No-nonsense four-piece stoner-punk powerhouse BRUCE! have been flat out since releasing their 2012 full-length debut and are heading back out on the road with a series of extensive Australian dates.
The Wollongong locals have shared stages with the mightiest of all mighty rock lords, including Turbonegro, Supersuckers, Brant Bjork, Regurgitator, Beasts of Bourbon, Cosmic Psychos, Tumbleweed, and most recently supporting Violent Soho in Sydney on their sold-out Australian tour.
Austin, Texas, resident John Schooley was a substantial blip on the I-94 Bar radar in the mid-1990s when Australian label Dropkick put out one of his records (“ You Won't Like It ... 'Cuz It's Rockn'Roll!”) with his band The Hard Feelings.
Here was a guy who crunched rootsy Americano with raucous garage grit in the most emphatic fashion. “You Won’t Like It...” even scored a write-up in Rolling Stone - but died a comercial death when the label head was struck down with cancer and couldn’t press up any more copies. Thankfully, he recovered - and Schooley, too, is still kicking. Like a mule.
Do you take album titles at face value? Let's take this legalisation of everything one step further. In an ideal world, we could also frame a law to make listening to worthwhile music compulsory. Frowning Clouds would be one of the first cabs off the rank.
Earlier this year, Frowning Clouds supported Sunnyboys and The Stems at a sold-out theatre show in Sydney. It was a prestigious gig. Among the pre-show chatter at the pub, I heard a comment that Frowning Clouds had been "psychedelised."
From the spectacle of the Rolling Stones the previous night, I awaken somewhat seedy and blasted. It’s been a huge week, dealing with our Beasts of Bourbon documentary, taking note of Stoneswatch, seeing the Stones on a stage half a soccer pitch away and now… Rowland, who would have been 55 the previous day (AKA Stonesday here in Adelaide).
Ho to the Wheatsheaf Hotel on a borderline suffocating hot day, where Alison Lea’s photographs of young Rowland (the infamous late 1980 Adelaide tour, where scrawny Nick Cave painted a skull and tentacles on his chest, performed topless with the paint running to buggery and beyond.) If you’ve seen the cover of the Nick the Stripper 12”, that’s Alison’s photo. If you need more information go here.
There were two sets, the first being These Immortal Souls, and the second devoted to Rowland’s solo work. It wasn’t the line-up for the Melbourne shows; Hugo Race wasn’t there, nor was his sister Angela, nor Ed Kuepper.
I haven’t been so profoundly moved all year. Partly because, after interviewing him on many occasions and brought him down to Adelaide for a few gigs, I knew Rowland reasonably well. Which meant that seeing these songs being performed by his friends had me rather teary. It was painful to watch, confronting, nasty even; more poignantly, his words are now far more loaded…
Voula Williamson photo
For the last two weeks, Stones fever, ably abetted by the broadsheet newspaper, has hit Adelaide.
Not for everyone, of course, mostly fogeys. Of which I am one.
In the days running up to the gig, Stoneswatchers staked out their hotel, their rehearsal ‘room’ (disused Glenside Mental Hospital, not that there’s any shortage of clientele, just that funds are a bit short apparently).
"Will you nail yourself on to a cross for me? Will you blow your fucking brains out with a gun for me?"
James King and the Lonewolves have a reputation that precedes them; evolving out of the Glasgow punk scene in the late '70s and early '80s, the band quickly became renowned as hard-drinking sociopaths whose mercurial live shows featured a punked-up Velvets' approach. Curiously, their singles tended to showcase the catchy pop side of their repertoire, which die-hard fans felt was unrepresentative of the band.
Finally seeing the light of day again and for the first time on vinyl, the classic 1995 Powder Monkeys album "Time Wounds All Heels" is about to drop.
Originally released on the Dog Meat label and comprising the power-trio line-up of Tim Hemensley, TJ Ray and John Nolan, the band at this point were an absolutely unstoppable force, a powerhouse comparable to the finest moments from the MC5, Motorhead and Black Flag.
Okay. Let's get one thing straight. This album is great. Here's your six bottles, James. (Last time I tried to give you six bottles for something, the Barman turned me down but now we seem fine with that kind of thing). Now, if the Barman would do a quick edit we could be three for three. Six. Six. Six. Apt.
Of course there are elephants in the room. Great hulking elephants and the occasional five foot one elephant. I guess we'll just have to tackle them head on. (Can I pun my way through this whole review? ) As a spoiler, I've read Robert's review because I know he'll have a different take to me. I haven't read the Barman's because it is always funny how often we write the same review. There could be some overlap.
These bloody phone interviews. If you’ve never done one, this is how it goes:
First, you notice unfamiliar terms in the email from the publicist like AEDT and CST that refer to time zones. And that excremental daylight saving kicked in two days ago. Cue frantic fiddling on the computer to make sure you’ve got the right time.
You’ve been given a choice of times - if you’re lucky. Bit awkward if you get stuck with a time when you’re at work and you have to excuse yourself to go to the bog and do an interview. Trust me, you get looks.
“Who were you cackling away to in the toilet, Robert? New … chum?”
Cue: furious blushing.
This interview was with James Williamson, the guitarist for Iggy and The Stooges, who has a new solo album, "Re-Licked" in the racks. And I got lucky on another front this time, and the nearly-threenager grandchild didn’t arrive until after I’d finished, so assorted boing noises, yowls and her squeaky voice didn’t float up into the recording.
With most "phoners"you do have a strict 20 minutes to adhere to, a weird time (in this case it’s from 8.55am to 9.15 am). But you do worry that it’s 4.30 am where the interviewee is, and he’ll be off his head on Tequila and mushies. As rock stars do.
Just 20 minutes to gain rapport and probe the poor bugger’s most intimate self? Poor bugger? He’s on the receiving end of a long line of assorted gits like me for several hours.
One minute before the appointed time, you dial a local number - with the area code prefix. A recorded message asks you to select your language. I am always very tempted to fuck with this but have so far refrained. One day I’ll select Croat or Bulgarian or Tig or something.