They Will Persuade You: Huxton Creepers return to home town

creepers 80sHuxton Creepers in their '80s heyday.

Combining elements of powerpop, grunge, and the sort of hard-edged rock ‘n’ roll that only comes out of Melbourne, the Huxton Creepers were one of the of the best bands in Australia in the ‘80s. With three well received LPs and non-stop touring, the Creepers, while only round for five years, certainly made their mark on the scene in Melbourne but also all over the country, playing anywhere and everywhere.

The Creepers are back playing a rare show at the Corner Hotel on Saturday, 27 August, along with other ‘80s legends the Gas Babies and Intoxica.

Huxton Creepers lead singer Rob Craw was happy to reminisce on the bands original run, and also what keeps them coming back for more.

John Foy's art of looking back

john foy landscape

In the early 1990s John Foy found himself in the eye of the storm enveloping the music industry.

Foy’s independent record label, Red Eye, had done a deal with Polydor, the Australian arm of multinational company Phonogram. A sold-out at show at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion in 1991, headlined by Ratcat and featuring English band Ride and Red Eye bands The Clouds and Falling Joys, had awakened major labels to the commercial potential of the independent music scene. Other Red Eye bands like The Cruel Sea would surf the independent wave into the late 1990s, even after Foy withdrew from industry machinations.

Thirty years later, Foy looks back on those heady days with fondness. But even as he trawled through his archive of posters, ticket stubs and memories for his “Snaps Crack Pop!” visual collection cum autobiography, he’s not dwelling on what he should have done back in the day. Foy has always lived in the moment, for better and for worse.

The Boogie never ends

endlessboogie wide

About 15 years ago, a burn of a CD turned up unsolicited in my mailbox, courtesy of the inimitable Dave Laing, then working at Shock Records. The band was Endless Boogie (named after the John Lee Hooker album) and the album was “Focus Level”.

It was eight songs, about 80 minutes, a heavy psychedelic smorgasbord of riffage, punctuate with Paul Major’s growling vocals. If ever there was a band that could take you to another dimension, it was Endless Boogie.

Having had to abort their most recent planned Australian tour in 2020 due to the plague, Endless Boogie is preparing to hit Australian shores again with Howlin Rain. I spoke to Paul Major from his home town of New York City.

Who'll Stop The Rain?

HowlinRain Kristy Walker

As Comets on Fire burnt out – inevitably perhaps, given the band’s incendiary exploration of psychedelic expression – guitarist Ethan Miller looked to the warm and free spirited grooves of ‘70s rock when forming his new band, Howlin Rain.  

For lyrical inspiration, Miller cast his eye over the complex cultural melting pot that is the United States. Howlin Rain’s fifth album, “The Alligator Bride”, was released mid-way through the Trump era; the band’s latest album, “Dharma Wheel”, was conceived just as Trump’s tumultuous presidency ran head long into the descending clouds of global pandemic.

A prolific touring act, Howlin Rain had been scheduled to tour Australia in April 2020, only to find itself marooned at home as international borders banged closed. Now heading back to Australia for the first time since Comets on Fire toured here 15 years ago, and with “Dharma Wheel” finally released after 18 months’ abeyance, Ethan Miller talks about Howlin Rains’ symbiotic relationship with America, American culture and Americana.

Rapping with the Reverend: Gunhouse Hill's Paul S. Cunningham in conversation

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I've known this soulful, creative, talented brother Reverend Paul S Cunningham of Boston’s Gunhouse Hill for a long time now, through the miracle of modern telecommunications on the surveillance panopticon. In recent days I've been locked outta social media for too much facts-based push-back against billionaire techlords’ preferred narratives. Reverend Paul is one of the only people I miss being able to look in on.

Let me tell ya ‘bout him.

Rock and Roll's Mr Everywhere

Spaghetti and Frank by Ed ColverEddie Spaghetti (left) of The Supersuckers thinks it's all a bit loud but Frank Meyer begs to differ. Ed Culver photo. 

Los Angeles musician, author and filmmaker Frank Meyer is a surprisingly talented singer songwriter and a highly skilled, captivating raconteur. He seems like a genuinely all around good guy, so I'm a little embarrassed I did not get that hip to his extensive discography much sooner.

I first became aware of both Frank Meyer and fellow feature article subject John 5 way back in the hazy distant past-maybe like, 23 years ago, in the pages of a glossy punk ‘n’ roll bible, “Pop Smear”, with both my boyhood idols, Evil Knievel and David Lee Roth on the cover. I was workin' at a news stand in the Midwest where long lines of unhappy barflies flooded in front of my cash register all day, incessantly wanting to buy the scratch off lotto tickets. "I'll take ten Lucky Pots Of Gold and five Leprechaun's Rainbows".

Frank seemed to have won the rock ‘n’ roll lotto when he got to hang out with John 5 and David Lee Roth, live, and in-person, on multiple occasions, and then, went on to write books and form his own bands that criss-crossed the country. He was playing bills with all the other bands I liked at the time and releasing a long and prolific stream of records I never really heard.

Lord of the L.A. Wasteland Evad Fromme on The Factory Superstars

evad fromme moonchasers liveOur common friend and fellow traveller, the outrageously talented Tom Sanford of Winter Kills and Beachwood Sparks, introduced me to Evad Fromme in some secret rebel rocker social media group online about a decade ago.

We became fast friends and kindred brethren.

Evad is one of the best frontmen and underground rock ‘n’ roll performers and songwriters in the Divided States Of Fear And Slavery we've seen since probably the long gone heyday of Raji's and English Acid, when bands like Celebrity Skin and Stars From Mars and Raw Flower and the purple-haired Zeros ruled the dive bars.

Of course ever since the mid-‘90s, the Wall Street land barons have been tearing down all of rock ‘n’ roll's most venerated landmarks, from CBGB to Tower on Sunset, to build always more unattainable, prohibitively expensive condos and hotels for lawless hedge fund managers and big pharma and private prison shareholding rich people. In the war crazed USA! USA! mockingbird Big 5 corporate mainstream, the entire media has been disgracefully hijacked and weaponized to promote forever war and a fascist police state for the past 25 years. So no high quality rock’n’ roll gets heard on our public airwaves. They can't ever really kill it, but it's all back underground, now.

Last of a dying breed: Junkyard's David Roach

 

junkyard wide shotDavid Roach (centre) and Junkyard.

Consider yourself lucky if you still have access to Vive Le Rock magazine from Merry Olde. They still write about real rock ‘n’ roll! That mag might write about the Cult, the Damned, Psychedelic Furs, or the Jesus & Mary Chain. They still put The Clash right there on the cover! Ya know?

I’m still livin’ in the’80s. I was mostly into like, Prince, Duran Duran, David Bowie, and Adam Ant, but I hung around with like the stoner heavy metal dudes who liked Ozzy and Dio and shit. Think “Beavis N Butthead”. That shit was real.

I miss newsstands and comic book and record stores, print media. I still don’t carry an iPhone. Where I live. Amazon killed all the book stores and the free press is dead in my country. Daniel Hale, Craig Murray, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, John Kiriakou, Col. Ann Wright, Ray McGovern...all the real whistleblowers are slandered, hounded, tortured or kidnapped. Seymour Hersh is blacklisted. Max Blumenthal gets harassed. Amy Goodman sadly works for billionaires now and helps sell pro war narratives. Abby Martin, Ben Norton, Jeremy Scahill, John Pilger, and Glenn Greenwald get ignored. Color me depressed.

Echoes of surf guitar as Peter Hood's passing farewells an era

mandy hall mediaPromo shot of The Atlantics 2012. Ashfield Leagues Club, before the last show played by the full lineup. Jim Skiathitis (guitar), Martin Cilia (guitar), Peter Hood (drums) and  Bosco Bosanac (bass). Mandy Hall photo

The passing of The Atlantics drummer Peter Hood  in September closed the door on one of Australia’s most important surf bands. The Atlantics formed in Sydney in 1961, the group spawned the worldwide hit “Bombora” in 1963.

The follow-up “War of the Worlds” was an innovative 45 that arguably pioneered space rock before there was such a thing. It was unsuccessful and the band re-invented itself after the surf music genre declined in popularity.

Taking on singer Johnny Rebb, they pursued success playing tough R&B (among other styles) and their Peter Hood-penned “C’mon” is widely regarded as an Australian ‘classic, later adopted by the Wet Taxis.

I-94 Bar