbourne rock and its evolution.
Voivod D-V-O-D-1 ( M VD / M R A )
French Canadian prog thrash pacesetters Voivod trawl through the vaults to deliver a disjointed but nonetheless enjoyable couple of hours in front of the box – if you’re really into Voivod that is. I was mesmerized, but I wouldn’t blame a nonfan for being bored shitless – it’s difficult to be converted by old bootleg live footage and television appearances. Nonetheless, the prog sound has held up rather well in light of the impact of bands like Mastodon, which is more than can be said for the “futuristic” artwork of drummer Michael “Away” Langevin, seems so Commodore64 when viewed today. With rare shit like two raw live demos from ’84 and ’87 as well as six video clips including the classic “Ravenous Medicine”, this 80-minute collection peaks with four tracks from Montreal TV’s Musique Plus in ’89, the point just before they fell in a heap.
Big Screen Danger
Peeping Tom (1960)
Michael Powell was a well-respected film director, having commandeered epics like The Thief Of Baghdad (1940) and The 49th Parallel (1941), but after 1963’s sick and twisted masterpiece Peeping Tom, he was shunted from the British film industry virtually for good. Right from the opening scene, the murder of a prostitute filmed in 16mm from the point-of-view of the killer, you’re drawn into a psychological melodrama of nightmarish proportions. English society was not ready for Peeping Tom. The critics went ballistic over the film’s moral content. In the Tribune Derek Hill thundered: “The only really satisfactory way to dispose of Peeping Tom would be to shovel it up and flush it swiftly down the nearest sewer. Even then the stench would remain.” Good credentials, I’m sure you’ll agree. You usually know you’re onto a winner when a film’s main character is a total psychopath, but the innocence and creepiness with which Carl Boehm plays Peeping Tom’s protagonist Mark Lewis is astonishing – I’m talkin’ fucking creepy with a capital F. Lewis is an emotionally damaged photographer who derives some kind of perverse satisfaction out of filming in close detail the last look in a victim’s eyes as he plunges a dagger concealed in the leg of his camera tripod into their throat-box. Not only does he record the murders, he fronts up the next day to secretly film the body being carried out and driven away to the morgue, then has his own private screenings in the
dingy processing lab and projection room out the back of his apartment. After developing an interest in red headed Helen Stephens (Anna Massey) who lives in a downstairs apartment with her blind alcoholic mother (Maxine Audley), she asks to see one of his films. As a 21st birthday gift, Mark agrees, sticking on a black and white reel that shows scenes of him as a child, explaining that it had been filmed by his photography buff father. From footage of him receiving his first camera as a gift from his father, the film quickly turns ugly as we see scenes of young Mark being subjected to various weird experiments – having lights shone in his eyes while asleep, lizards unexpectedly thrown on him, etc. As a shocked Helen watches the horror show, Mark shines a light on her face and starts to film her reactions. “I wanted to photograph you watching,” he says innocently. Yep, this is some pretty fucked-up shit right
here. It’s voyeurism upon voyeurism, contorted in every extreme way possible. For a commercial motion picture made in 1960, it’s definitely risqué in its extreme subject matter. And sure, it’s highly gratuitous (I wouldn’t be writing about it if it wasn’t!), but there is a deeply affecting power in many of the scenes. One of the best scenes has Mark projecting one of his snuff films for Helen’s blind mother, who asks him to describe to her what is on the screen. He shapes to kill her with his trusty tripod, but for some reason he stops. Still, it doesn’t take
Blind Freddy to suss out the guy has major issues and she makes him promise never to photograph Helen and suggests he seek professional help. As they part she touches his face. “Taking my picture?” he asks. It’s rather peculiar how Powell was perceived to have dragged British cinema into the gutter, yet later that same year Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho made psychological horror respectable. But them’s the breaks. Rejected in his homeland, Powell instead came to Australia and gave us 1966’s They’re A Weird Mob and 1969’s Age Of Consent.
An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
and helpful graph charts as former US Vice President Al Gore and his Inconvenient Truth spiel. Since he was robbed of the election in 2000 Gore has found a career campaigning to promote the idea of global warming in an attempt to get the public and the powers that be to wake up and smell their own deaths just on the horizon. And he may well be the most convincing doomsayer of them all. Despite being a rather patchy film that runs off on tangents about Gore’s past that often contain only tenuous links to the topic of global warming, An Inconvenient Truth will scare the shit out of you. Through boring weather pattern jargon and explanations about temperature, atmosphere, the ocean and the delicate balance of nature, the message comes through loud and clear: change your emission-pumping ways or kiss your sorry arses goodbye.
Bad news everyone, we’re fucked! We’re thickening the outer atmosphere of our planet, heating up our oceans, melting our polar ice cap, killing our wildlife, spreading new diseases, causing abnormal hurricane activity and promoting heat waves hot enough to melt Al Gore’s Oscar Awards statuette. Oh, you knew all that? Tough shit, you still owe it to future generations watch this film. While there have been doomsayers predicting the end of civilization virtually since, well, the beginning of civilization, none have been supported with as much statistical information
The Devil & Daniel Johnston (2005) Simply put, The Devil & Daniel Johnston is one of the best music documentaries ever made. It’s got everything going for it – topnotch production values, plenty of great archival footage and audio recordings, tight editing with virtually no loose ends to the storyline, and one of the most intriguing musicians of our time as its subject. It’s easy to see why director Jeff Feurzeig won Best Director at Sundance in 2005 - he barely puts a foot wrong here. But out of all the things he got right, the first and most important thing was his choice of subject matter. As a singer/songwriter and an artist Daniel Johnston has always sat outside the bounds of convention. In a nervous high-pitched pixie voice he would sing the most amazing lyrics – fraught with innocence, yet frightful in their darkness and intensity. But his manic depression and fragile mental state, though doubtlessly contributing to his unique output, has also been a curse on his potential career, and a burden on his relationships with family and friends. The Devil & Daniel Johnston is a deeply personal look at a seriously tweaked and brilliant artist, put together with enviable skill and a love that shines. Essential viewing.
Unbelievably AC/DC: Maximum Rock N Roll Murray Engleheart (Harper Collins) You cannot put out a 488page book on AC/DC and it not be at least a bit awesome. The problem author Murray Engleheart faces, as does any hack tackling the subject of the greatest rock band ever to grace the planet, is that AC/DC don’t want to talk to him. Why do you think the definitive book on AC/DC has never been written? It’s because AC/DC has not allowed it to be written. And, since this behemoth among rock bands, this monolith of Oz rock, retains an almost paranoid control over every minute detail of their career, it’s fair to say that the definitive book will never be written. You can count the amount of interviews Malcolm and Angus Young have conducted in the past ten years on one hand, which is why Clinton Walker had the right idea basing his book (Highway To Hell) on Bon Scott and then directing his bitterness at the Young brothers’ refusal of an interview by accusing them of stealing Bon’s lyrics for Back In Black after he was dead. Well-respected Sydney journo Murray Engleheart for the most part steers clear of controversy in his retelling of the AC/DC story. Abandoning the stream-of-consciousness
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for rockin’ bookworms
L i t era t e
approach of his long-running street press news column, Engleheart opts for a no-frills straight and factual style. By rounding out the story with added tidbits of information gathered from what was obviously a massive research effort, he tries to paint the most complete picture possible, but sometimes he doesn’t mention where pieces of information or interview quotes have come from (and no bibliography in the back), which as a stringent fact dork I found frustrating. Some of the “facts” I’d never heard mentioned before and would like to know from what source they came. Obviously the early chapters with Bon and the band’s rise to power are exciting, but I started to lose interest as the decades wore on with Brian and stopped reading sometime around Blow Up Your Video. Still, the cover promises “the ultimate story of the world’s greatest rock band,” and since AC/DC are never going to allow such a thing to happen, I’d say this is as close as you’ll get.
Ir o n M a i den : The Photographs
R o s s Ha l f i n ( Omn i b u s ) If you enjoy looking at photos of very hirsute men in extremely tight pants, this might be the book for you. Or, if you’re a fan of Iron Maiden or rock photography in general, you’ll also probably find something you like in this hefty book of pics by photographer Ross Halfin. It’s his third book of Maiden photos, and the biggest one yet. Halfin has had an incredible level of access to the band, from when he first shot them in 1979, up to now. The bulk of the photos come from during second vocalist Bruce Dickinson’s first tenure (‘82–‘92). The rest of the shots are from back when original vocalist Paul Di'Anno fronted the band, plus there’s even some from the ‘90s when Blaze Bailey was on the mic, and more recent pics from when Dickinson rejoined. There are plenty of ridiculous eighties heavy metal stage outfits and hairstyles captured, and offstage there’s also plenty to make you cringe, though usually involving less spandex and more denim. Dickinson is the worst offender, not that he has any regrets. “I don’t take back any of my fashion statements, however awful,” he said in a recent interview. “It’s all part of life’s rich tapestry.” As for the photography itself, Halfin impressively and intimately captures every aspect of being in a massively popular metal band touring the world – their over-the-top live show (which lends itself to great pics, making his job a little easier), recording, travelling, boozing and relaxing. The candid and backstage shots are some of the most interesting ones, as are the pics from some of the many photo shoots he’s done with them over the years. [Rod Hunt]
Nirvana: The True Story
E v ere t t Tr u e ( Omn i b u s ) Originally flown to Seattle on the dime of the fledgling SubPop Records who wanted to get all their bands in Melody Maker Magazine, UK journalist Everett True was closest to the “grunge explosion”, becoming a hanger-on of Nirvana when it became clear they were the band that was going to break big. This book is very hard to put down, especially during the early chapters, where True takes pains to explain the different Pacific Northwest cities Nirvana sprang from and the vastly different aesthetic of the underground rock communities in each – Aberdeen, the redneck logging town where Kurt and Krist grew up; Olympia, the cooler-than-fuck home of K Records and Riot Grrrl that Kurt sympathized with; and Seattle, home of SubPop and the place where musicians went to make money. The chapters describing Nirvana’s early success and their rise to prominence are equally enthralling, but I found myself picking up the book less often after Courtney Love, heroin addiction and suicide start to come into the picture. True is a good writer and as much as possible he uses his own first hand insight. Often though, it can feel as though he’s writing for the people involved. The reader, he admits, he wants to make jealous. Also, while it’s impossible to remain impartial when you were as involved in matters as
True, he occasionally fools you into thinking he is by being diplomatic. For instance, he relies on some fairly B-grade interview subjects at times (guitar techs, babysitters, heroin suppliers), but never explains why Dave Grohl (drums) or Krist Novaselic (bass) didn’t speak to him for the book. He grabs quotes from them and Kurt either from old interviews he conducted or other articles and books on Nirvana. He also leans on Michael Azerrad’s Come As You Are for quotes, but then tries to discredit the book by implying that Kurt made up stories to tell his official biographer. Also, Dylan Carlson of Earth is not interviewed, and despite being mentioned heavily in the telling of the story, is dismissed by True as one of Kurt’s heroin connections, when in fact he was his best friend, the best man at his and Courtney’s wedding and his chief shooting partner – rifles and smack. But I could nit-pick over certain aspects – disagree with some of True's opinions, dispute some of his “facts”, despise his often smarmy tone – but it’s not worth it, since the good things about the book greatly outweigh the bad. One of my favourite parts especially is where he admits that he never thought Kurt was any more talented than a whole bunch of other people – fairly sobering words for the Nirvana disciple who expects this to be “The Bible”. True has shown enormous restraint over the years to not rush something out to cash in on the legacy of a dead rock star and the death of a great band. There must have been enormous pressure at times to do, but he has waited while the post-suicide melodrama played out and now he has a decade of distance to put the whole thing in perspective. It might take over 600 exhaustive pages, but I think he gets there.
Unbelievably S p u n
7 - i n c h
Danger Waxing Ridiculous
R e v i e w s
Agents Of Abhorrence / I r o n L u n g Silent Decay split (Missing Link)
Melbourne’s Agents Of Abhorrence and Seattle’s Iron Lung split a slab and deliver it in a package arguably more stylish than any grindcore release ever - a screen-printed silver and black three-panel foldout sleeve on high-grade card with this fancy band that wraps around the outside to seal in the goodness. Nice silver/grey vinyl carrying five short tracks per band/per side, the Agents’ batch are from a while ago and feature the half scream-half growl of guest vocalist Jacquie Hynes from Terror Firma in addition to the original duo - guitarist Ben Andrews (My Disco, Blarke Bayer, Clann Zú, Heartfeltself) and drummer Max Kohane (Far Left Limit, ABC Weapons, George W. Bush, Terror Firma). Expect schizophrenic blast-beating stop/starting grind weirdness. Like Agents Of Abhorrence, Iron Lung are a duo (guitarist Jon Kortland and drummer Jensen Ward) who make an insane weird grind racket, although they show more poise than their Aussie touring partners by indulging in heavier hardcore and slower parts to increase the impact of their early Napalm grind attack. Your stylus has never had such a workout.
Ground Unicorn Horn S / T
( T h r e e
O n e
The latest project band of San Diegan noisemaker Justin Pearson (The Locust, Some Girls, ex-Swing Kids, ex-Crimson Cure, ex-Struggle, etc.), Ground Unicorn Horn also includes Pearson’s Some Girls bandmate Charles Rowell (also of Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower), plus Amy Szychowski (Josh Taylor’s Friends Forever) and Chris Hathwell (Moving Units). Somewhat unsurprisingly considering the personnel, both these tracks are rhythmically disjointed and show little regard for convention. Pearson’s highpitched scream dominates the fairly rudimentary spaz of A-side “Damn I Wish I Was Fat”, while more chaotic B-side, “Someone Better Suck This Thing” adds a completely juxtaposed whispered vocal over the top. JP fans and Three One G sympathisers should definitely check Ground Unicorn Horn out. Casual observers will be flat out trying to distinguish this from The Locust.
Ground Unicorn Horn
together, the bass smears Clag glue all over your face, like that Downie kid from Applied Maths done minutes before he shat himself. The cymbal-heavy drum sound stumbles all over town, conjuring up images of a less focused Jerry's Kids whilst still retaining the rage and flowing arrogance that made “Cracks In The Wall”/“Tear It Up” such a barnstormer. So shove your well-produced Sonic The Hedgehog, Sega Megadrive drums up your dying ring-piece; throw your slick guitar sounds over a cliff with unmatched fervour and gusto; re-wrap your regrettable tattoos in their plastic and hand them back to the kind old man at the sweet shop. Slam your cock in a door; fall down a flight of stairs and jump through a pane of glass, because panty-sniffing, Skittle-eating fucks like you will never get it. [Rhys Davies] Holy Shit!
Holy Molar Cavit y Search (Three One G)
Sporadicallyoperational Locustoffshoot teaming the abovementioned Justin Pearson and his Locust buddies Gabe Serbian and Bobby Bray up with ex-Heroin and Antioch Arrow drummer Ron Avila and ex-Charles Bronson now Das Oath singer Mark McMolar, Holy Molar released two 7inches around the turn of the century but had lain dormant till last year’s posthumous DVD release, Dentist The Menace. Issued as usual through JP’s trusty Three One G label, Cavity Search is Holy Molar’s first new material since 2001. More teethdrilling keyboard-driven noise from the demented dentists of spazcore, the screamo violence and retardo rhythms are downplayed slightly. Instead, weird emotive keyboards rest at the heart of these five tracks, with subtle Avant-garde musical garnishing and Dadaist lyrics helping to elevate them above, or at the very least set them apart from, the run-of-the-mill spazzo shit.
Hol y S h i t ! Jazz Phase (Trigger On The Dutendoo)
Most flaccid hardcore bands are struggling to achieve even that ghastly piece-of-foamcreeping-up-yourEsophagus pre-vomit feeling. Holy Shit! on the other hand are prying the dried out, manfat-filled core that is hard phys-ed sock from the yawn drawer, standing it up in the corner and expelling six or seven gutfuls of the most wretched, vile and disgusting rot imaginable all over the thing. Rather than mopping up the mess, hosing the floor down and breaking up the stubborn chunks with a matchstick or a soiled toilet brush, Holy Shit! frolic, even revel in the squalid conditions. The result? This goddamned disc! A disc so revolting, so despicable, so brilliant that even a shame-stain like you would have to take notice. The vocals scream, “Bloody hell, you can see the whole flamin’ city standin' up on this cunt!” The guitars bring to mind the antithesis of precision that is Flipper - Generic, the night-fill, shelf stacking fury of a young pyromaniac with his older brother's My War/82 Demos tenth-generation dubbed cassette and indeed, the face full of house bricks that is Siege - Dropdead. Rather than holding the mess
The Muldoons S / T ( Ca s s ) Issued on Ben Blackwell’s (Dirtbombs) Cass imprint and produced by his Von Bondie-bashing garage rock tartlet of an uncle Jack White (White Stripes), the Muldoons are a garage trio featuring White’s former upholstery teacher and his two young kids. Guitarist and riff-writer Hunter Muldoon is eleven-years old. His vocalising, lyric-penning little brother Shane is just eight. Their father Brian is forty-six. He plays the drums, and, by the sounds of quite primitive tunes like “Driver's License”, “Destruction Boy” and “70s Punk Rocker”, takes a totally hands-off approach to the songwriting. This is garage rock unlike adults could make, a throwback to all those priceless Nuggets obscurities from the early-tomid-sixties recorded by high school kids who only knew the “Louie Louie” chords, back in the days before teenagers knew more than they should (fuck, I’m starting to sound just like my dad).
Naked On The Vague S/T
( D u al Plo v e r )
Arty kids wanking around with keyboard, bass guitar, a Dr. Rhythm machine and random pieces of a drum kit, NOTV have been embraced wholeheartedly by the strange-o DIY scene in Sydney and have managed to remain quite active over the past year. They’ve honed their alien sound quickly and one of the great things about watching them is the musical connection shared by the two protagonists, Matt Hopkins and Lucy Cliché, no matter how disjointed and fucked-up their music can get. This three-song single is their first release and comes with the
highly credible Dual Plover stamp of approval. NOTV write songs that hit you in a way that other music doesn’t, like the Residents, Thug, etc. There is a sense that they are making it all up as they go along (punk rock!), and, while that sometimes leads them down a few stinky back alleys, it’s also how they get to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I think they’re kinda cute, but I know some dudes who’d rather let rats eat chew their face off than sit through this.
Québec National Thorn (Yellow Ghost)
Out via Melbourne label Yellow Ghost (formerly Remembrance Dialogue) this foursong vinyl follow-up to Québec’s Primary EP of last year is limited to 300 copies and hand-numbered on the B-side label (I got #168). Soundwise it’s screamy-shouty post-hardcore, like Hot Cross and Unwound locked together in a game of Twister, with clean guitars getting frantic over ragged jazzy rhythmic pulses. With the vocal parts reduced to reverbed-out animalistic screams, it’s the axes that dominate, running up, down and across necks in a complex display of discordant post-hardcore with an almost trad. bluesy touch as times. My favourite of the songs has to be slower B-side closer “Status: On Track”, which starts off like Anton LaVey playing a lullaby on keyboard while someone is tortured in the background, before those guitars swoop in once more to steal the glory - intricate, beautiful and also pretty fucked-up.
Scum System Kill / Poodles S p li t
( S p i n
Co n t r ol )
Sydney riot-grrrind crew Scum System Kill link up with New Zealand extreme females Poodles for an all-girl crust-fest on new Sydney label Spin Control. Scum System Kill’s first track “Penile Carnage” turns the tables on male grind gore bands and the like by swapping the gender in lyrics by Anal Cunt and Blood Duster. Slow and doomy, turning fast and deathly halfway through, it’s raw and scary-sounding with dilapidated drumming and distortion on the mics of the intense dual vocalists. The second track, “Bite The Hand”, is even better. Starting off like an insane crust hardcore band dearly wishing it could be a grind band if only its drummer was faster, they slow down and get all melodic and epic crust and just plain fucking awesome, then finally top it off with a lashing of piano accordion. The fivepiece Poodles have amazing cover art and you can hear through their crappy production that they are a fucking great and powerful band; a bit crusty, a bit grindy, a bit deathy. Sadly, though, the recording suffers from over-compression, the drums sounding like pots and pans and the rest just sounding like poo. Poodles were supposed to tour Australia at the start of this year bit they split up instead – fuckin’ shame.
Unbelievably Smalltime Zine Reviews
The Dangerous World Of Self Publishing
Analog Apocalypse www.myspace.com/analogapocalypse Email: email@example.com
Cost: $5. Format: A4 size. 40 pages - b&w
I get a bit suss when a paper zine has a MySpace page long before the first issue even comes out – stinks of panhandling for free scene points – but Adelaide punk zine Analog Apocalypse has actually come through with the goods. Issue #1 has all the hallmarks of a classic zine: cut-and-paste design using a mash of styles, an angry anti-mainstream editorial tone and content that’s at least a year old (there’s an interview with Mclusky for chrissakes and they split two years ago!). Other interviewees include Backseat Romeos, Faux Hawks (R.I.P) and the Descendents, with write-ups on Hard-Ons, Jaws, Poison Idea’s late Pig Champion (R.I.P) and a guide on How To Become A Cookie Monster. My only gripe is that with massive body font sizes, loads of needless design filler and a glaring amount of blank white paper, the bang-for-buck factor on this baby could be amped up a whole lot more next time around.
Dildos Not Bombs PO Box 1191 North Richmond VIC 3121 www.myspace.com/dildosnotbombs Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cost: $5. Format: A4 size. 36 pages - b&w
Did you know that the clitoris consists of eighteen different parts? Well it does, and all of them are explained in this sex-lovers zine that proudly boasts on its cover: “This zine is banned from the Sticky zine shop for being too filthy.” Dildos Not Bombs talks dirty out in the open, unflinchingly discussing topics of weird sex with very few sniggers and quite a bit of intelligent (if twisted) thought. Dealing heavily in fetishes, it refreshingly contains no images of big-breasted goth chicks in red rubber ball-gowns brandishing whips and chains; just a few medical diagrams and bits of cute clip art, keeping the focus less on the design and more on the writing and ideas. I learned so much just from this one issue. The Hanky Code for gay men, for instance, will come in very handy next time I feel the need to let Oxford Street know that I love a good fisting (red hanky back pocket) or that I’m a tit torturer (dark pink). And I was completely oblivious as to what a “speculum” was, much less what it feels like from a woman’s perspective when she applies it to her vagina and anus.
PO Box 239 North Carlton VIC 3054 Email: email@example.com Cost: $10 for 10 issues. Format: A4 size. 10 pages - b&w
The first love of former What We Do Is Secret co-editor Daniel “DX” Stewart, Distort is a
staunch DIY cult punk and hardcore zine with an overall package to rival any mag anywhere. With authentic throwback C&P design style and a certain impenetrable timelessness to the content, Distort is pitched at people immersed in the DIY hardcore scene. I feel out of my depth at times, but that’s one of the things I really love about it. With in-jokes and jibes at obscure bands racing a few feet above my head, I happily read each Distort cover-to-cover. With an average issue comprising several sheets, there’s usually one or two interviews along with various writings on and critiquing of hardcore bands of the past (and occasionally present). Whereas DX’s intensely analytical, self-righteous, aggro style might have come on a little too strongly for many readers of the controversial What We Do Is Secret, confined within Distort’s purely hardcore framework, it’s absolutely spot-on. Treating music as a total way of life, not just the soundtrack to it, DX is not afraid to tell you what he really thinks, getting away with rampant elitism frequently because he knows his history, he knows his scenes (Cleveland especially), and above all, he knows what he hates and why.
Elizabethan Death Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cost: Free. Format: A5 size. 20 pages - b&w The thoughts and feelings of Headless Horseman/ Nintendo Police/ Baltic member Dave Seet laid bare in yet another of the many personal zines he’s worked on over the years (Skoolz Out, Consolidated, Frogs & Flies, Piss Throw, etc.). I’m worried Dave might break his brain one day. The things he thinks up and puts down on paper are so delightfully warped, yet they lay down bare truths others be too meek to speak. In some ways his melancholy musings can be quite depressing, as he deals with the drudgery of the workaday world and the insignificance of Homo Sapiens in the grand scheme of nature with brilliant flashes of plainspeak that can slice to the heart of a matter like a hot plastic surgeon’s knife through cellulite. I got this copy of Elizabethan Death sent to me just by emailing Dave and asking nicely. If you want to think, laugh and feel something at the same time, you should do same.
Frantic City #0
31 rue Arvede Barine, 17000 La Rochelle France
www.myspace.com/franticcityrocknroll Email: email@example.com Cost: $8. Format: A5 size. 40 pages - b&w A French DIY publication focusing squarely on late-seventies/early-eighties punk from around the world, Frantic City features fresh interviews with obscuro groups of yore. Belgium’s legendary The Kids feature on the cover of issue #0, while inside you’ll find brothers in obscurity, Raxola,
Radiators From Space, Newtown Neurotics, Not Sensibles and others. I was excited to see there was a Victims interview in here, but when I flicked to the page I didn’t see James Baker and Dave Faulkner, but instead the NYC Victims, who I’d never heard of but who apparently played around Max’s Kansas City in the pre-glam punk scene of the mid-to-late-seventies. Frantic City is for all you Great Punk Shits lovers out there. In fact, you’d almost swear this was the work of some long-lost French relation of Sir Dugless.
Funny Shit #2 PO Box 983 Darlinghurst NSW 20101
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cost: $3. Format: A5 size. 28 pages - b&w The crappiest zine around – literally! Funny Shit returns with more tales from the toilet, sick stories of bowel movements, amusing anecdotes about killer turds striking foul in people’s pants, beds, safari suits, and even in seventh hole of a golf course while trippin’ on acid. Most of the stories take on the format of someone needing to do a shit and having to hold it in until they reach an appropriate place to partake. Of course, the stories where they don’t make it are even funnier. One of the best here is “Stools Of Gold”, where the author and their equally embarrassed sibling are forced to shield their hapless father from onlookers after he craps his dacks in the middle of the city. Very helpful, also, is The Definitive Guide to Crap, where different poos are identified and given names like “Rocky Road” and “Nemesis”. For instance, a poo with few distinguishing features is called a “Corporate Casual”. “They don’t take on any specifics,” claims the guide, “Corps aren’t anything to worry about and simply fit the description of a regular turd…” This is way more funny than shit.
Sprak - Vol. 2 #1 PO Box 278 Edwardstown SA 5039 Cost: $2. Format: A5 size. 44 pages - b&w
Unstapled insanity from Adelaide, Sprak is packed with reviews of cult films with a bit if rock ‘n’ roll review action thrown in. Editor Kami has just relaunched this A5 atrocity after a several years hiatus – and a wonderous thing it is, too. With reviews of films like Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine and Shatter Dead, the writing is both funny and informative, with the acidic sarcasm of Kami and pals threatening to eat through the pages. However cynical, though, there is a real love for the subject matter at hand – whether it be the nonextistant
acting ability of Anna-Nicole Smith (R.I.P), the music of Judas Priest, or the coolness of Peter Fonda. Betty Paginated editor Dann Lennard contributes a review of a mid-eighties Mexican abomination Interpidos Punks (and its sequel) and I’ve decided (even though it’s in Spanish with no subtitles) I must see this film! To receive future Sprak-attacks Kami says to simply post him a stamp or two. I would if I was you.
Thrillhouse - #5 www.myspace.com/thrillhousezine Email: email@example.com Cost: Free. Format: A4 size. 8 pages - b&w Tom and Fill have pumped out a free Thrillhouse a month since they started the thing and it is really amazing to see how well it has been embraced. It’s a local guide given away through Melbourne music outlets featuring small reviews, interviews, local-based news and tour dates all crammed into eight pages with distinctive cover art handled by Steve from Mispent Youth. I s’pose Thrillhouse’s biggest strength is just the volume of handy information it’s able to provide. Plus, these young school kids are in possession of some pretty fucking good taste, so you get (albeit brief) interviews with worthy bands like Jaws and Extortion, among others. Then again, they always give shout-outs to UB and blow smoke up our arses, so their taste is as questionable as anybodies. Actually, I shouldn’t be too much of a smartarse – it’s highly probable these two high school kids will be running the world one day.
Us Vs Them - #2 5/100 Park Beach Road Coffs Harbour NSW 2450
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cost: $3. Format: A4 size. 40 pages - b&w
Talk about not wanting to piss each other off – the hardcore scene is more precious than a gaggle of grandmas in a knitting circle. Everyone talks tough, but then cries like a baby if they get even slightly criticized in an honest review. Coffs Harbour kid Beau who does Us Vs Them calls it like he sees it. Sure, he cops flak from those more “scene” than him, but does he give a fuck? UvT is your answer. It features a bunch of Q&As with tough hardcore bands, very similar to Queensland’s Cut Sick. Many of the groups featured are the kind of local HC bands so hot amongst zinesters: Jungle Fever, Blacfuckingeye (R.I.P), Extortion and the like. Beau’s write-ups on other stuff, like how it’s cool to like organized sports like Rugby League, are pretty cute. They’d be cooler, though, if he pushed things a little further, like maybe drawing parallels between the overt jocularity and insipid homoerotism of an old style rugby scrum versus that of a circle pit. That’d really piss the HC kids off.
#5 Gary Coleman
ne of the most publicly celebrated freaks of the politically correct age, diminutive Diff'rent Strokes star Gary Coleman has packed more into a lifetime than most normal-sized folk NOT chain to a dialysis machine could fit into three – and yet he still claims to be a virgin! Born Gary Wayne Coleman on the 8th of February 1968, he was raised by his father Willie and mother Sue in Zion, Illinois on the shores of Lake Michigan. Before he was five-yearsold he had undergone three separate operations to try and conquer Lupus nephritis – an inflammation of the kidney and a disease of the immune system, which in Gary’s case had halted his growth. He had his first kidney transplant in 1973, and through two failed transplants has experienced continued kidney malfunction and remains on dialysis to this day. Stunted at a minuscule 4-feet 8inches, Gary was able to turn his lack of height into an advantage by appearing in television commercials playing children supposedly much younger than he was. In 1978, at age nine, he was “discovered” at an audition for a revival of The Little Rascals by ABC head of programming Fred Silverman, who created the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes specifically for him. The first episode of Diff'rent Strokes aired in the US on November 3rd 1978, with Coleman playing eight year-old Arnold Jackson, younger brother of 12year-old Willis (Todd Bridges), two black orphans taken in by white widowed multi-millionaire Phillip Drummond (Conrad Bain) and his daughter Kimberly (Dana Plato). It was an instant smash and ran for eight years. At the height of his powers Coleman was earning US$70,000 per episode, however, he was never entirely happy. He later admitted: “When Diff'rent Strokes got cancelled, I was enormously thrilled and was very much looking forward to starting the rest of my life.” But apart from a few sparse TV appearances such as the role of “Mr. Bigg” in a one off episode of the 1990 series 227, life after Diff'rent Strokes was tough for the former star, stuck in an aging child’s body. One of his first undertakings was to sue his parents. His mother and father had set up a trust fund for their boy’s income and hired themselves as employees of his production company. When the trust was eventually dissolved, the parents’ combined share was worth US$770,000, while Gary’s was only US$220,000. He sued them for squandering his trust and in 1993
won a judgment for US$1.28million. Five years later, in July ‘98, Gary was working as a security guard when he hit headlines for all the wrong reasons, yet again. While shopping at a California uniform supply store for a bulletproof vest he became engaged in a heated argument with a 205-pound female autograph hunter named Tracey Fields. The incident ended with Gary punching the woman in the head and receiving a 90day suspended sentence, a US$400 fine and fifty-two anger management classes. One year later, however, he was taken into custody during a traffic stop after a been issued for failing to had nt warra pay the US$400 fine. In August ‘99 Gary Coleman declared himself broker than one of at Pete Townshend’s Les Pauls. He was least US$72,000 in debt and hideously addicted to hobbyist model trains. “It is the best hobby I think there is anywhere,” he said. “You can involve yourself in electronics, computers, puzzles... there's a lot of creativity and brain working. There's a lot to model trains that people don't realise.” In the wake of his well-publicised arrest and financial troubles, Gary of suddenly found himself hired for a glut guest he 1999 mber Dece In s. rance appea starred in The Simpsons as a security
guard. More perversely, in November 2000 he featured on an episode of the court show Judge Mills Lane where he was ordered to pay former punching bag Tracey Fields US$1,665 in medical expenses. In 2003 Gary ran for Governor of California. Up against such illustrious candidates as wheelchair-bound smut king Larry Flynt, porn star Mary Carey, punk rocker Jack Grisham and eventual winner Arnold Schwarzenegger, his candidacy was a farce engineered by alternative weekly newspaper the East Bay Express in protest at recalling former Governor Gray Davis. He received 14,122 votes against winner Arnie’s muscular 4,158,194. Unlike his smaller, cuter protégé, Webster (Emmanuel Lewis) and other child stars who fade into obscurity with dignity, Gary Coleman has done plenty to ensure he wasn’t forgotten. “I've done over 150 different things since Diff'rent Strokes,” he once said, “But that role will always be prevalent in people’s minds because I haven't done anything to overshadow it yet.” Sadly, though, history will no longer remember Gary exclusively as cute little chubby-cheeked Arnold Drummond. Now he’s down as the bitter arsehole who smacked a female fan in the chops; the poverty-stricken former child star who couldn’t pay his fines; the frustrated weirdo who admitted to US magazine that he was a virgin at age 31; the butt of every comedian’s jokes for the past thirty years; and, worse still, a fucking politician.
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