Our Texan buddies, Chris and Kevin, who were our rhythm section for the southern US tour earlier this year – and for Europe in July – hail from their own band, House Of Moist.
Kevin and partner Stacey invited us to stay at their place in Houston twice this year before different tours. Lovely guys – and an absolute pleasure to hang out with, they took us into their lives for the short time we were there, and treated us like family. Amazingly, I still have some good recollection of sitting up late with Kevin, after a beer or 10, usually followed by a series of Vodka night-caps.
House of Moist is Kevin and Chris’s band (that’s Kev on drums – hitting damned hard as he does). They’ve been around a while, playing shows all over the US including repeat appearances at Summerfest in Milwaukee. The shots above were taken at Houston’s Warehouse Live in 2008. It’s an edgy metal sound, layered heavy guitars & gritty vocals. Check their Myspace.
Another Monday & we have some classic Monday-itus here at ‘the Fire Dept’. A big weekend it was, starting Friday night at Vibe in Smith St, Fitzroy, then Saturday night BBQing out here at the farm which spilled well into Sunday. Just a little shaky today.
Here’s another video featuring a band we listened to a lot on the road this year – Butthole Surfers. The song in the video, Shame of Life, was released later on in the band’s career.
The Butthole Surfers hail from Texas USA and were renowned for crazed and disturbed live shows. They hammered themselves with psychedelic drugs which, not surprisingly, had a major influence on their sound. They were so wild at their shows (both on and off the stage) that promoters and festival organisers were continually in the dilemma of loathing to work with the band – but booking them anyway as fierce demand grew for their twisted, debauched live shows.
I particularly like this song and video. The Buttholes have melded a punk ethos into an electro sound – while retaining the twisted, lyrical nature and imagery of the band. (we played this song continually during the mid year tour of Poland)
The past couple of weeks, now that we’re home, I’ve been thinking about those songs, videos and podcasts that helped get me through this year’s overseas touring.
We were on plane back to the US after touring Europe in February – and I was listening to Nirvana’s Nevermind, over and over again. Nevermind was released in late 1991 with low expectations (apparently the record label thought it was a dud).
By January of ’92 it had catapulted to number one in America, knocking Michael Jackson off the top spot – and spreading to the rest of the world like an epidemic. The video below captures Nirvana live – playing the opening track on the album (Breed).
Nirvana were at the forefront of the ‘new guard’ – soon to be known as ‘Grunge’.
They changed the face of music in one fell swoop, opening the door for bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, The Breeders and a mountain of others. I’d never seen anything like it before or since. In short, Nirvana changed my life. As a kid in the suburbs, whose only choices seemed to be either Madonna, Bon Jovi or Michael Jackson, they gave me something to believe in. A band of misfits (like me – and my mates), Nirvana rose to the top of the world and gave us something real to aspire to. At last, it wasn’t all about the big hair, the make-up, the posing or spectacularly bad fashion. it was about the music – dirty, balls-to-the-wall rock and roll.
From ’92 to ’94 we rode the Grunge wave in musical ecstasy – until the unthinkable happened. It still kills me now, even to write about it. Kurt Cobain, Nirvana’s lead singer and guitarist, committed suicide in his Seattle home on April 5th, 1994. For those of us touched by Nirvana, it went beyond sad or tragic.
Kurt Cobain lives on in the music of thousands of bands across the world today, including ours. Nirvana’s influence on rock music is unlikely to disappear anytime soon. The album, Nevermind, takes me back to a brilliant time and a turning point in history. But also, for me, it still stands as a guiding light, both in its sound and its attitude.
Our drummer in New York, Toby (Tobias Ralph), tours with Lauryn Hill (from the Fugees). The footage below is a little shaky, taken up the front at an arena in Chile earlier this year, Toby on drums, Lauryn out front. Toby’s the white guy in the singlet & shades.
By the time we got back to the States for the 2nd tour, mid year, Toby was off around the world in Lauryn’s band – hence, we were unable to play with him that time. (but he did sneak one show in with us, in New York, before taking off in June)
Toby’s is a blistering drummer, one of New York’s finest & one of the best we’ve played with.
It’s been a huge year for The On Fires. We were on the road in Europe and the USA for 10 months, with an Aussie tour at end before finally landing back in Melbourne earlier this month.
I remember being in Warsaw in the middle of the year & feeling tired after the festival circuit, knowing we were heading straight back to America to start another tour there…
Enter Happy Mondays. It’s the little things that keep you going. For me it’s a bunch of songs, albums and/or podcasts that get the chin back up. And I absolutely slammed this video in Poland and for the remainder of the tour.
Happy Mondays were an inspiring British band (totally whacked-out drug-f*cked maniacs from the 80s & 90s) who brought the funk & soul into UK indy pop/rock. Just awesome. Shaun Ryder’s the lead vocalist, his brother Paul mainly dances (he played bass in the original line-up). They were notorious for taking way too many drugs (namely ecstasy) and trashing shit – almost impossible to interview or organise – or to record – but brilliant nonetheless.
Earlier in the week our MySpace went through a few weird moments as the good folk there changed the layout from 2.0 to 3.0 (without warning?). But we’re back with a brand new layout – which looks suspiciously Facebook in it’s flavour.
Check it out, hear a bunch of our songs & send us a message.
It’s a damned fine day out there today here in Melbourne Australia. It’s the first indication we’ve had that summer is on it’s way here.
Check out the Cherry Bar video (from last Saturday’s show there):
Just got home from Stalk’s place (few beers). But earlier today, pen to paper & here’s the list of great folk who joined us on stage at Cherry Bar, Saturday night:
(as it happens, many names starting with ‘M’ – and Max & I aren’t in there)
Mike Gallichio – Bass and Backing Vocals. Sexy Suave, debonair – he does it while he’s rollin’… then he rolls.
Mick Brown – Drums. Always a steady firm hand, shirt on, shirt off.
Mark Gardner – Trumpet, heavy hitter, Miles on the mind.
Mike Carney and Stalk – Backing Vocals. Mike – The Church, Stems, Triffids, Saints (what a guy). Stalk – tribal leader with the voice of a man well equipped.
Campbell McCance – Bagpipes in Group Therapy. An institution, ever-ready to sooth the savage beast – then let it loose.
Renata Iorio – Guest Lead Vocals in White Riot. Rockin’ queen in a pint-sized tidal wave.
Pete Schmidt – Chook Raffle Draw. Big talkin, big doin’, big givin’.
Random Sky Caves In Dancers. Who were those guys – game, they were.
SKY DIVING VIDEO
Last week we released this video as part of our monthly Hose Down e-news letter (direct to your inbox if you’re signed up to our mail list). We love this…
Still on a high from Saturday night at Cherry Bar. Tomorrow we’ll post a thank-you list of all the guests & players who joined us on stage for the night.
And tomorrow, we’ll also release a killer video of the band sky-diving last month at the Equinox Rocks festival in Queensland. We featured said video in our latest ‘Hose Down’ email last week. Sign up to the monthly Hose Down at the top of this page – and be the first to get exclusive video, tour tales, Max’s food diaries and a bunch of other riveting stuff.
Saturday night, 13th Nov – our final show of the year at Cherry Bar in ACDC Lane Melbourne, Australia. We’ve been on the road since early January 2010 – this was the last show of the tour. The Yak Bar crew (the venue that gave us our start) were out in sensational force for our only home-town and home-coming show of 2010.
This video features a look at ACDC Lane, the crowd at the venue – including some great pics – footage of the bands who kindly opened for us, and some of our show. We’re still on a high – what a way to finish playing live for 2010. Thanks to everybody who turned out to make such a great night.