Monday, 26 July 2010


Would you believe it? I'm just always writin' shit. This life of mine is just CRAZY! It's fucking intense. I'm just so unpredictable. Everyone at the office agrees.

Brats ''1980'' LP/ The lost tapes LP

Before King Diamond started paintin' his face and slammin' his eggs in the car door, the dudes from Merciful fate had a different singer, different songs and a different band name- BRATS! Sometime in '79, these mad bastards recorded a pretty decent, albeit pretty unremarkable punk rock demo. Over the cruel Danish winter, they locked themselves in their jam room. They stared with admiration and awe at the Ramones, Judas Priest and AC/DC posters on the walls. They ignored their girlfriends. They ate the finest Turkish Kebabs. They didn't clean their bedrooms, do their study or take out the rubbish. Damnit, these Danish cream-puffs practiced hard until they were literally the best band in the world! ''1980'' boasts hard rock songs that render 99% of the genre obsolete. Not content to plod, prick in hand through their tunes, Brats brung a new level of energy, tenacity and annihilation to the table. ''OY905'' is the long lost theme song to some Danish frat movie. ''Complex (Don't Destroy Me)'' see's old Yenz pour his heart out, before kicking into a rhythmic propulsion that would have Motorhead and Bad Religion fans falling to their knees and screaming uncle. ''Punk Sunglasses'' is from the demo, but it's given a steroid injection that puffs it's chest out so far, the little bugger just clucks headfirst through the walls and out the gates of the Ingham Chicken factory. ''Sense My boy'', well, that's just an incredible Danish mistranslation.

Puerto Rico Flowers- 4
True men's music. ''Not My Idea'' hurts. It hurts 'cos it's bloody good. ''Let's Make Friends'' made me shave off my fringe. PRF made me a skinhead. ''This is Murder'' left me crying into my laced hankerchief. Rumour has it, the emotional outpour of this record was channelled during the Blue's semi final thrashing at the hands of Brisbane in 09. With a voice four octives lower than Sticks Kernahan, bass as big as Justin Madden, drums as simple as Anthony Koutoufides and synth as futuristic as Peter Dean's bionic bandage work, PRF creates one hell of a mournful anger sound. ''4'' is a good old fashioned punch in the head record. I can't believe how weak you are if you don't like it.

Low Threat Profile- ep
Two of these songs appeared on complication releases a few ears back, and bugger me with a pitchfork if those versions didn't sound slightly superior. More push-ups, sit-ups and chin-ups in the low-end production values. But remember, when it comes to Deep Six, Infest and SoCal middle-aged men, you've just gotta expect everything to be completely ass-backwards. You see, these old-timers are completely oblivious and 100% uninterested in the mythological status they've earned via their previous endeavors. They've got real lives. Their songs, well, they have a strange, hyperactive lazyness. Maybe it's Matt Domino's guitar slouching? Even at it's most frantic, his playing has an undeniably comfortable lean. MD's casual riffage is offset by A. Beatie's unmatched vocal delivery. This guy is out there. The first thing he said when we met him was, ''Sorry, I'm mentally ill.'' The lapse in time between recording and releasing this record was not an effort to create any additional demand or mystique, it was simply because Bob (drummer) temporarily misplaced the master! This is A-grade material played by people who don't give a fuck. Study your textbooks.

Sacrelige- demos lp
The first thing that stands out is the incredible discipline and restraint that this drummer shows. He's got more burn than a fat man's fairway after a walk down the shops on a hot day, but he's saving it all for the band he's starting with his girlfriend's brother. His straight up and down performance is the hinge that allows the enormous door to slam in the depths of hell. The guitarist's ability to coil and recoil is remarkable. Dude is prairie-doggin'! I'd like to see the vocals on a polygraph. She'd be flat linin'! I get the feeling these guys were a little bit above sleeping on floors with glue-sniffers and mangy dogs. I'm sure one of them still works in a music store, one of them is a social worker and one went on to a successful career in biological science.

Thursday, 17 June 2010


Oh my days! Here is some more garbage to read! There was some other stuff too, of course, but they were more promo/fluff pieces to fill in gaps. Are we still mates?


Brain Children are a fascinating musical proposition.

Brain Children is the brain child of Michael Mate and Maxwell Crumb, two Melbourne music veterans who’ve completely ruined their lives by relentlessly peddling their musical wares across the globe.

Indeed, these young men have spent the majority of their youths and adulthoods on tour, cutting their teeth on bad roads, sticky floors and ramshackle stages. These years of extended poverty have created a degree of musical knowhow and a lack of pretense that certainly sets them apart from their bovine contemporaries.

No doubt, Brain Children is a dramatic musical departure from M & M’s previous output (ECSR, AxOxAx, FLL, TOTAL BRO’S, O.B’S, CALT-X AQUARIANS…). Already well versed in all facets of aural overload, sensory battery and crash after burn musical extremity, these good old boys have entered completely foreign sonic territory and have proceeded to make 99% of modern electronic releases obsolete.

So, I can hear you asking, ”What do these sick mother-fucks sound like, bro?”

Well, take healthy slivers of 70’s disco cheese, generous helpings of contemporary electronica, the futuristic Krautrock-isms of Kraftwork and a boot full of scud mags, then slam it at 120 k’s down the Eastern Freeway in a Brown Datsun with an all-shag interior and you’re somewhat close to the Brain Children experience.

Brain Children play dance music with a difference. The difference being, Brain Children are actually good.

12” out now on Stained Circles.


Attention all aspiring wordsmiths! The Emerging Writers Festival is on now!

Running from the 21st to the 30th of May, the festival exists to promote the interests of emerging writers – to improve their opportunities for professional development and their engagement with the broader public.

Taking place at a multitude of cosy, book-friendly venues around Melbourne, the festival has a little something for all you cerebral individuals out there.

Wordstock is an unlikely literary tribute to AC/DC. Taking place in Fed Square, Wordstock gathers Melbourne’s bohemian fraternity for a collection of poems, performance pieces and stand-up comedy dedicated to Australia’s greatest export since Iron Ore and Vegemite.

The Zine Bus is exactly what it says on the tin. A bus chock full of contemporary zines and zine writers that drives to various locations around town to espouse the value of these humble publications. Have your glue stick and safety scissors ready, as the bus’ final destination is Fed Square, where a massive fanzine workshop is taking place.

Speaking of workshops, if you’re one of those weird people who actually enjoys learning shit, there are a number of classes on getting started, structuring your work, peddling your wares and surviving as a freelance writer. In fact, anything you need to know about becoming a full time writer and the crushing levels of abject poverty that comes with this lifestyle choice will be available this week.


Misanthropes the world over can breath a sigh of relief. Goth is back.

That’s right, in high-rent, high-density areas of urban civilisation, young men and women are dropping everything to jump on the goth steam-train before it splutters out of the station. Most artists attempting this style fail miserably. You see, they have family and friends that understand them. They receive healthy amounts of natural sunlight. They brim with self-confidence. They possess all the characteristics one would not normally associate with the genre…

For the majority of Goth/Cold Wave/Dark Wave/Wave Wave bands in 2010, self-loathing and misery are nothing more than aesthetic platforms. They’re simply trying to recreate a style.

Through virtue of sharing a marginally similar trajectory, Puerto Rico Flowers have been lumped in with the pathetic offerings of this neo-goth revival. The fundamental difference between PRF and ”the new wave of no mates” is the songs.

Puerto Rico Flowers have great songs.

Puerto Rico Flowers is one man, John Sharkey III. More astute readers may remember John as the chap behind Clockclean ER, the American skinhead group that soiled Australian shores in 2008 with a series of poorly attended, hit-and-miss live performances.

Well, fast forward a few years and Sharkey is a married man with a young’un on the way. Sorry ladies! These days, he divides his time between Lamaze Breathing classes, pancake making and cot shopping in the hustle and bustle of suburban Canberra.

Somewhere in between his multitude of domestic duties, John found the time to write and record a new PRF ep in Melbourne.

”2” is the sophomore release from Puerto Rico Flowers. It’s due to be released through Fan Death Records on Anzac Day, 2010. ”Voice of Love” is the A-side. It’s similar to the songs on PRF’s debut release, ”4.” It’s got that prominent bass, washy synth and rudimentary drum beat that’s not unlike frisbeeing your Bauhaus records in a pool of Molasses. Flip the disc and Sharkey tries his hand a Neil Young tune.

”2” is a strong record. It’s a great record to put on when you feel like curling up into a ball and crying yourself to sleep. Don’t take it too seriously, though. PRF don’t.


Zephyr Pavey’s Psyched to Die blog and fanzine presents photographs of unruly, maladjusted sociopaths in varying states of consciousness, dress and undress.

Viewing this blog, it becomes quite clear that you wont find any pictures of Pavey’s pet Chiwaua wearing a white gold tiara and sequin booties. Nor will you find any photos from the Pavey family Christmas BBQ; unless of course there are any snapshots floating around of old uncle Barry with his fly at half mast, tomato sauce down his singlet and a rollie stuffed in his toothless gob.

Yessir, P2D is a high brow nod to the glory days of ”youth culture” where mental instability, extreme idiocy and all manner of anti-social behaviours were De rigueur. Watch in awe as Pavey’s subjects participate in productive, community-minded pursuits like pushing shopping trolleys into river estuaries, breaking into abandoned buildings and blackout-inducing binges of alcohol consumption.

The sporadic updates in P2D-world indicate that Pavey’s focus is primarily directed towards the print version of his ouvre. So, where do you find a copy? Well, Pavey’s advanced printing techniques, nonchalant approach and all-roads-lead-to-oblivion artistic vision suggest the dumpsters behind 711, or the floor of his budgie cage would be a good place to start.

waddaya do for a quid, mate?

Part of my fuckern job is to coordinate web content for a clothing brand. I wont tell you which one, cos I don't fuckern need to. It's not important. What is important, is that when my writers don't submit nothin', I have to pick up their slack and fill in the blanks. Shit, it don't really matter as the guys canned this shit anyway!!!! Luckily for me (the only person that reads this blodge), I got heaps more of these to post. Keep your eyes peeled!I got other wickedness that will be fuck good.


Get in touch with your medieval roots this weekend at the Collingwood Children's Farm Winter Solstice.

That's right, astronomy comes to Collingwood this saturday. Now, you may argue that the nice folks in Collingwood are already well versed in astronomy. You see, about this time every year, they fall to their knees, they look to the sky and they pray to god, just hoping that they can win that ever elusive premiership, sometime soon. These prayers inevitably go unanswered. And while celebrating the distance of the earth's axial tilt from the sun wont make up for a lack of silverware in the trophy cabinet, surely its proof that there's a higher power out there?

Now, I don't expect many Collingwood magpies supporters to turn up to the Children's Farm this weekend. This is primarily due to the fact that these days, Collingwood is populated by 18-26 year old students and slightly left of centre young professionals who believe football is a barbaric pursuit for base-minded rabble who lack the tertiary qualifications to pull themselves from the quagmire of their own banal existence.

But I digress...

The Winter Solstice at Collingwood Children's farm is all about having a real good time in front of a gigantic fire. Hey, even if you don't know nothing about the weather and think Cumulonimbus Cloud was the name of this really sick Belgian House DJ what you seen one time, there's a bar, dudes playing drums, a bar, fire twirlers, a bar and a bar to keep you occupied.

Oh, and before you ask, NO, you ARE NOT allowed to sacrifice any of the animals to the gods! I cant stress how important that is! You'll lower the tone and the property prices. After all, the is bourgeois Collingwood. Entry: $16 family,

$8 adult, $4 Children

Farm Pass holders at concession rates if pre-purchased.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Vice verses

I've been writing a few things here and there for Vice Australia. These are my reviews from the last two issues. A few of these did not make it into the Technology issue, but I have decided to include them anyway. Writing for Vice is an interesting experience. All critiques are written according to the Vice style guide. There is also a Tough Troubles Interview, but you'll have to source a copy for that.

King Creosote 1/10
‘’Flick the Vs’’
Domino Records UK.

A puppy freaks out when it sees it’s own reflection for the first time. It growls, gnaws it’s teeth and lunges back and forth, but on the inside, it’s scared. King Creosote felt similar when they first heard their new record. They cheered, slapped high-fives and jumped up and down, but on the inside, the lads were petrified. A puppy soon learns to chase cats and catch Frisbees. King Creosote seldom leaves the kennel.


Jenny Wilson 9/10
Universal Music Australia

Swedes can be boring when you actually meet them. Their sense of humour revolves around the lighter side of furniture malfunction, the irony of poor design, and the tragedy of regressive social-politics. I’m sure Jenny Wilson chuckled when she accidentally rolled the tape back too far for an overdub. Oh how she laughed (in a reserved manner) when she sang slightly off-key in a two-part harmony. In her open-plan, practically furnished recording studio, Jenny Wilson has produced high-quality, accessible and mature product.

Peaches 5/10
‘’I Feel Cream’’
Remote Control Records Australia

Peaches’ relevance is waning, fast! This particular offering could appeal to the roaming packs of weekend warriors, crawling the Brunzo Street tiles this Saturday night. They’re wearing the same shirts. They’re sporting stubbie holders on their wrists. They’re drinking Bundy Rum. They don’t care much for the hairy-armpit brigade singing, but chicks hell froth over this shit so whatever.

Iron Lung/Hatred Surge collaboration 10/10
Iron Lung Records USA

Neanderthal man cowered in fear the moment he first put his hand into naked flame. Upon second and third attempts, he quickly learned to approach with trepidation, curiosity and above all else, respect. Following this, the constructive and destructive properties of fire became an integral part of his day-to-day existence. In 2009, ‘’Broken’’ is the closest possible case study we have towards gaining an empathetic understanding of early man’s initial journey of discovery.

Spoonbill 6/10
Omelette Records Australia

After reading the words ‘’quirk funk’’ in the promo sheet, I was certain this was file-13 material. However, truth be told, these guys actually make me laugh, ALOT! Spoonbill sounds like a group of mischievous kids snooping around a stainless steel kitchen at night. Every song could have been used as the introduction to the ABC children’s television show- ‘’Lift Off.’’ Indeed, Mark Mitchell could definitely perform a grotesque striptease to this album!

The Night Terrors 10
Back to Zero
Exo Records

Exo Records is good records. Night Terrors music is good music. TNT has a serious Goblin-vibe happening here. They could easily score a horror film set in American Apparel. I could picture tram-loads of Gentlewomen with the same body shape, clothes, opinions and haircuts walking around the racks in a zombie like state, just tripping on all the offensive colours and price tags.

Madder Lake 10
Butterfly Farm
Aztec Records

The Australian psychedelic bands of the 70s were an unruly mob of farm boys, surfers and factory hands, completely armed to the teeth with amplification! They got into communal living for the drugs and the loose sheilas. They didn’t give a shit for peace, love and understanding. They were real men, with real problems, who would punch your head in if you looked at them funny. Along with contemporaries Coloured Balls and Black Feather, Madder Lake played the hostile suburban pub circuit every night of the week. They’re offerings were of an astonishingly high standard, but due to who they were, and where they were from, they never received much international recognition. Maybe this release will see these acid-eaters finally get their dues? Vinyl reissue please.

Dirty York 5
Waiting on St George
Whisky Mama Records

Australian career musicians, aye? I prefer to call them call centre employees. Listen, it didn’t work for Daryl Braithwait, James Reyne or the Tin Lids, so what makes you think it’ll work for you? You live in Melbourne, not New York. This came on when I was watching TV. It caught my attention immediately. So much so, I had to crank the volume on the TV just so I could hear the show I was watching. Eventually, I got up and turned the stereo off and was much happier.

Heirs 9
Exo Records

Drums are unreal aren’t they? You smash the fuck out em’ and it feels good. The drummer from Heirs approaches the drums with anger and frustration. Whether he’s setting them up, playing them, throwing them into the car, or liaising with drum shop employees, this guy is not happy, and it shows. Heirs are fingering the pulse, hard! Now they just gotta leave the melody at home and make the ugliness, uglier.

DM Smith 7
Heavy Ghost
Spunk Records

Ignorence breeds the best music. Robert Johnson didn’t sell his sole to do good at calculus. He done it so he could play guitar like Satan. You shouldent have to be a rocket surgeon to understand music. I wish these guys done a instruction book so I have understand it gooder. Not that I can read or nothin’, but still...

Bellini 3
The Precious Prize of Gravity
Temporary Resident records

If Bellini had distorted guitar, double kicks and screaming, they would be a technical heavy metal band and you would hate them. Their fans would be from outside the city fringe and you would hate them too. Their pants would be too loose and you would refuse to be friends with them. As it stands though, Bellini are non-threatening and angular enough for you and mates to like them. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the sound of progressive minds at work. This is the sound of strong musical ability. This is the sound of paint drying.


Monday, 23 February 2009

I have written Music reviews for a number of publications. Some reviews are better than others. I'll try to post more at some point.

These offerings appeared in Stained Sheets issue #2. Stained Sheets is a fanzine edited by Dan from Straight Jacket Race. The zine features some talented writers from Melbourne. 2009 may become the year of the Sheet.


Clockcleaner play unpleasant music. ‘’Babylon Rules’’ is a revenge fantasy orientated, misogynistic kick up your guts. Their delivery comes across as completely genuine, thus making proceedings even more unsettling. Lead antagonist John Sharkey’s reverb-soaked guitar brings THE CRAMPS to mind, whilst his vocal musings represent more the thought patterns of Lux and co’s audience at Napa State mental hospital back in the halcyon days of ‘78. The ominous low end meandering is not unlike Australian underachievers KING SNAKE ROOST and LUBRICATED GOAT, the latter of which being a comparison the band vehemently refute. The drums are completely unremarkable. Their ability to create a mood via their ‘’skull music’’ phenomena is almost as strong as their ability to write exceptional songs. It makes you wonder, what if the lyrical content were more diluted? What if the band’s on-stage and off-stage persona were less confrontational? Could this band be a world-beater? We may never know? Nevertheless, ‘’Babylon Rules’’ is a tremendous effort, and perhaps the best release of last year. This is a band that deserves everything, both good and bad, that is coming to them.


You see the problem with the Brits is that they’re just so fucking lazy. Noone cares- ‘’I can’t go outside, I’ll catch a chill. I can’t go outside, I’ve not got any sun oil on. I’m dead broke, me.’’ All familiar phrases from our wooden-toothed, pasty skinned, dumpy brethren. To be honest (tbh), you can’t really blame them: The weather sucks, the people are dog-ugly and 99 percent of their bands in recent years have been flaccid. That’s why GENTLEMAN’S PISTOLS are such an anomaly. What we have here are four pretty right-on Northern lads playing hooky trad-rock in the vein of Leaf Hound, Blue Cheer and Lucifer’s Friend. The cheeky lyrical content and energetic playing allows anyone from the 60 year old, bitter R’N’R purist, to the 18-year old girl fucked up on meth at the Big Day Out to get down to The Gents. ‘’The Lady’’ throws you down stair with a sleazy, lounge vibe. ‘’Creamy Lid’’ is hardly about Ski Double-Ups or Yoplait Petit Miam if you get me? The Gents have banged out a well-written, fun record that should help our friends in the mother country to stop complaining about the weather, the muggings and the weather. Bigger and better things for ‘’these’’.


These four young blokes play early 90’s Californian power violence, replete with fast parts, slow parts and some general weirdness. These guys smoke bongs, roll their own darts, work shitty jobs and have occasional bouts of mental instability, possibly caused by excessive marijuana consumption. The hardcore sections don’t really bring anything new to the table, but these days, 99% of this style is like the cat on the chopping block to these ears. Mate, I’ll tell ya, PATHETIC HUMAN are at their best when they drop it down 400 BPM and plummet into a painful dirge. Ugly, ugly stuff. Hopefully subsequent releases will see them experiment with more downers and sedatives. Repeat after me, ‘’Grim reaper’’, not ‘’Cold War’’.


In 1977, the rope that joined Australia and Tasmania was severed in a terrible boating accident. This unfortunate mishap forever plunged most Tasmanians into a life of solitude, servitude and extreme ignorance… Not the four chaps from WITCH HATS though. Never content to waste their lives away in Hobart’s salt mines, cotton fields and chain gangs, the Hats set about procuring as many floatation devices they could, and made the testicle-ingesting journey across Bass Strait, bringing with them their neo-swamp rock. Yep, you can bet that these Melbourne-based sister-fuckers are members of the order of Gordon, dig the sermon of Salmon and live by the gospel of Gracelands. Like their deities, it’s often the Hat’s rhythm section that keeps them afloat, especially through some particularly mundane verses. However, the verses provide appropriate ramp-ups to soaring crescendos and inventive changes. The Hats could delve deeper into the tom-based tribal crawl, but the real pots of gold lay in their clever pop-hooks and catchy choruses. ‘’Cellulite Soul’’ is the maiden voyage, for these fish out of water sailing mightily towards the horizon.


The editor of this publication has been pulling himself silly about this band, and rightly so. DEAF WISH have knocked out a superb local release in the great tradition of the Aussie post-punk sound that everyone is so eager to recreate these days. However, few contemporary artists attempting this style have the ‘’wild men of rock’’ vibe of Ian Rillen or Stu Spasm that appears totally removed from the arty, cerebral, less-threatening sounds coming from old blighty, or the continent at the time. DEAF WISH sit somewhere between the two schools. DEAF WISH are very Melbourne. DEAF WISH sound dirty, violent, and unfriendly at times. How could they not? Their sound is part Flag, part Venom P… yet there is a slight good-time vibe to what they do. Perhaps it’s the samples of rehearsal room tomfoolery that loosens up some of the assault? Perhaps it’s the jerky Minutemen moments? Perhaps it’s the unconventional melodies buried under a mass of drums, guitars and vocals? Perhaps DEAF WISH are onto something, and it’s working well. Perhaps other bands in this one horse town should pay attention?

Monday, 10 November 2008


I interviewed Mike Williams IX via-email for UNBELIEVABLY BAD magazine. I like this exchange. Mike has a very captivating writing style-short sentences, effective descriptions and that distinct southern drawl. This is an example of an email interview that actually works.

Where to begin with a band like Eyehategod? They are perhaps one ofthe few bands left on the planet that truly live their music and lyrics. Infact, it would be almost too easy to detail the decade plus of riffs, fights, substance abuse, misanthropy, failure, despair,alcohol, alcohol, alcohol. So rather than endless babble regarding the band's importance in today's limp musical climate, we'll let this recent communication from vocalist Mike Williams IX inadvertently do it for us, ''hey man--just got outta jail AGAIN.long story,but im free--so all is good''. Case closed.

1 - NOLA seems to be a major load star in the existence of EHG. Not just the band's home, but an underlying influence on the band's sound, aesthetic (etc). Is there equal parts love and hate in your relationship with the city?

Oh of course, New Orleans has been inspirational to us in a number of ways, musically, (un)hygienically, artistically, historically,chemically…We are a product of the streets, the people, and the culture of this city's gloriously hedonistic and debauched lifestyle.On the same coin, NOLA's inept local government corruption, police manipulation and brutality, urban blight (especially after Katrina)and general apathy and malaise can infuriate someone to their boiling point, but then again, that is stimulating on its own. So as well as 'love/hate' I'd rather say 'passive/aggressive'. I like to talk to our sprawling, mentally disturbed metropolis and say stuff like; "Oh, you look great today! You finally got those rotten teeth fixed, huh? What?Oh, you got a few still giving you trouble? Well that's O.K., you still look kind of good for your age."

2 - How much did growing up in New Orleans contribute to you embracing punk and metal?
Which bands "fed the fire" so to speak and do they still hold as much weight after all these years?

I'm from a small town in North Carolina. A long line of backwoods redneck farmer types. Moving to NOLA in 1977 played a major part in my musical education. I was into Kiss, Sabbath, and Alice Cooper back then. Living in a big town definitely opened my eyes to a whole nuvva level. The early N'awlins punk scene completely tarnished me forever around '79 or so. My brother worked in a bar and would sneak me in to see bands like The Normals, Contenders, Hostages, The Cold, Men In Black, Wayward Youth, Savage Saints, Legionnaire's Disease etc… Lateron, I broke away (literally!) and ran off from home, I was eventually put into a boys home for the next 3 or so odd years. We'd sneak out in the middle of the night and walk miles to stand out side of clubs and peek in through the opened doors. During this time and later, I saw the second wave of the more Hardcore local New Orleans acts such as Red Rockers, Goners, Sluts, Shell Shock, along with tons of out-of-town acts such as Black Flag, Die Kreuzen, Misfits, Circle Jerks, Dicks, Minor Threat, Gun Club, Bad Brains, et al, I lost my mind. That was the sound I'd hear in my head when I closed my eyes. I started my 1st group around that time, called Teenage Waste, with some school buddies. I was 15 years old. Years passed and metal & punk melded and became thrash. Then local groups Exhorder, Blatant Frustration, Flagrantz, and Graveyard Rodeo set a new standard. I had a formed a new band by then, called Suffocation By Filth, taking influences from Discharge, Exodus, D.R.I, Sodom, Bathory, M.D.C. etc…Those were the fuckin days, and almost all of these bands I'm still into to this day.

3 - The band has such a distinctive sound. You cannot confuse an EHG record with any other band. Has having this degree of continuity always been an objective of the band?

Not necessarily an objective, but we're for sure NOT one of those bands where you'd use the word "eclectic" in a magazine review, I tellyou that. We sound like we sound and we've never thought much about varying it to any degree. AC/DC , Ramones, Motorhead… All these groups never much cared about variation to any certain level, they kept itreal. We ain't looking to change the world through technical masturbation, it's all the basics of rock and blues baby….

4 - Explain the writing process. Are a lot of the riffs plucked from various jams and then pieced together, or do one or two band members take care of most of the song writing?

Both. Hopefully, you can't tell when a song is pieced together, but that's how it happens sometimes. Everybody writes riffs though, not so much myself but Brian, Jimmy and Gary have all written fully constructed songs. Even Joey, our drummer, wrote some of the faster guitar tracks on Dopesick. I come in later, pass out in the practice room, and forget all the lyrics that I've written.

5 - Your lyrics are conceptually similar to perhaps some of the sleazier works of the Beat generation. Pieces of that era were based just as much in the realms of life experience as they were literary entertainment. Could the same be said for your lyrics?

I take that as a compliment of the highest degree. My reading tastes vary, but reading the Beat era stuff was probably where I realized that I could take everyday experiences, throw in some Marvel Comics references, cut 'em up, and I had writ me a poem, dammit. Obviously those nights spent soaking in Kerouac, Bukowski, Burroughs, Kesey,etc… played a subliminal part in my life and that's a good thing Ithink. Later on it was literature like Lovecraft, Vollman, Vandermeer,Sartre, Poe, and Clive Barker that would prove to be influential on mylife. But yeah, life and the sidewalk outside my windows gives me an unlimited source of material. Then as you watch everything around you crumble, the words never stop coming.

6 - I'm sure it's frequently stated, however drugs seem to have played a significant role in the world of EHG. In a band situation, when do they cease to be a source of inspiration/stimulation and just become counter-productive? Has this been a contributing factor to the on/off nature of the band? When did you begin dabbling in illegals?

I've been drinking alcohol and eating pharmaceuticals since I was 15 years old. Mostly speed tabs back then, though. Everybody has their own vices in EHG, some more illegal than others to this day, but that's life. Anyway, it really depends on the drug and the person in regards to the counter-productivity part of the question. Truth be told, it actually overlaps. Even when its non-productive, it can stillbe inspiring and stimulating, albeit in a completely negative fucked-up way. Maybe that's just me. I think that misery can bebeautiful. We've cancelled shows, tours, records, broke up, got into fights, fuck all. So what. We don't care. We're just this. This is what we are, one of a billion other groups on this planet. I know fora fact that this band would sound like we do, substance abuse or not.Black holes, string theory, worm holes, narco-terrorism, and alchemy all contribute to our sound in one way or another.

7 - The government's lax reaction to Katrina has become a serious bone of contention in world politics. What are your thoughts on the whole situation after literally being in the eye of the storm?

I could write a fucking book about how I feel on this subject, and I will one day, but for now… well, it should be a thorn in the Bush Administration's side, as it was really just jaw dropping how long it took for them to respond to the disaster, and the level of violence that occurred with the looting and subsequent house invasions,burnings, shootings, car thefts, etc.. You probably don't hear much about all that in the media, though. You could call the local emergency hotline, 911, and would get a busy signal, and believe me, I called it more than a few times. One of my main beefs with the entire fiasco is the sheer confusion and playing of the race card by certain people, civilian and government alike. Some folks are saying "it's cos they're black, that's why they didn't respond." Hmmm, I'm white, and so are a lot of people that I know that were screwed by Katrina. Why can't they see that it's a class issue, not a race issue? Poverty was why we all stayed. That and the chance to rob drugstores. But seriously kids, the other side is saying things like "All the whitepeople in NOLA got new houses and cars from the government after the storm," which is what I heard this racist redneck say the other day,and is complete Bullshit. Nobody got shit, black or white. We all gota little bit of "ass kissing" money from FEMA to placate us, shut us up, and provide them with photo ops thru media spin-doctoring. Look man, I saw scenes that looked like stuff outta the movies. Bodies floating, "hurricane zombies", people rioting, wanderers dazed and bleeding, out of their minds, people pulling poker machines and ATM cash machines behind their cars, fighting, guns (more than usual),burning cars and buildings, soldiers marching thru the street, mass hysteria, attempted rapes, and on and on and on, all happening while the cops stood by smoking cigarettes and, in some cases, joining in the madness as well. If I hadn't gone to jail in the days following August 29, I probably wouldn't be alive now.

8 - After such a tumultuous few years, it would be almost criminal for the band not to come out with it's ugliest, most misanthropic material yet. Anything in the works?

Yeah, it's gonna happen. Members have been scattered to and fro since the storm. I just did another two months in Orleans Parish Prison fora previous probation violation, our drummer is in rehab, our bassplayer is awaiting a trial date, Jimmy is doing Down, Brian is inSoilent Green, etcetera etcetera. 2008 is our 20th anniversary, so me& Bower have been talking about doing shows, recording a new LP, etc…It's all a matter of timing right now. There's a lot of other shit happening as well: Down LP in September, Arson Anthem LP in January,Soilent Green and Hawg Jaw as always working, Outlaw Order looking torecord an LP, I'm doing an art only book silk screen project, a spoken word 7 inch, plus my 2nd book is coming together. The 1st one, "CancerAs A Social Activity," is almost sold out and a few are still available from and

9 - You play in Arson Anthem with Phil Anselmo. How has the reaction to that band been? Phil being in the band must have garnered you some serious attention by now?

A little. We've been laying low as of late, so when the LP is released, things should blow up quite a bit. Hank III will be coming down in October, so hopefully we'll be able to record some more songs.

10 - Your book has received good reviews. Have you any intention to pursue that further? Explain a typical Southern Greyhound bus journey/station to the uninitiated reader.

Hell yeah, I wanna pursue my writing career as far as I can. Like I said, I have a second book written and I just need a publisher. Also,we'll be re-printing the "Cancer …" book for Europe and Japan eventually. Publishers, get in touch at I like to get cheap Greyhound bus tickets and just head out in the wild. I use to do it to escape people, places, things, but now the urge to just travel to nowhere in a hot, sweaty bus full of losers just appeals to me for some reason. Iguess I like the uncertainty of it all. I'm especially fond ofchecking out the older bus stations down south and out west where nothing has changed in 40 or 50 years. It's really enlightening and amazing to see this side of Americana. The people you meet, too, are a whole sidebar unto themselves. Drifters, runaways, pregnant daughters,scared sons, wishful moms, defeated dads, immigrants, thieves, god-fearers, god-lovers, god-damners, ex-cons, self proclaimed preachers, old ladies, young gentlemen, dirt dogs, Mexican nationals,highway patrolmen, drug abusers, militant cowboys, liberal rednecks,the homeless, house niggas, horse breeders, stick figures and silver-tongued devils. To hop on a Greyhound, holding your one-way ticket, a knapsack, and a pocketful of change, is to be in heaven.Reality in capsule form.

Thanks to Rhys and Unbelievably Bad for this interview.Peace through Addiction

Sunday, 9 November 2008


I have written for a number of publications. Matt Reekie asked me to interview Kevin Sharp from BRUTAL TRUTH for BLUNT MAGAZINE earlier this year. I called Kev at 5:30 AM and had a good chat. What follows is the article as it appeared in BLUNT.

It was the year 1999 when a grieving longhaired public witnessed revered New York rulers BRUTAL TRUTH smoke, grind and sleep for the last time. Disappearing into the ether at what was arguably the apex of their career, it seemed an enormous door had been left open in the depths of hell.

Years dragged on, band members surfaced in new outfits THE RAVENOUS and TOTAL FUCKING DESTRUCTION- neither could hold a bong to the power of BRUTAL TRUTH at their peak.

However it was 2004 when word circulated of a new outfit featuring members of NAPALM DEATH, MELVINS and BRUTAL TRUTH. The band of course, was VENOMOUS CONCEPT! But you already knew that.

Their debut LP ‘’Retroactive Abortion’’ was promptly released on Mike Patton’s Ipecac Records- A unlikely label for a band so straight forward in its intentions. However, as lead howler Kevin Sharp states ‘’It was sort of the point you know. I’ve known Mike for a while. I knew him back when he was in FAITH NO MORE. I’ve known him since he was a kid. It freaked some people out, but whatever?’’ Such is the almost nonchalant attitude Sharp has towards his band, the scene, and you. ‘’ That’s the only good part of getting old. You become more comfortable with who you are. We get together, we have a good time and don’t really sweat the details.’’

Blast forward four years, and VENOMOUS CONCEPT have kindly delivered a most- belated new head kicker, ‘’Poisoned Apple’’. Released on Century Media records, it’s a raucous channelling of the collective member’s hardcore origins. The riffs scream the lurching intensity of DISCHARGE, SIEGE, ANTI-CIMEX, POISON IDEA and DRI. ‘’It’s like the sort of shit we used to listen to as kids. It’s like when you go to a friend’s house and you crack open a slab of beer and what not.‘’

Taking these primary influences and pushing beyond the often limiting barriers of hardcore, these trans-thrashionals have melded ‘’extreme music’’ know-how and unrelenting energy through Shane Embury’s muscular sounding riffs, the epileptic bass runs of newest recruit Danny Lilker (BRUTAL TRUTH, NUCLEAR ASSUALT, ANTHRAX), the jackhammer pace of Danny Herrera and Mr Sharp’s completely unhinged vocal overload. The latter of which provides much of the disorientating chaos emanating from the stinking grooves of this disc. ‘’It’s something I’ve refined over the years. I think the best vocal performances are letting your voice do what it naturally does; well mine naturally sounds like a garbage disposal’’ says Sharp emphatically.

The songs appear far more aggressive and livelier than on their debut effort. A more realised version of the band. ‘’Well the objective in a certain way is to stick two fingers in your ass and whatever’’ says Sharp completely deadpan. ‘’It’s that whole RAMONES concept of capturing a sound and an attitude. It may not be perfect, but sometimes it’s the imperfections that make a record like that crazy. The whole idea was to accent the imperfections’’

Unhindered by geographic barriers, the band is spread across two continents. Amazingly, Sharp takes it in his stride. Something we’ve come to expect from the man. ‘’I’ve never really thought about it. Most of the people I’m closest too live in different parts of the world anyway. Sometimes it makes it easier financially and headache wise. 2 of them are over in England and two of us are here, so if we wanted to do shows over there or over here, it won’t cost too much to make it happen’’ says Sharp, who actually lived in Melbourne for a year after the demise of BRUATL TRUTH. This of course makes him an honorary VB sipper and should surely suggest that a saunter to Terra Nullius would have to be on the cards for the band? ‘’ I’ve got alot of friends there. It seems we’ve got alot of people that write us from down there. I love it down there. It could be worse. It’s not unlikely that you will see us at some point in your summer.’’

So it would seem the enormous door is no longer left open. In fact, it’s been slammed shut. Repeatedly. Really fucking hard.