MUSCLE CAR INTERVIEW - 10/06/2001
Done with vocalist/guitarist Damo via the phone.
DD How would you describe Muscle Car to the uninitiated?
D Um actually I got asked this question just last week so I might see if I can bring the answer up so that I can give you exactly the same one. I did an email interview with Beaven from Beanz Baxter zine & we did the same kinda stuff.
DD As in the same question as my first question?
D Well yeah, he actually asked a lot of funny questions, but thats not the point. What are we talking about?
DD Do you want me to ask you the question again? Dani laughs because its only the first question he Damo is already confused.
D No its okay. So what is Muscle Car to the uninitiated?
DD How would you describe Muscle Car?
D A heavy mix of rock n roll & glam hair band stuff from the 80s.
DD Is that one of your big influences? Glam hair bands from the 80s?
D Definitely. Someone did say to me once that we were a heavy version of Poison & I thought that was very flattering.
DD Wow. Can you give me a brief description of the band for those who have never heard of experienced Muscle Car?
D Yep. I dont know. Were on our fourth bass player, so thats sort of bizarre. I used to play in a band with Shamus (drummer) called Blood of Others and that was just a hard core band & that was crap. Ive always been itching to play in a rock n roll band so I said to Shamus stop playing crap & lets play rock. He was like oh yeah cool, then oh nuhh, nuhh, & then he said Give me a week & then a week later he rang me & said yeah Ill do it. Id been writing songs while Blood of Others were jamming with their ultra fast thrash core because Shamus was never one to put down his drum sticks at band practice & would just keep playing. While Shamus kept playing, I started writing all these songs to the beats that he was playing. From that evolved Muscle Car. I met Paul here at a little gig called The Rock Against Work.
DD Was that on every Friday?
D No that was on every Tuesday afternoon. At this place called The Producers Hotel which is awesome. We had a common interest because we were both into the band The Hard Ons & we agreed to try & get a band going & bring back all that old rock three cord stuff. He was all for it. Paul & Shamus got together & we had a jam to see how it was. We had the original bass player then, but he slagged off Poison so we kicked him out.
DD laughs at that one.
D Serious. True story.
DD How long did he last before he slagged off Poison?
D Two practices. He said Im happy to be in your band but Im not playing any of that fucking faggot Poison shit & we said Right thats it, your out of the band! Simple as that.
DD Okay, so you got another bass player?
D Yeah & he stayed with us for a while but then wanted to go to Japan & have sex with Japanese girls. He did that quite successfully. While he was gone we decided to get another bass player. We had another guy called James fill in but he went to Melbourne & got married. Then we got Nick who used to be in Oh Fuck Your Dead & Glenn & the Peanut Butter Men.
DD How would you describe the members of Muscle Car?
D Okay. Shamus (drummer). Very laid back. Very relaxed. Just listens to a lot of Kyuss.
DD What does he do in the band?
D He plays drums. Hes into Nu Metal & all of that whole Hip Hop looking culture. Even though he grew up with Old School Rap. Its a weird one but hes great. Hes like the greatest drummer that Ive ever seen in my life for a local band & whatever.
DD So is he one of the best drummers in Adelaide? Is that what you are trying to say?
D Yeah, yeah. I was actually voted in a best drummers poll & he came third.
DD Was that in the local street press?
D Yeah. Then theres Nick (bass player). I always thought he was great. When I used to watch his other bands play I always thought yeah, that guys got it. When we were deciding on a bass player Paul mentioned him & I thought Fuck Yeah, lets get him, hes great. He came along & watched a couple of gigs & said yes Ill do it. I dunno, hes just the Vulture. Hes just Nick.
DD Why do you call him the Vulture?
D Its his alter ego when he gets drunk.
DD What is his alter ego when he gets drunk?
D Just a guy who likes to run around dancing to 80s songs with his pants down around his ankles.
D & DD laugh cause they get the visual considering they have both seen the Vulture in action before.
DD What about some of the other members?
D Theres only on other & thats Paul & Paul is a long haired lout.
DD & D laugh because they know how true that is.
D Hes a great story teller. Hes definitely one for the chicks.
DD Right. What about yourself?
D What about myself? I dunno. Im just the lame rase person who gets stuck with all the band managerial duties because we dont have a manager.
DD Do you like doing it?
D Yeah I do. I love doing it. I knew that he wasnt going to get done if someone didnt step forward. Things werent going to get done otherwise. Basically I just had a dream of doing as much as I can for as little as possible, & trying to make it as big as I can. Thats what Ive been doing ever since.
DD So whats been happening in the Muscle Car camp lately?
D Well our c.d.'s got ripped off but I think you know about that already.
DD I might but our readers might not.
D Okay. The Big Backyard have decided to take our money & run. The pressing plant have finished the c.d.'s but havent been paid by The Big Backyard, which was a Sydney business who had a special on for doing c.d.'s & they didnt fulfill their part of the bargain. Basically we have no c.d.'s now & we have to raise up the money. Weve taken it to legal action with Consumer Affairs.
DD So whats the latest update regarding this?
D When I was in Brisbane they rang me & asked about it & I said No, we still dont have any c.d.'s & they said okay, give us a couple of weeks & well got onto it & track them down.
DD Have they been able to get in contact with The Big Backyard?
D Dont know yet. Im still waiting to hear back from Consumer Affairs again. Ive got to contact them this week.
DD Thats no good considering that local bands are usually struggling for every cent they get in the first place. Its not good at all.
D Its just annoying because this recording is a year old now so we just want to finally get it out.
DD Before it gets too dated.
D Well its a good indication of our sound. I dont know.
DD Besides the saga, is there anything else that has been happening in the Muscle Car camp?
D Gazzonga Attack, a Brisbane chick rock band, want to do a split 7 inch with us. Well proberly go ahead & do one with them. Theres a band from Germany called Dogs of Lust who are really interested in doing a split 7 inch with us & I think that its going to happen as well. As far as other releases go, thats whats in the works. Ive written a whole pile of songs hopefully for another e.p. We might record another e.p before the end of the year. Well see how things go.
DD Well I think you have already covered my next question as well, any new releases in the works.
D Yeah, Why did you go will be the next single.
DD Obviously you havent got a date set in mind yet because you are properly waiting on your first c.d..?
D & DD laugh at the c.d. saga that could be made into an episode of Home & Away.
D We want those ones to come out before we start worrying about any others.
DD Make your money back on those first.
D Most of those c.d. are going overseas so thats all right.
DD What do the members of Muscle Car do for fun besides playing in the band?
D Well Shamus keeps himself busy playing in two other bands. Hes a sort after drummer. He plays in a band called Sprawl & another one called Blood of Others. Outside of that I think he just studies.
DD What is he studying?
D I think thats it. Pauls a librarian. Believe it or not. Proberly the first rock n roll librarian. Nick, well he lives the life of acting as a public servant. I study film making & write Long Gone Loser.
For those who dont know what Long Gone Loser is, its Damos zine.
DD So thats the fun, working?
D I guess thats like half the fun. We dont really do much else, were too busy. We work & come home & were tired. I dont think we do anything thats fun. We live by the beach, that might be some fun.
DD Do you actually go to the beach?
D Yeah, all the time. Paul doesnt but I do. Paul wanders down the main road but I actually go swimming there.
DD Okay, so you actually use the beach.
D I actually use the beach, yes.
DD If you could choose any two bands to play a show with Muscle Car, it can be whoever you want, who would they be?
D The Wildhearts & The Backyard Babies.
DD Where would you like to play?
D Proberly somewhere in England, both bands are extremely huge.
DD Have you got a venue in mind?
D Maybe the Astoria or the Reading festival. Mainly in England or one of the Scandinavian festivals. Id rather play in Europe because they love Australian bands.
DD Especially Spain.
D Yeah, well thats our next target. The band Dogs of Lust are helping us get over there & do a whole tour of Europe. Well the countries that rock but they are really into it (Muscle Car) & are trying as hard as they can to see what their label can do about doing a split 7 inch & everything.
DD What label are they on?
D Its there own label, but they are doing it with somebody else so its that really just the people in the band. Its a couple of guys out of the band & some other people.
DD Have you got a date in mind when you go over to Europe?
D It will proberly be next year. Weve been told to go over in the winter because everyone comes out to the clubs then. They dont really come out in the summer because its too hot or they go to the beach or on holidays.
DD We all have songs that were teenage anthems when we were growing up. What were some of yours?
D Nothing But a Goodtime by Poison. Youth Gone Wild by Skid Row. Kick Start My Heart, although thats proberly a bit later though. Final Countdown by Europe. I dont know, Wild in the Streets by Bon Jovi. Guns & Roses. Anything off Appetite For Destruction. Paradise City, definitely.
DD How does the Adelaide band scene compare with Sydney & Brisbane?
D Its amazing how many rock bands there are in Sydney but I found the crowd when we were there disappointing. I thought it would be bigger actually. I heard a lot about it from bands that have played Sydney & I thought with the population being three times as big as Melbourne that there would be hundreds of punters. Unfortunately that wasnt the case.
DD I think the name of the gig might have put people off personally. When people think of The Oz Rock Fest, I think they get visions of bands like Cold Chisel. Oz Rock makes me think of mainstream Australian pub rock, you know that kinda of stuff. Thats just my opinion. Dont know if there is any truth to it.
D It was fun anyway. I did like Sydney. I thought Mr Charisma was a bit of a let down.
DD So who is Mr Charisma?
D Dont you know.
D & DD laugh because we sure do know who he is.
D You termed him Mr Charisma.
DD Yes but the interview isnt about me is it?
D Craig Edge from The Blurters.
DD Why was he named Mr Charisma?
D You named him Mr Charisma so I dont actually know why? I think it has something to do with you thinking that he was very charismatic in his way of You guys suck, get off the stage then later saying Hey how are you doin, I really like your band.
DD So he was heckling you a bit, was he?
D Yeah, you were there.
D & DD laugh.
D Besides him, it was good.
DD What about the interesting thing that happened to Mr Charisma when the all girl band was on?
D I actually didnt see that. I heard about it but I didnt get to see it. Apparently she abused him.
DD I think he was pretty quiet after that. What about Brisbane?
D Brisbane is the home of rock. I love that place & I eventually want to move there. We love playing Brisbane & we want to play there again this year.
DD What do you love about it?
D Its just a completely different atmosphere from Sydney or Melbourne, or Adelaide even. Its like its a whole new world up there. I dont know how to describe it.
DD Like people are into it, enthusiastic, having a good time?
D Very enthusiastic. Theres a lot of things going on up there. Youve got Rhythm Ace records coming out of Skinnys (record store). Good shops with a decent amount of records that arent ridiculously priced which helps getting rock n roll spread to the masses. DD Are there lots of venue to play at?
D I dont know, but there is a great venue called The Normandy. Thats where we played.
D I actually know the one you are talking about.
D Its great. We loved it. I think that that venue is pumping.
D I dont know about the Gold Coast. We went down there once but we didnt play there. We went down & it just seemed like the people are there to get pissed instead of actually watching the bands.
DD Thats pretty much what its like. Its not a good band place. Its more nightclubs. Its just really seedy.
DD Is there lots of rock bands in Bris Vegas?
D Yes, there are a lot. Youve got The Giants of Science who are fucking incredible & I reckon they will be the next band to break through the rock scene in Australia. Youve got The Hymies who are like Zeke. Youve got the four thousand bands of Richie Strutter. I dont know whats happening with Strutter. I dont know if they are still going to go on or not, but I hope so. Youve got the Amprellas. Youve got Big Bongin Baby who are still going after like 20 years of being together or whatever.
DD So obviously you had a good time?
D I love Brisbane.
DD Yeah, the weathers good too.
D The weather is always good there. Its been freezing here (Adelaide) & poring with rain & its been like 28 degrees up there.
DD What do you think of the rock scene in Australia?
D Um... I think its all right. I havent experienced any places like Perth. I dont know if there is any Ayres Rock rock but I think its all right. I dont have any complaints. If anything, it could have more bands or a lot more support.
DD Do you think Rock is dying or that its getting more popular?
D I dont think it will ever die. Its the only style of music that has never followed a trend. Rocks been there since day one, well not since day one, you know what I mean. Since The Beatles & The Rolling Stones & all those bands & whatever, & even when people thought it would go away, all of those bands were still going. Rock n Roll bands are still around playing rock n roll. Its just that the trends have come like Nu Metal, Punk, boy bands & everything. They are just faze bands & all that shit is just going to come & go in circles. Rock has always been there.
DD So do you think that there may be a resurgence of rock, then after a few years it might die down again, then come back up again. Like waves.
D Well when I was in the UK last year, I actually heard someone say that this year the bands that are going to make it will be either rock n roll bands. Its going to be Rock n Roll or Metal Hard core with rap & shit in it. They reckon that are the two directions that is going to be big this year - rock n roll or that rappy, metal shit. I overhead that from music industry types.
DD Whats the ultimate Muscle Car tour story?
D Ha Ha Ha. Im sure theres plenty. What one is good for your readers?
DD I dont know. The ultimate one I guess? Whats the first one that comes to mind when you think about Muscle Car tour stories?
D The recent tour really. That Monday night when The Vulture repeatedly got beat wrestling for hours & hours. Oh god that was crazy.
DD Where did this happen?
D Your lounge room and out on the street.
DD On Sunday morning?
D The whole lot. The whole weekend.
DD You have to tell the story?
D I cant, Im laughing too much!
DD So what starts The Vulture to become obsessed with wrestle - mania?
D Well that actually started on the first tour to Brisbane. The last night we were in Brisbane WC Nitro was the Monday Nitro. We were sitting there watching it & for some reason we just started wrestling each other, suplexing people & body slamming each other & whatever. I dropped an elbow drop on Shamus, & as I did that Paul banged his head on a cabinet for the tv. He wasnt even like a metre or two metres from me, but he still managed to hit his head. Know one knows how. I think it was just a reaction. Ever since then, wrestling has been a part of our tour. It just happens.
DD What makes The Vulture wrestle? Does anything set him off?
D Yeah alcohol.
D & DD laugh at this because they know its true.
DD So just add alcohol basically.
D Add alcohol & have your own perfect Vultch.
DD So what does he do thats so funny when he wrestles?
D He cant wrestle half the time because his pants are around his ankles & he cant move.
DD So he continually just loses?
D Yeah, he got beat I think four times, while in Sydney.
DD But he keeps trying?
D Yeah, he does.
DD Do you think if his pants werent around his ankles he might win?
D Of course hed win! He almost won in the first match in Brisbane. The last show we played at The Alliance, a few weeks ago in Brisbane, he actually did a leg drop on me half way through the set.
D Hes actually taking it to the stage now.
DD So what are you going to do to protect yourself?
D Its all right. Like wrestling, its fake. Thats basically the best tour story, that Monday night at your house where the Vulture was wrestling for hours & hours with Paul & you & me & all that wrestling.
DD Well yes, we all had a few injuries from that weekend. I think nobody escaped unscathed, except for Shamus because he was dying on the lounge.
DD What would you class as the Muscle Car achievements to date?
D Two years ago I never thought that I would be touring the country. Thats an achievement because I didnt think we would. I wanted it to be serious, but I didnt think the other guys would be serious.
DD How do you fund the touring?
D We dont. We basically go into debt.
DD In debt to who?
D Well at the moment we are in debt to the c.d. pressing plant. Im actually in debt to the band because while we were away I lost some of the band funds.
DD How much?
D Just $50 but it was $50 I needed. I pulled some money out of my pocket & it just fell. Some lucky bastard is now $50 richer.
DD Other achievements?
D Other achievements?
DD Besides touring?
D Getting known overseas was a bit of a thrill.
DD How did you do that?
D We got accepted onto a couple of compilations albums.
DD Which are?
D Theres one on Junk Records called Straight Out of the Gutter & Into Your Panties.
DD Sounds like Junk Records.
D Yeah, theyre fucking great.
DD They are, theyre good.
D They put out quality shit & Im not just saying that because were on their comp. You can skip our track for all I care. I dont think Junk have ever put out a bad release. Then there was TheFistFulOfRock which happened because I was talking to Sal (Electric Frankenstein) & all of a sudden he came up with the idea for AFistFulOfRock & asked me if we wanted to be a part of it. I sent him a c.d. over, & he said that he loved it & put us on volume six. It turned out we were the first Australian band out of all the volumes.
DD Any other compilation's?
D Theres a couple more. Theres a couple on this Sydney label called Badtown Records, that was only a same time thing. The same guy was supposed to put out a Ramones tribute album but I dont know whats going on with that. We recorded one song for that as well.
DD Which one?
D Happy Birthday Mr Burns.
DD Thats pretty funny.
D I didnt want to do a straight out Ramones song cause I that would be disrespectful because you can never do it justice. We ended up doing a really bad version of Happy Birthday Mr Burns. We had to teach Shamus the song while we were in the studio because he hadnt heard it before. Hes not a Ramones fan.
DD Hes not at all?
DD What are the future plans for Muscle Car?
D Hum. Get to Europe & the UK. Weve got to do this video for the Sandra Sully song.
DD When do you plan to do that?
D Asap. Theres a video being edited for it at uni at the moment, sitting on the computer waiting to be finished.
DD So you have already filmed it?
D Were doing one for Japanese tv that Sal advertised.
DD The FistFulOfRocknRoll thing?
D Yeah. Weve done one for that. All it is is a whole pile of live footage because if we did the whole Sandra Sully story then they proberly wouldnt know what we were talking about.
DD Is that live footage from your recent tour?
D Yeah. Just from a whole pile of shows. Really good quality footage & we just joined it all up together & have made this pretty rockin looking clip.
DD Are you going to do a proper clip as well?
D Yeah. One that is actually filmed for Australian audiences.
DD Is Sandra Sully going to make an appearance?
D As much as wed love it to happen, I can see that not happening.
DD So are you not considering a Sandra Sully impersonator?
D That could be good but finding one would be hard. Apparently she has a twin sister who lives in Adelaide. Shes a school teacher I think.
DD Maybe you should find out where she lives?
D No, I think the Sully family have had enough stalkers for one lifetime.
DD So Muscle Car arent the only ones obsessed with Sandra Sully?
D Well we wouldnt stalk her, no. We wouldnt go that far. I was just a joke. Well, not really a joke, I mean its just an appreciation & people have just come to it & they love it.
DD What do you like the most about Sandra Sully?
D Umm. Id like to hear her say Muscle Car actually. I think that would be quite interesting in a new bulletin. That would be great. The way that she pronouces words is so great. Like Bosnia.
DD So thats what you like the most about her?
D Yeah, shes a little cutie.
DD Ive seen her make quite a few mistakes as well.
D Yes. Thats the best part. She makes mistakes all the time, which is great, & then she laughs. The Panel always give her shit. I think that is always quite amusing. The like to make the occasionally joke towards Sandra.
DD But overall you appreciate her?
D Yeah we do. We think shes funny. I mean, if you are going to watch late night news, why not just watch late night with Sandra Sully.
DD Its better than a 50 plus balding man who reads the news isnt it.
D She was the only late night news presenter who did the story of Joey Ramone dying.
DD Maybe thats one of Sandra Sullys achievements to date.
D I think that would be. I think Im going to write her a personal letter saying thank you for talking about Joey cause Joeys gone.
DD That could be a good press release.
D Yeah, well I have to send her off some covers anyway, shes going to sign a whole pile.
DD Are you asking her to & has she agreed?
D Shes agreed to do it.
DD Really! Excellent.
D We are going to have a limited edition run of about 50 c.d. for the lucky 50 people who will get a signed Sandra.
DD Obviously she will get a copy of the signed c.d. as well?
D Yep, shes already got one. We sent it to her ages ago.
DD What did she say about it?
D Apparently she was flattered. She hasnt spoken to us personally but her publicist said she was flattered.
DD Did she like the song?
D Im not sure, she proberly liked the song.
DD Did you get a thank you letter.
D No, no. Shes obviously too busy for that unfortunately. You know, the fact that she was flattered that we actually wrote a song about her is good.
DD Whats the worst record in your collection?
D Are you saying one that I dont listen to anymore now?
DD I guess the record that you are most ashamed of owning in your collection.
D Proberly Gene Pitneys Greatest Hits.
DD Yep, thats pretty bad. Do you listen to it?
D Get this. I bought it for 20 cents & theres a reason for buying it. It has the song Backstage on it & The Devil Dogs covered it & I always wanted to hear the original & my mum didnt have it. Shes got a lot of Gene Pitney but she didnt have Backstage so I bought it for 20 cents just because it had that song on it, so I could hear the original.
DD Whats the best record in your collection?
D The best? Umm, which one gets listened to the most I guess. I dont know. Proberly my Radio Birdman album thats signed by all six members. Its a bit of a prized possession.
DD Did you get it signed at a gig?
D Yeah. I just wandered back stage & they were all standing there.
DD Which Radio Birdman record?
D Radios Appear with the white cover.
DD Whats the first record you ever bought?
D First record I ever bought? Ummm? I think that its either Motorheads Rock n Roll or it was Venomous Black Metal.
DD Do you remember how old you were at the time?
D Shit. Yeah, I can tell you that in a second. Umm, Motorheads Rock n Roll. Ive got to think now, Im old remember.
DD I think I might be older.
D I know youre older. I know that you are not in kicking distance of me so its fine.
DD Thats right.
D Im pretty sure it was Rock n Roll that was first, or was it No Remorse? Fuck man, I reckon I was about 12 or 13. I dont remember owning any before that. My mum & dad used to play The Rolling Stones & The Beatles all the time.
DD Oh really!
D My mum actually named my middle name after Paul Mc Cartney. I grew up in a very rock n roll household.
DD Whats on your stereo at the moment?
D Whats on it? I pile of dust actually.
DD Arent you playing it?
D Do you mean actually on the turntable?
DD What are you listening to?
D What am I listening to? Ill open up & have a look. I cant even remember. The Dogs of Almour, cause I was talking to you.
DD Which one?
D Um it was Errol Flynn.
DD Cool. Well Damo, its been great chatting with you.