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Issue 7

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UNBELIEVABLY I

f you’ve read a few rock zines in your time, you’ll know that somewhere within the first few pages it’s compulsory for the editor to offer an explanation as to why the issue took six months longer to get on the shelves than it was supposed to. The excuses they offer range from pancreas removal to severe paper cut to the old one about how “work has just been really flat out this year, blah, blah, blah, blah, blahblahblaaaaaaggggghhhhhhhh!!!” Fuck that. You’ll find no Rudd-style sorry speeches here (although in principal we do support the idea that the Prime Minister did say “sorry” to the natives of our land, so all you Right Wing organizations, please stop sending us your dim-witted propaganda!).

Great ) LY AB EV LI BE N (U Chad Morgan Album Covers THE CHAD MORGAN SONGBOOK With a set of top teeth that jutted out and overshot his lower lip, Chad Morgan was a country star that found his true calling in comedy. Wearing a beat-up old bush hat held up at the front by an overly conspicuous safety pin, Chad could play the clown with the best of ‘em. Yet for a bloke with a head like a dropped pie, he could also do a remarkable job of looking like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, especially in his younger days. When he dies they should put his fangs, his guitar, his hat (with safety pin) and every single one of his LP covers in the Country Music Hall Of Fame.

They Call Me The 'Sheik ‘

Known as “The Sheik of Scrubby Creek” after his howlin’ 1952 smash hit, Chad Morgan has traded heavily on the moniker throughout his career but pulled out all the stops with the Arabian-themed cover concept for They Call Me The ‘Sheik’. Firstly he dressed in Sheik robes, remembering to add the trademark safety pin through the top. Next, he paid some “sheila” to show up and swoon when he flashed those frightful fangs. Then he topped it off with one final flourish of lo-budget genius, someone in a camel suit. And not just any camel suit, but a camel suit with a peculiar resemblance to Chad.

Double Decker Blowflies There is so much to like about the Double Decker Blowflies cover it’s hard to know where to start. There’s the withered, dayold BBQ chook swarming with flies, the old Holbrook Worcestershire Sauce bottle and cans of Aeroguard and Mortein for nostalgia sake, the giant blowie on Chad’s nose, and the warning sticker placed in the middle of his fly-swatter – it’s pure Chad gold. What I particularly love about this one is just how genuinely wasted he looks. Not sure if he was just playing the part extremely well or if the photo was taken during one of his famous benders – either way, it’s a gem.

Sheilas, Drongos, DillsOther Geezers

A hardened road warrior who undertook his very first tour with Slim Dusty in 1956, Chad was also a notorious boozer. In the early seventies he took time out to clean up his act before putting his career back on track with a triumphant comeback in ’77 – ironically supporting Slim Dusty at the Sydney Opera House. 1981 saw EMI release the 20-track greatest hits compile, Sheilas, Drongos, Dills & Other Geezers. Though it was superseded in 2002 by the 65-track 3-CD set, Regal Zonophone and Beyond, the cover art to Sheilas, Drongos… is far superior. Featuring our unlikely hero in an array of bizarre guises, the most disturbing finds him in stockings and heels, drink in hand, with one leg hanging out of a coffin! The leather man (with safety pin through hat) comes a close second.

Chad Charms The Birds Chad went out on a high after more than thirty years at EMI with his last recording for the label, 1984’s under-rated Chad Charms The Birds. Finished in four days, including the photo-session that spawned the outer sleeve, Chad showed he still had the goods to deliver a crackin’ tune and could still ham it up with the best of ‘em. He hadn’t lost his magic touch when it came to choosing cover pics either. Wearing a sleeveless football jumper, old-man underpants and brown cowboy boots, aiming a cane up at a fake dove – even the dog looks confused by it all.

Sluggish

I look at UNBELIEVABLY Bad as being like a shit (which I admit doesn’t take a hell of a lot of imagination) – it comes out when it’s ready. This issue definitely suffered from constipation at times, but hopefully there’s enough shit in here to tide you over till the next flood of diarrhoea hits. We aim low around here, but we must be doing something right ‘cos even our detractors admit we suck. Danger Coolidge

We’re hoping to do a longer feature and interview with the 75-year-old “Sheik of Scrubby Creek” in the next issue, but for now let’s examine the brilliance of a few of Chad Morgan’s LP covers…


Postcard from Ian MacKaye

[This page is supposed to encourage good old correspondence, pens and paper, envelopes and stamps. Sadly, though, this issue we received little more than small scribbled notes on torn off pieces of paper saying, “Here, review our band’s CD would ya?” Aside from the usual postcard from Ian MacKaye, it’s all been quite lame. So we’ve had to resort to reprinting the best of our email correspondence over the past few months.]

........................ Wir sind ein dynamisches Gewerbe im Bereich der Finanztätigkeit! Unsere weltweiten Geschäftskontakte werden immer wichtiger. Zur Verstärkung unseres Teams suchen wir einen Profi als Escrowagenten. Sie ˇ wohnen in der EU ˇ verfügen über Engagement, denken unternehmerisch und handeln zielbewusst ˇ haben einige PC Erfahrung und sind ständig erreichbar ˇ haben min. 5 Stunden pro Woche frei Unser Gewerbe ˇ bietet Ihnen ein leistungsorientiertes Gehalt und ausgezeichnete Aufstiegschancen ˇ überlässt es Ihnen selbst ,wie Sie Ihre Arbeitszeit organisieren Ihr Gehalt beträgt ab 2500 Euro monatlich.

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........................ THE UNITED NATION ORGANISATION LONDON UNITED KINGDOM UNITED NATION PAYMENT APPROVAL OFFICE Special Duties/Logistics Department FOREIGN CONTRACT/WINNING PAYMENT BUREAU U.S.A GOVERNMENT, WORLD BANK, UNITED NATION ORGANIZATION OFFICIAL APPROVAL PAYMENT VALUED $8.3M The British Prime Minister in conjunction with U.S.A GOVERNMENT, UNITED NATION ORGANIZATION do hereby give this irrevocable approval order with Release Code: GNC/3480/02/00 in your favor for your contract entitlement/award winning payment with the UNITED NATION to your nominated bank account. Now you’re new payment, United nation Approval No; UN5685P,White House Approved No: WH44CV, Reference No: 35460021, Allocation No: 674632 Password No: 339331, Pin Code No: 55674 and your Certificate of Merit Payment No: 103, Released Code No: 0763; Immediate Standard Life Bank Telex confirmation No: 1114433; Secret Code No: XXTN013.

Having received these vital payment number, therefore you are qualified now to received and confirm your payment with the United Nation immediately within the next 72hrs. As a matter of fact, you are required to deal and communicate only with MR. Nail White, DIRECTOR INTERNATIONAL REMMITTANCE STANDARD LIFE BANK, with the help and monitory team from the CITIBANK OF NEW YORK which is our official remitting bank, Committee On Foreign Payment Matters in United Nation, has look up to make sure you receive your fund. So contact: Mr. Nail White on his contact information, Director Standard Life Bank Cell/mobile +44 7031846252. Email (nailwhite@standards-life.com) for immediate release of your contract/ inheritance/ Award Winning claim be informed that you are not allowed to correspond with any person or office anymore, you are required to send bellow information for your transfer. 1) YOUR FULL NAME: 2) ADDRESS, CITY, STATE AND COUNTRY. 3) PHONE, FAX AND MOBILE 4) COMPANY NAME (IF ANY) POSITION AND ADDRESS 5) BANK DETAILS 6) PROFESSION, AGE AND MARITAL STATUS 7) COPY OF YOUR INT'L PASSPORT/DRIVERS LICENSE NOTE: YOUR PERSONAL CONTACT/ COMMUNICATION CODE WITH STANDARD LIFE BANK IS (511), YOU ARE ADVICE TO SEND YOUR FULL BANKING INFORMATION TO THE STANDARD LIFE BANK INTERNATIONAL REMMITTANCE DIRECTOR HEADED BY MR. NAIL WHITE AND MAKE SURE YOU SPEAK WITH HIM, WITH YOUR NEW PAYMENT CODE FOR RELEASE OF YOUR PAYMENT AND SEND HIM ALL YOUR BANKING INFORMATION. CONTACT CODE (511) OFFICER: MR. NAIL WHITE POSITION: DIRECTOR, INTL, REMMITTANCE STANDARD LIFE BANK LONDON.

SIX 06

CELL/MOBLIE. +44 7031846252 EMAIL: (nailwhite@standards-life.com) Sir Pedro Hills CHAIRMAN COMMITTE ON FOREIGN CONTRACT/AWARD WINING PAYMENT UNITED NATION AND USA GOVERNMENT

........................ Looking to meet up with the local bar slut? Well she is looking for you as well. Horny single girls in your area who are looking for no strings attached fun. Hop inside and find yourself a horny little fuck buddy. http:// ticklingwontstopit.com. Brett Chase

........................ Chapter Ten She decided to It was high time he brought Ju She hadnt minded his inattenti Now that she thought about it, It was time to right things be He wasnt sleeping in her chamb She understood Royces reasons Nicholaa didnt want to go on l She would start by finding out She dressed with care for dinn Nicholaa had been embarrassed. She didnt consider herself a v She decided to turn his attent Yet maybe the gold would be a I favor the blue, milady, but I dont know them, either, Nich http://www.scoelaw.net/ Daniel Young [Not sure what drugs you’re on Daniel but we’d sure love some. Unfortunately, you don’t win this issue’s prize pack. We’re gonna send it to Ian MacKaye instead. If anyone out there still owns a pen, paper and half a brain, please combine them and send your innermost thoughts, feelings, criticisms to: UNBELIEVABLY Bad. C/O Von Helle HQ. 10 Unwin Street, Bexley NSW 2207.]

Illustration: Steve Cohen

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Hello Mr. Helle, I haven’t had time to read #7 but it has arrived safely in my mailbox. I’m looking forward to sitting down with the Angry Anderson interview – I haven’t heard anything from him since he was complaining about cross-importation! All the best, Ian


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20 d Ba Y BL A EV LI BE UN 20 A

msterdam, The Netherlands. September, 2006. Jesse Margera, drummer for Pennsylvanian hard rock trio cKy, shares a bottle of absinthe with UK touring buddies Viking Skull. Formed four years earlier by members of Raging Speedhorn alongside their guitar tech Roddy Stone and merch guy Waldie, Viking Skull released a killer debut in the form of 2003's Chapter One EP, containing such headbangin’ stoner classics as “Rape, Pillage and Burn” and “Beers, Drugs and Bitches”. It famously scored an 11 out of 10 rating from Metal Hammer, and was followed-up the next year with the full-length Born In Hell, which roped in a fresh load of Skull lovers. From playing novelty supports with Speedhorn to touring with a plethora of other bigger acts, in just a few short years this fun little side-project had somehow become a quite serious proposition. But on this particular night in Amsterdam under the influence of Margera's absinthe, the four members of Viking Skull decided they hated one another far too much to be in a band together any longer. The next day Roddy Stone released a statement on the Viking Skull

MySpace blog that read: “Viking Skull in their present form is no longer due to fighting within the band. Gordon [Morison] and Darren [Smith] are concentrating on Raging Speedhorn and I'll be on the road with a new band very soon.” An unwitting catalyst in the break-up of Viking Skull, Jess Margera would also prove key to their resurrection. Not only did Margera convince remaining members Roddy and Waldie that it was worth continuing on without the 'Speedhorn guys, he also joined as their new drummer and persuaded his brother, Jackass star Bam, to allow the group to record their comebac k album in his personal Hobbit Hole studio in West Chester, PA. Released in September last year, Chapter Two is a fist slammin’ Sabbathmeets- Motörhead groove-rock rager that has completely rejuvenated Viking Skull. After an intense bout of touring, May 2008 sees them heading back to the States to record a new album, this time at the studio of Jess Margera' s cKy bandmate Chad I Ginsberg. Just before that we caught up with VS bass maniac Waldie for a fine bout of 20 UNBELIEVABLY Bad Questions...

questions forVIKING SKU

LL

was the first song you ever wrote and 4What how did the chorus go?

“If love is a prison, I will never be free / ‘cos baby, when you left, you didn’t turn in your key.” – [age 28]

is the best / worst description you’ve 5What ever heard for what Viking Skull does?

Best were probably when Metal Hammer gave us 11/10 for our Chapter One EP and described it as “sounding like played by goblins playing bronze guitars in a leather castle!” or “more fun than a zero gravity lapdance”. Worst? Viking Shit! Hahahahaha!

is the greatest metal lyric ever 6What written? “Wang dang sweet poontang!!!”

Let’s talk perfect drug combinations... 7 What’s the best for writing? What’s the best for recording? What’s the best for playing live? And what’s the best for passing out? Writing - beer, coke, weed. Recording - beer, beer + beer. Playing - beer, coke, beer + beer! Pussing out – weed.

Viking Skull: (LtoR) Waldie, Roddy, Jesse, Jules

The new record, Chapter Two, has seen 1 Viking Skull rise from the ashes so to speak. What led to the break-up? We were all feeling frustrated around that time with a lack of shows and pressures on our everyday lives sucking the heart out of us. We was in Germany doing European cKy tour and we got fucked out of minds on absinth supplied by Jess and I guess all our demons came out at once and we had a fight on their bus and then carried it on in our van! When we got home Gordon told us he were leaving to concentrate on Speedhorn and Darren announced shortly after that he were giving both bands up and still hasn’t played to this day. We all still good friends and they both got up onstage with us on the last tour. Without Jess we simply wouldn’t have ever made Chapter Two. He got me and Roddy talking again and remembering what it was that the band meant to us. Jules [Cooper], as you can hear, is a bad-boy guitarist and we have known him and his funny face for a long time.

the following in order from the one 2List you’d most want to watch to the one you’d

least want to watch: a) Are You Being Served? b) Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em. c) George And Mildred. d) The Good Life. e) Paint dry. d, b, c, e, a.

If you had a time 3 machine and could go back or forwards in time, what gig would you most like to attend?

For me it would be Allman Brothers at Fillmore East or Maiden at Long Beach. Both records show what awesome talent for delivering great music these bands had back in a time when the world didn’t seem so serious and shit. Fillmore - lay back with a bird and feel the love. Long Beach - rock your fucking head off!

08

8What is the sexiest song of all-time?

I think what makes a sexy song is not just the loved-up sounds but more importantly the lyrics. Women love that shit, just look at Barry White and chums. They wanna hold you and look into your eyes and imagine its you telling them all the magical, romantic things their husbands done stopped telling them long ago. Therefore I vote for WASP – “Fuck like a Beast”!

Describe the biggest 9 musical high / low you've ever had. Biggest high for me personally were walking into a shop and seeing our record on the shelves. When I were a kid jumping round the house to Deep Purple playing broom guitar I didn’t know what work was, or tax, or pussy, or real life, so seeing that CD on the shelf were sort of like a innocent


L

childhood dream fulfilled. Worst would've been the breaking up stuff.

Chapter 10 Two seems to

have less over-the-top lyrical ideas than Chapter One/Born In Hell; not as much “Beers, Drugs & Bitches” so to speak. What prompted this move towards more “traditional” lyrics? Was it partly because people weren’t taking the band seriously before? We ain’t never been swayed by fashion and we’re serious as a death in the family! Yeah, the last album were different but the band was a different beast and we had all that bad ju ju still fresh in our minds so writing about banging chicks wouldn’t have reflected where we were at at that time. Plus, we only had two songs when we got there! Haha!

the stupidest tattoo you’ve 11Describe ever seen.

I once saw a guy with a tattoo of a guy fishing and a fish leaping out the water! Now maybe it did mean something deep and profound to him but fishing!? For fucks sake! Not even a zombie fish! I can’t talk, though, I only got one but Roddy and Jules are swarming with ‘em!

12

What song is most likely to leave you bawling your eyes out?

Black Label Society’s cover of “I Never Dreamed” by Lynard Skynard. Means a lot.

13Do you believe in ghosts?

Would like believe in ghosts in the traditional sense but until one makes me do a shit in my pants I'd say no. I do believe you can be haunted by your past though. For instance, I done fucked up about two years ago and everyday it’s there in the shadows and every night touching my dreams.

Imagine you’re Leatherface and you get 14 your own cable show where you travel about the place chainsawing politicians, Hollywood celebrities and other useless entities – who would be your top 5 most favoured victims for the whiz-bang season opener?

Them fucking crack-head bastards Winehouse and Doherty for a start! Every fucking day in the papers it’s the same! Then I'd have a pint and give old Morrissey a ring and ask him to help unblock me toilet. “Ok,” he says and gets down to have a look. BANG! He goes down like a sack of shit! Before he gets a taste of “Charlie” I get a load of his CDs and grind them into little shards then WOOF! blow the fucking lot into his fucking ears to see how he fucking likes it! Shithouse Cunt! Next I'd go back in a time machine and find the guy that invented onions and do him well nasty! Suppose I'd do myself as the grand finale! As the credits role the chainsaw could be lying among my remains still running until the juice runs out and then the screen fades to black.

Who is the 15 biggest arsehole you’ve ever met in your entire life?

I ain’t even gonna mention this usurping cunts name. If you gonna be man enough to do that shit then at least have the balls to admit it and clear the air.

What 16 is the best / worst cover version you’ve ever seen or heard performed?

Gotta be Killswitch Engage’s version of “Holy Diver”. Quality job while preserving the song’s dignity I thought.

17

Beer? Bitches? Drugs? Please place them in order of preference. Beer, bitches, drugs!

If I was going to hang out 18 in your hometown, Corby, for a week, what hot spots do you recommend visiting?

The taxi rank or the busstop so you could get the fuck outta there! We do have a speedway though.

is the greatest 19What Viking Skull song of all?

Gotta be “Beers, Drugs and Bitches”! It was the first song Roddy wrote and has been a life-truth song ever since. The band was founded on that song!

What is the greatest 20 Zodiac Windwarp song of all? Dunno.


GREAT PUNK SHITS PART VII OF AN IRREGULAR SERIES BY SIR DUGLESS

CHA0 C?B<G4G<BAFC86<4?

'77 an all that yeah? The wonderfully wrongheaded Stewart Home in his wonderfully wrongheaded tome, Cranked Up Really High claims that all great punk singles are, in essence, novelty songs. He's both right and wrong, of course. For whilst "Anarchy In The UK", "Blank Generation" and "Sheena (Is A Punk Rocker)" aren't necessarily the spiritual devil-children of "Purple People Eater" or "Alley Oop", the punk fad that rose from songs like these was ripe for parody, or a quick cash in, and the dumb/smart sneering terminology of punk was easy to assimilate, as was the seemingly lumpen three chord musical template. Some of these tunes are funny, some are vain attempts to garner a "punk" audience, all are worth at least sixpence from your nearest junk vendor. Bollocks-era Steve Jones), Norman groans his way through this tale of a little Aussie bleeder who wasn't too punk to fall in love with his sweetheart. Gunston's punk-record might not give "Dirty Lies" or "Television Addict" a run for their money in the Aussie New Wave Hall of Fame but it's better than half of the tracks on Lethal Weapons. The punkesque version of "Love Me Tender" on the B-side is less successful but as punk-parodies go this one’s a good‘un.

&BE@4A HAFGBA

"<?G87"B;A “Jilted John”

“I Might Be A Punk (But I Love You Baby)”

Gunston (aka Gary McDonald) was an allout comic genius, part of the funny, overtly cerebral crew who grew out of The Aunty Jack Show. They wouldn't even get a

look in at SBS these days; such is the moribund nature of modern Australian comedy. Musical parody was at the heart of Norman's schtick and this is a prime example of punksploitation. Over a throbbing ‘Pistols inspired, sessionmuso faux punk chug (courtesy of Ross Wilson, the twin-tracked guitars are pure

This is the glittering jewel in the crown of punk-parody, a shuddering piece of New Wave genius and an hilarious tale of lost love (a jilted chap by the name of John and his former best gal, Julie) and hatred (for a chap by the name of Gordon). A big UK hit in its day, "Jilted John" has actually managed to stand the test of time and take a seat in the pantheon of UK punk classics, even though Graham Fellow's tongue was firmly planted in his cheek when he issued this single on Martin Hannet's Rabid Records. Clearly a pastiche of the new wave sound of the day, what makes this so great is that it’s imbued with same smell of Anoraks, Airfix Glue and Shoot Magazine that can be found on real teen-punk hits like The Undertones' "My Perfect Cousin". Fellows channels that post-pubescent turmoil wonderfully and his alter-ego is a pathetic chap ("I was so upset that I cried all the way to the Chip shop") who's heartbreak gives way to vengeful abuse (the infamous "Gordon is a Moron" refrain) before collapsing in self defeat and negation with the trailing finale of "It's not fair, I don't care". It is both a punk-classic and a classic punk parody.

.8AHF,;8 *4MBE?478F “Punk-A-Rama”

Kim Fowley is a legendary figure. In his mind he is responsible for every major twist in the rock ‘n’ roll trail from sixties garages to the present day. The truth may not be quite as kind to Fowley, but he is still a major figure in the landscape of popular rock ‘n’ roll culture. Venus & the Razorblades were this Svengali's stab

at punk rock success, but unfortunately this lumpy pastiche has more in common with grunting seventies rock than the new wave enfant terrible of its day. The song tries vainly to stake a claim for the Razorblade's punk heritage, a brief history lesson mid-song manages to name check the likes of the ‘Pistols but also a few Fowley-related no-marks, trying in vain to establish not only the band's but also their mentor's punk rock credentials. It fails miserably amidst a barrage of heavy rock moves and vocals that seem to be influenced far more by Ronnie James Dio than Joseph Strummer. Worth a laugh, but gimme Norman Gunston any day.

(?4FG<6 8EGE4A7 “Pogo Pogo”

Plastic Bertrand (aka Roger Jouret)'s first album, An 1, is a fine example of faux punkery. The worldwide smash "Ca Plane Pour Moi" is perhaps a better song, but "Pogo Pogo" is just pure Ramones simplicity done well for a pre-teen audience who may not be able to tell the difference between this and the real punk-rock thing. Of course the spectre of Elton Motello rises above it all, An 1 is basically Motello's tunes with not Plastic but apparently his manager, Lou Deprijck, singing in French over the chugging backing tracks. Deprijck has always claimed he wrote the songs (and is credited on An 1) but that never stopped Motello from releasing his superior versions worldwide on the Victim of Time album through RCA not long after. Debate has raged ever since, though most agree that Deprijck most likely bought the tracks from Motello (who was working in a Brussels studio at the time) but forgot to copyright them. “Pogo Pogo” does what the package says; it's fine brain-numbing Euro pogo punk that doesn't sound too dissimilar to The Kids or indeed Plastic's old band, Hubble Bubble. A future in late eighties Eurovision and a stage musical with Anna from ABBA beckoned, but for a brief moment, Plastic Bertrand was the whole world's favourite grinning, pogoing idiot.


I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVY st. kilda's alright! mini lp man made records 1984) (

F

UNBELIEVABLY

UNFORGOTTEN ALBUMS #8 BY DANGER COOLIDGE

licking back through the shit-stained Oz punk Rolodex you’d be hard pressed to find a frontman more tweaked than Fred Negro, a band more obnoxious than I Spit On Your Gravy, or a debut more controversial than St. Kilda’s Alright! With a rambunctious and ill-disciplined punk sound, off-the-wall offensive lyrics and headlinegrabbing stage antics, I Spit On Your Gravy smeared themselves across the Melbourne live rock scene in late-‘83. Taking their name from the 1978 cult raperevenge flick, I Spit On Your Grave, the original lineup consisted of Fred Negro (vocals/drums), Scotty “Stix” Simpson (vocals/drums), Jason “The Big J” Banner (guitar) and David Yob (bass). Negro, who had formerly played drums in the Editions, was the band’s incorrigible ringleader. A lovable larrikin to some, The Devil incarnate to others, Negro was known for outlandish behaviour such as copulating with roast chickens onstage, and for his obscene handbill graphics (or “grafix”, as Fred liked to call ‘em), which on several occasions saw him charged by police. Soon after the band’s formation, David Yob died in a tragic accident, at which point Mark “General Sausage Fingers” Carson was recruited on bass. Not long later, they added female backing singers The Spit-ettes (Sam and Viv), and it was this line-up that entered York Street Studios, Fitzroy to spew forth I Spit On Your Gravy’s thoroughly unwholesome debut, St. Kilda’s Alright! Co-produced by the band and their manager, Paul Elliott of Polyester Books/Records, the sixtrack mini-LP was released in 1984 on Man Made Records, a label run by Nigel Rennard, now the owner of Missing Link. A nihilistic rock ‘n’ roll abortion, St. Kilda’s Alright! sounds like one massive beer and acid orgy – a celebration of complete fucked-up-ness. Less like a stew, more like a spew, the wholly unsavoury lyrics throw in many local Melbourne references, while the cacophony of noise drags in influence from a wide spectrum – the Cramps, Grong Grong, alcohol, Johnny Cash, acid, the ‘Pistols, Flipper, speed, etc. Riotous segueways between each song deliver hilarious skits and mad mashes of soundbytes sourced from films and other places. It kicks off with the famous recording of a fired-up American zealot predicting “sex on the streets in every major city from coast-to-coast,” as he denounces “that rotten, filthy, dirty, loud, lewd, lascivious junk called rock ‘n’ roll.” A swing beat from Stix and a 12-bar walking bassline from Sausage Fingers help get the bastardised punkabilly of opener “Thursday Crawl” rolling, as several band members make wisecracks about how they’re “not s’posed to fuckin’ swear on the radio, mate.” Telling the tale of a senseless mid-week rampage through drinking establishments such as The Prince Of Wales and the Seaview Ballroom, “Thursday Crawl” achieves lyrical greatness with the line: “When I go out on the Thursday crawl, Think I’ll go and get a Chiko Roll.” You wanna talk about fucked-up, that’s it right there – a Chiko Roll on a drunken Thursday in St. Kilda is just one tiny stumble away from facedown in the gutter. Fast food remained a fascination on the next track, “Let’s Go Buy A Pizza”, a sick tale of pizza addiction set to an oom-pah beat gone hardcore with stand-out guitar strangulation courtesy of The Big J. A church choir and spoken prayer – “Our Father who art in Heaven, God you are a suck!” – introduces St. Kilda’s Alright!’s most controversial track, “Catholic Song”. Originally featuring a more controversial opening vignette ridiculing publicity-seeking Christian evangelist Rev. Fred Nile, the sample was removed at the behest of Festival Records, who pressed the vinyl. A grunged-up metal-edged punk grinder, “Catholic Song” careens along wallowing in its anti-religious message like a pig in the proverbial. With shoddily-recorded vocals by Negro and The Spit-ettes, the irresistible chorus of “I like to suck nun’s clits, ‘til they’re well and dry…” is catchy enough to have all but the most devout god-fearer singing-along with gusto. A cheesy cinema intermission-style outro to Side-1

advises you to flip the record over for more listening pleasure. Side-2, however, opens up with a scream-filled Texas Chainsaw Massacre intro, leading into “Chainsaw Shuffle”, a murderous new dance craze set to a mangled cow-punk and cabaret beat. “The Goink” begins with another hilarious sketch, a pisstake of Prof. Julius Sumner Miller’s famous “Why Is It So?” Cadbury chocolate commercials’, which suggests it’s a good idea to inject smack into primary school children. The song itself is a spacey psychedelic tangle of new-wave punk, with Scotty Stix on vocals emulating a choke victim. Closer, “Alright Peter”, throws in a dig at the Skyhooks: “I feel strange, I feel weird / But I definitely don’t feel like a schoolboy that’s grown a beard.” A fairly sedate tune in comparison to the rest, the lyrics explore a strange mix of emotions (“I feel mellow, I feel wild, I feel like returning to the womb, I feel like a still-born child…”), while the chorus spells out loudly and clearly that – just like their beloved St. Kilda – the Gravies feel “Aaaal-rrriiiight!” After launching St. Kilda’s Alright! with a typically debauched performance at the Prince Of Wales Hotel, the band were on the way to Adelaide when their van was struck by a drunk driver, leading to broken legs for both Sausage Fingers and Stix and an aborted album launch tour. Several months later, in June ’85, more shit hit the fan when St. Kilda’s Alright! was targeted by authorities who filed obscenity charges. Focusing more on the artwork in the zine-style insert, entitled Think For Yourself, than the actual recording, the material was classed as pornographic and the LP temporarily withdrawn from sale while Negro stood trial in Prahran Courthouse. Eventually the judge, Magistrate Graeme Golden, dismissed the case, stating rather presumptuously: “Anyone possessed of a reasonable intelligence would not buy it. If I said it was obscene it would probably increase sales and I don't want to do that.” Copies immediately went back on sale, minus the booklet. In the wake of the controversy, I Spit On Your Gravy were inexplicably signed to Virgin Records and recorded the Fruit Loop City LP, produced by Oz rock legend Lobby Loyde. After the abject failure of that album, they split, with Negro going on to other bands such as The Band Who Shot Liberty Valance, Brady Bunch Lawnmower Massacre, The Fuck Fucks, The Twits, among others. His weekly “Pub” comic strip has run in Melbourne street rag InPress for many years. St. Kilda’s Alright! was re-released by manager Paul Elliott on Polyester Records in 1989 after the original Man Made pressing sold-out. I Spit on Your Gravy reformed in 2001 for a one-off gig at their spiritual home, The Esplanade Hotel, St. Kilda, from which four live tracks were released as part of the 2002 Turkeyneck Records CD re-release under the title St. Kilda’s Still Alright!, which also included rare compilation tracks and impressive liner notes. Today, with the gentrification and sterilisation of St. Kilda in full swing, the title St. Kilda’s Alright! doesn’t seem quite relevant. As the scumbags and punks are steadily shifted outward and the cashed up yuppie set swarm in, it’s clear that never again will the suburb inspire anything as exciting, dangerous and vital as I Spit On Your Gravy. We, the UNBELIEVABLY Bad rock fans of the nation may shed a tear over that fact. Meanwhile, straight society breathes a huge sigh of relief.

12


Illustration: Steve Cohen

G

’day thy greasy amigo’s, come gather round in clusters with oily mustaches and bearded shoes. It’s particle 4 billion – Zen Bastardry with Overlord Belcher. I met a girl last night who spoke with a lisp. There was an awkward instant when she asked if she could shit on my lap. This month I’ve decided to take hostages and drive you cunts to the edge of sanity in my big yellow belcherado bus. Now strap on and flock gleefully with Prada bags and DG sunglasses in-tow... This issue’s stinky middle finger is being held aloft firmly in the direction of the Western public’s willful ignorance towards the shonky bollocks our leaders are up to. Is anyone else out there getting increasingly fucked off with the way this country is heading? Straight up the arsehole of America and England seems to be the tour’s final destination. I remember back in school when our teachers taught us about World War II. Back then the Nazis and the fascists were clearly evil cunts. Back then the Allied forces were saving the world from tyranny and oppression, and to this day the German people hang their heads in shame about their compliance to the whims of evil. However, I think they won’t be feeling so alone for too long. Today it seems as if the fascists didn’t lose the war at all; they simply swapped the boots and salutes for handshakes and suits. Sixty years later and the world is still under the threat of global tyranny and oppression, except this time it’s fuckin “A OK” because we’re the ones doing it. This situation depresses me more than most, and I’ll tell ya why. In the years prior to the war on terror I had no interest in politics. In my opinion, voting was a waste of time because all politicians are self-serving corrupt bastards and their rich paymasters could not give a fuck about the likes of you or me. After the 911 attacks I decided to start a voyage of research, simply so I could have a semi-intelligent understanding of how things stood. At first I laughed when I read the predictions of David Icke and saw the ranting clips on YouTube of Alex Jones, However, now it seems everyday I’m watching the events they write about unfold in our Government, police, newspapers, television and in our attitudes. It’s been said before that people don’t seek truth, they seek comfort. This is the sad reality the owners of the planet rely on as the terror show dances along and we clap like retards at the eXtreme Olympics. If the Australian public don’t stop and do a little research into what’s happening in the world, pretty soon this country will be a fucking miserable place to live. Travel to London or New York and sample the grim future – armed police patrolling public places and stopping ordinary people for random searches, CCTV cameras covering every inch of the public domain. This is the age of preemptive strikes, enforced democracy, oil security and carpet bombing via media propaganda. Tomorrow we can expect a World Government, and the World Army becoming the World Police to keep the global population’s paper’s in check. The rot is already set firmly in Australia. This week marks the end of our troop’s deployment in Iraq. They have all been welcomed back with a meaningless parade. I say meaningless because the people cheering them home know nothing about the reason for the war in Iraq. George Bush made up a bullshit reason to invade Iraq because Saddam wanted payment for oil in Euros not Greenbacks. America is swiftly on its way down the financial shitter and the only thing holding the US dollar at its current false value is the fact that

004 the US will blow the bollocks off any non EU country that expresses a desire to trade in Euros. In the last thirty years America has gone from being a producer to a consumer. The only thing America does produce on the global stage is US dollars. If these dollars suddenly lose their market value, America is fucked, and Bush knows it’s coming. George Orwell once said, “People ask me what the future will be like? I tell them to picture a human face with a boot stamping on it . . . forever!” My friends, I’m afraid this is the shitty tomorrow that awaits us. It’s not unavoidable, but it is running up behind us with a shiny dildo strapped on like a fat man having a heart attack. David Icke calls what we are experiencing “The Totalitarian Tip Toe” – this sneaky method governments covertly employ in order to convert a country into a fascist police state. No major sweeping changes on the front page of the paper or the six o’clock news, just hundreds of small changes to the countries’ oldest laws to enforce control and oppression upon the good, honest, subservient, blue-collar tax-paying voters. Today we have learned about a new law introduced into Australia which prohibits freedom of speech. Apparently now you need a police permit that approves your protest message. How the fuck about that! – “You have the right to say what WE say is OK. Anything YOU say without authorisation will cost $5500!” I love the way the nation’s media repeatedly conspire to present a united front in this big PowerPoint presentation, constantly pushing the divide between Muslims and Westerners. There was a time in this country when the media used to talk about “celebrating ethnic diversity”. Now it’s a constant barrage of fear and racial hatred. I also love these posters and adverts encouraging us to spy on each other and call in anonymously with our “valuable information”. What a load of cock! I feel like ringing up and speaking to one of these obese nocturnal security watchers with piles just to blow their minds. The call could go something like this.... “Hello, totalitarian info line, who would you like to frame?” Then I’d say, “Get on the net, go to YouTube and look up ‘Alex Jones, Michael Moore is a fraud’. Then look up ‘David Icke, predictions He made that have come true’. Then research Project for a New American Century. Also buy a book by Paul William Roberts called A War Against Truth. When you've done that call me back and tell me what you’re planning on telling your kids when they ask why you fucked the world up for them.” We are in an age now where Australians of different ethnic backgrounds are afraid to speak to each other about these issues. Nobody is speaking out. What happened to the real journalists. Where are the musicians of voice? Where are the artists that give a fuck, and who are willing to bring these issues to the public at large? As Gandhi said, “Even If you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.” These are dark days, and until we turn off the nonsense and start paying attention they will only get darker. I hope someone gets a little proactive soon because if we don't snap out of it we can expect a massive war with China, a global financial meltdown and the 911 re-run world tour coming to a city near you. The media are already sowing the “China is a menace” seeds on a daily basis. Anyway, I hate to bring you all down so I’ll lighten the mood

a little. Here’s a newsflash for all these morally uncorrupt saintly ethical types regarding Bob Smeldof, Bono and African Poverty. There are in excess of thirty five million people on this planet being held in slavery. Forced to work every day just to exist. Half of these people are children. There are more slaves on the planet today then the entire combined amount of slaves in the last 500 years. All this wristband bollocks about ‘Drop the Debt’ and ‘Make Poverty History’, these are nothing more than catchy feelgood powerless phrases invented by trans-national business corporations in order to trick today’s generation into believing they are going to do something to fix the planet once and for all. The world’s poorest nations are currently being forced to sign over all their un-mined mineral wealth and undiscovered resources for all of eternity. In order for the loan shark governments of the worlds riches nations to ‘Drop the Debt’, these starving nations must first surrender any opportunity they will ever have to pull themselves out of the gutter. I fully intend to cash in on the wilful ignorance of the masses and combine all these bands into one multi-coloured three-inch thick rubber choker that women wear around their necks. For maximum prominence I’ll have my logo dangling between the cleavages of these dunces. My charity will be for poverty-stricken American children with AIDS whose mothers’ have breast cancer and fathers’ have been crippled by landmines. That way I won’t have to give a penny to anyone. I’ll sell these bands for fifty notes a piece and make a fuckin’ motsa! I’ll now pull over the big yellow belcherado bus and demand you all sing “Row Row Row your Boat” at gunpoint. I know I’m veering dangerously toward embankment here because the ASIO choppers are circling directly overhead as I type this. In closing here’s a Jerry Springer-type “Thought for the Day” regarding Iraq, Osama Bin Laden and 911. Most people fell for that “Bad Saddam” reason for the occupation of Iraq. I didn’t, but I at least thought we might get rewarded with a fair price for oil for our efforts. Howard sent our troops in order to secure a share of the spoils. And for our efforts we get bum-fucked on the price of oil by the same shit-covered-cock these neocons use to ass shank everyone who didn’t go to Iraq. Second point, Osama Bin Laden – here’s a guy that was trained, funded and set up by the CIA. The mythical boogie man of Orwell’s mass media, who’s always at hand to release a threatening video that helps Western governments scare their own citizens into surrendering their freedoms and handing them Carte Blanch to change the laws and increase surveillance as they see fit. Don’t expect that guy to turn up dead any time soon. Thirdly, 911. Regardless of “who did it”, let’s look at the global political power shift that’s been initiated in the name of the War On Terror. The world’s most powerful bullies have overruled the United Nations. They have banded together and decreed that their brand of democracy must be installed at all costs. Now the world’s most powerful nations are steamrolling the piss poor into submission. And while I’m on Bono, next time you are watching U2 on stage have a look at his shoes. I think he borrows them from Tom Cruise. If Bono ever turns his ankle while prancing along his ego ramp and his shoe flies off, the massive heel could cause multiple fatalities. I demand he sits through a long and boring OH&S session and rethinks his attire before again endangering the masses. He could sit beside George Clooney, Prince, Tom Cruise and Danny De Vito. Then they could all go and shoot some hoops aided by ladders, cranes, ropes and personal assistants. Finally, I know I sound like a mental cunt when I go on about this shite, but I am, so fuck it… If anyone is looking for me I’ll be hiding in the mountains of Pakistan with a kidney dialysis machine in my rucksack, so I shouldn’t be hard to find. Now Go Fuck Yourselves! Greasy


GLENNO'S FUNNY PAGES


GLENNO'S FUNNY PAGES


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hroughout the course of this never-ending Rodney goes electric interview weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve (Gruesome Twosome) already heard much about the resourcefulness of the great Herschell Gordon Lewis. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve heard about how he bought half a movie from some other guy and stitched it together with scraps of new footage to create 1965â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s utterly perplexing Monster A-Go-Go; about the Italian animation he acquired on the cheap and stuck into the middle of the 1967 kiddie flick Jimmy The Boy Wonder after overdubbing most of the voices himself; and about his wholly forgettable appearance as an English seaman in 1967â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s A Taste of Blood after the actor heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d originally hired for the role failed to show up. But with the opening scene of The Gruesome Twosome, Herschell really outdid himself. Having re-entered the blood realm in â&#x20AC;&#x2122;67 with the epic Dracula flick A Taste Of Blood, Lewis dove headfirst amongst the innards later the same year with his return to full-blown gore, The Gruesome Twosome. Starring murderous mother and son, Granny and Rodney Pringle, the film is most noteworthy for a sequence at the beginning, where two mannequin heads in wigs with faces stuck on using ideas lifted from primary school art and craft class discuss the terrors that are about to unfold. Pushing the barriers of human patience, this puppet show continues for seven surreal minutes before an invading hand stabs one of the heads and blood comes gushing out. Roll credits. Unarguably the most bizarre opening to a gore movie ever, the mannequin head marionettes were borne out of pure desperation on the part of Lewis, who, after shooting wrapped, discovered he had not shot enough footage for a full 70-minute feature. So he did what he had to do â&#x20AC;&#x201C; he dodgied something up. As if the mannequins werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t enough, later on, the film cuts to some random drive-in movie snippet where regular Lewis actor Ray Sagar stuffs food and beer into his mouth while a woman's voice pleads for a relationship â&#x20AC;&#x201C; more glorious time wasting. But funnily enough, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s these eccentric flourishes that have made the film so indelible down the years. Well, that and all the toe-curling violence! As I caught up with Herschell for Part Eight of our never-ending interview, he was busy basking in the light reflecting from this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s smash hit indie flick Junoâ&#x20AC;Ś

The new hit film Juno pays you some very nice compliments â&#x20AC;&#x201C; have you seen it yet? Yes, I was surprised at that. What had happened was, many months ago I had a phone call from someone I had never heard of saying that they were going to make a movie and that they wanted to use a scene out of one of mine. Well thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perfectly fine with me. As you know, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t own these movies anymore. Jimmy Maslon owns these movies and he is one of the sweetest guys in this entire industry. So I simply referred the phone call to Jimmy and forgot about it. Then I guess it must have been three or four months after that I got a cheque from Jimmy with a note saying, â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is your

20

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ALEFN?F?> C<N@J@J6 Raking in over US$150million at the box office and earning an Oscar for former stripper-turned-screenwriter Diablo Cody, Juno is the smash hit indie flick of 2008. It stars Ellen Page as Juno MacGuff, a kooky, wisecracking 16-year-old who gets knocked up by one of her classmates then pledges to give her offspring to childless suburbanites Vanessa and Mark Loring (played by Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman). Easily UNBELIEVABLY Badâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favourite thing about this cutesy-poo melodrama with trainspotter cred was the exposure of Herschell Gordon Lewis to a new generation. One scene finds Juno discussing horror flicks with Mark. The knocked-up youngster insists that Dario Argento is â&#x20AC;&#x153;the ultimate master of horrorâ&#x20AC;? but is set straight by the washed-up 30-something jingle-writer, who promptly sits her down and unveils the wonders of Lewisâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; 1970 splatterfest The Wizard Of Gore. Though Codyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s script doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always ring true, and the comparison between Argento and Lewis is so general as to feel like little more than random name-dropping, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nonetheless pleasing to see Lewisâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; work being validated in more mainstream circles. Prior to Juno, the biggest Hollywood exposure a HG Lewis film got was via John Watersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; 1994 psychocomedy Serial Mom, which included the classic tongue-ripping scene from â&#x20AC;&#x2122;63â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s watershed, Blood Feast.


share of this thing”. We’ve had that before, but not in a movie that ever showed anywhere except on DVD. So I was surprised when after that I got a call asking me, “Have you seen Juno?” I said, “What’s that, a new planet?” I had no idea what they were talking about. Once I found out, of course, I had to rush to the theatre to see this thing. And it makes no sense to me but I’m delighted. I’m stunned, really, because here are a bunch of movies that cost very little to make, with casts that are totally forgettable, effects that are, to use a euphemism, primitive, yet years and years after these movies were made they still show. In fact for Halloween season here in the United States TwoThousand Maniacs (1964) regularly screens in theatres, forty-five years after it was made. While on the other hand you have movies that were made last year with a budget of a hundred million dollars or so, and, like the line in Hamlet, “They strut and fret their hour upon the stage, and then are heard no more.”

Family ties: Rodney, Granny and Napoleon (Gruesome Twosome)

In the chronology of our never-ending interview your next big picture was The Gruesome Twosome (1967). It was a return to all-out gore and it remains one of your most indelible films, yet as I understand, it’s one of your least favourites. I’ll tell you why. When we shot The Gruesome Twosome I had a young lady whose job it was to count the number of running minutes. Because on an independent movie, except for A Taste Of Blood (1967) in my case, which ran two full hours, you always have to watch the running time because every minute of extra running time meant extra money spent on prints. So on Gruesome Twosome this gal said, “OK, we now have seventy minutes of running time.” At that point we had to wind the production up. It turned out she was off by ten; we had only sixty minutes of running time. So when we began to cut this movie together and it became apparent that it was going to run short, by that time the cast had scattered and we were back in Chicago – we shot that one of course in Florida – and there was no way I could re-assemble everyone for re-takes. What to do? And that’s when the concept of those talking wig blocks came into play. I was always embarrassed about that for years until I went to some sort of a horror thing in Barcelona, Spain and they had some journalists there, of all people, who voted on their favourite movies – and mine, of course, has always been TwoThousand Maniacs – they voted The Gruesome Twosome as their favourite. So I thought, well obviously I’m mentally unbalanced… But you see my vote doesn’t count anyway because what I like is of no consequence. That lesson is one that, again, I think some directors and producers of major company products should learn. Some of them are making movies they like instead of making movies people want to watch. If you make a movie in this budget range that even begins to be congruent with that sort of value, you can’t lose. Enough people will look at it, enough video stores will stock it that you can’t lose. So The Gruesome Twosome does qualify in that regard.

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It pleases me to think that a whole lot of younger people are being exposed to your films though Juno. It pleases me as well, and I’ll tell you why. It shows that the kind of movies I was making, which had no foundation in major company production, had no foundation in any kind of civilized budget, but they did have a foundation where imagination was a substitute for money. It shows that that philosophy was, in fact, a sound philosophy. That pleases me.

What did you think of being compared with Dario Argento in the film – a slightly strange comparison I thought? I thought so too. But of course, it’s their movie so they can do what they want. If they want to compare me with Cecil B. DeMille they can do that too. I have no objection to being compared with The Devil – some people have done that!

The opening scene where the mannequin heads talk to one another has become one of the most indelible things about The Gruesome Twosome.


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making a movie called Color It Blood Red, and they have asked me to come to Ottawa and take a role. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just for one day; Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going up there for one dayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s shooting. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re paying me to come up, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m gonna have a good time, but one of the big incentives the filmmakers gave me was that Ray Sagar would be there; he also is going to take a role in this movie. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the revival of the superannuated movie people.

Well it was done out of desperation, my friend. What else was I going to do? As it ran, even with everything Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d packed into it, it ran under seventy minutes. At that time, when we were showing double-features in the drive-in theatres â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and I was king of the double-feature â&#x20AC;&#x201C; you could not get a theatre to book you as the first of the two features unless it ran for at least seventy minutes. So what was I going to do? I had to artificially add running time to that movie. And yes, at the time, I did it with some embarrassment. But at this point in my life Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not embarrassed by anything. I read somewhere that you were so economical that you used your alternate takes in the trailers to save on duplicating the original negative â&#x20AC;&#x201C; is that true? We used every inch of film we could find. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s suppose we started a 1000ft roll in my ancient Mitchell camera and the first scene ran 100 feet and was spoiled, I would unload that camera and use that spoiled film as leader for the soundtrack. Because usually youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have three soundtracks running, one would be the voices, one would be music and one would be effects, so in between noises occurring they need leader film, so rather than buy stock for leader I would simply take it out of the camera and use it. It also saves money by not sending dead film to the laboratory. But nobody in the film business ever did that, it never occurred to anybody. I got a call from the lab saying, â&#x20AC;&#x153;We got a roll from you and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 640 feet, whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that all about?â&#x20AC;? Nowadays that is very common because you can buy short ends. That was one of the problems I had on Blood Feast 2 (2002), was that the producer of that was buying short ends from this company called Dr. Rawstock, a fella who buys up leftover pieces of unused film from Hollywood. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what we were using for Blood Feast 2, short ends. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a strange and wild business my friend. Another surreal piece of filler stuck in The Gruesome Twosome in the 'drive-in movie' segment with Ray Sager stuffing food and beer in his mouth while his girl complains. Well just off topic, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m about to have a reunion with Ray. Somebody up in Canada is

REVIEW THE GRUESOME TWOSOME (1967)

A

fter dipping his toes back into blood with the epic Dracula flick A Taste Of Blood, Lewis once again fully immersed himself in carnage and comedy with his next film The Gruesome Twosome. Based on the thin premise of a mother and son running a wig store and murdering young girls for their scalps, the humour inherent in Lewisâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; early gore work was amplified in order to set him apart from the bigger budget splatter films that had started to invade his gory turf. As the poster screamed: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The most barbaric humor since the guillotine went out of style!â&#x20AC;? Mrs. Pringle (Elizabeth Davis) and her mentally retarded son Rodney (Chris Martell) run a wig store. Speaking constantly to a mangy stuffed bobcat named Napoleon, the mad Mrs. Pringle keeps a steady supply of wigs coming in by luring co-eds from the nearby college with a â&#x20AC;&#x153;room for rentâ&#x20AC;? sign in the front window. When they arrive to check out the room, she pushes them through a door and into Rodneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lair, where they are mercilessly (and unrealistically) scalped in lingering Lewis close-up. Meanwhile, over at the local college, nosy student Kathy

Are you playing yourself in the film or what role do you have? The name of the character they gave me, since itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sort of sâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;posed to be a parody of my old movies, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going to play the role of Fred Sandy. Now Fred Sandy was my partner on a couple of movies. He was an old man at the time. His son, Jerry Sandy was the American International distributor in Washington, D.C. and Fred was a crony I guess youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d say of this cigar-chomping character who ran American International. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve forgotten his name. Arkoff? Yeah Sam Arkoff. So Fred Sandy was gonna show Sam Arkoff that he was also a movie producer. So Fred was my partner on She-Devils On Wheels (1968) and Miss Nymphetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Zap-In (1970) and a something else, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve forgotten. Anyway, for some reason in this movie theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re making, the name of the character Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m supposed to play is Fred Sandy. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got six lines of dialogue, which I suspect even with my Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be able to remember six lines of dialogue. Rodney and Granny Pringle were such excellent bad guys, they were both pure evil and yet so sympathetic â&#x20AC;&#x201C; just like Two-Thousand Maniacs, it seems even more chilling that the killers are so polite and accommodating. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a very astute observation, I salute you my friend, because that was absolutely the intention in both those movies. Grannyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stuffed bobcat, Napoleon, was a clever device to employ because he not only helped give a glimpse into Grannyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s insanity but also was there for her to bounce dialogue off. Was there something in particular that inspired Napoleon? We originally planned to have a live cat but couldn't find one sufficiently trained. The stuffed one turned out to be a superior gimmick as, yes, a bounce-mechanism. A taxidermist rented it to us. He had even more formidable creatures but this one seemed to be in sync with Mrs. Pringle.

Baker (Gretchen Wells) is determined to get to the bottom of all the strange disappearances in the town. But her over-zealous nature and false accusation of several innocents begins to alienate her posse of go-go dancing girlfriends and her boyfriend Dave. Containing all the sickening violence, decapitations and disembowelment youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d want from Lewis, The Gruesome Twosome is perhaps most memorable for its inexplicable intro sequence, where two wigged mannequin heads with stuck-on faces sit side-by-side discussing the horrors that are about to unfold. This goes on for seven full minutes, until a hand comes down and buries a knife into the crown of the more cynical of the two heads and the opening credits start to roll. This sequence, and also another â&#x20AC;&#x153;film within a filmâ&#x20AC;? snippet where regular Lewis actor Ray Sagar stuffs food and beer into his mouth while a womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s voice pleads for a relationship, were added to bump the film up to full feature-length after Lewis accidentally ran short of footage. As amateur sleuth Kathy continues her pursuit of the killers, we are treated to an array of diversions

22

â&#x20AC;&#x201C; go-go dancing with Kentucky Fried Chicken (as part of a product placement agreement Lewis made in exchange for feeding his cast and crew), a bikini beach party and a stock footage speedway derby. Put that together with all the blood, muck and extended scenes of scalpings your stomach can handle, and you got yourself a certified UNBELIEVABLY Bad classic. With business booming at the wig shop, Mrs. Pringle buys Rodney an electric knife, and it seems thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be no stopping the diabolical duo. But then Kathy gets suspicious when her friend Dawn Farrell goes missing after vowing to visit the shop and inadvertently stumbles upon the butchery taking place in the Pringleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s back room. Boyfriend Dave simultaneously alerts the cops, and as they converge upon the shop they soon discover Kathy has gouged one of Rodneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eyeballs out using a hairpin extracted from her murdered classmate Dawnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s scalp. Offering all the violence and humour your guts can take, topped with a few totally off-the-wall moments, The Gruesome Twosome is a delicious slice of HG Lewis gold. Or should that be red?


2 % , " " ) 2 # 3 # ) . / 3 2 ! % , # 5 . / 4(%2 H. BEN BROWN INTERVIEW BY B.C. RIC


A

s ex-frontman of eighties Sydney thrashers The Hellmenn and one of Australia’s most renowned rock poster artists, Ben Brown needs no introduction. Of course, we’ll give him one anyway… The Hellmenn formed on Sydney’s Northside in 1986, a young crew of tearaway surf rats mixing elements of hardcore, power-pop, psych-garage and Detroit rock. Possessing an obvious talent for art, blonde longhaired singer Brown helped define the band’s surfskate-punk image through his striking record cover and handbill designs, which he also provided for other local groups, most notably Massappeal. To this day arguably Brown’s most indelible piece remains the cover art to Massappeal’s 1987 debut, Nobody Likes A Thinker, which became an enormously popular T-shirt print in the late-eighties and early-nineties, even among folks who had never heard of the band. After several seminal releases for the Waterfront label – none better than ‘87’s surf-thrash blast Herbal Lunacy EP – The Hellmen broke-up in the early-nineties, only to reform in ’92 to play the very first Big Day Out and sign a deal with Phonogram development label Id Records, for whom they issued several more EPs before calling it quits in ‘94. The demise of The Hellmenn saw Brown give up music for good, but on the art-front he continues to scribble away furiously. For the past two decades he has remained in demand as a commercial artist, turning his hand to everything from major tour posters to basic CD covers to children’s books, garnering critical praise for his work on posters for the Vibes on a Summer’s Day and Good Vibrations events. In recent times he’s made a slight return to his roots in skate-thrash, as reflected in his T-shirt designs for boutique clothing label Supply and other

brands like Globe, O'Neill and Insight. And he continues to churn out righteous rock art for promoters and bands, as well as contributing toons and sketches to many credible publications including Monster Children, Mad, Stab and UNBELIEVABLY Bad (OK, so maybe that last lot ain’t too credible). One Friday night not long ago, Brown invited UB over the Harbour Bridge to check out the Manly-based studio space he shares with fellow artists, scribble-twin Marty Schneider, painter Marcie O'Neill and photographer Jason Ierace. From the outside, the brick building looks fairly nondescript – you’d walk straight past and not even wonder what went on inside – but stepping over the threshold you suddenly find yourself in an alternate universe, a cubby house-meets-hip art nerve-centre. With Apple Mac set-ups at various desktops, eye-searing designs adorn each wall of the cosy space. Half-done artworks lay strewn about, while on one bench sits a taped-up wad of blank skate decks due to be gnarlified by Brown and Schneider for an upcoming exhibition. Much more than simply a place to work, Brown says the rich creative environment fostered inside this little inspiration factory has given his work a serious arse-rocket of late. After stowing our beers in the mini-bar fridge we head up a narrow staircase to the upper level, an area cluttered with large metal filing drawers, easels, canvases (including a painting by Brown of the classic Nobody Likes A Thinker motif), paint-cans and other ephemera. Somewhere amongst it all there’s a nice spot for Brown and I to plonk our arses, sink a few tins, blaze a few scoobs and talk shit for a few hours...

Did you start drawing before you started surfing? I was into drawing when I was a kid and I always drew. We were Mosman kids so we didn’t live right near the beach but my older brother surfed and he’s about five years older. We all went to Mosman High School and Brett [Curotta – Massappeal guitarist] was a couple of forms above me and Brett’s younger brother was one of my good mates that I played footy with. So I started surfing when I was about twelve and turned into an instant surfing nut – stopped playing footy and everything like that. Then I moved down to the beach when I was eighteen and I’ve always hung around in this area where we are now. I used to live in a house across the road for years. I’ve only really lived in three places over about fifteen years, we just keep getting forced back further from the beach ‘cos it’s fucking expensive. Manly was a slum years ago; it was good. I wish it were like that now. I might be able to buy a house. Anyway, so I was into surfing and I always liked that style of classic seventies surf T-shirt with waves and suns and dolphins and palm trees and things. There was one guy, Rick Griffin, who used to do all the San Francisco rock posters for the Grateful Dead and all those guys but he was a surfer. Griffin was stated as being one of your key influences in the book Plastered: The Poster Art of Australian Popular Music – you liked his little walking eyeballs and stuff. Rick Griffin is one of the greatest designers of the 20th Century. Both his music stuff and his surfing stuff, there’s not really anyone else like him. Since he died – he got killed in a motorcycle accident – his stuff has mostly become museum pieces. So if anyone says like, “Ah, you like Rick Griffin?” It’s more that thing of like, “Well, actually, I’m trying to rip him off!” I think with anything, whether it’s music or art, skateboarding or surfing, it’s the nature of the culture of those things that you have your heroes and that’s partly how your own style gets set.

Who were the fashionable inner city Sydney heroin bands? You’d go see someone like the Screaming Tribesmen and he [Mick Medew] was really this emaciated junkie but heaps of chicks loved it

25

Pic: Rod Hunt

When did you discover punk rock? It was Curotta that I would have to credit with turning us on to a lot of stuff. By the time we moved down to the beach we were smoking dope and going and seeing the Scientists and le Hoodoo Gurus when they were still a swamp band with James Baker on drums. So we were seeing those kinds of bands and then Curotta came back from overseas in maybe ’82 or ’83 and he brought back a lot of music and made up a mix tape that he gave to everyone called Septic Yanks, and that turned all of us on to hardcore. The guts of The Hellmenn had already been formed by a bunch of my mates and a guy I was living with called Simon [Jones] on vocals. They were called Fourth Degree and sounded more like Scientists and early-Joy Division when Joy Division were a really rockin’ band. Then that evolved into The Hellmenn some time after Brett’s tape turned everyone onto West Coast hardcore. ‘Cos at the time everything was all about fashionable, heroin, inner city Sydney. And when you saw the hardcore guys, they were just skateboarders and surfers just like us. At the time it seemed there was no real fashion thing that went along with it.


and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be like, this is fucking stupid. I thought they were an OK band but it didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the punch that hardcore had. When you heard Black Flag, yâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;know, you had no time for this skinny junkie guy trying to pick up girls. What was the scene like over here on the Northside? Mosman Hotel was good originally â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cos it had two or three good shows a week. It was a good place for what I guess people would call indie bands these days to get gigs. And there was the Manlyvale Hotel as well, which was good for bigger shows. But then by the time The Hellmenn got started there was really nowhere over the Northside to play. We used to almost never play over here, or if we did weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d play at parties or weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d support bands at The Venue at Dee Why but youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d never play your own shows there. There used to be some really cool big parties back then. Some mates used to rent a big house on the harbour at Fairlight and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d play and thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be us, the Hard-Ons and World War XXIV and three hundred people in this house. Psycho parties, they were better than shows. We played Manly Youth Centre a bit actually. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s funny â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cos my son, Harrison goes there for day care now and I walk in there to drop him off and little kids are running round and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m thinking, I played with Fugazi and Redd Kross and quite a few other bands right here where you guys are playing!

Were you gung-ho about singing in a band or was The Hellmenn more something you fell into? I was already doing handbills for bands, but Simon, the guy I was living with, was singing in the band but he was a removalist and he used to start really early on weekends so after a while he wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be able to make it to rehearsals. So I was like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have a go.â&#x20AC;? So basically I ripped his band off him! He was a pretty good frontman as well, he was a pretty big guy and we were into the Beasts Of Bourbon and the Olympic Sideburns from Melbourne. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d listen to anything from swampy and

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"%!",%4/"59!(/53%²¯"%."2/7. rockabilly stuff through to Radio Birdman to hardcore, and I was into metal but not in your typical way. Everyone will be going on about Sabbath and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll go, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Well, I was quite into Deep Purple actually.â&#x20AC;? Bad keyboards. But we always had a lot of input from everyone in the band. We had Andrew [Polan] drumming in the beginning, who was pretty much into punk but then Steve joined and he was a jazz drummer but he was into more sort of cornball metal of the eighties but he had really broad taste. He could hear something and not give two fucks who was doing it, just know whether he liked it or not. Whereas Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d probably be more of the mentality of, â&#x20AC;&#x153;What do they look like? Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not cool.â&#x20AC;? And Spiff [David Hopkins], the guitarist who wrote most of the stuff, was into MC5, Pink Fairies, Radio Birdman, yâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;know Detroit was it as far as he was concerned. Was it fast progress getting gigs and building up the name of the band? We played one or two parties and then we did a show at Yugul Soccer Club and Chris Dunn from Waterfront was there â&#x20AC;&#x201C; It was our first gig basically â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and he said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;You guys can make a record. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll pay for it and everything.â&#x20AC;? When I look back on it

I think we were so lucky, compared with what I see bands doing these days. And while I wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t say we took it for granted, it was really easy. Like we just played a few more shows and made that first record [Herbal Lunacy â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 1987] real quick, and you can tell because they are the best records. More often than not I think a bandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first record has gotta be their best, and in this case I can hear that now. It was our initial idea nailed down. Like any musician, for years and years I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t listen to it with any perspective â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all you hear is yourself. I even hear the stuff now and listen to the lyrics and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Can you hear what youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re saying in those lyrics? Pretty fuckinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; weird, what are you singing about?â&#x20AC;? The band started off kinda focussed into a thrashy thing and then really expanded the sound later on after Mourning Of The Earth [1989]. About a year ago I found some reviews on the internet, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cos everything is on the internet now, and this guy had written reviews of our first three records and the first record review is like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;These guys are all over the shop and it sounds fucking unreal.â&#x20AC;? Then the next one [Bastard Sons of 10,000,000 Ma-

Pic: Rod Hunt

Was it much different here to across the [Harbour] Bridge, the mentality at gigs or the style of bands that came from here? No, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think so. I think people liked to make a point of it, like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re from the Northside. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re surfies.â&#x20AC;? Whatever. I never found the scenes to be that different. It was just like-minded people in those days because it wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a popular thing like today. But like I was saying, there wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t many places to play over here by the time The Hellmenn got started. Often for gigs weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have to play either in town at The Landsdowne or The Annandale, The Hopetoun, or The Trade Union Club, which was a great place that you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hear much about these days. It was the most awesome of places. Or weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d play out in the suburbs at like The Den in Penshurst or Forest Inn, Bexley. Steve [Heald], our drummer, used to live just across the street here in one of those places that has now been all done up and gentrified and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d drive back after a show, get back at like two or three in the morning, and all hang out. But it wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like we were over here doing something vastly different to what was happening in the city. The Hellmenn was made up of guys from Mosman, Balgowlah and Manly. Massappeal werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t from around here, only Brett was. So of the other bands around here there was The Inchmen, we used to play with them a lot, and Ratcat were all from the Northside, we were good mates with them. Ratcatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s original bass player, Victor [Levi], was in The Hellmenn for a year or two after leaving them. Later there was Dr. Fruitworld, Mergatroid, Gumption... But whenever weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d go anywhere to play we got called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Silvertailsâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; we were marked by the reputation of the Manly football team! People would call us Silvertails and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re parents are probably richer than mine. My parents never owned a fucking house, I bet you your parents own a fucking house.â&#x20AC;? But it was all in fun; it was just a payout.

26


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niacs â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 1988] is like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mmmm, yeah, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not too bad, probably not as good as the first.â&#x20AC;? And then for the third one [Mourning Of The Earth] it just basically says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;These guys have fucking lost it! It sounds like a bunch of punks have been locked in a studio, given hallucinogenic drugs and told to play surf music!â&#x20AC;? So yeah, I guess it was hard to get any direction with the band â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cos everyone had such different tastes and stuff. I was over at [Antony] Bross, the bassplayerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s place the other night going through old tapes for the Discography CD thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s coming out, and he had rehearsal tapes from when we were a five-piece and Victor was playing guitar. Victor got booted out â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cos we went and played in Geelong with Bored! at the Barwon Club and he had to fly home early from the tour to go do some exams or something. So we played as a four-piece and it was really loud, and all that Victor influence was gone. Yâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;know, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cos Victor was in Ratcat, he was a real Beatles freak but he wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t just pop, he was really good and he was an excellent influence on the band. So when I heard all these tapes the other night there were all these songs that got dropped immediately after he left and they were never recorded and I thought, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fuck, they were really good songs, what happened there?â&#x20AC;?

with the images in handbills and never making it a secret that we surfed and liked being aligned with surfing, but at that time there wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t many surfers listening to punk or hardcore music. There were some; there was a small crowd on the Northern Beaches that would go to shows but for the most part surfers were listening to Dire Straits or disco or something.

You started singing about environmental issues after a while, which has all come back in vogue now that the planet is hitting its human eject button. That stuff was more to do with the sewage here in Manly in the eighties. It was off its head â&#x20AC;&#x201C; there was shit, condoms, [menstruation] pads, everything. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d get sick from surfing in it. It was a real issue. The outfall is just around at North Head so anytime the wind would turn southeast itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d just blow straight in and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d just be walking outside now and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d smell shit. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d walk down the beach and get this thick jelly on your feet like an oil spill. It was really full on and it became this huge State Government issue. Before the band started me and these

guys I knew had these POOO marches, which was the People Opposed to Ocean Outfalls. One year we had ten thousand people marching on the beach, it had become such a big local issue. We aligned ourselves with another group at Bondi called Stop The Ocean Pollution, or just STOP. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d get Peter Garrett who lived around here to come down and talk at the rallies. So the album Mourning Of The Earth probably came around at the height of all that. Of course there was the famous surf movie, Morning Of The Earth, so we just added the â&#x20AC;&#x153;uâ&#x20AC;?. Actually, G. Wayne Thomas, the guy who sang all the Morning Of The Earth songs lives on the Northern Beaches and saw a poster for one of our shows and freaked out and rang Waterfront Records going, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re ripping us off!â&#x20AC;? So Waterfront made me ring them, like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a surfer, you speak to your surfie mates and sort it out.â&#x20AC;? So when I told the guy, [Albert] Falzon, I rang him up and said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s none of your music or songs on there. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re just a two-bit punk band from Manly and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve always loved your movie,â&#x20AC;? he just went, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s insane. Send us a copy of the record.â&#x20AC;? I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think we ever did. The band split at one stage and then got back together, how come? Yeah that was about â&#x20AC;&#x2122;89, when weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d really run our course. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d done two EPs a full-length album and a couple of singles, Bill had started off filling in at shows and then he joined the band, but then one night we played this benefit for the rainforests at The Landsdowne and we were all too drunk to play. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re saying to the organisers, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve gotta put us on early. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re fucked, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve gotta go on now.â&#x20AC;? So then everyone got the shits with us for screwing with the line-up, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going on mid-arvo instead of at night when weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re meant to, then when we got onstage we couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even play. So Bill and Bross, who were the two members who werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t pissed and were sick of all the drinking, just went, â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is a fucking joke, you guys,â&#x20AC;? and the band split up right there onstage. It was classic; me and Steve were still trying to play and those guys were rolling up their leads. So that was â&#x20AC;&#x2122;89 and after that I went to the States and that was just as Nirvana were breaking. I got off the plane in LA and I was right into Soundgarden at the time and straight away I saw a massive billboard for Soundgarden. I stayed in San Francisco for a couple of weeks and saw how alternative music was developing there and it was obvious it was all going to happen here. So I came home and said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s start the fuckinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; band again.â&#x20AC;? And there was me, Steve and Spiff, and we got Kenny [Archbold] from Dr. Fruitworld on bass. We screwed Fruitworld over really. They had Andrew our original drummer and they were cruising along, a happy little band, and we came along and are like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ken, do you want to join our band? Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re gonna get signed to a major label and the first show is the Big Day Out?â&#x20AC;? So there was nothing much he could do. That was a fun time and we were really stable, but we were just a bit of a spent thing, like there was nothing new or original in anything we were doing. We got back together because we knew we could

You punted him because he wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hardcore enough. It was mostly Spiff. We had a big argument on the bus from Geelong back to Melbourne and Spiff just going, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Either the band fucking finishes right now or we go on as a four-piece and we play kick-arse fuckinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; music. None of this gay bullshit weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been trying to do.â&#x20AC;? I admit that I was probably in the same camp at the time, but still, kicking Victor out wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t good. That was the hardest part, kicking people out. We kicked out Tony [Goode], the first rhythm guitarist, because he didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really seem to progress as a musician as things moved on. He probably didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t deserve to get booted out at all, but I think we knew Victor was a really good player and we had him waiting on the outside ready to jump in. After Victor I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think we kicked anyone out. Things turned over naturally; Bill Gibson [The Eastern Dark, Smelly Tongues, New Christs, Lemonheads] joined for a while, that was funny. Did you feel punk had become boring, was that partly why you splintered into all different directions? There probably was a bit of that. I remember after hardcore had been around for a while it was aggravating to play when girls would start turning up at shows. Nice girls would try to get close to the front and yobbos would smash tables and run into them and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d get sick of that sort of thing. It didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t matter how you were playing. It was like the Beatles with chicks screaming â&#x20AC;&#x201C; no matter how you were playing, whether you were playing unreal or shithouse, people were just gonna mosh and smash anything up. Early on those days were fun but that wore thin. So we probably consciously moved on from things like that. And also not wanting to be pigeonholed, yâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;know, we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like being called skate-punk and surf-punk. We probably pushed it

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get signed to someone. It was still heaps of fun. We could probably play better then than ever but we just weren’t writing very good songs. In the early days you didn’t know what you were going to get when you went to see the band – whether it would be a great rock ‘n’ roll show or just a bunch of stoned fuckwits practicing their garage music. Even those shows were funny. But yeah, after we reformed we could play anywhere, we’d play good shows and we’d get booked on good tours, but I just don’t think we had anything left in us. We’d never put enough time into the recordings. We never did any kind of pre-production, virtually just went into a studio with twelve or fifteen grand that someone has given us to make a record; we’d go in, get off our heads and just record stupid songs. Playing live was always what we did best, not making records. So about this Hellmenn compilation coming soon on Afterburn Records. How is it coming together? That’s been going for about eighteen months now. I’ve got some artwork pretty much ready to go but we keep changing the tracklist. Originally we were thinking we’d just do the first three

EPs, ‘cos they are the best, and maybe do a second release of later stuff if the demand was there. But it’s taken so long to get together we decided just to put good shit on it and get it out. So we’re still just working on it, it’s the motivation thing. Even when you’re a band that’s playing this kinda shit takes ages, but in our situation it takes years for us to get it together. Will the Hellmenn now reform for a few shows, as is the done thing these days? People are asking why don’t we get back together, and while it’s not totally beyond me, it’s not gonna happen. I actually think it would be fun to do at a party, but not in public. I remember seeing people in the dressing room when we’d play that were too old to be there and I’d think, I don’t wanna turn into one of those dudes. Like everyone there is twenty and some guy who’s fortyfour is hanging in there goin’, “What’s goin’ down dudes?” You sort of feel sorry for ‘em. I reckon music is a young man’s game, at least the kind of music we’re talking about. Our band was the way it was because that’s how things were when we were young. I still love going and seeing a good band like Cosmic Psy-

29


chos, a lot of bands that didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t split up and keep playing when they want to, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a pretty good idea, we probably should have done something like that. To do it now, I just canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see myself doing it. For one thing, even just having to go rehearse sounds like a nightmare. I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t remember any of the fuckinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; words. Some of your early gig artwork is credited to John Doe. Yeah, I used to call myself John Doe on early handbills. I was into aliases. But I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know about John Doe from X in LA, so when I found out about that I dropped it. And also because Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d used Ben Brown on a few things I thought it was too confusing making it look like two different guys. All the lettering and words and crazy stuff people are saying in your drawings, what was that inspired by? Dunno, I just used to be into really stupid stuff. I think it was that Black Flag album that had the radio ads on it [Everything Went Black]. I used to listen to those and just think they were hilarious. And Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d always like to have a go at the mainstream, Madonna as a six-armed Jesus sponsored by Sony and stuff like that. The lettering was because it was before computers and fonts so you pretty much had to make your own. In those days I used to work at screen-printers and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d love it if I could steal a bit of Letraset [rub-on lettering] to do something. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Man, that looks so professional.â&#x20AC;? The actual style was from classic horror comics â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Tales From The Crypt type of horror stuff, EC comics, things like that. The Hellmenn logo was a rip off of HĂźsker DĂź. I loved the way they had the broken lettering. Despite you being in Hellmenn, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s your Massappeal art that has become more known. Yeah, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d say it has, because their crowd is more of a crowd that would pick up on that stuff, with the T-shirts and all that. I

Âą)´-02/"!",9-/2%-/4)6!4%$4(!. )-!+%/543/-%4)-%3)$/!#45!,,9 '%4).4/7/2+/.4)-%²¯"%."2/7. think also it was because it was someone elseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s band and not my own. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a weird thing, I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t explain it, but I think I just did do better stuff for them than what I did for our band. Maybe it was because I was collaborating with Brett on the Massappeal stuff, he was pretty into handbills and we would talk about stupid ideas that we could do for handbills and so Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d probably end up spending a bit more time on them. Where The Hellmenn stuff I would just sit down on my own and knock it out in front of the tele and probably didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t spend as much time. It was good working with Brett because firstly theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d pay twenty bucks or something for a handbill, which was a kingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ransom back then. Fuck, that was more than a case of beer! But also, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d push you and make you change things, like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Do you reckon you could just fix that?â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Do you reckon you could just add that?â&#x20AC;? Used to piss me off. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Cos to me, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just a fucking handbill, Brett!â&#x20AC;? But again, I   sâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;pose thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why the Massappeal stuff turned out better. Now Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m working with him again on his new band, Maus, doing some

art to get them going, and he loves all that stuff by John Dyer Baizley, which is all pretty amazing.

Massappealâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Nobody Likes A Thinker cover is possibly the most iconic Aussie punk design everâ&#x20AC;Ś Do you think so? See, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like I was saying before with it being hard to judge your own music, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the same with drawings. You draw away and you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really see anyone so you have no idea whether three people or twenty people or a thousand people are into stuff youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re doing. The [Nobody Likes A Thinker] T-shirt sold heaps, I think that financed most of Massappealâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s records after that. I remember Tony Blain from Acme T-shirts telling me, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Yâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;know, we sell this fucking thing in Darwin and all sorts of places where people just dunno what the fuck it is, they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know who the band is, they just like the picture.â&#x20AC;? I think it was probably Wham selling the T-shirt more than Massappeal because of the guy wearing a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Choose Lifeâ&#x20AC;? shirt, because the average person would see that as pisstake on the mainstream in general and the ludicrous consumer society that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve gotten used to punk images in the 1987: Herbal Lunacy EP mainstream these days but I remember back 1988: Bastard Sons of 10,000,000 then, On The Street, the Sydney street press that preceded Drum Media, didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want Maniacs EP to print it because they thought it was real 1989: Blubber Soul (â&#x20AC;&#x153;Daydreamingâ&#x20AC;?/ heavy because of the issue of youth suicide. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Tripâ&#x20AC;?) 7â&#x20AC;? Then once they saw that people were into the 1990: Mourning of the Earth record and people were getting round wearing the T-shirt they ran a review and put the 1990: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Anyoneâ&#x20AC;?/ â&#x20AC;&#x153;Possumsâ&#x20AC;? 7â&#x20AC;? artwork in there themselves, whereas just two 1990: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Homegrownâ&#x20AC;? 7â&#x20AC;? months before they had rejected an ad with 1991: Electric Crazy Land EP the exact same art. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Duh, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s kinda a 1992: Meltdown EP metaphor for being fed up with things. Have a look at it; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not that serious, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not too 1993: Absolute Filth EP many zombies killing themselves these days.â&#x20AC;?

HELLMENN

DISCOGRAPHY

Coming soon: Hellmenn 1986-1989 â&#x20AC;Śand Beyond

How did the Nobody Likes A Thinker concept come up? There was an earlier version of it on a handbill where Massappeal played with Hard-Ons and a bunch of other bands, but the guy on the front has got short hair and thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about ten bands names written around him. The fact that it ended up as the cover could have just been me being lazy and going, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Yeah, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll do your cover, how â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;bout I just use last weekâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s handbill?â&#x20AC;? But more than likely it was again Brett knowing exactly what he wanted and saying, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think what we should do here isâ&#x20AC;Śâ&#x20AC;? All the newsprint in the background was from the Sydney Morning Herald, just whatever was the news of the day I was working on it, and that news and the pills flying and all the words were just trying to evoke stress. Again, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going back to Black Flag; to Raymond Pettibonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s artwork and those radio ads, like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m gonna end it all!â&#x20AC;? Stuff that makes you laugh but that normal people think is terrifying. But the Thinker thing is just another drawing, like any other; it was a good T-shirt print.

Doing art for a living, was it pretty natural to head down that road? I always liked drawing. My old man was an accountant and he used to work at magazines like Family Circle in the seventies and I used to like going into the art department and the guys there were pretty cool guys that would give me pens and let me hang around. So from knowing those guys I had a firm idea of what a commercial artist was from a young age. So I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to be a painter or anything like that, it seemed cooler to me to be a commercial artist. So in the way that painters from a few hundred years ago were actually artists, they were doing paintings on commissions, not what a lot of artists see themselves as today, like â&#x20AC;&#x153;feelingâ&#x20AC;? society and reflecting what itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s thinking. So yeah, I always grew up with the idea that I wanted to be a commercial artist but I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do any proper study or go to an agency or anything like that. I went to fine arts college for six months just after I left school but then I fucked my leg up surfing and it was in plaster for ages and I just turned into an alcoholic bum dropout. After a while I worked for screen printers around Brookvale, coming up with designs for crappy bootleg T-shirts. There was a lot of bootlegging T-shirts in the eighties so Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d do rip offs of popular bands and novelty shirts. And Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d use their facilities, like Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d use the bromide cameras and stuff to do artwork for the band. And over the years I drifted into stuff that maybe Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d prefer to work on. Through being in the band I got to meet promoters like [Steve] Pav and Tim Pittman, who gave me the chance to do the odd national tour poster. And when the band got back together and we got signed to Mercury, which was part of Universal, I did a lot of work for

30


So at no point over the years has a regular job seemed like a good option? Not really. I used to work with my removalist mate and other people but the best money I could make would be from drawing stupid T-shirts – Koalas for the Bi-Centennial in 1988, whatever came along. It wasn’t like I’d ever made that much money but I’d have made as much digging a hole. I used to work in a sailboard factory at Dee Why when the sailboard boom was on in the eighties and it was just this huge industrial complex filled with heavy machinery manned by stoner idiot surfers and there was a pub next door. There were industrial injuries; it’s amazing no one got killed. So with jobs like that it was always better for me to be drawing. How do you get motivated as a commercial artist? I pretty much love most days really. I’ve had a studio for a long time now, so it helps having somewhere to go. For a long time I had a studio in The Corso on my own but when I hooked up with these guys two years ago, especially Marty [Schneider] and with the way he works, it just put me right back on track to doing all this old sort of stuff I used to do. You can get a bit lost on your own, and I’d been drifting away steadily – still having fun with the things I was doing, but probably doing more graphic design than drawing. Of the stuff I do now, probably 75% is just drawing. It’s just like doing handbills back in the old days but now I do it for surf labels. There’s a lot more content everywhere these days. Like everyone thought magazines would get killed by the internet but there’s still a lot of magazines around and there’s a heap of internet stuff and people just want illustrations for everything. In the last month or two I’ve probably mostly done T-shirt prints but I also did some concept drawings for this guy who’s trying to get an animated movie up and going. I like the idea of taking on whatever challenge the job is and making it work. Sometimes you really nail it and the customer is stoked, sometimes you find yourself way out of your comfort zone, which can be good as well. I really love going to work. Work for me is not a drama. And having this studio is awesome too. It’s a really great place to come to, even on the weekend when there’s nothing happening, I just come down here and do stuff. I like that about Nick Cave, the way he sets up an office near his house with a piano and a typewriter, like he’s George Gershwin or something. Not that I’m like that; I work about three or four hours behind the rest of the world – I get started at lunchtime and I’m still wanting to keep working at eight at night. Even up until a few years ago I’d have my studio but I’d also have computers and stuff set up to draw at home but I just don’t do that anymore. So I think this studio motivates me because it’s like a really cool cubby house to come to – one of my mates might be down there, we might smoke a joint or something, draw some pictures. I really like being in a studio with these guys, and it’s cool ‘cos we’re all doing different things. Marty and I overlap a fair bit in style but I think that pushes you a bit. I often look at things Marty’s doing and think, “Fuckin’ hell, look at that, get off your arse Brown.” Did that Nirvana poster you did ever make you money? No, but doing posters at that time, the money was pretty good anyway. And doing posters for Nirvana or Mudhoney or bands you really dug, that was cool. Nirvana are Nirvana today, but in those days they were just a band we liked. We played a cover of “About A Girl” long before Nevermind came out. So doing posters like that was cool ‘cos it was bands you were way into. Whenever I do posters these days they’re just event posters, I don’t even get the line-up, I just deal with the overall themes and then I give it to someone else to handle all the text. Otherwise you get all sorts of people ringing you up going, “Are you the guy doing the Come Together Festival artwork? We

Pic: Rod Hunt

them. I did heaps of Island Records ads for reggae artists and stuff and I did big U2 tour ads when they came out years ago. Being in the band got me heaps of music work, probably not so much any more. And then meeting a few people that work in magazines… it’s a real word of mouth thing.

gotta get an ad in Darwin that’s three columns wide and forty-eight millimetres high.” Fuck that. That’s not the job that I do. Describe a typical day in your life. Surfing, drawing, bludging? If there’s surf it depends on whether there’s work to do as to whether I’ll go. I’ve really gotta work ‘cos rent’s expensive. Now I’m a parent there’s more work to do and it’s vital that we have enough money, whereas before it wouldn’t matter, you’d scrape by. Things were never that bad but just say you fell a week behind in rent in the old days that would be OK. But now you’ve gotta keep on top of the house, the studio, child care… I think I’m working harder these days to make my art better and not be lazy, so that you get another job from that client or people see it and want to hire you. In the past I might have just pocketed the money and gone, “Righto, I’m goin’ surfin’, then I’m goin’ out and getting smashed.” And again, part of that is working alongside all the guys in this studio. You don’t want to be putting out embarrassing things. I know I come across like I don’t give a fuck sometimes but really I do care about stuff. I like getting recognition for doing artwork. And I’m probably more motivated than I make out as well. Sometimes I do actually get into work on time. Tell us about the Ben Brown T-shirts and clothing designs through Supply. That’s been really good. Shawn [Yates] from Supply called us maybe two years ago and what he does is import a few fashion labels that are the main source of his business but then underneath that, next to the Monster Children gallery, he has the Supply store and it stocks like obscure labels, old school skate stuff, just weird cool stuff. So hooking up with him and doing T-shirts has been cool. It’s a niche market that’s really fun to work in because it’s viable, you’re making as much money as any other job you’re gonna be doing and you’ve pretty much got open slather to do what you wanna do. I go in there and have a cup of coffee with Shawn and say, “How about I do this,” and he’ll be like, “Remember that? Let’s do something like that.” So it’s a bit like Curotta. You’re bouncing off someone and you’ve got the interaction between the two of you, which pushes you a bit further to come up with something cool. They are not big runs on the T-shirts and I think he sells two thirds to the States and Japan. But I probably get more comments for that than I ever have to tell you the truth, more than music stuff even. You have done illustrations for children’s books too. If I recall correctly some of the palm trees in one of the books looked suspiciously like dope plants. A couple of people said that, I didn’t do it on purpose, it might have been subliminal wishful thinking. I did two kids books about a surfing dinosaur and kids books are probably the best job you could have if you were good at it. The market is so big. There’s that guy Graeme Base who does books like The Eleventh Hour, like, I’m not into his style or anything but that guy just lives off that because he had a run a couple of years ago where he was popular in the States. It’s like being in a band. You know the book Where The Wild Things Are? Yeah. See, everyone knows it. When I was researching this kids book I was asking everybody and every single motherfucker knew it. The guy, Maurice Sendak, did it in 1964 and back then it would have been a toss-up if someone had offered you either the rights to that book or the rights to a Rolling Stones album. Because the book has just been a constant seller, like any great rock ‘n’ roll album. So yeah, that would be an insane job to have, doing kids books. I can’t even remember how the two guys got onto me about that job, maybe just from my work in surfing mags or whatever. They wanted to start this whole Wiggles-type venture with a dinosaur that surfed and they had a band and they had the whole thing. The only problem was they only had about twenty cents to do it with.


CUT SICK. STEVE COHEN INTERVIEW

BY DANGER COOLIDGE. PICS BY PETE HYDE.

I

f Ben Brown is the elder statesman of skate-thrash art in this country, his erstwhile heir-apparent is undoubtedly Steve Cohen of Melbourne band Cut Sick. Barely just born back when Brown was etching his name upon Aussie punk folklore with the classic illustration for Massappeal’s Nobody Likes A Thinker, the now 21-year old Cohen defies the sedate, nonthreatening nature of his own generation with an art style that screams of a time long past, when skeletons in flip-hats routinely performed implausible frontside grinds on handbills throughout the hardcore underground. Naysayers would argue that Cohen and precocious Cut Sick mates have arrived on the scene a couple of decades too late. But to the rest of us his throwback art style and Cut Sick’s exuberant thrash attack are part of what has been sorely lacking for a long time. Whether they realise it or not, and no doubt they don’t, these kids give hope that this now all-too-sophisticated

species of ours may stand a half a fanny-whisker of a chance after all. Originally called Mispent Youth, Cut Sick are the proud offspring of Massappeal, the Meanies and the Hard-Ons. Though most “hardcore” musicians their age are putting on eyeliner, sucking the scrotes of major label execs and desperately trying to sound like Avenged Sevenfold desperately trying to sound like Iron Maiden, they take the classic thrash-hardcore sound of early Massappeal – a slight metallic edge, a mind for melody and an urge to go fucking fast – and give it a modern makeover. Their debut EP, End It All, featured a cover of the Bad Brains’ “Big Takeover” with a guest vocal appearance by pop punk hero Link Meanie, and Cohen also sports a Meanies tattoo. Away from the band, Cohen and guitarist Rob Bonett run a backyard screen-printing operation called Too Far Gone, named after the Hard-Ons’ album. Of all Cohen’s art, the cover for Cut Sick’s recent 7-inch on Gash best illustrates where

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their young heads are at, with albums by the likes of Spunkbubbles, Poison Idea, Negazione, Descendents, The Kids, Verbal Abuse, Talk Is Poison, Black Flag, Hard-Ons, Meanies and Massappeal strewn at the feet of an anxietyriddled punker. I first clapped peepers on the artwork at Maggotville during Cut Sick’s tour with Straightjacket Nation – the same night I met Steve and Rob. What seemed especially impressive to me was the copy of the Reality mini-LP by S.U.X. drawn lying discarded between a speaker box and a cocked handgun, since I’d only written about that record in an issue of UNBELIEVABLY Bad a few months prior. I mentioned it to Steve and he confirmed that it was indeed in these pages that he’d read about S.U.X. and that he’d subsequently snapped up Reality on eBay. I can’t tell you how proud that made me, and how much it confirmed that every bit of the fatigue, sacrifice and general bullshit that goes into creating UNBELIEVABLY Bad is worth it. Cheers Cut Sick.


What are you up to? I’m just drawing up a new flyer and Rob [Bonett - guitar] is out in the garage printing up T-shirts. It’s for the company we have, Too Far Gone Printing. He’s doing some Straightjacket [Nation] shirts at the moment. Cut Sick was called Mispent Youth, why did you change the name? Mispent Youth was a bad band name that we decided on that I wish we could erase. We thought it was cool at first but soon as we started doing gigs we got over it. I like to think of Cut Sick as a whole new band because the point where Cut Sick started was the point where we got Max [Kohane] on drums. The old Mispent Youth drummer quit and Max came in and we started Cut Sick from there. We still play a couple of Mispent Youth songs but probably not for much longer. Cut Sick was already a zine and the editor Cade wrote in Kill Or Maim, “Cut Sick zine is dead, the band is next.” He then changed the name of his zine to Dumb Hardcore. Um, yeah, we read that, and Rob drew a funny picture that you will probably see in the next issue of Kill Or Maim. I’m not going to say what it is but it’s a funny one so check it out. Ah go on, tell us what it is. You’ll have to wait until it comes out. It’s just all in fun. We went up to Brisbane and it was all cool. Cade was at the Straightjacket shows and, like, we didn’t talk, but we didn’t get bashed either.

Ill I T h e Ill In You know there’s another band from Sydney called Cut Sik? Yeah we found out about them after we’d changed our name. We did a couple of shows and then Pete [Hyde] from Missing Link called Max and said there was a band doing an instore at the shop called Cut Sik from Sydney but spelled without the “c”. We were just like, “Oh well. Too late to change again.”

How old are you guys and how did you get turned onto fast anti-social music made around about the time you were born? Well I’m 21, Rob is 19, Alex [Christopher - bass] is 21 and Max was 23 last time I heard. I guess for me getting turned on to the whole punk thing, the Hard Ons were the biggest thing that started everything. I got into them because of that ABC documentary Long Way To The Top. They had a little segment on the Hard-Ons and then I saw the Singles CD in Essendon Station Records so I bought it… And then from there I got into Poison Idea through Thee Slayer Hippy producing [the Hard-Ons’] Too Far Gone (1994) and Jerry A singing on it and then it just went from there, I got into the Meanies and all that stuff.

Well you’ve got good taste for a kid your age. Some kids probably haven’t realised what’s good yet or what’s important, I don’t know, I’m still one of ‘em. But I remember when I was probably sixteen or seventeen we used to be heaps into what I guess you’d call street punk or whatever but I would always get around with Hard-Ons painted on the back of my leather jacket. And I’d cop shit always from fuckin’ morons just ‘cos it wasn’t the Exploited or someone like that. It’s like, “Er, what do they sound like?” And I’d say, “Well I guess they’re a pop punk kinda band with some hardcore.” “Er, that’s fucking gay,” whatever. “They have long hair, what? That’s not fuckin’ punk!” So it got me out of that scene pretty quick. “Eat Concrete” is a song about skateboarding and you have others about skating as well right? “Mad Karma” is another one. I wrote the lyrics to that song and week later Rob broke his elbow really bad, elbow reconstruction. Then a couple of months after that I broke my wrist. I shouldn’t have said helmets and elbow pads were a bad investment. They’re actually probably a good idea.

H e a d Hea The

What other stuff do you write lyrics about? “Hit Back”, is that just like one of those “fuck the government” songs? I don’t know you’ll have to ask Rob about that one. You can tell which lyrics are mine and which ones are Rob’s. I’m more like fuck everything but in a non-political way, it’s more personal stuff I sing about… and the skateboarding ones as well. How did you get Missing Link to put out the End It All EP? Well we recorded it, I don’t know, it was probably almost a year beforehand, like late 2006, and we took it into Missing Link and just asked Pete if we could give him a copy to listen to. Then he messaged me a couple of months later saying they’d be interested in putting it out. So we accepted. We’d already recorded it and our drummer left so we didn’t think it was going to ever get put out, we didn’t think anyone would want to put it out ‘cos we can’t play that stuff anymore. But yeah, they asked to do it so we accepted, yeah, and apparently it’s sold well.


n I l l e Th “I THINK IT’S PRETTY OBVIOUS THAT [BEN BROWN] IS MY BIGGEST INFLUENCE. I WANT TO MEET THE GUY AND I HOPE HE DOESN’T HATE ME FOR RIPPING HIM OFF.” – STEVE time I talked to him was when I turned 18, me and Rob went saw them play at the Greyhound Hotel, Rob was under-age. So yeah, I just went up to Link after they finished and ask if he had any Meanies shirts and he said he did at home, he had some old ones he’d give me, so that was cool. So we just asked him, “If we did a Bad Brains cover would you sing on it because we like Bad Brains and so do you. And you can sing, and we can’t.” And he said yes and we just bought him a slab and he did it.

I heard you’ve got a Meanies tattoo? Yeah it’s on the back of my leg. It’s the “hippies from hell” pentagram. I asked Link if he had a design of it and he gave me the old poster so I was like, yeah, sweet.

Those covers are great, how did you become linked with those Thrillhouse kids? I was just on a train with my girlfriend going back to her place and Fil came up to me and was like, “You’re Steve from Mispent Youth, yeah?” And he just said that him and his friend Tom were doing this zine but Tom was in Perth and would I be interested in doing an interview when he got back. So when he got back they called me and I did the interview but I’d never done an interview before so in the end he couldn’t even use it in interview form, he just wrote it like an article. It was both our faults, it wasn’t questions and answers more just like having a discussion. But anyway when I got the zine they’d just done the front cover on Microsoft Word or something like that and so I said, “For the next one let me do something cool. Let me do the cover ‘cos the first one was a piece of shit.” Those kids are still in Year 10 man, I don’t think I liked as much cool stuff when I was in Year 10. So yeah, they let me do the cover and I’ve just been doing it ever since. It’s easier though now because they don’t do it every month. They don’t get free photocopying anymore. They used to go up to their local council and say they were doing a school project and every

d a e H Cut Sick seems to have come in and gotten a lot of support right off the bat. Would you say Melbourne has a pretty supportive scene? I feel that way sometimes but then on the other hand it feels like if we go play in a different state we can play with a whole range of different bands, all different types of punk and hardcore bands. But it feels like in Melbourne you can’t really do that. Like I doubt we could do shows with Samsara and those kinds of mosh hardcore bands. We might one day. But definitely in Sydney we could play with No Apologies and those bands and be accepted. I don’t know, that’s what it seems like, playing with different types of bands gets hard in Melbourne. I’m pretty much down for playing anything; dunno ‘bout the other guys. So because that first EP was an old demo was that a good incentive to get the latest S/T 7-inch out so quick? That 7-inch was actually recorded months before the CD came out. So the CD came out but we had most of the artwork done and the songs recorded [for the 7-inch] and ready to go. And Dave [Kovess] at Gash Records wanted to put it out so that was easy, it just happened straight away. Were there only 100 of those 7-inchs? Yeah there were 100 tour presses for the Straightjacket Nation/Cut Sick tour but we pressed 500 of them all up and it’s going into a second press soon. Recording a Bad Brains cover with Link Meanie, how did that come about? I guess we discovered he was a big Bad Brains fan just from taking to him after the Meanies or Bakelite Age gigs. The first

So you are a fan of Link’s art obviously? He would come up with such weird random things sometimes. Yeah, I don’t know what he was thinkin’. But I try and do stuff like that. I don’t know if it comes across as crazy as that but just with the laughing and questions and things, pretty much Ben Brown inspired as well. Actually I think it’s pretty obvious that he is my biggest influence. I want to meet the guy and I hope he doesn’t hate me for ripping him off. He’s one of the best artists ever so hopefully he likes what I’m trying to do as well. That issue of UNBELIEVABLY Bad [#6] was sick with all the Ben Brown drawings all over it. Ben did a lot of stuff outside of the skate thrash style, have you seen any of that? I’ve seen his Good Vibrations posters in a poster book I bought and I definitely didn’t know it was his stuff. I think it’s good that he can do different styles but then still go back to doing his older stuff. I wish I could do it. I don’t even have a computer so everything I do right now is cut and paste.

You seen to come out with so many new drawings all the time, do you just draw all the time? Rob’s got this little folder, like a little book with all the flyers in it and there’s almost twenty now, just Cut Sick ones, and then there’s also a whole bunch of Mispent Youth ones. I didn’t even realise I’d done that many. I didn’t think that I drew that much but maybe I do. Printing T-shirts and drawing is pretty much what I do for money. Well I know you do the Thrillhouse zine covers but they don’t pay do they? Nah, they don’t.

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month they’d get thousands of pages copied for free. They had it up until the election and the council said, “We’re gonna be real busy so you can’t come in here anymore.” So they went in after the election and got told, “Well, actually, nah, you can’t use it at all anymore.” So that’s why they’re not doing it every month now. What other art have you done besides Mispent Youth/ Cut Sick stuff? I just did a T-shirt for a festival in Canberra called LevFest. There was a kid called Levi who committed suicide, I’m not sure when, but they put on a festival for him every year which is pretty cool. So yeah, I drew the T-shirt for that and also I’m working on the Super Fun Happy Slide CD artwork, which is pretty funny. I did a Day I Die T-shirt, and I’ve done others, I just can’t think right now. What band would be your ultimate to do art for? Cut Sick. That’s what I enjoy doing the most and I don’t get money from it. What you’ve done is give the band a definite style in the same way Link did with the Meanies, Ben did for Massappeal and Ray Ahn did for the Hard-Ons. That’s my big influence, that’s why I want to do everything myself. Ray even asked if he could do a Mispent Youth picture once and I was like, “Fuckin’ A, that’d be sick!” But then when I thought about it I was like, nah. Because I fucking love how he did everything for the Hard-Ons and I want to do that for my band. So yeah, that’s what I’m trying to do. Maybe one day but for the moment I’m happy to do everything. The latest Cut Sick 7-inch had the fold-out poster/cover and I remember I noticed laying on the floor (amongst records by Poison Idea, Negazione and Spunkbubbles), you’d drawn S.U.X Reality and I felt happy because I had just written about that record in the previous UNBELIEVABLY Bad. Yeah well that’s how I got into that band. That album fuckin’ rules. Did S.U.X ever release anything else? I think in the article I wrote that they hadn’t but then I realised they had two tracks on a Snapshot Records compilation [Call It Whatever You Want] after they’d split.

Those are from a whole unreleased album they’ve got. Ah okay. I bought some comp LP in Adelaide – this was like five months earlier – that had some dude on a skateboard with a stereo on his shoulder on the cover. It’s called Grind ‘Em Down on Dominator Records and S.U.X had a track on it but I didn’t even realise at the time. It’s the same version of “Reality” as off the album though, it’s not a new song or anything. Hearing that you got inspired to check out S.U.X after reading UB, that was inspiring to me. It was funny, I read about it and me and Rob were like, “Ah fuck we want to hear this band.” Y’know they played with Massappeal and stuff. So he was cooking dinner and I was on the computer and I just thought, I’ll type it into eBay, nothing will come up but I’ll try anyway. So I did a search and the only thing that came up was a copy of that album. So I clicked “Buy Now” before Rob saw and then I said, “Hey dude, guess what I just bought?” And then I refreshed the page and he was just spewin’. So you don’t mind snaking each other for records? Ah fuck man, all the time. If we go into a new record store on tour he’s always the first one to run straight to the

punk section and I’m like, “Ah fuck, looks like I miss out this time.” ‘Cos there’s probably nothing else that I’d look for. All those records I drew on that 7-inch cover are either mine or his. We’ve all got similar taste. But I’ve learned to chill; we’ve both learned to chill out actually. Still, say you go somewhere and there’s a punk section but there’s two rows of it, Rob will be going through one and I’ll be going through the other but I’m not even looking at my row anymore, we’re both looking at each other’s rows instead of looking at our own! You just wanna go, “I saw it first!” What’s on the horizon for Cut Sick? I think we wanna do another 7-inch really soon. We got new songs so I think we’ll record ‘em. Ben Andrews (Agents Of Abhorrence, My Disco) recorded the last one so we’ll probably just do the same thing again. He doesn’t live in the same place anymore so we’re thinking what we’ll do is get a rehearsal room and do it in there, something like that; something pretty similar to the last one anyway. And so there’s that, and also we emailed Conquest For Death about a split and they said yes but now there is a tour of Australia in December so I don’t even know about the split anymore, nothing else has been said, but we definitely want to do the tour.


e h t m o r f e r mo . . . n e p s ’ n a m d ma

THE SPLATTERHEADS. SIMON “SLY” FAULKNER

CORRESPONDENCE AND ILLUSTRATIONS BY GLENNO.


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nton LaVey coined an interesting sounding phrase – “Erotic Crystallisation Inertia”, or E.C.I., to explain the period in one's life when an individual's tastes and identity are formed and frozen in time. The Black Pope of the Church of Satan's inertia stayed in the realm of the 1940s, identifying with songs like “That Old Black Magic.” My E.C.I. was truly set in rock by bands like the Hard-Ons, GOD and The Splatterheads. The Splatterheads were really talking to me (and still do) with their Westie-punk-rock swagger (punk rock that was neither English or spiky). They threw open the doors of poor, thinking-class punk rock to me and I thank them for it. I had to track down Sly Splatterhead and try to tell him these things. This article is a fittingly surreal email journey in pursuit of this aim, starting with my initial email to Sly...

nearest and dearest didn't. I've always figured that my mission ain’t complete yet. Maybe that's why I've done fuck all this last decade, it could be the last thing I do -Joke-. I'm really happy you’ve stuck to your guns and are living the life artists have to live. Only artists can understand how fucking hard and frustrating it is. Revere us when we are dead and let us live in shit while we do what we GOTTA do, and there's no switch you can flick and go, I'll stop this headspace for a year forget about what makes me tick and get lots of dough then go back when I'm secure with money... Thank fuck I s’pose, ‘cause art is a duty to the soul and to love, and a slave to the tyrannical mechanism of creation. The muse is a bitch who toys with us, when with; we are all giving and forget ourselves, without and its life in the cell of doubt in self. Payoffs? That sense of having turned a thought into a thing, a melody, a destiny making a history - its own god and its own punisher. In short, AN EXTENSION OF SELF. It is its own reward. Sorry Glenn, getting a little, ah something on ya… gonna go from here to your sight/site and havaskwiz. Don’t wanna drip on you but the things you mentioned re: how the music moved you or helped you, fuck, it truly touches me and it's further into space than I could hope to travel on my own steam. Thanx. I’d like to think that no one would have to feel the things that I've felt, and I hope you haven't, but for my shit to make a person feel connected to something is for me PAYOFF. I once got to tell a few people that wot they created for me was like a magicpurpledrug that helps you shake off the shit of convention and exterior expectation that they bury you with. Sadly, they were wankers about it, but I'm still grateful and if in any way my art has helped you or yours then the honor is truly mine. Shit yeah, I'll talk to ya whenever ya want. Often you'll regret gettin’ me started ‘cause I can’t shut off. Sometimes I can be in a FUCKOFFSIZE hole, but I’ll let ya know and I’m never dismissive of another human unless they are known cunts. I could go on but I gotta go. Stay in touch, remain calm… later… SLY

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was thrilled to get that email. I sent Sly a bunch of questions and waited by my computer like a hungry dog at his empty bowl... then, this came.

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'day, My name is Glenn “Glenno” Smith and this email is an introduction of sorts.... We actually met in 1991!!!! In the offices of Prowler magazine on Cleveland Street. I was helping out Dave Roth with art and I got to meet you. I even designed a vine tattoo that you were talking about getting... this was a big deal to me then (as this email is to me now) because The Splatterheads was my favourite band. I grew up out in the sticks… Orange… and that album (Ink Of A Mad Man's Pen) was one of those albums that “got me through high school”. Sorry if I sound like a dick, I'm really a big fan. Johnny Nolan was nice enough to pass your contact on but I will keep it to myself. It's a buzz to finally be able to tell you how much your music has meant to me. I was in Lawnsmell for five years. I always wanted to do a Splatterheads cover but it was your supremely strong vocal that would elude me. I am a freelance artist these days... it's pretty fuckin hard to scrape by but it beats the government merry-go-round. Check out my shit at glennoart. com. I also write and illustrate for a great mag called UNBELIEVABLY Bad. If ya haven't seen one I'll send 'em to ya... just send me a postal address. Anyway... I would love to interview you and chat about The Splatterheads, Red Planet Rocketts and anything you've been up to of late... you can talk about anything you wish... I'd also love to draw you.... I have before and I will send that too... I think I did a portrait of you based on a photo Klinton (Kiss Klinton) gave me in about 1994... It was the night you filmed the clip for “Fish Biscuit” at the Vic On The Park... memories... I sound like a stalker so I will stop now. Hope you are well and wanna talk up the rock. Drinkin’ to your health, Glenno

lenno, I've been perusing your musing, some is amusing, some confusing, not all to my choosing but as I sit here boozing I reckon you’re cruisin'. Sorry about that... and this... “...consult the Lord,” said Fred Nile dismissively as he returned his fervent focus to his daily penance. A girlish whimper emitted from his dripping grimace as he furiously thrashed his cock in an up and down motion with a Coles Homebrand cheese grater (RRP $3.95). “Dear god, will I never be appeased... uh... I mean, forgiven?” The chapel doors burst open and there, with eyes bulging, stands Cardinal George Pell. As

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Pic: Rod Hunt

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i Glenn, Sly here, got your letter and I gotta say, dude, you need to get out a bit more. Nah, only joking mate, it was really good to hear from you and I'll tah bruva Johnny for passing on my details to u. Fuck I gotta quit with the fucking txt tlk shit did it again. Having a bit of trouble putting face to name but that's not in the least bit surprising given that the period in which we met was one in which two, main motivations in my life were the creation of my music and the destruction of my brain, soul and all and sundry bits attached with liquor and drugs. Don't ask me or anyone else who knows me how or why I survived. Fuck knows 80% of my


“don't ask me or anyone else who knows me how or why i survived. fuck knows 80% of my nearest and dearest didn't.” - sly splatterhead

O

nce again, I was thrilled but deeply confused by this email. I went searching for answers to my original questions but realised they were nowhere, not even cryptically hinted at. I began to realise the swinging distance of this loose cannon might be infinite. I was half right, which is half of something I s'pose. Then this turned up...

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the erection became visible beneath his robes, Pell strode towards the bloodied altar. “Freddy, how many times must I remind you, the church must move with the times. I thought we were agreed on this issue and here I find you using appliances that have been outmoded many times over.” Nile stood, head bowed in shame, sweat and tears mingled as they fell from the end of his nose to the chapel floor. “I know Georgie boy, but old habits die hard and I'm quite certain I heard the lord say, “Thrash thine cock with the Homebrand grater." He looked up at Cardinal Pell, expecting to see him frowning disapprovingly. To his surprise Pell stood beaming, his erection now out from behind the robes. “Move with the times we said, didn’t we? The Catholic church must embrace technology Freddy,” and from somewhere he produced the new K-Tel 'SHREDDITBAD', as seen on TV. It whizzed into life, its seven steel blades becoming one circular blur. It flung a small piece of meat, Pell’s last 'confessional', which hit Nile in the smile. “Of course, Georgie boy, the times... must move with the times.” He turned from Pell, bent over and continued to mumble something about “fucking Homebrand shit always being blunt.” Pell stepped up to Nile’s bare and scarred arse, purple cock in one hand and the new K-Tel SHREDDITBAD (as seen on TV) in the other, his red smiling face upturned to the heavens above. “You have given us technology o Lord... WATCH ME USE IT!” Outside the chapel two skaties were grinding on a monument, the noise that came from within the house of god

ey Glenno, I just remembered that I didn’t answer any of your questions. Not sure what I can say about what I DID send you, except to say that I have little control over these things and I guess it just came out. “Better an empty room than a bad tenant,” that's what my wild Scots grandmother used to say when she'd let a filthy loud fart rip. You probably didn’t need that either did you? ACTUALLY, NOR DID I. I FORGET SOMETIMES WHETHER OR NOT THE PERSON I’M WRITING TO IS THE SORT OF PERSON THAT THINKS IN IMAGES LIKE MYSELF. fuckING CAPSlock. I know you know what I mean. I reckon your art is fucking, well... let’s just say fucking. I checked out all the web stuff and was affected. Do you know Glenn Pierce? * - He did the art for BOT the alBUM. I’d love to hear he was well and good somewhere. You guys have the same weird and truly amazing brain eye hand thing going on. [*Glenn Pierce recently contributed a comic to the beautiful TANGO comic series. The theme for that issue was Love and Sedition. Glenn used his experience of the Melbourne band scene in the ‘90s as his setting. What is even more amazingly coincidental is that it revolved around his doing the album art for Bot - the album... small world experience #2417.]

This is a new address to keep things simple for me and so my impressionable daughter doesn’t have to be subject to the thrillfilth and sewerfury that I am currently instigating. Someone told me I should set up a Splatterheads website and Christo agrees – we've got a lot of very dirty laundry to air. If you felt like contributing you'd be made very welcome, in fact, you could have carte blanche. Lemme know if you know anyone who needs/wants/likes contributions of a twisted literary nature. Literally twisted or twiterally listed, s’all the same to me. All I know is I've got a lot of it pouring out right now and it needs to leave home. I gotta go... soon... SLY

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i Sly, Glenno here again… I've been trying to find the last questions I sent you... Here is the gist... or is that jist... sounds rude... OK.

These are some big questions to get the ball rolling... I look forward to your answers mate. Much respect to you Sly, Glenno

G

lenno, Sorry it’s taken so long to get these answers back to ya. Fuck, I bust a gut to make enough dough to survive on, but don't end up with anything that nourishes my soul's mind. I guess it’s just a survival thing that you gotta do if you don't want the hounds at the door. Having said that, the hounds are living on my couch and in my fucking bed. It's a pain in the ass when everything you own is black and all your pets are white. OK let’s see: What have you been doing musically or artistically? On the question of what the fuck have I been doing, I have to say that I probably run that one over myself on a daily basis (like a truck into a crowded bustop). I write. It's a stinking pile of insights and reminders of how truly outta shape one can twist oneself when one commits to the task. I play the songs, I write, a shitload of gutterblue and angrydude shit. None gets published or recorded. Dunno why I get like that but it makes me easier to live with. OK, here I gotta make a distinction. There's what I do with others, and there's what I do in my spinningworld cell. I've never ceased playing in bands, one way or another and have actually, this last weekend done a bit of recording with my band, The Filthy Dreamers, only four songs and yet to be completed, but it'll be good to hear what we sound like. Musically it's what you'd probably expect – raucous and fairly aggressive with a sweetstain of melody smeared over the top. We have been playing together for over two years, every Wednesday night; we go to a room in North Melbourne and make a racket for a few hours. We're pretty tight these days, though we don't actually play anywhere. I think we've done four gigs in the time we've been playing together. It's pretty funny. We are all WAY different people, with different lives, which is good. I need a bit of distance from people these days. Music is a really fucking personal and intense thing to me and somehow I've gotta keep fresh with the band. Being in each other's pockets ends up shitting me. Good music is the first casualty. I'm not a pimp so I don't wanna slut my music. I've tried doing jingles and sitting with dudes making little melodies for fuck knows what, and I'm much better a slut with my body. I've had interest over the years to sing the same sort of shit, you know, covers bands and ads and the like. Can you imagine sitting in your lounge and hearing you own voice singing the praises of the miracle absorbent features of the new panty liner breakfast food? I'd rather have acid injected into my ears, eyes and arse. Hmmmm. Pic: Rod Hunt

was... well... nothing short of horror show. “Fuckin’ hell, dude, those cunts are doin’ it AGAIN!”


I'm also just starting a new group with a mate that’s going to be interesting. I’ve already got ten songs ready to go. They are fairly angry shit and we are fucking around with them on the computer, so fuck knows where that’s gonna go. WRONG I hope. I'm tipping that it'll be VERY TWISTEDPROBLEM and AGGRESIVELYSTRANGE as he's a metalheadpunkbrain and almost as fucked up as me (sorry Gash). I’m gonna steal Johnny Nolan when I get it ready and he can do what ever the fuck he wants with it. Powersurge in a sewerfuckclub or a musicalneuroweapon, something like that… maybe, I'll keep ya posted. Any chance of a Red Planet Rocketts discography CD? Fuck, y’know, I'd love something like that for the Red Planet Rocketts. That was a band that really screamed in a beautifully honest and ridiculous way and I really miss it still. It had such great potential and was on quite a trajectory, but sadly blew to shit on

take off. As soon as we incinerated you had Supersuckers and Blues Explosion gettin' really big doin' similar shit. Man, good times to cherish though. I've actually got the last gig we did on Hi-8 vid my girlfriend shot. It’s at the Manlyvale Hotel with the Powder Monkeys – all priceless stuff. I'm gonna post some old demos to Matt Daley who’s got the DEMO GATE DRIVE site up and rockin' [demogatedrive. com]. Full respect to him for it as well. It’s fuckin’ great and worth checking out immediately as well as contributing to. The RPR stuff was done in an underground car park in Sydney that was alongside our friends’ sound fx studio. They had all these Mad Max props around the joint, y’know, huge 4x4 choptop Fairlanes and post apocalyptic desert warfare shit. We would sit there with coconut shells and trays of gravel and make 'walking on gravel' sounds that were synced to movies and the dudes would give us pocket money for

40

SIMON “SLY” FAULKNER 

DISCOGRAPHY 

1988: Various Artists – 1988 What’s To Celebrate? comp cassette [The Splatterheads - “Beat Around”, “City Slang” - Sonic's Rendezvous Band cover] (Substandard) 1988: Lompoc County Splatterheads – The Filthy Mile LP (Splatter Rock) 1988: Various Artists – Skate Hard compilation LP [The Splatterheads - “Split In Twain”] (CBS) 1989: The Splatterheads – Ink of a Mad Man's Pen LP (Waterfront) 1990: The Splatterheads – “Destroyer” b/w “Buttock” 7” (Sympathy For The Record Industry) 1990: Red Planet Rocketts – Hard Corn mini-LP (Dog Meat) 1991: Various Artists – Positively Cleveland Street compilation [Red Planet Rocketts - “Down The Road”, “It's Gonna Be Alright”; The Splatterheads - “Helen The Viking”] (Bulb) 1992: The Splatterheads – “Teenage Kicks” [Undertones cover] b/w “Seven Runes” 7” (Spacebeer) 1992: The Splatterheads – Tote Singles Club No.1 split 7” w/ Bored! [“3.2.1”] (Big Tummy/ AuGoGo) 1992: Red Planet Rocketts – “Heaven Express” b/w “It's Gonna Be Alright” 7” (Dog Meat) 1993: The Splatterheads – Bot, the Album CD (Dog Meat) 1993: Red Planet Rocketts – “Tick Tock” b/w “Palmyra” and “Red Planet Rock” 7” (Sympathy For The Record Industry) 1993: Various Artists – Home is Where the Floor Is: Dog Meat sampler CD [The Splatterheads - “Golden Eyelid”, “Seven Runes”; Red Planet Rocketts - “Whiskey”, “Love is Strange”] (Dog Meat) 1993: Various Artists – The Gospel According to St. Peters comp CD [The Splatterheads – “Down, Down” - Status Quo cover; Red Planet Rocketts – “(Sometimes) Good Guys Don't Wear White” - Standells cover] (Zen) 1993: Various Artists – Take Your Vitamins, Say Your Prayers comp CD [The Splatterheads - “Different Places”; Red Planet Rocketts - “Love is Strange”] (Shagpile) 1993: Bored! [guest vocals] – “Iron Man” [Black Sabbath cover] split 7” w/ Purple Overdose (Brain Salad Surgery) 1993: Various Artists – Eddie Zine comp CD [Red Planet Rocketts – “Pit Stop”] (Free with Eddie issue #8) 1994: Red Planet Rocketts – S/T EPCD (Self-released) 1994: Various Artists – A Fistful Of Zen Koans CD [The Splatterheads “She Died] (Zen) 1995: Various Artists – Found in the Subway: Subway sampler CD [The Splatterheads - “Fish Biscuit”] (Subway) 1996: The Splatterheads – Joined at the Head CD [Recorded 1995] (Subway) 1998: Various Artists – Their Sympathetic Majesties Request comp 2 x LP/CD [Red Planet Rocketts “Tick Tock”] (Sympathy For The Record Industry)


“we totally succeeded in what we wanted to do - play our own high stressenergyrock everywhere we could, get fucked up and get laid. man, we did all that shit in spades, in 17 fuckin’ countries.” - sly splatterhead goofin' off and entertaining them for a few hours. I recorded the drums in the blokes’ dunny. It was REVERB UP YOUR ASS!!! It’s funny stuff and that became the catalyst for Hard Corn on Davey Laing’s Dog Meat Records. We did other recordings for compilations and stuff for O/S release, so it’d be cool to rope it all in on one. It's the only band I'd ever consider reforming, but given that no one knows where each others at, I guess it's as unlikely as slammin' your cock in a door and waitin’ for it to feel good. I DO actually think about it though. The band, not the cock in the door thing. Hmmmmm. Any chance of a Splatterheads rarities/live disc? With regards to Splatterheads stuff, I've actually just begun talks with some one who wants to do just that. BANG! Records want to release a bunch of stuff that was recorded in the mid-nineties from all over the fuckin’ joint, live stuff from Oz and Eurosville. There’s lots to dig up and sift through ‘cause I'm real bad with that shit. Having said that, there's always someone in the band who's an abnormal compulsive hoarder. That prize went to Marty Bungle [drums] who was a card-carrying desk tape nut who got just about every gig we ever did on tape. It was a bit of tradition that we played the “pain game” in the van after a show. You'd think you had just played a fuckin’ ball-tearing show then the tape would provide every slip, bum note and fuck-up. Much ridicule and “I told ya so'ing would follow. Most of the time the fuckups didn’t detract from the fact that it had, in fact, been a balltearer. I think that it was impossible to do the kind of shows we did, harness that kind of energy and do ‘em note perfectly. It really wasn’t the point. We were not out there tryin' to be “class” players, ‘cos we weren't. We went out to punch and swing, to bleed ourselves dry and feel something rare and powerful. Fuck, THAT, we DID manage to do. I still check on the scars from time to time. A couple of good ones that'll be there for keeps that Christo [Fletcher – vocals/guitar] planted on me with a broken glass mid-song. Man, what a fuckin’ night. The Tote Hotel, BORED!, Twenty Second Sect and Splatterheads, 3 states-3 bands tour, ‘94, I think. Place was fuckin’ jammed to the rafters and even before we came on was at fever pitch. The other bands had cooked the joint. We went on, having prepared appropriately with a few days of sleep dep, various bits and pieces pinned to arms and throat and warpaint donned. Mid-set and there was an insanity in the atmosphere of the room that was infecting everyone I could see from the stage. It was really fuckin’ tense, but not the kind of tense you feel when you know that hardcore violence is about to erupt. It was that scared, exhilarated feeling like you get when hardcore violence has, in fact, just erupted and you’re not actually getting the shit kicked out of you. It’s thrilling. Anyway, beers goin’ everywhere and the crowd were really giving us our monies worth. We get into a really fast song (“Self Mutilation”?) Christo smashes a glass and starts carv-

ing into his chest. Not scratchy lines but filthy slashes that take a second or two to bleed as the flesh lays open. I see this from the corner of my eye and think to myself, “Atta boy, give ‘em blood”, when he decides to slip into me. The same broken glass and the same filthy flesh parting slashes across and up and down my left arm. Me thinks, “Oo, that smarts,” as blood pisses down my arm all over the guitar. The song screamed along when this beautiful young lady, clearly overcome by the moment, smashes her way to the stage, climbs up, lifts up her shirt, grabs that good ole glass and just rips into herself. All over her stomach, and I swear to you, she dug the fuck in. The song started goin' all over the joint as she also had the most awesome tits we'd seen all afternoon. The song hit the wall at max vel and the crowd fuckin' went spare. Suddenly it was like she woke up from a slasher-trance (you know the ones) and she got this look of “WTF!!??” She bolted, right out of the joint and you know what? I've got her face, her tits and her blood deeply ingrained in my mind. I'd know her anywhere. But no one knew her and I couldn't find her. It was true brutal lust and I never got to tell her (or fuck her). The cool thing is, though, we all got the same scars. What was your favourite Splatterheads song? I don’t think I’ve got a real favourite song. I rarely hear them and when I do I get surprised cause I'll really love one that disappointed me some time. I love all Christos songs. It's easier for me to love someone else’s songs that mine cause I seem to have a weird relationship with mine. I think it’s 'cause I don't think I've ever written a song when I'm happy. Songs are my alternative to the suicide slit ‘n’ slide or selfviolentridestyle, so the subject matter usually makes me a bit, y'know, foul or something. Beauty is everywhere but the most beauty always comes of pain. REAL BEAUTIFUL PAIN. Do you stay in touch with the Splatterheads extended family? I keep contact with Christo and Mickey (original drummer) but the other guys are somewhere that I’m not so sure of. They’ll be doin’ what gets ‘em goin’ ‘cause that’s what they do and I wish the world for ‘em ... but no, I ain’t on no mutherfukas’ Xmas card list. Do you know what they have been up to musically? Christo lives in the bush and has The Dirt Band. They are cool people who are doin’ it for the right reasons and they bumble about the country and take it easy. They have stuff available. Dunno what the others are doin’ now. Find ‘em, ask ‘em and then you can tell me. What stuff has been exciting you musically of late? It’s a bit tough to answer ‘cause I’ve been such a fucking retarded hermit muthafukka for quite a while now that I'm a

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bit of an ignoramus when it comes to what’s cool. I still get excited by what’s always excited me. It’s gotta be hard and true, it’s gotta let you hear the pain and feel the release. I wanna start a museum of fucked up RnR casualties and have myself nailed above the dumpster in Urinal lane. Only joking. I know there's still heaps of time to get well and truly FUCKED UP. I been at it for twenty-five years and still have a ways to go. Did the Splatterheads enjoy more support overseas or locally? Y’know, when we first started playing the Internet wasn't around to utilise. The only way you got any support either here or overseas was to get in a fucking car or a plane and go there and do your thing. That's what we did. We just made sure that when we got there that people didn't forget it in a hurry. First gig we ever done in Melbourne we got banned for life for gettin’ soo much blood on the ceiling. Any Oz bands of the time had the same drill. And I wouldn't say it was a problem really either. Made ya work for it, with no easy road. I seen so many bands round that time get picked up by “money” labels and “they were gonna be huge”. Yeah, NOT. They didn't have the work ethic to play their arses off anywhere and everywhere. They thought it was free money for just bein’ them. I know a few folks that made good dollars in that way and more power to ‘em but their cred with the punters ends up in the shitter. Rock stars that flash themselves down the pan. There was a tradition, and I dunno if it still exists, but you had to get shit done overseas before Australia took you seriously. These days you can be hugely successful and not even leave your fucking bedroom. Which is great too. I guess I'm just glad we had to do it the way we did cause it made it more of a “earned thing”, y’know? Fuck I dunno. Get there any way ya can, I guess, good luckstuff to ya. We had more success in Oz than we thought we'd have, and plenty more in a bunch of countries O/S. But y’know this shit all comes down to what your criteria for success is. I mean, did we earn millions of bucks? FUCK NO. Are people still diggin’ Splatterheads stuff after over a decade of not playing live? FUCK YES. We totally succeeded in what we wanted to do – play our own high stressenergyrock everywhere we could, get fucked up and get laid. Man, we did all that shit in spades, in 17 fuckin’ countries, so, to me, we were way fuckin’ successful. It’s a perception thing, y’know. P.S. Hey mate, this took soo long cause I redid it a few times. Had to axe a bit of longwinded shit. Got distracted a few times. The older I get the bigger the distractions seem to get. Hope it’s enough and not too much. I wanna talk more some time. Be warned, it can be a lengthy process. Be cool brother and we will meet at the right time. SLY


H L A C I S U M F O T R A THE T

T

DO . S E D I C I HE HOM

N

IE V R E T N I NY RAT

ER COO G N A D D N A O N N E BY GL

his is the story of a dirty rat called Don… A low-down scoundrel from the wild wild West, an outsider comic artist, punk rocker, self-professed “ugly blot” on the Australian music map, if there exists some dark mystical dungeon from which the most fucked up art is extracted, Donny Rat would no doubt be on first name basis with the doorman. A proud scoundrel who served time in dirty WA punk bands going back to the early-‘90s, he presently fronts the infamous Homicides, one of the tightest yet loosest crews of roughnuts in the nation. Playing downright nasty punk rock, or in their own words: “fast and dangerous, hard and ugly Satanic puke rock scum”, the band’s latest release is the

W

LIDGE.

Black Leather Red Neck 12” EP. A tattooist by profession, Donny Rat has for many years been producing his own deranged comic art. Not just sick but twisted as well, his vision centres around rock ‘n’ roll, cigarettes, sausages and syringes and sluts. His worlds are inhabited by mutated freaks with swastikas emblazoned on their phalluses, tattooed females with forked tongues and multiple aggressive vaginas and much more unexplainable stuff. To enter the world of the Rat, one must first cross the threshold of decency. Since you’re reading UNBELIEVABLY Bad, we’ll just assume you’re there already. The following interview was conducted via correspondence, with Danger issuing the music questions, Glenno handling the art questions and Donny Rat shooting his mouth off in response.

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HOMICIDE Danger: How did you get the name “Rat”? From being in the Rats, I presume? Is there a cool story beyond that? Rat: Shit mate, we’re not off to a good start here are we... But yeah, the name does come directly from being in The Rats. But I kinda recall we were all tagged with that surname, y’know. It’s stuck too. Even after all these years it’s still like Donny Rat, Frankie Rat (drums), Marky Rat (bass)… Guess we made an impression. The Rats got a name for themselves real quickly – locally anyway – and were recognised as this “out of control” dogshit punk rock band at a time when Perth, in my snooty fuckin’ elitist opinion anyway, didn’t really have any “real” punk bands around and out there bloody playing. There was always the odd band around – uni students and rich kids slumming it mainly. Long gone were the rough old days kinda shit. So many bands around this time – the early nineties I'm talking about – were just bedroom/4-track bands that very very rarely if ever got round to doing shows. Even bands of the time like Rupture, Chickenshit, Heist and the like very rarely got out there and played live. And the real fun nasty shit like Quick & The Dead, White Noise, Black Sheep, etc. was long fuckin’ finished. Don’t get me wrong, bands came and went like ya change ya undies… Cutthroat, Brown Demon, Threshold Of Pain, Mob Vengeance, Stool Pigeons, Black Salmon... I'm no fuckin’ expert. So when The Rats started up – three pissed-as cunts, noxious state-housing pill-popping hoons – we started gigging around Fremantle (our home base) and the city [Perth], and we ended up doing literally hundreds of fucking shows over the years – anywhere, anyfuckintime. People either really embraced us or really fuckin’ hated us! Haha. We couldn’t play, didn’t give a shit, we’d wreck ourselves, smash shit up... We purposely wanted to be shit. It’s a fine line. See, we emerged out of nowhere onto the scene – an unknown entity if you will – and ended up leaving an ugly stain. Our legacy was to get away with as much crap as we did. Haha. We wanted to be an ugly blot on the so-called fuckin’ music scene. I still do. Danger: Your pre-Homicides bands – Rats, Birnies, Sub Rosa, Riot System, Scum... Can you please give us a rundown on these bands? What was the best/worst of them? Rat: Aw fuck mate, I dunno. You missed other shit like The Pests, Terror City Blitzkreig, Eunuch, The Lock Ups (actually, rehearsed a lot only, with Thommo and Sean from A.V.O.). Believe it or not, I also sang and did shows in a short-lived Clash cover band called White Riot. Arharhar. Whatta slut! Alright though, I'll try and run through the bands you mentioned real quick, ‘cos to tell ya the truth – and anyone that knows me will tell ya – apart from maybe The Rats I could give two shits for past bands or recordings I’ve been part of. No hard fuckin’ feelings mind you, and I can dig that some people get into that music history stuff, but not me. Anyway… The Birnies I drummed in for around… fuck, I dunno, let’s try and skip dates and places and shit. This abused old fuckin’ brainape really won’t recall all that trivia. So obviously The Birnies was named affectionately after one of West Australia’s most swingingest couples: sex killers David and Catherine Birnie. I didn’t name this one, though I’d love to take the credit. It was already Zane Razors (aka Vic Bitter) and Dave Solo’s band before I joined. But I used to drink at this shithole, The Willagee Hotel, where Dave and Cath [Birnie] were regulars. Dave sold dope, stolen car parts, all kinds of dubious shit. They were pretty well known. Every one kinda sussed what fuckin’ deviants they were then, so all the murder love fuck they got into later was no real bloody surprise to anyone. David kicked the bucket last year after twenty odd years of apparent prison punk boy fuckin’ funland sticking his demented dick of death into every new chicken unfortunate enough to be dumped in the so-called Protection Wing of the prison only to be fronted by the aging sex monster David Birnie. By all accounts a walking, talking hard-on armed with a can of Coke and a bag of Samboys, a shoulder to cry on and a lump in his pants. It’s not even ya birthday but Dave's got a present for ya, lucky boy! As a band The Birnies rehearsed a lot but we only managed to play a few gigs and a bunch of backyard parties. I was flat out with stuff like Sub Rosa, doing 'zines and stuff and then The Rats around this time, so I probably contributed to us not getting out too much. The Birnies was one of those bands I’ve played in that started out by stran-

gers coming up to me in the pub asking if I could play drums or guitar for ‘em and me replying that if they buy me drinks all night then we're on. The things I’ve done for a fucking drink! We didn’t record unfortunately – couple of rehearsal tapes around. Unlike most bands I’ve been in we’ve stayed the best of mates over like ten years and I still see the boys fairly regularly. Zane went on to play bass in The Pimps, now in scumbag rockers Python. Dave Solo (guitar) now lives in his own world, jumping out of planes, occasionally boxing. Top cunt... OK, Sub Rosa. Like The Rats, we could be really catchy, tuneful even, or we could be rough as fuckin’ guts. With both bands I kinda mixed it up a bit. Like some of our releases could be classed as straight-up Oi!/street punk or whatever, where also a lot of it would be trashy raw fuck... Sub Rosa was definitely the precursor to what became The Rats. We put out a bunch of tapes, appeared on a few local and overseas comps. Fuck, we rehearsed a lot if I recall. Fucked up every gig we did. Lots of members in and out all the time – even punched a couple of 'em out before booting them out of the band. It was somewhere around this time I got pulled into playing drums with this bunch of unhinged yobbos who called themselves Pitbull and Scum. I was on the goon and pills with Sheeney and Stumbles from Rupture at this house one day (they were rehearsing there or something) and these other obviously mad blokes I hadn’t met or even seen around before were raving on, doing lines of fuck knows what and they’re telling me about how they’d written all these mad songs but didn’t have a drummer, would I do it. We’re all pissed as cunts and out of it. Must have been dole day. I said, “Look I'm pretty busy at the moment with my other bands and I don’t even know you motherfuckers.” Well the singer, the soon to be infamous Pitbull, trying to talk me into it, finally offers me what’s in his pockets and the watch off his wrist if I’ll join their band. Haha. I said, “Cunt, I don’t want ya fucking watch but I like ya style. Let’s Rock!! And keep the fuckin’ lines coming!” Pitbull was off his chop, one of those rare and beautiful individuals who would do pretty much anything – regardless of consequences – in the name of having a fuckin’ laugh. People fuckin’ moved when we walked into the pub, y’know what I mean? Pitbull would root his latest sleazy girlfriends right at the bar, put his head through walls, bite people... He’d eat lit cigarettes, cockroaches, glass, anything on demand, simply to amuse our decidedly jaded sensibilities. Our guitarist and Pitbull’s best mate was an albino Maori bloke called Brigga. When not on the goon or rooting stray runaways together, to relieve the boredom they'd head down to the local train station to punch on with the local Aboriginal youth. Bloody lovely fellas, great songwriters too. Real Aussie Oi!/metal kinda shit. Like I said, I was only their alcoholic drummer, nothing to do with the songwriting. Sadly we never really recorded anything, just a tape from the sound-desk at a gig and a couple of rehearsal tapes (I used to tape everything). Now, Riot System, apart from a few shows, a few parties, were basically a bedroom band. Inspired by shit like Mob 74, Disorder, we put out a couple of tapes and a 7-inch EP on some fuckin’ label I can’t remember. Yawn. Who gives a shit? I don’t. One thing, though, like all the bands I’ve had my finger in, keep it distinctly WestfuckinAussie style! Raw, fucked up, make your own game… Y’know, actually the first ever band I was in was with a couple of mates called Dead Budgie. This was like 1981, ‘82 or something! Real dumbshit kids stuff, as you might expect. We had songs like “Dead Budgie”, “Drunk On Blood”, “Charlie Fucked Di (That’s How He Got A Coloured Dick)”, which was about Prince Charles and Lady fucken Di. Haha. This was the early eighties remember and we were rotten little skinhead kids having a giggle. I remember we made a rehearsal tape. Some girlfriends took it to school to play to their mates and that’s the last I ever heard about it. Haha. Boredom is the key...

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Danger: Perth has always bred great punk musicians (though many went to Sydney or Melbourne to “make it”). How would you describe the Perth experience from the perspective of someone that has seen a lot of changes over the years? How was the scene when you came into it? How is it today? Rat: How’s the scene today? Who gives a shit? Same as it’s always fucking been mate – self-serving insecure poofter shit. Bands come and go, people come and go, I stick around with my knob out waiting for the bodies to fall. Harfuckinghar! As for leaving Perth to “make it” through being in Melbourne or Sydney. What about the fuckin’ Papua New Guinea punk rock scene!? Harharhar. Good luck cunt. Since when did playing the type of stuff I do become a “career opportunity”?! Really, as much as we all love our music, the whole “scene” thing’s a bit of a bloody joke isn’t it! All this local rock star hoo-har pretension and self-delusion perpetrated by misguided, misjudged formuladriven no-talents. Like I said, we all love what we perceive to be OUR music. We all feel strongly about the music and bands we love, right. It’s just a matter of fucking self-quality control and bloody-minded dumbshit ignorance that’s encouraged, fed and actually pandered to by so called musicfuckenscenes... See, Perth’s “scene” ain't strictly about just playing with punk or HC bands. You end up playing with all kinds of different bands, people or “scenes”. I mean, if ya take a look at some of these new wave of hardcore bands, sure, the music’s fine, even if totally derivative and ten years off the ball, then ya check out the lyrics. Hoo-boy. Life ain’t so hard motherfuckers! Bunch a whiney shit. Grow the fuck up. Or, if you really are as deep and depressive as projected, then stay the fuck at home and slash ya cock-vein... hahahar. Pull ya bloody socks up and get the fuck over y'self. Are they really that “deep”, that introspective and thoughtful? Do they really have concern about starving bloated kiddies in Africa? Are the cops really that threatening to you and your middle class lifestyle? Ya know, I really got nothing against musical/band formulas or inspirations, and it’s true, I'm just a jaded old prick, but cunts should stop believing their own press and acting like they invented the whole fucking thing. Stay the

The Rats


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relatively small punter base. And, of course, this leads to cockheads getting praise and exposure they don’t deserve. So any faggy youth-sexy trendsetter gets to see their suitably modern mug in print regularly and gets to build their scrapbook full of clippings and reviews and gets their year or two in the numbing glow of the shining music scene sun. Then it’s back to flipping burgers, working in a music store (they all fuckin do!) and rooting ugly girls. Boofuckenhoo. And bloody oath cunty, we use the press too! We promote the fuck out of ourselves. And I’m arrogant enough to say we deserve the attention. Hahaha. Mate, there’s no point doing the amount of shows we do and wrecking ourselves the way we do without the witness of as many of our prickly punters as we can muster, right. And we actually get pretty good support from the local press. Even though most venues won’t have a bar of us (fuck ‘em), a lot of bands refuse to play with us, locals either love us or fucking hate us (fair cop too), don’t know how to take us or are scared to come to our shows, the local press has pretty much always backed us up. Most of the time I get the impression that most of the local “industry” would just love it if we finally drank ourselves to death. As I’ve said, I really can be a negative and cynical old prick. It’s the old cliches mate. I’ve been ripped off, slagged off, underpaid, kicked out, lied to, banned, disrespected... But really, and this is most important, I got it fucking good. We play a shitload of fun fucking shows, most of 'em being more like a pissed-up party with yer mates and associates. And let's face it, The Homicides are always drunker and more drugged-up than the punters we play to and we still tear that fucker up. I think that counts a lot. I know I crap on a lot… You'll get used to it... Y’know, punk rock may have saved me. Hahaha. I didn’t really have any mates or shit growing up. We moved around a lot, y’know, broken home, poor schooling, mental fucking problems, boohoo, all that boring shit. Kicked out of home at fifteen, booze, drugs, crime, living on the street. I spent both my 18th and 21st birthdays locked up. Work that one out. And I was always a weird fucking kid anyway, preferring drawing stuff like pirates and car crashes and reading Christian comix and religious tracts to the company of other humans. I remember going through a big Adolf Hitler stage when I was in Grade 2 or 3. A bit of a bloody outcast really. Hahaha. And glad of it. Punk rock probably saved me from total social retardation. In our house we grew up on stuff like AC/DC (like all good little Aussie kids), Suzi Quatro, Sweet, a lot of country. But around 11-years-old a kid at school gave me a beat up copy of the ‘Pistols …Bollocks LP and that was fucking it for me. This is around 1980-81 and I was soon into all that stuff that was around at the time – Plasmatics, Black Flag, Ramones, Exploited, 4Skins, Skrewdriver, Menace, a lot of Oi!/streetpunk shit. Listening to this stuff, though, especially in the fucking suburbs we grew up in, actually made me more of a bloody outcast. Harhar. But it got me out of my own fucking head, got me out of the bedroom; I thought maybe I wasn't such a fucking weirdo after all! (On a side note: It was around this time I got the DK’s In God We Trust 12-inch EP. My first 12-inch! Now I didn't know and didn't notice that the 12-inch was played at 45RPM, just like a single. So for about four-five months I played the EP at 33RPM! And it was the rawest fucking shit I ever heard. Hahaha. Try it at home kids, it's mental! And just as good at either speed... Sorry mate, as I said (me mates will tell ya too) I do tend to crap on a bit. But as much as I piss on what most people respect and revere about the music scene and the industry (and let’s not forget kids, to the ones running the show, even in the so called “underground”, it most definitely is an “industry”, just like McDonalds and just as disposable. Remember that, motherfucker. We all squat down to shit. Ya know what I mean?), being in bands and being involved in any scenes has undoubtedly been one of the best, most positive things to ever happen to me. It’s all rock ‘n’ roll man, y’know. And thank fuck for that! I’ve mixed in a lot of different circles, some more unsavoury and dangerous than others, but the music thing has given me more in terms of just straight out fuckin’ fun fun fun. The great fuckin’ people I've met, the touring and getting to play over the years with some of my favourite bands, the close friendships I’ve made; close, respectful relations I thought were beyond an arrogant nasty old cunt like me. Haha. To my friends both at home, over East and

“Rock ‘n’ roll was once considered dangerous. Punk rock too kids! D’ya get it. Everything’s hip nowadays, everything is cool and acceptable. It’s a good fuckin’ kick in the arse that’s needed here.” – Rat fuck away from the “industry” and the false hype that goes with it. The people that continually pat your back need bloody watching! Shitheads who perceive what they do to be precious, special or, god forgive, relevant?! Hahaha. I think “scenes” are generally made up of backslapping Johnny-come-latelys whose standard formulas and positive attitudes could mostly be a cover for a lack of skill, insecurity and lack of any real heart. Real balls. No dash. I fuck 'em... Their haircut demands it, ya know. I mean, exactly when did every single fuckin’ genre, sub-genre and pimply MySpace musical fart become hip? Trendy? Friendly? Rock ‘n’ roll was once considered dangerous. Punk rock too kids! D'ya get it? Everything's hip nowadays, everything is cool and acceptable. It’s a good fuckin’ kick in the arse that’s needed here. Individuality has become conformity! Harharhar. I come from a time when ya sat back and earned respect. When idiots got belted. People remembered their fuckin’ manners, kept their mouths shut, paid some dues, had some fuckin’ class, had some dash and go and earned their respect, ya know? Just when did our punk rock and hardcore become mainstream, or worse, safe?! Music scenes? Shit man, don't get me wrong, OK, I love our punters, even respect the ugly fuckers, but nothing really changes. It all comes and goes like a pubic hair down the drain. Next please. As for musos, with their insatiable egos and insecurities they’re worse than fucking junkies, man. Part of the “scene”? I don’t even know what that shit means. Though I suppose in some ways I am very definitely part of some music scene and even responsible for creating some of it... Mate, it’s very easy, and I admit I can be a bloody negative bastard about the whole scene thing, I’m not the most approachable person. Haha. But it's an easy target just begging for a kick in the nuts. Really. I’ve always tried to stay well clear of all the games, subterfuge and bullshit that goes on around music scenes and industry. I manipulate it to my own means. Kill John Butler. The Homicides are decidedly underground – strongly and arrogantly independent if you will. So all the crap has little to do with how we approach things. And we’ve been fucked around heaps! But we’ve achieved what we have and got as far as we’ve come strictly on our fucking terms, our fucking way. We’ve got out there and played and played and tore it up like a motherfucker. We’ve pushed it and bullshitted it and made the bastards pay attention. And unlike most bands’ hype, we can back it up. In Perth it’s really easy to get a name for yourself pretty quickly – loads of shows if ya want 'em, lots of music press and easy exposure to a

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overseas, who’ve put up with my shit, drank with me for days, backed me up and watched my back and made me welcome, thank you, my fuckin’ bloody darlings, you know who you fuckin’ are. Let me tell ya, mate, the older I get the more enemies I make. But also, my life, the band, friends, all that good good stuff, just gets better and better. Gimme a fucking medal. Danger: Who started the Dose/Homicides? Is there any difference between the Dose and the Homicides besides the name? Rat: The Dose started around February 2002 when I got back from living in Sydney for like 18 months. The Rats were doing shows over there, pissing on with the A.V.O and Blurters boys (top cunts to a man!). When we got back to Perthsville the band kinda broke up. We have done the odd “special occasion” show since, like the Gus Chamber memorial gigs. Now, anyone will tell ya that I’m a terrible slut when it comes to playing and shit, so with no Rats, another band for me to spank my crank in was obviously on the cards. Simple story: sitting around a table with some mates, three cartons of piss into it, the gear’s already set up in the house… “Mate, let’s have a fuckin’ bash!” We wrote like our first four or five songs straight away. Piece of piss really. We started playing shows about two weeks later. Fuck it, ya know. Hahahaha. For a while there we only had like five or six songs but our sets would go on for like forty fuckin’ minutes and shit. We were just trashed, belligerent and having a lot of dirty nasty fun. So were our crowds!! Some of the videos of those Dose shows are fuckin’ “out there” mate. Bodies flying everywhere, glasses and bottles flying, punches thrown, blood, puke, potato chips and nudity – you name it. Our cobber, Big Col', passed out cold with his head in the bass drum while we were playing. We started to get banned a lot pretty


quickly. The name change? We were a pretty volatile bunch. Still are I’m afraid. We’d fight amongst each other, break up one week, play a show the next week, have a punch on, he’d leave, we’d play, blahblah. A LOT of drugs, a LOT of booze, the usual close band fun and games bullcrap. Anyway, one night after an abysmal show (I think I may have passed out mid-set this night. Not unusual mind you!) our singer, Elvis, chucked the shits. We had a big set to out the front of the pub, he quit, we chucked him out. Hahaha, no probs. With Elvis temporarily out of the band I went, fuck it, change the name! Hence The Homicides. Elvis was back about a month later and we continued on as normal. Like I said, no probs. After all, we ain’t a bunch of bloody cry-babies. Danger: Why did Elvis Overdose eventually leave? Obviously you shifting to vocals from guitar was a huge move. Can you explain firstly your decision to switch, and secondly, why it’s preferable to be running around with a microphone instead of a guitar? Rat: Elvis had had enough basically. The poor cunt was burnt out. He said, “Donny, I can’t do it anymore. I’m burnt out. I need a break.” I said, “Mate, I live my whole fuckin’ life burnt out!” Breaks are for the weak! Rock ‘n’ roll, motherfucker!! We go pretty hard onstage and off, and poor Elvis was just spent. Admittedly, we had gone a bit mad on our last Melbourne tour, our arsehole personalities unchecked, and Elvis had enough putting up with us and our bullshit. Ya know, he used to beat himself up pretty good onstage, a bit of a mad cunt, always at full-pelt. There was no middle ground or downtime with Elvis onstage – all the time every time. When he couldn’t give the band everything anymore, he left. The bloke was just rooted. His leaving was all on good terms and we’re all still great mates. He rocks up to most of our shows, and as much as we try to get him to jump onstage for a song or two, he stands back and won’t have it. Staunch as fuck. Regarding me taking over sole vocals and dropping the guitar, it was natural mate. Another piece of piss. This shit ain’t brain surgery! When Elvis left, it was a done deal that I’d be taking over the vocals; I already sung like a third of the set anyway. But I didn’t want to be the frontman AND guitarist again. Been there done that with like The Rats and Sub Rosa. If I was gonna be out the front I had to be able to give it everything I got, right. There was talk about getting our good mate and professional arsehole into the band, Undies (aka Ray O’Sunshine, Max Power, Andrew True… Ex-Cutthroat, Brown Demon, Heist, Beast In Heat. Currently drunken guitar wizard in sleaze rockers Python), a real fucking mean guitar slinger (cunt of a drummer though). But we thought, Nah, he's too much of a prick, and that’s all we bloody needed! Anyway, as it was, me and Bugsy (ex-Mickey Flash) had been talking about getting a band together for ages. He’d grown up listening to and inspired by shit like The Rats and had the similar trashy drunkcunt style of guitar playing I had, only much fucking better than I ever was. He knew all our songs already too. Too fuckin easy... And apart from his stunning good looks and suave personality, the little prick can really play that thing like a motherfucker and has the heart and dash of a bloody lion. Our first couple of rehearsals with Bugsy we wrote like six new songs flat. Fuckin’ great. I haven’t picked up a guitar since. Our first show with Bugs, we’re due to go on in like five minutes but can’t find the bugger! Some girls inform me they saw him about ten minutes ago out back of the venue. I go out back and sure enough there he is, passed out in a puddle of his own puke! I thought, this boy will do bloody nicely!


We got him going and played an absolute blinder of a show. The Homicides were once described in a review as “The beer filled ashtray of Perth rock ‘n’ roll.” I’ll cop that. Danger: Who or what inspires you as far as performance /frontmen go? Rat: Beer, Jacks on ice, speed and rock ‘n’ roll is all I need. What kinda question is that anyway mate? Ya lazy prick! Some people who might just be taking the piss have said I remind them of GG Allin on and offstage. Hahaha. Is it ‘cos I’m fat with a shaved head and bodgey tatts?! Now, I fuckin love GG, don’t get me wrong, but he’s no inspiration or influence and my dick is WAY fuckin’ bigger. Haha... right girls! Ah, the easy option: a GG Allin small dick joke. I’ll tell ya a true one though. An oldie, but true nonetheless... A few years back The Homicides are playing this All-Ages show. We had been drinking in the park across the road from the venue all day. I'm dying for a piss before we go onstage but the place is packed. The boys dunny is chockers full, can’t even squeeze in. Fuck it. I charge into the girls’ toilet next-door, rip me swollen dick out and let go into the wash sink. All these young girlies in there start squealing and swooning. OOH, AAH, GASP! All that shit. Most of 'em head for the door, but a few of the braver girls that have stuck staunch to get a peek at the infamous Donny Rat’s dirty donger inform me in gasped tones, “Hey, this is for girls!” I turn around, the offending member in firm grasp and reply, “Yeah. So is this!!” Hohohoho. How do you get a fat girl in the cot…? Piece of cake... But all crappy jokes aside, I really do love me music. Love a good singer and lyricist! Ya want a shortlist? Jerry Lee Lewis is fucking mad shit. The Sonics, Roy Orbison, Fats Domino (yep that’s right rumour mongers and ill-informed slanderers. I actually DO listen to the odd bit of “nigger” music!), Link Wray, David Allen Coe, Jeff Clayton of Antiseen, great fucking songwriters! GG Allin, of course, Lazy Cowgirls, Cosmic Psychos, MC5, Poppin’ Mommas, New Bomb Turks, Supercharger, Fuck Ups, Persuaders, Rip Offs, Infections, Powder Monkeys, Rose Tattoo, X (the Aussie X, ya cunts!), Buffalo, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Anti Nowhere League, Nihilistics, Rupture, Death Sentence, Kutabare, Skrewdriver, 4Skins, The Bouganville Rapists (from 1979), Onyas... and of course our old buddy Charlie Manson. I could go on all bloody day mate. More recently, A.V.O, The Corps, T.H.U.G, Python, The Lungs (WA), the motherfuckin’ BLURTERS, Backseat Romeos, R.U.S.T, Shrewms, blahblahblah... As a band and as individuals, The Homicides, we know and appreciate, revere even, our rock ‘n’ roll history. Joan Jett is another huge inspiration, a one of a kind motherfucker! Ya know, originators! Leave a mark or don’t fucking bother is what we reckon. Our approach is as like the MC5 said, ya know, get on, or get off the motherfucker! Play it like you fucking mean it, boy! When we play live it’s 150% every fucking time. Pure full-blooded energy. Don’t waste my fucking time. Dangerous in a rock ‘n’ roll sense. Hahaha. We’re the people your parents warned you about!

Danger: Who or what inspires you as far as lyrics/ lyricists go? Rat: Oh any old shit. As I’ve said, I’m a cynical, negative old smarty. Your average, normal all-round good guy. Hehe. Most of my songs are pretty simple man. Speed, booze, rock, fuck and die. I really do like a good dumbshit punk rock song, played and backed up with balls and honesty. And occasionally, I fluke it. Chorus first, the rest writes itself. Danger: What inspired the song “Poofter’s Paradise”? Rat: The way I see it, and I know I ain’t alone here, is that modern mainstream Australia (and that includes you, too, ya little PC punkys, emos and HC apologists!) with all its PC bullcrap and insecure routine positiveness. Well it’s all become a bit of a poofter’s picnic, hasn’t it? Now I don’t wanna get into

shows happens, yeah. I really don’t think we start too much of it though. And I mean, the odd punch on at the pub is nothing fuckin’ new or out of the ordinary, is it? And yeah, for sure, there’s been a few times where the whole band has dropped tools mid-song to jump in the crowd and smack some dropkick. Again, nothing new there. The Homicides are hardly the first band to jump off stage to sort out some dickheads. Yep, we play fast, aggressive music. Yep, we do tend to attract the fast, aggressive punter. But, and let's emphasise this, if you come to a show not looking for trouble good chance none will come your way. The Homicides have got this infamous bloody reputation. From what?! A few isolated incidents where a few people have been smacked. Boofuckinhoo. We know this stuff has been responsible for a lot of punters avoiding shows we play. Some pussy bands too, presuming that this, that or the fucking other is gonna happen. Yes, I throw bottles, glasses or mic stands, etc. at the crowd. Yep, I throw myself in there and the odd person gets hurt. But shit, I do way fuckin’ more damage to myself than I’d ever put the punters though! Those fuckers love it anyway. The easiest way to get a pop out of the crowd? Hurt y’self real bad, or hurt someone in the crowd. I get off on it. Punters get off on it. You know what mostly goes on at our shows? A bunch of drunken loonies playing punk rock to a bunch of drunken loonies jumping around, singing along, fists in the air, covered in sweat and beer and having a lot of bloody fun fun fun! Ask pretty much anyone who knows us and they'll tell ya we’re your normal bloody blokes who love a drink, love a line, love a larf and love to play a mad bloody set. Despite all the bullshit we take our music and our band fucking seriously. Really, what you see is what you get. Maybe you picked the wrong sub-cult, eh kids?

“I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. Never done any schooling, always scribbling nasty little comix and nudie monster chicks.” – Rat it too much, ‘cos fucking stick yer politics, right. There doesn’t seem to be any original thought anymore. Everything appears to these jaded eyes to be nothing more than a hyper-regurgitation of things and ideas already done. Modified, cleaned and acceptable. The modern expectation is that everyone else is valid, pleasant, fair well thee stranger. Well I just ain’t like that. Fuck ‘em. Buy me a beer, suck my nuts and fuck off. Is that “acceptable”? No?! Then all the contradictions and insecurities are transparently obvious. If you’re asking is the song an antipoofter song… no. That’s another story… ya poof. Danger: In regards to incidences of violence at Homicides shows - to what extent do you feel the band incites this? Also, what have been the repercussions, if any, of violence at shows? Is violence a positive/ negative thing at a punk show? Rat: This old bollocks... Depends on what you perceive to be as actual “violence”. I wouldn’t call a few punches thrown or the odd bloody nose violence. And mate, there's generally a lot worse shit going on every night of the week at mainstream nightclubs and pubs than you might see at a usual Homicides show. I’m getting too old to be getting into punch-ons with dickheads in pubs. Not my thing, maaaannn. Know what I mean? And I refuse to heighten situations where I end up on the ground rolling around with some filthy aggro stranger like some fucking mutt. I prefer the psychological approach to these kinda situations nowadays. The right wording of the right warning (and actually bloody meaning it) tends to make people see things my way. It’s been about a year since I’ve had to seriously smack someone. But now, when it comes to our bass player Johnny, and Bugsy too, those boys are always getting into punchups! Johnny swinging his bass at rowdy’s heads in the crowd is a real fucking sight to see! Fucking hilarious. Violence at our

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Danger: What releases have the Homicides done so far and what is on the horizon for the band touring and/or release-wise? Rat: There’s always something on the go. The latest stuff is a 12-inch EP due out pretty soon. And we're doing a split with Sydney top cunts T.H.U.G. Looks like that'll happen late-2008. As far as touring goes The Homicides have been to Melbourne a couple of times and Sydney just the once. Too much fuckin’ fun man. Great people, great stories. Big cheers to the Sydney mob and the Geelong boys – warms my dirty fuckin’ black heart. The boys in Adelaide keep on at us to get over there too. It’s on the cards but Sydney again first. Stay tuned. And releases, apart from a bunch of stuff on compilations (Recently on Snapshot, Off The Hip, Live Fast Die Drunk…) there was The Dose Demo CD (2002) – Only a handful made. Good hard bloody stuff. Recorded after being together only a couple of months. The Homicides - Consequences CD (2004) – Good hard stuff too. Getting our shit together. Recorded with our first drummer, Randy Bush. I think he's working at KFC now. The Homicides - Gimme Some More CD (2006) – Fucking loud! Lots of guitar fuck, nasty shit. I think it sounds like a punch


prefer to not interpret or analyse it for people, the viewer. Let ‘em work it out for themselves. But basically we’re dealing with life, death and redemption here. Harharharfuckoff. Does it help pay the bills? You’re fucking joking! The odd free drink, T-shirt, CD. I don’t work for free but it wouldn’t even cover me smokes. As far as how much time I spend on my stuff, it’s a constant. When I’m not engaged in any of my other dubious pursuits I’m either pencilling or inking up these dirty little comix. I’m pretty obsessive about it, re-drawing page after page, ditching stuff I've spent ages on. Very critical. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. Never done any schooling, always scribbling nasty little comix and nudie monster chicks. Always progressing mate, getting better. Even though I’m never bloody happy with anything I’ve done. Only think I’ve gotten any good in the last few years. You know what comix are like mate. You put your guts into it, discard a social life just to get the fucker done, then a handful of people read it and five minutes later no one gives a shit. Haha. I’m being cynical again. But I think comix, art, whatever the fuck… it’s a very selfish thing.

-on between the Cosmic Psychos and X. But then, I’m generally regarded to be full of shit.. The Homicides - Live On PBS Radio (2006) – Recorded live on PBS radio when we were on tour in Melbourne with The Poppin’ Mommas and Shrewms. Recorded four days into the tour without sleep or food – raw as fuck, as it should be. The last stuff Elvis ever did with us. Originally it was gonna be called From Champagne To Shit… dunno why we changed it. The Homicides - 666 Pack 7” EP (2007) – Our first stuff with Bugsy on guitar and me on sole vocals. A real fucking ripper too! Recorded on 4-track by top bloke Coops from The Lungs and released by good friend and champion hair farmer Marky Rat. Lo-fi raw as fuck, just the way I like it. Has probably our most infamous song and big crowd winner, “Thank You Beer”. Our best shit yet, and how we should have always sounded. The Homicides - Black Leather Red Neck 12” EP (2008) – Hard and raw as fuckers. Top notch Aussie spunk. Believe it scumbags! Like all our stuff, recorded fast, drunk and on pills. Get it, love it. If you don’t buy it now you’ll be paying big bucks for it on ebay in 10 years time, you handbag. Real bloody proud of this one. Alright… is that all the music/band questions? Phew. I’m getting sick of talking about this stuff. Don’t get me wrong, like I said, I love me music. Rock ‘n’ roll is like blood and I fucking love my band. I just don’t think it bears that much analysis... Glenno: When do you find time for creating among all the other stuff you have to do? Does your art help pay the bills? How much time do you spend drawing? Rat: And now we hit the “Artist” questions... Generally I

DONNY RAT (SELECTED  AND VAGUE)

DISCOGRAPHY

1995: Sub Rosa – S/T cassette (self-released) 1996: Sub Rosa – Razor Trash Riot cassette (self-released) 1996: Sub Rosa – You're A Mess cassette (self-released) 1996: Riot System – “Fit The Image” 7” EP (self-released) 1997: Sub Rosa – Promo studio tape cassette (self-released) 1998: The Rats – “Liar” / “You Fuckin’ Piss Me Off” 7” (Empty) 1999: The Rats – Teenage Radio CD (Bored City) 1999: The Rats – “Curfew” 7” EP (Bored City) 2000: The Rats – “No Complex” 7” EP (Freshwater) 2001: The Rats – All Fucked Up CD (Bored City/Conniption) 2003: The Dose – Demo CD (Dogpound Productions) 2003: The Homicides – Consequences CD (Dogpound Productions) 2005: Homicides – Gimme Some More EP (Blazing Strumpet) 2006: Live On PBS Radio (Dogpound Productions) 2007: Homicides – “666 Pack” 7” EP (She'll Be Right) 2008: Homicides – Black Leather Red Neck 12” EP (Vertex)

Glenno: When I curated the Aussie comic art exhibition in 2005 your art got the greatest response... mainly due to its creepy, sinister aftertaste that you don't initially notice on first viewing. What have been some of the more extreme responses to your art? Are people surprised you draw such wellcrafted, cute yet brutal, comic art? Rat: I don’t know what cheap thrills people get out of my stuff. I’m glad if they do, but theirs doesn’t really have any relevant effect for me. Some pussies have chucked the shits because I used to use a lot of swastikas. They’re to fool and fuck with the ignorant. My swastikas are generally backwards, you clowns, used since time immemorial. NOT NAZI! Exploitative? Fuckin’ sure. Nasty? Cheap and nasty, please. I don’t care. Some people have a problem with my admittedly suspect obsession with mutated cocks and vaginas. When I was doing Human Dogpound Comix I found it nearly impossible to find places that’d stock it. But people’s response? I’ll admit I’m purposely cryptic. I mean I like to keep my stuff vague or even unreadable. Hahaha!! I’m not a great storyteller on paper so especially nowadays I prefer to use visuals and let the reader take or interpret what they want from it. And my stuff does, as you said, tend to be creepy. Definitely sinister. Cute? Fuck off. I dunno about that. I do a lot of styles of drawing, so that piece you’re talking about, I wouldn’t say that was typical. I’m into duality, contradiction. The whole duality bullshit, five sides to every coin, ya know. The old Charlie Manson rap, “No sense makes sense”. “The answer is in the question”. I believe all that shit. Glenno: What are some of your personal favourite comics you’ve done? Which one of your characters deserves the Hollywood blockbuster treatment? Rat: I think YOU need treatment mate. I’ve done a lot of stuff over the years, a lot best forgotten. But I was pretty happy with the four issues of Human Dogpound. They sold out real quick and people seemed to really get into ‘em. Fuckin’ degenerates.

Glenno: Marky Rat is putting out your new and much-awaited comic book through She'll Be Right Records... what's that all about? How many pages? What characters/themes/stories have you included? Rat: The book’s gonna be a collection of stuff I’ve done over the years. A kind of “best of/worst of”, a lot of stuff from HDP comix, flyers, graphics, and a lot of stuff I’ve been working on the last few years. New comix and stuff people haven’t seen before... I'm working hard on it. Very proud. Marky’s a fuckin’ champ. Glenno: Have you ever considered doing a Homicides comic? Rat: Nah, fuck off; their heads are big enough already. I did a few pages of a Birnies comic like ten years ago but never saw fit to finish it. A Homicides comic? Haha, shit mate, I’d be locked up. Who knows, maybe one day?

Glenno: What bands have you done artwork for? What have been some of your favourite band flyers/record covers/etc.? What bands would you like to do art for? Rat: Believe it or not I haven’t really done a great deal of art for bands. The last few years it’s picked up, locally anyway. Just did the sleeve for the West Aussie comp, WA Decay. Stuff for The Sure Fire Midnights, Mickey Flash, Standard Deviants, the Gorilla Angreb tour. I was doing the local press ads for The Hyde Park Hotel there for a couple of years. Who would I like to do artwork for? Ya know, I know heaps of fuckin’ bands and shit, but very rarely am I ever asked for my stuff – cunts!! All they have to do is ask. I’m a cheap slut, I admit it. Who would I really like to do a sleeve for? Jerry Lee Lewis, Antiseen, Poppin’ Mommas, Cosmic Psychos. Love to do some shit for the ‘Psychos. I dunno. Glenno: What comics are available from you at the moment? Where can people contact you? Rat: You can get hold of me at The Homicides MySpace shit. Nothing available at the moment. Wait for the book. Glenno: What were you thinking when you did the latest UNBELIEVABLY Bad front cover? Rat: I was thinking of you locked up in my shed eating spiders off the walls. What do ya think I was fucking thinking?! I don’t fuckin’ know! Did you come up with all these questions by yourself or did someone have to help you? I’m surprised you can even put your pants on by yourself.

The Homicides: (LtoR) Johnny, Bugsy, Donny, Olly

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KEVIN BLOODY WILSON

I

t was the summer of ’87-’88. I was just a nipper. I remember being down at Wiseman’s Ferry on an end-of-year footy trip when one of the other young lads in our team stuck a cassette into the player and pouring out of the tin-pot speakers came a selection of the filthiest ditties my innocent ears had heard. With bawdy originals such as “Hey, Santa Claus (You Cunt)”, “Dick'taphone” (aka “Stick That Fuckin’ Phone, Up Your Fuckin’ Arse”), “Mick The Master Farter” and “Kev's Courtin' Song” (aka “Do Ya Fuck On First Dates?”), Kevin Bloody Wilson’s second album, Kev's Back (The

INTERVIEW BY MANUEL THE BANDITO.

Return Of The Yobbo), would not only come to define that whole summer for me, but influence entire generations of foul-mouthed Australians to come. Lovable larrikin Kevin Bloody Wilson is the alter ego of Dennis Bryant, or Bryan Dennis as he was sometimes known. Born in Sydney but bred in Kalgoorlie, WA, the singer/songwriter moved to Perth in the early-eighties where he fronted various combos as well as playing sets of filthy songs in pubs on the side. In 1984 he put together a cassette of his repertoire called Your Average Australian Yobbo, which sold over 20,000 copies at

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gigs before it was even pressed to vinyl and released officially. The aforementioned follow-up, Kev’s Back, took Wilson into another stratosphere, and in the two decades since, he has continued to travel the world, swearing his head off and penning many a disgusting dirty ditty: “Rootin' In The Back Of The Ute”, “I Knew the Bride (When She Used to be a Moll)”, “Me Dick's On The Dole”, “Fuck Ya Guts Out”, too many to list. I recently caught up with the bawdy balladeer on the blower from his home in Perth to cop a bit of a history lesson and to hear about all the latest developments in Kev-land...


KEVIN BLOODY WILSON DISCOGRAPHY 1984: Your Average Australian Yobbo 1985: Kev's Back (The Return Of The Yobbo) 1987: Born Again Piss Tank 1989: My Australian Roots 1990: The Loveable Larrikin [Best Of] 1990: The Far-Canal Album [Best Of] 1991: Let's Call Him... Kev! 1992: The Worst of Kevin Bloody Wilson [Best Of] 1993: Nashville Trash 1994: Backout From the Outback [Best Of] 1993: Let Loose Live in London 2CD/VHS/DVD [live] 1996: Kev’s Kristmas 1998: Kalgoorlie Love Songs CD (Kalgoorlie Live Songs VHS/DVD) [live] 2001: The Second Kummin' of Kev 2002: Let Loose Live In The Outback [live] 2004: Live Down Under DVD [live] 2004: 20 Years of Kev 2CD [Best Of] 2006: DILLIGAF (Do I Look Like I Give A Fuck) 2006: Let Loose In Ireland DVD [live] 2006: Heritage Series 3DVD [live] 2007: Karaoke Kev DVD 2007: Let Loose Live Back Home DVD [live]

You grew up in Kalgoorlie, WA, and you were an electrician, a music teacher and a whitegoods salesman… When did you know being a funny cunt was going to be your livelihood? Well I was always a cunt so I was halfway there to start with. Nah, it sort of just evolved. I never thought that much about it. I’d always played in a band from the time I was fourteen years old. And when you’re onstage you’re constantly fucking around and joking with the other four members anyway, so there was always humour going on. But over time I slowly got nudged to the front of the stage to be the frontman and pretty soon it happened that my introductions were taking longer than the fuckin’ songs. You don’t want to stop people when they’re laughing. Even as a band we used to do comedy stuff, “decompose” other people’s songs. I think my favourite one of those you ever recorded was “I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Be A Moll)”. I’m actually doing it at the moment, I’m writing a whole album that probably won’t be out until this time next year but it’s called Kev Does Australian Rock Classics. What are some of the songs we can expect on that? “Eagle Rock”, only my version is called “Bottle Shop”. And of course, somebody came up with it all those years ago but I don’t think anybody has ever followed up on it and that’s, “It’s A Long Way To The Shop (If You Want A Sausage Roll)”. I’ve heard that for years and years and years but I don’t think there has ever been a follow-up on it – nobody has written the song. So I’ve done that now. I also do “Run To Paradise”. What’s your one called? “Cunts Are Parasites”. It’s about fuckin’ politicians.

I wanted to ask about doing the musical-comedy thing and if you ever listened to guys like Chad Morgan or John Ashe…? Jesus, you’ve done your fuckin’ homework, nobody has ever heard of John Ashe! I remember John Ashe. I discovered John Ashe because I was a big Chad Morgan fan and I got this record called Chad Morgan Sings John Ashe, and basically all these great songs that I always thought Chad had written, turned out to be John Ashe songs. All right, well I’ll give you a little bit more history here; I wrote three songs for Chad Morgan when I was a kid. One was called “Problem Child”, another one called “1 2 3 4 Marriage”, and another one called “I Like Girls”. And I toured with him as a kid. I was on the Rick & Thel Show, this country music show that used to tour Australia. And Chad was a cunt back then, he was a fuckin’ drunk. He’s tidied himself up a bit now but he had to, he’s nearly fuckin’ dead. He pretty much looks like he’s been fucked all night and hung up wet, the poor old cunt. So he’s tapered his lifestyle to get a few more years out of it, but back then he was a cunt, he really was. And John Ashe, the first time I heard him was a song called “Everything’s Bloody Out West”. And I just thought, fuck how good’s this cunt? “Bloody heat and bloody flies gettin’ up your bloody nose…” it was like everything was “bloody” out west, I forget exactly how it went but jeez it was a funny song. So you were playing in a band, trying to do music legitimately and somehow you ended up a comedian? Yeah, basically. And I wasn’t aware that I was a comedian until I read it in the paper. It was just some bit that said “…and comedian Kevin 'Bloody' Wilson…” I thought, how good’s this? I’ve made the grade. But even then I had no idea what was about to take place. It has just been the most amazing journey. From singing songs in some pub in Kalgoorlie to eighteen months later I’m singing the same songs in the London Palladium; what the fuck’s going on? I sometimes still do a 360 and think, how did all this happen? What makes it so successful this long after I first started? It’s strange to put out music like your throwing shit up against a wall, just to see what sticks, then you turn around two decades later to find it’s still sitting there. Still getting sell-out crowds around the world. Fuck, how did this happen? Why is it still popular? Do people come up on the street and sing your own disgusting lyrics back at you? Oh yeah all the time. And over in England we’re still doing monster business at the moment and it’s gotten to the point where people may never have heard of Kevin Bloody Wilson but they still know the songs. You might book into a hotel and the staff will cop to it and ask, “Are you the man that does that song about Santa Claus?” What is the fascination for the UK do you think? I think what I’m doing is just like the old Bawdy Ballads revisited. It’s a contemporary version of old stuff like, “The Good Ship Venus” and “The Hairs On Her Dickie-Di-Doe” and “I Stuck My Finger In The Woodpecker’s Hole…” But in terms of attendance records in England we might as well stop keeping records. We literally sell out everywhere we go and the theatres we do are usually between one thousand and three and a half thousand capacity. So it’s a good way to spend a bit of time. Does Kev pull groupies or get any stalkers? Nothing serious. My tour manager would generally take care of that. But it’s not uncommon in the UK, like we’ve just done forty concerts over there, and it’s not uncommon to have the same person or group of people come to ten of your shows. I’d hardly called them stalkers; I consider them contributors. They’re helping me pay off the house. Is it a misconception that it’s all blokes aged eighteen-to-thirty that come to see Kev?

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Well that is a misconception because in theatres you get half-half; you half blokes and half sheilas. And in England it’s not uncommon for a hen’s night party to come to the show in a theatre. So the misconception is well and truly alive and well, because our audience starts at eighteen, because we put that bottom line on it ourselves, but it goes through to fuckin’ eighty-year-olds. And people of either sex and any socio-economic situation there is. You’d find a grandmother sitting next to a bikie sitting next to a fuckin’ lawyer sitting next to a fuckin’ blue-collar worker y’know. And my daughter, who tours with me and plays under the name Jenny Talia From Australia, she just got me onto MySpace and people are coming in from all over the world, and I always go to their site and check ‘em out before I “approve” them. Mind you, I’m not about to “disapprove” of anyone, but I always like to find out a little bit about the person, just so I’m in tune with who’s logging on. The common bond I’m looking for is that they know what it’s about, and they clearly do. So coming back to the core of the conversation, whether it’s MySpace or at the shows, they are right across the spectrum – there’s bikies, there’s punks, there’s married women with kids, there’s a fifteen-year-old kid that just got in touch from America, it’s just amazing how it works. You mentioned your daughter TJ now singing dirty ditties under the name Jenny Talia, obviously you corrupted her from an early age then… Not really, it’s just a case of it seems like the jokey blokey gene that was supposed to go to my son turned up in her body. Check out jennytalia.com, there’s some funny shit on there mate, some real funny shit. She’s got three albums out in that genre but also performs under the name TJ Dennis. She’s always been a great singer. She was in Nashville for four years as a songwriter. So really she did her apprenticeship pretty much the same way I did, y’know as a straight musician. If you want to hear what she sounds like as a country singer check out tjdennis.com. Did your

kids grow up around you swearing like a trooper in the show? No, it wasn’t like that back then when they were kids, it’s only I s’pose when they become young adults that your language tends to get a bit more colourful in front of them. But both my kids are smart enough to know that it’s appropriate in some situations but not in others. My son Travis flies jumbo jets for Qantas so he’s no fuckin’ dill. He’s also a brilliant muso; in fact, he still plays all my backing tracks. Everything you’ve heard me record in the last six or seven years has been Travis. Karaoke Kev DVD was a clever concept, how did that come up? The idea for it came up from the punters. People would say to me, “Oh we always sing your stuff at parties,” or in the UK we’d get requests from the DJs that host karaoke nights. Because karaoke in pubs is exceptionally big in the UK. Every pub has a fucking karaoke night at least once a week. So the idea came from other people. And I thought, well fuck, it’s easy to do. You just go back to the original recordings and take my fuckin’ voice off it, that’s all. So then we made video clips to go with it so you’ve got something to watch at the same time. So did you get punters up for the Karaoke Kev Tour? No, no we had the big screen up and I just had them singing along as a choir. But they knew the songs anyway. It’s not like I had to put the words up there in the first place. So yeah, they just fuckin’ love that shit. And so do I. As I always say, it’s the most amazing way to make a living. Making people piss themselves? Yeah. People have even died at my show. Dead-set. In Portsmouth, this bloke in a wheelchair fuckin’ died laughin’. Sadly enough he was only about in his mid-twenties but he was in a pretty bad way, sort of bent and buckled, anyway, he died.


W t

no prick Lef

Un-kicked STICK THIS IN YOUR MEMORY HOLE.

TRISTAN CLARK INTERVIEW BY FARLEY NESBITT.

hoever came up with the old adage that the two things you should never discuss in polite company are politics and religion was a pretty switchedon human. Friendships have been broken, families shattered, wars started, atrocities committed – you name it; it’s happened, all in the name of that particular duo of volatile fire-starters. Politics and religion; Tristan Clark dives headlong into both subjects like a pig in shit (albeit a particularly discerning ham who clearly knows good shit from complete and utter shit). Last year the Melbourne writer – also guitarist for female-fronted hardcore crust heroes Schifosi – unleashed a fierce yet hilarious critique on modern politics and society in the form of his first book, Stick This In Your Memory Hole. Its back cover blurb claimed it was “Intended to elicit both laughter and indignation… an unprecedented attack on an atrophied political system, corporate lechery and the ideological sycophants that comprise and support it.” I must say it certainly opened my eyes to a lot of things. For instance, did you know that Pauline Hanson’s followers once accused John Williamson of being part of a socialist plot to lead the public into a New World Order and world government?! Well, you do now. Backed up by an arsenal of historical facts and random titbits like the aforementioned, Stick This In Your Memory Hole is compulsory reading for any Australian with a half a brain. In it Clark veers from politics to religion to racism to class struggle to drug reform to the environment to what a pathetic dickfuck Andrew Bolt really is, all the time quoting the likes of Judas Priest and S.O.D to ram home his point just that little bit more forcefully. Published by Melbourne independent publisher Aduki, Stick This In Your Memory Hole is printed on 100% recycled paper and retails for $24.95 – enlightenment and entertainment await. For someone with so much to say on paper, Clark turns remarkably demure when faced with anything resembling a PR exercise. Tracking him for an interview was not easy. After riding out several stalling techniques and politely declining his request for a mere email interview, UNBELIEVABLY Bad finally got the shy guy on the phone just three weeks before he was due to fly out on a fact-finding mission for his next book, and mere days after Schifosi played their final show. Stick this in your memory holes…


prise Stick This In Your Memory Hole? I was asked to do it and initially I was supposed to produce a proposal, y’know where you have to outline what you wish to do. But I didn’t quite get around to doing that. I had no conception of how to write a book, I just started on a couple of pieces and it just went from there. I’d read one of John Birmingham’s books just previous to that and essentially it was just a collection of random essays, which someone later pointed out were all about getting wasted but I didn’t quite pick the scene. But anyway, they were all pretty short and if you weren’t enjoying one you could just flick to the next chapter, so yeah, I liked that idea but I wanted to make it more political in nature.

as the writing talent. I’m very fortunate; most people don’t get that opportunity. It’s quite hard for most people to get published.

Who asked you to do it, your publisher, Aduki Press? Yeah, Emily [Clark] asked me to do it. Probably because we are related. But don’t put that in print ‘cos she’ll kill me. She’s like, “You’ve gotta stop saying that!”

On the one hand you do intellectual political analysis but then add stupid humour in with it – was this one way to try and avoid preaching to the converted? I wasn’t under any illusion that I’d be doing anything other than preaching to the converted. But writers that have employed humour in their political writing have a tendency to have a vastly greater appeal as opposed to the dry stuff that a lot of writers, especially left[wing] writers, tend to churn out. I guess it just reflects my personality as well; I can be very serious but also part of me doesn’t take myself seriously and I like stupidity as much as anyone else. So [redneck radio jerkwad] Alan Jones is not likely to pick up the book, read the blurb on the back and think, “This sounds like a great read!” Well he did get sent a copy, highlighting

Pic: Rod Hunt

Pic: Rod Hunt

Aduki is a really great and positive company that seems to be doing things with pure intentions and high ideals, but it was mainly known for Vegan cookbooks up until your book. Yeah, she’s up to her fifth book now, there’s another new one out this week. I guess with me she might’ve thought she might as well blow her money on something that wasn’t a cookbook. She takes an interest in political matters and like, I remember the first piece of writing I showed her – ‘cos she’d studied writing – she was like, “Oh my god, you’re better than me.” So she took on the publishers’ role for me and pushed me

So did you have to set yourself a regime to get it done within a certain timeframe? I’m not very good at assigning goals for myself but I just sort of found that once I got started I far surpassed what I expected of myself. I guess because when I was writing it, it was last winter and a lot of my friends had skipped the country and I had a lot of spare time to be able to do it. And yeah, I found that I was passing certain deadlines quite easily and I ended up writing 10,000 words more than I was supposed to.

''i wasn’t under any illusion that i’d be doing anything other than preaching to the converted.'' - tristan clark We hear you got awarded the “Worst Hair” award when Schifosi played at the last ever Metal For The Brain in Canberra last year – true? Yeah, well, there was at least one person there that took it upon themselves to crown me Worst Hair, which I thought was quite impressive considering the field of talent that was there. I was somewhat honoured and overawed. Although she kept going on about it, which did actually started to piss me off. I’d never seen her in my life and then suddenly she appeared, told me, and then kept reminding me of the fact every time I saw her. But there were some outstanding outfits there I have to admit. How was it playing Metal For The Brain? It was sort of weird, very strange. A big stage and the crowd being a long way away behind barriers – it was a bit surreal, for us anyway. Has Schifosi really split up? Yeah, we played our last show last Saturday at Such Is Life [Festival]. It’s been over six years and I guess for some of us, our interest might have waned somewhat. Personally, my interest in that sort of music is not great, it was more the people involved and the opportunities that kept me doing it. I just got over it at some point. We’re record-

ing this weekend, just four tracks, which is about all we’ve been able to muster in the last two and a half years. We haven’t been too productive. Pete’s got two other bands and Pisschrist is forever active. They’ve got a new album coming soon and they are getting ready to tour Europe again.

So was it mutually agreed that Schifosi should end? I wouldn’t exactly say mutually. Some were disappointed. Personally, though, I just didn’t feel like continuing. I’d lost all inspiration to sit down and try to write songs for it. Having said that, I’d like to play in another band with all of them, y’know, just something different perhaps, because I love each one of them dearly. Do you have any new musical irons in the fire as yet? I have lots of ideas of what I’d like to do – anything ranging from pub rock to black metal – but I might just leave it a while and see. I haven’t had any offers and it’s a pretty daunting thought having to go through the whole process of forming a band again. It’s so easy to work with the people I’ve worked with for years, it sort of seems unappealing. Moving on to the book, how did you get started writing those essays that com-

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Pic: Rod Hunt

''perhaps the idealism of my younger years has been compromised

somewhat - probably by working in fucking customer service too long and realising that human nature is not as benevolent as you may have once thought.'' - tristan clark his name in it, and actually he was the only person to write me back. It was just a pretty standard letter but I was still impressed he took time to do it. He said he would get around to reading the book. Obviously he didn’t think much of it because I never heard back. But yeah, all the people that were mentioned in the book, I sent them actual letters and of all the people I wrote, he was the only one who replied.

from my writing. I try to keep it somewhat obscured, like deliberately. That could be a reflection of the fact that they are somewhat confused these days. I’m not really sure where my beliefs lie and perhaps the idealism of my younger years has been compromised somewhat, probably by working in fucking customer service too long and realising that human nature is not as benevolent as you may have once thought.

What do you think of The Chaser and the things they do within the established system to fuck things up? Admittedly I haven’t seen a lot of it but what I have seen I’ve been very impressed by. The fact that the ABC is willing to fund that is very encouraging. Some of the non-political stuff I’ve found to be a bit cringe-worthy, but obviously the stunt at the APEC conference, to me, that’s amazing,

The way you introduce your views is done in a way that doesn’t necessarily ram your point of view down readers’ throats, is this so as not to alienate them too much? I was up in Sydney speaking on this panel and the person chairing the panel, he conceded that he was a Liberal voter and I guess he read my book because he wanted to familiarise himself with it for the panel and he said, “I got a lot from it and I thoroughly enjoyed it.” Y’know, and this is coming from a Liberal voter. It’s sort of perplexing in a way but it’s encouraging as well that you can perhaps rationalise with such people. I guess the humour helps. You go into explaining all the different models of government in one funny part of the book – what system do you personally think we would benefit from having? I try not to expound on my political views too much. I guess you can vaguely ascertain

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and it makes for great viewing. I’ve always admired people who can take the piss as far as humanely possible. How has the response been to Stick This In Your Memory Hole? I guess the main response I’ve heard is from friends, and of course, that’s going to be overwhelmingly good. You’re not gonna hear much in the way of negative comments


there. But none of the more mainstream publications have touched it. It’s hard to get reviews in the Sydney Morning Herald or The Melbourne Age or whatever. They requested copies but we never heard anything back. So just from more alternative sources and media it’s been very good. I just hate having to do the interviews and whatnot. That’s something I didn’t really think about when I undertook it. And given that I hate speaking, this is the part that I’ve dreaded the most, more so than people reading my outpourings. So where is your writing headed next? I’ve started researching a new book that is purely religious in nature. I’m going overseas in about three weeks, travelling for three months. I’m going to the Middle East then to Europe then to the States, all on a fact-finding mission. There’s gonna be lots of cheap laughs, more so than the last. I guess

it will be a travel book, observational stuff with historical and political parts thrown in. As a non-believer the idea is to immerse myself in weird, uncomfortable situations and to seek out the most absurd and ridiculous aspects of religion. But again, I’ll be looking at the socio-political and socio-economic aspects of the places I go to. I’m hoping to interview someone from the Christian Identity Movement; it’s like Nazis but Christians as well. And I’m also hoping to interview the White Aryan Resistance in California. Just from researching it I think I couldn’t conceptualise a more fuckin’ bizarre religion than Mormonism if I tried, so I’m going to go to Salt Lake City (Utah) and there’s a town south of there that’s close to 200,000 and 90% are Mormons. And then down the road there’s a polygamous church that’s still practicing. So I’m gonna travel through there, which should be quite interesting.

The part of Stick This In Your Memory Hole where you pit Jesus against Mohammed and point out their pros and cons is pretty funny. The title of the new book might actually be the name of that chapter, which is actually stolen from punk band’s [Antiseen, Red September] songs, My God Can Beat Up Your God. I thought, why not use that. Do you fear any Rushdie-like backlash from followers of Islam? You might have to go into hiding. I daresay after this one I might have to. The publisher’s already slightly concerned. Actually for this new book I did contemplate trying to convert to Islam and then trying to convert to Judaism and trying to convert to Christianity, but as the Koran stipulates someone who renounces their faith is punishable by death. So I guess you could do it but there are those that would deem that you should be killed. But I’d like to think there are not too many people in this country who would seek to fulfil such a proclamation. Do you do any other writing beyond books, doing articles or stuff for magazines? Since I finished the book I really haven’t done a whole lot. I guess I was burned out by the end of it. Y’know people ideally want to make a living off their passion but I’m not sure that I do because then it compromises the love of your art, you find yourself having to compromise your art to earn a living. Same with being a musician, I could never imagine being in a covers band; I’d rather kill myself than have to play the same songs three nights a week. And with writing, having to churn stuff out just to make a living, I think I’d rather just keep working a shit job and do this on the side. I’m more than comfortable with that. I’m not seeking anything, remuneration or accolades or whatever, it’s just something to fill my time. And if people gain something from it or are entertained, that’s heartening to me.


Frolic

ough r h t---------------------

T s a p e h t--------------------DEATH ANGEL.

--------------------I ----------------------------------------ROB CAVESTANY INTERVIEW BY LIAM GUY.

n the early-to-mid eighties, the San Francisco Bay Area was undoubtedly one of the capital centres in the heavy metal underground, responsible for kickstarting the thrash metal boom, and the careers of Metallica, Megadeth, Possessed, Exodus, Testament, Vio-Lence... the list goes on. Another well-known band from the Bay Area scene was Death Angel. Formed in ‘82 and comprised of five Filipino-American kids aged eleven to fifteen, they were doing things back then that most young musicians would only dream about today – sharing the stage with bands who have since gained legendary status, and getting one of their early demos produced by Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett.

Death Angel’s 1987 debut album, The UltraViolence, was met with acclaim among the thrash community, followed by the equally successful Frolic Through the Park in 1988. But by the time of 1990’s Act III, they had begun to worry about their place in the metal scene. Record label hassles, the rise of grunge music, the band’s concerns over their own name and its associated connotations, and a tour bus accident, all contributed to their break up in 1991. In 2001, however, Death Angel returned for what was intended to be a one-off performance at a cancer benefit concert for Testament vocalist Chuck Billy. The crowd response proved so flattering they decided to get back together fulltime. Since this reunion the band has released

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two more killer albums, The Art of Dying in 2004, and 2008’s Killing Season, the latter being one of their strongest to date. It’s about 8pm when the phone rings. I pick it up and Death Angel guitarist Rob Cavestany greets me like an old friend. I then race upstairs to my room to set up my tape recorder, realise I haven't got any blank tapes to record the interview on, swear a couple of times, then Rob offers to call back in five minutes. I say “call me back in two,” he cheerfully obliges and I get my disorganised self prepared for what I reckon was one of the best interviews I’ve done with a band in a while.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------“I just feel we were so lucky to have experienced it.” -Rob Cavestany

DEATH ANGEL  DISCOGRAPHY  1983: Heavy Metal Insanity demo 1986: Kill As One demo 1987: The Ultra-Violence 1988: Frolic Through the Park 1990: Fall From Grace [Live] 1990: Act III 2004: The Art of Dying 2005: Archives & Artefacts 3-CD/1-DVD boxset 2007: The Long Road Home [Best of] comp 2008: Killing Season

the first place. It was through a friend of ours, Danko Jones, was doing his album with Nick. Danko called me one day and he just said, “Hey man, I came to recording sessions and was wearing my Death Angel hoodie and my producer Nick took one look at my hoodie and said ‘Oh Death Angel! I love Death Angel!’ Man, my producer’s a very big fan of you guys.” So I was like “What the hell...?” So I sent him a demo the very next day, and Nick called me all just fucking excited, and we hit it off. He talked to Dave Grohl, Dave invited us to come record – his studio is not open to the public, it’s just invitation-only to record over there. Nick said, “Dave is into you guys, he wants you guys to come down and just fucking make the most amazing Death Angel album there is”. I was just fucking freaking out man! We had a great time.

You guys have just finished work on your latest album Killing Season, your third release since the comeback in '01... how's it all been going? It's been great man. We're very excited – we love the results of the album, the feedback's been great so far, we’re fucking pumped man! What's your opinion of this album in comparison to past releases? This album is our best album as far as I’m concerned. The production, the songs, the whole “focus” of the album... the overall pace of the album is relentless if you ask me. Our playing, our precision, and the way that we're doing things is just – well, we’re in a great headspace right now.

The man who produced the album... how do you pronounce his last name? Nick... er... Nick Rasculinecz.

Ah yes, Nick Rasculinecz – he's been responsible for some of Rush's albums. What was it like working with him and recording it at Dave Grohl's studio? Absolutely amazing! It was like a dream come true, man. We had always wanted to be able to [work with a high-profile producer] ever since Act III – that was the only time we did an album to such a high-quality calibre. And from the moment I met Nick, in just five minutes we just hit it off like old friends. And with Nick, with all his experience and success that he’s had, we had no idea what to expect! And the way it even came about with Nick, we didn't even realise how we’d even hooked up with him in

Well yeah, must have been quite a privilege... It was a very very pleasurable surprise and was very flattering. It just made us feel really good. And I was there!

Ever since your 2001 comeback, with the renewed interest in thrash metal and traditional metal lately, have things been a lot stronger for the band in comparison to back in the 1980s? Ummm, it's kinda hard to say, because when we came back and released The Art of Dying, we were just riding the wave; we didn't have a master plan, we were just taking it day by day. We weren't initially even going to reunite anyway; we just did it for a cause, for a friend! Chuck Billy's benefit gig... Yeah, for Chuck Billy. And from then on it was just crowd response and requests from fans and when we played together we got “that old feeling” again – it was just for fun. We weren’t even going to do more shows much less record another album, then Nuclear Blast just came and just wore us down by really convincing us to do another album and we just got excited and were like, “Okay, sure!” So we just went through the whole process, taking it day by day and it was fun doing it that way. We didn't just trip on our expectations so hard – we just got sucked into

doing it more seriously. But then after that we kind of re-grouped after a couple of years – we had a little break, some of us have kids, we just wanted to spend family time at home, and after we did that for a while we just got together planning our next attack. And when we got back together to start writing Killing Season, we were just anxious and dying to do some serious fuckin' world domination! So we just put our minds to it and really got into it for this album.

I've got a load of questions to ask about the Bay Area thrash scene - that's my favourite style of music. I've just got too many to ask in such a short time! So basically, what are your own recollections from the eighties? It was amazing man, but the difference too is that back then, the age makes a difference. We were just teenagers back then, really young teenagers, so the excitement of it is just different – you just don’t really know anything about anything, you're very naive and just wanna party and have a great time and meet people and just get into the social scene that was just thriving and exciting! So we were at clubs every night, just amazed by everything that was happening. We didn’t even realise that we were such a big part of it; we were just living it up. And once again we just took it day by day, we didn't think about the future. So when you're in that kind of a space at that age, whether you're in the thrash scene or whatever scene, with your friends and stuff, it’s just an amazing point in time. It was just a really kickass scene with the solidarity between the bands and the fans and everyone hanging out, and we were at parties every fucking night. It was amazing man, and it's great now in a different kind of a way because we feel we're lucky to be in a band with that experience – the things you know, and things you wish you didn’t know! It was just awesome man; I just feel we were so lucky to have experienced it. When thrash first came out, because it was such a different style of music in 1982, what was the reaction from all the... say... Deep Purple, UFO and Black Sabbath towards the “new” heavy metal sound? I can only speak for ourselves, because we ourselves at the time weren't so much into Deep Purple, but our parents were. I heard a lot of that from luckily my father and Dennis our bass player’s father – they hung out a lot and listened to a lot of stuff like Deep Purple and Pink Floyd and earlier rock bands like that. We probably kind of subconsciously got into similar music through hearing that, because of our fathers playing it all the time. But we were into bands like KISS, and earlier stuff like Sabbath, Zeppelin, and a lot of the heavier rock we were listening to at the time. So when we got a hold of hearing things like Motörhead and Metallica for the first time, we kind of just flipped out! I remember a friend of mine took me to a Metallica concert in San Francisco, and I had never even heard of them before. That was the night that changed my life – after I saw that shit and the crowd response I was like, “Uh-oh, we've gotta play heavier music like that!” And also the punk scene was kind of growing around then, it was kind of a crossover of punk and thrash

– metal and punk was fusing here and there. They were starting to put together shows with metal and punk bands, and it all started blending together. But as far as the older crowd that was listening to Deep Purple and bands like that and what they thought of it, I’m not really sure because we were so young that we didn’t really hang out with older people like that. I think they probably thought it was crap! I heard that you guys played a few gigs with The Mentors. That would have been interesting... Oh yeah! We did a few gigs with The Mentors and it was very interesting. We were very young when that was happening. I remember one of them used go around and pick up Andy our drummer, who at the time was like eleven-years-old, and yeah he’d kind of pick him up and carry him around on his shoulders and Andy was kind of freaked out about that, hahahaha! We thought they were scary old guys! We were playing with those guys, and Andy was eleven and I was about fourteen or fifteen, and yeah those guys were pretty scary to us, hahaha! But it was fun.

Hahaha... Back to the new album, when does touring begin for it and what do you have planned? It is being planned and booked as we speak. I just spoke to our manager last night and he said that he’s got great news for me today. So I was not sure what’s going on, there's been talk of this... talk of that... we were going to do a headlining tour of the States... we were going to do a headlining tour of Europe... and now he's told me that everything's been changed around and he's got great news – basically he said we are definitely touring the ENTIRE world this year, including Australia, which we've never been able to come to so far. I was just damn excited about that. He also was mentioning stuff about touring with Testament, which we’ve been trying to talk up with Chuck Billy – to get together and do some touring so we’ve been letting our agents try and work it out, and he told me last night that it looks like some stuff is working out. So I’m very excited and hoping to hear about whether we'll be doing some touring with Testament straight away, but this is not confirmed so I'm not sure. Well congratulations dude, a world tour! That's great news! Thanks so much! It has been our plan to just tour non-stop – we plan to just tour like we never have before, so we're extremely excited. We CANNOT WAIT to come to Australia. We hope to see tour dates soon – just check our website and our MySpace for the latest info man. We’re going to be heading your way goddamnit!


Illustration: Angie Von Helle

Beyond The Burger

GREGG TURKINGTON INTERVIEW BY RHEA BUMLERING.

Q: What do you call a geriatric that won’t stop taking their clothes off in public? A: Madonna.

A

ny hack comedian can take a joke too far. Very few can take one only halfway the way Neil Hamburger can. For all intents and purposes he looks, sounds and acts like a regular stand-up comedian – albeit a third rate Vegas reject sporting thick glasses, cheap suit and

comb-over – yet his painful routines are less liable to split sides as make brains ache. Purposely lacking in humour, scraping the depths of poor taste, Hamburger’s “jokes” don’t tickle funnybones they grate on spinal columns. In his vernacular the term “riotous comedy” means when an audience is pelting full beer cans and threatening to reduce a venue to rubble – a Zen-like state he seems to be achieving less and less as his fanbase expands.

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Q: What's the difference between an astronaut and a resident of San Francisco? A: An astro’s “naut” not likely to catch AIDS. Neil Hamburger’s CV states he was a native of Culver City, California who began his comedy career on the advice of his psychiatrist. In fact, he was spawned in San Francisco during a brief yet fruitful early-nineties phone-pranking spree by his creator and alter ego, mild-mannered


Gregg Turkington. He has since gone on to dishearten and bewilder audiences the world over. Slowly establishing himself as a counter-culture loungecomedy icon opening up for a string of rock bands and releasing material through punk labels like Drag City, in recent times Hamburger’s stock has risen more considerably with appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Fox News’ Red Eye program and Tom Green’s internet show, plus an alltoo-brief cameo in Tenacious D’s Pick Of Destiny movie. The mainstream, it seems, may soon be “in” on the joke. Q: Did you hear the one about the paparazzi with the heart of gold? A: He stole it from Princess Diana as she lay dying in her car. January 2008 saw Hamburger/Turkington headed back to Australia for his fifteenth tour (“Breaking the previous record set by the Village People,” if you believe the press release). A routine visitor over the past decade or more, he has often linked up for touring stints with pop punk survivors Frenzal Rhomb or “Australia’s premier parlour magician”, Dr. El Suavo (a man who surely is to magic what Neil Hamburger is to comedy). But his most recent tour in early 2008 promised something extra special, with Hamburger and El Suavo co-hosting Australia’s First Drunken Spelling Bee. An event UNBELIEVABLY Bad was morally obliged be at, the Drunken Spelling Bee also seemed like a good chance to interview the myth behind the man behind the horrendous one-liners, Gregg Turkington. Q: Why did Bilbo Baggins cross the road? A: To depress those of us who don't find those sorts of characters at all amusing. It’s a scorching Friday arvo in Sydney. The soles of my Volleys are leaving small spots of rubber resembling spatout Hubba Bubbas all down Broadway’s fresh laid asphalt as I haul my sweaty arse and dictaphone down to Bar Broadway – the scene of this evening’s irresponsible intellectual activities. Stepping off the pedestrian hotplate into the air-conditioned bar, I suck in the moist air and locate Dr. El Suavo, who seems in one of his more placid moods, pouring ale down the mouth-hole of his Lucha Libre mask

as we mildly confabulate and await Turkington’s arrival. Roughly just under a schooner in beer time, and not a mouthful too soon, Turkington saunters unassumingly up to our table. Proudly holding a plastic shopping bag with electrical wires protruding from several of its orifices, inside is an outmoded Nintendo 64 entertainment system he found in the gutter on the way down. Later tonight this hunk of superseded junk will be presented to the winner of the Drunken Spelling Bee – luckily she will be too smashed on tequila shots to realise how crappy a prize it is. Q: What did Ted Bundy say to himself whenever he saw a good-looking woman? A: Gee, I sure would like to rape and kill that today. Dressed casually in a faded orange collared shirt and old black Levis, Turkington, who recently celebrated his 40th birthday, cuts a quite unobtrusive figure. Traces of Hamburger are to be found in his slightly hunched frame, complete lack of buttock and crop of thinning shoulderlength brown hair (which is molded via some sickly hair product into the trademark Hamburger combover). Otherwise it sears the brain to think that this relaxed, humble, seemingly sane individual is actually Neil Hamburger in disguise. Q: Why did Colonel Sanders keep his eleven herbs and spices a secret? A: Because he was ashamed of them. After a plate of vegetarian grub from the bar’s adjoining Asian kitchen (funnily enough, Hamburger don’t do meat!) thrown down with some casual chitchat about how awesome Tom Jones is, how wrongly maligned the Monkees are and how quickly Social Distortion turned to shite, Turkington and I adjourn upstairs for our interview, leaving El Suavo to his own preparations for this evening’s performance (which, as far as I could gather, simply involved downing as much Canadian Club as his gullet would accept). As we take a table at the back of the dimly-lit venue, Turkington produces a black Artline marker and begins to inscribe the base of some random trophy with the prestigious-sounding line: “Australia’s First Drunken Spelling Bee Champion 2008”. Before he finishes he glances up to inform me that while it’s generally a known fact that

You were born in Darwin; do you remember that at all? We left when I was six months old so I don't remember it. I've heard from my parents that it was so primitive there at the time that when I was born and the hospital presented me to my mother after birth I was wrapped in aluminium foil. My parents told me all these crazy stories about like drive-in movie theatres that were just a sheet stuck up somewhere. It sounded like it was pretty crazy there. So your parents are American? Yeah, they had gotten married and they came out to Australia on their honeymoon and they just liked it and so they said, “Fuck it, let's just stay here.” So they moved to Australia for a couple of years. We were living in Darwin in this caravan park, this tiny one-room unit in a caravan park, and one day they came home and the whole place was covered with frogs. There was a plague and frogs had invaded and my mother was just like, “Let's get the fuck out of here and go back to America.” I think my dad would have stayed here but my mum was like, “Fuck this, let's get out of these fucking frogs.” You lived in Tempe, Arizona when you first went back, but then San Francisco eventually became your home… I bounced back and forth between Arizona and California, but basically I grew up in Arizona and then moved to San Francisco when I was like fifteen. I was really into punk rock at that time. I guess it would have been around 1982 and I was really into Flipper. My dad was living with my mum in Arizona and then he got a place in San Francisco and I had met Flipper when they played in Phoenix and they were really nice and so I was like, “I want to go out there and see all these great punk rock shows,” and so I saw all these great bands in their prime – The Minutemen, Black Flag, Flipper, TSOL, Meat Puppets and all these bands that were at the peak of their powers. Sun City Girls, I saw their very first show, it was a really good time for all that stuff. But then by about 1984 I think it was all over and all these bands, you'd go see them and they were horrible by then, and all the new bands were horrible, everything was just horrible. What kind of musical or comedy upbringing did you have? I was really into music. I was really into the Bee Gees, I was heavily Bee Gees oriented and still, I have every record. I even have their first Australian album that only came out in Australia, The Bee Gees Sing And Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs. Y'know, that's like a $1000 record now. I've got some of their early singles where there is an apostrophe in their name or it says “Barry Gibb and The Bee Gees”, like on Festival or Leedon, some of these Australian labels.

he is the man behind Neil Hamburger, he’s not prepared to admit that – at least not while a journo has got their Play/ Record button depressed. Fuck! There goes my interview. Q: Why did Julia Roberts rub shit on her vagina? A: Because she was horny. The concept of the alter ego – from Latin meaning “the other I” – was first coined by psychologists in the early nineteenth century when describing a sort of second self, or persona within a person in schizophrenia sufferers. But Gregg Turkington has perfectly sane reasons for wanting to distance himself from Neil Hamburger. A public admission would shatter the arduously constructed illusion. Just like the secret identity of a comic book hero. In order for this average, everyday weirdo to transform into this other, larger-than-life-and-ten-times-more-obnoxious weirdo, he demands anonymity. Turkington chooses to go incognito not out of shame for the contemptible character he has created, but out of reverence for all the dedicated work he’s put into shaping Hamburger into a wholly separate entity – and also because taking the prank too far is one of his chief pleasures in life. Q: Why did E.T.: the Extraterrestrial love Reese's Pieces so much? A: Because they have the same flavour that cum does on his home planet. In a mild flap I explain to Turkington that I completely respect his desire to protect Neil Hamburger’s true identity, but since more than half my pre-prepared questions are about the character, this kinda screws me up. He remains calm and tells me I’m free to ask any question I like; he just reserves the right not to respond. Sensing my obvious frustration he adds on a little story about a time he told The New York Times the exact same thing and they refused to do a piece on him. Maybe he’s trying to cheer me up, maybe he’s trying to fire me up; either way, my resolve strengthens and I think, fuck The New York Times, this is UNBELIEVABLY Bad! There are no journalistic depths to which we will not stoop. What’s more, it’s not like Neil Hamburger is the only thing Gregg Turkington has ever done...

I was reading something on a stoner rock website called Lambgoat and whoever had written it was trying to make a joke about how one of the Bee Gees' sons plays in that band Crowbar... Really? I didn’t know that. That's too bad. I've actually never heard Crowbar but they sound like they'd be pretty bad. Well the guy who wrote the piece said something like, “Do you realise that this means one of the Bee Gees has more than likely listened to Crowbar?” as if it were some hilarious revelation. It made me think this guy was really underestimating the Bee Gees. The Bee Gees are heavier than any fucking stoner rock band. They've got so many styles that they've done, I don't think they'd be fazed by hearing some heavy rock. Those guys, like, you listen to Robin Gibb's solo albums, stuff like Robin's Reign or the follow-up, which never came out officially, Sing Slowly Sisters, those are some serious amphetamine records – he was fucked up. Robin's Reign was the first album ever to use a drum machine, so it's a really primitive drum machine, like the most primitive thing you ever heard, and then he's got a full orchestra on the same tracks – so weird. This band I was in, Faxed Head, did a cover of “Farmer Ferdinand Hudson” off the Robin Gibb album but we turned it into a black metal song, which was very easy to do. It was actually pretty close to the original. Aside from the Bee Gees who else were you into? I was into the Beatles; I was also into Phil Ochs. In fact, the humour in the way Phil Ochs managed, or mismanaged, his career I found really fascinating. Here was a guy from the left-wing doing folky political songs and then he just completely goes in this other direction and buys a gold suit and is doing Elvis type material and Elvis covers, but he has this big political theory behind what he's doing. He did a couple of live albums and the one Gunfight At Carnegie Hall, there's all this booing from the audience and they're yelling for him to do his old material and he's like, “No, this is what I'm all about now.” People are screaming, you hear somebody scream, “Bring back Phil Ochs!” on the record. So that record really stuck with me; it seemed like a very interesting thing that you didn't necessarily have to have the audience on your side to make a great record – in fact, it could be helpful not to. So I was really into him. I was really into Vanilla Fudge, I was really into The Who and Pete Townshend and then I got into the punk rock and especially I was into Flipper. For humour I was into Albert Brooks, especially his movies Real Life and Modern Romance. Also National Lampoon Magazine, as it used to be. Man, in the seventies it was outrageous and then it turned into shit; once they started making movies it was kind of all over, the staff changed and it became a piece of shit that had very little to do with what it used to be. The early Lampoons are amazing though. They once did this entire Sunday newspaper, it was a complete hoax but it had everything from hundreds of classified ads to a section of fullcolour advertising to a little TV guide, and it was all really funny and it was all


interconnected. You would see an article on one page and you'd think, “That's not very funny,” but it would relate to something else in there. Like there was an news article about an accident at a factory and it was basically saying that the pipe that transported the toilet bowl cleaner had sprung a leak and that toilet bowl cleaner ended up all over this ravioli so the plant had to be shut down and you're like, okay, whatever. But then, if you keep going through the thing you see an ad for some supermarket saying, “Mighty Fine Canned Ravioli - 95 cents a can!” It was stuff like that. That National Lampoon newspaper parody was so dense with fucking jokes and really subtle stuff and I really took to that sort of humour that's not really explained for you and it really seems like authentic, like authentically fucked.

who was hanging around these nightclubs, to sing for 'em. I couldn't sing but I could put on a show. I was into the showmanship of it all. It seems like all your bands, Zip Code Rapists and everything since, have had this element that I wouldn't say is necessarily funny, but it definitely isn't serious either – is this part of a refusal to take anything seriously? I take stuff very seriously but not career-oriented stuff. It's not just like harmless jokiness, there's definitely meaning behind some of these things but it may not be anything that anybody is going to figure out initially. Zip Code Rapists, that was sort of, I wouldn't exactly use the word parody, but it was sort of a punk rock band but there was only two people,

ÓJ(WF!TFFO!IFOSZ!SPMMJOT!BOE!J(WF!TFFO! UPN!KPOFT!BOE!UPN!KPOFT!KVTU!IBT!NPSF! JOUFOTJUZ/Ô!Ñ!HSFHH!UVSLJOHUPO Breakfast Without Meat fanzine – how did that start? That was a magazine I had in the eighties before I was doing music really. It was cool. It started off as kind of a punk rock fanzine or whatever but then I got sick of that. I went from having interviews with bands like Flipper and Frightwig and Minimal Man, to suddenly having interviews with the guy behind 101 Strings Orchestra or Jimmy Webb or Richard Harris, the English actor and singer. Tom Jones was a big star in that galaxy. So it became something for people into the punk rock aesthetic but who had gotten sick of it because it became so horrible. Suddenly it's like easy listening as a whole new artform for that crowd and the intensity of some of that stuff, stuff that many people assume is crap... Like, I've seen Henry Rollins and I've seen Tom Jones and Tom Jones just has more intensity. So we covered a lot of that stuff and it was done with complete respect for those acts and people got into the magazine. I know a lot of people have told me how much it helped sort of wean them from certain types of music and expand their tastes to other things. It was fun to do. Tell us about some of the early bands you were in - Hello Kitty On Ice, Bean Church, The Easy Goings...? Hello Kitty On Ice, I think I was fifteen or sixteen and it was a good band, they were really good musicians. The drummer from the Zeros was in it, then there was this guy, Kirk, who was an amazing jazz musician who decided he was going to go mad and became like a Jimmy Page type-amazing guitarist. So anyway, they put together this instrumental band and then somehow they got me, this sixteen-year-old kid

a vocalist and guitarist. We would do a show and do thirty or forty songs and not complete any of them. I was just a shambles because I was a complete drunk, smashing glasses, I'd get stacks of albums and break them over my head, stuff like that. The guitarist, John [Singer], is an amazing guitarist who could play anything. So all I had to do was sing one line of a song and he could play the whole thing. So he'd be playing these things perfectly and I'd be wrecking everything, this horrific drunken nightmare. And he'd get angry with me for wrecking these things. We'd write songs and record them and we'd have them down in the studio but then when we'd do them live I'd be ruining it and he would get cranky with me. So there was always this weird battle going on during the show, and sometimes he'd get more into that, but then other times he'd be pissed off at me. And I'd always be trying to go, “C'mon, this is fun!” and he'd just be getting surlier and surlier. It was funny. We made some records and played a lot of shows in Canada and the east coast of the U.S. and then we stopped playing in '95 after we did this Japanese tour. But then a couple of years ago a friend of ours up in Canada, Mike Hickey, was like, “You have to play, you're my all-time favourite band, please.” So we did these Zip Code Rapists reunion shows and the funny thing was how much more surly John had become. I was worried that it was gonna be bogus 'cos we're not the angry young drunks that we were, but actually I think it worked out even better. It was just funnier. Were you doing much music leading up to the Zip Code Rapists reunion? Not really, I kind got out of the music. I have been

Zip Code Rapists

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GREGG TURKINGTON 



DISCOGRAPHY*

1989: The Easy Goings - S/T 7” EP (Bee-Fast) 1992: Zip Code Rapists - Sing And Play The Three Doctors LP (Amarillo) 1992: Great Phone Calls - Great Phone Calls LP/CS/CD (Amarillo; later Ipecac) 1992: Gregg Turkington - Telephuck You! 7” (Stomach Ache) 1992: Faxed Head - S/T 7” EP (Stomach Ache) 1993: The Easy Goings - Cigarettes 7” (Nuf Sed) 1993: Faxed Head - Necrogenometry 7” EP (Amarillo) 1993: Zip Code Rapists - The Man Can't Bust Our Music! 7” EP (Ectoplasm) 1993: Totem Pole of Losers - Jesus I Am Loving You 7” (Amarillo) 1993: Faxed Head - Show Pride In Coalinga/The Colors of Coalinga 7” (City of Coalinga) 1994: Zip Code Rapists - Sing And Play The Matador Records Catalog 7” EP (Ecstatic Piss) 1994: Neil Hamburger - Looking For Laughs 7” (Amarillo) 1994: Three Doctors - Back To Basics (Live) LP (Amarillo) 1994: Faxed Head - Tire 7” EP (LaBrea) 1995: Zip Code Rapists - 94124 12” EP/CD EP (Amarillo) 1995: Neil Hamburger - Bartender, The Laugh's On Me 7” (Planet Pimp) 1995: Three Doctors - Archaeology Of The Infinite LP (Amarillo) 1995: Zip Code Rapists - Live In Competence cassette (Beast 666) 1995: Faxed Head - Uncomfortable But Free CD (Amarillo) 1995: Faxed Head - Bone Cracks split 7” w/ Breathilizor (Eerie Materials) 1996: Neil Hamburger - America's Funnyman LP/CD (Drag City) 1996: Neil Hamburger - Open Ended Interview promotional 7” EP (Drag City) 1996: Faxed Head - The Four Freshmen/Heavy Metal Cookie Cutter 7” (Japan Overseas) 1996: The Golding Institute - Sounds Of The American Fast Food Restaurants 7” (Stomach Ache; reissued on Planet Pimp) 1997: Faxed Head - Exhumed At Birth CD (Amarillo) 1997: New Session People - Famous Songs From Days-Gone-By CD [Gregg Turkington lead vocals on 1 track] (Amarillo) 1997: The Golding Institute - Sounds Of The San Francisco Adult Bookstores 7” (Planet Pimp) 1998: Neil Hamburger - Raw Hamburger LP/CD (Drag City) 1998: Neil Hamburger - Tribute To Diana, Princess Of Wales 7” (Planet Pimp) 1998: The Golding Institute - Sounds Of The International Airport Restrooms 7" (Planet Pimp) 1999: Neil Hamburger - Left for Dead in Malaysia LP/CD (Drag City) 2000: Neil Hamburger - Inside Neil Hamburger 12” EP/CD EP (Drag City) 2000: Neil Hamburger - Fifty States, Fifty Laughs CD (Million Dollar Performances) 2001: Faxed Head - Chiropractic CD (Web Of Mimicry) 2002: Neil Hamburger - Hamburger Remembers Nixon 7" (I Don’t Feel A Thing) 2002: Neil Hamburger - Laugh Out Lord CD (Drag City) 2003: Neil Hamburger - Live at Phoenix Greyhound Park DVD (Kung Fu) 2005: Zip Code Rapists - Here At Last... Live!!! CD (Freedom From) 2005: Neil Hamburger - Great Moments At DiPresa's Pizza House CD (Drag City) 2006: Neil Hamburger - The World's Funnyman DVD (Drag City) 2006: The Golding Institute - Final Relaxation CD (Ipecac) 2007: Neil Hamburger - Hot February Night CD (Off-Price Value Center) 2007: Secret Chiefs 3 - Path of Most Resistance [Turkington lead vocals on 2 tracks] (Web Of Mimicry) 2007: Neil Hamburger - Comedy Death-Ray [Comedy Central comp with 1 exclusive Hamburger track] (Comedy Central) 2008: Neil Hamburger - Sings Country Winners LP/CD (Drag City) 2008: Faxed Head - From Coalinga To Osaka DVD (Web Of Mimicry) 2008: Neil Hamburger With The Hard-Ons - Neil Hamburger With The Hard-Ons CDEP (Coming Soon…) 2008: Sonny J - Disastro [one track is built entirely around a sample from “Great Phone Calls”] (EMI/Stateside) * (only selected compilation and guest appearances listed)


I'd known. I didn't know that prank call records were viable. When I first pressed that I was thinking, I'll press five hundred of these and maybe someone will buy it if it has a good cover. And it sold like hotcakes, and it still sells. The sad thing is, when it came out I'd lost interest in making prank calls; I just didn't really make them anymore. I wanted to do a sequel because the record had sold so well, I knew it would make money, everybody was asking about it, but it had been a while. I'd stopped making the calls and so when I got on the phone again I felt that the calls were a little too calculated in some way, or they just weren't the same. The real sad thing is that we did have another tape from those two nights. It was a whole other ninety-minute tape and it had a lot of good calls but I lost that tape somewhere. It would have got lost somewhere in the apartment I had at the time, and I had hundreds of tapes that were poorly labelled or whatever. Every couple of years I would be like, “If I could just find that fucking tape,” and every couple of years I'd go through and play all these unlabelled tapes. And then a few years later I'd do the same thing all over again. I've never found it. I think it got lost or taped over. That's too bad because that was a good era. Actually, I had done some prank calls five or six years earlier in this band Bean Church that I had, it was just a cassette though. The second side of the cassette was prank phone calls, just for fun. Around the time Great Phone Calls came out The Jerky Boys came out and I thought that was really good.

The Faxed Head

doing more comedy and writing a book, writing for different magazines, I was writing for Maxim UK, running a label, just doing different projects. Can I ask when the prank calls first started? Sure, yeah. I was just doing those prank calls for fun. I'd never heard a prank call record before; I was just doing it for fun. I had been doing it since I was a kid. I was in San Francisco and people would come over and sit there and it would become like this party where I was just there doing all these prank calls and everyone hanging out. Eventually this friend of mine, Becky Wilson, she asked, “Do you mind if I record these tonight?” I said, “Yeah, go for it.” So she connected a tape recorder to the phone and recorded them, then she made copies of the tape and was giving it around to people in San Francisco and then the next thing I know everyone is talking to me about this tape. I hear about people who have it in New York City and people in bands who have it, everybody seemed to have this tape. So I was like, “Shit, let's release this as a record.” So I think we recorded another night, so we had two nights to draw from and then just pieced together this record [Great Phone Calls]. But the thing is that that was a couple of months into all this prank calling and I'm not sure we even recorded the best nights. I mean, the record is good, and people love that record, but I just wish

I listened back to the Jerky Boys only recently and it seemed to me like they could have done more. They seemed to be restricted by this one gag of trying to alienate the person on the other line, when there were a heap more chains there begging to be pulled. I know what you mean. I think the thing with the calls I was doing that makes them work and makes them enjoyable is that I'd be saying these crazy things and then right when the people are ready to hang up I draw them back in by getting them to feel sorry for me. It's like, anyone can make a call and say, “Hey, your pizza tastes like shit,” and hang up and that's the end of it. I always liked to present these weird scenarios and keep the people on the line as long as I could by alternately pissing them off and then drawing them back in with pathos, making them feel bad for me so they can't get off the phone. So did you start up Amarillo Records just to release Great Phone Calls? No, we started to do a Zip Code Rapists album and then after that Great Phone Calls. But that record made good money. It wasn't a fortune but I think on Amarillo it sold something like four thousand copies. Then Ipecac has had it since then and it's sold more, y'know it just keeps going. Amarillo was a really great label and that compilation you released, You Gan’t Boar Like An Eabla When You Work With Turkrys, was the best label sampler I've ever heard. It wasn't like other compilations that were out at that time, that's for sure. I think that CD was representative of the general aesthetic of what we were going for with the label. The title, You Gan’t Boar Like An Eabla When You


ÓGSBOL!TJOBUSB!KS/!IF(T!B!SFBM!IFSP!PG!NZTFMG! BOE!PG!OFJM!IBNCVSHFS/Ô!Ñ!HSFHH!UVSLJOHUPO or the mythology about them was improvised during the show. It wasn't like we'd sat down and thought these things out. It's more like, you do a couple of shows and by the end of the second show the whole story has been sketched out while onstage. Y’know, you might be onstage and you say, “We're from so-and-such,” and then that becomes part of the story.

Turkington with Brian Wilson's discredited guru, Dr. Eugene Landy - 1990

Work With Turkrys, that was a Texaco station in San Francisco, had these novelty buttons for sale and they were clearly made in some foreign country where they had typeset everything wrong. It was like, “Fuck, this is an even better slogan!” Another thing I loved about that compilation was it was only five bucks. Yeah, I remember you selling them when you were out in Australia as Mr. Bungle tour manager in '96; I bought one. Yeah, I was selling them at a few shows. Was that Bungle tour your first time back to Australia since you were zero years old? No, I came out in '91, travelled around on the Greyhound bus. I just really wanted to see the country. So I flew into Sydney and got on the Greyhound bus. I went up to Alice Springs and rented a car and drove from there to Darwin. I went to all these places. I went to Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane; I tried to see as much as I could in two weeks. I had such a good time that I came back two years later and did the same trip again. After the first trip all I wanted to do was save my money and come back so I was working at this chemical company and then I did this movie. I was in this movie called Terminal USA where I played this Nazi skinhead guy. It was not a big role but I got paid a thousand bucks for it and as soon as I got the fuckin' cheque I'm like, “Great, I got my ticket.” I think it was $699 for the plane ticket and I came out and went to all the same places again. So when I heard about the Mr. Bungle tour, like I had been tour managing them in America, so when I heard there might be an Australian tour I was excited. The thing was, there were these two girls in Melbourne who had got this petition going: Bring Mr. Bungle To Australia. And they got thousands of signatures and they sent it to Mr. Bungle and I remember I was over at their rehearsal space and Danny [Heifetz – drums] was like, “Look at this fuckin' petition.” So he wanted to look into going to Australia because he was just like, “Look at all these fucking people!” And now Danny lives in Australia. I know. Well that was the thing; I ended up marrying one of those girls who started the petition, and on the same tour Danny met his wife and Bär [McKinnon – horn] too; it was such a fateful tour for everyone. Just on the Bungle connection and playing in bands with some of those guys, do you think a lot of people discover you through that? I think there is some, yeah. I don't really know where people come from. Seems like people come from different places. Some people say, “I saw you on this TV show,” or, “I heard such-and-such a recording,” or, “You Gan’t Boar Like An Eabla...” I've had so many fuckin' different things out there. What I can't figure out is how people are able to connect all of it, to figure out how to go see one thing because they liked something else. I still get a lot of people coming up to me at these Neil Hamburger shows asking about Great Phone Calls. These kids came up to me in Chicago and they were in college, I guess they were twins, they were a brother and a sister, and they told me, “We can't believe we're meeting you. We grew up on Great Phone Calls, we listened to that record since we were nine,” like their parents had it and now these kids were in college. It was weird. They knew everything off the record. Actually, the amount of people who know that record forward and backwards is amazing. I have to quickly ask about the almighty Faxed Head - who thinks of such a band, and how do they then explain such a preposterous concept to the other members? A lot of the bands I've been involved with, most of the stories

“The Faxed Head from Coalinga, California.” Right, conceptually you have these kids who are totally alienated and depressed and living in a shitty place and fucked up and handicapped and poorly educated, so the music had to reflect that. It had to reflect how these guys were living and where these recordings were made – the Taco Bell restroom in Coalinga. It had to reflect the handicaps these people faced, the mental instability, the glue sniffing... We were into glitches and technical problems. But this stuff just sorta happens, these things just pop out. I don't think I could work like that, like sit down and say. “This project is gonna be exactly like this or that.” I couldn't work that way. The best stuff is stuff that you improvise and then write it down so you can reuse it later. It still blows my mind that Faxed Head got to tour Australia. We actually made money on the tour; we made like three hundred bucks a piece at the end. People were interested. We had some good turnouts at the shows. There's actually a Faxed Head DVD coming out this year, it's a show from 1995 in Osaka, Japan and then there's some bonus footage from 2001 in Canada. And then there is the Bon Larvis Band, who were like Faxed Head's archenemies, these boogie blues biker fuckheads. They're from Avenal, which is right next to Coalinga. So there is a whole “easter egg” on the Faxed Head DVD that is an entire concert by the Bon Larvis Band. They played in Sydney on the Faxed Head tour at the What Is Music? Festival [1997], that was the debut of the Bon Larvis Band in Australia and they also played with Faxed Head at the Iron Duke. They seem to shadow wherever the Faxed Head goes, they will always do a show the same night or whatever. I think there is a website, it's www.boogiewoogiewiththethebonlarvisband.faithweb.com, there's two “the”s in the web address. So the DVD will be great; you get the Faxed Head in Osaka, the Faxed Head in Canada and also the Bon Larvis Band. Mike Hickey in Canada, the same guy who got the Zip Code Rapists back together, he put the DVD together and, in fact, he's also doing a Zip Code Rapists DVD. He's been very good at keeping some of this crap alive.

lot of the problems were financial but also there was this paranoia and instructions about things that had to be done a certain way because of Olive's insanity. She's a very tragic person. She's a real mess. You lived in Melbourne for a few years – why the move to Australia? Because I could. I had dual US/Australian citizenship so I was like, “Why not?” I met my wife, we got together, and it was just easier for me to live here than for her to move to America. We lived in America for a few months and then lived here for a few years and then moved back there because now she has dual citizenship as well. It's been great living in Los Angeles but we'll come back eventually, we'll move back. We like coming back and forth but it's just so fucking expensive to move. You co-wrote a book while you were living here, Warm Voices Rearranged: Anagram Record Reviews – did you feel there was big untapped interest in anagrams within the rock community? Yeah, I thought there would be but I don't think the book sold very well. It was anagram record reviews, so we'd take the title of a record or whatever and rearrange the letters to create an accurate review of that record. Most of them were negative, and that's the thing I've found is that most anagrams are negative. I don't know what it is but you rarely get positive anagrams. I think there were two positive reviews we included for balance but the rest were negative. But it was difficult. I mean, you can do an anagram but very often it comes out as gibberish. To have things that are accurate, that was the thing; we wanted these reviews to be accurate. Usually it would take me about an hour to do one; that was the average. Sometimes I could work on one for up to three fuckin' hours to get it, and also a lot of them don't come to anything. So I would get up in the morning and work on that while my wife was at work. And while I was doing this in Melbourne my friend, Brandan Kearney, was in San Francisco doing the same thing and at the end of the day we'd compare what we'd come up with. At the end of a day I'd usually have eight to ten anagrams and he would have roughly the same, but they had to be accurate. We had more anagrams than were in the book but if they weren't accurate reviews we ditched them. They were very specific and that's what I think is so neat about it, that a specific criticism of the record can be drawn from these letters. It's eerie. I haven't checked out the book but I read some reviews of it online and while most people were saying amazing things, there was this one guy who left his opinion on amazon.com saying that it was good but that for anagram experts the anagrams were quite primitive. That person is fucked. Those are good anagrams. What his complaint was was like; say you had the title Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon, right? We'd try to make an anagram of that but if that wasn't working we would try to change it to “Pink Floyd's album, Dark Side Of The Moon”, or “Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon LP”. That's the way you do anagrams; that's the only way you can do them. You are constantly balancing things out like that. Y'know, one of the most famous anagrams is Ronald Wilson Regan - Insane Anglo Warlord. That's perfect! But you just know that the person who came up with that first tried Ronald Regan, President Regan, President Ronald Regan, Ronald W. Regan… that's how you do them. You keep doing that until you find something that works. It doesn't make it easy. My friend Greg Gutfeld was the editor of Maxim UK and had me do an anagram of the preface to Sting's autobiography, like this whole two-page introduction by Sting. He asked if I could make an anagram of the entire thing and I was like, “Sure.” So I spent eight hours on it but it was amazing, it came

You also tour managed the late great Link Wray - what was that like? Was the arguing between Link and his missus a highlight of your time? I quit after a couple of months, I was like, I'm not working with these fucking lunatics. Basically, poor old Link, who has accomplished so much, done so much great music, but at this point in his life he had this horrible, controlling, manipulative, paranoid, insane wife, Olive, and she was a completely unreasonable person who wouldn't ever let anything work right. If the tour was going too well she'd throw spanners in the works to fuck it up. She was completely paranoid of being assassinated onstage. She wouldn't let Link out of her sight for one second; she'd go into the bathroom with him. He was 69, or in his late-60s, and she would not let him out of her sight for a second, to the point where she ends up onstage. She would stand on the stage next to him playing with his hair during the whole show because she was afraid of some groupie getting onstage or something. It's like, “You're living in a fucking dream world!” This guy called Jimmy McDonough who wrote the Neil Young biography Shakey, he did a great article on Link Wray online for the website Perfect Sound Forever [furious. com/perfect/linkwray.html]. You should check it out. It goes into the entire history of Link Wray and gets into the real dirt. It's got a lot of quotes from me and The Bon Larvis Band Danny [who played drums in Wray’s band]. We all told about what happened. I heard you have tape recordings and video footage of Link and Olive's arguments? I wasn't making these recording but some other individuals on the tour were and there is some up on YouTube. They've got hundreds of hours of this stuff, these guilty parties, who I wouldn't name for legal reasons, but there's a lot of good footage of the kind of weird paranoia that Olive would come up with. She cancelled the biggest show of the tour, a $7500 guarantee, she cancelled it because it was in Washington DC where Link had lived when he was younger and she thought that maybe one of his ex wives would show up and assassinate her. I think Link had been divorced for thirty years. It was like, “She's not going to come to the show. And she's not going to assassinate you.” But we had to cancel the show. And that's what it was like touring with them. It was like every day there's this new obstacle. A

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out great. It's tough because at first you can pick any word you want, because you have every letter there, but then after you've written a bunch of stuff you're like, “Oh shit, now I got two hundred ‘e’s left and that's all that's left.” So then you have to scrap the entire thing and try again in order to get that final balance. So it took a while but it came out really good and so I did the same thing for a passage from Anthony Keidis' autobiography. Again, it was a long process but it came out great. Okay, I got a lot of Neil questions that I obviously can't ask. You can't ask but I probably won't answer them. When was Neil Hamburger born? I don't know? Okay let's try a different tack... Looking at Neil from the outside, whom do you see as his biggest inspirations? Frank Sinatra Jr. He's a real hero of myself and of Neil Hamburger. Basically a lot of hard-working second-string entertainers. In a way it's a world that no longer exists because if you go to casinos in Vegas now they don't have the free lounge entertainer anymore. It's a whole different scene. There used to be lots of bands, singers, comedians, magicians and things that would live around Vegas and just play smaller second-string stages year-round. The casino may have Sinatra in the main showroom but then they'd have a smaller showroom where they might have Jack Jones or someone and then they would have the even smaller free stage with some local, regional entertainment. A lot of these acts are great, I collect a lot of records by these loser Vegas bands, but it's definitely a tough existence. People assume because someone is in the entertainment business that they're really doing well, when often that may not be the case at all. Neil Hamburger has recently begun appearing on Tom Green's internet show and Jimmy Kimmel and really boosting his profile in the U.S. One quote I liked was about the Fox News' Red Eye program, which said that the program had "exposed Neil's diseased comedy stylings to disgruntled right-wingers” – sounds great! The guy that hosts Red Eye is Greg Gutfeld from Maxim UK so when he came back to America and got his fuckin' TV show he went to the people he knew from that stuff and it was just like, “Do you wanna be on this show?” y'know. You just gave yourself away. No, 'cos he came to me, Gregg Turkington, and asked if I wanted to be on that show and I said, “No.” So then he asked around and asked if Neil would do it.

This friend of mine in Sydney, Brendan Walls, just suggested one day, he's like, “Next time you're in Sydney I have this idea for us to do this relaxation/meditation/hypnosis record. I'll do electronics and things and you can do the voice and we'll just see what happens.” So I was in Sydney and we shot a show at Newtown, Brendan filmed it, it was a two camera shoot and it ended up being called, That's Not Gold, That's Dung and it came out on The World's Funnyman DVD on Drag City. So we did that on the Saturday night I think and then the next day he wanted Turkington with to do this relaxation record and I was feeling burnt out and Don Knotts - 1994 hung-over but we went into the studio and we sat there and we realised that neither one of us had any idea what to do. I was like, “This is fucked, I have no idea what to do and I'm kinda burnt out,” and he's like, “Well let's go down to the bookstore and get some new-age self-help books for inspiration.” So we left the studio, went to the bookstore, bought a whole pile of these fuckin' books, brought them back to the studio and we were looking through them but still getting no inspiration. I mean, there were a couple of notes we made from the books and Brendan had a couple of suggestions but in the end I closed a book and I'm like, “Fuck it, just roll tape and see what happens.” So I just improvised for forty-five minutes and at the end of forty-five minutes he turned it off and was like, “I think we can do something with this,” and then he took the tape and cut out about fifteen minutes of what I had said and re-ordered some of it, reworked it and put the electronics over it and sent it back to me. I thought it turned out fucking great. Like when he first suggested it I had planned to write this whole thing out but I just didn't get around to it. So the day of the recording came and I'm feeling kinda bad because I didn't do my homework basically. I was thinking about it a bit but I just didn't have anything solid beyond, I came up with the idea, which I proposed to him a few weeks earlier about it being a self-help tape that talks you to death. So we had that idea, that it was a death thing, but beyond that we had very few ideas. And then he put that really unsettling electronic score behind it which was beautiful and creepy. Because I had done some Golding Institute singles that were really different from that album; that was at least ten years earlier and there were three of those. Did it enjoy a higher level of interest just because it was on Patton’s label [Ipecac]? Yeah, I think that helps. It sold pretty well. I think they distributed it well. But I don't know what the interest is in that. I think it's a great record but it's a hard one to sell. What's its target audience? Where do they file it? It's even hard to categorise properly in the record store. I've seen it in the comedy section, I've seen it in the rock section, I've seen it under G for Golding Institute. So I don't know how anybody finds it. I think it's a real word-of-mouth thing. There are people who are fans of my work but I'm sure a lot of them probably don't even know about that record.

Nice save. The Golding Institute, can I ask about that? Sure.

I heard you are working on your own internet TV series, The Broken Comedian, or is it a Neil Hamburger vehicle and we can’t discuss it? Yeah it is. I don't know anything about it. I know very little about it. Sometimes I help out with the Neil Hamburger stuff.

That album [Final Relaxation] was a fucked up spoof relaxation tape by some weird cult very Negativeland I thought - how did that come to fruition?

Oh yeah, what do you do? I just help out.


EXTORTION. ROHAN, DAN AND RHYS INTERVIEW WORDS BY IVAN THE TERRIBLE BONGHEAD.

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s r e k c u F Sick

PICS BY ROD HUNT.

f you’ve never heard Extortion before, start with everything they’ve done and the T-shirt. From the putrid punk rock Petri dish of Perth, WA they formed united in noise and bloodshed, seeking to replicate brutal acts of violence with the basic implements of rock, running on a pure hate instinct while applying all the subtlety of a blunt machete in the hands of an icesmoking psycho-killer with sweet fuck all left to lose. It’s no secret that Extortion have been the most pants-pissingly exciting force in Australian hardcore for a while now. And it’s flippin’ obvious they should have been interviewed in UNBELIEVABLY Bad ages ago. The only reason they haven’t is because every other zine dork with a pair of ears and a partiality for intense, violent punk rock has been all over them like a bronze medal-winning bukkake team. There was a time around the release of their crucial self-titled 7-inch and it’s frightening full-length follow-up, Degenerate, where no less than six different fanzines were sitting in the UNBELIEVABLY Bad shithouse all carrying Extortion interviews. We had planned to let the smoke blow over a bit first, but the early-2008 release of Extortion’s amazing second album, Sick, only seemed to increase their golden boy status so we had to bite the bullet, chew on sour grapes, suck a fucking egg and go where so many others zines have gone before… To at least make things a little more interesting than having singer Rohan copying and paste his responses into an email (as he had begun to do in numerous fanzines), UNBELIEVABLY Bad sat down with several members to conduct Extortion’s first ever face-toface interview. It’s expensive to get the fuck out of Perth when you’re a band of guys trying hold down shitty jobs like stacking supermarket shelves (all except guitarist Jay, who makes a sweet living as a professional poker player!). As such, Extortion rarely leave their home state of WA. But with the release of Sick came a short East Coast tour and the chance to catch up with the band before a show at Sydney’s Empire Hotel. The members present were Rohan (vocals), Dan (bass) and Rhys (originally drums, now guitar). Surprisingly, they turned out to be fairly placid dudes, and not the least bit like sadistic granny raping axe murderers.

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Perth must have some good shit going on because you guys as a band seem pretty rooted there. Rohan: We’re just stuck there pretty much. It’s expensive to get out of there. I’m pretty sure I’d move eventually, but not in the next few years I don’t think. Dan: I want to move out of the country. I’d like to go to London; I heard good things about it from him [points to Rhys]. Yeah, Rhys, you got out for a while. Frightener was one band you had in the UK that seemed to be going well, and Meatlocker, why did you come back? Rhys: I played in a ton of bands when I was in London but I had visa restrictions and whatnot so I had to come back. So even though the band was doing well, or was gonna start doing really well when the album came out, that’s just one part of life when you look at the big picture. Coming back to Perth is just one of those things. But living in London has a lifespan on it too. Unless you have a lot of money or can keep yourself very occupied it can be a hard place to live. And you don’t get summer there. In some way it seems like Perth informs everything you do – I’m not just talking about its history or the isolation factor or that there are no straightedge vegan losers over there to stifle the party… Rohan: Well there was, but there was only five of them and they kind of clung together. But the thing about the place is that there isn’t enough numbers in any one particular group so everyone is just kinda mashed in together. So we’ve always played with any kind of band. We’ll play on bills with rock bands or play with From The Ruins and those mosh bands; everyone plays with everyone else. Rhys: The people in Perth are really too apathetic to throw themselves behind any particular cause because life’s too good there. No one’s got much to worry about. Except for the mining, housing, industry boom I suppose. It's great for the economy but this whole goddamn thing is pushing


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Emailing In Sick W BY DANGER COOLIDGE

e prefer to avoid email interviews where possible at UNBELIEVABLY Bad. Already read enough zines full of interviews with hardcore dudes sitting at their computers filing ever-so-calculated responses while Googling “coolest Boston 7-inches ever” thanks very much. So dull. But in the interest of filling space, here are a few excerpts from two email exchanges with Rohan Harrison in November 2007 and January 2008, just prior to the release of Sick. Note: Some of this stuff has been used in other publications. You and the other members had all been in bands for years prior to Extortion. Why were those bands often ignored and Extortion are now making a name? Does Extortion have a special chemistry / a sharper musical focus / a stronger work ethic / etc. than those other band may have had? Well for one thing every other band we've been in has broken up shortly after our first release, so that’s gonna make it hard for a band to get noticed outside of their hometown anyways. Write a stack of songs, record ‘em, and the record comes out a year later just before we break up. It’s happened a few times and almost happened again after Extortion’s first EP came out, but we managed to find a new drummer Dean (who played in most of the notable fast hardcore bands here in Perth in the mid-nineties) after Rhys fucked off to Europe (where I hear he spends dubious amounts of time in Amsterdam). I dunno why people

Yeah, the new one is about catching and consequently dying of bird flu, the songs going in chronological order – infection through til death. This is definitely more “conceptual” (fuck, just seeing that word makes me feel like a wanker) than Degenerate. Degenerate was half written before we noticed we had quite a few songs about murderers and various other fuck-ups so we decided to go with that and write the rest of them in the same vein, whereas this new album was planned from the start. I remember joking with Rhys that it’d be funny to do an album about bird flu. The new album is a little weirder and maybe a little heavier (though not in a particularly metal way) than previous stuff, though not as weird as we had intended it to be. Lack of time and money meant we didn’t get to mess around with the songs as much either in the studio or when writing.

"WE DON'T SING ABOUT THE RIGHT THINGS, WE PLAY TOO FAST AND DON'T REALLY HAVE PARTS FOR PEOPLE TO DO THEIR LITTLE DANCES." - ROHAN HARRISON have gotten into this band; I woulda thought it’s lacking what most people are listening to hardcore for. We don’t sing about the right things, we play too fast and don’t really have parts for people to do their little dances. But I’m not complaining. Hopefully people see in us what I get stoked about in other fast bands. Extortion doesn’t really operate any differently to any previous band I’ve been in. We’ve always been fairly productive as far as writing goes. Writing songs and getting them recorded has always been the emphasis for this and previous bands we’ve been in. Not that I don’t like touring or playing live, but it’s not as important. As for Extortion having “special chemistry”, I’m off that shit after a run-in with the law. How would you describe the sound of Extortion and what is the overall feeling you hope to instil in the listener? The sound of Extortion is pretty up-front, just fast hard and angry with as little wank as possible without making it boring. The overall feeling we wanna give the listener? I dunno, maybe that feeling of almost overload, where it’s almost too much – like that rushing anxiety feeling you get when you take too much speed. Deep Six releasing Degenerate overseas - how did that come about? Is there interest in you guys touring O/S? I sent the recording to Bob at Deep Six, he liked it and asked to put it out. Simple as that. I wish it were a more exciting story, possibly containing ludicrous conspiracies, expensive cars, the world famous love machine, drug habits and baby horses, but alas it’s pretty straightforward. We’ve been asked to tour the US; if we do we’ll probably just hook up with another US band and tour with them. At the moment it’ll probably happen around the end of the year. In many ways Degenerate was conceptual, but the new album Sick takes it further. Can you elaborate on the concept?

How does it feel to be a band that is worshipped by other hardcore bands? Do you feel vindicated by that or would a million bucks in your bank account help you sleep better at night? We've not really seen much proof of this admiration (apart from the fact that almost every band we asked to play with on our tour said yes, which we’re fucking stoked about). I mean, sure, people have said I like the record or nice set or whatever after we play, but you find that even if your band is shit (and I've been in a few of ‘em) people say that kind of stuff anyways. You can’t tell what’s sincere and what’s bullshit just said to be polite. But yeah, I hope the kind words about our band are honest, but even if they aren’t we'll keep playing regardless. And a million bucks would help me sleep better at night. I could by a bed that doesn’t do my back in for starters. Extortion have had releases on a couple of labels now and have had splits touted with all kinds of bands (Jed Whitey being probably the most surprising). You also play quite regularly over in WA with all different types of bands – do you have a definite policy about not being elitist in regards to which bands you associate with or what audiences you hope to reach? Jed Whitey are awesome, like a punker version of seventies Detroit rock – none of the excessive wanking or cheese that usually fags up rock bands. That, and they’ve always played a few Poison Idea-style hardcore songs in their sets. So I don’t think it’s too surprising we’re doing a split with them. As far as shows goes, yeah, we’ll play with anyone as long as we get paid. You get paid for each show you play, that money adds up and pays for recording and we’re in the studio every six months or so, so we aim to play enough shows that we don’t have to pay out of our own (usually almost empty) pockets – mercenary but true. But then, we are not about morals or ethics or whether or not honey is vegan; we are about dispensing music like some sort of thrash-orientated vending machine.

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up housing prices and living costs. Maybe we will be the generation of Perthians that don’t own our own places, live on the breadline and give handjobs for hot meals? Another thing about being stuck in Perth is that it has forced you to record almost constantly and release stuff non-stop. Rohan: Well there’s no one to really play to and it’s hard to get out of Perth so if you want to get your music out to anyone that would like it you’re gonna have to record it and get it to them. Y’know, it’s easier to do that than spend so much money on touring. It takes a lot of organization from a long way away even to do a tour over this side of the country, let alone overseas. WA has got a wild punk history, obviously it goes back to The Victims and the great James Baker… Rohan: He lives around the corner from me. He’s real cool. I see him walking around with a VB in his hand all the time. Dan: Yeah, we were set up in Rohan’s house practising and he popped his head in the door one time and said it sounded good. Are Perth’s inhabitants generally informed of its illustrious punk roots? Not just that older stuff but also your fast, fucked-up and anti-social forebears like Rupture, Heist and Nailed Down? Rohan: We’re actually supposed to be doing a 5-inch split with Rupture sometime soon. Everything Rupture have ever recorded has been released, no matter how bad the quality is. That’s why they’ve got so many fucking releases. So one of the dudes from RSR Records is a huge Rupture fan and he’s got one minute of unreleased Rupture material, so since that isn’t enough to do much with he asked us if we wanted to be part of a split 5-inch. We’ve got a few leftover studio tracks so we’re just gonna give him one of those. But yeah, for a long time there has been a lot of good fast stuff in Perth. It seemed to be happening in Perth before it was picked up in most other places in Australia. Rupture is obviously the most known but if you look into it even in the eighties there was a lot of bands that got to the recording stage doing that kind of stuff, bands like Controlled By Fear, Resolute, Kompost, Storm Of Perversion, Threshold Of Pain, Black Sheep... But in Perth now the most popular form of hardcore is quite different. Fast hardcore is not very popular in Perth. The kids don’t know about it and they are not interested in it. Dan: They probably will be in six months. Rhys: I think it’s weird that there’s people who make music their lives and yet they don’t even bother to research it and to find out about the roots of the genre, the things that they are basing their whole existence around. They don’t even know what happened in their own backyard. Rohan: That just goes to show it’s all image, there’s no depth to it. Rhys: I’ve been away for a while and I’ve come back and it seems better. There seems to be more people into the extreme stuff, maybe people are just looking for new things to listen to? That may be a ridiculous observation but that’s what it seems like to me. Rohan: Sorry? I’d stopped listening. You all played in various bands before this – including Halo Of Knives, The Collapse, Hailstones Kill 200 – but perhaps


the band where many of the Extortion trademarks formulated was AIDS (all in deep shit). Rohan: AIDS was my first fast band like that but Rhys and Dan had done Dead Hand a bit before that. But yeah, that was where I first hooked up with these guys. Were you a little ahead of your time with that? Rohan: No, we were just shit. We weren’t ahead; we were actually behind the time because by then that entire scene had been dead in Perth for like eight years or something. So we came along trying to do that but we were sloppy as fuck and everyone was like, “Well what are you trying to do? I can’t hear what you’re doing.” Rhys: We were just pushing this old corpse around. So how did you revive it then? Rohan: We didn’t! I don’t know what happened. I got a quote from Rhys in Distort zine that said, “If Extortion was around 3-4 years ago no one would have given a fuck about us either. We would have been called a ‘thrash band’ and everyone would have hated us.” I’m not sure if I agree with that totally. Maybe Extortion is a more refined version, more intense, more everything? All: [Generally agree]. Rohan: A couple of years ago people’s idea of hardcore was something that sounded like Machine Head pretty much. It was pretty metal. It’s only now that what’s more popular or what’s seen as being hardcore is actually closer to what hardcore is than metal. If your band sounds more like Slayer than it does Minor Threat then you’re probably playing metal, no matter what you call it. Dan: Don’t let them think that their bands sound like Slayer. Rhys: No hardcore band could ever match the intensity of Reign In Blood. Rohan: Yeah, no shit.

"IF PEOPLE ARE CHANGING THEIR WORLDVIEW BASED ON THE VERY BRIEF AMOUNT OF INFORMATION YOU CAN CONVEY IN A FAST HARDCORE SONG THEN THEY DON'T NEED MUCH CONVINCING AT ALL." - ROHAN HARRISON it, but if I sing it myself it won’t come across as sincere because it’s just been sung about so many fucking times before that it’s diluted. Rhys: It’s funny that within hardcore doing an album all about serial killers is considered to be ahead of its time and yet if you were a death metal band and you did that you would be written off as contrived. So maybe it’s time for some death metal bands to start writing about unity? It’s like Barney [Greenway] from Napalm Death, he has that big tattoo on his leg with a black hand

“Raining Blood” is the one song I still can’t beat on Guitar Hero III. Rhys: It’s even harder than that fucking Allman Brother song from Guitar Hero II. Rohan: If I don’t see Guitar Hero mentioned in the final transcript of this interview I’m going to be an angry man. Your lyrics are pretty graphic at times – are you as into serial killers, true crime, as much as the lyrics would suggest? Rohan: It’s an interesting read, yeah. I don’t think it’s so out of the ordinary to be interested in that kinda stuff. Look at shows like CSI; it’s mainstream now. I’ve gotta write about stuff I find interesting and not just what I’m supposed to sing about. A lot of what is sung about in fast and heavy music, I may agree with

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and a white hand shaking hands and it says “Unity” below it: best tattoo ever man. Dan: Just as an interesting sidenote, my best mate Luke’s aunty actually got killed by the Birnie’s [David and Catherine Birnie, a local WA couple who raped, tortured and killed women during the mid-eighties], so I am a little conflicted over that song [“4 Outta 5”]. Rohan: But the music just lends itself to that kind of wrongness anyway. Y’know, one thing I’ve never understood was


positive hardcore. It’s angry, fast music, yet they’re singing about happy, nice things. It doesn’t really work. I don’t care to write “scene” songs either because I don’t really have anything to say to them. I can say things are fucked, but I’m not going to tell anyone to change anything because I don’t think anyone would bother. No lyric I’ve ever listened to has ever changed anything I’ve done. Generally with thrash songs it’s difficult to put that much information into a minute’s worth of material, no matter how fast you sing. So if people are changing their world-view based on the very brief amount of information you can convey in a fast hardcore song then they don’t need much convincing at all. Rhys: I think the best angry lyrics are written in the heat of the moment… Rohan: Or when you think of two words that rhyme together really well. Rhys: But do you know what I mean? This is an intense moment where someone has written all this stuff, when they are probably normally a quite well adjusted person. Rohan: Probably. Rhys: [To Rohan] Would you say that when you write a pissed off angry song that something has triggered that? Rohan: Oh yeah, something usually has happened and I find it’s best to get the basis of it down and then elaborate on it later. Because when you’re pretty worked up about something you’re not worrying about details so much.

Was Sick recorded any differently to previous releases? Rohan: Not as such. It was a bit rushed if anything. I actually prefer Control [EP], because Control is exactly as we had envisaged it, whereas with Sick we were probably aiming to do more but because of time and money and everything we just didn’t get time. Dan: Rohan wrote a bunch of songs just in the last two weeks before we recorded; four of them came together in the last week. Rohan: We really wanted to make an album where you’re not listening to the same song so many fucking times. But also you don’t want it to be too long either. Too many bands put more songs on an album just because they can fit then but you just can’t listen to that stuff for too long. I don’t want anybody to get tired of hearing it. Dan: Tons of grindcore band play for too long just because they get allocated a certain amount of time and it loses intensity after a while. It’s meant to be short and sharp but instead it becomes this drain. Rhys: We’re playing with The Kill tomorrow night; that should be good.

That’s why I really love “Overwhelmed”. Because it’s ambiguous, it’s not defined, you can fill in the gaps of where that is and what it’s about but what it expresses is just a pure rage. Rohan: That’s about my boss.

Isn’t it apparently Jaws’ last show tomorrow night, Rhys [Rhys played guitar in Jaws]? Rhys: Yeah. James the drummer lives in Melbourne and the guitarist lives in Queensland and it was just like, I left to go overseas and the band kept going for a while but they didn’t really

Is that The Arthouse show in Melbourne? That’s an amazing line-up. Rohan: Yeah, for this whole tour we just asked every band we wanted to play with and every one of them said yes.

"I WOULDN'T SAY THE EXTORTION ARTWORK IS ENTIRELY ALL THAT I DRAW. IT JUST SUITS THE BAND - IT'S FEEL-BAD ART." - ROHAN HARRISON

I want to talk about the new album, Sick, which is not about serial killers but about bird flu. Rohan: It doesn’t follow as much of a storyline as you might think. The songs and the stories kind of take different angles as they take on each subject. Some of it is just sheer panic. It’s like, “You’re fucked. This is fucking up. This is fucking up. What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do? You’re fucked. You’re fucked. You’re gonna die.” You know, it goes with the music. You’ve gotta keep the desperation in there otherwise it would just be weird. There’s one song that feels a bit strange to sing live because it’s one side of a telephone conversation [“Phone In Sick”]. It’s this character phoning in sick and the lyrics are exactly that, just like, “Hi there. I don’t think I’m going to be in today, I feel sick…” That’s all the lyrics are. But it feels weird singing that because it doesn’t have any desperation and frustration in it, it’s just half a phone conversation. But I needed to have that song in there and I kind of liked the idea of it in light of how it ends up. When you know the outcome of the entire thing, this guy is calling in just saying he won’t be in that day, but knowing the outcome, it’s pretty foreboding. Things aren’t going to be all right y’know. Did you need to do any research into bird flu to write it? Rohan: I did do a bit of research but I found out it just works like the common flu. I wanted to get more into the specifics of the strain of virus but I didn’t end up going that far into it. I remember saying to Rhys a concept album about bird flu would be funny. Even the serial killer stuff on Degenerate, we thought it would be funny to do that. It’s funny ‘cos it’s in bad taste, it’s not done for like, “Let’s do something fuckin’ intense and scare everybody.” We’re not metal.

write anything. I think it just came to a natural conclusion. Rohan: It’s like every band you’re in when it breaks up; you’re not too fussed because you got to do something in that style and now you can move on. Rhys: Hardcore bands can only be intense for a certain period of time I think. Before what? Rohan: Before you start playing metal. Rhys: I think you’ll find the next Extortion record might even be a bit more metal. Rohan: Maybe a bit of Slayer, a bit of Repulsion, a bit of that thrash stuff, but without doing something heavy metal as such. Rhys: It’s a natural progression. It’s basically more fun to play a more involved style and just listening to the last two records that Extortion made while I was away I hear a lot of tremolo and single-string picking and I love that shit. Rohan was saying he wanted the next one to be more Slayer-meets-Infest or something. How was the Maggotville show last night? Rohan: It was all right, it was a good show. Rhys: We played there years ago in one of our old bands and it was a terrible time, we were all sick and stuff. Rohan: Last time we used pretty low budget gear and we played at the front of the stage, because the stage is pretty small and because there was no light there we couldn’t see what we were playing and no one could see us, it was terrible. So from last time we knew what we did wrong and y’know, everyone wasn’t sick so it was better.

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Rhys: I thought the show was good. Pretty energetic young crowd. It had a good vibe. Did Al Smith record Sick? Rohan: We save money going to him because we’ve been to him so many times he already knows where to start off to get our sound. He knows the sound we want. We’ve been recording with him since we were in AIDS. Dan: And each recording he’s done a better job too I think. Rhys: He doesn’t act as a producer. Like if you want his input he’ll give it to you or if he thinks you are way off with an idea and he’s got a better one he may offer it, but for the most part he doesn’t try to sell himself as a producer like some of these other people do. Rohan: He’s got nominated for a few WAMI [West Australian Music Industry] Awards but he doesn’t get ‘em ‘cos he didn’t do the Eskimo Joe album. Dan: He’s a really mellow bloke, easy to record with. He is so patient. Rhys: Patient as shit. Rohan: I would even say patient as fuck. Rhys: He’s a mega hell patient cunt. Rohan, I wanted to discuss your art. You seem to have progressed from the simple black and white style to splashing a bit of colour about to now the Sick cover art, which has got quite a few colours… Rohan: I’ve started putting colour into my work, yeah, but I think that’s because mostly the stuff I’ve always drawn was for flyers and stuff like that, which had to be photocopied, so everything tended to be black and white. I had no need to use


colour. But over time I’ve worked it in. You wouldn’t want to be doing the same thing over and over again. But I wouldn’t say the Extortion artwork is entirely all that I draw. I don’t just do stuff like that; it just suits the band. It’s feel-bad art, stuff that makes you feel bad. I love the art for your side of the upcoming split with Jed Whitey, that kid having pills shoved down his throat and that arm that’s grabbing him. Rhys: He only showed me that the other night and like I had seen it before but never really paid that much attention. It’s pretty unsettling, but then you should see the other side. Rohan: I also drew the Jed Whitey side of the artwork, this is for the split that they are yet to record for… That thing has been coming for years now. Rohan: I know. Our songs were recorded at the same time we recorded our self-titled, that was 2005, so yeah, our tracks and art and everything have been there ready to go for a long time. So when I showed Jed Whitey our art they said, “Oh yeah, that’s sweet. Can you draw us the exact opposite?” So I did the kid force-feeding lollies down an old dude’s throat. I reckon it came out pretty good. You showed me that new T-shirt design just before [a pregnant woman with a man standing in front of her holding a coat hanger] and I think that’s too extreme for me to wear. Rohan: The weird thing is, I like the idea of not having stuff that’s too explicit. If you actually look at that T-shirt there is nothing explicit, there are no tits or vaginas. All there is is a stomach and a dude with a coat hanger.

EXTORTION  DISCOGRAPHY  2005: S/T 7” CDEP (Eerie Stratum) 2006: Degenerate (Common Bond/Deep Six) 2007: Control 7” CDEP (Trial & Error/Deep Six) 2008: Sick (Common Bond/Deep Six) Coming soon: Split 7” w/ Jed Whitey Coming soon: Split 7” w/ Agents Of Abhorrence Coming soon: Split 5” w/ Rupture

So he could just be about to hang up his shirt? Rohan: Yeah, no shit. I mean, it’s probably not that vague but still I think there’s more of an underlying malice than just a flat-out violent image. The EP artwork was pretty blatant because I had given up on a few designs and I ended up just drawing a dude with an axe. Rhys: He could be chopping wood? Rohan: But then I added the little caption on that one, which

I do like: “I’ve had it up to here with you bloody kids.” So do you feel happy about the success of the band so far? Rohan: We don’t really see any of that. All the money, I don’t get to do anything with, it just goes straight back into the band. We’re still paying off Jay [guitar] for the last recording. He’s the only one with any money because he’s a professional poker player. He’s the richest and the laziest person I know.

Now that Sick is almost out, what new releases, tours and whatnot are on the horizon? Rohan: Coming up there’s the Jed Whitey split 7-inch, an Agents Of Abhorrence split 7-inch and possibly that Rupture split 5-inch. Sick is coming out on LP in the States through Deep Six any day now. We’ve been offered shows here there and everywhere and I’d say we’ll do another Australian tour before the end of the year and then we’ll try and

get to the US either at the end of this year or the start of next year. I’ve just started to organise it now. We might tour with Lack Of Interest; it would be cool to tour with someone like that because they have a similar style to ours. What’s next for lyrical concepts, horse flu?! Rohan: We were actually thinking of something along the lines of shit jobs. Rhys: That would actually be getting back to some of the ideas on the first seven-inch. Rohan: Yeah, see, we don’t have to do a concept album. We’re not stuck doing that. As a band I like the idea that we change a little bit with every album but I don’t like the idea that we have to progress in a certain direction. If we want to go back and do shit off the first EP then we’ll just do it. I think we’ll just do whatever we feel like. Rhys: I think there is a certain amount of strength in being able to write, especially in hardcore, which is such a thing where anybody can get up and play it, but to be able to write a good quality LP with some meaty lyrics and be able to present a whole package, I think there’s a lot of strength in that. It definitely sets a really high benchmark for the band, having to try and top that.


AFRICA / INDIAN OCEAN TOUR 2007

DIARY EXTRACTS BY DE

VON MORF.

ARTWORK AND ADDITIONAL TEXT BY GLENNO. PHOTOS BY KAROLINE COLLINS AND CFD.

C

best release to onquest for Death have just delivered their Africa's Give h Sout on y, Valle en date, Beyond the Hidd their most g pletin com just as well as rds Reco and Take ber 2007. Octo n, Ocea n India audacious tour yet â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Africa / n Morf's Devo r singe of s piece and bits This article uses quesd aime ely lengthy tour diary, as well as a few vagu ABLY ELIEV UNB for did I le artic the tions. Makes a nice companion piece to ious prev the res featu h whic e", Som Then And Bad #5 "All You Can Eat... mighty punk adventurers. Enjoy! adventures and band family tree of these

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dors is a better description than missionaries, as we didn't go with any intention to convert anyone and there were already bands and scenes in the all countries we visited. We were just the first heavy music band from another continent to tour most of the countries we visited. I can definitely say this was my most exciting tour experiences, though All You Can Eat's first world tour of New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan was one for the books.

“O

ur guitarists Alex and Craig go with Hein. Our bassist, Robert, our roadie / photographer, Karoline, who is also Robert’s wife, and I go with Herzog. On the drive in, Herzog explains to us that South Africa has the highest rate of rape in the world and is the second most violent country in the world, with over 24,000 officially documented murders occurring each year. He says many claim that this figure is being under reported by the government to save face and not dissuade tourism and Interpol believes the actual number may actually be double. He adds that the annual murder rate of South Africa is actually higher than that annual death toll of many countries that are in a state of war.” Glenno: You guys really are punk missionaries, and I mean that in an adventuristic way, not a patronizing, religious way. Has this tour been the most exciting one of your infamous career so far? Devon Morf: I would say that ambassa-

“...When we mention that we will be going to a Malarial region of Botswana, and have yet to procure anti-malaria medication. Herzog tells us he is studying homeopathic remedies at university and can provide us with a more natural preventative than the prescription meds we have investigated and are wary of. We will only be in Botswana for three days and the possible side effects of the anti-malarial prophylaxis we’ve researched include; nausea, vomiting, dizziness, insomnia, nightmares, depression, anxiety, psychosis, hallucinations, seizures, abdominal pain, headaches, diarrhoea and exaggerated sunburn reaction. One anti-malarial is currently the target of several lawsuits for allegedly having adverse neuropsychiatric effects in 29% of its users surveyed. In addition to several of the aforementioned ailments, other side effects of this anti-malarial include panic attacks, sensory and motor neuropathies including tremors, convulsions, agitation, restlessness, mood changes, forgetfulness, confusion, aggression, paranoia and encephalopathy. Though not proven, it is suspected by some as a contributing factor to the suicidal intentions, suicides and / or violent acts of some of its users.

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With possible side effects like these, we all wonder how different or worse Malaria can be.” Glenno: You mentioned in a recent email to me, after this diary was initially written, that this dangerous anti-malaria treatment has had violent repercussions for a friend of yours... Devon Morf: Actually it was a friend of Herzog's. The lover of his friend had been on some anti-malarial meds and went insane and chopped him up with a machete. “Saturday October 13th - Thrashers, Pretoria: Today’s show is an all-day event at a huge skate park called Thrashers. It is a beautiful, warm, sunny day. On the drive to the show, we hear of “Uhuru” or “Night of the Long Knives” which is the belief that on the day ex-President Nelson Mandela dies, the black population of South Africa will rise up and kill all the whites. Most of the punks we have met in SA are of European ancestry and believe “Night of the Long Knives” to be a paranoid right wing Afrikaner conspiracy theory, but in a country where white South Africans are a minority making up less than 10% of the total population, you can tell that even the thought of considering such a possibly is frightening.” Glenno: Was the punk/metal experience in Southern Africa a white one or were there any exceptions to the rule? Was there a white supremacist scene there that you had heard about or experienced first hand? Devon Morf: The punk / metal experience in Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean varied by region. In South Africa the majority of the scene are white, but there are some people of African, Asian and Indian subcontinent ancestry. In Namibia our show was like 85% white and 15% African, but Neblina might have drawn a lot of the local Angolan community. Botswana is a 100% African metal scene. Occasionally some white South Africans will play or attend the shows though. Mauritius and Reunion are island mixes of


years will get me out of this predicament. Wrong, they have a non-alcoholic frothy corn drink in another bucket for me to imbibe. It is kind of like if you made a smoothie out of sugar corn puffs and water. Not that good, but could be a lot worse.” Glenno: Did you get sick while you were in Africa? Devon Morf: I did not, but Alex and Robert did. Robert got food poisoning. Alex got a combo of food poisoning and dehydration and ended up going to hospital in South Africa and missed our Cape Town show. Karoline went with him and said his skin was grey before they gave him an IV re-hydration.

predominately Indian, African, Asian, French and British people. There is no visible white supremacist scene of racist metal, punk or Oi bands in South Africa or Namibia, where there are the largest concentration of white people. There do some to be some right wing Afrikaner groups but they seem to be very low profile and rural after the fall of apartheid. All the people we met just wanted to rock or thrash regardless of where a band came from or what ethnicity they were. “...Facing The Gallows play some new school metal hardcore and their vocalist issues of some of the most unintentionally funny and awkward stage banter I’ve heard, with such classic as, ‘If you have a tampon you better shove it up your ass now, because this next song is gonna make you lose your shit’.” Glenno: Did Facing the Gallows make you shit your pants? Devon Morf: No, just laugh out loud. Nice guys, absurd banter. “...Sebo takes us to a shabeen, a local illegal, but common, drinking place. It is a cramped, dark shack, packed with happy, drunken, mostly toothless older men sitting on a low bench that runs along the interior circumstance of the wall, minus the door frame. We are invited to sit and drink, as they a yellow plastic bucket of home brewed beer is passed around to sip from. I was raised on hygiene films through grammar school, and won’t even drink out of my friend’s soda cans for fear of cold sore or mono, I’ve never even considered tuberculosis before. But then I think… score! Maintaining my straight edge all these

“Craig and Kiku go to D-TV so Hot Lixx can perform some air guitar on deaf television. The rest of us head to the South Africa Military Museum of Military History...” Glenno: Craigums is really pushing the envelope with his air guitar superpowers... What happened on the deaf television programme? Devon Morf: I didn't go, but I guess he just did his thing. Dressed up, pulled faces, pranced about. He's pushing the envelope of air guitar. First no instrument, now no sound. “Tonight’s club is the Roxy. A big sign above its entrance reads, “STRICTLY NO UNDER 18’S ALLOWED. I.D. TO BE PRODUCED ON REQUEST. PLEASE HAND FIREARMS IN AT THE DOOR.” The interior is done up in a wallpaper of old US comic book cover like X-Man and Fantastic Four. There is a huge silver metal helicopter above the Castle Greyskull-ish stonework stage which sort of like the of Motorhead’s Live at Hammersmith if Lemmy and Co. couldn’t afford a bomber. We play with Elysian Plane, a metal rock band with Party Tim of Tom-X webpage, Patric’s metal band, Death Of A Rival and new school hardcore band, New Found Disorder, who had the dancefloor moving with a small group of kick-boxing tank-top-wearers." Glenno: What bands did you really enjoy? Devon Morf: Wrust from Botswana killed. Awesome death metal. Mutiny from Cape Town were great. Youthful punk / Oi! Also dug TKDM from Cape Town, anarcho-crustpunk. Tranquil from Pretoria are solid metal. There is a punk scene in South Africa, with AWOL, Touched by Nausea, OiRothoL, etc., but the rest of the countries are more metal, so we played with some traditional metal

bands like subMission in Namibia, grunge/ rock/ metal band Neblina from Angola, prog rock metal band Feedback in Mauritius, amazing musicians in the vein of Rush/ Dream Theater, even a glam rock-inspired band in Botswana called Barren Barrel. Glenno: Are there any plans to do any split releases or further tours on either side of the world? Devon Morf: I will be releasing a compilation of African / Indian Ocean bands on a split album with bands from the Middle East. We will tour New Zealand, Australia and South East Asia East later in the year. “...We hit it off with Stefan and Willie immediately. Stefan plays guitar in subMission and may possibly be the tallest man in metal, measuring in a 6”7”. He even dwarfs Robert. Willie, pronounced as a more Germanic sounding “Villy”, is subMission’s vocalist. As they drive us the 42 kilometers to Windhoek, we see troops of baboon walking along the side of the road; sometimes little ones hitching rides on their mom’s backs, and our hosts tell us some history and facts about the region.” Glenno: Was this your first time in Africa? Devon Morf: This was the first time for all of us. It was Craig's 7th continent visited, which was exciting.

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Glenno: Did the band have any up close, wildlife experiences? Devon Morf: Yes, we went on some game drives, “safaris”, in Namibia and Botswana and saw giraffes, zebras, baboons, onyxes, zebus, wart hogs, large lizards, drove through a heard of wildebeests, all sorts of wildlife. We were really close to some zebra in Botswana. We saw penguins and whales in Cape Town. We were a few feet from some huge crocodiles in Botswana. They were behind a low fence but still scared the hell out of Robert and Karoline when it reared up her head and snapped at them and made this creepy growl. They jumped so high. It was at a crocodile farm and it was a pregnant mother protecting her nest of eggs. “...We are also informed, that there is also a serial killer currently on the loose, known as the B-1 Butcher, named after the stretch of road he had been depositing the naked, dismembered, decapitated bodies of his young female victims, in shallow graves rubbish bins or and culverts. Many locals theorized it was a truck driver, as many manned check points were crossed from where the women went missing to where their bodies where found. One victim’s body appeared to have been refrigerated before being discarded. But they tell us not to worry, ‘This is Namibia, we only have one active serial killer, I’m sure you have many, many more in the US’.” Glenno: What were some of the misconceptions that Southern Africans have of the U.S, and what were yours of Southern Africa if any?


Devon Morf: I think Africans had a pretty good conception of the US. I think we all researched the regions pretty well before we left so weren't really caught off guard by much. It was amazing to just be there and see everything we’d read about. “...We stop by a bottle shop and load up on beverages before we arrive at the game reserve. Once we get through the gates, most of the crew are drinking open containers and smoking joints as we blast Slayer driving though the Namibian bush. Frequently our host’s turn down the music and stop the vehicle when they spot giraffes, oryx, zebu, wildebeest, baboons and wart hogs, so we can get out, watch them and take some pictures. At one point we stop by a parking area near a scenic peak with a view of the surrounding area. Hyraxes are climbing along a nearby peak and we can see baboons turning over garbage cans and throwing trash around and immediately Kiku is enamoured with them. ‘Baboons,’ then pauses, smiles, then ‘…Chaos, I like’ and laughs. A conversation about vegetarianism starts. Our hosts are tolerant of the idea but explain, ‘We’ve grown up hunting and killing our own food’. The veggie / vegan members of the CFD crew explain the conditions industry animals are raised in, the hormones they’re fed, the environmental side effects, etc. There is a tone of disgust in their reply, ‘Who would want to eat that? We eat our meat fresh’.” Glenno: Was it difficult to find good vegetarian food? DDevon Morf: Not at all. There was an abundance of Indian food and it was common to be able to find seitan, TVP and mock

meat products at many super markets. We went to a couple nice organic / vegetarian restaurants in South Africa. “Woke up, had breakfast, then went downtown to the music store and recording studio. We meet up with Neblina and discover their drummer, Theigo, was from Zimbabwe and used to be in WarTog, a UK based nineties metal band with members from Botswana and Zimbabwe. We all head over to a nearby bar and restaurant for food and drink. Michel, Neblina’s guitarist, proceeds to get more and more drunk and starts talking about getting drugs and pussy. Their vocalist, Mauro is startled when we explain we release our own our CDs and finance our own tours, muttering, ‘If you can’t get signed, what’s the point? We should just give up.’ We encourage them to stick to their dreams. They’re a third world band that want to “make it” and move to LA, while we’re a DIY band, disillusioned by the music industry that are vacationing with musical instruments in a third world country. They tell us about life in Angola, discussing the destruction of road and phone systems and general infrastructure as the result of 30 years of civil war. Then Michel changes the subject and asks, ‘What’s up with the elephants? You love elephants.’ To which the passing waitress overhears and goes, ‘You like elephant? Would you like some elephant?’ To which I reply, ‘Oh, no, I like elephant, but not to eat’.” Glenno: Did you get to see the Conquest for Death totem animal - The elephant? Devon Morf: Argh, no. We wanted to, just not on a plate. “...We discuss the Fest and what an

amazing experience it was to play with such a diverse group of bands from such equally diverse countries and how responsive the crowd was. When I say that it seems that the crowd were all a foot of two back from the stage when we played compared to the other bands, Sven’s brother, Gunnar, responds, ‘Don’t worry, it was fucking brilliant. I don’t think any of them had seen or heard anything like it before. It was like Black Flag meets Agnostic Front in Africa. To be perfectly honest, I think you scared some of them, and that’s a good thing. These people need to be shaken up a bit’.” Glenno: How did most Southern Africans get hold of their music? Devon Morf: A lot of people don't have

much spare money so they pick up CDs when they can or download or burn stuff. Glenno: Is there a large dependence on internet/mail-order? Devon Morf: There are a few labels that also do distros, like the label we're on Give & Take Records. Some of the kids do some overseas mail order but it seemed to be more for shirts. Glenno: I was under the impression that you were traveling to Reunion Island and Mauritius so you could see all those pirate coves you get excited about. How was your time when you left the continent for the islands, buccaneer? Devon Morf: Unfortunately we didn't have a lot of spare time for pirate sightseeing.


Our flight to Reunion was cancelled so we missed our gig there, but our time in Mauritius was amazing. Great gig, awesome people, amazing food. We hope to go back someday and hit Madagascar as well. “Before going on tour I told a coworker about the Botswana metal scene and how despite being in Africa, it seemed like it could very well be suburban America with the all the metalhead loving their metal, pro wrestling and horror films. He questioned, is this necessarily a good thing? He seemed to imply it was from neocolonial imperialism and/ or assimilation. I told him that I didn’t see it this way as music has no boundaries, just look at the global appeal of rap, and the Botswana metal scene is still an underground non-mainstream scene. To put it in perspective, here's a quote from Stux in a Wrust interview: ‘The population of Botswana is 1.7 million people. 50% have never heard anything about rock, let alone metal music. About 25% love music. Then cut that by half for the Gospel music lovers. Now we are looking at 12.5% of the population, which loves hip-hop, R&B, local genres and jazz. I will then say maybe less than 1% of the population is into rock, then 0.05% into extreme metal. I guess you get the idea’. We heard another defense of African metal while eating our meal in Windhoek with Neblina. Michel noted that rock and metal were not the most popular style of music in Angola and some people criticized them for playing a non-indigenous, non-African style of music. He said he turns the tables and stumps his critics by asking them if they enjoy soccer, which is not of African origin but the most popular sport in Africa.”

Glenno: Did you have a run-in with a shock-jock in Namibia? Devon Morf: Yeah, we were doing a preMetal Fest promotional interview on a local Windhoek rock station. The shock jock said a few things about our Asian bandmates and Rob Halford that were stupid. I can't locate the disc, which has the whole interview to pull some quote for you. It was juvenile and Robert and I brushed him off, giving him disproving pauses or sarcastic responses, so it all turned out well without playing into something confrontational. “In between bands, metalheads in Iron Maiden and Bon Jovi beach towels worn as capes strut their stuff on the dance floor and play air guitar to AC/DC songs pumped over the PA while good looking ladies

booty dance and grind to the tunes or head bang intensely, seemingly without spilling their beers. One woman writhes, rolls and flips over backwards to the music like a drunken metal cirque de soleil performer. A dude with his pants zipper down in a white crocodile hunter outfit struts his stuff on the floor. A dude in white and black face paint done up like the pro wrestler Sting is holding on to a blood-covered mannequin while he and his female friend hold it between them as they grind against and dry hump it for what seems like hours. A dude in an off-center long wig does the splits in his air guitar routine and blows of out the crotch of his jeans. There’s a dude all in leather with a knife that seems to be the Maun equivalent to Rob Halford. There’s a woman who looks like a heavy metal rude girl. She got a pork pie hat and an animal skull codpiece affixed around her waist with chains. Everyone is beyond intoxicated and hugging each other. It’s like the punk explosion in London or New York in 1977 or the LA hardcore scene or the NWOBHM scene at the Soundhouse in the early eighties. Everyone is just doing his or her own thing and comfortable with it, no matter how weird or outlandish it may seem to an outsider. It is all new and organic and natural, a seeming extension of the individuals personality. There appears to be no rules on expression, fashion, style or attitude. Maybe in a few years it will be more rigid and formulaic and standardized but at his moment it just seems pure.” Glenno: Unpretentious reactions to energetic music must be as close to the true

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spirit of punk rock as you can get. Have you played anywhere else in the world that displayed that sort of raw joy? Devon Morf: That wasn't their reaction to us, that was their reaction to life as metalheads in Botswana. They were stoked to be out drinking with their friends at the show. Dressed to the nines and ready to party. They would have all been there even if we weren't. It is a dedicated scene that all come out for local or touring bands. It's a new, fresh, un-jaded scene. I remember playing a show in Hong Kong that was amazing. We played to a bunch of university tech students that were overwhelmed with excitement and joy, they weren't even punk, just having fun. “...We are trying to process what is going on around us as we fix an amp problem that delays us from starting for twenty minutes. People are chanting ‘Conquest “OF” Death’ over and over and pounding the stage. When we start, one dude decides he wants Craig’s red shirt and jumps up between songs to demand it from him. I spin the mic by the cord, like a nunchaku and proceed to smash open my forehead. My ninja skills are lacking. I’m bleeding and screaming and we’re playing a song a minute and I think everyone thinks we’re nuts. We have found the common denominator, as neither crowd nor band have seen or experienced anything like this show before. When we finish, Stux insists we finish with “The Trooper”, so we do – for him and the 20% of the crowd that are wearing Iron Maiden shirts or capes. We think the show is over, but boy are we wrong. Barren Barrel set up and we are told all the bands will play again. It seems that shows in Botswana go all night and continue until every one has gone home or passed out. Eventually Rhutz put an end to it, as their gear is the backline and they need to drive back to South Africa. When it is time to leave the guy trying to get Craig’s shirt has not given up and Alex and I provide a barrier for an irate Craig to escape. We load up and are in the back of a pick-up truck as people reach in and hug us, pat our heads and / or grab us. We’re so cramped that we can’t turn to talk to people or see whom touching us and our driver is talking to a friend out his window. Eventually we get moving and on the way back to the hotel, Kiku loses it in peels of laughter. We can only imagine what is going though his head. He’s a trooper. With his limited English he agreed to join us on this tour and hasn’t spoken or communicated properly in his


native tongue for three weeks. By his own admission he understands 80% of what’s spoken and can respond to 50% of it, but he still must exist in a weird bubble at times. Regardless, it is apparent he is having great time.” Glenno: Kiku is amazing, not just as a drummer but for placing faith in you guys when communication is so fragmented. What part of your experience this time was shaped by fear and where do you gain your inner confidence? Devon Morf: Kiku is such a great person and his drumming blew people away. We learned so much more about each other on this tour. Things that had never come up in conversation before. I don't think we had much shaped by fear. We were just always conscious of our surroundings. We were surrounded by friends and locals that looked out for us. We weren't just muddling through haphazardly. I think we all had a fascination and desire, rather than fear, of going to Africa. “Monday October 29th-Tuesday October 30th : We exchange currency at the Maun airport and are recognized by a fair number of the airport staff, and hand out some stickers and CDs to people who went to shows, couldn’t make the show or had told their friends they would buy a CD but got drunk and forgot. When we arrive at JHB I notice my bag is unzipped, detached and a general mess. When I start to sort it out I becomes apparent that it has been rummaged through. Looking for a customs form that says my bag has been inspected I find none but do note that my multi-tool is missing and my mosquito netting is pulled out it its case and is caught up in and torn in the zippers, now useless. I fill out some paperwork, which is basically just the form in formality, knowing that it will amount to nothing, and months later this is confirmed in a polite email. Disappointing yes, but I was more wrecked about misplacing a videocassette of Craig, Karoline and Kiku just a few yards away from some zebra in Botswana.” Glenno: So Devon... What happens next? (Heh, Heh!) I hear on the grapevine that you guys are thinking about an Australian tour.... I hope so. Can you give me any details and hopes for that mission? Devon Morf: We will record our next album and play some shows with Subhumans in April. We hope to go to New Zealand, Australia and South East Asia in October. We'll do a split with Cut Sick! 7"on Missing Link. I guess check in on our MySpace page or with Missing Link as the time gets nearer. Thanks for everything Glenn! Devon’s FOOTNOTE: “In the immediate weeks following out return, Uganda experienced an Ebola breakout and Kenya slid into civil unrest. We had been offered shows in both countries but had to pass on them due to a lack of time and finances.”

For info on ordering a full transcription of the Conquest For Death Africa / Indian Ocean tour diary in a printed, digest sized format, please contact devonmorf@yahoo.com. Conquest for Death PO BOX 8039 Emeryville, CA 94662 USA www.conquestfordeath.com www.myspace.com/conquestfordeathsf


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THE DN

N O I S S E R DEP T 3] R

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E L P O E P O D WHY

HATE US? IN DNA FANZINE. THIS ISSUE D BY HARRY BUTLER AND ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED A SERIES OF DEPRESSION INTERVIEWS CONDUCTE INTERVIEW FROM 1985, ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN DNA#43… WE MOVE ONTO THE FIRST PART OF HARRY’S SECOND DEPRESSION

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ollowing on from last year’s “fun” effort, DNA now brings you the wise and wonderful words of Chairman Smeer - colleagues in the 1985 mega rave. The “conversation” printed on the next umpteen pages comes from an interview at the Producers Hotel on the afternoon of Good Friday (5/4/85). Those present were: Smeer (guitar), Spike (vocals), Sham (drums), Liddy (bass), Liz (Depression admin assistant), Anna (Depression roadie) and me (HB). To start with something non-controversial, how well did the single go last year? Smeer: We sold the 500 pretty well and we’ve done another pressing now and they’ve all gone too. So it’ll be close to 1000 that have been sold. Where were most of the sales – just here in Australia? Smeer: Mainly in Australia. Did any go overseas? Smeer: I think Alby out of Vicious Circle sent a few – about 150 copies – overseas. I don’t know. We get letters from

overseas and we send ‘em over, though not that many really; I don’t know, maybe 20 or 30? Did you get much response to it? Or did it just sell quietly and that was it? Smeer: Since that Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll album, that’s really helped a lot ‘cos that’s mainly where we get a lot of letters from. They mainly just ask for the single and whether we’ve got any other stuff out. How was the Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll thing organised? Smeer: Just when the Dead Kennedys came over. Jello Biafra took a tape back to America and Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll must’ve heard it. It was just a tape off a mixing desk from a gig where they played with us; they heard it and it got into a couple of their playlists. Then they wrote back over to us and asked us to go on the album. We just recorded it and sent the tape over to them. So it was a pretty basic thing really. It was good though, doing it. Okay then, the album you’ve just done, how do you feel about it now that it’s finally come out? Like the production on it and stuff, I thought the overall production was a bit weak – could have been stronger. Smeer: For how we were fucked around it came out pretty good.

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What happened? Smeer: Oh it’s just, we got two producers who were pretty inexperienced. But we’ve got it sorted out now. I’m pretty happy with it, but I’m pissed off with it ‘cos it’s come out too late and half the songs we don’t do anymore. Like it was recorded ten months ago. Why did it take so long to come out? Smeer: Just through fucking around with Phil McDougall, stuffing around, not getting his shit together and getting off his fucking arse to do things… I can’t put that in! Smeer: Yeah, put it in, fuck him! Liz: It’s true. Smeer: And stuff like that. When we were going to get the album covers printed they wouldn’t print it in Sydney ‘cos of the words so we had to go to Melbourne and get it printed, which was a big fucking hassle. And as we got them printed we had to glue ‘em together by hand ‘cos we couldn’t get a factory to fucking glue ‘em. So it’s just been a mega hassle from the start. One thing that surprised me was that you didn’t have your names on the album cover anywhere? Smeer: We forgot about that. [Much laughter all round]


We said, “Have we put everything on it? And then the album came out and, “Ah, we didn’t put our names on it.” We thought everybody might know who we are anyway. Sham: We wrote inside the covers anyway. Smeer: Yeah, we wrote a lot of stuff inside the covers like, “These fucking covers are hand-glued,” and shit like that. How wide spread is the distribution for it? Smeer: Well I don’t know. See, Monash Records are supposed to be distributing it around Australia – this is what Phil’s told me. If it’s true I don’t know – but they reckon they might distribute it around the world for us too. ‘Cos I think they’ve got contacts overseas and stuff. What about the choice of songs on the album. I notice you’re fairly prolific songwriters – how did you choose the final 26? Smeer: Just picked out what we thought at the time were the best songs that we were doing at that stage. ‘Cos we had a lot of songs, some of ‘em we were sick of. Why did you put on “What A Strange World” and “Money Chain”, seeing as they’d already been released elsewhere? Smeer: I thought they were pretty good songs and liked the sound of a bit of a different mix on ‘em. I just thought we’ll put ‘em on anyway ‘cos they’re two strong songs… and I sort of thought, well, if you buy the album you got those two songs, which are off two other records as well. I s’pose it might make people not want to buy the single as much, I don’t know. Were both those songs re-recorded for the album? Smeer: Yeah, we re-did them, we just thought we’d put ‘em down again while we were in there to see what they sounded like. And when we heard them we thought they sounded good, so we may as well stick them on there. And we also wanted to try and get as many tracks on there as we could. Listening to the album it seems to be a real mixture of your earlier thrashy sort of stuff and the more recent heavy metal sound. Smeer: Yeah it is. So was it an in-betweeny sort of stage when you did it? Smeer: Yeah, well not it’s a different band. It’s like you say the band then were gong through changes. There’s some new material we were writing at the time with our old drummer Danny still included on that album. The stuff we’re doing now – you would have heard some of the new songs last night – seems to suit the band better than the old stuff. I reckon it does anyway. It’s more natural for the drummer to play too ‘cos we were writing it with him. I just thought that comparing songs like “Time Freeze” and “They Wouldn’t Blow Up The World…” Smeer: Yeah well “Wouldn’t Blow Up The World” is a really old song, we just put it on there ‘cos a lot of people liked that song. How did the change in direction come about? Was it an actual conscious change – did you decide to go more metallish or was it a gradual thing? Smeer: We’d sort of always been labeled as a heavy metal band from the very start… well people have always been hanging it on us for being heavy metal. Liddy: So we thought we’d do it. Smeer: We’re not trying to go heavy metal. What’s happened is that now there’s an underground metal scene going on, and it’s called black metal and death metal and all sorts of names like that. And they’re like the underground bands of the metal scene that never get any gigs, they’re like the punk bands of the metal scene – you know what I mean? Ånd they’re really fast, like sometimes they’re so fast you can’t distinguish whether they’re punk or metal. And I’m sort of glad to see it happen ‘cos a lot of metal guys are now starting to get into punk music ‘cos they like the trash metal stuff. And we just started listening to a lot of that stuff ‘cos a lot of the punk music… like when it started and there were bands like Discharge and that, which were really fill-on musically to me – that I liked – and they had a real heavy sound. But know in the punk scene I can’t really see many bands that appeal to me musically that are really heavy, except maybe English Dogs, and they’ve gone a bit more like what we’re doing now anyway. Sham: You can’t keep playing the same stuff forever. Smeer: It’s just a natural progression. It’s not like we’ve decided we’re gonna go like this, it’s just developed that way over the years. Do you find that playing that stuff now is making use of the “skills” you learnt years ago when you were playing music back in the seventies? Smeer: Not really, because the skills I’ve developed now are better than what I had then anyway. And I’m using the new skills I’ve developed in the band with the band – It’s not

like I’m sort of going back on my old stuff and reviving it. I’m playing stuff totally new to me too, like It’s totally new to everyone in the band – we’re just sort of doing it together.

as a direct thing, just go

specific issues. "We'd sort of always on about What are the new songs like lyrically? Are they the same heavy been labeled as a sort of thing? Smeer: They’re metal band How do you see your from actually good and better the very music developing in the than a lot of earlier stuff future then? that we’ve written. I have e peopl ll t...we star Smeer: I think it’s going to be reckon it is. It’s more along the same lines, it’s going relevant to the band. always been hanging it to be really mega heavy and it’s Musically and lyrically the just gonna be the same. It’s gonna band’s developed too now. be really fast and slow, a mixture y heav being for us on of everything. But it’s not gonna be I’m also told that you’re like you can say, “Well that band sort of working hard to " r Smee l. meta Depression now they sound actively bring punk and heavy like so-and-so.” It’ll always sound like us, you know what I mean? It’s gonna be our own natural sound that develops as the line-up is now. It’s always been like that with us. Although we hear things and are influenced by them we don’t sort of say, “We wanna go like that.” That’s how I see the music developing anyway, it’s just gonna develop naturally. Sham: Just progressing.

Corresponding with that change in music you had a change in drummers… Smeer: Well Sham is from a metal band called Nothing Sacred, and he’s been playing in a band for about nine years or so. We sort of met Sham and he put us onto a lot of that black metal thrash stuff I was telling you about, and I don’t know, it just seemed like we were developing in one direction whereas Danny’s drumming wasn’t sort of keeping up that direction we were going in. So it was just a natural thing to get a drummer who suited the style we were doing better. But there was no sort of hard feelings between us all. It’s just that we’ve progressed in one direction and someone else is not going on the same thing – that’s all. So this is an example of the “traditional” musical incompatibility one hears about in bands? Smeer: Sort of, but it’s like, it was becoming too routine with Danny in the band. Like it was two days a week rehearsal and sort of no… from Sham there’s another member in the band that everyone’s pushing the whole band together, but with Danny I felt it was lacking. Like Danny, he got up and drummed, but it seemed like he wasn’t really that into it, and you could tell. It was starting to show in his style, like he wasn’t putting that much effort into it in the end. There’s no hard feelings between us and Danny and I wish him luck in anything he does. Do you know what he plan on doing now? Liz: Yeah, he’s in a band with some friends. Smeer: Some of the guys out of Genocide isn’t it? Liz: Yeah one of them, but he’s just jamming with them, we don’t know what he’s doing with them, he might get a band together we think. I understand you’re going to be doing a mini album shortly? Smeer: Yeah, after Adelaide we’re gonna try and organise to go into the studios and we’re gonna record all the new stuff that we’re doing now with Sham, because it feels more natural. It’s more full-on stuff, and when you hear it you’ll notice it straight away I reckon. That’s the main reason, ‘cos we’ve got enough songs now anyway to do it so we may as well get it… see, if we go in now and do it by the time it comes out we’ll have new material again. But I don’t want to wait another 8 months again like we did with the album. Sham: We’ll do everything ourselves. From what I can see reading the album cover and lyrics and stuff… in most of your songs you avoid politics

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metal bands together, like organising joint gigs and things… Smeer: Well it’s not sort of like trying to get heavy metal and punk bands, what we’re trying to do is on one hand we’ve got a band like Renegade who are sort of like a reject of the heavy metal scene because they’re classified more of less like a punk band by a lot of people because they go so fast, and like we’re sort of in a thing where we’re rejected a lot from the punk scene for being too heavy metal – you know what I mean? So it’s like two outcasts of the scenes are trying to get together now to start something new. Punk and metal together, and there’s nothing wrong with that, the only thing you’re gonna find is people’s narrow-minded outlooks are gonna restrict their view of it, whereas really they should just forget about all that shit and just have a good time. We did two punk metal gigs in Melbourne – they went down really well. Like the first gig we did there was just all headbangers, no punks turned up, I don’t know if they were too scared or what. But they second one we did, it was really good and there was a lot of people there, it went down really well. So isn’t that what punk’s all about? All these underground bands and they can’t get any gigs; we’re from the fucking alternative, so why not create another alternative from the alternative? How many bands are involved in this? Smeer: It’s just us and Renegade, and we’ve got together ‘cos Renegade are a good reliable band who play fucking good music to goes well with us. We found another band that’s a good team to work with, and that’s another thing of it too… like some punk bands, they don’t work with you as a team. They go there and they play too fucking long and you don’t get enough time to play and their amps fuck up and they borrow all your gear and break your fucking strings and stuff like that. I want to get it happening where it’s a good thing where people can come and see bands that are good and everything runs smoothly and there’s nothing going wrong. We did two


How come Depression weren’t on the Melbourne compilation album? Smeer: We didn’t want to go on it. You know why? Because of all the shit that was going on, right? And when that album was first gonna come out we were told that people didn’t want us on the fucking thing. Nobody approached us about doing it, and that guy Dead Ted (aka Paul Conroy) who organised it, just walked up to us one night – never normally talks to us or anything – and goes, “Do you wanna go on a Melbourne compilation album?” You know, “Good on ya boys, do you wanna be part of this?” And I just thought, do they want us to go on because we’re a known band and it might help it to sell? Or do they just want us to be part of it as a Melbourne band? You know what I mean? And the guy – like we’ve had a lot of friction with him – and I just thought, Well why should we fucking do that when the cunt has hung shit on us so fucking much all the time. It’s not like we’ve said, “We don’t fucking like you so we don’t want to do it.” It’s like we’ve said, “We don’t really believe in your outlook of us so we’re not gonna support that.” And half the fucking bands on that aren’t together anymore. That’s another thing that shits me. None of those fucking bands play in Melbourne. They just went around and dragged up every band they could; pulled ‘em out of the woodwork. What happened to your manager? Smeer: Brian? He wasn’t really ever a manager…

gigs with Sham’s old band Nothing Sacred – we played with two metal bands. So people say we’re into heavy metal and we don’t like punk, and then we get people saying we’re into punk and don’t like heavy metal – fuck ‘em all! Punk, metal, fuck off all the shit and get something else going. Sham: The Crass abuse just makes it stronger. Smeer: It does, like you’re getting the best if… We’re not going out of our way to appeal to any particular audience. Our music had just developed that way. There’s this thrash metal thing going on and people have heard it and thought, “Oh, Depression are like a thrash metal band.” The main thing people like with us is the powerfulness and energy of the band; not whether we sound heavy metal or whatever. Sham: Down in Melbourne there are heaps of punks that are4 right into bands like Slayer and Metallica… there’s been loads of guys raving to me about it. Smeer: So it’s sort of like there’s an alternative metal scene going on more or less now.

Okay then, well I notice he doesn’t seem to be involved with the band anymore and yet he was last year. Smeer: I don’t know, he’s just been drifting away, going and getting into his own sort of thing and that. He doesn’t really know what he wants to do at the moment. It wasn’t like a manager set up, he was just a friend who knew people here who could help us organise things and he offered to help us out. It’s just that you were saying last year that when he started associating with you he was a big help, gave you’s all a kick up the arse… Smeer: Yeah, he did at the time. Well maybe now we’ve kicked ourselves up the arse. Through being involved with people like Phil McDougall… and what Phil’s into is just getting off on being a record label

When I was talking to you last year it seemed that Depression had some sort of reasonably strong “hold” over the Melbourne scene – you organised lots of gigs and stuff – is it still that way? Do you still often get approached to organise shows? Smeer: Yeah we do, but we don’t go out of our way to do ‘em anymore. You say we had a hold on the scene – we didn’t really, it’s just that we’re probably one of the most together bands that are organised in the scene, and that’s why we get so many gigs, ‘cos people know they can ring us up, we’ll do the gig, we’ll be reliable, we won’t wreck the place, and that’s why they hire our band, and we’ll pull a decent crowd in Melbourne. It’s not like we’ve got a monopoly on the punk scene and other cunt is gonna get a gig unless they see us. Permanent Damage are going out organizing gigs for other bands now. It’s just that we were the only band doing it, nobody else organised any other gigs, or if they did, they were so untogether that nothing got happening. Or we’d got there and there’d supposed to be 12 bands playing, none of ‘em play. We got there and then 12 bands come up and ask if they can use our gear. Was that the Unemployed Workers Union show? Smeer: Yeah. Just things like that. People are always going, “There’s so-and-so playing and this playing and that playing,” and we just say, “Yeah, the only bands that’ll play are Vicious Circle, Permanent Damage and Depression, ‘cos they’re the only fucking bands who can get their shit together and do it. Has there been any improvement in relations between the different factions of the Melbourne scene? Like last year there seemed to be two extremes with bands at each other’s throats and the rest in the middle trying not to get involved. Smeer: Not really, but there’s no sort of thing like that going on now. There’s sort of like, Vicious Circle have got their scene, Permanent Damage have got their scene and we’ve got out sort of scene. We’re not there bands that all knock around together and rage on. But at every gig there’s people from all the bands there. Things have improved a lot over there. Civil Dissident have broken up… No they haven’t!!! They just recorded an EP recently! Sham: They never play. Smeer: They make a lot of big statements about not playing at the Ballroom and shit like that, then two weeks later they’re playing there again. I just don’t like them – to me they’ve got no credibility or honesty that I can believe in.

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man than trying to promote the bands or do anything decent. Like all Phil’s into is walking around saying, “Hi! I’m Mr. Reactor… blah blah blah,” talking about nothing relevant for three hours in some bullshit shop. Just talking to everybody about fucking nothing and just feeding his ego. Everyone we’ve come in contact with about this album has fucked us around, and that’s sort of given us a kick up the arse too, leaving us saying, “Next time we’re not gonna do it with those people.” Or if Phil’s gonna finance it he’s gonna put up the money and we’ll do it ourselves without being involved with him. Without him there going, “Ah, I don’t know…” You know what he fucking did? We were in the printing place to print up the album covers. There was 1000 covers ready to go, all on the press – takes ‘em three hours to set it up. We go in there and Phil’s going, “Uh, I don’t think the cardboard’s thick enough.” I’m going, “I don’t know Phil, what do you reckon?” He put doubt in my mind and I started going, “Maybe you’re right?” So we asked the printers if it was any hassle to get thicker cardboard and they go, “No no no.” And we went back to this other place where this printer guy was supplying the cardboard and he said, “Nah, don’t get thicker cardboard ‘cos it’s too hard for the machinery to hold.” It would have gone off to some other area and taken another three months again to get it out. So we thought, “Nah, we’ll go ahead with it as it is.” So all that happened was we held up the press for a week and they charged us an extra hundred dollars. That’s the sort of guy Phil is, he does things like that all the time. We’re trying to get it together and organise ourselves, but you’ve got to do it over time. You can’t just go into the studio and have a good team that’ll give you the best thing you’ve ever had straight away. And I suppose if you’re gonna organise it yourself it takes time to get experience at how to do it… Smeer: That’s right, yeah, and like doing the albums showed us a lot of things, so when we do the next thing we’ll know what not to do. We’re not gonna get it printed at that company for a start, we’re not gonna have Phil coming to the fucking thing. It’s like we’ve all said, we wanna get it together, and that’s what’s doing it now is us – we’re the ones kicking ourselves up the arse, or I’m usually the one doing the kicking, I’m always mouthing off. Spike: I reckon we’ve all done our fair share


of kicking, but the thing is we’re doing it all anyway. Smeer: See now we wanna do it all ourselves, rather than having other people involved. It’s up to the band to do it themselves. Spike: We are doing it ourselves, we were the ones who were putting albums together, we’re the ones ringing up Phil and hassling him to do the things he’s supposed to do… Smeer: Which he doesn’t.

dance in Rosebud in Melbourne, this guy with a Mohican playing sambas and waltzes and stuff like that; just quiet background-type music. It was bizarre. I really enjoyed it. I just went like this (i.e. normal Smeer attire), everyone just stared – “who’s this guy?” – so we started playing and everyone just went back to eating their grub and not taking any notice, while we were sitting there doing these little 12-bar jams and getting right into it in the background.

"Headbangers, when they go to a gig they don't just go there to stand around and look tough, they go there and there's a band there and they get into it." - Smeer

What other sorts of bands have you been playing with? Smeer: We played with Grong Grong, I Spit On Your Gravy, Permanent Damage, Vicious Circle, we even did a gig where some people from the Unemployed Workers type thing rang us up and asked us to play with some local bands at some place. See, we’re the sort of band that’ll play anywhere. And if people ring us up and say, “We’re doing a free gig to support blah blah blah, but there’s gonna be a disco there,” we’ve gone and played there, you know with a disco audience there. That was bizarre. And we went and played at a boy’s college the other week, at this really posho college, and they really got into it and all the teachers were going, “Oh it’s really good.” Brother Nick’s going, “That was really good boys.” Sham: And there was even a Depression symbol out the front of the school. Smeer: Yeah that was really good. We don’t want to limit our outlook on where we’re gonna play. Like we don’t wanna think, “We’re playing with that band and we don’t fucking like ’em so we don’t wanna play there,” we want to try not to have that attitude. Spike: That’s one of the reasons we broke into the metal scene, so we could mix in two different types of crowds. We’re just all round, we play anywhere with anybody at any time… Smeer: Available for parties, dinner functions, weddings… hey, I did play at a wedding reception not long ago. The drum teacher of the guy in Psychotic Maniacs rang us up and wanted a guitar player to go and do it, so I thought, oh yeah… got $60 for it! Playing at this really straight wedding

What sort of crowds are you getting these days? Is it just punks – you were saying before you get quite a few headbangers along? Spike: Yeah, a pretty wide selection of Melbourne, openminded people basically. Many skins? Smeer: Not that many skins really. Spike: They can stay home, we don’t care. Liz: A few of them come but they just sir down and keep quiet. Smeer: That’s another thing too, I’ve noticed, when we play with metal bands not many skins come ‘cos they don’t like metal. Some skins are all right but most of it is a negative element to me. Sham: Some skin started hanging shit on Renegade last night and like he was abusing them all night, then he walked up to ‘em at the end and said, “Yous were fucking great” – he was really getting into it. Smeer: I think the trouble with a lot of skins is that they think they’re all too fucking good to get into it or… Spike: They’re too cool. Smeer: Yeah, they’re better than everything else so why should they lower themselves and enjoy it? Liz: At the last few punk/metal gigs there were a few skins and they were up the front pogoing and jumping on the headbangers.

Smeer: It was really good, everyone was getting together and really having a good time that night. Sham: And headbangers pogoing. Spike: That’s what’s good about the whole thing, everyone’s getting together and people are not drawing barriers within themselves, they’re breaking out of themselves a bit more. That’s why at the gigs we’ve been doing with the metal bands have been people who are willing to do that. Smeer: It’s like people have gone to the gigs with… like the headbangers, when they go to a gig they don’t just go there to stand around and look tough, they go there and there’s a band there and they get into it. That’s what they’re there for. Spike: They even do things like, “C’mon, let’s try this pogoing thing, let’s get into this jumping around.” Sham: There’s a lot of headbangers getting into punk bands in Melbourne now. It’s just that it’s hard when you’re into one scene to break away a bit. Smeer: See, Sham was from the metal scene and he sort of broke the ground, he sort of came up and talked to us and he thought, Oh here’s some punks who are into it and doing something, because a lot of people who meet headbangers go, “Who the fuck are you?” which is a shit attitude. Sham: I met them and it was unusual for them to have a headbanger around, and it was unusual for me to have a punk around, and we combined a bit and just got each other into other bands and stuff like that. Smeer: Renegade’s guitar player has been coming to see our band for about three years, he’s always been into punk. A lot of people don’t realise that a lot of headbangers are into punk, but they don’t like to go to the ‘cos they’re… Too scared? Smeer: Nah, not scared, but punks are negative to them at gigs. Sham: I used to come along at gigs, went to a couple of punk gigs a few years ago but just got abused and had shit thrown at me so I just didn’t bother going anymore. Smeer: So maybe that’s what we’re finding, the punk scene’s… there’s skins there and there might be trouble. And maybe now… I don’t know, punk music to me sounds the same and it’s getting stagnant. I wanna keep developing and keep going and not trying to sound like anybody except us. To sound like Depression and keep going along that line and you can’t fail I reckon. It’s when you start thinking, “Oh, that’s ‘in’ now, we’re gonna go a bit more that way,” that’s when you’re gonna fall in a hole. Spike: A lot of bands do that, they follow trends.

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common Deathwish Inc./Modern Life Is War variety of rockin’ hardcore brutality, a relentless urgency pulls you in and keeps you there. Blacklisted are a tough, angry hardcore band who do much more than just sound tough and angry, particularly the lyrics from front-guy George Hirsch. Seriously, if ever a dude wanted to break the HC mould he could do worse than kick off a song with the line, “Please just give me a Chan Marshall eulogy…”

AGENTS OF ABHORRENCE EARTH. WIND. SUN. (Numerical Thief/ 625/Stomp)

CAUTION: DANGER CONCENTRATED

UNBELIEVABLY

INACCURATE CD REVIEWS

Can a ten-minute disc be classed as an album? Agents say yes. And just like absinthe or cordial concentrate, just a smidgeon of this packs an almighty wallop. Sceptics initially put off by the airyfairy title or the pink flower on the front cover can rest assured that these are merely cliché-defying provocations thrown out to challenge perceptions of how a brutal metal album should look. Rest assured, there’s nothing flowery about the merciless grindcore terrorism that lies within. Blinding fast drumming from Melbourne’s own local tornado Max Kohane (Far Left Limit, George W. Bush, Terror Firma, ABC Weapons, Cut Sick), savage riffing interspersed with experimental flourishes from guitarist Ben Andrews (My Disco, Heartfeltself, Clann Zú), growls and yowls dredged from the bowls of vocalist Grant Johns (Sense Of Purpose, Dying Breed) and a harsh production style that that is the very embodiment of the word “grind”, Agents can do no wrong.

ANNIHILATION TIME III: TALES OF THE ANCIENT AGE (Tee Pee)

Having attained the perfect balance between Black Flag, Black Sabbath and Bl'ast! on 2005’s II LP, Oakland-based scumbags Annihilation Time have lost the plot a bit here. They’ve amped up the heavy metal influences to try and give this third album of theirs a more wasted keg party vibe, but the head-kicking impact is often nullified by too much wanking. While some might think guitarist Graham Clise is stepping out and asserting himself as a true shredder, to me he seems too overbearing in his desire to be the centre of attention. Every riff is based on the same type of diddly-diddly metal-style hammer-ons and pull-offs and it gets dull pretty quick. III: Tales of the Ancient Age still provides some fine bloodthirsty moments (see “Jonestown” for a starter), but overall it’s not a patch on either of its leaner, meaner, punker predecessors. So they’ve lost the plot. Question is, can they get it back again? Guess we’ll just have to stay tuned for the fourth instalment.

BORIS SMILE

(Southern Lord/Stomp)

Awesome Color

AWESOME COLOR ELECTRIC ABORIGINES (Ecstatic Peace!/Fuse)

Describing rock music is getting harder. Genre boundaries, once fairly clearly defined, have all but eroded. “Dancing about architecture” seems a stroll in the park next to trying to sum up an act like Awesome Color. The reference points are scattered worse than Britney on a binge. As evolutionary as they are traditional, this Michiganbred, Brooklyn-based rock trio embody the uninhibited spirit of the first two Stooges records while displaying the MC5’s penchant for weaving together elements of various styles – punk, psych, classic rock, new-wave, garage, prog, funk. If it sounds complicated from that description, in practice it’s far from it. The songs are quite basic – repetitive even – but they’ve got rhythms that make your feet want to commit felonies and melodies so sweet they’d probably pay the bail. Though the last few tracks hearken back to their overly jammy 2006 self-titled effort and probably could have been cut altogether, old cynics who love to sit about and say how rock music ain’t been half-good since Stooges and Grand Funk dagnammit, need to slap their hairy, failing ears on Electric Aborigines.

their clinical execution is captured with resounding clarity (not necessarily two things I’m looking for in a good grind release, mind you!), as they fire off tried and tested Napalm mortars spiked with crust and laced with death. Might not set the grind world on fire just yet, but they’re heading in the right direction.

BITCHSLAP

I’M IN THE MOOD FOR DANCING EP (RiSH)

Step into an early-nineties riot grrrl/grunge time warp with throwback Sydney two girl-one guy trio Bitchslap. Sounding like the Lunachicks picking off the choicest parts of the HardOns, Breeders and Nirvana, they like to keep things simple, which means they’re quite easy to listen to without really threatening to knock your socks off. This EP is titled I’m in the Mood for Dancing, yet all the lyrics are kinda bitchy and/or paranoid – not a single positive feeling worth dancing about amongst it. And just quietly, whatever they were going for with the cover art, they didn’t get there. Overall a little hit and miss, but if you dig the punky pop of all the bands mentioned you might as well get in the mood for dancing.

BASEBALL

THE BLACKLIST

(Stomp)

(Drugbust)

TOTAL BLACKLIST

ANIMAL KINGDOM Led by a scruffy-looking street urchin scratching on a violin and screaming old world poetry about gods and stars and priests and kings and other high-falutin stuff like his oesophagus is on fire, Baseball are a wonderful mess of contradictions. A stirring, forceful, passionate punk band that prove it’s possible to still be a little bit pretentious even when lying face down in the gutter, they wear their hearts on their unwashed sleeves as they crank out an exotic mesh of Melbourne-meets-Mecca gypsy-post-punk and hardcore-world-music. Dirty Three comparisons are obvious due to the mere presence of Cam Potts’ violin, yet their gritty, artful sound cops influence from here, there and everywhere, with results that seem to come from some inexplicable kind of “elsewhere”. If you’re one of the many folk that spots a punk band onstage with a violin player and immediately thinks, “Wanker!” Animal Kingdom might very well change your mind. It’s that powerful.

BEYOND TERROR BEYOND GRACE

With the ugliest triple-axe attack since Iron Maiden, a drummer built like a rolling boulder and a Hank Von Helvete wannabe out front with forearm spikes and enough love-handle flesh hanging over the Levis to feed a starving army, The Blacklist are undisputedly the most frightening rock band in the country. This second album from the Melbourne “beer metal” abomination flows on from its predecessor, Electric And Evil (2004). Balls-out rock ‘n’ roll riff-a-rama, speeded-up Motörhead rhythms and a singer that sounds like he’s being strangulated while spewing beer and pizza – fucking awesome. With lyrical themes focussing on war, death, alcohol consumption and varying combinations of the three, the electrified cover of “Alcohol” by Gang Green sits perfectly alongside rocket-fuelled originals like “Fuckin’ Fucked Up And Ready To Fuckin’ Die” and “Death Cheetah of Death”. I highly recommend the limited-edition vinyl version (I got # 105 of 666), co-released by Drugbust and Zenith. Death to false beer metal!

BLACKLISTED

HEAVIER THAN HEAVEN LONELIER THAN GOD

EXTINCTION | SALVATION (Grindhead)

Grind merchants from the Blue Mountains, Beyond Terror Beyond Grace achieve redemption with a fulllength that shits on their previously released demo/EP from an imposing height. The group’s not-so-secret weapon is phenomenal young drummer Steve Smith – the sort of drummer other grind drummers crack fats over – but all the members give a good account of themselves here. Unlike the murky sounding EP,

(Deathwish Inc./Stomp)

Philadelphia hardcore wrecking crew Blacklisted return to full-scale warfare with the full-length follow-up to last year’s Peace on Earth, War on Stage 7-inch. With producer Kurt Ballou playing the role of killing machine mechanic, Heavier Than Heaven Lonelier Than God is tooled for maximum devastation. Whilst the sound is very much the

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The accompanying liner notes to Smile say that Boris are “searching for sounds that are also an extension of life and the many experiences they have had in the two years that have passed since the release of Pink”. Huh? How can you say you’re gonna let life influence your record? Whether you like it or not, it’ll have a tendency to do that anyway. And haven’t they ever heard the saying, “Life sucks”? Well, OK, maybe Smile’s not quite as bad as that, but it’s little wonder it sounds a little unfocussed with “life” as its chief influence. The record has its finer moments, and these usually come delivered courtesy of the fuzzed-out, wah-wah-drenched psych-metal guitar department – see “Laser Beam” – but compared with 2005’s prodigious Pink, Smile feels patchy.

THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE

MY BLOODY UNDERGROUND (A/MGM)

It’s well known that Brian Jonestown Massacre guy Anton Newcombe is a few ham and mustard sangas short of a Sunday picnic. So when he comes up with a song called “Bring Me the Head of Paul McCartney on Heather Mill’s Wooden Peg (Dropping Bombs on the White House)” and decides to open up his new album with it, no one’s going to tell him not to. Likewise, when he gets all loose and makes a few blunders on the emotive piano ballad, “We are the Niggers of the World” (another Beatlesrelated title), no one’s gonna tell him to play it again, “properly” this time. And no one’s going to tell him his 8-minute jam “Who Cares Why” got boring at the two-minute mark either. And for this reason Newcombe will continue to make utterly flawed, terrifyingly honest albums of tripped-out psychedelic folk until the day he shuffles off this mortal coil.

BULLDOG SPIRIT AIN’T NO ANGEL EP (Trial & Error/Stomp)

A hardcore-meets-street-punk quartet, Bulldog Spirit play working man’s mosh music with lyrics underpinned by conservative views and old-fashioned values. Opener “Prey The Weak” is about protecting grannies and young people from evildoers in the community. “Raised To Lose” is an attack on bad parenting. “B Grade Citizen” lays down the gauntlet to hippie dole bludgers, telling them to get a haircut and get a real job. Along the way they do a decent cover of “We Are The Blood” by Boston’s The Trouble (“We’re the blood, we’re the skins, we’re the kids and we'll never give in…” – great chant that) and close with an unlisted version of the Negative Approach classic “Ready To Fight”. The production comes over a bit nice, with smoothed over edges and a distinct lack of balls. For the real dirt, go catch ‘em live, tough-guy.

CAPTAIN CLEANOFF SYMPHONIES OF SLACKNESS

(TriState/Obscene Extreme) Originally from Adelaide, now with members


strewn far and wide, Capt. Cleanoff proved they had the grindcore goods on debut in 2001, but various factors have conspired towards a sluggish build-up to this second full-length. Thankfully, Symphonies Of Slackness was more than worth the wait. Channelling a classic Horrified or From Enslavement To Obliteration sound by way of Seasons in the Abyss, they avoid cheese like lactose intolerant vegans. Steering clear of the trite porno and dismemberment lyrics in favour of your more traditional hardcore-based tirades, singer Ben Parsons proves adept at both low-down Kam Lee vocal wipeouts and savage whirlwind caveman screams, while the band go hammer and tongs from go to whoa. With cover art by Glenno, this is as good a grind release as you’ll get anywhere anytime.

CLOCKCLEANER BABYLON RULES

(Load/Stained Circles) Philly trashbags with a penchant for breakages and wallowing in their own filth, Clockcleaner divide audiences in a way that makes me like ‘em even more. On Babylon Rules their psychotic punk trash rock goes on even more of a downer trip from 2006’s incredible Nevermind. With less of a Jesus Lizard influence, here they follow the lineage further back to the likes of Scratch Acid, The Birthday Party and Flipper. With a love of bullocking bottom-end, surging reverb effects and feedback, there are actually great melodies buried beneath the rubble. If the brooding rock itself doesn’t carry enough creepiness, lines like, “She never lets me cum inside her, so I just leave it across her smile…” in “Daddy’s Home” make you feel about as good as a grope from granddad. Singer/guitarist John Sharkey III is currently chilling in Australia and a first-up tour of these parts by the band has been mooted. After that he will apparently return home so they can complete their half-started fourth (and rumoured to be final) album, Auf Wiedersehen.

CONQUEST FOR DEATH BEYOND THE HIDDEN VALLEY (Give&Take)

It’s always hard when using labels like “hardcore” and “metal” because those terms have become so distended that whenever used, either singularly or together, could mean just about anything. So when I say Conquest For Death attain a premium balance of the two styles on their second platter, don’t start thinking they sound like Terror or As I Lay Dying, OK. Staying true to their thrash hardcore roots (ex-members of What Happens Next?, All You Can Eat, etc.), Beyond The Hidden Valley broadens the scope of CFD’s sound slightly, while their political lyrics take more wry twists on songs like “Is This Integrity Or Stupidity? Rock ‘n’ Roll’s A Loser’s Game... And We’re Winning!!!” For an idea of these San Franciscans’ commitment to spreading the metal/hardcore/thrash gospel, check out tales of their recent African expedition starting on page 74, or else see ‘em when they tour Australia in October.

THE CORPS NAIL IT SHUT (Rebellion)

The Corps from Sydney play no-nonsense Oi!, hardcore and Oz rock anthems with hard-biting metal-edged punk rock riffs and even the occasional slide-guitar part. What sets them truly apart though are the rusty pipes of beefy frontman Alex Cairns. With a throat more gravely than an untarred road, his deep Lemmy-like tones won’t sit well with everyone. But if The Corps had a more typical street punk singer I doubt they’d be half as ragin’ as they are. Of the twelve tracks on Nail It Shut, most are about the usual stuff – workers uniting, soldiers being used as pawns, religion as a lie and staunch Aussie pride. But every now and then

they throw up a surprise like “Bad Taste” or “Built To Last”, which have some nice poetry and a deeper meaning. Well, at least a little deeper than the song berating curbside window-washers.

COUÉ METHOD

TO MOCK A VAPID WORLD (Resist/Shock)

Émile Coué was a French psychologist and pharmacist who came up with the method of routine autosuggestion to be practiced at the beginning and ending of each day: “Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better” (Tous les jours à tous points de vue je vais de mieux en mieux). While some Mid-Youth Crisis fans will argue that nothing will ever be better than that band in its heyday, at least this new quintet led by singer Steve Milligan and featuring several of the members (as well as others from Identity Theft, Blueline Medic, etc.) are thinking positive. If you remember the old joke where the young bull says to his elder, “Let’s run down that hill and fuck one of the cows in the herd,” to which the wise older bull replies, “No. Let’s WALK down and fuck ‘em ALL.” Coué Method are like that wise older bull. Featuring ten tracks of steady-paced, emotional melodic punk, this first full-length from the group exerts less energy and applies a more subtle approach to melody for longer staying power.

CROM

The early albums by Darkthrone, Soulside Journey (1990) and A Blaze In The Northern Sky (1991), helped forge the raw sound of the genre we now know as Norwegian Black Metal. But they are nowhere near as raw as these early demos. To me it seems brave of Darkthrone to be releasing such underdeveloped embryonic recordings, but maybe they thought there was a buck to be made? Or maybe they really just don’t give a shit? Regardless, this three-disc effort contains four early demos made between 1988 and 1989 in the lead-up to the debut. Perhaps of even more worth though is the rare live set from Denmark circa-1990 and the original instrumental version of ‘91’s infamous Goatlord recording. A more doom-laden rock effort laid down just after Soulside Journey, the latter was initially scrapped as the second Darkthrone album in favour of the more traditional black metal of …Northern Sky, then controversially revived by Fenriz (drums/ vocals) who added vocals in ‘94 and released it in ‘97. This proves he never should have fucked with it in the first place. The liner notes are brief but interesting, while the hardbound package helps turn somewhat questionable content into a gorgeous collector’s item.

DEAD CHINA DOLL S/T

(Soviet)

HOT SUMERIAN NIGHTS (Underdogma)

With an unhealthy Conan The Barbarian fixation and a tongue-in-cheek approach to metal making, Crom are level pegging with Zimmer’s Hole for funniest metal project album of 2008. Featuring members of LA’s 400 Blows, Crom want you to believe they are Nordic metal warriors, when instead they sound exactly like what they are: hardcore kids trying to take the piss out of metal, and largely succeeding. Basing their songs around snow, swords and the quest for flesh, you can’t tell me the double meaning in the title “Battle Axe Butchery” ain’t wonderful. The only thing that lets Hot Sumerian Nights down is the production, in particular the weak, demo-quality drum sound. A metal band that sings about swords this much should sound shinier. In the hands of Colin Richardson, Andy Sneap, et al, this band would totally crucify.

I need to be bashed over the head with music sometimes, partly ‘cos of deafness, mostly ‘cos of ignorance. It took a few listens to this debut by Sydney’s Dead China Doll before I realised how good it was. It’s arty indie rock that draws from Radiohead, Pixies, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, etc. and shows a damn sight more ambition than most bands only on their first release. Across five sprawling songs ranging in length from near-seven minute epics to the elevenminute show-stopper “We Lost Our Souls To Rock ‘N’ Roll That Was Fucked In The Ass By A Corporate Kind Of Satan”, they offer you so much in terms of cross-hatched styles, varied instrumentation and subtle melody that it takes time to ingest it all. Still not my preferred cup of tea, but I don’t have a single bad word to fling at it.

DEAD MEADOW OLD GROWTH

(Matador/Remote Control)

CURSED

III: ARCHITECTS OF TROUBLED SLEEP (Goodfellow)

The major hurdle for Canadian sludgecore heroes Cursed was always gonna be how to outdo themselves after two totally devastating atomic raids. You follow Hiroshima with Nagasaki and what more damage can you do? But III: Architects of Troubled Sleep sees them returning to the same battlegrounds to wreak more carnage. Blast-beating opener “Night Terrors” reintroduces the Cursed sound – an allencompassing storm of brutality – and the chaos merely snowballs from there. Seething with anger and emotion, they launch attack after attack. The title track forgoes the usual metal-punk-hardcore onslaught to take a seven-minute excursion through the sound of bewildered guitars shadow boxing to keep from flipping their wigs. The most memorable song, though, is extreme sludge dirge “Friends In The Music Business”. During one particularly overwrought section frontman Chris Colnohan screams the line “Don’t call me and I won’t call you!” with such ferocity that if you had his number in your phone you’d delete it instantly. Cursed III won’t just trouble your sleep; it’ll haunt your dreams and take you back to your bad old bed-wetting days.

In the indie-stoner-psych realm occupied by the likes of Black Mountain, Black Angels, Kinski, etc., Dead Meadow have come from somewhere near the back of the pack to lead the field. Since the release of 2005’s Feathers, they’ve relocated from Washington DC to LA and reverted back to a trio after a brief flirtation with second guitar. Stylistically a natural continuation of their stoner-progpsych-indie-blues sound, Old Growth, their fifth, finds a middle ground between Brian Jonestown Massacre and Comets On Fire with heaps of comfy cushions and a giant hookah pipe in the centre. With everything stuck in a smooth sensimilla groove, the languid pop vocals of guitarist/vocalist Jason Simon and the use of mostly clean tones and/or acoustic guitars give off a light folksy or indie vibe. Great music to mull up by, but only really rockets to the outer limits with the harder hitting psych exploration “Till Kingdom Come”.

DARKTHRONE FROSTLAND TAPES (Tyrant Syndicate/ Peaceville/Stomp)

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Digger & The Pussycats

DIGGER & THE PUSSYCATS

LET’S GO TO HOSPITAL (Spooky/MGM)

Stripping rock ‘n’ roll back to the bone with the same kind of effortlessness Ed Gein used when making a new skin suit, loose-some Melbourne twosome Digger & The Pussycats ram it home with all the frantic glee of Jeffrey Dahmer repacking his freezer. This latest album from the head-stomping blues punk duo shows off yet more of their ockerisms, Sam Agostino’s (guitar/vocals) accent sounding drier than the Gibson Desert as he emotes: “I’ve got a Spanish jacket, I’ve got cocaine / I’ve got forty dollars, How much is MDMA?” Partner Andy Moore attacks his drums like they were the daddy that beat him as a child then skipped out on the family for a younger flooze. Also worth mentioning is the cool Robert Williams/Ed Roth-style mash that adorns the cover and booklet, by Melbourne scribbler Lluis.

THE DIRTBOMBS WE HAVE YOU SURROUNDED (In-Fidelity)

A great band to boogie down to live, Detroit’s Dirtbombs have never managed to make a really great original album (the 2001 soul covers effort, Ultraglide In Black, is their best studio outing so far). And so it proves again with We Have You Surrounded. You get a couple of decent originals, a couple of cool covers and a few others you could definitely have done without. The best of the originals are the garage bash-a-thon “Everlovin’ Man” and French-language fuzz pop closer, “La Fin Du Monde”, while on the covers side, their military march version of Dead Moon’s “Fire In The Western World” is a stand-out, and INXS’s “I Need You Tonight” sees frontman Mick Collins ooze all the sexiness a lumbering seven-foot, comic book-obsessed I.T. geek can muster. Also available is the “I Need You Tonight” b/w “Devil Inside” 7-inch, through Stained Circles.

DISFEAR

LIVE THE STORM (Relapse/Riot!)

Long-surviving yet largely inactive crust quintet fronted by At The Gates supremo Tomas Lindberg, Disfear resurface with Live The Storm, another pumped up Dischargederived, Tragedy-style slice of D-beat with a rockin’ metal upper-crust. Right from opener “Get It Off”, it’s like hanging onto a mechanical bull with a rocket up its arse. Ferocious enough to cause serious ear lacerations; imagine “Ace Of Spades” down-tuned to fuck and pumped up on performance enhancers. Now imagine the same thing nine more times and you’ve got Live The Storm in a nutshell. A lack of intensity is never a problem. A lack of variety is a bit.

DOOMED AND DISGUSTING HEAVY MENTAL

(Misanthropica Enterprises) Dave Slave is sick to death of hearing about Sadistik


(Bang/Fuse) While the name sounds like they should be from Vegas, Five Dollar Priest bring the rock ‘n’ rollickin’ good times direct from New York City, with a sound that’s part bluesy swamp rock ‘n’ roll and part eighties no wave experimental. With ex-members of Speedball Baby, Swans, Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore and Chrome Cranks and a sound that recalls the likes of Pere Ubu, Birthday Party, Golden Palominos and Tom Waits, their funky, carefree jams are capable of turning nasty at any second. Produced by Matt Verta Ray, you get guest appearances by his Heavy Trash bandmate Jon Spencer, Spencer’s wife and Boss Hog hottie Cristina Martinez, plus cult hero James Chance on saxophone and keys.

FRONT END LOADER

LAUGHING WITH KNIVES [LIVE]

Earth

(Illustrious Artists/Fuse) Exekution. In fact, he’s probably tearing up this zine right now and using the shredded remains in some kind of sacred rite designed to put a hex on us for the fact that this review begins by mentioning his old group. In his own words Doomed And Disgusting is “far more extreme than Sadistik rubbish because it is possessed for real”. While the chord progressions and production on Heavy Mental are somewhat reminiscent of the Sad Ex style, it’s not fast and intense, but instead, slow and intensely evil. You will laugh, you will cry, you will shit your dacks and prey to Satan. As a related aside, for me the highlight of the recent week-long World Youth Day celebrations that brought Pope Benedict and his minions to Sydney was getting to play Doomed And Disgusting out my car window to a bunch of visiting pilgrims standing on the curb outside St. Francis Xavier’s at Arncliffe.

EARTH

THE BEE MADE HONEY IN THE LION’S SKULL (Southern Lord/Stomp)

Drone devotees are among the most patient listeners in all of music, but The Bee Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull by Seattle pioneers Earth requires practically no effort at all. In its own way, this poly-thematic epic is downright catchy. Having eased away from the bowel-shaking ambient metal of classic albums like ‘93’s Earth 2, the “heaviness” here is not derived through distortion or effects but through the grandiose chord progressions themselves. It has a somewhat “cinematic” feel about it, the orchestration and gongs and so forth conjuring images of a magnanimous noise caravan creeping majestically across an endless desert. Pure gold. The cover art is also worth a special mention. It’s by Arik Roper (who also did High On Fire’s recent Death Is This Communion) but when I saw it I could’ve sworn it was John Dyer Baizley ripping off Pushead again.

EDDY CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING PRIMARY COLOURS (Aarght/Shock)

One of the things I loved about the first Eddy Current Suppression Ring album, aside from the fact that it was the best rock ‘n’ roll for dancing stupidly to (which, by the way, is the only way I know how to dance) heard in ages, was that all the songs seemed like they’d been birthed from the same womb. Limitation was actually one of its strong points. But like the first Ramones record, it was so sharply focussed into the one ideal that the band were inevitably gonna struggle when it came time to “evolve”. Primary Colours finds ECSR in a difficult spot. Losing their innocence was inevitable, but they try to keep the dream alive by going for

a jammier variation on a similar theme, and while arguably this helps the music attain the same level of “purity”, it simply doesn’t pack the same punch. Some of the groovier second half tunes like “You Let Me Be Honest With You” show they’re still cooler than leather gloves with a short-sleeve shirt, but they’ll need to find something more from here on out because at the risk of being bashed by cool Melbourne people I’d rate this album only about half as vital as the first.

ELECTRIC WIZARD

WITCHCULT TODAY (Rise Above/Riot!)

After a couple of “exploratory” albums, UK doom sorcerers Electric Wizard get themselves back safely on Sabbath turf, where they belong. With sluggish, keep-it-simple-stupid doom/stoner riffs, some would argue that Witchcult Today is quite basic; predictable even. But this ritualistic riffing is precisely what makes it so hypnotic. Majestic, psychedelic doom with vocals that sound lost in a smack haze; this is perfect for magick ceremonies and mull sessions alike. “A thousand amps toll the end-time riff,” bellows leader Jus Osbourne (guitar/ vocals) on “Chosen Few”. A distillation of roach tokes, acid trips, brown notes, string bends and spirit-worship, Witchcult Today is great to throw on whenever you’re in that head-banging, bongpulling, incense burning, Demon-invoking mood – which I just happen to be quite regularly.

FATTURA DELLA MORTE GRIM, DRUNK & FROSTBITTEN EP (Self-released)

Living on borrowed time virtually since the day they started, condemned to the fact that certain members would be moving overseas, Sydney sludgecore quintet Fattura Della Morte have been on a mission these past 18 months. Playing a heap of shows that will live long in many memory banks, they now leave us with their second and final EP, Grim, Drunk & Frostbitten. In some ways it’s a lamentable swan song, since there are not too many bands in this country who are doing this Eyehategod kinda sludgy stuff, or at least none doing it as well. But with five tracks all told (or should that be tolled?), only one sneaking below the five-minute mark, Grim, Drunk & Frostbitten is a more than fitting down-tuned doom funeral. In a strange co-incidence, the packaging and artwork looks exactly like Ceremony’s Still Nothing Moves You.

FIVE DOLLAR PRIEST S/T

The live album those of us who attended on one or other (or both!) of those two nights at the Annandale back in May 2004 have literally been waiting years for finally arrives with a bonus disc of Front End Loader B-sides and rarities chucked in to compensate all us impatient sooks. The stories that go around about the dramas that held up this release will probably one day fill a book. For now we’ll have to make do with bassist Richard Corey’s two-pages of witty liner notes. It’s a shame his kind of humour wasn’t present onstage on the nights of the recordings, because if there’s one thing this twenty-two-track live set lacks as compared to a real FEL show, it’s the killer between-song banter. To tell the truth I think they were a little overwhelmed by the finality of it all. Sound-wise it’s fucking sweet, and performance-wise it’s more dynamic than Busby Berkeley. The first ten tunes come direct from the first three LPs, including several live rarities (“Steel Trap” the highlight), while the second half delivers a couple of newer standards amongst a fistful of dead-set ‘Loader classics. The B-sides and rarities disc ain’t just filler either, with cool demos, covers and even an acoustic version of “Pulse” showing various other sides to the band.

FURTHER TACTICS

(Chatterbox/MGM) Every Further album requires a settling in period. I was still being struck by genius moments from 2006’s masterful Further! even months after it first came out. And the debut, Punk Rock Vampires (2003), I can still whack on and get something new out of. But perhaps the reason this third full-length from the noisy indie Sydneysiders takes longer to sink in is because it doesn’t necessarily set out to impress. It’d almost be fitting if they played this live in a circle with their backs to the audience; such is the inward-looking nature of a lot of it. It’s like they’ve shut out all outside influence and surrendered completely to their instincts. While tracks like “A Knife And A Smile” and “Please Leave Quietly” are not too far removed from the style of Further!, certain other stuff like closer “Karkana Kamuna Kaay” is like nothing you’ve ever heard before, from these guys or anyone else. Tactics is ten tracks long and for them it feels short. Guess this is what the Loop function’s made for?

GREY DATURAS RETURN TO DISRUPTION (Heathen Skulls/Stomp)

“He’s making it up as he goes along!” One of the great statements from Monty Python’s Life Of Brian (1979) has become a key phrase that runs through my mind whenever I see or hear rockbased improv bands. Melbourne trio Grey Daturas, however, rarely make me think that. Whether live

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or in the studio, they somehow maintain a tight reign over their improvisational heavy art metal rock noise without ever stifling the flow of ideas. First track, “Beyond And Into The Ultimate”, sets the tone, constant guitar drones creating a dark, uneasy wall of sound beneath a thumping beat courtesy of a drummer who’s key influence is Animal from the Muppets. Another standout, “Balance the Convenience”, starts off mangling jazz-fusion and black metal then tapers off to complete desolation before morphing into a spinegrating NON-type noise blackout. “Answer in the Negative” is a 10-minute post-metal exploration, Neurosis style. Return To Disruption is arty, it’s atonal, and damn straight it’s pretentious; it also happens to be a heart-thumper of the highest order.

GUILD OF DESTRUCTION INTO OBLIVION (Grindhead)

Sydney label Grindhead churn out CDs like ballsacks through Hannibal Lecter’s mincer. And considering virtually everything they release is by some weirdo extreme metal obscurity from some uncool part of the country, you gotta wonder how they manage to stay afloat. The answer to that, I guess, is quality. And when I say quality, I don’t mean slickness. Metal meataxes Guild Of Destruction from the western suburbs of Melbourne are a good example of what I’m babbling about. Their pencil-drawn Satanic cover art may be a little down-home, their band photos may make them look like a pack of scary bogans, their lyrical ideas may be completely played out, yet their explosive grinddeaththrash sound is top-fuckin’-notch.

GUNS ARE FOR KIDS

IT TAKES A NATION OF MORONS TO HOLD US BACK EP (Fourth World)

Transformed from a quirky trio to an even quirkier quartet with the addition of bassist Nick Optional (The Optionals, ex-Grand Fatal), who’s come in to free up frontman Lachlan Mitchell (ex-Naxzul, ex-Brace) for more expressive stage antics, Sydney no-wave post-punkers Guns Are For Kids – completed by guitarist Ben Turner and drummer Luke “Boo” Johnston – seem more confident walking that delicate line between greatness and the gutter. To their credit, they don’t seem to give a flip which side they crash down on. With influences ranging from Pere Ubu to the Flaming Lips to the entire Skin Graft catalogue, this second EP sees them attack with playful abandon and a natural flair for the experimental. At times tense and foreboding, at others just flat-out weird, it’s an improvement over their debut and it’s also in the running to take out “Best Pisstake Title of ‘08” award.

HELLHAMMER DEMON ENTRAILS

(Prowlin’ Death/Century Media/Stomp) Never before has packaging so elegant been employed for a bunch of recordings so cheap-sounding. A two-CD (or 3-LP) set containing re-mastered versions of all three demos recorded by Swiss extreme metal hackers Hellhammer between June and December 1983, the discs come housed inside a book-like case featuring the original cover art and 36 inner pages filled with informative liner notes and rare photos. This package is testament to the esteem in which Hellhammer are held, but it wasn’t always this way. Inspired by Venom and Discharge, their one and only EP, Apocalyptic Raids (1984), saw them accused of shoddy musicianship by the snobbish metal community and the members slunk away to later find much sought-after credibility


with Celtic Frost. Later, in the early-nineties, bands on the black metal tip emerging out of Norway picked up on their tumultuous Satanic musings and the Hellhammer revival was born. These are the only other recordings made by the group besides Apocalyptic Raids and have been heavily bootlegged down the years (which certainly hasn’t hindered their mystique any). Extreme metal was only in its infancy in ‘83, and these demos reflect that. Injected with young man’s rage and an endearing kind of naivety, if the musical prowess (or lack thereof) is slightly embarrassing, adolescent lyrical concepts like “Bloody Pussies” are just absolutely hilarious.

HYMEN HOLOCAUST S/T

(No Escape) Solo project of one Morris Cliteater, a mystery man (and do you blame him folks?!) who has played a hand in several porno-grind CDs issued through the No Escape label, Hymen Holocaust is just as sick as the name suggests. There are only so many ways you can describe the sound of grindcore, so I won’t make too much effort there. The lyrics are quite eye-catching though, showing a kind of twisted genius that makes you afraid for society. Putting even more fucked-up slants on the traditional porno-grind misogynist bullshit, opener “Creating A Rapist” is a good example of what it’s all about, a brutal observation of the poor state of 30-something school mums in trackydacks. There’s also one here called “Shaven… Not Furred” – need we say more porno fans?

JAGUAR LOVE

TAKE ME TO THE SEA

(Matador/Remote Control) It’s pop, Jim, but not as we know it. This new band from ex-Blood Brothers’ pair Cody Votolato (guitar) and Johnny Whitney (vocals/keys) – alongside drummer Jay Clark, former keyboardist/guitarist with Pretty Girls Make Graves – makes Blood Brothers sound like the spent force they were at the death. While each member brings their own personality along, Jaguar Love are not at all derivative of Blood Brothers (and nothing like Pretty Girls Make Graves), as almost every BBs side-project has been. Most dominant is Whitney’s helium huffing, testicle-defying tonsil gymnastic display, which he performs over a synth-laced mix of pop, screamo, disco, funk and soul. For many UB readers Take Me To The Sea may be a little too poppy, or even just downright annoying, especially the rabid Chipmunk vocals, but I personally think these guys are taking modern-day pop music to a higher place. From the extravagant screamo funk pop of “Jaguar Pirates” to “Georgia”, a bastardised soul hit transplanted into the eighties and skewed beyond recognition, they give traditionalism a swift kick in the shins and score another goal for Matador, who are having a good year this year with Times New Viking, Fucked Up and Jay Reatard all on the New Release shelf. Monotonix

LITTLE ATHLETICS

version through German label RSR features different but equally awesome cover art. A second album has been mooted.

(Self-Released)

THE MELVINS

AUTUMN GIANTS EP I hated Little Athletics. I was the fat kid who always ran last. This really disappointed my sport-loving father, which in turn gave me complexes that I carried into my adult life. I once met a guy in a Katoomba pub who claimed to be studying psychology via correspondence who tried to tell me these early failures were why I choose to aim so low in life. For lack of a better explanation, I believe him. Led by two talented lasses in Ali Edmonds and Megan Sheehy (both guitar/vocals), Melbourne spacey indie rock trio Little Athletics don’t have the same kinds of hang-ups. They go for gold and don’t hold back on the six-track Autumn Giants. If you wanted to build a sort of musical identikit picture of their sound using their influences – Queens of the Stone Age, Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey, etc. – they’d actually bear a marked resemblance to Magic Dirt.

MARCHING ORDERS

DEAD END STREET (Three Stars)

Sharing members and certain ideologies with fellow Melbourne marauders Bulldog Spirit, Marching Orders are punker than elbow stars and madder than you. With studs in jackets and jackboots on feet, they’re marching to a well-trodden Oi! streetpunk beat, proudly flying the Southern Cross flag (as opposed to the Union Jack) with notable Oz rock leanings. While style-wise Dead End Street will appeal squarely to old hardheads and lovers of flat-out, tough punk rock, lyrically it deals with universal issues facing all common men (Anzac pride, fighting, that kind of thing…), the undisputed highlight of the set being the amusing true-to-life tale “Junkie Domestic on Smith Street”.

MEATLOCKER S/T

(Trial & Error/Stomp) A project band formed in the UK and made up of three Perth ex-pats and a very angry Englishman who spits verbal hornets nests, Meatlocker sound like Poison Idea, Negative Approach and Terrorizer formed a murderous hate-killing gang just for laughs. Featuring drummer Rhys Davies of Extortion and Jaws (who also played in Frightener while recently based in the UK), ex-Ultimatum members Lloyd Denovan (also of Within Blood and Hitlist) on guitar and Emillie Reader (recent fill-in for Damnation AD) on bass, and vocalist Ian “Lecky” Leck of England supremos Vorhees, Meatlocker recorded this twelve-tracker in Bradford, UK, played three gigs in the north of England, then the Aussies all bailed for home. To celebrate the release, Lecky flew over here this year and they toured Australia with Mindsnare. If you have any interest in ferocious hardcore, this is completely essential. The vinyl

NUDE WITH BOOTS (Ipecac/Shock)

Breaking in their new twindrummer line-up on last-up effort, (A) Senile Animal (2006), the Seattle conglomerate of the Melvins and Big Business (Melvisness?) take their first forward steps. It’s kinda like watching the evolution of the Melvins happen all over again. Where (A) Senile Animal was a kindred spirit to records like Houdini (1993) and Stoner Witch (1994), this is a little further along the evolutionary chain, perhaps more towards Stag (1996) territory. “The Kicking Machine” comes out firing with a lively off-time groove that Clutch would’ve stolen from Led Zep, followed by the kinda of beefy metallic fuzztone punk riff all Melvins fans know and love. In fact, there is not much on Nude With Boots that fans won’t love. Mostly it’s just the Melvins doing what they do, which means you can expect a few surprises to come served as a side order to the ear bashing.

MONOTONIX

BODY LANGUAGE EP (Drag City)

The greatest rock force ever to bust out of Tel Aviv, Israel, Monotonix are like 2008’s version of the Flux Capacitor only twice as cool. This obstreperous three-piece – consisting of vocalist Ami Shalev, guitarist Yonatan Gat and drummer Ran Shimoni – storm your living room and set fire to your useless record collection with a mutant groove-based new-wave classic-rock cacophony more infectious than an undetected case of genital warts in a swinger’s club. Imagine if Sabbath had been inspired to form after hearing Death From Above 1979 (a hard to concept to get your head round, I know). Recorded in San Francisco by Big Boys/ Vile Cherubs/ Nation Of Ulysses/ Fucking Champs, etc. legend Tim Green, if this doesn’t send your “new favourite band” alarm bells ringing you need to have a serious look at yourself.

MUDHONEY

THE LUCKY ONES (SubPop/Stomp)

I really liked the last Mudhoney album, Under A Billion Suns (2006). Seemed like the Seattle old boys put a lot of effort into crafting great tunes and a lot of thought into the incorporation of horns and jazzier rhythms. Next to that, The Lucky Ones feels a bit rushed. For sure, some Mudhoney fans (and especially fans of guitarist Steve Turner’s solo work) will appreciate this album’s garagey energy and more unfettered production style, but to me the melodies simply lack the required punch. You can listen to this all the way through and not remember a single thing about it, except that Mark Arm’s nasally out-of-tune whine, so endearing on classic Mudhoney tracks, is starting to get a bit annoying now.

MY DISCO PARADISE (Stomp)

Making punk-noise as if creating a new art movement, Melbourne trio My Disco test the patience of even the most Buddhist listener on this second album, recorded in Chicago by their hero Steve Albini. Shortening the length of the loops and increasing the repetition, their disjointed newwave post-hardcore now inhabits a deliberately cold, barren universe with a strange kind of gravitational pull. With emotionless android vocals by bassist/vocalist Liam Andrews and brother Ben wielding an odd kind of guitar wizardry, short

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chunks of stringent rhythm churn over and over again to create a kind of tension that clenches you to the speaker like a sudden radio transmission in a post-nuclear world. For more perverse listeners, Paradise will live up to its title. For others it will be duller than Dungog.

MY PRECIOUS THE FINE LINE (Self-released)

Everyone’s favourite femalefronted dual-vocal Singaporean screamo band My Precious return with a more ambitious follow-up to their dark and unrelenting eponymous debut of 2005. They’ve long labelled their style “nocore” as a way of distancing themselves from any one particular scene, and here they truly live up to that (anti-)tag. At an average length of two-minutes per track, each track on The Fine Line takes some kind of voyage of discovery. While the blinding fast hardcore parts remain, now they’re more playful, poppy even. The focal point of the group, dual-vocalists Rina and Kyn, are in fine voice, by now well versed in the art of making screams actually singable. Interspersed between the chaotic, passionate blasts, My Precious juggle quirky newwave, indie rock and pop influences and somehow even get away with the crime of funky bass!

NECROPSIA

DIE FUCKING BASTARD (Witchhammer)

If there were some kind of award for most fucked-up cover art in metal history, Chilean extremists Necropsia would go close to taking it out. Illustrated by Thai artist Sickness 666, the Die Fucking Bastard cover depicts a disembowelled pregnant woman with her unborn foetus tied to an upside-down crucifix being double-teamed by a pair of studded wristband-wearing goat-men inside a flaming Pentagram – a shocking image in an unshockable age. Necropsia’s brand of black metal is equally raw and confronting, with obligatory shithouse production and a vocalist that sounds like a demonic cave dwelling troll. This little gem came by way of Thai label Witchhammer Productions, in the same package as some other ultra-extreme Asian releases such as a reissue of 1999’s infamous Rape! Rape! Rape! by Japanese cult thrashers Cutthroat.

NEKRASOV

INTO THE NO-MANS SPHERE OF THE ANCIENT DAYS (Exotic Corpse)

UB readers will already know how much I adore solo bedroom black metal projects. So it goes without saying I was stoked to receive a disc from one pretentious enough to travel under the name of a long-dead Russian poet! Into The No-Mans Sphere Of The Ancient Days is the debut from Melbourne’s mysterious Nekrasov. A noxious emission that alternates between pernicious black metal outbursts and haunting darkwave noiseschisms – bit like a collab between Quorthon and Steven Stapleton – its propensity to project pure evil is superior to that of many of the more lauded names in black metal. The production at times is a bit, as my old pa would say, “how ya goin’”, but that’s kinda what this bedroom BM caper is all about. Released by Brent Stegeman’s (MAPS, ex-Love Like… Electrocution, ex-Whitehorse) design company Exotic Corpse.

NEIL HAMBURGER

SINGS COUNTRY WINNERS (Drag City/Inertia)

Anti-stand-up comedian, “America’s Funnyman”


CAUTION: DANGER CONCENTRATED

INACCURATE CD REVIEWS

UNBELIEVABLY

Neil Hamburger, extends his CV to include country crooning on this new disc through Drag City. A fresh canvas for his unique style of passive/aggressive humour/torture, the bulk of these tunes were penned by Hamburger’s alter-ego Gregg Turkington with collaborators Dave Gleason (guitar) of Wasted Days and Atom Ellis (bass, ukulele) of Dieselhed, who also play in the backing band alongside legendary drummer Prairie Prince (Journey, Tubes, Todd Rundgren, etc). With peddle-steel tearjerkers such as “How Can I Still Be Patriotic (When They’ve Taken Away My Right To Cry)” and the Lee Hazelwood-style groovin’ lament “Jugtown”, it’s as much fun as a wet cracker night.

THE NIGHT MARCHERS

SEE YOU IN MAGIC (Vagrant/Shock)

Over these past couple of years one of San Diego’s favourite sons, John “Speedo” Reis, has been wiping his slate clean. In 2005, he put an end to much-loved bands Rocket From The Crypt and Hot Snakes within months of one another, while lesser-known project The Sultans played their final show in early ‘07. But just as the slate got clear, he smeared it up with the greasy remnants of all his former projects, even roped in a few ex-Hot Snakes bandmates in Jason Kourkounis and Gar Wood, and called it The Night Marchers. You might not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but

this one’s got plenty enough up his sleeve already. While there’ll still be those Rocket fans who reckon this feels a little empty sans horns, and Hot Snakes fans who think it lacks that band’s holy austerity, there’s a hell of a lot for Reis devotees to love on See You In Magic. One of those records that helped get me through a crap winter.

NUNCHUKKA SUPERFLY

IF YA NOT CAREFUL WITH ELECTRICITY IT WILL KILL YA (Chatterbox/MGM)

A new effort from Nunchukka Superfly means you can pretty much rip up the rulebook on what a rock trio is and isn’t supposed to be. Mindgrinding basslines from Ray Ahn, chest-thumping drums from Joel Ellis and throat-slicing guitar noise from Peter “Blackie” Black – and that’s just the heavy shit. They’re also prone to lapses of stunning ambient pop, where Blackie stops snarling and snorting for a while to sing like a choirboy on too much cough medicine. Unlike the many bands liable to serve up slop in the name of “experimentation”, Nunchukka keep their noise elucidations largely flab free. In the song “Napalm Death T-shirts” they even break momentarily for a surreal mock gameshow interlude that takes the piss out of middle-Australia, and somehow they get away with it.

NUNCHUKKA SUPERFLY

LIVE AT THE TOTE [LIVE] (We Empty Rooms)

I consider it a privilege whenever I see Nunchukka (or the Hard-Ons) live. Watching Blackie (guitar/ vocals) and Ray (bass) in full flight, you can’t help but be impressed that the pair have been around so long, yet continue to sound so vital and look so fucking young! As explained in the review above, you never know what to expect when Nunchukka takes up their picks and sticks and prepares for lift-off. You could get some crazy stretched-out rock exploration worthy of a spot on Kick Out The Jams, or you could just as easily get some weird, ambient choir of evil angels thing. Captured live at Melbourne rock institution The Tote in August 2006, bar one song from III (“Not All My Friends Are Happy”) and two from the new one If Ya Not Careful… (“What” and “Afraid”), the tracklist is comprised of all unreleased stuff. The mat-finished artwork, fibrous paper stock and faux-Digipakaging makes for a smart little package containing big big noise.

PARLAMENTARISK SODOMI

HAR DU SAGT “A” FAR DU SI “NAL” (No Escape)

The Night Marchers

It doesn’t matter that you can’t understand a bloody word Parlamentarisk Sodomi is on about. This one-man Norwegian grind merchant speaks the international language of death growls. With Discharge-style political cut & paste artwork and musical influences like Repulsion and Righteous Pigs, Har Du Sagt “A” Far Du Si “Nal” delivers a heavy-duty grind, death and crust crossover that bridges international barriers. Shifting styles from D-beat to blastbeats without sacrificing intensity, personally I find a lot of the songs to be a little too choppy-changy. The ones where they stick solid and rock the fuck out, like “Kinky Lobbyvirksomhet”, are the best. But some metal folks like a little more complexity than I do, so if you got a hankerin’ for some amped-up grind that growls at you in a foreign tongue, get some Har Du Sagt… into ya.

POD PEOPLE MONS ANIMAE MORTUORUM (Goatsound)

When unleashed back in 2004, Pod People’s Doom Saloon was one of the biggest deals in Aussie stoner rock/doom metal. But in the few years since then, the worldwide doom pendulum has swung towards heavier realms and these Canberrans have been left a little short on artillery. The all-too-longawaited follow-up, Mons Animae Mortuorum (Latin for “Mountain of the Souls of the Dead”), comes out rippin’ with opener “Back To Reality”. The production by Jason PC (Blood Duster) is first rate, and on such heavier material Pod People show they are more than capable of writing an extremely catchy detuned groove-metal riff. But at the end of the day, too many of the songs are derivative, old hat even, with the pussier moments made even less bearable by the annoyingly rhymey-all-thetimey lyrics. There’s also an anti-pot smoking song here, so hat’s off at least for trying to introduce such novel concepts into stoner rock circles – good luck with that one fellas. The art is by Glenno, and while that guy never hands in sub par work, this time he seems to have made an extra special effort with the fine penwork on the foldout sleeve.

a kind of Euro stiffness while his partner, drum demigod Dave Haley of Psycroptic (now also of Blood Duster and The Amenta), exercises a subtle flamboyance in a genre that demands so much less than he’s used to giving. The cover art by the Rev. Kriss Hades (of Sadistik Exekution infamy) has a kind of sketchy Dan Seagrave vibe.

R*U*S*T

BLACK RATS EP (Turbo Nun)

Part of the thriving local scene of bands mixing traditional street punk and old school hardcore with the balls-out Oz rock of Rose Tattoo (see also The Corps, Marching Orders, Bulldog Spirit, et al), with Sydney punks R*U*S*T you get absolutely no-bullshit. Spitting chips about untrustworthy scumbags on “Black Rats” and the mainstream media’s obsession with violence on “Exit Wound”, “Spirit Of The Anzacs” defies its potential to be a dumb, patriotic punk anthem by actually being a quite accomplished and not at all dumb patriotic punk anthem. The nostalgia trip “Memory Lane” sees frontman Gazz propose, “Let’s go back to ’82.” Listening to R*U*S*T, feels like I’m halfway there already.

SCHRÖDINGER'S CAT STIMULATED EMISSION EP (La Machine)

The first time I met the red-headed loony that fronts Schrödinger's Cat he was in a bar at Luna Park performing dick tricks and bragging about how his band was kind of like a cross between Converge, The Locust and Dillinger Escape Plan. A huge call, I thought, but at least the guy had the (cock and) balls to back himself. While not many recordings are gonna live up to being compared to the aforementioned triumvirate, this debut EP nonetheless contains some nifty spaz-punk-techmetal for fans of that stuff. Actually closer to the sound of Daughters and Das Oath, give this a few blasts on the home stereo and watch as family members and straight-laced housemates duck for cover.

REX BANNER / HOMEWRECKER

THE STICKMEN

(Washed Up/Stomp)

(Solar-Sonar)

SPLIT EP

Rex Banner have musical multiple personality disorder. One the one hand they love Propaghandi, on the other hand they love Hope Conspiracy, and yet on another hand (yep, three fuckin’ hands) they play covers ranging from New Found Glory to Terror. Since I don’t like any of those bands, I don’t really like Rex Banner. Still, they sound a hell of a lot better than 90% of the bullshit bands those faggots at BLUNT mag give time to. Homewrecker, on the other hand, now they my kinda band. Loose cunts, probably a bit too loose for “the kids” to fully get into, slamming out rough, old school hardcore like it never went out of fashion. Fuck the kids.

RUINS

CAULDRON (Stomp)

Alongside woodchips and apples, Tasmania has begun making a name for exporting world-class extreme metal. Cauldron is the third album from Ruins, the black metal duo involving members of Tas tech death stars Psycroptic (not to be confused with the Japanese duo of the same name). Though it doesn’t sound definitively “Tasmanian”, or even particularly Australian, or even very original, it is an undeniably well-crafted effort that has rightly garnered worldwide acclaim. Guitarist/ bassist/ vocalist Alex Pope is tasteful in selecting his riffs, while delivering his vocals with

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WHO SAID IT SHOULD BE GOOD

Tom Lyngcoln of The Nation Blue is determined to cast light back on some neglected nuggets of nineties Aussie indie rock gold. His label, Solar-Sonar, already has an enviable hit ratio for re-issues of tragically overlooked acts. First came the ’94 masterpiece Victim Chant from Hobart’s Mouth, then a live set from Melbourne’s Sandro called Threaded Into The Night. Now comes a 20-track retrospective from Hobart’s The Stickmen. With material collected from both the group’s now hard-to-locate full-lengths and other recordings made between ‘96 and ‘99, it sprawls from evil, driving post-punk to weird-sounding indie rock, maintaining a constant something’s-not-quiteright-here vibe. Hard to believe when The Stickmen broke up in ’99 no one gave a toss except an elite handful (including Mr. Lyngcoln). If you weren’t one of them you should feel as ashamed, as I do. Your penance is to check this out asap.

STRAIGHT TO A TOMB FULL CONTACT (Straight-Up)

With basically every hardcore band who ever existed and broke up in the nineties now lauded as “legendary”, from deep inside the vaults of Sydney hardcore label Straight-Up comes this lost classic


by the “legendary” Straight To A Tomb (members would go on to Subversion, Demolition High-Style, Stockholm Syndrome, Fattura Della Morte, etc). Of the five studio tracks recorded by Ryan Wilmott at Zen Studios, the first three featured on the Call it Whatever You Want Vol. 2 CD compilation on Snapshot and the next two on the New Tools for the Hunter comp on First Blood. The live material – including covers of Madball, Ag Front and Undertow – was recorded at the Iron Duke Hotel circa ’96 and Forest Inn circa ’98 and sounds like something you’d find down the back of Jay Blurter’s couch.

Highway (2006), with a more direct riffing style, their explorations still suffer occasional lapses of indulgence, such as on the unfocussed “Ocean Dome”. Still, you stoners out there could find a worse soundtrack to your next sesh. An Australian tour has been touted for these desert-dwellers, but unfortunately for all the G. Ginn disciples out there, the SST/ Black Flag figurehead is a studio collaborator only and doesn’t tour. Who’d look after the cats?

STRAIGHTJACKET NATION

GODS OF THE EARTH

S/T

(Self-released) Melbourne unit Straightjacket Nation are currently one of the more exciting fast HC bands in the country, and this self-titled disc shows you how they got there. A compile of all their previously released 7-inches, it’s a fifteen-track discography that charts the growth of the band in reverse order. Starting with the six tracks from their superior EP of last year, running back through the previously issued eight-tracker, and concluding with their somewhat uncharacteristic cover of The Saints’ “(I’m) Stranded” from the 2005 Eddy Current split. They’ve just released their debut proper, Cheap Kicks, on Shortfuse.

TEN EAST

ROBOT’S GUIDE TO FREEDOM

(Lexicon Devil/Fuse) Second album from Los Angeles jam project Ten East (featuring the unlikely line-up of Fatso Jetson and Yawning Man members alongside Kyuss guy Scott Reeder and the legendary Greg Ginn of Black Flag), Robot’s Guide… delivers a fresh batch of instrumental improvisational stoner-prog jams. Slightly more immediate than their debut, Extraterrestrial

THE SWORD

(Impedance/Amphead) When you’re greeted by a depiction of lightning bolt striking a giant sword as it cracks through the surface of the Earth on the front cover of a record, you can generally assume the band who put out that record is pretty serious about metal. When they’re called The Sword and have song titles like “The Frost-Giant’s Daughter” and “Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephyrians”, expect that band to be stupidly serious. Another thing these Austin, Texas bearded-ones are serious about is Sabbath worship. Throwing down Iommi-type detuned bar chord progressions with vocals that sound like young Ozzy recorded in a Dutch oven, they show the potential to be every Metallica, Mastodon and/ or Monster Magnet fan’s second favourite band, but they’re not there yet. Despite passages of space-rock and forays into ye olde acoustic folk, Gods Of The Earth gets a little samey after a while. If you’re stupidly serious about metal, you’re probably already into these guys.

THIS CITY SUNRISE S/T EP

(Self-released) When a mate handed me this self-released CDEP by some New Zealand band I’d never heard of and asked me to consider it for review, I politely

Times New Viking agreed, thinking there’d be little chance in hell I’d dig it. I can’t exactly explain why I had this aversion, possibly it had something to do with their uninspiring moniker, or their even less inspiring second-rate Converge cover art? Anyway, I slung it on the teetering pile of review CDs on my desk, where it worked its way towards the bottom as other discs below it were pulled out, listened to and assessed in kind. It wasn’t until the very end, with only what I thought were the complete dregs left, that I finally put it on, feeling all knight-like in doing a friend a favour, only to discover an absolute corker of an EP had been sitting less than 30cms away from my mouse-clicking hand for several months. Heavy, complex and yet somehow poppy all at the same time, their insane post-HC and punk sound is like a juggling act of intricate musicianship, rhythmic complexity and sharpish hooks – basically the only things this band haven’t got are a decent name and good cover art. I was a fool for not getting into them right away. Hopefully this review will help you avoid the same scenario.

TIMES NEW VIKING RIP IT OFF

(Matador/Remote Control) Hearing Rip It Off by Times New Viking is like being kicked in the balls by a pre-schooler. The Columbus, Ohio threesome state on the back cover here that they play “pop songs with guitar keyboard drums”. They should’ve also added that they love to distort the living shit out of everything. If you flipped through their iPods you’d probably find the Velvets, Royal Trux, Daniel Johnston, Carpenters, Sonic Youth... It’s urgent, lo-fi indie pop with boy-girl gang vocals drenched in amp fuzz and double-dipped in distortion. I actually prefer this at lower volume; fucks with your mind a bit cranked too high. Trust my testes, though, Rip It Off is not a gigantic wallop from an A-League penalty-taker in size 14s, just one of those perfect taps to the sweet spot of the nut that leaves you reeling.


Torche

TORCHE

VARIOUS ARTISTS

MEANDERTHAL

(Hydrahead/Riot!) Torche move in the same sludge/ doom circles as Kylesa, Baroness, The Sword, et al but clearly the potential is there for this Floridaian foursome to shift up and take on the Mastodons, the Queens Of The Stone Ages and even the Foo Fighters of this world. Meanderthal is rare gem – a heavy rock record with commercial appeal that isn’t cheesy. The “stoner-pop” vibe of their 2005 self-titled debut remains, only the songs are better realised this time around. Like many underground bands looking to take it to a new level, Torche have employed producer Kurt Ballou from Converge to give their brand of “thunder rock” some brimstone to add to the fire. They go from Kyuss and Melvins-style stoner dirges to Pelican and Baroness prog metal to quasi-Foo Fighters and Smashing Pumpkins radio-rock, with epic melodies that strangely recall nineties alterna-rockers like Jane’s Addiction (you may have to listen hard to spot this connection, since vocally Steve Brooks is much deeper, gruffer and more one-dimensional than Perry Farrell). As far as hard rock records go, Meanderthal takes the cake in ‘08, candles and all.

NEW CHINESE ROCKS CD-R (Tenzenmen)

Shaun Hemsley of Tenzenmen is one of those guys who help make the Sydney DIY scene tick. He does so not out of greed or ego, but simply because he’s out to fight the power on the frontlines. And if that means arranging PAs, manning the door and staying after all the punters have gone to clean up all the empty bottles left in the alley so that future shows can be held at a particular venue, he’s there, putting in the hard yards. I’ve seen him. New Chinese Rocks is a CD-R comp Shaun put together to be given away free over the counter of Paint It Black (Enmore Road, Sydney) featuring a slew of underground bands he‘s encountered on his travels to China with some kind of covert dragonboating syndicate he’s a part of. With genres ranging from hardcore, punk, indie, Oi!, electro and experimental, and quality ranging from quite dodge to quite good, personal favourites include dual-fronted hardcore punks Demerit and new-wave indie popsters Hedgehog. If you can’t physically get to Paint It Black, download the whole thing as a .zip from mediafire.com/?wvytjynmwmf.

VARIOUS ARTISTS

TOXIC HOLOCAUST

THAI BEAT A GO-GO VOL. 1

AN OVERDOSE OF DEATH (Relapse/Riot!)

CAUTION: DANGER CONCENTRATED

UNBELIEVABLY

INACCURATE CD REVIEWS

The post-Municipal Waste thrash metal revival is in full swing, with Warbringer, Bonded By Blood, Evile, Dekapitator, Gamma Bomb, Merciless Death, Violator, Short Sharp Shock and basically anyone else with a bandana and an Exodus tablature book enjoying their moment in the sunshine. So it’s no surprise to see long-serving Portland, Oregon oneman, blonde-haired, radioactive thrashing machine Toxic Holocaust make the step up onto Relapse. With Joel Grind handling vocals and all instruments, Toxic Holocaust stand out from the sound-alike retro-thrash rabble. Blending in a bit of death metal, punk rock, crossover mosh bits and even a hint of Entombed’s death ‘n’ roll groove, with possessed vocals that recall David Vincent circa-Alters Of Madness, An Overdose Of Death is a lethal shot of death-thrash any died-in-the-wool late-eighties headbanger will relish.

(Subliminal Sounds/Fuse) It’s no surprise to find UNBELIEVABLY Bad’s very own Sir Dugless working at the joint who distribute this batch of wild sixties rock ‘n’ roll recordings from Thailand. Guys like him have gone way beyond Nuggets and Killed By Death, so they go digging for stuff like Cambodian Rocks and this similar set of “Groovy Sounds from the Land Of Smile”. Limited by their equipment, their means of production and their access to the western hit parade, these Thai unknowns mixed their own language and traditional instrumentation with garage, surf and Beatle music, sometimes with completely off-the-wall results – see The Cat doing “Meow” for just one example. There are two more equally worthy volumes of weirdness in the series, both also available through Fuse.

VENOMOUS CONCEPT

POISONED APPLE

(Century Media/Stomp) Years after the initial blast comes a second follow-up effort from crossover crust supergroup Venomous Concept. Melvins leader Buzz Osbourne has dropped out, replaced by the able Danny Lilker of Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, S.O.D. and Brutal Truth fame. But the real reason Poisoned Apple is greater than the debut, Retroactive Abortion (2004), is because you don’t have to wade through the flying debris searching for the songs. While the debris is still flying thick and fast, the songs are way more in your face. “Drop Dead” commands your attention with a classic crossover riff, and from there Poisoned Apple proceeds to thrash and bash you senseless. With no song over two minutes and the tempos rarely dropping below warp speed, this could be vocalist Kevin Sharp’s (Brutal Truth, ex-Damaged) finest hour.

VIOLENT SOHO

WE DON’T BELONG HERE (Emergency Music)

Though none of the members were even out of primary school when grunge broke, Brisbane kids Violent Soho would not have looked out place alongside Soundgarden, Tad and Nirvana in the classic SupPop stable. With the same penchant for

rubbing Sabbath riffs up against Beatle-worthy melodies, they shamelessly burgle great ideas from everywhere in the name of timeless rock. Wearing influences like Nirvana, Pavement, Mudhoney, Weezer and (yuck) Smashing Pumpkins as proudly as button badges on an army jacket, they do it with such youthful innocence you can’t help but smile and nod your head reassuringly. These kids clearly know how to rock, they clearly know how to write a killer chorus; once they get over their hero worship and ‘90s fixations, and we could be talking the big time.

VIVA COMPUTER S/T

(Self-Released) This popped out of the mailbox with DIY written all over it, or at least splashed quite obviously in hand-painted and individually stamped artwork. I knew absolutely nothing of Viva Computer, except that they were from Tasmania and that when I first put their disc on it sounded like pretty cool lo-fi indie rock with a quirky style and understated melodic ambition. I didn’t realise until I put it back on again several weeks later just how deeply their hooks had sunken in. While opener “An Army In A Sugarcube” has the kind of cutesy charm and lush group chorus that would straight up make them darlings of Triple J radio, most of the material is more eccentric, their songs like presents that need to be fully unwrapped. The tribute to Australia’s lost Prime Minister, “Harold Holt”, with its banjo and trumpet accruements, steady majestic build-up and lyrics about death at sea, is one from the Issac Brock handbook, but generally their influences not so easy to spot. I just looked up their MySpace page and found out they broke up in July. They’d better have a good excuse.

WINNEBAGO DEAL

FLIGHT OF THE RAVEN

also the new Valient Thorr – dude’s on a serious roll right now. Very little wheel reinvention going on here, the riffs being the kind of meat and potatoes variety served up in the cafeteria of rock school for beginners. But if you got a hankering for strippedback scuzzed-up balls-outs rock ‘n’ roll, here’s the motherfuckin’ ‘Deal.

WITCH HATS CELLULITE SOUL

(In-Fidelity/Inertia) Instead of so readily looking overseas for inspiration, more young local groups oughta check our own backyard. They might discover there’s hell of a lot beyond late-night Countdown re-runs and the Oz rock nostalgia indulged in by FM radio. And we, the listeners, might get more debut albums as good as Cellulite Soul. Melbourne kids Witch Hats are tapping into a great Aussie tradition of swamp and grunge, drawing on the pioneering work of godfathers like the Birthday Party, the Scientists and Lubricated Goat while also applying their own spin. With its dark primal rhythms and stabbing guitar lines, opener “Before I Weigh” provides a link to the Birthday Party stylings of the band’s earlier EP, Wound Of A Little Horse (2006). Though the garbled vocals of Kris Buscombe are higher in pitch than Nick Cave ever got, they’ve got a similar out-of-tune but couldn’t-give-a-fuck thing goin’ on. “Climbing Up Your Cable” injects some pop into proceedings, removing the menace in the bullocking bassline to create something genuinely danceable. “Western” is some sort of weird slacker freedom rock guilt trip about the exploitation of Chinese labour, “Hellhole” is a primordial post-punk war cry, “Ma Lord” is like a cutesy lullaby sung by a creepy child molester, while “Neil Diamond Entry” is a clash of Bleach-era Nirvana and the great Grong Grong. Noisy eight-minute closer, “Doors Film”, craps on almost as much as the Oliver Stone comedy it’s named after, but this is the one and only flabby spot on the whole of Cellulite Soul.

(Fierce Panda/Impedance) Turbo-charged UK twosome Winnebago Deal sent hopes soaring with their debut EP, Plata O Plomo (2003), but nose-dived slightly with its disappointing major label follow-up Dead Gone (2004). This greatly improved effort from the duo – Ben Perrier (vocals/guitar) and Ben Thomas (drums) – was recorded in 2006 but released locally (with a bonus DVD) by Impedance Records just in time for their first Australian tour this year. Produced by grunge god Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Tad, Soundgarden, Afghan Wigs, Dwarves, etc) – who also played on the album along with Nick Oliveri (Mondo Generator, ex-QOSTA, ex-Kyuss) – Flight Of The Raven captures the glorious, untainted sound of rock. Dunno why people fawn over other Nirvana producers like Albini and Vig while Endino remains so underrated. Regardless of what’s on his CV, the latest High On Fire sounds amazing,

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Winnebago Deal


AUSTRALIAN TOUR 7” (Juvenile)

Black Lips tour 7-inch released for their first visit late last year, contains “Katrina” and “Slime & Oxygen” from their latest LP, Good Bad Not Evil (2007), plus a way-cool non-album track, “Italian Sexual Frustration” (previously issued overseas on several different iterations of “Katrina” 7-inch on Vice). A local pressing from Juvenile, it’s limited to 400 (I got #2 – see what happens when you blow the right people) and has unique screen-printed artwork. A band with such a strong collector-dork following as the Black Lips ensured this sucker sold-out quick, so check eBay and be prepared to bend over and spread ‘em.

BLADE OF THE RIPPER S/T 12”

(Drugbust/ International Trash)

DANGER WAXING RIDICULOUS

SPUN VINYL REVIEWS

UNBELIEVABLY

Fronted by former Nashville Pussy member Adam Neal, Blade Of The Ripper play a quite brand of old school thrash with a raw punk edge and pompous power metal choruses. If Metallica had taken their early obsessions with the New Wave Of British Heavy metal and the Misfits in a completely different direction, they may have ended up sounding like this. A vinyl re-issue of the 2006 self-titled effort by the Louisville, Kentucky thrashers, originally on Devil Doll, it’s out through Melbourne’s DrugBust with striking new cover art that just screams buy-on-sight. Be warned though, Blade Of The Ripper is definitely an acquired taste, especially Neal’s vocals. I think you need to be into Danzig more than I to fully appreciate them. Still, I’d buy this for the front cover alone.

CUT SICK S/T 7” (Gash)

Cut Sick are skater kids from Melbourne that sound as though they’ve been strapped down and injected with melted-down thrash 7-inches from the eighties. This EP is their first vinyl foray; four tracks per side of blinding-fast

Pic: Rod Hunt

THE BLACK LIPS

thrash HC with raspy vocals thrown at full velocity. This is a hand-numbered tour edition pressed up for Cut Sick’s joint national run with Straightjacket Nation last year (I got #77 of 100), which has a different label to the unnumbered copies or something. Now with Max Kohane (Agents Of Abhorrence) on drums, they play at double the pace and extremity of their earlier CDEP, Make it Count. Opener “Mad Karma” is as good as it gets – speedy, melodic hardcore with the intensity of a downhill faceplant and lyrics about skate stacks without kneepads.

THE DEAD WALK!

HUNTING HUMANS 7” (Resist)

The final release from Newcastle mosh-crew The Dead Walk! comes on impressive toxic green coloured vinyl limited to 100 copies (I got #84) for nerds like me who pre-ordered. With five tracks all told – four fresh cuts and a raucous take on T.S.O.L’s “Code Blue” – the recording by Geoff Mullard (Found My Direction) is more savage than their crisp-sounding full-length We Prowl The Streets (2006). Faster, harder and heavier, the thrashy bits are thrashier, the metal bits more metal, while the vocal performance of scene veteran Luke Dolan, aka Luke Crew (Pitfall, Arms Reach, White Male Duminance), is arguably his very best. Throw in the odd bit of fastcore, the occasional gang sing-along and more than a few mosh-like-mad sections and you’ve got a definite high point for The Dead Walk! Shame they had to break up only a few weeks later.

FEELIN’ LUCKY S/T 12”

(Swashbuckling Hobo) I hate bands with high aspirations. Like the ones who hassle you to listen to their bullshit, when in the time it took them to do all this hassling they could’ve downloaded some good music and maybe figured out how to eat shit a little bit less. If Feelin’ Lucky ate shit, they’d eat it on their own terms. And they’d only eat the best shit. And then they wouldn’t even care if you thought you had some better shit. They can record the best album that’s going to come out of Australia this year, and leave all 100 copies in their basement in Brisbane because they don’t care. Then their basement floods and fucks up all the covers and leaves a scummy trace over the black vinyl, making it sound better than most of the Rip Off records catalogue. A year later they figure they should make some new covers and decide to sell it. But by this time the singer’s ex-girlfriend starts dating the drummer and the band hits splitsville. Aspirations suck, Feelin’ Lucky rules. [Owen Penglis]

FRIGHTENER / PULLING TEETH SPLIT 7”

(Ghost City / A389t) Frightener is a UK band that once featured Perth kid Rhys Davies (Extortion, Jaws, Meatlocker, etc) on drums until he got kicked back home to the colonies late last year, while Pulling Teeth are a Baltimore act making up the numbers on Deathwish Inc. A joint UK-US release, this split was issued to commemorate the bands touring America and Britain together. Angry metallic-hardcore. Nothing more. Nothing less. Frightener definitely wins the day with their Deathwish-meets-Earache-circa-’92 assault. The press is one of those 2-colour halfhalf jobs with one half in poo brown and the other in snot green.

Jay Reatard

JAY REATARD BLOOD DEMOS 7” (Stained Circles)

Issued by Stained Circles for Jay Reatard’s maiden Australian tour in March, this throws up four demo cuts for tracks that would be immortalized on his 2006 solo masterpiece Blood Visions. Obviously with more primitive production, these rough sketches pack a heavier metallic crunch but lack the urgency and new-wave nervousness of the finished versions. Side-A tracks “Blood Visions” and “Turning Blue” are fired with a certain naive charm, though Side-B wanes, with “It’s So Easy” being too close to the finished take and “Oh, It’s Such A Shame” flatlining in the second half where the album version builds to a brutal crescendo. These four tracks can also be heard on the CD/DVD mixed bag of Reatard known as Singles 06-07 (In The Red/Stained Circles).

Crash LP finally saw the light of day. Should I bore you with it? Well, OK then, just quickly. The recording was made back in 2005 when the now defunct Brisbane experimental post-HC duo was down in Sydney for some shows. Originally Appliances & Cars had plans to release it, but for one reason or another those plans never materialised. The following year, Night Crash guitarist Dan met Shaun of Tenzenmen at a show by Japan’s Limited Express (has gone?), and sometime later an idea was hatched for a joint release through Appliances & Cars/Tenzenmen. Now it’s finally out, hand-screened recycled card sleeve and all. The band has long since split. I hear Dan’s now plying his trade as a chef in Melbourne and drummer Leigh is off in Europe with Skul Hazzards. Once you hear this LP (it’s actually a 12-inch pressed at 45rpm, limited to just 230 copies) you’ll understand why all the effort was worth it.

JAY REATARD

PIERCED ARROWS

(Matador)

(Tombstone)

The first of six monthly 7-inches released this year by Mr. Reatard for new home Matador, this is the least rare of the lot as each subsequent release was pressed in smaller and smaller quantities until there were only 400 copies of the sixth and last one (a ploy to gain cred that sadly played into the hands of collector parasites who seek to keep music locked up in archival plastic bags rather than on turntables, where it belongs – end rant). Recorded again at the home of the Reatarded one in Memphis in January, the two tunes make minor stylistic advances on the intensely focused Blood Visions set. Great melody and double-tracked vocals on “See Saw”, while “Screaming Hand” is a new-wave laser beam with a kind of dreamy feel to it. Next cab off the rank in the series was “Painted Shut” b/w “An Ugly Death”, followed by “Always Wanting More” b/w “You Mean Nothing to Me”, a split with Deerhunter featuring the track “Fluorescent Grey”, “Trapped Here” b/w “Hiding In My Hole”/“Dead On Arrival”, and “No Time” b/w “You Were Sleeping”. All these recordings are now available on the Matador Singles ’08 CD.

To the husband and wife arse-kickin’ team of Fred and Toody Cole, the estrangement from drummer Andrew Loomis and the death of twenty-year garage punk institution Dead Moon and at the end of 2006 was a mere blip. Virtually no time after the collapse of their old group, these rock ‘n’ roll roadwarriors had roped in new skinsman Kelly Halliburton and the Pierced Arrows were off and motoring. This 7-inch was out six months later and by January this year they’d already completed their first Australian tour. If this had been released under the Dead Moon name I doubt anyone would’ve batted an eyelid. But keener ears will notice a slight increase in the rhythmic swing to these two tunes. “In My Brain” features Fred’s familiar dirt-fuzz guitar and strained vocal wail, while the trad. country-tinged “Caroline” has a lead vocal from Toody and a chorus similar to DM’s classic “Down The Road”. Neither tune would trouble the best of Dead Moon, but fans should have no trouble finding room for this 45 in their collections.

“SEE SAW” / “SCREAMING HAND” 7”

THE NIGHT CRASH

“IN MY BRAIN” / “CAROLINE” 7”

SCUL HAZZARDS

S/T 12”

“LAST FEW BUCKS” / “NEEDLES EYE” / “PLASTIC PROTECTIVE” 7”

There’s a whole saga behind how The Night

A 33prm cut ensures maximum running time for this three-tracker through Tenzenmen,

(Appliances & Cars/ Tenzenmen)

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(Tenzenmen)


easily Skul Hazzards’ best stuff yet. Each release so far has seen the Brisbane indie post-punk kids trying on slightly different personas in a search of their own sound, and while this is getting close to the Albini worship practiced by a million and one modern band bands, signs are positive that an identity is near to being found amongst their evolving roster of influences. Adventurous and at times unruly, it’s also sharply focused and tightly executed. The music is darker and noisier than ever, while the yelling and screaming vocals of frontman Steven Smith (vocals/guitar), which seemed fun and playful at first, now sound like he’s in serious pain. Despite some early volatility in the ranks, Skul Hazzards have really gotten their shit together. Now relocated to Europe, they have the potential to achieve greatness. Can’t wait for the album.

Toe To Toe

VENOMOUS CONCEPT / BLOOD DUSTER SPLIT 7”

(Missing Link)

SICK THINGS

MY LIFE IS A MESS 12” (Stolen/International Trash)

For the first time on vinyl, a special pressing of Melbourne’s legendary Sick Things, limited to 500 numbered copies (I scammed a promo copy so mine is actually unnumbered). An absolute must-have for anyone into skuzzed-up Oz punk from the vaults, this features tracks recorded around Melbourne between 1980-81. Featuring originals and covers by Exploited, Discharge and Subhumans and Damned, it’s as filthy, scungy and fucked-up as it’s possible for punk to be. Closing Side-2 are bonus alternative versions of “I Like Pills” and “Good Citizen”, recorded during a ‘88 reunion where Tim Hemensley (Powder Monkeys, Bored!, God) filled in on drums. The boutique foldout sleeve and schmick pressing courtesy of Zenith adds an uncalled for touch of class!

SIXFTHICK 12 INCH 12” (Beast)

Provocatively titled 12 Inch, this pleasurable five-song French release sees Brisbane bullock train SixFtHick unveil two new tunes and cover a few old local underground obscurities. Each side of the platter is kickstarted by an all-new, finger-lickin’ ‘Hick original, “Retirement Party” and “The Plague” respectively, both being pretty typical of the band’s sound these days – imagine a knife fight between Beasts Of Bourbon and Hot Snakes. The real fun though is to be found in the cover versions. A mirthful steamroll through “The Feel” by X is impressive, but still no match for the ultra tight take on “Nerve Quake”, one of my all-time favourite Lubricated Goat songs. They finish off by running through “Hard For You”, originally by The Butcher Shop but made

of take-no-prisoners local hardcore bands. Pressed on clear vinyl in a run of 300 (I got #15), two tracks per band, Crosscheck from Charlestown, NSW slam out fast and thrashy form of US crossover, followed by Sydney’s Violent Abuse, who stew a hotpot of Aussie punkrocknrollmetalhardcore on “Not How We Roll” and finish with a short but not very sweet version of Ag Front’s “Discriminate Me”.

(in)famous by Beasts Of Bourbon. I give this 12 outta 12.

TOE TO TOE / MINDSNARE SPLIT 12”

(Snapshot) A cool 12-inch re-issue of the now rare ‘96 split between two pioneers of modern Aussie hardcore, Melbourne’s Mindsnare and Sydney’s Toe To Toe, all tracks are slammed onto one side of the slab with a laser etching pattern comprised of the band’s combined logos on the other. Packaged in a plain black sleeve with a sticker on, there’s also a free poster with art by Alex from House of Pain Tattoo. Considering it was recorded over ten years ago, a lot of it stands up well. Only 500 were pressed, not sure how many are left but I’d get in quick if I were you, numbnuts. If you can’t get it through your local independent music retailer, email snapshotrecords@hotmail.com.

followed by Violent Abuse with “Dog Cunt”, the exact same version that was on the last UNBELIEVABLY Shocking compilation CD. Cover art is by Deathcage singer Spider Death.

VIOLENT ABUSE / CROSSCHECK WELCOME TO SHITSVILLE SPILT 7” (Snapshot)

It’s unfortunate that just before this little bewty came out, with its cover art casting Johnny Howard in the same arch-villain role played by Ronnie Reagan on hardcore handbills throughout the eighties, the Liberal party lost the election by a landslide and showed that contrary to the title, this place might not be so shit after all (although I admit, after 12 years of Little Johnny’s regime I was beginning to believe we were a nation of complete masochists). But all bad timing aside, Welcome To Shitsville is a fine split from a couple

VIOLENT ABUSE / CLEAN BREAK BEERS, BONGS AND BOARDS SPLIT 7” (Violent Break)

Limited to 100 copies on orange vinyl with random hand-scribbled labels, this is the first (and probably only) release for “Violent Break” Records. The weird thing is, both bands have slapped a single track on the A-side of the rekkid, while the B-side is fully grooved but there’s nothing on it! I played it from start to finish cranked at full volume and all I got was the pop and crackle of my crappy stylus (haha fellas, you got me there). Clean Break’s track, “Straightedge Sellout” is a guttural HC roar,

Venomous Concept

This could be the greatest record sleeve ever; the kinda thing you’d expect from a hobby metal label run by Hannibal Lecter. Forget double foldouts and weird cuts in yer cardboard sleeves, this fucker is made out of human skin! As the story goes, the Blood Duster lads had organised to share a split with American grind side-project Venomous Concept through their connections with singer Kevin Sharp (Brutal Truth) and bassist/guitarist Shane Embury (Napalm Death). With Missing Link interested in releasing it, ‘Duster leader Jason PC demanded that the vinyl be packaged in a steel box. Upon being told the quote for steel came back too expensive, PC replied that the only substitute he’d accept would be human skin. Employing a special-effects make-up expert, the label had 100 special latex “human skin” covers with the band names carved out in bloody slashes (ala that dickhead on the Slayer DVD). All three VC tracks are from their latest album, Poisoned Apple. Out of Blood Duster’s tunes, “Looking Forward To A Long Toxic Death” was on the first UNBELIEVABLY Shocking CD, while the other two are new. After going to so much trouble with the covers, some dickhead has gone and mixed up the labels on the vinyl – I guess to the monkeys at the pressing plant one grindcore band sounds like another?


THE DEVIL AT YOUR HEELS

GG Allin

GLOBAL METAL (Roadshow)

(Shock)

CAUTION: PLEASE IGNORE COMPLETELY

UNBELIEVABLY

OPINIONATED DVD REVIEWS

Fans of The Late Show may recall Rob Sitch and Santo Cilauro hosting an extra-special screening of this cracking Canadian doco on the ABC in the nineties. It’s about daredevil Ken Carter, and if you did happen to see it, you’d never have forgotten. Made in the seventies and originally released in ‘81, it follows the five-year saga of Canadian carjumping junkie Carter (real name Kenneth Gordon Polsjek) and his attempt to jump a jet-propelled rocket car a distance of one mile across the St. Lawrence Seaway that separates Canada from the United States. Ken has a supreme death wish, but he’s so sincere and earnest and driven in his unrealistic ambition you can’t help but love the big guy. He’s at a crossroads in life. He’s getting older, and this miracle jump could be his final shot at the big time. Will he make it or won’t he? Will he even get the chance? A heart-wrenching tale of one man’s obsession, The Devil At Your Heels is not just for those who crave the squeal of tyres and the smell of gas fumes but anyone who’s ever felt the stinging slap of failure.

DIMEVISION VOL. 1: THAT’S THE FUN I HAVE (Big Vin/Stomp)

Dimevision is the home videos of murdered Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbot loosely edited together to cash in on his death. There was no care taken with this. Dime’s bro, Big Vin, obviously just called some kid with Final Cut Pro, dumped him with a pile of dusty VHS and said, “Here, make something of this; just make sure you edit out Phil Anselmo as much as possible.” No person dead or alive deserves a “tribute” this half-arsed. I fear for what Vol. 2 could possibly hold in store. You’d almost have to be as obsessed with Dimebag as the douche-poop who shot him to keep your finger off the fast-forward button!

Filmmaker, anthropologist and metalhead Sam Dunn has traversed the globe using heavy metal as his passport. The 2005 doco, Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey (2005), saw Dunn and off-screen partner Scot McFadyen explore the metal “phenomenon” in all the places the genre had flourished since Tony Iommi first struck a bar chord – the UK, US, Scandinavia, etc. Global Metal is different. It goes to all the places metal has been marginalized, suppressed and in some cases outlawed. It looks at the lengths the fans go to for their love of the music and the various ways in which local groups in South America, Asia and the Middle East have adapted the traditional elements of the genre. Talking heads include Bruce Dickinson, Tom Araya, Lars Ulrich, Marty Friedman and a shitload of enthusiastic headbangers in faraway lands, while some of the bands featured on the soundtrack include Japan’s Sigh, Iran’s Arthimoth, Taiwan’s Chthonic and China’s Tang Dynasty. Not sure what’s next for anthropologists / metallurgists Dunn and McFadyen – anyone for the lost voodoo metal tribes of Africa?

HATED

GG ALLIN & THE MURDER JUNKIES (MVD/Shock)

A rock ‘n’ roll animal and an absolute fuck-up, GG Allin took to the stage, in his own words, “not to entertain but to annihilate”. Filmed in 1993 just before GG’s fatal overdose, Hated was a NYU student film by future Hollywood big-shot comedy director Todd Phillips (Old School, Road Trip). There are so many insane moments in this ultimately tragic tale that it verges on black comedy. GG gets gang-bashed by his own audience, shoves a banana up his arse in front of a room full of uni students, physically assaults a woman during a spoken word performance, clears an entire venue by smearing himself in his own shit – but all that’s to be expected. What is surprising is how coherent he is during interviews, justifying his insanity with admirably high (or should that be low?) ideals. During an infamous appearance on Geraldo he calmly says: “My body is the rock ‘n’ roll temple and my flesh, blood and body fluids are a communion to the people… whether they like it or not.” He made no qualms about being hellbent on complete destruction, and in the end he got his wish. This recently issued Hated Special Edition DVD adds more detail to the story. Extras include audio commentary by Phillips as well as GG’s brother and Murder Junkies bassist, Merle Allin, and loopy drummer, Dino Sex, plus an interview with GG and Merle’s mum, Arleta Gunther, who comes across surprisingly sane for one who helped raise rock ‘n’ roll’s biggest psycho.

HEAVY METAL PARKING LOT (Stomp)

The 20th anniversary edition of Jeff Krulik and John Heyn’s public access television classic is a celebration of eighties metal and

shameless DIY self-promotion that packs almost two-hours of content around what was originally only a fifteen-minute short. Filmed in the parking lot of the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland on Judas Priest’s Fuel for Life ’86 tour, Heavy Metal Parking Lot has become a cult classic, heavily traded on bootleg VHS tapes down the years (one of the funniest “bogus” features on this DVD is a transfer of a tenth generation copy of the film!). More than just a document of a now bygone era, it’s evidence of the strange effect heavy metal seems to have on teen bogans. There is a wild, kinetic energy flowing throughout the parking lot, as suburban rednecks gather to drink up, get high and party down with the ‘Priest. While the idea sounds simple enough – head into a stadium carpark full of fueled-up mullet-heads and film what goes down – proof that the results aren’t always so brilliant comes when the filmmakers try to replicate the idea with the less essential Neil Diamond Parking Lot and Harry Potter Parking Lot, included here among the smorgasbord of extras. I wonder if the young lady who says she’d jump Rob Halford’s bones has ever lived that one down?

KURT COBAIN

ABOUT A SON (Madmen)

Michael Azerrad wrote the book on Nirvana. He was their “official biographer” and churned out arguably the most seminal historical work on the group, Come As You Are (1993). In this pseudo-documentary the writer cleverly milks all the juicy bits of audio from hours of recorded conversations with Cobain, splicing them together with an accompanying stream of calming images of various Washington locales that helped shape Cobain’s vision, starting in the logging town of Aberdeen where he grew up. It’s not half as boring as it sounds. If you’ve already read Azerrad’s book, this will be like experiencing

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mild déjà vu. It seems somewhat perverse to milk a legend this way, but it’s refreshing to see at least one film manage to overcome the lack of Nirvana’s music due to the near tyrannical hold Courtney Love holds over her former husband’s back catalogue (this is partly done by filling the soundtrack with a selection of Cobain’s favourite artists, including Leadbelly, Big Black, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Butthole Surfers). It presents Cobain not as a saint, a modern musical saviour, or even the reluctant rock star he was often painted as, but just as a regular guy, subject to all the same temptations as the next genius. Ultimately, he was a realist. Why else do you reckon he blew his own head off?

THE MIGHTY BOOSH SEASON 3 [2-DISC]

(Roadshow) If you’ve not caught The Mighty Boosh on SBS, I recommend starting with Season 3 and working backwards. The latest installments in the escapades of UK odd couple Howard Moon (Julian Barrat) and Vince Noir (Noel Fielding) hits new highs in comedy and storytelling. The characters and their relationships are now fully sketched out, while the routines are less crude than the earlier seasons, which drew heavily from the duo’s stand-up shows and BBC radio series. While the first series was set in a zoo, continuity has never been one of the show’s trademarks. Series 3 finds Howard and Vince working in a store, the ‘Nabootique’, owned by former in-Zoo shaman Naboo (played by Fielding’s simian-like brother Michael). Some of the far-out concepts, irreverent humour and hip culture references are reminiscent of The Young Ones, which I still consider to be a high point in the history of the idiot box. Flight of the Conchords got all the hype (at least in this country), but The ‘Boosh has more staying power.


MOTÖRHEAD

THE BEST OF Sanctuary/ Universal)

Seeing footage of the young Mr. Kilmister in trademark denim with trademark beard and trademark hair and with trademark Rickenbacker adopting his trademark stance and trademark way of singing upward into a high-positioned microphone, it’s very easy to see how Motörhead has become one of hard rock’s most identifiable trademarks. Hence the reason someone got the idea of transferring the old Best of Motörhead VHS onto DVD and flogging it as part of a “mid-price” collection. But all cynicism aside, this 14-track compile of the group’s promo videos has been an essential part of any Motörhead head’s

collection for years and should now take pride on any heavy rock fan’s DVD shelf. Lemmy never seems to change. Watch the early footage and go watch the band now – the only difference is the other musicians he’s playing with and about 30-odd years.

ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT R.I.P. CD/DVD

(Vagrant/Shock) One of the greatest live rock bands ever to don a set of matching costumes and take to a stage, 7-piece souped-up rock ‘n’ roll excitement machine Rocket From The Crypt sadly called it a day in 2006. For those of us who never got to say farewell here’s a live CD/DVD set containing audio and video of Rocket’s final performance filmed in their hometown of San Diego on

Rocket From The Crypt

Halloween. With both band and audience dressed for the occasion, the show begins with the members being wheeled from the back of the venue through the audience on hospital beds underneath bloody white sheets. Making his way to the mic dressed as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins as the band honk out “I Put A Spell On You”, leader John “Speedo” Reis (vocals/guitar) addresses the assembled lunatics before the party gets started with a rippin’ rendition of “French Guy”. Over an hour, several costume changes, and about a hundred litres of sweat later; Rocket From The Crypt is no more – R.I.P. If you’re not so much into teary-eyed nostalgia and looking back, check out Reis’ new band The Night Marchers.

SPACE GHOST: COAST TO COAST VOLUME 2 [2-DISC]

(Adult Swim/ Madman) Unlike most superheroes when they retire, sixties HannaBarbera cartoon legend Space Ghost didn’t fade into obscurity only to be brought back years later in a bad Hollywood CGI fest. Instead, he was dredged up in the mid-nineties to host his own whacked-out tonight show on the Cartoon Network “assisted” by former enemies Zorak and Moltar. By Season 2 of the series, Space Ghost had moved on from merely conducting awkward celebrity interview to flat-out insulting guests – hence the reason he attracted a lower caliber of guest than for Season 1. Generally the guests seem more aware of what they’re in for – i.e. stilted interviews, quotes taken out of context, surreal unrelated hi-jinx and Space Ghost’s infuriating narcissism – which means it’s often more playful than antagonistic. Noted rock celebs to appear include James Hetfield and

Kirk Hammett, Dave Grohl and Thurston Moore. Simpsons creator Matt Groening says, “marketing The Simpsons on T-shirts and mugs, sure we could do that, but it would be wrong.” Well, he sure has changed his tune since then, ain’t he?

STRUMMER THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN (Magna Pacific)

Joe Strummer was a hero to most but he never meant shit to me. Likewise, Julien Temple is a muchlauded punk filmmaker who I personally believe has only ever really handed in one truly great work in the Sex Pistols doco The Filth And The Fury (2000). The rest of his oeuvre is patchy at best. Keep in mind, this was the guy who sided with shady ‘Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren in the wake of the band’s demise and directed 1979’s seminal Great Rock And Roll Swindle (actually more cinematic abortion than film. Nonetheless, it’s required viewing for any budding young punk), only to switch allegiances years later back to the band when he no longer needed the opportunity. Having recently completed an exhaustive (read: tiresome) doco on the Glastonbury Festival, Temple followed it with this typical hit and miss affair on the life of The Clash leader. For all the Strummer bias exuded, he still comes off as a guy who was not at ease with his place in the world. Born John Graham Mellor, he changed his name several times and would physically threaten anyone who dared call him by his old names. He resented his middleclass upbringing and his early status as a school bully as it didn’t tie in with the sympathetic workingman’s anthems that later helped him and his band forge a career. A flawed film and one that contributes to the overstatement of The Clash’s contribution to punk, but still entertaining enough to justify the time to sit through.


BP JR. #1

WWW.BETTYPAGINATED.BLOGSPOT.COM PO Box A1414 Sydney South NSW 1235 Email: danhelen@idix.com.au Cost: $2. Format: A5 size. 16 pages - b&w.

UNBELIEVABLY

SMALLTIME ‘ZINE REVIEWS

THE DANGEROUS WORLD OF SELF-PUBLISHING

Just couldn’t stay away, could he? Mere months after completing the 30th and final edition of the long-running Betty Paginated, editor Dan Lennard returns with a tight little mini version known as BP Jr. He packs a lot into these 16-pages, the highlight being his heartfelt write-up on the tragic murder-suicide by Canadian wrestling hero Chris Benoit. Elsewhere Dan waxes lyrical on his love of the comic art of Darwyn Cooke, the sassiness of Sarah Silverman and the endearing ineptitude of the Richmond Tigers, topped off smartly with a quick Q&A with porn superstar Vanessa Del Rio.

CORRUPT ME! #2

PO Box 3082 Rundle Mall SA 5000 Email: m_psmith81@yahoo.com.au Cost: $2. Format: A5 size. 28 pages - b&w. A second edition of random Adelaide bad taste booklet Corrupt Me!, this unstapled 32-pager features even more random content and design than the first. There’s more of the same random newspaper and magazine cut-up stuff, a random review of Frank Henenlotter’s Basket Case series, a random write-up on Clint Eastwood’s monkey movies, a random watercooler poll on who readers would rather fuck – the Olsen Twins of the Veronicas – and a few random CD and DVD reviews.

ENTRAILER TRASH

Email: retardmetal@hotmail.com or ross@weirdgalaxy.com Cost: $5 ppd. Format: A5 size. 36 pages b&w with 4-colour cover

More selfpublished loony toon-ness from UB contributors Glenno Smith and Ross Tesoriero, Entrailer Trash #2 feels a little more slap-dash than the masterful maiden effort. While the same bent humour and strong Americana influence are evident, less pages and less substantial content mean less time spent on the bog with this little number. The front half features a lengthy toon detailing the adventures of troubled stuntman Screamin’ Stevo Powers, while the back half is entitled “Entrailer Trash Goes Scrapbookin’”, and features a heap of one-off artworks by the pair done independently of one another. Iron Monger Lloyd, Reg McGoon, Creeping Jesus – where have all those guys got to I wonder?

THE FALLOUT #6

PO Box 2147 Strathpine Centre, Strathpine QLD 4500 Email: falloutmagazine@gmail.com Cost: $4. Format: A4 size. 34 pages - b&w. In my last review of Briz metal zine The Fallout I bagged out the design. But after that editor Liam Guy told me he creates the whole thing in Microsoft Word so I now have nothing but respect (Satan help us all when this bloke gets his hands on Quark XPress!). But seriously, while the design improvements are minimal, the content continues to improve. Preaching to lovers of true metal and nothing besides, this issue is packed to the gullet with interviews, including Iced Earth, Dave Slave’s Doomed & Disgusting, The Dead, Helloween, Scurvy and Hellhammer, the latter Q&A contributed by yours truly. Also included are several gig, CD and zine reviews, where a few nice words are reserved for UB – cheers Guy!

FEMINISTA #1 - 2

189 Churchill Road, Prospect SA 5082 Email: feministafanzine@hotmail.com Cost: $2. Format: A5 size. 40 pages - b&w. If the title didn’t give it away then the pink paper used for the cover page spells “girly zine” loudly and clearly. But though Feminista does contain the obligatory vegan recipes and “How To Make Your Own Moisturiser” segments, it’s not focused toward hairypitted lesos or angry pussy-power advocates. What’s more, the gal who edits it also has exceptionally good taste in music. Issue #1 featured interviews with Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Straightjacket Nation, Baseball, Macromantics and legendary Yesterday & Today Records owner Skip Groff. Issue #2 seemed to be filled with less juicy content all-round, filled out instead by a host of full page live pics of bands like the Dirtbombs, Nunchukka Superfly, Black Lips, The Focus and the Assassination Collective.

FOFFLE #27

8 Derrick Street Lalor VIC 3075 Email: fofflemag@yahoo.com.au Cost: $5. Format: A4 size. 56 pages - b&w.

Chalking up 27 issues of Australia’s very finest rock ‘n’ roll-meetsAFL-meets-tabloid stupidity-meetswrestling-meetsnostalgia bible, Foffle, editor Ian D. Marks takes the opportunity to celebrate the lives (and deaths) of all those great musicians who dropped off the planet aged 27. Included with the issue is a hand-made pack of “Dead at 27” swap cards (with gum included!), featuring all your favourites such as Hendrix, Cobain, Joplin, Morrison, stretching to more obscure names like ragtime pianist Louis Chavin, Minutemen front-guy D. Boon and Chris Bell of Big Star. Across the issue itself you can expect the usual standards of excellence and humour. Highlights include a history of South Australian sixties combo The In-Sect, an interview with bubblegum pop songsmith Joey Levine, retro wrestling, crappy cars, quirky quizzes, vintage porn, a hilariously ironic fake TV guide and a shocking exposé on pretentious cat food packaging. Miss an issue of Foffle and you’re just not getting the most out of life.

GIVE BLOOD #3 / THE SHARP END #6 WWW.MYSPACE.COM/ GIVEBLOODHARDCOREZINE

PO Box 1403 Caloundra QLD 4551 Email: givebloodhardcorezine@gmail.com Cost: $5. Format: A4 size. 56 pages - b&w. The very last Sharp End zine slapped together with the latest Give Blood is like a symbolic passing of the torch, as Sharp End editor Sean Dawson bows out and his younger protégé Chris James carries on the tradition of creating a good-looking hardcore zine that caters to the evolving scene here and overseas. The final Sharp End has interviews with The Draft, Bad Blood, Swamp Thing and others – though I really could have done without seeing the horrible head of local white-boy rap fraud Deez Nuts. A little more cutting edge in its tastes, the latest Give Blood delivers Q&As with Modern Life Is War, Mindsnare, Rise & Fall, Crosscheck, The Hope Conspiracy, Ambitions and more.

INFERNAL DEMON #7 / YOU DIED #8 WITCHHAMMER.CJB.NET

C/O Jerasek C., 6/404 Soi.Phanhonyothin 48, Anusaowaree, Bangkhen, BKK City THAILAND 10220 Email: infernaldemon666@yahoo.com Cost: $8. Format: A4 size. 60 pages - b&w. I once had this idea of doing a pisstake black metal zine where I’d make up a bunch of ridiculous band names, concoct unreadable logos for each, then conduct hilarious fake Q&As in broken English using awesome made-up words like “warmaggedon”, “infernalgoatvomit” and “hellfuckingbastards”. But then I get this fair dinkum zine from Thailand with a pair of

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cocksucking vampire nuns on the cover and it outstrips everything my feeble mind could ever conceptualise. From the photocopied cut&paste composition to the ads for dodgy little distros and other extreme zines, this is what classic underground metal zines used to feel like. Across this split zine you get correspondence with Brazil’s Sarcófago, Finland’s Evil Angel, Malaysia’s Blackfire, Britain’s Adorior, Bolivia’s Bestial Holocaust, Greece’s Goatvomit, France’s Lord, plus a few old re-prints of interview with American trio Order From Chaos. You sophisticates can have your Oaken Throne (see review below), this is how I like my extreme metal zines to be – fucking extreme!

NERF JIHAD: THE COLLECTED WORKS

PO Box 575 Gosford NSW 2250 Email: mattdicknose@yahoo.com.au Cost: $1. Format: A5 size. 64 pages - b&w. If you’ve never read Nerf Jihad here’s the perfect place to get cracking. The Collected Works of this nutty personal fanzine finds editor Matt Ford compiling the best of his exploits over the first five issues while leaving out some of the more time-specific aspects like CD reviews. Among the batch of crackpot correspondence you’ll find champagne complaints letters to food and beverage companies, fan mail to television celebrities, and a heap of autographed 8x10 promo shots of the celebs who bothered to reply, among them Ray Martin, Richard Wilkins, Toni Pearon and Catriona Rowntree. Nowhere else will you get so many laughs for such a pittance. At a buck each, I bought ten of ‘em.

NOT GUILTY #1

5/100 Park Beach Road Coffs Harbour NSW 2450 Email: xbeauvsthemx@hotmail.com Cost: $3. Format: A4 size. 24 pages - b&w. A new effort by Us Vs Them editor Beau that remains largely on the same track taste-wise, Not Guilty adopts a rawer feel in terms of its structure, content and design. Where UvT often seemed like the offspring of Brissy’s Cut Sick, Not Guilty is more like a baby brother to Melbourne’s Distort. Sharper and quicker to the point, the dropping of the anti-drugs Straightedge bluster and lack of opinion on the chances of the St. George-Illawarra Dragons this season makes for a crusier all-round read. Interviews include a heap of Yanks – North Carolina’s Cross Laws, San Francisco’s Warkrime, Long Island’s Nihilistics, St. Louis’ Civic Progress, etc... – as well as amazing local lads Insurgents (get their 7-inch at any cost!). “An Idiots Guide to RKL” will come in mighty handy at your next Boston hardcore trivia evening, while I particularly enjoyed reading about the four gigs Beau attended in Cleveland last year (Annihilation Time, Wolfdowners, Warkrime, Dry-Rot, etc).

OAKEN THRONE #5 WWW.BENWESTDESIGN.NET/ OAKENTHRONE

oakenthronezine@hotmail.com Cost: $12. Format: Square size. 66 pages b&w w/ black on silver cover. Extreme metal zines are not supposed to look


this classy. But that’s not to say Oaken Throne is necessarily a case of style over substance. Hell no! This square-shaped American zine with striking silver and black cover printing and impressive interior design also boasts intelligent and well-researched articles that go beyond the usual patter to explore the nuances of the bands and their particular philosophies.

With a focus on extreme metal and doom, Southern Lord disciples will eat this shit up. With written words on Finnish black merchants Archgoat, Japan stoner-sludge trio Coffins, UK “fist metallers” Adorior, French industrialists Blacklodge, American noise experimenters Harvey Milk and many more, issue #5 comes packaged with a free 14-track compilation CD to further seal the deal. Definitely not for the mulleted metalhead out in the ‘burbs who just wants to chuck on ‘Priest or Slayer while sucking down a few cold ones, Oaken Throne sets such a standard of excellence that I’d almost have to rate it the most pretentious metal publication I’ve ever seen.

SPRAK - VOL. 2 #3

PO Box 278 Edwardstown SA 5039 Cost: $2. Format: A5 size. 44 pages - b&w. Sprak editor Kami and his gang of weirdo mates over in South Australia have been busy cooking up a fresh batch of beer-fueled rants and razor-sharp reviews of Z-grade celluloid obscurities for our amusement. There is very little rock ‘n’ roll action this time round – just the one piece contributed by Pete The Stud announcing to the world that he’s only just discovered ZZ Top’s Tres Hombres (1973) – but this is more than compensated

for by a heap of awesome nonrock content, like the Q&A sessions with Rollerderby zine pioneer and sex performance artist, Lisa Crystal Carver (aka Lisa Suckdog), and her former husband, controversial French noise artist J-L Costes. Send stamps to the address above – that’s all you have to do!

perfect-bound 144-page volume that’s rammed with retina wrangling comic art and rib tickling funniness. Unhindered by any one particular art style or subject matter or type of humour, the pair throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. In here you’ll find short strips, longer toons, oneoff portraits, personal ads parodies, fake band flyers, a Taubmans-style black metal paint chart and so much more that it seems astonishing that it was all the work of two crazed individuals.

Judas Priest: Heavy Metal Painkillers Complied by Martin Popoff (ECW)

45 Revolutions Vol. 1: UK & Ireland '76 - '79 Complied by Mario Panciera (Hurdy Gurdy)

UNBELIEVABLY

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The “memory hole” is the chute by which Winston Smith, the protagonist in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four disposes of the remnants of the past as he carries out his daily duties at the Ministry of Truth, re-writing history to match Big Brother’s ever-shifting standpoint. Stick This In Your Memory Hole is the first book from Melbourne thinker and humourist Tristan Clark, and is a strike at the dead heart of modern political thought in Australia. Directing his fury at our increasingly totalitarian state and commonly held belief systems, he backs up his rants with a wealth of statistical facts, historical precedent and just plain common sense. Using barbarous street-level humour and lacing his diatribes with references to punk and metal bands, he delivers an

E

Moonlight Publishers, run by Castlemainebased Chris Spencer, is an amazing little DIY operation serving to fill in the gaps in obscure Oz music history with a growing catalogue of books and pamphlets such as this vital 48-page overview of Adelaide’s Dominator label by Dave Manning. Run by brothers Aaron and Kelly Hewson of thrash hardcore band Order Of Decay (later of Grunter and Kelly was also a member of Hot Tomatoes), Dominator released a diverse array of local punk, hardcore and extreme metal during

By Tristan Clark (Aduki)

T

In the tradition of R. Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, Jack Davis, Hate, Zap, Freak Brothers, and Sick Puppy came Glenjamin Comix – the evil creation of Glenno Smith and Ben Hutchings. This anthology compiles the first three issues of Glenjamin into a handy

Dave Manning (Moonlight Publishers)

Stick This In Your Memory Hole

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By Glenn Smith and Ben Hutchings (Self-published)

it’s decade and a bit in existence. This guide lists them all in chronological order – from the Hewson brothers’ first band Happy Popak through Order Of Decay and Hot Tomatoes to post-punk trio The Mark Of Cain, black metallers Martire, doom hardcore merchants Orgy Of Pigs and trashy punks Blood Sucking Freak – with pressing info, (black & white) cover art, comments from each of the Hewsons, extracts from zine reviews of the releases, and the occasional poorly scanned photo or piece of flyer art chucked in. Though it’s not particularly well-written or well-designed, the subject matter and the wealth of information provided easily make this worth the $10 asking price. Other titles worth checking out among Moonlight’s array of obscurities include The History Of Reactor Records 1984-88, The Mr. Spaceman Label 1985-1990, and the Australian Bands of the Sixties series. Email Moonlight for the catalogue: moonlight@impulse.net.au.

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Glenjamin: The Book

Dominator Records: 1987-1998

Judas Priest

REVIEWS FOR ROCKIN’ BOOKWORMS

This book should be subtitled A Journey Into One Man’s Insanity as, although there are a load of able contributors involved in this project, it’s taken one chap to compile and coordinate this awe inspiring piece of archival work. For the uninitiated, this tome, that rivals a recent edition of Roget's Thesaurus in size and page count, details every new wave, punk, pub rock, mod and even NWOBH released on 45 in the United Kingdom and Ireland between ’76 and ’79. It’s a staggering array of records that only the most ardent collector could hope to even have a small percentage of, and in terms of information, it’s accurate and concise. Don’t expect florid prose here, the text is matter-of-fact and to the point, though seemingly historically and critically right-on. Oh yeah, for the record-porn fan there are loads of picture sleeves for you to get your rocks off to. The presentation should be a wake up call to all those hippies at Borderline that the next edition of Tapestry needs to be bible-shaped with plenty of colour pictures and a little book marker-ribbon too, OK? Who needs this? No one of course! Who would want it? I did; paid a pretty penny for it too (thank fuck our dollar is good at the moment!) and I like to think it’ll be a reference work I’ll seek out in the future when I need to work out which pressing of the “O-Level” record I found at a garage sale for 50c... yeah, dream on. In the meantime I’ll flick the pages, smile at the records that I already have in my greasy hands, ponder ones I don’t and gaze in wonder at this work of single-minded insanity (pun unintentional but proudly noted)... watch out for Volume Two (seriously). [Sir Dugless]

Career journalists who churn out book after book on popular music subjects should be treated with suspicion. Canadian-born heavy metal writer Martin Popoff has written more than twenty books, which means there were twenty things he felt were more compelled to commit his time and effort to than the illustrated history of Judas Priest! Nonetheless, he has done a solid job of research on his subject. The blend of text and visuals strikes a good balance, and the reproduction quality on the countless numbers of photographs and artwork is first rate. Research is what he does better than prose. While the writing is solid, where possible, Popoff prefers to run reams of quotes from the band and associates, writing only small segues in between to very vaguely tie things together. It reads well, and I know some people would personally rather read what those involved have to say rather than some stuff journo, but it just seems a bit lazy is all. Worth noting is that this is not in any way a critical analysis of the band’s music or career. According to Popoff, Judas Priest can do no wrong. It’s this pandering attitude that has perhaps allowed him to create a career as a rock writer. It definitely wasn’t his writing skills, nor his critical eye.

angry political manifesto that still manages to be constantly entertaining. With chapter titles including “South of Heaven versus South of Vanuatu” and “The (Neo-Copernican) Revolution Will Be Televised, Publicised and Paid for by Greenhouse Polluters”, topic are addressed in various ways. In particular, Clark’s provocative letters to assorted politicians (Tony Abbot, Phil Ruddock), other public figures (AFL footballer James Hird, talkback personality Alan Jones, newspaper columnist Andrew Bolt), and even the neo-Nazi organization Blood & Honour Victoria, are hilarious. As the rest of the human race mires itself in doublethink, Clark raises a middle-digit and screams, “Fuck you!” right in the face of Big Brother, the Australian government, and a whole lot of other twisted cunts as well. A new era in ThoughtCrime, just don’t get caught reading it in public – somebody might suspect you of having a brain.


Freak Of The Week #8

DJANGO

REINHARDT

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ost of the freaks in our delightful little series so far have suffered some kind of birth defect, which means whatever freakish abilities they possess were developed quite naturally from a very early age. But as someone who acquired his deformity at eighteen years old, Belgian-born, Parisian-based gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt is an altogether different kind of freak. Born Jean Baptiste Reinhardt on January 23rd, 1910, his father, Jean-Eugene Weiss, and mother, Laurence “Négros” Reinhardt, were both performers in a nomadic gypsy troupe. Django was delivered during a stopover in a Belgian town called Liberchies, Pont-à-Celles, and spent his early years in Sinti encampments near Paris, France. Starting firstly on the violin, he eventually moved on to a banjo-guitar. By the age of nine he was already playing like a prodigy and was soon playing professionally. His first known recordings from 1928 are of him playing banjo (a banjo-guitar has six strings tuned in standard guitar tuning). At age eighteen, tragedy struck, when fire ravaged the caravan he shared with his first wife Bella. Returning from a performance late one night, Django knocked over a candle on his way to bed, suffering severe burns to his right leg and left hand in the ensuing blaze. Doctors at the St-Louis Hospital informed him he’d never play guitar again and hatched plans to amputate his leg, but Django defied them on both counts. He left the hospital after a short time, and despite paralysis learned to walk with the use of a cane within a year. His brother, Joseph Reinhardt, an accomplished guitarist in his own right, bought Django a new guitar. With painful practice he slowly relearned how to play using the two functioning digits on his fingering hand. Though his third and fourth fingers remained partially paralysed, he would play solos with only two fingers and utilise the injured fingers to shape certain chords. With those two fingers he etched a name as one of the most renowned jazz guitarists of all time. In 1931, Django discovered the sound of American jazz thanks to an introduction through the import record collection of painter and photographer Emile Savitry, which inspired him to try his hand at the form. One of the first people to make note of his musical brilliance was poet Jean Cocteau, who saw him playing at the Coq Hardi in Toulon that same year and wrote of “this guitar which laughs and weeps, guitar with a human voice…” Through frequent visits to the hip jazz hangout the Croix du Sud in Montparnasse, Django struck up an acquaintance with violinist Stephane Grapelli, and the two would form an unlikely yet highly formidable combination. Django also played with many other artists of the day, and by 1933 was hot property around Parisian jazz circles. Emile Savitry introduced him to one of the young organisers of the newly founded Hot Club of France, Pierre Nourry, who invited Django to be a part of the Hot Club’s first concert in February 1934. Jazz-Tango magazine later wrote: “Django Reinhardt was the revelation of the concert. He is a curious musician, whose style is like no other we know. We now have a great improviser in Paris.” The same year, bassist Louis Vola formed the Quintette du Hot Club de France, recruiting Reinhardt and Grappelli, plus Joseph Reinhardt

and Roger Chaput on guitars (the latter occasionally being replaced by Pierre “Baro” Ferret). It has been stated that the very concept of “lead guitar” (Django) and backing “rhythm guitar” (Joseph Reinhardt/Roger Chaput or Pierre Ferret) was born with that band. Django produced numerous recordings with the Quintette, and went on to record with American jazz greats such as Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter and Rex Stewart. Barely literate, Django could neither read nor write music, so Grappelli used the band’s downtime to teach him. In photographs Django can usually be seen with finely slicked-back hair and expertly manicured moustache, often holding a guitar, or a cigarette, usually both. His personal magnetism and dazzling talent helped him assimilate into a world radically different from his gypsy upbringing – a world of painters, musicians, writers and poets. He was accepted in avant-garde, intellectual circles despite having no education and a noted aloofness in social situations. As World War II was declared in 1939, the Quintette du Hot Club de France was on tour in the UK. Django returned to Paris for the duration of the war before rejoining Grappelli in the UK. From there he embarked on a 1947 United States tour where he opened for Duke Ellington and played at Carnegie Hall. Despite Django’s great pride in touring with Ellington, the trip had its disappointments. He wasn't really integrated into the band, playing only a few tunes at the end of the show. Also, he was used to playing a Selmer “Maccaferri”, the guitar he made famous, but in the States he was required to play a new amplified model and the results were not as much liked by fans.

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He returned to France and continued to play and make recordings. Having found it difficult to adjust to the modern world, he spent the remainder of his days re-immersed in gypsy life. He would sometimes show up for concerts without a guitar or amp, or wander off to the park or beach. On a few occasions he refused to even get out of bed. In the late forties Django settled in Samois, a beautiful and normally tranquil little town on the bank of the Seine, where he indulged in his other pleasures of painting and fishing. He lived there until May 16th, 1953, when he collapsed from a brain hemorrhage while returning from the Avon railway station. He was 42. Django has continued to be an inspiration to many musicians, including Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, who lost parts of several fingers in an industrial accident and was spurred on to continue playing after hearing of Django’s accomplishments. Of the many songs written in his honour, “Django”, by John Lewis has become a jazz standard performed by guys like Miles Davis. Django has also been paid homage in Hollywood, most notably with Woody Allen’s 1999 Sweet and Lowdown, in which the main character played by Sean Penn is obsessed with Reinhardt. In the classic 1966 Italian western, Django, the titular hero played by Franco Nero is presumably named after Reinhardt. At the climax of the movie his enemies smash his hands and he is forced to fire a gun with wounded hands. A commemorative plaque is mounted on the wall outside Django’s former cottage in Samois sur Seine, where for many years Djangophiles and gypsy music aficionados have made the pilgrimage for the annual Django Reinhardt Jazz Festival.



UNBELIEVABLY Bad #8