Now. In case you didn/t hear Stiflers Brother (ol mate Gil)
a few weeks ago, there aint no footy until at least the end of May but that
looks increasingly unlikely given whats going on in the world. I don/t know, I aint
no expert and im not gonna preach anything, like everyone I hope this is sorted
and over with sooner rather than later. And I aint no expert or doctor, so
listen to the doctors and medical experts, stay inside and listen to the Fall.
Ok the Fall comment may not ave been addressed by WHO or the AMA, but it will
So with no footy theres no footy to rant on. Well, theres no
games to rant on theres plenty in football to rant on as always. Such as this
players pay dispute. I stopped watching the news ages ago so I ave no idea if
this is resolved or not. But fuck, what a pack of selfish cunts. One bloke came
out and said, oh I need to pay my mortgage off. What you don/t think anyone
else has bills or rent/mortgage to pay off? At least these guys can earn six
figures and if smart would ave a bit of coin saved so I ave no sympathy for the
players here. They should just be grateful they aint on the dole line at
Centerlink, which several staff of several club had to do because of this. As a
kid it was my dream to run out on the MCG or Victoria Park with a Collingwood
jumper. I never thought of making big money or any money, it was my dream to
represent the club I supported all my life. Granted a serous smoking habit
stopped dream but thats neither here nor there. And thats what it should be,
being lucky enough to wear the jumper of the team you love, not a means of
making more money the average punter in the stands could ever dream of making. My
grandfather was lucky to ave trained with Essendon, the team he loved when he
was 18. He never got to play for em but he would never trade that for anything.
You think he was asking about money? Fuck no, he knew what an honour and a privilege
that was, and with fools like Dangerfield it seems all gimme gimme gimme. Chris
Scott I gotta say did a noble thing taking a cut so several of the rank and
file staff at Geelong could stay on and work. And I never thought id write this,
but im with Kane Corns on this, it is poor taste for Dangerfield coming out and
demanding to see the AFL Books. And as Corns said, zip it, deal with it and be grateful
you/re in a very fortunate position. Not that a lot of them would be thankful.
And then theres the membership fiasco, with Eddie n Tony
Jones going at it on the telly, with Eddie accusing Jones of going for
clickbait or a headline or something like that. Well, I think you did that to
yourself Eddie carrying on like ya did. He basically said yeah we/ll give the
money back if you really need it but deep down inside we really want to keep
your cash. Look Ed, I get it, membership money is a huge chunk of coin for the
club, but this is a situation like none other. As said people lining up for
Centerlink and with no end in sight, its totally fair for people to say can we
ave our money back. And Ed, we/re doing pretty well on the money front so I don/t
think the Pies are in any position to cry poor. The other clubs that don/t ave
Collingwood I feel for and hope they can survive but for us at the Pies, I think
we/ll manage. Like I said before, it/s a great game, but just a game and theres
more important things in life, like aving a roof and food on the table, and
with memberships minimum costing at least $200 that money is pretty crucial
right now. So Ed, like Dangerfield, except it, we/re gonna lose some money over
this but we/ll be fine, just cop it and zip it.
Ok rant over. So with no footy currently being played, I though
id sit and ponder about footy from the past and think of all the classic
moments from the game. And by classic moments I mean classic moments of my and
my mates down the pub or at the footy, watching from the cheap seats being
idiots, because really, thats what footy is to me.
Bout five years ago a fella I worked with asked me to take
him to the MCC members one day. Sure I said, knowing I would regret it. First
of all he was late. It/s a Collingwood Carlton game. Neither team was doing
particularly well at this point but still its always an event and a clash I
look forward to, and here I am waiting for someone when I should be at the bar
getting ready. Anyway he arrives, 10 minutes before the bounce. As per the
dress code he/s wearing jeans and a shirt with a collar but his shirt is
unbuttoned and he/s got a t shirt on underneath. This won/t sell I think, and
as soon as we get in a MCC dress code inspector approaches him and asks him to
button up which he says he cant because there aint no buttons. Fuck im already
regretting this. He smooth talks his way past and we find some seats. So he was
late, that’s strike one, strike two was talking to me during the game. Im all
for banter, but not small talk you make at a pub or at the office when the
actual game is on. Talk to me in the break for fuck sake. He comments I aint
got much to say today. I was hoping my grunting and one word answers would give
him the message but nah. And he didn/t buy me a beer! We/re down at quarter
time, I say wait here i/ll be back. I ave nowhere to go but I had to get away.
Fuck, the Pies are down and im stuck with this guy for another two hours. He
somewhat gets the message in the second quarter and pipes down on the chatter.
I break the seal before the half time siren, and run to the bar. I stand there
bitting my scarf as the baggers get a late one to be well and truly in command
at the main break. Not sure if im more annoyed at the fact ive got to go back
to my seat or the fact we/re down and don/t look like winning. As I ponder this
a feel a presence behind me. At five foot nothing, its none other than David Boon,
in a baggers scarf. I stand there with my mouth open for a second, he just
looks at me. Hes a smart man, he got here just as the siren sounded so he could
beat the half time rush for a beer, and theres this shitkicker with sideburns
with his mouth open not saying anything standing in his way. I continue to ave
my mouth open as I slowly walk away. As I do I turn to Boonie and just look at
him, thinking for fuck sake ay something. Instead I keep looking at him with my
mouth open as I go back to my seat. As I get back my co worker asks me if we
want to go to the general area so he can see his friends. Strike three, he aint
coming back with me. He leaves and I enjoy the
third quarter in peace before he returns. As we/re about 10 minutes into
the last quarter we ave no chance to win so I take this as an opportunity to
leave. He gives me some shit about being a bad sport but I cant take anymore
from this fella so I just walk out. I mumble something like see you Monday. He
replies no you won/t my last day was yesterday. I jump up and down inside and
mumble i/ll call you. I never did.
Well with the Blues smashing the Pies and aving taken
someone who got on my nerves it feels like nothing went right today. I head
down back to St Kilda, I know the Pies members of bookclub would ave been
watching the game from the Gay Bar so I pop in to see if there still there. I.
finally get to see some people I want to talk to. I see Jackie and Pete, not
looking to happy, and don/t blame em
after a bad loss. All of a sudden they look at me as if ive turned water into
wine. Or made corn beef man smile. Both impressive feats in their own right.im
thinking why so happy to see me, as I get closer to the table I see theres
Fred, with a paper. Fuck me ive just showed up in time for a quiz. Oh today
hasn/t been a write off after all. Fred gives me some words of wisdom, saying he
thinks its best to get a beer. We laugh and roar through the Saturday
superquiz. A bloke with his partner decided to show how smart he is by
answering a question. And correctly I might add. Now when we do the quiz at the
Bala there are plenty of stoopid questions, i.e. how many minutes in an hour? So
we muck around with stoopid answers and try to amuse one another. Often when a
new comer comes and tries to play seriously we pull them aside and say hey
getting all the answers right is not how this quiz works. They often come back
to the table aving read the minutes and with a new attitude and the quiz can
get back to normal. With this guy answering a correct answer we sit stunned
with no choice but to give him points and move on. He does it again for the
next question but when we shout out answers like Chad and Out of Africa he
turns his head in defeat, and mumbles enjoy your quiz. Oh we did. So much so we
all got cut off in the end. Something wonderful came from something shit.
I wasn/t until 2019 I brought people back to the footy. Had a
blast with Fred and Sam and GG but after the story above I was off brining
people to the footy. Mind you I briefly had a period when I did enjoy bringing
people to games, and I owe it all to my dear friend Josie Jo. I hadn/t taken
anyone for awhile, my now Dingley correspondent and I used to go quite regular,
but he kept bailing on me because he kept picking me over a girl, a girl he
thought he had a chance with. Of course I knew they he had no chance but being
the good friend that I am I said nothing and thought he shoud find out from her
he had bucks chance of hooking up. And he did eventually,. When he came
crawling back to me I got used to going solo so I said cant, sorry. I met Jo at
Pure Pop and became farst friends. When I mentioned I was MCC member she said
we should go to a game one day. I was like ah, this is a serious test of the
friendship. But she was perfect. When the game was on we spoke about nothing
but the game, had a nice half time meal of pie n chips. Well, I mean I had a
meal, Jo wouldn/t ave eaten that junk. And she was an absolute joy as always to
be around. Not since my dad taking me to the footy as a kid did I feel happy
being around someone at a game. I did let my guard down and let others with me,
like the story above and the time I took a mate who didn/t show up until the
second quarter (oh i/ll get to that). So Jo, thanks for being a perfect
companion and giving me faith in humanity again.
Now. Round 2017 (im guessing really ave no fucking idea when
this was) its Freo Vs the Pies over there. Fred and Pete are here and Terry and
George are here representing Freo. It/s a nail bitter, one kick separates em as
we head to the final minutes. Fyffe is free and bombs it from 70 out. It falls
short of being out of bounds as we see two players from each club lock each
other in. as the ball is about to drop the telly turns to black. Fuck. We run
downstairs and see the telly is also off there. We ask Sef the landlord the
fuck? Oh I turned the printer on he said. Fuck turn it off. We get the footy
back in time to see the Pies run down the clock and win. Fuck a piece of paper
going through a printer almost saw us miss a victory. Ave missed goals and
sirens due to breaking the seal and being stuck waiting for a drink, but never
had a piece of paper going through a machine almost stop me seeing a W.
Two years ago we/re playing Carlton, I ask Jack Howard if
he/s going to the game. He said he can/t as he has a gig with Nicky Del Rey
that night. So the Pies get up, I jump on the train and arrive at Lyrebird for
the second set of Nicky and Jack. I get to the bird literally 10 minutes after
the siren and walk straight to the bar as the two are mid song. As waiting to
be served I hear NO NO. I turn around and see Jack pointing at me, saying no
don/t serve him. Of course it was all done in good humour and fun, and that
kind of fun and games with friends from rival clubs and Pies fans are what im
So thats it for now, i/ll ponder some more stories next week
and write em down. And im sure Gil will say something I get vent about
Tim meant a lot to me as a kid growing up in Dingley. Listening
to record after record OF You Am I or his solo stuff, thinking to myself I hope
one day I can be the wordsmith he is. He now means a lot to me today as well,
not just his music but as a mate. Tim’s latest band the Draught Dodgers, with
Jack Evan and Mick are along with Stiff Richards the best live act going
around. Tim also is hosting the Rogerstine Lounge every Wednesday at the
Basement in the ESPY, with Tim serving drinks playing records and picking the
bands. Tim was kind enough to meet me twice for a few on record chats. The
first in July 2019 at Surabaya Johnnies, where we were grossed in a
conversation about Billy Childish.
Tim: I met him (Billy) about 1997 I was in England with the
band, the Headcoats were playing in a pub in North London, I went with my
manger Kate. There was 15 people and I think this is the weirdest thing ever
there’s this band I adore and here’s 15 people. But it was a sound check. I had
been playing for a long time but I was so excited I had special displacement,
the Headcoatees played as well and it filled up. Our manager Kate spoke to
Billy and she said there’s a geezer here from Australia that wants to meet you.
So we went over and chatted, it was terrifying and wonderful. For my birthday
in 2003 Andy organized one Billys bands to play before us in Sheps bush and I
found out a few days before and I told Andy you’re kidding this is so
thoughtful. I met him before hand and he was super great. He wanted to bring
his little PA. And we offered ours and he said I don/t want that modern PA
rubbish. Billy was super sweet to me. And he can be quite cutting. Your heroes
Munster: That’s brilliant. I remember the time I was meant to
interview Mark E Smith, and they had to give it to someone else. My mate buzzed
saying that he didn’t call for three nights in a row, and im like that should
be me he’s not calling.
Tim: is that negative capability, the John Keats poem,
suggesting is there but not there.
Munster: Someone we both know, Leaping Larry L, I remember he
was on Multi Story on RRR and he said his best advice on the show was to get
Tim Rogers on.
Tim: Really? Larry’s a really good friend of mine, we really
like each other but every time I walk away I’m like fuck I’m an idiot. Such a
beautiful fists of opinion. He’s a great guy. He’s a big Aerosmith fan. I’m not
sure where we met, because there were those Melbourne characters, Dave Laing
from Dog Meat, Johnny Nolan, Tim, Joel and before moving down to Melbourne in
1998 I thought I really admire those guys, the Melbourne- Geelong people there
the real people that keep the place going, in a few years I became good friends
with Dave Laing got to know Joel well, really when you move to a town because
you feel you want to be a part of it you know its moving for the right reason,
because my family’s from Melbourne originally, just running into people and
hanging out with friends and family and doing shows. It had it all.
Munster: kinda sums up why I moved here
Tim: where are you from originally?
Tim:im sure it seems a big move at the time
Munster: best thing I ever did
Tim: just before You Am I started touring I was living at my
mum’s old house in Castle Hill in North Western Sydney. Dropped out of law
school and I was in my 20s. And it was good I was working in the pizza store
then the record store then the local pub. Pretty glad the band started. You can
have a wonderful existence without being in a bohemiavill that we live (laughs)
Munster: what’s that Jeffery Bernard line? I’ve met a better
class of people in the gutter then I have in the drawing room.
Tim: I was trying to get a production of that up and running
(the play Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell). I know nothing about getting theatre
shows up but it’s a wonderful play. I got a script but as far as rights and with
a show like that who would you cast? Maybe Barry Otto, maybe I can stick around
for 20 years and I’ll play it.
Munster: so you travelled round a bit and finally thought
Melbourne’s the place for me?
Tim: not settle down. You Am I’s been touring since 1990 I came
to Melbourne off and on and anytime coming here was really fun and full of
naughty people, the big thing was after shows people would say come back to our
place. There were a lot of house parties. And I liked that, play a show stick
around have some toast at 8am. We had a good crew in Sydney but Melbourne
seemed cooler. Initially I was living in an apartment in Carlton with no
windows. I thought about it years later. Round 99 I came to St Kilda and I’m
really glad I made that decision.
Munster: being a Roos fan that was a good year to come down.
Tim: the 96 grand final we were playing two shows and You Am I
had a run of shows in these big venues, the owner said Tim we know you’re a
North fan we’ll set up a tv back stage. No one in the band gave a shit, so we
did the arvo show which was an all-ages show, and the night show the front row
was just people in Swans gear yelling shit at me 900 other people are enjoying
the show I’m like I can’t win in can’t even enjoy this.
Munster: can I get you a drink
Tim: yeah just put it in the card
Matt exists to the bar
Tim: Matt is ordering drinks look at him go look at him go look
at him order. Swerve confident announcing order more Matthew order more. Cooper
green for yourself and a larger for Tim
Munster: Draught Dodgers, how did that come about? Was it you
approached Jack to start the band?
Tim: Mick and I play footy together, and he was wearing a 13th
Floor Elevators shirt. He said well lets have some beer and listen to records.
So we did that for a year and I found out he plays a bit of bass. So originally
we were gonna do some 13 Floor Elevators covers. Mick knew Evan loves the
elevators and does some in his solo shows. But I thought let’s get a lead
singer and lets be a St Kilda band. We used to rehearse at Lost. Love Sefer. I
thought who’s the greatest lead singer I’ve ever seen? Diamond Jack Davies. I
got in contact with him. I enjoy being a singer but I have my limitations.
Jacks amazing and writing songs with him, it’s a real insight into creative
process. And writing with Mick, he’s my best mate and I love him he’s up for
the ride and fun. And Evans incredibly musical; I play riffs and he’ll try
different rhymes and we’ll talk harmony’s and Evs all over it, its so much fun.
I was 47 when we started the band but it just feels like we’re teenagers in the
garage again we get together drink beer and have fun.
Munster: that’s what rock n roll should be.
Tim: yeah well I think because Davey produced the Dodgers, I’m
a little bit a wear because You Am I have been together for so long and it’s a
very close relationship for better or worse and we effect each other. And the
Dodgers have supported You Am I a few times, I don’t want to make it hey here’s
my new friends. I think Rusty with his work with Daptone and booking clubs
he’s, and Andy we’re all aware of that, we don’t want to be to obviously like
this is what we used to be like
Munster: I read somewhere with You Am I Rusty is often your go
to when it comes to writing songs and you work the songs around him.
Tim: well I don’t think I’ve been explicit like that. Song
writers can be self-indulgent wankers. And Rusty is my hero, musically and
culturally. He’s so savvy and smart, he’s got instinct so why wouldn’t I listen
to him. But its real push and pull. I’ve accosted him of being to genre
specific. I say I’m gonna do this and what do you think of this and he’ll
mention another perform. Sometimes I say what about a Russell beat, and he and
I are really impatient as well. But he’s like the brains and the brawn and I’m
the flake, it’s an interesting relationship. It was mentioned to my partner at
the time Rusty was joining the band and she said this is gonna be difficult as
he’s your hero. Of course I said what could go wrong, and nothing has. But when
I see him play with other people I get so jealous and excited.
Munster: Detours your book that came out recently, what was the
idea behind that book, writing in your style and not a typical start to finish
Tim: my story, the band story is interesting, but mine isn’t. I
noticed the way people write about themselves, any musician writing about
themselves, they got this shadow on their back. Defending their legacy as they
should. I wanted to be more like Jeffery or David Sadaris, or Fred, rather than
get the facts with a writers voice, thought I’d make it more interesting. I
don’t get around much I thought I’d write some pros that where interesting.
Solid system but it works
Interview picks up again in January 2020 at Misery Guts. We discuss
NRBQ and Todd Snider saying we ave to make a pilgrim and see both live one day
Munster: considering you have a few different projects, when it
comes to song writing do you write a song then figure out where its going or
can you focus and set your mind, for example your writing for the Dodgers, your
gonna write a Dodgers song?
Tim: no I have whatever band in mind with, the dodgers cause I
just write the music, Evan in particular, as it is with Rusty with You Am I I
don’t write a song and think which band I’ll throw it to because they are all
different. Very democratized you got a dynamic as hard as flint. Dodgers are
still working themselves out but the wonderful thing is about the dodgers I can
bring in something, and I started something for the first 20 songs suggesting
to Jack here’s how I think the melody goes and he’ll nod his head, looking
handsome as he always does, then a few months later he asked can you not do
that, and what he comes up with is something different to melody and timing
that I would come up with, which is bloody exciting. If you have acts that are similar and you’re
the main songwriter I could imagine it would be hard.
Munster: I was out of work for a whole football season when I
was 23 and one of the things that made me happy was seeing your show on Foxtel
Live At Memo every week.
Tim: that was some of the most fun I ever had I wanted that to
go on forever I was disappointed when the station folded. It was with the
Rockwiz team everyone wanted to make it as good as possible, we came in under
budget. Was disappointed when it was canned but you take it on the chin. It
helped I was doing a lot of auditions for TV and its sad when you get knocked
back but as time goes on you take it better and better. I had an auditions
recently and got knocked back, was disappointed but not as much as when Memo
Munster: you’ve spent most your life as a working muso, has it
been living the dream?
Tim: I think about that all the time. A few years ago I was
doing landscaping gardening with my mate Christen who’s a wonderful boss. I had
no knowledge about water culture but I like being physical. What I discovered
then which I know now, is if you make music and involved in music sometimes it
makes me miserable which I know sounds ungrateful but that’s what I’m like. If
you need the coin you just go out and get a job, so i did a few bar courses.
With the gardening you just think differently. I can easily sit at home and
play records and read books, but its better for me I’m happier. Today I had a
good sleep and stayed at home read some books, and I earned it because we did a
good job last night. I think since I was a kid all I wanted to be was Sam
Malone and he was a baseball player which is what I wanted to be. You really do see the best in people and
humanity and ots the only job aside from gardening where I can’t drink on the
job. And the people at the Espy have been really good friends, and Sean who
books it and Sam the kids who work there meeting a lot of people. I’m probably
the oldest apprentice bartender there. so you work as a team. People say really
stupid shit to you cutting people off is rather unpleasant. On Wednesday I have
my own thing but its great the other nights talking to people, like these
people here (the misery Guts) are the best at it they set a mood and such a joy
to walk in here
Jules enters with a margarita, beautiful stuff
Tim: just a couple of barkeeps talking shop. Me and Rosie talk
a lot about our professions. Hospitality music folks spend a lot of time
together, similar hours. After hours these no small talk you get to the nitty
Munster: the twits, what was it like managing them?
Tim: (laughs) I did nothing. I do remember we talked about it
with the utmost seriousness but I did nothing. Being a manager is the most
thankless of tasks, but if it means you get to hang out with those twits its
Munster: that’s why I do Dino Bravo love seeing em live and
Tim: Mattie and Nat came to the lounge last week and I’ll never
forget how beautiful Nat is, but I love how Mattie has teeth now and how
giddily and how wonderful his smile is. Seeing it from the jump everything
looks different their body language. You got to play it nice, fortunately
assess what’s going on and if there’s a problem ad you’re nice and generous it
Munster: it’s not the thing they teach in RSA School.
Tim exits to bar, kindly gets me a Melbourne
Tim: i play a lot of nights to three people here and overseas
when You Am I where quite popular we were overseas the whole time when we were
home and we would play to 20 people which was fine. Even though we had good
years and gigs sometimes you’d play to no one. With the dodges in the early
gigs we’d show up and Mick would say it’s a bit thin on the ground and I’m like
come on man. The tour we just did of France with the dodges we did last year
was the most fun we ever had. My daughter was with me, some might think because
you have an 18 child of yours you might not have any fun but it was the most
fun. The dodgers played to 20 people in this little tavern but everyone stayed
and hung out with us. Maybe with You Am I or solo it wouldn’t happen but it
does with the dodges. Because Evs Ev, Micks Mick and Jacks Jack. Compared to
those guys I’m the miserable one. We did a two day tour of Adelaide almost took
six months off me.
Munster: the banter is something I love when I see you live,
does that come easy to you?
Tim: sometimes the desirable doesn’t’ lead to that. I try and
be a bit obtuse with it but that’s to amuse myself and make the band laugh.
Dave Graney’s a genius and Coxys a mega star, and when you’re playing to three
people you gotta amuse yourself, I wish I figured that out earlier. A lot of stuff that can be constitute as a
bit confrontational you don’t know what to do particularly if people are messy
or you misheard what people said, I can be a bit thick skinned. Jack is the
best at it because he’s so generous and such a presence you don’t expect him to
be that nice. When I first met him I thought what a singer and good looking
kid, but his sensitivity and friendliness and loving nature caught be off sight
with the dodges I levitate to mick and Jack.
Munster: with You Am I you play plenty of old stuff but plenty
of the newer stuff are you someone that’s looking forward not back?
Tim: I was pretty negative with everything with making music
really, or my place in it I saw people making really good stuff and I was
trying to get out. I thought I’m 50 not happy and I thought I gotta think, they
say when music stops being fun I’ll quit but they never do. But we’d so shows
with You Am I and something perfect would happen a chorus would go great or
Rusty would so something amazing or a new cover to do that kept me going. When
Andy would ring up saying lets do this I’d kind of not interested. I was being
really ungrateful, and it’s a wonderful thing to be a part of it. But when
you’re miserable your miserable and you can’t help it. But I got a job and now
You Am I are playing Saturday and I can’t wait.
Munster: it’s like golf you have that one good shot that keeps
you coming back
Tim: that’s a good analogy that’s it. Some night after shit
shows, there was a show we playing to 40 people and because You Am I’s big I
felt silly but afterwards the four of us and a few people from the show sat on
the steps of the RSL and I thought I wanna remember this tomorrow. It’s like
that one good pool shot just smoking darts listening to people’s stories from
Munster: Christmas night last year was one of the best nights I
ever had hanging out with Jules Sean Nattie and Chrisi you and Tex playing in
the ESPY basement, tell us what the great man means to you?
Tim: oh boy we a few years and we weren’t getting along and
someone said what is it like with you two? You’re all over each other you’re
like brothers and when you walk into a room everyone shuts up. We both have
brothers so not sure I’d call it brothers. When we first met I was looking up
to him and he treated me extremely kindly. Then we became better and better
friends started doing silly thing together and had the best times because I
think I’m difficult, and it’s very beautiful and deep. I value my friendship
with him more than anything we do creatively. On Christmas night I was a bit
embarrassed because Im a basic guitarist and I can’t play like Matt Walker does
so I don’t know how to back him up. He’s the greatest singer I’ve heard and
always happy to play behind him. We played in bar in Bryon and it was great the
next day he sent me a message saying where are you I said at the bar, he said
I’ll be there in two minutes. We spent two hours giggling. There’s some project
we might do later in the year of course I’ll say yes but it my friendship that
means everything to me.
Munster: like me and Fred I always love him doing posters for
me and I love being on his site but its really just having a few beers with him
and watching the footy I value the most.
Tim: when Perko and I started making music, his words, when you
walk in a bar people say fuck, when I walk in a bar people say fuck. The two of
us together imagine what we can do. I thought that was really funny. But we do
go out together and he’s a handsome dude and im like his gangly little brother
and it creates a thing. Maybe for a project we should just walk into bars. And
walk out. Do a dozen in a night.
Munster: with your Wednesdays at the ESPY what’s your mission
Tim: what it started out as, I wanted a jukebox that would play
45s and make it a juke joint, not Americana it, just a jukebox where people can
talk hang out and listen to some tunes. I wanted a bar that I wanted to hang
out at. Drink yack and listen to records. That’s the aim.
Munster: so you’re not modelling yourself on Moe Sizlack
Tim: (laughs) I’m the anti Moe
Munster: well as long as I get to be Barney
Tim: I love that character. I wanted the owners to put enough
trust to buy a jukebox. Waking up this morning I thought this was a good night’s
work, the band sounded so good. And seeing all the smiling people and everyone
in their people were talking to each other, I saw the Wolfgramm Sisters talking
to other people. And I thought this is good. Then you get some people that
order food and sit on soda water and wanna talk about records. Its great. When
you do a show your on stage for an hour and you got seven hours to kill and
then after you just wanna get out of there. This job your there for eight hours
and see it all unfold. I hope all bartenders get that feeling. I’d like to
think its our kind of people. That Christmas was fun.
Munster: so North Melbourne, how will you do this year, you and
Saints will be the big movers for me
Tim: my personal prediction im gonna have a lot of fun watching
them play. Last year I was in Freo with PP Arnold and in the lounge at the
airport and the North team walked in and I turned to jelly. Benny Brown comes
over and sits down has his fruit salad and hes an amazing human. Very elegant.
On the plane and the way those young men, all talking to the hostess. You know
there are fans like us that every year say where gonna win the granny, and
there are people that say oh why say that you’re an idiot you not gonna do
anything this year, and I think well why go for them then? Why bother investing
Munster: and if your gonna have a not great season you’ll at
least see some kids being played.
Tim: yeah you’ll see some bad loses but you’ll see some great
wins to. I mean if you can deal with that why follow sport? They talk of clubs
having a better culture, I love all that shit. My dad was a player and a very
good player and he stopped for reasons I don’t know, and then he became an
umpire, and he was never a bragger. He loved the humour the beers and company.
All the ra ra bullshit, anything that wasn’t funny or tough, that wasn’t part
of our family’s love of football. And he was an Essendon fan, no one goes for North.
It’s a typical north story no one goes for north. Do you go to game much?
Munster: try and go a few times, it’s hard getting me out of
the pub with company like Fred and Pete and Jo. I took a bunch of mates to the
member’s and we went straight to the bar as it just felt normal and the members
Tim: I have faith in Melbourne after that story. The crew I go
with, I had a bit involved with the club and sit in boxes. The crew I go with their
funny people and I love the tribalism. And with strangers at the footy you find
out a lot about each other swapping war stories with people from the club you
go for, and whoever you’re playing as well.
Munster: Hunter S Thompsons said it best a serious football fan
is never alone.
Tim: apart from the guy that’s shouts out. If you’re gonna
shout out you gotta be funny.
Munster: what’s your favourite Fall LP?
Tim: I tried to get Hit the North, when they approached me for
ideas said you gotta use this song. Frenz Experiment. The sounds are the sounds
of the time and I love that song so much. We played this club called Brownies
the week after the infamous punch up, they said you know this band the Fall,
and Rusty is a huge fan, he’s always scream pay your rates. He plays Fall
records, Hex Enduction all the time. I think this is the year I’ll try and get
hit the north as the North theme
Munster: you do that I’ll buy a membership.
Tim: I’ll buy you two memberships. Imagine. I think Mark E
Smith reading the football results is gold
Munster: Well Tim I just wanted to say on record you meant a
lot to me as a kid in Dingley listening to record after record, and I still do
love listening to your work but Im also loving just getting to be mates so
thanks for everything.
Tim: well lets be friends forever I mean why wouldn’t we be.
Let’s get a couple of Margareta’s.
L7 for me with Mudhoney where to two most important bands of
the grunge movement, and wrote one of the five best songs ever in Shitlist. After
a break the group reformed in 2014 and last year released Scatter the Rats, up
there with there best work, full of energy, venom and humour. Anyone that’s seen
em live or read any of their interviews know these girls are hilarious and they
one day must do a podcast. Guitarist, singer and main songwriter Dontia Sparks was
kind enough to ave a chat to me from her LA homebase
Munster: L7s Newish LP Scatter the Rats came out last year, the
first L7 LP to come out in almost two decades. You reformed in 2014, what made
you decided to record at this stage?
Dontia: well we were getting along as a band and starting to
jam on the new stuff at soundcheck, we wanted to keep touring but not be an
oldies act so we decided to record an LP. We released a few singles two years
before the LP and we liked the outcome of that so we decided to make a full length
Munster:I remember Deniz Tek from Radio Birdman was asked why
they recorded Zeno Beach, and he said for a similar reason, he said if you just
keep playing the first two Lps over and over live you just end up being a
tribute band to yourself, do you agree with that?
Dontia: yeah I mean after the reunion it was like now what? Yeah
I think you find when bands just do what they did 30 years ago, I mean listen,
if the Sex Pistols toured every year on that one album I would go see them every
time because I am a big fan of the Sex Pistols. I suppose it depends on your
level of passion as a fan but I think it was cool for us as a band to make new
Munster: Where did the title Scatter the Rats come from?
Dontia: we recorded in a house and there where indeed rats in
the house, where the amps where, and when we getting were lazy, our producer would
say come on you gotta scatter those rats on the basement. I wrote it down, Scatter
the Rats as I thought it would be a good song, because we have so many rats in government,
we need to scatter a lot of rats. We liked the songs title, then it became a
good album title.
Munster: Garbage Truck is my favourite track on the LP, love
the line My Loves like a garbage truck get wasted and I’ll pick you up. Did you
write that song?
Dontia: Jenifer wrote that. And that’s the only track she got
Munster: With the songwriting do you work as a band or do you tend
to work alone?
Dontia: I’m usually in a room by myself. Suzi and I sometimes get
together. Sometimes we’ll jam something out. Scatter the rats we wrote
together. I usually, as a songwriter I’m a bit of an introvert so I like to write
alone, or with Suzi my long term partner in the band
Munster: For this LP you used crowdfunding the get it out, you
know L7 was on Sub Pop, then went to a major label now using crowding, its very
DIY and in a way going back to your indie roots, what was the experience like?
Dontia: well our experience was terrible because they went
bankrupt and they owe us $100,000 (laughs). So that did not go well, and our fans
got ripped off, Black Heart Records came through with the manufacturing and distribution,
but we took the cost with the mail orders. That cost us $30,000. Yeah it was
terrible experience, it was a British company so we can’t sue them they ended
up getting away with murder in a financial sense. There bankruptcy laws are
different than ours in the states. But we made a record and that’s that. It’s a
shame we and our fans got screwed. But it wasn’t just us everyone did that used
that platform. Failure the band wants to sue, but there’s nothing to do, anyway
it’s a bad subject let’s move on
Munster: Yes lets move on, but still good onya for looking
after the fans and pushing on and releasing it.
Dontia yeah exactly
Munster: you mentioned before you are a Sex Pistols fan, what
were your memories of that punk panel you were on, where John Lyndon and Marky
Ramone went at it verbally?
Dontia: it was incredibly entertaining I love that shit, when
shit goes crazy it was one of the most entertaining nights I ever had. Was so
unpredictable and scary and I didn’t know where it was gonna go. Was crazy fun.
I’m glad I got to experience that
Munster: did it continue backstage?
Dontia: after that happened everyone disperse. I had to leave
for a friends birthday party so I didn’t see the aftermath. It was pretty crazy
Munster: You guys of course have a connection with the Cosmic Psychos,
how did you discover them? Was that via Sub Pop?
Dontia: Yes. Sub Pop sent us there record, I had a stack of
records sent from the label and I found the Cosmic Psychos record. Then I was
listening to collage radio and they played this song I liked and they said that
was the Cosmic Psychos and I went and played it and loved it. It became one of
my favourite recordS ever. And I put so many people onto that record. When we
go on the rOad I dubbed it down to a tape and listened to it all the time. I
turned our roadies and bandmates and other bands from other cities onto them. That
tape got copied many times. I feel very good I was an ambassador on behalf of
the Psychos here in the states
Munster: there’s a saying things are rosier the second time
around, is that the case with L7 and the reformation?
Dontia: I think we appreciate what it is we do. When you’re
caught up the first time its mind blowing and great but you take it for
granted. I’m not taking anything for granted. I’m thankful everyday L7 gets to do
something cool and I get to create and there’s an audience for it. So yeah it
is for me, and also a little more understanding of each other’s quarks. Some personality
disorders we didn’t understand the first time we understand now, so there’s more
tolerance these days and the personal space we need to recharge
Munster: I saw you guys last time you came to Melbourne and I loved
the banter you guys had, I thought fuck these guys need to do a podcast.
Dontia: (laughs) our rehearsals are pretty fucking funny. We’re
all, we can be sharp witted and we riff off each other. So not a bad idea for
us to have a podcast. When you shear that much history good and bad there’s
plenty to joke about
Munster: and finally what’s your favourite Fall LP?
Dontia: favourite album by the Fall?
Dontia: the UK band?
Dontia: oh. I don’t own any Fall LPs, I am a fan and saw them
in the 80s, so I’ll say the first album. You know what I have…(phones goes
dead). (UK accent) Mr Pharmacists?
Munster: yes they did a cover of that
Dontia: Ok that’s my favourite song, we’ll leave it at that .I’m
not a musicologist nor do I claim to be. But the guy that passed away, I did
met his ex wife Brix she was at our London show and she was lovely and super
cool. Any album she was on is my answer
Coming out of Melbourne, a cracker hardcore release in
Personal Development by Endless Bore. The way it should be. 15 songs in under
20 minutes. Vocals all over the shop and when in doubt shout.
As you probably can tell from that running time there
are tracks that barely rack in 60 seconds, but not a second is wasted. Id like
to think these guys ave the Joe Strummer mentality of people ave shit to do, so
bang it out and get on with it.
All Fucked up has one of my new favorite lines in
waiting for it all come down might not be today but I swear its gonna happen.
Leave me Alone as the title suggests the break up
of a relationship. A lover, a friend an associate, take your pick as it could
be any or all of the above.
Worthless is when things go wrong, very wrong and how
to pick up the pieces.
Can/t Escape is possibly the longest track on the
tape. I think, as one of the downsides of tape is no timer. It feels like it/s
gonna end but it picks up again and pushes out a few extra seconds. I like
that, except the unexpected.
Interlude is a kinda half time instrumental jam with
the tempo slowed down, a nice change of pace for the middle of the tape.
Neck Deep and Nothing to Show both ave so little
vocals it almost like a haiku, but again while only a few words are mentioned
no a syllable is wasted.
The title of the band is also the closing track. There should be more of that bands naming songs after themselves. If Bo Diddley can do it why not? It/s also the best tracking, screaming bout the mundane and boring existence and how to get in by with life.
15 killer tracks, short fast and loud with brilliant
lyrics, this is indeed a perfect noise.
Now. One day at the office (the Bala) Fred came up with an
idea, that I should interview Bartenders and do the old Playboy interview
thing, with a drawing of the subject for each interview. I loved it, so this is
the first one. I can/t think of a title for this segment, so if you ave a title
for a segment with interviews with bartenders please message the Facebook or
Kicking off the new segment is one of my favourite Landlords and
also someone im happy to call a mate, and that’s Jules of Misery Guts fame. I
thought she looked familiar when I first went in, and Jules recognized me from
when I’d have the odd one at the Charles Dickon’s Hotel in the city. Anyway,
one night I was walking by Grey St and I saw my mate Megan out the front and I
waved to her, in return she grabbed my arm and said you ave to see the new
room. Unaware that I hadn’t seen any room. I popped me head in sat at the bar
and thought this place is cool. In beautiful downtown Grey street is this nice
little spot, met a bunch of people ive only ever seen inside the four walls and
Jules is a great landlord, looks after those that look after her. Jules, along
with Mel Sean and Baily ave always treated me well and it’s a top spot whether
to meet someone for a beer, sit by yourself killing an arvo, or to watch a
band. Couldn’t think of a better person to kick this new section.
Munster: so you were pretty much raised on the hospitality
Jules: That’s true. So my parents owned the Charles Dickins
Tavern on Collins Street in the basement of the block arcade, which has a 24
hours licence which you can’t get any more there so rare. We were like the
unofficial Manchester United supporters club my dad was mad for them. My dad
had George Best original photographs, thousands of dollars’ worth. He was a mad
George Best follower, he would stay open till 4am. It would be empty and then
at 3am on a Monday morning it would be packed with 300 crazy fanatics drinking
pints and pints and pints and if Manchester won glasses would be thrown tables
overturned. There were other teams, Tottenham, Melbourne Victory and of course
AFL he was a mad Carlton supporter so it was a big sports bar but they’d have
suites there. That’s where I cut my teeth I was in the kitchen from 13 years
old making salads for everyone. At the stroke of midnight of me turning 18 I
was pouring pints. I worked for my dad off and on for ten years then I worked
in various Melbourne pubs. My mum was the backbone, no one ever saw her but she
was there every morning at 7am doing the books and all those things that get
missed from a lot of people. It was the two of them, 50-50 but dad was the face
of the joint.
Munster: wow with a 24/7
licence you sure would have seen all kinds of characters, good bad and ugly.
Jules: I don’t know, from a young age I’d see people just
change over a couple of hours, whether it was good or bad. I’m fascinated by
human behaviour. Whether it causes fights or someone makes you laugh or hit on.
I don’t know where it comes from but it’s in my genes. I like watching humans
do their thing being passionate having arguments, like watching them eat and
drink and making choices what they’re going to do post work. I like watching,
like why are you doing this why are you wearing this and why are you hanging
out with this person, why do you have a Mohawk? We had a really big punk scene
as well, I don’t know it’s interesting to me.
Munster: So Misery Guts, how did that come about?
Jules: well drunk obviously (laughs). Who’s crazy enough to
start a bar? My history is in design and fashion which I done a bunch of. I
figured I love design but it’s not for me. What’s my other passion and what do
I know, where does my knowledge lie, and that’s hospitality. And it’s always
been interesting to me. I’ve always
enjoyed the interval of bars and pubs from my travels, I’ve noticed it seems to
be an interest so I thought I’d have a go because it’s all I know, but also I
didn’t know. You know you start and you think you have a lot of knowledge when
you start, it’s a steep learning curb, but you meet some awesome people and it
makes this location interesting. (Fred enters).
Munster: why did you wanna open in St Kilda?
Jules: I grew up in the south east and when I turned 18 I
started hanging round St Kilda. I went to school here too. I knew the area but
I’d been living in the CBD for six years then Collingwood. So my knowledge of
present day St Kilda wasn’t vast as it is now. I knew the streets and the
history. This property was the fifth or sixth place I seriously looked at we
searched for a year before we found a place. The building ticked the boxes,
right size right price lease terms, I can get a liquor licence and a planning
permit, so this was where I was gonna do it.
Munster: what inspired the name?
Jules: my dad’s nickname for me, it’s a mutual thing. Its funny
people that don’t know me too well are like ah as if your misery guts and I say
just wait a few minutes or an hour or a couple of weeks and you’ll see I’m a
misery guts. As is my dad, it’s just a nickname that comes from dad and it’s a
loveable term between him and me
Munster: Spend any amount of time with me and that nickname
might stick too.
Jules: a lot of people say why would you call a bar Misery Guts
and it’s like you’re not the right person for here. Then people laugh and love
it and they get the joke, well there my people. It definitely polarizes people.
Munster: on the website you list MG as St Kildas independent
watering hole and catering for locals, is that pretty much what your mission
Jules: I probably wrote that not fully knowing what I was
getting myself in for. It’s not something I tried to do intentionally. I just
meant that it’s a neighbourhood bar for regular people, and a bar I wanted to
go to. And that’s all I can do, there’s are no pretences about this place. I’d
like to think I was smart enough to do it on purpose not knowing the gravity of
those terms, a local neighbourhood watering hole and that’s what it’s become. I
don’t know if it’s because of that, or because of the attitude. I’m not gonna
make something that’s fake. I’m glad that’s what’s happened I don’t want any
riff raff that goes to garden state and there’s plenty of places like that. We
need more places you can call a second living room, where you can bring your
dog and listen to some guitar and drink some piss. That’s what it’s about.
Munster: and you do have plenty of regulars, Trent, Geezer,
Phil and Biff to name a few, and while they might go other places I think they
all think of this as a second living room
Jules: absolute but I can’t take 100% credit for that. I was
lucky enough to have been introduced to Ruth Allen. She became a good friend
but also a mentor through the first year which was paramount to this bars
success. I was introduced to a lot of that crew, I figured they would have sussed
this place out eventually. She brought a lot of those faces here. You can do
your social media and marketing for days but nothing is stronger than word of
mouth. And the right people showed up.
Munster: Being here for almost four years is an amazing
achievement, what do you put that down too?
Jules: I think being here as often as I am. People say Jules
you need a break or get a manager, sure I was lucky enough to go to Europe for
a month last year which made me feel spoilt. You gotta be here speck to your
people and be here for em. I know a lot of big pub groups that have a lot of
people involved and deep pockets that’s not me. I figure if you’re gonna own a
bar why wouldn’t you want to be here as often as possible? That’s how you
cultivate friendship and relationships you get to know your people and your
street. It’s a difficult street and corner, we’re on the corner of the crisis
centre. You have to be here but I have wonderful staff, I’m so grateful to Sean
and Baily and Mel. At the end of the day Misery Guts is me and I’m the face, so
I have to be here. Like any job there are days you don’t want to come into
work, I used to come because of the job now I come in because I want to see the
people, I want to see you I want to see Biff I want to see Trent in want to see
Tim Rogers walk in when he does. Its so satisfying, it’s the best.
Munster: Aside from the regulars you also have Tim and Mick
from the Draught Dodgers, JVG and even Paul Kelly’s been here?
Jules: oh man when he came in I served this man in a baseball
hat and glasses, and Trent said you ok Jules, and I said yeah why, and he said
you just served Paul Kelly. I lost all feeling from waist down, like what? And
there he was so unassuming in his baseball cap. He’s been in a few times had a
photo had a chat.
Munster: I was talking to Tim inside and we both said how when
we were kids we wanted to be Sam Malone or Moe from the Simpsons. As a kid I
always wanted to own a pub, so what’s it like running one, is it dream?
Jules: I feel you could ask me that everyday and I’d have a
different answer. Most day’s its pretty awesome. You run a different race to
everyone else, you’re going to bed when everyone’s getting up, you get Mondays
off so you have places to yourself, people work on Mondays so you can’t hang
out with your friends usually. But it’s pretty cool to build an awesome
community I hate that word but I gotta say it. The people I’ve met the people
that have fallen in love in my bar. Having had Chris Cheney perform at my
birthday The Draught Dodges, heaps of people, and the local heroes the people
that make St Kilda tick and alive, the people that will stay after a gig and
drink and keep local joints going. That’s what counts that what’s motivates me
to get up and do my thing and put on a smile
Munster: What’s been the highlight of running the place so far?
Jules: the third birthday and my birthday having Chris Chaney
and also the Draught Dodgers. I remember when we hit the first birthday it was
like how did this happen. Then came the second and third and I thought ok this
isn’t a fluke. And it’s the people that made that happen.
Munster: Now I usually ask people what their favourite Fall LP
is to end, but since it’s a bartender segment I should ask something else, so
what’s your favourite drink we’ll go with to end on?
Jules: had you asked me that a year ago I would have said I
hate tequila but something has happened to me in the last year and I don’t
stray away from some really good top shelf tequila shots, a Misery Guts
margarita which I’d like to say is a cult favourite now and of course I’m a
sucker for a proper Champagne. And vodka and I suppose when I’m hungover a long
island ice tea, it goes on (laughs)
Melbourne’s premier powerpop/mod rock band
Little Murders last year celebrated their 40th anniversary and the
release of their new LP Dromana-Rama. Frontman and songwriter Rob Griffiths has
kept the band going through several line up changes, releasing some of the best
powerpop ever come from this country. With Little Murders still going strong and now Robs pre Little Murders Band the
Fiction also reformed, having recently toured Japan, Rob has no plans on
slowing down. Rob very kindly invited me
to his place for a chat. After our chat he played me some demos he was working
on. Even after 40 years of making music he is still at the top of his game and
can still pump out a song like it’s nothing
Munster: going back to your early days, you were
born in the UK?
Rob: I was born in Coventry in 1956, we lived in
Blackpool when I was younger, and we left in 1965, and we were part of those
ten pound poms. So we came over to Nunawading and lived on the Hostel on Rooks
Road, in the Nissan huts, we had a family of six or seven in a round hut in
a small apartment.
Munster: Mod culture is something very important
to you and Little Murders have been described at Melbourne primer Mod band, was
something you discovered when you were still in the UK?
Rob: no I left when I was 8, so I knew about the
Stones and the Beatles. A girl down the street had a Rolling Stones shirt and
vest ensemble, she was a bit older so I was aware of pop music. Anyone growing
up in England is really aware of pop music, it’s engraved into us.
Like Top of the Pops and the charts, you always knew who was on top of the
charts even as a kid. And when we came here, the hostel, its families, a lot of
kids. If you have four families, you’re talking 16 kids. So you can imagine
being in a hostel for a year and a half, all these English and Scottish people
just came over, you can see how bands like the Easybeats started , it was a
melting pot, well not a melting pot, a British Isle thing but all that music
that came out, and they were all aware of pop music I think your basic
Australian music scene was built in those hostels. And we had the radio on all
the time. But with the mod thing, no.. because when I left it probably hadn’t
started yet, it was all still the Beatles and the Stones, and the Merseybeats
and Gerry and the Pacemakers.
Munster: what kind of music where you listening
to before pre punk and mod culture?
Rob: I was into the Monkees. I was a having a
big argument with someone about how the Monkees were miles better than the
Beatles and some of their songs are. And that argument that they didn’t play
their own instruments was shit. I always thought Mickey had a great voice, and
there a great band. Then it got a bit heavier. I was into John Lennon, that sound the Beatles had in the late 60s,
to this day I can’t understand how the sounds out of a record can be so
powerful. Then came along T Rex, that was my movement into the glam area, I
loved T Rex Garry Glitter and Sweet. It was the sound of the my high school
days, all those 45 records. Then of course Bowie came along and changed
everything. So I guess I followed the same trajectory from a lot of musicians
from my era where they went from glam to punk.
Munster: so Little Murders started in 79 and
that was pretty much straight after the Fiction?
Rob: Yes. We played 8 or 9 gigs as the Fiction.
The band slipped away but I went back to the Fiction and asked them to record a
single with me. I was impressed by the Buzzcocks, and bands like that, I was
really into the Spiral Scratch EP. I wanted to go further because I had no
money, and a friend of mine Stuart had a 4 track TEAC, I said I have this idea,
a bit of a hippy idea lets go to the country and record. So we took the Fiction
to St Andrews and we recorded these basic tracks and me and Stuart finished the
rest in St Kilda. I enjoyed it, but Rob had gone into International Exiles and Vic didn’t want to do it anymore. Only Ken
wanted to keep going. The Fiction without Rob didn’t make sense so I started
Little Murders and that’s where it began. I always tell young bands, listen
first of all go and record then start playing. So you have something I can’t
see the point in playing for nothing. Even a tape or something. With the
Fiction I was always giving out cassettes of our first or second rehearsal,
then 40 years later it came out. So Little Murders played their first gig at
Bruce Milne’s 21st, which was a rough gig, with Phillip Brophy on
drums and Clint Small. Our first proper gig was launching the single Things
were Different at the Champion Hotel in August
Munster: was that a Fiction song?
Rob: no I gave it to the band for that recording
session Take Me I’m yours was one we used to do. When we first did Things Were
Different it had an acoustic guitar at the start. So it was the change over
from the Fiction to Little Murders, Things Were Different was the changeover.
Munster: When Little Murders came out in the 70s
what did the punks think of it, did the punkaudience like what you were doing?
Rob: well yes, we hit the ground running,. We
weren’t a mod band when we started we were a punk band. The songs we did were
fast, a bit Buzzcocky, kind of what the Fiction sound now. I was interested in
60s music and always wanted the band to dress up 60s style. I wasn’t going post
punk I was going more Buzzcocks, I liked Generation X and that way. We put the
record out and I had a holiday booked for England. I took the train from the
airport, and you can go straight to Piccadilly Circus, and our holiday was
there, the Regent Palace Hotel, sadly not there anymore. I came out of the
station and there was a record shop just down the road, and I don’t know if I
dropped my bags in, and they were playing Green Onions by Booker T
and the MGs, and there were two girls there dressed in black and white dancing
in a record shop. And it was something I’ve never seen before, it’s like going
to Japan, blows your mind. These people are really into it. And I’ve read about
Mods but coming into contact with it was really, a direction I wanted to go. I
was interested in it and wanted to go that way. When I got back the guys kinda
wanted to go along with it, which I supposed they did .. kind of (laughs). So
Clint left and we got Stuart and he liked dressing up in suits. So we became a
mod band but we didn’t change songs or change name we just, it was funny
because all my friends at the time where become mods. One started a fanzine,
one started a club. It was funny looking back we all became mods at the same
time. So when I came back one thing I learned was, I went to see a band called
the Purple Hearts in Edinburgh, and I saw the Clash at Lancaster University.
One thing I found was they had DJs while the band played. Back in Melbourne we
played with weird bands that didn’t suite us at all. So we went to the said we’ll
just have the bands and DJs, so we started mod discos, so we worked together to
create this scene
How big a scene was it?
Rob: it seemed big at the time. When it first
started if you saw someone dressed like a mod you’d go and talk to them. You’d
tell them about our disco, given them a Little Murders handout letting em know
what was going on. It was the same thing with punk in 1977 you looked out for
people because you knew everybody. When someone you didn’t know would show up
you’d think where did they come from? It was the same with the Mod scene.
People started buying scooters from, I think South Melbourne council sold all
there rabbit scooters. So there was this scene, I suppose when it started there
was 30 to 50, but it grew, and pretty fast.
There was a night at the Ballroom and heaps of
Sydney people came down, there was hundreds there. It was a scene but turned on
itself pretty quick. It kept going, with bands like the Squad and they still
had clubs going. But the people I was with were no longer part of it. Little
Murders kept playing, because we kept getting bigger all the time, we went to
Sydney and got on Premier Artists. We became a band that could pull enough
people to prop up another band. We got sent to the suburbs to play with bands
like Dragon when they were on the way
down before they went back up. So we could pull 50-100, so we became that big
middle band, and consistent, people would always come to our gigs. So we left
the city area the only city venues we played was the Jump Club, and the Venue
in St Kilda. Most of the time we were out. In 1982-83 sometimes we played six
nights a week. I have one worksheet where we played three times on a Friday. We
do things like the Continental in Sorrento and then play the Jump Club. I can’t
imagine that today but that’s how things where done. And we were lucky we had
that following were we could do that, and became a semi-professional band.
Munster: So with the Fiction reforming and
Little Murders still going strong do you feel your more in demand than ever?
Rob: No not really, it doesn’t feel like that as
I’m really enjoying it. Because I love writing and writing for a purpose, I
write all the time, and when it’s for a purpose it’s not demanding. Doing the
LPs and gigs there’s plenty of spare time, even though I could do it all the
time. I find it, I never find it demanding as I love it too much. Like those
little films I make, or writing on Facebook about songs. I suppose I have that
need to do something, if I’m watching TV I might be enjoying it, but I feel
like I’m wasting my time. I feel I could be writing a song or editing my book.
Munster: How many people can claim they were in
Rob: I think I had the numbers once, I think I
put it on Facebook. I think was in the 30s. It’s funny when you think about it.
Some I forgot were in the band. Craig Pilkington the producer was the bass
player for a while. There was an LP where we had all the names once. 30
something I think. But they always come back, Rod Hayward left and came back.
Mick Barclay left and came back, Danny McDonald left and came back. It
fluctuates and we all seem to have good mood of sound, the Little Murders
sound, but I think that’s how I write. But I also write for the Fiction. In Little Murders we have harmonies, more
Munster: You mentioned Danny McDonald who is
back in Little Murders, he’s an amazing songwriter in his own right, does he
contribute his own songs?
Rob: he’s doing his own stuff so he’s just playing guitar but we don’t do
his songs. But I did offer but he’s happy not to. I have offered to do other
people’s songs. I find it hard to sing other people’s songs. We don’t do many
covers. I’m happy to. I can go off and take a rest as I don’t play guitar
anymore. But I guess that’s not gonna happen. It would be like Ram Jam the
Black Betty video. The lead singer has the tambourine but he didn’t sing that song
so he just looks silly. Anyway Danny brings that jangle to the group.
Munster: I remember seeing you guys at lyrebird
and you played Things Will be Different and you described at your almost hit.
Did it chart?
Rob: didn’t chart, just sold well. When we say
hit we had a lot of interest. We had talks with labels but nothing came of it.
Same thing with take me I’m yours and Things Will be Different. I have all
these clippings from Stage 1 in England, we wanted to release it on Bomp with
Greg Shaw. And like a lot of things nothing happened. She Lets Me Know was
number 1 at RRR for six weeks, four weeks number 1 at PBS. But nothing really
came of it. Just more gigs.
Munster: So you had a lot of hype?
Rob: yeah I guess so. Its funny certain things
get through that you don’t understand. But who knows the workings. Which bands
are big and not big. And some people write great songs that go nowhere. I was
reading an article about My Pal by God, but there’s a lot more Australian songs
up there. When I was younger I heard the Masters Apprentices Turn Up Your Radio I
thought why isn’t this a worldwide hit. The Easbybeats why they only had one
hit I’ll never understand. Sorry, she’s so fine these songs are so good and
well produced and went nowhere. Again it’s who you know. In the 70s I used to
read the NME and I’d read all these glam songs and I thought why these songs
aren’t released over here? But that’s one benefit of today there so much great
music around the world old and new and its so much more available.
Munster: I guess it’s the same with the Fiction
tape that came out a few years back, those little surprises that keep me going
back to the record shop.
Rob: and I’ve been picking up records from the
Cha Cha Chas, there singles are great and Plastic Section. Great Melbourne
bands. Different styles but it works. I was listening to Mr Teenage there
another really good band
Munster: when I first met you, you told me Molly
wanted you on Countdown but he couldn’t because of the name. Was that true?
Rob: What he said was, he didn’t like the name, but the main thing was because we were on Au Go Go records, this is not a talent show. We had to be on a big label. As I said we were RRR song of the week for six weeks, and he said no it’s not a talent show. It’s a bit shitty as it could have changed things. Who knows? But then the Stranglers were on Countdown so that’s something
Munster: and Iggy Pop drugged off his tits
Rob: I guess we were saved by non-success. If we
had success I wouldn’t be writing songs now. I’d be doing fabulous 80s nights.
I like those guys but never liked that idea. It allows you to do your own path.
It all worked out so it’s
Munster: Moving on to the 80s, you guys took a
break from Little Murders in the mid 80s.
Rob: we kind of packed it all in in 1984 at the
Venetian Room, we packed the room, it felt like we weren’t going anywhere and
what happened was we played a gig and while we were playing we used to hire
gear and someone stole all the gear. So we had to keep paying the rent on his
PA and then we had to hire a new PA so we were a professional band getting
paid, then we had no money because of the PA, which was just bad finance could
have worked out better. Then we got rid of our manager and got in Paul Kelly’s
manager, still no pay. Rod left, then we talked changed the name, thought maybe
it stopped us doing anything. Someone suggested the Bleeding Hearts, after a
while we thought that was a stupid idea. Our manager, at our next band meeting
had a whole stack of posters with Bleeding Hearts. He gone ahead and thought
the change was a good thing. We thought that would upset so many people,
because that was Martin Armiger band.
Rod left, we played our last gig, and then we
got all these offers for gigs, so we thought we’d do three more. POW the Jump
Club and the Venue. Made a bit of money which we didn’t see. All finished, then
the X Men manager approached us, the X Men loved Little Murders, Brian Mannix
in the Countdown magazine said we were one of his favourite bands. So they took
over, so me and the bass player took over half of Paul Kelly’s band, Tim
Bronson and Greg Martin. Didn’t work out. I still had these mod/ clash ideas,
and Tim took his shirt off. And we played to lots of people I thought this is
good, where talking 1985 the Stop LP was about to come out, and our manager
said well its not, not enough people coming. We were getting 300 people but was
not enough for what we should be
Munster: bands would kill to get 300 people
Rob: (laughs): I know. Actually it was 500 but
it still wasn’t enough. Anyway my friend Ronnie started a club Rubber Soul, I
had tons of 60s singles so I became a DJ, then when I made some money I went
and recorded with Little Murders. We were Pretty Green first but went back to
Little Murders. As I always do. One day I’ll get the Fiction to record as
Little Murders (laughs). We had a break but its funny breaks in the 80s and 90s
are not the same when you’re young. For example we supported the Buzzcocks in
2003, our next gig was at the Tote in 2009. So we didn’t feel like anything.
You get to a point were times not an issue anymore. I guess that why You Am I
can play and then not play for another two years. In the old days the Beatles
where recording for eight years, its nuts. The Clash 77-82 these are legendary
things, doesn’t feel like 40 years.
Munster: Dig for Plenty is my favourite LP of
yours that was kind of a comeback record after a few years off….
Rob: we did Stuff Like This in 96, First Light
in 98 and We Should Be Home By Now in 2001. Dig for Plenty was more a band
effort where First Light and Home was more writing songs and getting the band
to play it. These some great songs on those albums on First Light, White Night
Black Day which is our opening track. Dig for Plenty was a powerpop album, the
band had been rehearsing for two years, and specifically guitar rock playing
around loose and mucking around. It came after Stop Plus Singles. Dig for
Plenty is one of my favourite records. And great cover. Someone brought it just
for the cover. I said don’t you like the music? He said I never played it. We
did a short run of vinyl, just ten and there all gone, including one in
America. So watch out they’ll be collectors’ items.
Munster: despite the break were you still
Rob: yes, I’ve never stopped, but without making
an LP, you never finish it or have that end product. I’d do demos and put em on
Bandcamp. But because you don’t finish them they’re always around. There’s a
band in USA called the Eddies I sent some of my stuff for them to finish them off
and they’ve recorded two of my songs, they did Stranger in the House which
is a great song. I was in the states last year and they were recording one of
my songs called Show Me which was a nice little song. But I would write and
send out songs, to keep doing something. I also did some solo stuff, me and an
electric guitar. One I did it with acoustic in Sydney.Then I met Mick Baty from
Off The Hip and he offered to release something. Funny how things work out
Munster: you mentioned before you ran a club,
tell us about that
Rob: yes I started it in 1990 I was at a place
called Rubber Soul friends of mine were out on Friday night at the Union Hotel
they called Alternative, so they asked if I wanted to take over the Saturday
night. So I did, started pretty quietly
then Nirvana released Teen Spirit and I think that changed peoples perception of the
alternative scene, you know people in the suburbs were interested. At the same
time we could play there and play any music we wanted. We gave out cheap
drinks, so we were getting 25, 30 if lucky, then we got 400.
When I started my record label Swerve, you had
to form a company to do the label because it was a proper business. I called it
Nevermind, as it had the Nirvana reference and Never mind the Bollocks. They were
two things that changed my life. Not that I’m a lover of Nirvana, but for what
they did, it meant people like you or me could go to clubs because they were
playing the music we liked. The Sex pistols. I was playing in a folk band in
Bayswater then that came out and changed my life. I don’t think there sound
changed things, it was still the old sound, I feel Buzzcocks changed things,
but it was the idea of the Sex Pistols I liked. Before that it was Queen, it
wasn’t that long since I saw Roxy Music in 73 at festival hall. I feel Virginia
Plain was as much a game changer as the Pistols. But there’s always something
there’s always good music even thought it might look quiet. I used to be aware
of the charts what’s happening. But it’s good to be where we are listen to the
bands we like.
Munster: Little Murders last year celebrated 40
years what are you most proud of?
Rob: I’m not dead (laughs). I’m proud of all the
records, all the albums and single, I’ve been happy making music and getting it
out there. I was proud we got the Mod thing going in 1979 also the fact today I
went to the post office, to send Little Murders CDs to Switzerland. And before
Christmas I sent copies to France, Finland, Washington, and these people, I
sell a few each month but they buy the whole set, they buy one and they then
buy the rest. I got a letter from a guy in Edinburgh, he said thanks for the
Little Murders music. He said it sounds like music he thought he heard before
but it’s new. I’m not sure if he’s saying I’m stealing other people’s music
(laughs). And I write back how you hear of us and they’ll say my big brother
bought it home.
Its funny being in the situation, people know
us, if you asked me 12 years ago I would think people would forget us. When we
went to Japan people asked for photos was signed people fighting over the
records. They’d do paper scissors rock to see who was gonna get the last
single. People in Japan know the whole history of the band. Rob Wellington,
someone came up to him and they knew he was in a band called the Obsessions
with Rowland S Howard. They never played a gig. In Japan you might be playing
to the same amount of people but you wouldn’t know it, they just love you they
walk up to the front first of all, no one up the back.
Muster: that’s very Un Melbourne
Rob: I know. But people are starting to move
forward the last couple of Fiction gigs. Japan really invigorates you, as to
why you do it. And those letters, how does someone from Finland find out. I
guess it’s all right to be like that.
Munster: And also you have not one but two
documentaries in the works.
Rob: one about the Fiction one about Little
Murders. The LM is done by a friend Matt. Its about resilience, you know we’ve
never had any record company support never had any money behind us. We only had
one record that was paid for and that was Au Go Go. She lets me know, which
cost $3000 in 1984. Everything else we paid for ourselves. The label almost
went bust. Would have been sad as we would have missed out on the Scientists.
We run the band on a smell of an oily rag of non-success, but we keep coming.
So that’s a reliance, and we keep going being over 60 and touring Japan. The
Fiction one is by a friend of our bass player Adam and just about the Fiction
and another 40 years. The senior citizens group fund could fund it, could do a
tour of the all the old peoples home. When you think about it these homes are
full of people that are 80, they were there when the Beatles where round, now I’m
into Amyl and the Sniffers so rock n roll never goes away, they’re out there
somewhere, and you don’t feel any different, I’m 63 but I don’t feel any
Munster: you also mentioned a book you’re
Rob: I’ve been writing a book, just a biography
on my point of view of the Melbourne scene. So Little Murders Fiction Subway
and Lizard Lounge so I can do the bands, I suppose the important thing to talk
about is the bands we played with. With the mod thing we played with the Boys
Next Door at Hearts in Nicolson Street in Carlton. They were all in suits as
you see on some of their covers later on. I did an article I did with Clint
Walker, I said when they went on stage looked at them I thought we looked like
a pack of gardeners compared to them. So stuff like that. A bit of gossip that’s
not too nasty
Munster: sounds good and it sounds important as
there’s no Melbourne version of Please Kill Me and Melbourne’s worthy of one
Rob: yeah and we do the first chapter which is
all the David Copperfield stuff, then straight into 1976. The Sex Pistols on
Countdown and Nick Cave in Ashburton
playing in a church and Teenage Radio Stars and Le Femme.
Munster: You got two bands on the go, can you
write a song with one specific band in mind or do you write a song and figure
out which band will take it later?
Rob: somethings I write doesn’t sound for
either, I like to muck around and do experimental stuff. Usually I try and
focus, I do sometime go straight and write Fiction stuff or Little Murders. And
you treat it like a project get your mind set. For example if I’m writing
Fiction stuff I might be listening to the Buzzcocks or the Undertones, with
Little Murders it might be Flaming Groovies. There’s a cross over point,
Teenage Fanclub or Big Star. So there the two sides. And there’s the bit
inbetween which is the Kinks. Kinks is where I wished I got to in my life. They
had you Really Got Me and Waterloo
Sunset, they went from there to there. I wish I could
do you have a favourite Fall LP?
Rob: I like there best of with Victoria (Rob
exits into house and pulls out vinyl copy of A Asides)
Munster: ah that’s a ripper comp.
Rob: I love this listen to it all the time. Hit
the North, that was in Birdman by the Fiction. I got this at the Lizard Lounge,
they used to give us free records. I said does it come in CD? They said no CDs
cost too much… have the record. Things have changed hey?
And just when you thought things could/t get any worse im back
for another footy rant.
But in all seriousness, this is tough times and the next month
is crucial. This will determine how long we ave to stay in lockdown for and how
long several businesses will be closed for, and how far the virus wills pread.
And while it/s sad footy has been halted for the time being it/s a good
reminded that while it/s a great game, it is just a game and there/s certainly
more important things, such as the general wellbeing on the population. For
those in a tough spot, best of luck, hopefully everything and everyone will be
safe and later on in the year when we return to the footy, either at the ground
or the pub we/ll say hey remember that month we had to stay at home? So stay
safe, stay inside as much as you can, wash your hands often, and of course
listen to the Fall. These three things will keep you going. Ok, the sensible
PSA is out the way, back to the normal rambling broadcast.
To say it/s a weird start to the season is an understatement.
The week of the game certainly didn/t feel like footy season was about to
start. Ive had sweet fuck all interest in the past week and barely read the
news. Im unaware of who/s in the team. With a big question mark over businesses
that my mates work for and also run, I can hardly get excited over the start of
the season. Ive always said football was a release and a way to forget your
troubles for a few hours a week, but with troubles everywhere I look and with
the situation only going to get worse not better in the short term, it just
feels like a moot point at this stage. Im not begrudging the AFL for pushing on
with the season but the handling has been weak as piss. I get it, it/s a hard call and not a situation
to take lightly but to wait until 24 hours before the bounce is horrible
management. They came out on Monday and said the season will be played over 17
rounds, oh but come back tomorrow to see if we/re on Thursday. Roll on Tuesday.
Nah we/ll tell ya tomorrow. No wonder Gil has no respect. I just hope he was
putting the fans and clubs best interest first and not his bank balance or that
of the money coming in from the sponsors. And then there/s the poor fans, the
ones that paid hard earned money to watch their beloved team play. I paid a
fair bit of coin for my MCC membership, if it/s all pissed down the drain, ok
fine. With the clubs thats where they make a fair chunk of the money that keeps
em going with membership money, so it/s a tough one. But several hundred
dollars to only watch a handful of games, if that, out of a projected 22? Or 23
I forget how many games there are in a regular season anymore. I feel for those
that will see fuck all footy from their investment. Oh and to the players
fighting a pay cut, yeah it sucks, but it sucks for everyone, at least you
didn/t ave to line up at Centrelink like several people I know. So be grateful
you got money coming in, stay home and train, and shut the fuck up you unappreciative
pricks. Wanna swap with anyone I know in Hospo? Didn/t think so.
Anyway, with that out the way i/ll get to the actual game. Well
what I can remember as im struggling to read my handwriting of my notes five
days after the game.
I arrive at Surabaya Johnnys round 5ish to watch Fred and Dave
and also with the task of escorting Fred to the Balaclava for the bounce. With
the second set not commencing til 7 I decided I best escort myself. The CEO
Pete is back from being on assignment and will met him at the office. As you
could imagine the place is very quiet, so much so the footy aint on the big
telly I break the seal and buy myself a pint of VB and settle into the booth.
Alone. This aint no place to spend a Friday night alone. Im like Jerry in that episode
of Seinfeld where he wants to see Plan 9 from Outer Space and everyone bails.
What im supposed to make sarcastic comments to strangers? Anyway I find seven
turn it up and settle in. Pete says he/ll be there in 20 and Freds still on
stage so im flying the flag alone. Finally the bounce. Shag to Noble Matrix to the
Samurai, Bruce intercepts the kick but cant hold Speedboy hands off to Dole
Cheque who runs it over. I see some kind of support for 7 # . Fuck right off. No
one can go to the games but you’re trying to make it sound like you’re the heroes.
You wanna be heroes? Please forever spear us from Roaming Brian and Richo. Speaking
of Richo, no fans are allowed but that let this daft fool inside to roam
around? As my mate Geezer would say, sakes. Madigan to Howe to the Gooster, god
he has a shit haircut. Cox is the target
cant hold on the first attempt but second attempt he aint gonna drop. Looks bad
off the boot but it hit the target. 12-0. Ah fuck I forgot to record the first
goal. Oh well. And im amazed. Ive listened to Luke Hodge for a few minutes and
hes yet to say something stoopid. Meanwhile Richo says defenders need to defend
more. How much does he earn again? Screwdriver given a free from a high hit. Bulldog
complains. It was high, just cop it. Samurai is the target and hes given a free
for in the back. Again Dogs complain but Luke Hodge says because the Samurai is
tall he gets a pass on that as opposed to a smaller player. Keep going Hodgy I like
your work. Threepeat 18-0. JB says Eddie
is at home and given his box to Rowdy Brown
and his family. Hey Eddie how about given me Fred and Pete the box next time? I
can write about the game Fred can do the drawings, Pete will be the CEO. AND
FUCK ME THEY/VE CALLED LAST DRINKS AT 8PM. Oh this is serious now. Its 8pm and
3 and ½ quartiers of football left to go. Anyway Samurai gets a twopeat and Pies
get a fourpeat. Gooster kicks to Dogs helmet head. . im noticing so many pink
boots. No opinion on it just pointing it out. So pies kick another Gils brother says Pies
fans will like that. Again I question who is Dumb and Dumber in that family. JB
not to be outdone says the Dogs need a goal. And they get one 6-24. Hammer says
he wishes you were here. I hope to never be in the same room as that man. Unless
I get to pull the string from a cannon that Hammers inside. Shag Screwdriver Sidie Son of Rowdy, Adams
turn over, Crisp who also has a shit haircut. Matrix Shag, Sidie, back to Shag Billy
the other son of Rowdy, Shag again. Col enters the pub I ask wheres Fred. Says he
was still going on stage when he left. Son of Rowdy from 20 passes to other Son
of Rowdy. Bang 32-6.
Gils brother says good start to the Pies for the first quarter
of 2020. I guess his brother didn/t mention there was a game last night. Pete
and Fred at some point enter. Dole Cheque free to Cox gets his second 39-6. Richo is now behind the goals. Please aim for
his head. Another good kick from Dole Cheque as we all shout Everybody Loves Raymond
48-6. We see a photo of Wayne Carey from 30 years ago. I don/t know why as he
was a cunt then as he is now. Speaking of cunts, we scream Everybody Loves Raymond
as Dole Cheque goals again. Fuck Raymond I don/t love him. As the front bar is closed Keith shouts out DoggiesShag
has the ball. Well Brownlow betting is suspended. Hes on fire. Waz, or Col puts
a jinx on us by saying the Dogies will come back and they do. My notes are a
mess so im just gonna leave you with the half time score and try and read
harder for the second half
You know with all this theres no little league and one positive
is we are speared those poor kids that are interviewed by Gils brother on the
coverage. Wrong. Instead they do it via the phone. Aint these kids suffered
enough, cant go to Auskick now they get a McLachlan ringing em. Adams loses the
ball Krebs picks it up Sidie back to Adams to the Hyphen back to Howe. Dole Cheque
to Son of Rowdy the first Matrix Howe Screwdriver drops it Nobel hold on SHAG hes
on fire. Hyphen good hit Richo says Dogs need more contested marks. Sigh. Can you
please go back to Tassie and stay there. Matrix finds Dole Cheque outstanding
60-24. Gooster gives bang straightaway and Billy has a great pass to Speedboy
to make it 67-30. I wrote fuck all notes
I think because we didn/t focus and where talking about Don Lane. Anyway…..
3 Quarter Time
As I light up a fag Swedish Chris Rob and Rose are all on the
blower to me, all with praise for the Pies. I write something back to Rose
which neither of us can understand. So again my notes fail me, I wrote Shag (thats
good) Samurai (thats good) Adams Howe Krebbs (again all good) then English
marks (thats bad). But the next thing I wrote was Billys Matrix goal (thats
good) 73-33. We get up and dance, as Hi 5s aint allowed for the time being. Pete
asks the question, what are we gonna get for compensation? Our whole preseason
has been for nothing. The training camp, the weekend watching the Number 96
movie (best lawn bowls scene ever) all for nothing. Anyway Richo is in the
stands now. Gils brother says get on the roof, Richo says im scared of heights.
Coward. Oh Adams scores 80-33. Dogs ave a bloke called Eastern. We all agree
what a shit name. Crisp gets the last one. Gee we played really well for a game
we didn/t focus on. So much so I check the TV guide to see whats on when we get
home. Oh Lethal Weapon 2, with the all important bomb on the toilet scene. I remember Russell Gilbert doing that on that Saturday
night show he had, where hes a cop and his sidekick is a dummy. They had Gilbo
on the bog with the bomb deactivated, then it was to be continued. I never saw
the end of that. Please send me a link if you know what happened next. Oh and
we all agree the Shag should get the Brownlow now.
See we did focus a bit
Solid start to the Pies, a lot of positives to take out of it. Son
of Rowdy the second was great, Noble was outstanding, and my boy the Shag, well
hes a future hall of famer. Don/t argue with me.
And then the everything stopped on Sunday. And I will say this
about Gil, he at least had the foresight to stop this before the government
came in and said no more. Mind you I think this was a universal thumbs down so I
think he also saw the public reaction and thought yeah no more. Again I don/t
hold anything against em for going ahead but if it was this weird I wold ave
said fuck it lets start again in May. So yeah thats where we/re at. I popped
into my conference room Misery Guts on Sunday for a final drink before
everythings closed. I saw Horse from the Large Number 12s. We shook hands told
me he loved me and said see you when it/s all back to normal. You too Horsie. Saddest
part was when Linda, landlord of the Balaclava was standing next to Corn Beef
and she said where are these guys gonna go now? Not just us, Keith Costa and
that bloke that calls me Nathalia boy. Sigh.
Sorry to be a downer. Hey, how bout those Pies.
Hopefully will be back on this page sooner then later, in the
meantime im gonna go hard on the Matty Munster Rock Jurno page so look out for
plenty of new content soon
I first met Rob a few years ago on the St Kilda music walking
tour. With a mutual interest of punk and Collingwood we hit it off very early.
He has one of the most interesting CVs I know. Played with the Fiction at the
birth of Punk, went onto form International Exiles, as well as directing video
clips for some of some of this country’s biggest pop acts, still played on Rage
today. These days he’s still making video clips with his students at RMIT,
plays in the Peptides, the Originals and the newly reformed Fiction. Always love
seeing Rob play guitar and love watching the Pies games with him. We meet for
lunch at the Claypots branch in the city, with the lovely Cario looking after
Rob: hoping to get some shows in the UK with the Fiction. To
show them punk didn’t just happen there. Jay who used to run the reggae club
over there, did that documentary on punk and there having a discussion about
New York and London, and I’m like actually there was a third leg in that story.
I went to a conversation at Bakehouse, they had Ed Kuepper, I never had a
chance to talk to him and had a nice chat to him back stage, and if you got
something interesting to talk about he’ll talk back. I asked him if he’d seen
his documentary, and he said he’s sick of hearing that that punk only happened
in New York and London, when it was an international thing
Munster: what gets me is when they always bang on about New
York when the west coast gets over looked, you think of all the bands that came
from there, Dead Kennedys, the Weirdos, the Germs, and Texas with MDC and the
Rob: and Death, from Detroit. We were all committed with the
same, David Bowie wasn’t a local thing it was an international thing. And he
attracted all the freaks as he had the “I don’t give a fuck what you think rock
n roll is about this is what I’m doing”. When Bowie went to American and Danny
Fields introduced him to Iggy Pop and Lou Reed we were all like, there joining
the dots. These guys are weird freaks as well, there out toeing the line. That
was an international thing not just a London and New York thing. In Melbourne
you can feel it. I saw the Boys Next Door doing a Sensational Alex Harvey song,
then the next week Mick had left because he was sick of doing covers and wanted
to do originals. Then they through Micks right and they started writing songs
and did punk rock.
Munster: AND all those cities had a different sound when it came
Rob: Yeah we had the Melbourne sound. It’s not a genre its very
eclectic, everything from La Femme to the little bands, people screaming and
hitting tea pots to full on rock bands and pop bands like the Models. We
supported it all, we’d just rock up and think great, what the hells going on
here, this is interesting. It was very healthy. There was Essendon Airport, all
these weird bands, you walk in there’s a band doing funky jazz, and the Go
Betweens doing sweet pop music, then Hunter’s and Collectors smashing an oil
tin on stage, it was fantastic. Where else, aside from New York has an open
scene like that .New Orlins has that, that culture of everything from jazz to
Arcadian zydeco, and the blues and the whole gamut of genres they had, but it
seems very purist and traditional and based on technicalities and puerility,
where’s in Melbourne if it makes people jump up and down it’s good, don’t have
to sing or be in tune, get up and entertain. Thats healthy it opens the door
its not guarded, there’s no hinges on the door and it’s a free-for-all, if you
got the balls, as long as you’re not an imitator and you’re not boring people
will go and see you. Out of that idea you have this importance on originality
and creative integrity. That’s how people like Rowland can happen, and Nick who
couldn’t really sing. Because you realise it was original and different
I’ve always messed around with animation.
Munster: how long you been teaching for?
Rob: about seven years, when I was in year 12 I went I went to Huntingdale
Tech, a school in south east suburbs. I had a super 8 camera and I would shoot
stuff for my dad and he would get me to edit his travel films for his business
overseas, shot everything on Super 8 and cut it together. I had a stop motion
button, so animating the plastic plane going over the map. Then I started doing
hand held clock motion. Like jump up in the air and edit it to make it look
like I’m flying. I used the same technique in Big on Love (the models) my first
film clip. My dad couldn’t afford to send me to Campbell Grammar anymore. So he
said where do you want to go, and I said somewhere where I can do art. Bless em
they said yes. You didn’t have to show up to class and you could smoke in
between class, not that I smoked then. I did TV and film, had an absolute ball.
Film class is fantastic because they had been studding for years so they been
filming and gone through all this super 8 stuff. So second week I was there I
was shooting 16mm film, thinking this is cool this is what I want to do, and
set me on the path of wanting to be a filmmaker.
Munster: and I guess having started with super 8 and still
working you would have seen all kinds of change
Rob: I was doing film clips in the mid 80s Big on Love being
the first. Living with Sean Kelly in East St Kilda, we’re watching Countdown as
you do, I thought this film clip is shit I could do a better job. Sean said
yeah, I said yeah piss easy. So he said alright you can do our next clip being
Big on Love. So I checked how the snicked sound, they were shooting God Bless
America next week so I tagged along to see how they did everything, until they
used this inker reel to reel which is like crystal sphinx meaning they play the
speed of the film and the track where in sync, your average cassette player at
the time wasn’t playing perfectly. I had a Walkman when it came out and it had
a crystal, so the crystal holsters at a particular frequency so they could lock
the electric motor to that frequency, so it will turn in to an exact amount of
revels per second. Sussed out how they did it, and got nominated for best
performance. They had to act and play so they had to two roles
Munster: so you did do better than the Countdown Clips?
Rob: Yeah. That was a hit, so I walked into Michael Gudinski’s
office, and I said I want, $10000, $2000 for myself and $8000 for everything
else. He said I’ll give you nine grand, I said ok (laughs). And he was wrapped
with that. He got me to do a Kids from the Kitchen clip which wasn’t very good.
I assumed musicians could act, but they couldn’t I was lucky with the Models.
They did Barbados with Richard Lowenstein, and they didn’t treat James very
well they felt insulted, so they said ok get Rob to do the next one. They
wanted to do something like the Eurythmics clip just be yourself tonight, and they
did Out of Mind Out of Sight, that was my second clip that came out and went to
number one. If it hasn’t been for INXS I would have won all the awards, always
coming second (laughs). Cause INXS where killing it at that time. Next thing
I’m doing Whispering Jack and everybody
Munster: so the Models was your big break behind the scenes?
Rob: lot of people where really impressed with the Models,
particular as it was my fist clip. Was kind of like Eraserhead before Eraserhead.
Kind of weird, what the fucks going on here? There’s a story but nothing to do
with the song. What the hells this guy thinking? But it was intriguing and made
you want to watch it again, every time you watch it there’s a little joke
hidden. And the performances where great, James Freud in Barbados, he did that
as a joke.
Munster: so they thought it was a rehearsal?
Rob: yeah, I said that’s it, move on, James said no I was
mucking about. I said that’s perfect. Which really impressed the crew, because
I hired all these old pros, cranky old farts, they said we were good, we
smashed it out, shot it in a day, running round like a lunatic, was exhausted
at the end of the day. It set me on the pattern of the way I could, what I
learned was, because it was my first clip I wanted to make it work, so I storyboarded
it, did pre-production, spent two weeks working my arse off before the shoot,
making sure every shoot was great. So on the day people would say what are we
doing for the next shot, and as I storyboarded it I had it all set out, and the
crew was relived the director was on top of it. . I started getting bored with
clips, so I wanted to get back to animation.
I was pissed off with traditional ways, because I did the animated film
at school, I got a grant and after a year I only got 30 seconds. And when I
filmed it the little bird was getting smaller and I wanted it flat. And because
it took so long to see what I had done the traditional methods, you needed
experience and a whole team, so the image computer came out in the late 80s,
that could do animation. I was more interested in the Apple and was hoping that
would hang around longer. I took out a 20,000 loan for a Macintosh, crazy. And
I brought a Macintosh 2 the first colour mac. With a whopping 64 megabytes of
RAM and 257 megabyte hard drive. And brought this program called video X 2 and
it had this gismo where you could digitise video. Kind of a matchbox size in
one bit. I figured out how you could take a part of a video, digitise it and
reanimated it in this software. I did a video for DO RE MI called King of
Moomba I kind of proved the process. Then I got more ambitious. I did a video
that was completely animated, was filmed then animated it with software, took
six weeks sitting there digitizing it.
Munster: And that was just you?
Rob: Me and my sister and a mate Peter who was a roadie for Men
and Work, also crazy for machinists. He went to a conference, took a VHS of the
two clips showed them to someone who was doing a speaking tour for Apple, she
said you’re the first people in the world to do this. He said do we win a
prize. She said how you would like to come and work for us at Appel US. He
jumped on the phone and asked if I wanna come. We did three years, I was
prototyping, we were working on digital video big time. And they were saying how it will work on the
screen, press play and stuff. So the innovations you see now they didn’t
exists. So that gave us a beautiful lush on shades of grey gorgeous interface
and we kind of faked it to look like the video worked, so we packed it all in
animation showed it to users and then took their feedback and came back and
told us they didn’t like it was too complicated and couldn’t understand it.
They told us the users don’t get it, they need to look at it and click on it and
work it out. We got thought the User central design process. When I came back
to Australia, I combined what I learned with film clips and Apple started
making multi media and CD Roms. Because of the way I learned how to design, I
was making all these things that won awards and came under budget. So the first
one was for Film Australia, they asked what I wanted to do next. They asked if
I wanted to do a project Lady Tile with this guy’s who’s a member of the Mabo
family and famous documentary maker, I was like fuck yeah. Paul Keating at the
time was pm and had the creative nation funding so there was all this money for
multimedia as it was called then. I was always not worrying about money.
Munster: so you never worried about work
Rob: yeah never even thought about it, there was times I
thought what am I gonna do now
Munster all that money you got from Gudinski few people would
get that today
Rob: no. you can get up to 100 grand, my budgets where 20
grand. If a band had 5 grand I’d do a one shot clip which is fun. Usually there
20. Out of mind out of sight was 20 as was you’re the voice. Funky town was 10.
If id know now, and they didn’t know either, John Farnham, started with Sadie
the Cleaning lady, then he did the LRB so now he’s back in Australia kind of yesterday’s
news, then he’s back to number 1 again, so you never know.
Munster: you mentioned you were writing a TV series where’s
Rob: I don’t know if its gonna happen. If you’re not a name it’s
Munster: even with your background
Rob: but not in drama. Its all what have you done for me
lately? When I was a kid I did a lot of graphic novels. When me and Fred get
together we always talk comics. I used to draw a lot. I did graphic art and
wrote for Howl, the school magazine, I did Malcom Frazer as a dragon over the
body of Gough Whitlam. And these centre spreads, all these abstract images. And
it was all very analogue in those days. No computers, where talking 75-76. I
was doing photography shooting and acting in films. So I was thinking we can do
it as a graphic novel, then a film maker can read it and shoot it. I’ve got an
artist friend in Castlemaine who I’ve worked a lot with. Not sure if I should
ask her or see if I can draw it myself. I don’t want to teach too much, an
afternoon a week is enough to pay the bills. With the band I get enough scraps
I can pop along, produce music and make a graphic novel. I briefly had a
corporate job, and that wasn’t for me. Making decisions based on politics not
practicality. I understand why they need to do that but I want no part of it.
That’s why I love the film industry. You can make a film or you can’t. Your
either a good DRP or you’re not. You can cut a film or you can’t. If you mess
up someone’s film your probably not gonna last long. So the people that are in
it, there talented and grateful to be making a living doing what they do. And
that’s a very pleasant way to live. As with music, so many lively people sure
there’s the occasional dickhead like in any place. But I get to hang out with
Fred, Carl who’s funny as fuck, and Mick who’s funny as fuck. Doesn’t open is
mouth much and when he does it’s an insult but again funny as fuck. And
Elizabeth who’s gorgeous. And with Angela too. And the Fiction to. I’ve known
Adam since 1979, he was the original bass player in international exiles and
ALs one of his dearest mates who’s a sweetheart as well. We had Andrew Nunns
play with is, he plays guitar in USER. He played with Lime Spiders on a
European tour. He also has a band called Black Heart Death Pot, takes you right
back to late 60s psychedelic pop with meat to em. He filled in for Al, and
Andrew played exactly like the record. He was nailing every song like it was on
the record. He always filled in for Richard of the Underground Lovers, one of
the best gentleman. I feel so lucky to live in Melbourne and have this
incredible scene, like what are we gonna do tonight? There’s three gigs on, all
within tram distance.
Munster: and what’s happening in Sydney? Tell us about the Japan tour
Rob: We only had 30 minutes to play each night and there’s a 10 minute turn over for the next band. That’s something we picked up, just get it done. We do a song then bang straight into the next. No one was waiting around the audience knew they had a four second window to clap that’s why they go nuts during the song. They want the band to not only be good but let the band know there good and let them know they appreciate how good they are. It’s the healthies music scene I’ve seen outside of Melbourne, there’s a lot of things they do we can learn from. The idea of building venues into basements of apartment buildings. All underground no outside noise. It’s installed totally, and they have restaurants and offices, then apartments in the building and they can’t hear. You gotta go you’d love it. We’re going back for the Halloween festival its garage rock heaven, you’d have a ball. They provide all the amps, so you just bring your guitar do sound check and have a snack and come back. All the other bands are there watching all the other bands. Because they know them or haven’t seen them yet and are keen. And because you just have your guitar when the show finishes at 11 all the bands go out and have dinner swap CDs and chat. The pink tiles we did a show with them in Nagaretama. I saw this girl with a school uniform and went up to her and said ah AC/DC Divinyls really cool, she looked at me like what’s he going on about she knew I was in a band eventually the other guitarists come over and I said its really cool and iconic in Australia. And he’s like no she’s just come from school. We’re in the same class (laughs). There was this cool band called the Butters, kinda a Breeders Pixies element. They did this thing the whole band did 24 bars on bass and drums just pulsing super tight so it was hypnotic. Bands like Sonic Youth, just in the stage smashing this chord and it was like that. And the people are so nice. We got a note from the hotel saying how much they loved us and hoped we came back. Penny tells this story how she was traveling with this band and the guitarist leaves his guitar on the train, they went to the hotel they called the police and they went in and the guitar was there.
Munster: and how are our beloved Pies gonna do this year?
Rob: who the fuck knows. We played well last year but fell over at the end last year. You know hopefully you can make the eight and hope you have the A lister’s in the team to pull off a win, its all down to injuries, the teams are pretty even. I’m just looking forward to it
I first saw Lewi when he was up front with the Vice Grip
Pussies. It was a wonderful time that early mid 2010s period, with the Pussies
and Bitter Sweet Kicks in St Kilda. It seemed like the two best live acts where
located in this neighbourhood. It was probably a bit after the Pussies stopped
playing I became mates with Lewi, but before that I already knew his brother
and frequent collaborator Stacey and also mum and dad Liz and Billy. There all
solid people and blessed to call the Pommers mates. Aside from the Pussies Lewi
also had a brilliant short lived punk three piece called the Head kicks, and is
now on bass duties with Stacey and Dan (Black Alleys) in the Bloody Rascals.
And with the recent addition of solo shows it adds another side to Lewis music
CV. His solo stuff is more poppy as opposed to the outta control rock n roll he
has played in his other outfits and shows he really is a musical genius and can
play anything thrown at him. We met at the Mail Exchange on Bourke Street,
where a security bloke told Lewi to take his hat off, despite some fool in
shorts and a singlet being allowed to roam wearing a hat.
Munster : so you play guitar and bass, any other instruments
to your cannon?
Lewi: yeah, I sing, play a bit of keys. And as a person from
a drumming family I can’t play drums to save my life.
Munster: well coming from a drumming family, did you stay
away from drums because you wanted to do your own thing, or you just weren’t
interested in drums?
Lewi: yeah probably the later. I’m no grown up, but early on
I wasn’t interested in playing music. I think my parents through I’d be the one
to go and get a proper job and do the family proud (laughs). Didn’t happen. I
started on keys when I was seven at school. And quietly quit that because I
didn’t care about it at the time. Then later as a teenager I got back into
playing. I only played for two years before I moved to Melbourne and joined the
Vice Grip Pussies, trying to make it as a professional musician, its strange, I
didn’t really know what I was doing, just got in there and did that.
Munster: When did you move to Melbourne from Queensland?
Lewi: end of 2009 just over ten years ago and Stacey had
been here for a few years, he moved down just before he turned 18 after he
finished school and I did the same. Finished school and two days later came to
Melbourne to be a rock n roller (laughs)
Munster: Had you stayed in Queensland would you still be
Lewi: probably not, there’s not too much of a scene up
there. Having said that I could not see myself not playing
Munster: growing up in Queensland, your dad Billy was a
teacher in the bush?
Lewi: we lived out in the bush for a little bit, when he
finished his teaching degree we went out and he did his rural service, we lived
in a town called Dirranbandi, a mostly Aboriginal community, which had a
population of around 700. So very small town. He was a teacher at my school,
but I never had him as a teacher. We were out there for three years, then we
moved to the Cold Coast and we were there for a good while before coming to
Melbourne. Queensland was not a good place to grow up as a rock n roll guy. I’d
have groups of people following me to beat me up because I had a leather jacket
and long hair, and all that shit
Munster: I saw the Hard Ons in Coolangatta and had the
feeling I didn’t belong from the looks I got from some of the punters.
Lewi: yeah I was keen to get out
Munster: Now your dad Billy I consider a great mate, he of
course was in the Johnny’s, but your grandfather was a really well respected
Lewi: yes, his dad is my pop he went to a really prodigious
Jazz drumming school. I never saw him play until his 70th birthday.
He got up on the drums and he said I don’t know I haven’t done this in a long
time and he blew the room apart it was incredible.
Munster: We were talking about Spencer P Jones once and you
said growing up you referred to Spencer as uncle Spence, was it the kind of
household where musos kept coming and going?
Lewi: not so much early growing up as we were in Queensland
and most of them were in Melbourne. Every now and again someone might pass
through and have diner. It wasn’t so much growing up in a music family
situation as some might think until we moved down to Melbourne, at that point
we had Spencer coming over. Growing up at times people would pass by and dad
would play with him. Like once Paul Kelly got him to play at the Charleville, I
can still remember chasing Pauls daughter round the pooltable. So growing up
knowing those people as people that was pretty cool, for me I saw my dad as
someone that plays drums, we played music but in Queensland but it wasn’t that
big a deal, just a normal family.
Munster: So the Vice
Grip Pussies, how did you come to join the band, was that then reason you moved
Lewi: Stacey moved to Melbourne without ever visiting…
Munster :had you visited?
Lewi: Yes, by the time I came down I had visited him twice.
My first time, I knew, this is where I need to be. Stacey was here for 2-3
years before I moved down and he had Sonic Dogma and that broke up and from
that he started the Vice Grip Pussies, and they went through a lot of line up
changes, just couldn’t find the right mix, Stacey wanted to be the singer and
they couldn’t find a good enough drummer. That went on for two years and just
before I moved down, he said do you want to be the lead singer? I’d seen em
rehearse and knew they were a kick arse band, so I said hell yeah. Move to
Melbourne straight in an awesome band. It was a rad time for the next four
Munster: what were your memories of that Cherry residency
you guys had mid week?
Lewi: Not many (laughs).
A lot of madness. Probably the best way to describe it. Wednesdays was
always good, was the day the more regular people would be there it wasn’t just
crazy Saturday, super wild. On Wednesdays all the rockers and crew would be
there, Bitter Sweet Kicks would be there. we would do everything together back
in the day. Used to play the set and DJ after, for free shoots. Was a wild
time, and for an 18 old kid do to that straightaway, I was living the dream.
Munster: The Pussies had a great 7 inch split with the Bitter
Sweet Kicks and played a ton of shows together, how did the two bands become
Lewi: Stacey knew em from when he first came down, saw them
at the Pint on Punt. I met both Jack and Brendon on my two visits. I met Jack
first and after meeting Brendon, Stacey turned around to me and said do you
think that’s Jack and I said yeah, isn’t it. Nope (laughs) back then they were
hard to tell apart. At the time when I moved everyone was hanging around St
Kilda, there was more of a community
Munster: and on top of Cheery you guys had some killer gigs
Lewi: that was more wild times on a smaller scale. I think
it was 2010/11 new year’s eve and we packed it out and there was more people on
the streets then in the bar. The police came and cornered off the whole street
was a whole scene police holding arms keeping people back. Was cool
Munster: You and Stacey obviously have grown up together
because your brothers and known each other forever does that help with the
dynamic within a band?
Lewi: yeah we know what the other person is gonna do. He
gives you a real senses\ of what he’s going into next, even with jams. If you
jam with him for a bit you pick it up so easy. He’s the most solid drummer I’ve
ever played with, playing with other people I find it hard sometimes because if
someone fucks up they fall apart. I know Stacey is solid, if I fuck up I know
where to come back in because he has it down beyond belief. For a recording and
everything the way we record is he does the whole song on drums, done. That’s
it. Then you record to it. Brothers probably have a better length then other
Munster: What’s something Stacey taught you and something
you taught him?
Lewi: there’s been a few things I’ve taught him on guitar
maybe he’s learned stage wise because he was behind me for so long, doing the
front man thing he wanted to do. He’s taught me a million things, most of what
I know. Other than technical aspects of playing guitar and that kind of stuff.
Just being in a band and the things it takes to do it, I’ve learned from him in
Munster: a few years ago you had a great three piece the
Head Kicks which I loved.
Lewi: so did I.I was ready to get back into music big time,
we did about 6 or 7 shows, by the 7th show we had a 17 song set list
I was writing like crazy. It didn’t last long. That was a great band, straight
Munster: How did the bloody rascals come about, I take it it
was just something that happened obviously with you Stacey playing in several
bands and also Dan is someone you would have seen around the traps at gigs and
on bills with the Black Alleys?
Lewi: yeah we were hanging out for a bunch of years, the
Pussies ended and the Alley’s weren’t doing much, Stacey wanted to get
something going. I think Johnny was meant to be the bass player, I came home
one night and they were in the jam room just fiddling around. I played bass in
my first high school band, so I knew I could play bass. They asked me to join
the band, I didn’t own a bass, I still don’t have a bass amp. So I woke up the
next morning and Stacey told me you better buy yourself a bass (laughs). And
I’ve been rocking it ever since.
Munster: bass or guitar?
Lewi: guitar. But I do enjoy playing bass. It’s nice to
change it up and good not to do the same thing. It was nice to take a step back
and not do the frontman thing, you play your part as opposed to being the main
man, but I’d say my part is still pretty big.
Munster: a few years back you played me some demos you
done of some solo stuff and was great,
real poppy sounding and different to your other stuff
Lewi: I’m still trying to do that it’s hard with the solo
stuff. I write and record at the same time. So I get a bit wild with the poppy
songs and write different parts, keys and strings, and put it into a solo show,
acoustic guitar and singing. And a lot of the stuff doesn’t work so just got to
pick some of the songs, do the ones that work, but I’d like to do more poppy
Munster: I saw you play solo for the first time at Misery
Guts and it sounded great but is that the kind of thing you’d wanna have a band
backing you or you just happy by yourself?
Lewi: some of it requires a band, but I’d like to do some of
them in the solo sets and I want to do more solo stuff this year. The solo
stuffs good, I started on solo sets when in first moved to Melbourne as a way
to get my chops up for the Pussies. It was a lot of fun and got my stage work
up for the pussies and be able to talk to a crowd even though I don’t talk that
much, and with Stacey you don’t need to talk that much.
Munster: what’s next?
Lewi: hopefully Bloody Rascals will pick up there game, been
a bit slack but there’s talk of a LP. And recording for the solo stuff. I’m
constantly writing. And need to put something out there. Even the pussies we
made a live LP and made a studio one but never released it. The only thing I
ever did was a live LP with the pussies a single and a split so want to get some
content out there.
Massive thanks to Sean Simmons for asking me to do this. Onya lad x
Lydia Lunch is brining Retrovirus out for the second time in three years and the last time to Oz. Fair not, she’ll be back, just with another outfit. Lydia was a key member with the No Wave movement in the late 70s, and since then as pretty much covered any media platform there is to cover. Whether on stage, with either spoken word or music, with her books, or her new podcast, The Lydian Spin, she always has something to say and as she said several time in our chat, the war is never over. A spokeswomen for anyone slightly odd, Lydia is a true original and one off. Her views and how she expresses em could only be done by her, along with the sweet smoke filed voice of hers, Lydia is someone for me that when she specks I’m all ears.
Lydia: we’ve done Europe enough times and Australia enough
times, it doesn’t mean we won’t come back, we’ll be returning as something
else. This is one of my longest running organizations, only because we can pick
and choose from such a wealth of material. Me and Weasel do things, me and Tim
do things, me Tim and Weasel do things, who knows what we’ll come back with
next, let’s focus on coming soon.
Munster: Well you’ve been here three times in three years,
what keeps you coming back to Australia?
Lydia: I love you my friend. I love Australia. Other than
the travel, whatever, go to sleep. The crowd is great the clubs are great. Like
I say we’re running out of places so we keep running back to Australia. I love Castlemaine
that show was great in that big theatre.
Munster: The War Never Ends, a documentary about you came
out last year, made by your mate Beth B, what was her pitch that made you think
this was a good idea?
Lydia: many people have asked me to make a documentary. And I’m
like I’m not fucking dead I don’t need a documentary. I’ve worked with Beth
since 1979. What convinced me was that she understands what drives me, what originally
drove me still drives me. And it’s not just about me, I’m dealing with
universal subjects especially in my spoken word. It focus a lot on the spoken
word especially the early stuff but the way I collaborate with so many
different people and now I have my podcast the Lydian Spin which is fantastic,
not only brining other people I’ve worked with in a collective light but there’s
gonna be book, a companion book. A documentary, 72 minutes covering 40 years, it’s
like a snapshot, so I’m glad there’s a book coming out, and also highlight other
people I’ve worked with or I respect. Because there is a counter culture and we
are it. This podcast I’ve been doing for a year I’m gonna keep doing it, it
really connects different peoples fanbase or friends to people they might not have
heard of but are equally valid with that there stubborn creative not going away
and weird. Hello that’s why we’re here. And also Beth understand completely what
I’m doing, with this creative schizophrenia, I mean the subjects are often the
same I just need to find different ways to express it. And it not only about my
life experience. I’m speaking for the incentive the over sensitive the weirdos
the outscast the ones that feel rejected the ones that have been ghosted and
pissed off. So welcome on come all
Munster: glad you can be our spokeswomen.
Lydia: fly your freak flag here we are
Munster: A Kickstarter was made to get the doco over the
line and it raised $72,000. That must have been flattering knowing people
wanted it to get made.
Lydia: well we had to raise a lot more than that and that
was no easy feat, it’s very expensive to travel and make these things. It’s
fantastic and with the Kickstarter you’re not only giving people an investment
in the project you’re giving them some extra goodies as well. And doing the
podcast, that’s free. That’s the next step, I’m now the documentarian of other
people, so it’s very interesting. Its interesting times. Its crisis time, we have
to be speaking out now. Let’s all come together and have as good a time as fucking
possible. We’re not laughing we will be weeping as the earth falls in upon
itself, whether it’s from fire, flood, earthquake or bullshit. Hello.
Munster: Don’t think I want the world to end tomorrow but
seeing the world explode would be cool to see.
Lydia: well I’m an apocalyptica the end is always near. Just
is it near enough.
Munster: Have you seen an Australian film, Smoke Em While
you Got em? It’s about the world ending and a massive underground party, would
love to have that party one day.
Lydia: let’s hope there still having that party. I figure
there not gonna stop war and madness I’m not gonna stop having a good time so
fuck all ya all, they can get with the program. The ultimate rebelling is
pleasure you have to have community you have to have intimate communication.
You have to have friends, you have to create, what else can we do? We are out
gunned, outnumbered so you have to be stubborn to our vison and not be bowled
under by the madness.
Munster: what’s the best way to get your point across,
through spoken word or music?
Lydia: more people can identify with music and can get a
groove on. But I still feel direct straight communication, with or without
backing videos spoken word is a very important way of communicating, back to
the podcast that’s why it makes sense to do that. With podcast people can
multitask they don’t have to leave the house or be in the same room. We can
penetrate to people’s memories with a click. With a show people need to pay
money and leave the house and make the commitment. Podcast is not the same as a
spoken word show but its still direct intimate communication. Music is far more
fun for the audience, and I guess for me as well. Sure its fun. Till someone
has a guitar cracked on their head. That never happens at our shows (laughs).
That’s ridiculous. The guitar player usually does it to himself. Weasel Walter
is a danger to himself and everyone’s ears, as he will rage.
Munster: what pisses you off in the world today that makes
you want to shout into a microphone?
Lydia: (Screams) every fucking thing is the same as always.
What a shame. There’s nothing fucking new the bullshit carry’s on. What else is
new? There’s no new atrocity’s, just the lies the hypocrisy the greed the
duplicity, the inhuman treatment. I mean the war is never over. I’ve been
complaining about the same shit since Ronald Regan. I mean I really don’t have
to say another fucking word. I’ll just quote the arsehole on Pennsylvania
Avenue. Read my transcripts motherfucker. I’ve said it all already, I just find
new ways to say it. The situation is the same. The king gas no clothes but he
thinks he’s wearing Gucci.
Munster: I read an interview with you on the Vice website
and you said “also they have a problem with seeing that progressive aggression
can be empathic and not an attack”. Do you think there are some people, for
them that the message you’re expressing is over their heads and lost because they
might be scared in the manner your delivering it? Where there looking at how
you say it as opposed to what you’re saying?
Lydia: well look you have to sophisticate the way in which
you deliver things. I mean shouting and screaming that’s what rock bands are
for. Like that performance in Castlemaine, there’s many styles of writing and a
forum like that I can use many types of delivery. I hardly I think I’m beyond
shouting and screaming. People get terrified when I whisper as well. Not you of
course, I know you like it when I whisper.
Munster: personally I think you voice is gorgeous, how do
you keep it in tack?
Lydia: honey you
don’t want to know what I stick in my mouth to keep it like this. I started as
a falsetto and its getting close to a baritones. People say they don’t like the
sound of their own voice but you can change it, its just natural maturity. All
those late nights and empty clubs, I don’t know
Munster: Alan Vega was a friend of your when you first got involved in music, what are memories of the great man?
Lydia: Radical creative, and lately I’ve been touring with
the Suicide Tribute with Marc Hurtado, who did two LPs with Alan Vega with the
blessing of Alan’s family and Martin Rev and his wife. He was very
inspirational to me because, when you go back and listen to Suicide the music
is kind of twee but the music was so aggressive. He was an amazing visual
artist as well.
Munster: Weasel Walter and you have been collaborators for some
time, what’s it about Weasel that keeps you two continuing to work together?
Lydia: Weasel started getting into No Wave when he was 14 in
the mid-west. He was into Teenage Jesus and the Contortions. He’s the only guitarist
that can get up and do what Rowland S Howard did what Robert Quine from the
Voidoids did or what I did. He’s an improv and compositions master. He also
sees a system into the music of Teenage Jesus which I’m yet to uncode. He guaranties
me there is a system probably even beyond my interpretation. He likes to push
the music. When he works with me with Retrovirus he respects what it original
was but he takes it to another level. He’s like me he’s stubborn, he’s an over achiever
he’s ridiculously prolific, we like to laugh. I mean he’s one of the most
amazing guitarists, drummer, composers and improvisers out there. And he’s a
big cute dude what else do you want?
Munster: you’ve been mentioning your podcast The Lydian Spin
throughout our chat, how did that start and what was your mission statement?
Lydia: it’s me and Tim Dahl, Simon Slater punked us saying
you need to do a podcast as we both talk so fucking much. So we said yeah and
we started recoding people in LA. Almost everyone, in the first series, we did
26, and we already recorded almost 40. Most of the people I did know but they
all didn’t know each other. We just did Tony Defries who managed Bowies during
the Diamond Dogs artist tour. A good friend of mine is best friends with him so
she made the connection. It’s a very valid format and its fun
Munster: I enjoyed your Xmess special, and I like how you
ended with the Big Sexy Noise track your love don’t pay my rent.
Lydia: thankyou I’m recording my valentines special
Munster: Any chance of Big Sexy Noise coming to Australia?
Lydia: James Johnson as decided he’s no longer a musician he’s a painter. So unfortunately Big Sexy Noise won’t make it. I wish we could. I think the next direction, one I would love to do is a project I got called No Wave Out, which has Umar Bin Hassan from the Last Poets with Weasel and Tim and myself its an amazing project but its very hard to find someone to back it, maybe that’s why I’m coming back to Australia I need to talk to Sean Simmons. It features Umar Bin Hassan a black poet whose 65 that every rapper has sampled. I might try and get that over. It’s a longer trip for my older friends. We’ll see. I’m also working on a psychedelic, improv with Tim, kinda more word based. No title but trust me I’ll be back. See you already crying about me not coming when I’m coming back in a month what are you doing Matt?
Munster: well I’ll go get myself together in a second,
before I go can I ask what/s you favourite brand of cigarettes?
Lydia: (screams) you mean the ones that cost $30 a pack. Can
you bootleg me some Marlboros?
Munster: I might be able to help with Marlboro’s.
Lydia: stock me up son stock me up.
Lydia Lunch: Retrovirus plays the Corner Hotel, February 28 and Theatre Royal, Castlemaine Feb 29