After thirty odd years playing music, with the heavily influential Kyuss through Slo Burn, Unida and Hermano as well as a couple of solo projects, John Garcia, is well known to those into stoner / desert rock. His vocal style is often imitated (or at least attempted!), and the musical output is of a consistently high quality as well. Garcia is about to tour Australia in acoustic mode for the first time, and will be playing selections from his entire back catalogue. I recently spoke with John to get a run-down on what’s in store for the tour.
El Jefe – What’s your inspiration for choosing the songs you want to tackle acoustically, and how do you decide what might work best?
John Garcia – Well, to start with, I dig the challenge of doing things in a totally different way and to keep moving forward musically. Some songs like ‘Green Machine’, which work well with a full band can be much harder to do acoustically, so there is the challenge to make it work with just a guitar which is really cool. ‘Gardenia’ as well, is much harder to do this way, so it means I have to keep pushing the boundaries musically. ‘El Rodeo’ is just a rad song, and really fun to play, and with a tune like ‘Space Cadet’, I get to change a couple of the things with the vocals I didn’t like with the original. Continue reading →
When Californian Skies are forecast to meet Australian shores: an interview with Unwritten Law’s Scott Russo.
As Scott Russo answers the phone, he’s having several other conversations with those in the lounge room. It’s 1pm in San Francisco and the people from immigration have arrived an hour early to complete his paper work for Unwritten Law’s upcoming tour of Australia. After an initially jolted introduction, we settle into the exchange of questions and stories related to the bands future, past and present.
With the frontman’s paperwork currently in process, we nostalgic punters Down Under have a lot to be excited for. With the beginning of their scheduled tour dates quickly approaching, we know that we can anticipate their 1998 self titled album AKA The Black Album in full, but what else?! Despite the fact that I may be considerably too young to be an old-school fan, I couldn’t hold back my excitement when it came to asking Scott, “So, what can you expect? Well, we’re gonna play the Black Record from front to back, the first song to the last song, and then we are gonna break down that set and play additions.” Continue reading →
Since blowing up during the Swedish hardcore-punk scene of the early ’90s, Refused have gained a reputable name for themselves worldwide as they have continuously been one of the bands on the forefront of the phenomenon.
With time comes age, experience, influence and the overall state of the world, so it’s inevitable that their sound might have changed since their 1998 release The Shape Of Punk To Come. Following their longstanding hiatus (1999–2009) that was broken with speculation, rumours and a 2012 world tour, Refused released their first studio album in 17 years during 2015 via Epitaph Records. Titled Freedom, the 10-track brought critics and fans all over (again) out of hiding and straight back into the pit. As they embarked on another run of international shows, their new album became a celebration in itself. Fast forward a year, and Refused announced that they’d be coming back Down Under in early 2017… and the time has arrived! Continue reading →
Renowned Australian musician, Raul Sanchez, has created an enticing reputation throughout his career that has been lingering in the public eye since the ‘90s. From his early days of playing in various garage rock bands that included The Bugbears, Muffcake and the much loved Magic Dirt, the Melbourne based guitarist has also shared vocal, guitar and songwriting roles in most of the bands he has played with. Currently playing with the likes of Tex Perkins’ supergroup, The Ape, Sanchez is also a part of the line ups that make River of Snakes and Midnight Woolf. With these influential bands having distinctively various sounds, one could begin to wonder what his solo album might sound like… And in 2015 Sanchez produced those sounds on his own instrumental album to answer the thoughts of those wondering punters. Released via Wild Animals Records and titled Masks, Sanchez’s first solo output came together over several years. Comprised primarily with guitars, there were also drums weaved through the variety of other instruments and “whatever was lying around the house that would make a sound”. Continue reading →
Eight full length studio albums, ongoing world tours, countless controversies and over 20 years in the making; The Dandy Warhols are back on the road, strong as ever. Amidst their current world tour that is supporting the release of their latest 2016 album, Distortland, The Dandys have refuelled their untamed energies, topping the freshest icing on their musical cake. Bringing new elements and sounds to their latest record, fans were given teaser tasters to raise the anticipation to new levels that will be ongoing until their live show is in your city… And probably beyond until you’ve had your mind blown X amount of times.
Having the opportunity to grab a quick chat with Zia McCabe, the keyboard player of The Dandy Warhols, she shared a bit of insight into what it’s like being on the crazy train that is the ongoing musical project for the five piece. Currently in Atlanta, Georgia, The Dandy’s have still got a massive way to go around the world though, they will be hitting our Australian shores late October / early November. It’s a huge run of shows, and although it’s what they do best, it can take a toll on their personal lives. Continue reading →
Dumb Numbers are back with their latest collaborative showcase that has been self-titled; Dumb Numbers II. Following their 2013 album, this gem was released to the public via Joyful Noise Recordings on August 19. Predominantly formulated by Australian musician, Adam Harding who was joined by a variety of artists, this album of only eight songs has without a doubt created a rad selection of lengthy and transient jams. Joining Harding on this recent release were the ever-alternating line up of musicians that on this occasion included the likes of: Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr. / Sebadoh), DaleCrover (Melvins), DavidYow (The Jesus Lizard / Scratch Acid), Murph (Dinosaur Jr.), Bobb Bruno (Best Coast). With each musician bringing their own little zing to the sound, it inevitably has turned into this crazy array of genres that make it quite hard to label, adding to the bonus of how enticing this album actually is. Continue reading →
’60s British Rock Legends The Troggs finally return to Australia this November to celebrate Wild Thing’s 50th Anniversary by performing all their Greatest Hits – ‘Wild Thing’, ‘With a Girl Like You’, ‘I Can’t Control Myself’, ‘Love is All Around’ and more!
They’re widely known to have inspired the age of garage and punk rock including The Ramones, Iggy Pop and The Buzzcocks. The Troggs first entered the Australian charts in 1966 with ‘Wild Thing’ going all the way to #1 knocking Frank Sinatra off the top spot! Their follow-up single ‘With A Girl Like You’ was also a top 10 smash going to #8. Their Aussie chart success continued with their third single ‘I Can’t Control Myself’ (later covered by our own James Baker) reaching #13 and solidifying their place as one of the most successful British bands to come from the wave of ’60s bands.
Cassie Walker caught up with original member and guitarist Chris Britton. Continue reading →
It’s 5pm somewhere: an interview with Donita Sparks from L7.
Remember that saying, “it’s 5pm somewhere,” and you almost feel less guilty about cracking a cheeky beer at 10am? That’s kind of how I’m starting to feel as it’s 9.45am AEST and Donita Sparks mentions that it’s 5pm where she is, looking out towards the Hollywood sign as we begin our delayed phone call. Sparks doesn’t live in Hollywood, though she can see the infamous big letters sprawled out across the hills from where she does reside in L.A.
I’m thankful that prior to having the phone line connected I was made aware that it was an international call, because I probably would have suggested we go for a cheeky morning beer if she and L7 had already landed in Australia! We exchange a brief hello, which is enthusiastic – much to my surprise – on both ends of the phone. Sparks quickly asks me how to correctly pronounce my name, which is a prominent tongue twister to many of those having to pronounce it; I break my name (Mik-hay-lee) into syllables and we both laugh at the inconvenience of unusual names. Continue reading →
Higgo: Always great to chat with Phoebe (Pinnock) from Heaven The Axe. You will not find a more loving, caring and wonderful human who absolutely dominates on stage like a demon possessed. I have to mention that it was great to see Heaven the Axe complete again.
Phoebe Pinnock: Thank… can I swear?
PP: FUCK YEAH!! (Laughs) YEAH! Finally! Well it was a bit challenging there for a bit, sharing members with other bands, and you only get them for a couple of hours a week, we had lots of commitments and we had to keep forging ahead. It was really enjoyable for a while there but we all got to a point ‘nup, we have to find our own people’ so it was pretty incredible. We just put it out there on Facebook and see who comes to us, and you get messages from people around the world, and when Alex (Hellenbach), our current guitarist, contacted us from Croatia, we thought it was pretty funny, we laughed, but we said if you’re serious just send us a video. He sent one through, and it just blew everyone out of the water so we said you’re in, pack ya bags! Continue reading →
Great to talk to Eddie Fury from Fireballs, I honestly lost count of how many times I saw them between ’94-’97, which lead to us reminiscing about the ‘90s Melbourne live music scene.
Eddie Fury (EF): We used to do a lot more of the Uni circuit, the student unions stuff, and I’m a bit out of the loop with it all, I dunno if there’s the platform for young upcoming bands to do that sort of stuff anymore, do you reckon there’s as much of a platform as there was say in the ‘90s? I definitely remember seeing a shift in the mid ‘90s music venues when pokies came in. That was the biggest shift for the arts community in Melbourne I reckon. Things were shutting down left right and centre. I mean the Bendigo is doing it these days, but the venues that are 2-300 people that have bands on 4-5 nights a week, that’s a rare commodity these days.
H: Yeah I agree, although there are still venues that do it, there’s definitely less of them, and it felt like it was as it was rising, I dunno, maybe it’s because I was discovering it all legally then, but it felt like 97-98 pokies really took hold. Continue reading →