Donita Sparks (L7) Interview

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 LP.

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 music

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 in

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?

Munster: Yes

Dontia: the UK band?

Munster: yes

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

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Endless Bore –Personal Development tape review

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.

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Have a Bleedin Guess: The Story of Hex Enduction Hour book review

Have a Bleedin Guess: The Story of Hex Enduction Hour -Paul Hanley

A repetitive, pulverizing barrage of unpleasantness briefly leavened by varying degrees of insanity and vandalized by the incoherent of its horrible non singing singer

That comment above is from comic genius Stewart Lee talking bout Hex Enduction Hour. It happens to be his favorite LP.

There ave been many books on the Fall that ave ranged from the good (Steve Hanleys The Big Midweek) the bad (Mark Middles The Fall, actually it/s good but annoying when he had a crack at fanzine writers). And the unclassifiable (Mark E Smiths Renegade gets an 11 out of 10 for the entrainment factor, but questionable on the history part). Now comes Paul Hanley with Have a Bleedin Guess, the story of Hex Enduction Hour.

Stewart Lee wrote the forward for the book and is now becoming the go to writer for introductions for cult legends in music (his liner notes for the recent Billy Childish anthology is magnificent). He mentions how he suggested Hex be a subject for one of the original 33 1/3 book series on classic LPs. They never approved it as they didn/t think it was worthy of a book, for fuck sake. At first I thought perhaps this book might be like a 33 1/3 but it/s not. In the sense it/s written by someone who was there, they spoke to the people involved, and is actually good.

Aving come off the back of his wonderful Manchester music book Leave the Capital, Hanley has written what will become the definitive text on the Falls “classic” LP. For my zine Munster I always ask as the final question what your favorite Fall LP, im yet to make a record of this but Hex is the club house leader. People who ave told me this include Kim Gordon and Steve Albini. And theres good reason for it. It is a cracked of a record. Mark E Smith is of course quoted saying if it/s me and ya granny on bongos it/s the Fall. Hex is the first LP that kind of lived up to that vibe. I always got the feeling the early releases pre Hex were a team effort and in later releases Mark took over as the band leader and not just frontman telling the group what he wanted from each song . It/s full of rage and venom and not a friendly listen and maybe not the first LP new comers should listen to, but it stands as a landmark achievement and while not my favorite it is in my top 5 Fall LPs and I totally understand the hype behind it. I remember listening to it when I was 19, and two minutes in with that incredible Steve Hanley bass line and drumming from Karl Burns and Paul Hanley on the Classical and with with MES screaming hey there fuck face I knew this was something else.

Hanley, for those unaware, became the Falls drummer when he was a teenager when long time drummer Karl Burns was AWOL. When the group toured the states in 1981 Hanley had to stay behind due to be under age and saw Burns back on the drum stool. When the group retuned it was decided both Burns and Hanley will remain in the group making the Fall a six piece with two hitters. As mentioned in the book, Burns was seen as MES/s closest confederate in the band, and could also be seen as a stooge for the great man, so Hanley was on his best form to prove to the groups leader he was up for the task.

The story pretty much picks up from when Paul joins the band, a discussion on the previous releases the Fall had done prior to Hex and the build up that lead to the LP follows. For me the highlight of the book is the story of the Iceland tour, which saw the concept of the LP come to life and where two tracks were recorded. MES mentioned the tour briefly in Renegade but Paul spends more time covering the shows. Paul mentions how due to rock bands rarely playing in Iceland people came out in droves and was front page news in the local papers, and the horror of beer being outlawed. One funny story was MES telling Paul he was disappointed in him for being hungover. Anyone that knows anything bout MES knows that/s a pot kettle black moment.

Returning home the group recorded more tracks at an old cinema. While the group was slumming it out on the cold stage, MES was upstairs in the warmth. Steve Hanley mentions there leader said the lads don/t need heating. Smith in interviews said this was to be the final Fall record, which was news to the rest of the group, but some members conceded when they look back and with some of the lyrics in the album do wonder that maybe this was meant to he the Falls swansong. But if it was the group asks what was MES gonna do next?

Each track on the record is discussed in detail. With information on when recorded, first played, who played what and the inspiration for it. Hanley has done an amazing job covering this LP. He specks of his own experience as well as interviews with the group which at the time were his brother Steve, Marc Riley and Craig Scanlon, as well as manager Kay Carol, long term mixer/producer Grant Showbiz and original member Martin Bramah.  Also interviewed is folk singer Stuart Estell who possibly has the claim of being the shortest Fall member of all, aving played on one track live in 1998. And he was in the crowd when he played that one song. As Stuart Lee mentions in the forward he has done an incredible job with the footnotes. Some for historical purposes, other times its Pauls personal opinion. Karl Burns is not interviewed, anyone that/s read Dave Simpsons the Fallen will know why. While MES is no longer with us he does appear though many past interviewers. Although no longer with us you can almost guarantee he would ave no part of this given his disdain for nostalgia  

One of Hanleys strengths is you sometimes forget he/s a member of the band when reading this. He writes it more as an outsider looking in. it/s not till he says the odd I or Me that you realize he was actually there. One of the running themes is the set up between him and Burns. Karl Burns was one of the few guys to be fired and rehired time and time again, and it appears MES had a softy spot for Burns and Hanley knew he had to be on his best form during the recording. Was fascinating reading who played what on each track and also hear Riley Scanlon and the two Hanleys discuss their take on who came up with what.

MES has said many things about past members, and all ave things to say bout him. Marc Riley has been one of MES favorite punching bags after Riley left and he doesn/t hold back here. Steve Hanley and Craig Scanlon never slag off their former leader, but all the praise they throw at him is all work related. MESs work ethic is a big talking point. Despite pumping out release after release Steve Hanley and Scanlon question his hard work front. Steve Hanley claims the story of Mark showing up at Rough Trade at 9am to make sure everyone has punched in is rubbish as he could never see him getting up that early. Paul Hanley himself shares his experience of working with MES and it come across like MES was in t5he office while Hanley was slumming it on the factory floor. As mentioned above each track is discusses in detail, and one story I loved his MES telling Scanlon what he wanted a riff on a song to sound like, and MES would show him on an old four string toy guitar how to play it. Anyone that has read more than one Fall book will know there has been different takes on different situations. When talking Hip Priest, Hanley discusses royalties. The track is used in Silence of the Lambs, and MES in Renegade claims he only gets 6% of the coin. Hanley claims because he wrote the lyrics MES gets 50%, and even a little bit of the remaining 50 as he helped with the music. Hanley seems to be more interested in setting the record straight as opposed to settling a score. The Classical is discussed in detail, and also the use of the N word. At the time the group received little to no backlash from fans or critics and even received very little today. The group all agree that it is not Smiths personal views and at the time had little problem saying the word given the use was in context, but all agree they would not use it today even with the context. A version of The Classical on Fall in a Hole, the groups 1982 live in New Zealand LP, months after Hexs release, sees the term not used.

MES gets the final word: The thing about browsing through these books is that you don/t find out anything about me at all, do you? I/ll leave that up to the reader

Hanley needs to be praised for his writing style, research and storytelling. Aving also written a cracker book in Leave the Capital a few years ago I hope Hanley continues to make more books as the man has talent.

This is up there with his Brother Steves book the Big Midweek as the best books on the Fall and one of the best books that is dedicated to a whole LP. An absolute must read for Fall Fans.  

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Preliminary Final v giants

Pictured above: Toby Greene going after Lachie Neales eye

Now. All week people ave been telling me you/ll smash em get your grand final tix now.  But I aint so sure. Collingwood and finals could mean anything and the Giants will be no easybeats. Mind you with all their outs we don/t deserve to be on the last day of the season if we cant beat em today. As usual i/ll be at the Balaclava to witness whatever unfolds, as always im expecting the unexpected.

Now onto this Greene business. Roy and HG ave named Greene grub of the year, to a nicer guy it couldn/t happen too. Giants Football manager Matthews claims the system failed him, but as HG Nelson said the system didn/t fail football. Rampaging Roy Slaven mentions how Grubs always deny their involvement and say it wasn/t me that’s not the real me. Once again Roy and HG are the only commentators that make scene. Remember Gaff last year, we had to hear what a great bloke he was, despite punching a bloke. Sorry Greene someone with a rap sheet is worthy of the term grub although id use a much nastier word to describe him. Comments hes a good person fuck off, hes a coward. That simple. And seeing Brownlow and Jack Riewoldt try and defend him on 360 saying that you want him to play on the edge. Theres a fine line to being a bastard on the field to being a gutless thug. He got what he deserved. Mind you should ave gone the week before. You know when your in trouble when Kane Cornes is one of your biggest supporters.  

I LEAVE the house and go for a lovely walk with two hours to kill before the game. On route to the Bala im picking up the lovely Josie to accompany me to the pub . I meet a lady walking her dog who tells me she was in the St Kilda cheer squad in the 70s and how she always was allowed into the rooms and treated like a real member of the club. She says she stopped following football when the league went national, claiming the competition should ave stayed in Victoria and she missed the tribal suburb element to footy. She didn/t even know who we are playing but wishes us best of luck.

As im on track to Jos I hear my name being called out it/s the CEO Pete who tells me he/ll see me there, neither of us is confident. The lovely Jo and me ave a nice leisurely stroll as opposed to bolt to the Bala

We arrive with 30 minutes to kill Adam and Terry are already here, always great seeing these guys. As I ave a pre/game dart to calm me down Brad walks past. Bernie took a great photo of me and Brad after last years grand final. Me looking sad with Brad putting his hand on my shoulder. The photo that sums up so close but just short and how we/ll ave a drink after the game and all will be fine.

Five minutes until the bounce to go Fred and Gordon walk in. Jo calls it Pies first goal. Fred says Dole Cheque will get the first Pamela second. Val enters which is a nice surprise. I always time for him. Wendy the nice lady who always watches the footy in the other room joins us. Good start with free to Matrix Reid the target but couldn/t hold, stalemate 10 from home. Free to Samurai straight to the giants. Cameron v Moore will the match up that will shape the game I claim to the pub and Fred informs me that/s why I get the big bucks. Crisp gets  a bad bounce Brownlow to Pamela Speedboy Hyphen Sidie Noble Heather smoothers the mark. Terry calls him a traitor, I inform him we got rid of him but Teery claims it don/t matter. I/ll always a soft spot for Shaw, that smoother in the replay is my favorite grand final moment. 30 out Crisp goes bang 6-0. Speed from Heather Samuri Crisp giants free leads to Screwdriver mark in giants 50. Giants play tunnel ball Adams gives away a bullshit free for tripping when the giant bloke tunneled him. Gil made that call. Sidie to Screwdriver leads to out on the full. Krebs taps for out of bounds one ball Sidie soccers Son of Rowdy almost hit. James enters the pub, Wills Crisp Aish good tackle Samurai tumbles Screwdriver Giants punch out both teams defense is amazing. Given em nothing. Pies throw penalized why didn/t they pay that last week? Pies get the ball out of Giants 50 due to slippery ball and sloppy play from the giants. Wills Billy free in the back. Pete enters Giants goal, down by 1. Crisp takes a great mark 10 out from giants home. Brownlow to Pamela 30 out turns just in time one steep what a goal 12-7. As Brad says at quarter time had every right not to kick that goal but he somehow did amazing goal. The commentators mention how Sidie won the Garry Ayres award for player of the finals last year. I look around and ask the question that such an award exists? There all the same as me never heard of it. Crisp has the ball as Mr Football enters. Moore beats Cameron 30 out but kicks on the full. The Giants do fuck all with the chance they got. It/s been mostly up there end and done nothing. Mind you we/ve only kicked two goals looks like its gonna be a struggle back n forth kinda game.

Quarter time

Pies 12

Giants 9

I run to the bar to get a round in for me and Jo and the fucking keg needs to be changed of course it does. I look on the big screen as I see Reid marks in the 50 I run back in to the table to watch him goal. Pete says Reid might win the Brownlow this year. Shag is hit in the back 50 but they get a point serves em right for touching our boy. Brownlow has a shot but giants mark the ball on the line they take it to the other end and take the lead. Fred mentions Dole TV and mentions the only thing on is Kramer v Kramer. Is Dole Cheque a Meryl Streep fan? That could be a problem. Pete was livid that Jake and the Fat man was off on Monday I tell him my mum says it was on the telly on Tuesday. The CEO was livid Jake was taken off for a Fishing show. is it just me or is there 500 fishing shows on the box right now. Fred cant believe we/re discussing this while the game is on and neither can I. Race between Cameron and Moore again sees Cameron lose, but the kick is bad and Cameron gets another go but only manage a point.  Luke Darcy reminds us theres a lot at stake in the game. Meanwhile Lingy says you know who’s enjoying this right now? Don/t fucking say it! And of course he says Richmond. James says Reid needs a haircut. Rowdy soccers the ball 8 meters out but cant put boot to ball. This is the perfect time for me to pull out my Mike Atherton impersonation saying now you but boot to ball and convert its not rocket science. Im quite proud of that. Giants push with 20 seconds to go Adams gets it out and find Hyphen and that will take us to the main break. Waz had brought a footy

Half Time

Pies 20

Giants 17

Tez says the game is being played on out terms, but theres nothing comfortable about a three point lead. Half Time sees Waz pull the footy out and circle work with the fresh air going round. I call Lofty as me and Adam praise the great man as Casey enters, both of us are nervous. We see this stoopid fox footy ad promoting next week saying it Richmond vs Pies/Giants. Why don/t you just wait til the game ends to promote the proper game next week? Anyway Rose and GG enter, we need Rose and her chewy on ya boot at this crucial stage of the game. Shag loses to giant in 50 Aish is hit throw in. Fred again refers to Sidie as one ball, Gordon questions the legitimacy of this. Giants hit lead down by four. JB says the cream of the crop is rising for the giants THEY KICKED ONE GOAL you fool, again you know nothing about football I guess you gottta say something.  At this point we get expert commentary from Fred: Bucks aint happy. That/s why he gets the big bucks. Sidie to Crisp leads to out on the full. Fred asks me if I ave the shoehorn on me, I hand it to him. He gets a direct line to Bucks despite the fact hes quite busy. He tells him to kill Nick Haynes, I make sure its not to kill our dear mate Nick Haines. Anyway fucking bullshit 50 given against Brownlow, we see Kelly shove Brownlow, he fires back and the cunt played it for all its worth. Like Greene hes good playing the victim when he started it, what a dog act. The cunt goals. Freds back on the expert commentary, saying Bucks still happy. Now compare that to JB who claims the pies cant concede another goal. While Darce says the Pies need a goal. We all scream you idiot. Talk about Dumb and Dumber. James mentioned Dole Cheque aint had a touch. He must been watching Kramer vs Kramer.

3 quarter time

Pies 22

Giant 49

Out the back with me head down contemplating what the fuck went wrong. Mark asks if I can book a Collingwood victory. I say sorry I left the shoehorn at the table. Viv walks past miming a kick which makes me smile, one of the few things that can made me smile right now. Cameron goals and I write in my notes thats it. Any further evidence? JBs called it.  I run to the bar. And fuck me they/ve run out of pint glasses. Doesn/t matter im not in a rush to get back to the table.  Pamela goes bang down by 26 but ive given up hope. Straightaway Billy to Speedboy what an amazing goal down by 20. Howe goes forward Reid is being held, Tez says hes not a memory you cant put your arms round him. I praise that Johnny Thunders reference.  And then the moment ive been waiting for the shag is the savour. Fuck he goals, I scream the roof on the pub off, hes gonna do it hes gonna win it for us. Looking at my notes two days later it/s a bit of a mess so i/ll say the Shag had another shot and I blew my load before it was overturned while the last imagine we see is that smug prick Greene in the race, Oh and shootout to the Giants fan with the Free Toby sign. Good onya for defending a cowardly little shit. Oh and JB i can see how long is left i don/t need you telling me every eight seconds how long is left.

After the game it/s off to the den of sadness, Vivs name for the back smoking area, and it sure is full of sadness. The day gets worse when I see Taylor Swift aint coming to the Melbourne Cup. I read on the anti social media some taunts throws at the pies way, mostly from Carlton fans, maybe they should be more concerned with their team actually winning a few more games next. At least our team has been relevant and not a laughing stock for two decades now. We head to Johnnys later on for the Hanks. Gordon dedicates Drinking Thing to me which always makes me feel nice, onya Gordo. Rose bids farewell as she says hopefully we can leave the pub next season feeling better. I bid the lovely Jo goodnight as well as im bout to tap out. I head for a KFC feed before I see the brilliant Suzi Q who tells me to come in for a beer. Kindly she offered to buy me a beer but as a loser I feel its better to buy my own. Like the Hanks The Kat O Army at the Vinyard take away the misery.

Well that wasn/t in the script. Disappointing end to the season. You can/t win a final if you only play a half of footy. Giants where better than us for 20 minutes but boy did they make it count. Had we won theres no way we would ave beaten the Tigers this week, so I feel better getting it out the way. Still bit flat this hurts more than last years grand final loss. Last year I expected nothing, and while I wasn/t expecting to go all the way to get this far and end the season on a whimper makes me feel guttered. My mate Nick Haines, the North Adelaide guru texted me saying he hope im alright. He also said we shouldn/t feel so bad about a game but we do. It/s a wonderful game, but is just a game. And despite all the times I said im done I need a year off i/ll be back. i/ll always be back with Fred Pete Jo Gordon and the crew cheering the boys on. It/s what we do. It/s what brings us together for two and a half hours a week and a way for forget the world and enjoy this beautiful game. Its what we do . Next week I just hope Great Bloke Toby Greene and Chopsticks Dusty Martin belt the shit outta each other. Aside from that I ave no interest on who wins.

So yeah that/s it. See if I can be bothered writing a rant next week. I know not the best way to end the year but I thought id end the rant the way I feel. Flat.

GO……..ah I can/t even say it.

In case this is the last time you hear from me this year i/ll leave you with the words of Jim Cornette

Thankyou Fuck You Bye Bye.

Oh and look out for Munster #29 very soon x

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Round 1 v Bulldogs

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.

Quarter Time

Pies 32

Dogs 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

Half Time

Pies 54

Dogs 24

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

Pies 67

Dogs 32.

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

End

Pies 86

Dogs 34

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

GO PIES

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Andrew Stafford interview

Whether he likes it or not, Andrew Stafford will always be a seminal figure in the Brisbane music scene. Stafford’s first book Pig City should be in any Oz music fans library. It’s a key and important text on the history of music from Brisbane, with combining the temper and the mood of the time, and while some amazing music come out of the place, it also had to deal with the swine that was Bjelke-Petersen and his corrupt Police force. Stafford in 2019 released his second book Something to Believe In, his life story, which is brave, touching and heartbreaking, but an all round must read. Some of the bands Andrew discovered when he was growing up I also adored and can see where he’s coming from, others not so much, but even the bands that touched Andrew and not me, I still see where he’s coming from as a fellow music nerd, and at the end of the day, its goes back to the phrase, its all bout the music man.

Munster:  Your second book Something to Believe In came out in 2019, its your life story  as a music writer and fan as well your all the happenings of your life from start to present as well as throwing in songs that shaped who you are, where did the idea come from?

Andrew: there were a couple of books that got started, the first of those failed projects a great amount of work went into and it and had to be shelved, but I may go back to that. With this project there was no decision to do it, it was an accident, and there was no plan for an autobiography until it started pouring out of me. There was compulsion there and that was drawn from a few difficult years that is detailed in the book.

Munster: and where did the idea come from to have the sections where you wrote about a key song in your life?

Andrew: amusingly I didn’t have enough material for a book so it came from there (laughs).

Munster: Now there no holding back in how you tell your story, you’re very honest and upfront, I interviewed Dolores San Miguel who wrote her life story a few years back and she compared it to vomiting, in the sense that she wanted it all out in the open. Was that how you approached this book?

Andrew: I think there was an element of that I think that’s what made it such a compelling thing to do not so much something I did by choice. I guess there was an element of curvatures, it was very therapeutic it had been a rough few years. I think these are the truest projects the ones that grab hold and you and won’t let go. There was no offer or contract to write a book, it felt purgative I guess.  

Munster: You’re ex wife in the book is not named, and you mention some aspects of your relationship but overall you don’t go into too much detail, and while I don’t know her I think she would be pleased with her portrayal as little information is given about her, how important was that to you, portraying those closest to you?

Andrew: Hugely important. I mean I gave them immunity out of respect, except for my partner of the late 90s Andria who I remain close friend with and had no problem being named. My ex-wife, while she’s a singer/songwriter she’s a very private person and at that stage things where pretty fresh for us. I did talk to her about it and decided to leave her name out. I have nothing but respect and fondness for her, of course its extremely sad how it panned out, these things always are, but that’s not for other people to know about. I tried to tread, and going back to the last question I tried to tread a fine line between radical transparency which was kind of a mantra I had and too much information, and there’s a fine line between those things. Going into why the marriage didn’t succeed would have been too much information and disrespectful, I didn’t want to hurt anybody else and there’s always potential of that writing about your life

Munster: Did you learn anything about yourself while writing the book?

Andrew: I learned in terms of what’s portrayed there wasn’t much that surprised me. I was aware, and there was stuff left out that I questioned whether that should be left in or out. In terms of myself it was more off the page. I gave myself a tick and a pat on the back  for my own resilience in a way because I passed through a difficult period of life.  Lost my confidence I lost a marriage and my mental health unravelled. But I’m still standing as Elton John would say and I thought that was worth celebrating, and I’ve become a better person for having gone through that and coming through the other side.

Munster: which music writers were influences for you?

Andrew: I was particular influenced by a bunch of early music writers. Paul Nelson who was a contributing editor to Rolling Stone for many years in the late 70s and early 80s. going back to the early 60s he edited a magazine called Sing Out which was attached to the Folk Movement and he abandoned that when Dylan when electric because he was so angry at the folkies that turned on Dylan. So he saw what was happening in rock n roll and where rock n roll was heading. And the other was also fairly early, a guy called Paul Williams who started Crawdaddy, he was influenced and wrote many books on Dylan. What I liked about those writers they were unselfconscious, not trying to be cool in anyway, they weren’t gonzo writers like Lester Bangs they wrote in plane spoken terms and very venerable how the music I loved moved them In the case of Williams he wrote melodically, there was a way he wrote, that I could hear a piece of music after he had written about it and be like yeah he nailed it. I could hear the music he was writing about before I heard it. And I’ve tried to do the same.

Munster: I know a few people in Melbourne who are from Brisbane, and they all said they could not wait to get out. You were born and raised in Melbourne and now live in Queensland, what keeps you there?

Andrew: well a few aspects, family, work. I’m now for better or worse identified with Brisbane. Whether I want to be or not (laughs). Brisbane has a strange push pull effect and I have a love hate relationship with the place myself. I’m in the strange position in that I’ve written a book about Brisbane and I don/t get published north of the Tweed River. Having said that the book is published through University of Queensland Press so not entirely true, this is a one paper state and I don’t write for the Courier Mail. It’s a strange position to be in. And I think the ambivalence towards Brisbane is best captured in the song Electrical Storm by Ed Kuepper.

Munster: Pig City is your best known work. In Something to Believe In you mentioned Grant McLennan told you that Pig City went around the tour van with the Go Betweens, and while they liked it they had their own perceptive on the time and place portrayed in Pig City, how was the book received in Queensland?

Andrew: really polarizing, and that’s the reason why I have a love hate relationship with it. I think the best reviews, and the people that understood it best strangely enough, came from Victoria, Melbourne in particular. And I’m from Melbourne and I think there was an outside sensibility I brought to Pig City and I wasn’t a Queenslander myself and there was resentment from some quarters of the, particular the older Brisbane music scene that I was not one of them. One particular musician saying you stole our past from us you dickhead (laughs). That gives you the sense of the polarizing nature of it. And anger in some quarters, but it was received very polarizing in Queensland. Everybody wanted their five minutes in the sun, most people that objected to the book tended to object on the basis they weren’t in it. And it was never meant to be an encyclopaedia of music in Brisbane, it was meant to be a book on Brisbane itself and how to effect change and how it affected the whole city. And that’s clearly spelt out in the introduction. But sometimes people overlook that to get to the index to see if there in the book. Having said that I wouldn’t have a career if it wasn’t for that book. It took a life of its own a long time ago it was the subject of an art instillation at Fortitude Valley Station was a concert in 2007 that the Saints headlined I have many reasons to be grateful, that the book had the impact it did and is still in print which is a miracle for what is a niche topic and I am very proud of it. I had reason to pick it up for the first time in years and it felt like someone else wrote it, and from that perspective I thought this is pretty good (laughs)

Image result for andrew stafford something to believe in

Munster: I did at first think it was odd a book about a certain time of Queensland was written by someone who wasn’t there and before his time but looking back, I think they fact you weren’t there gave you an outsiders perspective, meaning you wouldn’t play favourites and you would write history as history, not your own or someone else’s telling of it.

Andrew: it gave me the distance that was useful because distance gives you perspective and I was trying to write a book for a national audience as opposed to a local Queensland one. That’s where that proclaim thing came from, I wanted it to have residence on a national level and I think time has validated that.

Munster: one of the songs you mentioned in Something to Believe In that shaped you was by the Onyas, and you mentioned you regretted not writing about what you called the Toilet scene in Brisbane.

Andrew: (laughs) Yes well that would have been a step into that field that wouldn’t have worked national. I understand why I didn’t run with that but I loved that scene, and the ultimate manifestation of that scene was HITs who I went on tour with to Europe in 2012 they were several steps above that scenes noble beginnings let’s put it that way. I loved the Onyas they were one of several bands I would have loved to cover but I didn’t cover for the reasons above. Having said that they have done very well and have an international profile so maybe I got that wrong. But one that always makes me laugh, some people come up and say why did you include Savage Garden and I’m like they sold 40 million records. I was trying to write history not rewrite it.

Munster: Its funny you mentioned that as I once interviewed Tamara from HITs in a toilet once

Andrew: one of the world’s great humans Tamara

Munster: And she told me Brisbane is basically a family BBQ in terms of its size, and Rich Stanley basically told me the Onyas would play to the same 20 people and the move to Melbourne was inevitable, has things picked up or is it still a family BBQ?

Andrew: I stepped back from the last few years, since the Beetle Bar closed I took a step back. The experience at a bar like the Beetle Bar was very similar to when the Saints played in Club 76 in 1976/77 which basically playing to 150-200 true believers if that. A small number of people that had that core audience with a band playing who wold be more popular overseas

Playing to 150-200 true believers if that, you’re talking a very small number of people who would be more popular than they are overseas then are here and it remains the case, its why the Saints left for England finding a bigger audience that would appreciate it, that’s what Birdman and the Go Between did as well. They realized if they wanted an audience for their art they had to go where the action was . Brisbane still has a way of punching above its weight in terms of the music it producers but the feeling is still low. It’s become a clique that you don’t have to move from Brisbane to have an impact, on one hand that’s true but I remember Robert Forster saying all bands should actually leave and go overseas. That’s why the McLennan Fellowships exists. Basically test yourself and be in a bigger pod, have more culture experiences expand your personal horizon and your heart should improve accordingly. Art is a variance experience, the broader your experience the more we have to give to others

Munster: In Something to Believe in you mentioned you interviewed Dean Ween, what did you say to him that pissed him off?

Andrew: (laughs) it was when 12 Golden Country Greats came out. I simply don’t remember but I made some off handed remark and treated the band like a joke. And they are a very funny band but they were deadly serious about what they were doing and I was underestimating them treating them like a gag when there was more to them.

Munster: You also mention in the book your time as a football writer, how did you go during that period where you pretty much had to have the match report straight after the game?

Andrew: I was a pretty slow writer and lost a bit of confidence in what I was doing and took me time to chip anything out but with football writing I was thrown in the deep end and because you have to file copy so quickly there was no time for thinking so I swam for my life and tried to keep my head above water. When I saw the result the next day I could see it was alright and the world would move on and stop being so precious. If the occasional mistake got through so be it. It was freeing to write so quickly and this book was written very quickly too. In those early Patreon day’s, I didn’t realise I was writing a book. But from March 2018, it took two months to write the bulk of the book. Two months writing and nine months editing.

Munster: 2019 was a staller year for the Brisbane Lions, a very long time in the wilderness they came back and where almost the story of the season, while the Suns are still a laughing stock here in Melbourne. You’re from Melbourne but live in Queensland so what’s your take on it? Can the Suns be saved or is it time to move on?

Andrew: certainly the interest is here but its relatively soft and we saw that in the long decline in crowd for the Lions over a decade of underachievement and failure then this year they got some wins on the board and they started to sell out and became the hottest ticket in down. Which was unheard of since the glory days. With the Suns there are a number of teams on the Gold Coast at QAFL and NIFAL level, it’s one of the disappointments of the Suns they haven’t tapped into that grassroots level of support because there is that support from the AFL on the Gold Coast. Unfortunately, the Gold Coast is a place where major sporting franchises have a bad history. I think I used the line it’s the Bermuda Triangle of Australia sport teams just disappear. But on top of win/loss ratio it’s been a failure so far overall and they have a massive player attention issues, despite Zac Smith returning from Geelong, when they started in the computation in 2011, only four players from that teams are still there. That itself is a terrible failure of culture and retention. I was pleased to see Ben King had resigned he’s an A grade talent. Whether it’s a failure or not at this early stage, and I think the record speaks for itself, but the concessions that have been granted shows there here for the long haul. I know Victorians are saying they should back up and move to Tassie, well look the AFL is not in the business of admitting its wrong we know that. But the fact they got the concessions shows there here for the long run, and it will be a decades long run project to make this work, but the AFL is prepared to make a massive investment to get it on its feet and establish it in the competition. So there not folding up any time soon it might be a failed experiment for now but there not giving up anytime soon. And I’m not editorializing I’m just observing what the AFL is doing.

Munster: birdwatching is another keen interest of yours, do you still get out there?

Andrew: yeah not getting out as much as I would like but it’s still an enduring passion of my life. Someone observed in the book because people found it interesting the fascination with rock n roll and birdwatching. Someone observed watching birds is a quiet mutative pastime and rock n roll is very cathartic. I wrote about it as at its best it’s a transit experience and a way to get outside of yourself. For me it’s a very physical activity. People like Peter Garret Jello Biafra James Brown Rob Younger, they taught me rock n roll is a very physical activity and I feel the same with bird watching. It’s quite different walking around trying to find birds so it’s two sides of the coin

Munster: You have spoken a bit about Patreon and how that’s a great outlet for you to get your work out and also you can go straight to the consumer as opposed to getting hired by newspapers or magazines, what do you see for the future of print? Will it stick around or are its days numbered?

Andrew: I’m assuming because you can do this you have an another full time job and this is a hobby for you, but this is how I earn my living. I can’t imagine doing anything else, so I need to make money from it, simple as that. I’ve done it for 25 years and I think I’m pretty good at it I think worth it. Patreon is about a quarter of my income, one of the interesting things I found being a fulltime free-lance journalist was a difficult trigger to pull because I wasn’t sure if I could succeed without other work. The redundancy’s that hit the industries, all the music writers were gone, there can’t be more than 3 or 4 full time music writers. Which for me meant there was work to be had, outlets at the Guardian need specialist content. So there was new opportunity’s, so I’m lucky I went back to it when I did as there was more work about. Where’s I would have struggled years ago when there was more writers.

Munster: What’s next?

Andrew: I’m waiting for that story I have to tell then necessary as opposed to write a book and sign a contract. I see writers write a book then sign for the second. Good for them but I’m happy to wait. Creatively it was a great experience, was a very intense experience to write very quickly I’m hoping it will come back again

Munster:  Give us your favourite Fall LP?

Andrew: I’m a dabbler not a committed Fan because that’s a big rabbit hole to Go down. My favourite LP is This Nations Saving Grace and favourite song Wings

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Cereal Killer interview

Above pic by Jamie Wdziekonski  ( @sub_lation on instagram  )

I first saw Cereal Killer at the Tote in 2017. They played a killer show, one of the most jam packed intense gigs I saw in recent times and was one of those moments when I thought I need to see and hear more of this band. Two hears later the band released there first LP, the Beginning and End of Cereal Killer, the debut and finishing release. The LP has plenty of the power of the live show, combining elements of garage, punk and electro, one of the most fresh and finest releases of 2019. Singer Zane was kind enough to answer some questions via correspondence , kindly but together by Billy from Anti Fade Records.

Munster: How did Cereal Killer start?

Zane: Um, shit, I don’t fully remember but i think billy pretty much went to America in like 2015 for an Ausmuteants tour, I think he listened to nothing but Metallica for a month and saw big zit play once and got in his head that he wanted to start playing in something more heavy. He started making demos and I think I just fell into the singer roll.

Munster: I love a good play on words, who came up with the name?

Zane: Billy made up that name, of course. Im not sure if I thought it was dumb at the time but I definitely do now ha.

Munster: You all play in other bands, was Cereal Killer treated as a full time band or a side project and play whenever you are all free?

Zane: Shit I guess kinda, probably at least for a bit while it was real new, but I don’t think ive ever really taken a band seriously in the sense that id list one more important than the other.

Munster: Been reading online this is the first and last LP by the band? Is it true and what brought on the split?

Zane: Yep its true, probably more than anything just the fact that we had such a big break from playing that by the time we started playing again we were all doing different things.

Munster: Is that odd aving an LP coming out knowing the band aint going much linger?

Zane: Yeah I guess it is pretty whack.

Munster: What process went into making the Beginning and End of Cereal Killer?

Zane: Umm, we were all writing songs for a bit, and having fun and the first half came together pretty easy but while the second half was written I was in the middle of doing year 12 and we all had our own things on so it got a bit harder.

Munster: How did you become involved with Anti Fade Records?

Zane: I dunno the guy just messaged us out of the blue one day.

Munster: When I first saw you guys you had a great hardcore vibe which I love, and then I listen to the LP and its got all different things happening, there/s elements of hardcore and electro and other things happening, are you guys kinda like the Melvins, in the scenes you don/t want to be labelled into a genre and just do whatever you want?

Zane: I don’t think so, im not really a melvins fan so I couldn’t really tell you, but most of the electro stuff was dave, I guess we kinda wanted to do something a bit to an extent.

Munster: The LP has rough as cuts rock n roll but then theres the electro stuff, how do you get that on tape, do you ave one method of recording when it comes to the rock stuff and another for the other styles?

Zane: Ive got no idea, billys the mastermind behind all that.

Munster: Your Punk Scene Can Suck It, is the stand out track for me, is that a reference to any scene in particular?

Zane: Yeah its definitely directed at Melbourne.  I think I got the idea from the song on that Charles Bronson record “marriage can suck it”, I think at the time I was playing in like 3 punk/hardcore bands and just had no idea how sick of punk music I was ha.

Munster: Another track I loved is Zanes Gone Away? Zane a mate of yours?

Zane: Nah, im zane. I actually say something different there and it used to be called whatever it is I said, pretty sure someone just said it wrong one day and we started calling it that.

Munster: I saw you play in Melbourne supporting Feedtime, and you said this is the last time your playing in Melbourne, as everyone was just standing still not rocking out, which is a very Melbourne thing if you ask me. What for you are the main differences between the Geelong ad Melbourne

Zane: I said all kinds of dumb shit between songs, I didn’t mean any of it. Id generally get anxious and sweat a show a bit if everybody just mosied around, but im not really one to get in a mosh pit so I cant really say anything. Shit, as for differences I don’t know, less people, lots of jocks.

Munster: Theres a lot of hype around the LP which is great because its such a great record but also because you guys don/t play that often. How do you in this day and ager get people talking bout you when you don/t play that offen?

Zane: Im not sure, probably more of a billy question again.

Munster: Whats coming up next?

Zane: Right now I don’t really have anything coming in hot, possibly some new living eyes or vertigo, not sure.

Munster: Standard final question, whats you favourite Fall LP if you ave one?

Zane: That’s a damn good question, I recently converted from calling “live at the witch trials” to “nations saving grace” my favourite.

https://thisiscerealkiller.bandcamp.com/album/the-beginning-end-of-cereal-killer

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Lydia Lunch interview (2020)

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 tomorrow.

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

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Dalicados

Tony Biggs described Dalicados a St Kilda supergroup, and I couldn/t agree more. Featuring members of UnAustralians, Hunters and Collectors, the Choose Few and I Spit on your Gravy, Dalicados play music that is not genre driven, instead making a genre and style their own. Combining elements of their past bands and their own personal taste, its music you ave to listen to get the vibe and also a must see gig as you get a great show both music and presentation wise. On top of that there all wonderful people who were kind enough to play at my 30th recently. Fiona a James very kindly invited me and the rest of the band Cal, Tracey, Mark and Jack, as well as Di and Fi for dinner, followed by a sit down chat.

Munster:  Now a few years ago there was a great band Thousands Left Standard which featured James Tracey Jack and Cal, is Dalicados a follow on from that band?

James: that was a bit hard to wrangle that band and the idea was really good and the idea lead to Dalicados. The roots of both bands where me and Cal, just jamming and writing stuff. We did Thousands Left Standard and it wasn’t just right. Then Mark who I’ve known for a long time and always loved his playing, we got talking and I thought he’d be perfect. And everyone else is important, and who I think are great people and wonderful friends we got in the band. Playing music these days if you don’t have to do it you wouldn’t do it and that’s the only reason I do it. There’s no goals with this band just to have fun

Fiona: your completed to do it that’s why we do it

Jack: now he tells me there no goals (laughs)

Tracy: where are the KPIs (laughs)

James: but it’s the moment that’s the reason for doing it. Not for money and where too old for fame, just for that moment you hit a chord and moments that make it amazing. Maybe not for Jack, maybe he wants to be the next Justin Bieber.

Jack I was the first

Cal: it’s important to say its original music, we could all be playing in cover bands but the beauty is playing new songs working them out. And having know Jack and we invited him down and he was keen and encouraging, and when Mark joined it took another persona then it was, and as James said there’s lots of friends involved which helps.

James: like I said I love everyone in this band I would hang out with them outside the band and if they brought instruments I would happily play music with these people the same I would in a bar as I would if it was in the lounge room.

Mark: even rehearsals are fun.

Munster: Does the name come from a cigarette?

James: yes a Mexicana cigarette. I moved to LA with Fi in 1994 and we lived in a place called Silver Lake and a little store sold Delicados cigarettes where $2 a pack. They were shorter than normal cigarettes, we changed the spelling of the band name not to confuse the two.

Munster:  Much like Thousands Left Standard and also Jacks band the Long Lost Brothers and a Sister, its music you can’t put in one specific genre, how so what was the pitch when the band started for the kind of music you would play?

James: I never discussed it with anyone. I’ve been playing music with Cal for 26 years, and we’ve never had that discussion what style are we gonna play

Cal: yeah when James and I would jam he’d say I’ve got an idea for a song but it was never genre driven, there was never we wanna sounds like this.

Fiona: in 97 when we were in Las Angeles and Libby Malone in LA WEEKLY said Australia was the last place of un characterised rock style music. And I think that still rings true Australia has this beautiful fusion that ends up something overarching Australian. James is interested in soul music so you can’t go past the rock and the blues roots but when we get together there’s punk and all the pop culture references we’ve been subjective to. So there’s all that stuff that goes into it without even having to discuss it being of the same time period we’ve absorbed those same cultural influences and that goes into it. It’s in the lyrics it’s the way we approach the songs

Cal: everyone in this band has 20-30 years’ experience playing in original bands from the start, with varying degrees of success.

James: every cover band you meet has the original project there working on and you never see it. You know it’s the whole I’m just doing top 40 now and you never see the original project. It’s so boring playing other people’s music. If you pick a song and do a cover and nail it, that’s brilliant, but just plan doing other people’s songs for a gig is like ah man. And then you end up writing songs like Nickelback

Fiona: and that’s the thing with the overarching Australian thing. Carrying that voice and the culture it’s still vibrating and decent. A lot of the stuff overseas has been homogenised a lot.

Jack: we are fortunate enough there’s enough of a scene here in Melbourne even if it’s a not a big scene. In terms of outlets.

Mark: we’re blessed with the venues we have in Melbourne. And being round in the 80s there’s been people that used to go out they’ve gone off and done other things, then they come back and want to see stuff. The kids have grown up and they don’t want the top 40 cover bands they want to pick up where they left off, good original Melbourne music and I think that’s what we play

Munster: you mentioned Mark joining the band took the band in a different direction, so what did Mark bring to the table?

James: Height (all laugh). Mark, I’ve played with lots of great musicians. Fi is one of the best bass players in Australia, I promise you. Mark brings real heart. Everyone talk’s about heart like its commodity, Mark is what he plays. It is him, it’s not two different things.

Cal: James said to me and its not denigrating to other bass players in the line-up, James said to me you’ll love playing with Mark. I hardly knew him as I didn’t pay attention to the Gravy’s and bands like that. But straightaway we looked it in.

Mark: we had so much space we could do whatever we wanted and all this power come in.

James: and the whole band is like that everyone walks in and does it. It happens and there’s something amazing about that. It’s almost like we’re on a ride and we all get on at the same time. And that’s the best part of it.

Jack: it’s an unusual band it is a band grinning with emotion it feels like that and that’s not the usual thing. And that’s part of what draws me into it. And you guys are like the Fleetwood Mac the two married couples in the band.

James: I’d say where more ABBA. We’re too old for it top end badly

Fiona: where too old for Rumours.

Mark: And a lot of it relates to Jenny. Years ago before we moved to the country Fi James Jenny and I had a band called the Last Call that’s where Nevermore came from. When Jenny got sick we put this band together for a benefit as a surprise. So that’s where a lot of the emotion comes from.

Jack: Nevermore was a highlight of the launch

Tracey: turning around seeing my son sing along I was like oh my god.

James: real music played by real people is meant to do that, whatever the emotion is. I listen to early Descendents and I’m still moved by that.

Fiona: what’s great about this band is the collaboration and I think that’s an overriding spirit with this band, even gigs we have to all agree on it.

Cal: there been two photos taken of the band after a gig and we all look happy, it not like oh its time to go home.

Jack: I think that would be a great exercise. To go back through the bands that we love and there’s that period, say two LPs people really love and whether there in that same spirit of collaboration, before the singer locked himself in a  room and wrote all the songs.

Mark: I think most bands start like that until a certain degree because it has to bring people together.

James: you gotta remember and Jack, you’re in a fortunate position, in my mind, Hunters where cool indie and where very successful, and always original and became popular, so you had the trifecta. Which is rare. In all due respect, Mark was in I Spit on your Gravy and never had that kind of success. The songs stand the test of time. Savage Garden were the biggest band in the world and you don’t hear them anymore yet Hunters is still played everywhere. I’m really lucky as I play in this band with these guys, and Fiona and Cal play in the long lost brother and I get to see that and just relax. I’m not in any dysfunctional band so it feels super normal what we do. And Jack with Epic Brass he has to wrangle so many people and they all enjoy themselves.

Jack: well that’s the thing with musicians you try and surround yourselves with people you like and can play and are professional and discard the othesr. Who wants that?

Mark I got too long a drive to hang around with fuckwits (all laughs)

Fiona: that should be a bumper sticker

Tracey: we should put all these saying on t shirts

James: and as I get older I discover more people, interesting artists. Penny Ikinger is a good example I knew of her when I was playing with Fi years ago and recently I got to know her really nice really talented. And Epic Brass a few weeks ago and Ash Naylor I’ve known for years socially for 20 years and he’s another lovely guy and player he was great in the band, it’s that excitement that keeps happening there no close doors. Yeah you get idiots but that will happen. I feel I’m seeing more great players then I’m seeing idiots.

Cal: playing with people you like and admire helps your musicianship. As jack was saying if you’re playing with great players you don’t want to mess up the song

Marks: that’s what I love about this band everyone gets a voice there no ego.

Munster: So James I remember you once saying the rest of the band organizes the gigs and everything else and you’ll write the songs, still true?

James: it’s giving me too much credit to say I wrote them. I write the lyrics and then it evolves from there. I couldn’t be, I say this to Fi all the time, I love Steve Earle and James Taylor these singer songwriter guys, but I couldn’t do that, you know write the song and say to the band do this do that. I feel comfortable with a skeleton and everyone puts the meat on it. I got to give most of the credit to what I do to Fi 50% . I’ve been with her most of my adult life and a great inspiration. Most of what I know from songwriting I pretty much stole from Fi. Fi’s way more disciplined then me and I wish I could, Charles Jenkins for example is a great songwriter and he can break it down but I can’t I find it was too random and difficult to do. Event good songs you try and make it a song and its 80% there but it can take two years to get the rest. I wish there was a way you could make it better because I don’t consider myself a songwriter because it always feels disjointed. These really prolific guys that can pump it out a feel envious of and blow my mind it feel difficult to make a family of songs to me….

Fiona: James used the word disjoined he always works a full time demanded job so no matter it feels disjointed so when he has time and time to think of it it does feel disjoined because it’s like climbing rocks to get the write words out.

James: but I couldn’t not work and stay at home and write that wouldn’t work.

Mark: I know what you mean as when your work and have other things going on you tend to get more done. If I have a lot of work on I get more done as opposed to doing nothing.

Jack: the tricky thing with the songwriter is it exists in a slightly different realm and all your life and experiences help with that. Even great songwriters who have written a lot of songs, for example John Hiatt he’s written so great songs but also a lot of bad songs. You know standard whining lyrics and standard chord changes. It kind of dismisses his songwriting as he does a lot of co-writes and sells songs to people and I love his best stuff but he’s written a lot of stuff, because of all that that’s not that great.

Fiona: James noticed that in the Van Gogh museum not every picture was a masterpiece. You try things and you take what works and what doesn’t and take that for the next thing.

Munster: how did the idea come from to have the lead vocals and Fiona and Tracey on backing vocals?

Cal: Diana Ross and the Supremes

Mark: looks good sounds good.  It’s a show it presents.

Tracey: I feel extremely lucky to be in the Dalicados family as I haven’t been in a band before.

Munster: this is your first band?

Tracey: yeah so the support and the encouragement has been fantastic. It’s scary but a lot of fun

Cal: we honestly didn’t think about Fleetwood Mac. ABBA maybe.

Fiona: Tracey has done a great job learning all the vocals and her voice on the record really enhances it

Munster: Fi and Trace you guys have a great stage presence, with the percussion and dance moves, do you practice that?

Fiona: yes in rehearsal.

Tracey: a lot of its spontaneous too. Even Jack does the side step with us.

Munster: You’ve just released your first single, where is the LP at?

Fiona: nearly half way through, five more tracks to go just to mix then mastering. And, it’s not a process we did a year ago and worked everyday it’s just when we’re free so that can make it longer. It’s almost a year since we started it. We started tracking in September last year.

Munster: Mark you play double bass, what made you play double bass as opposed to standard four string?

Mark: the sound, a mate pushed me into it 20 years ago, he plays double bass and thankfully enough it landed at my place

Cal: how long you had it for?

Mark: 19 years. John Danny gave it to me

Munster: Tracey you mentioned this is your first band, did you sing at school in choirs or anything like that?

Tracy: a Rock Eisteddfod at school. That was it.

Jack: what did you sing?

Tracy: Fernando.

Cal: you sing around the house.

Tracey: when Thousands Left Stranded started and I told her I was singing she said you cant fucking sing.

Cal: part of my courting of Tracey was burning CDs when I was in the country saying you gotta listen to this

James: Tracey’s parents are amazing, Louise was a amazing women and her dad is a legend, so supportive and goes to every gig.

Munster: Jack, you have a few gigs on the go and very busy, so what was the pitch for you to join?

Jack: the number of friends and to be honest it’s come at a time when there’s not many other big gigs. There mates and I liked the music so I wanted in.

Munster: Cal we were talking before how a seven inch you made as part of The Chosen Few that went for mega bucks recently, how did it feel making a seven inch that is possibly the most expensive punk seven inch out there?

Cal: it’s great we paid for it and never made a cent off it. It’s been bootlegged from all these company’s and never saw any money off it. It’s nice to know something you did 40 years ago is appreciated. Where’s at the time it was shitcanned. The review in Juke was difficult to classify as a collector’s item. Now it’s the most expensive single in the world.

Mark: when they reviewed St Kildas Alright they said this is a pile of shit the only saving grace is a walking bass line, and said it feels like it was recorded on an ocean.

Cal: we got grief because we put six tracks on a 45 size and run it at 33RPM, but now it’s worth all that money. And a hell of a lot of bands are covering us, Eddy Current is one. And an American Band called X Cult. So we got the fame, fuck the fortune.

Munster: Fiona, for me the highlight of the launch gig was your speech about James where you said you were going through a rough period and it was James and his music that got you through it and that particular song really helped

Fiona: Cakes and Ginger ale. Music has the power to make you stay so that’s part of why a married a musicians (laughs) and James rehearses everyday.

Cal: but that is such a powerful song when I saw you two do it acoustically it really hit us and when me and Trace got home we were still in awe.

Fiona: as Jack said about the emotional thing it exists from the well it came from. And we did that song with Jenny in the Last Call, that was the first band to do that song. I was working stupid hours and had to help 17 people through a redundancy with a company feeding us lies, so that was a sad time and James would working on that song and I would work with him on it. And it’s true we had Cakes and Ginger ales every day at work, and it was full of wonderful women who would bake every day and it was so sad through that period but the music helped me. There was a women at the place that got let go and James gave her a job

James: See I’m not a total scumbag (laughs).

Fiona: and she worked there for six years.

Jack: with that song, everyone’s talks about the emotion but James is an incredibly catchy guitarist. I feel blessed, as I do with working with Nicky Del Rey, when we write songs, here’s a chord change and lyrics, and some of his riffs are a real x factor and you’re the same James, the instant access to the song

Mark: one of our first gigs at the Lyrebird Viv Gaye came up to me and said you’ve got more hooks then a fishing tackle box.

James: with any song, I don’t write songs for people not to sing along, so that’s how my mind works. I’m not writing jingles but I feel I’m a commercial songwriter.

Fiona: you’re writing for people

James: absolutely in my mind I’m writing Sweet Child of mine

Cal: that’s a bad example. Possibly the worst hit song ever.

James: what I mean is, I’m not trying to write anything cool, I’m writing songs people will like, people that say I hate that commercial crap I’ve never understood that, in my mind I’m writing a big song and that’s how I work. I don’t know if everyone thinks like that but I’m not cool so I don’t think like that. I love big commercial radio songs like Spandau Ballet

Fiona: we had that experience when we’re younger and now when we look back at the radio, we’re still human and not perfect and its great having music by people in our age group that we get to hear. It’s new and exciting and give us hope and we belong. That’s really important in how we make music.

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The Fiction –Ramona LP review (Off the Hip)

Massive thanks to Rob Griffiths for providing me with this CD x

Now. A few years ago the Fictions long lost 1978 demo tape was dug up and released on the mighty Off the Hip Records (for a review of that release please visit https://frednegro.com.au/2018/05/17/the-fiction-negative-fun-off-the-hip/). It was an amazing time capsule of Melbourne in the 70s and up there with the finest punk releases to come out of this fine city. After 40 years since that demo was made, the Fiction ave returned to record 10 new tracks of punk/garage standards. With the same spirit they had in the 70s, the Fiction, driven by the two Robs, Rob Wellington on guitar, a great mate and good Piesman, and Rob Griffiths, pulling double duty also celebrating 40 years of Little Murders this year (new LP out now also via Off the Hip), is an tribute to those that say punks not dead.

Women is a ripper opening track, and the longest clocking in three and a bit minutes. Could ave been a 80s riot grrl anthem. Nice line about never finishing school and learning how to play bass. Rob W lets rip a great Ron Asheton style riff. Whatever It Might Take is an ace bubble-gum meets punk track telling the story of trying to find a girl then finding the right one and being so smitten with her and to do whatever it takes to make it work. Birdman is a brilliant tribute to the Oz punk pioneers. Should be used as a theme song for when the band walks on stage. I hope they do that at the Croxton. Rob unleashes a Deniz Tek riff to add to it. My Ramona slows things down. For a few seconds. Great lightning bolt style riff, Ramona, if she exists, should be very pleased with this fine accolade. Boy Town has a great 1 2 Ramones style punch, while I Need It and Elevator Man are bother ripper punk anthems, the former a scream together track, while Elevator Man is a come together get the lighter out moment. I know is a bare bones stripped back punk track that proves all you need is three chords a few lines of lyrics and two minutes. Nothing more

Ten tracks clocking in at 21 minutes, which goes nicely with my theory that no LP should go longer than 30 minutes. Instead of resting and living off the demo 40 years ago, the Fiction ave come up with a new wave of punk classics, showing that the spirit of 1976 will never die. Plus the live show, with the added guitar of drive of Rusty Teluk shows the band is still full of energy in the studio and on stage. Ramona shows the simplicity of punk rock and why its so brilliant. As mentioned above three chords a few lines and two minutes is all you need. So people think punk is stoopid because of its simplicity, but its simplicity is what makes it so great. It takes all the basics of rock strip it back and use the bare minimum and focus on that. Why come up with 20 chords and six minute wank fest solos when you can tell a story in 90 seconds. One of the best releases of 2019 and shows forty years after the band formed they still got it.

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