Clowns. Don't Fucking Stop.
Straight up punk rock from Melbourne, live Clowns rarely disappoint . Their latest release I’m Not Right’ is as much fun as their name suggests. After watching Adolescents blow us away at soundcheck, we got comfortable in an alley outside the Crowbar with Drummer Jake and Bassist James to muse about supporting punk rock legends, touring, music from their hometown, new sounds and getting naked.
It’s the first night of the Adolescents Australian tour, the four piece supporting the Brisbane and Melbourne shows. Jake explains how he feels about the headliners, “It's stuff that we listened to when we were first getting into punk rock, these people are the pioneers, they’re inspiring to us ...and It’s a pretty sweet band to say that we’ve played with in our lives.” As James picks up, “You don’t ever expect to meet these people, let alone play and hang out wit them.”
“I don't understand how that dude didn't kick us off the tour.” - Jake
A solid 21 date tour supported the release of I’m Not Right’, it was definitely, “The longest we’ve ever been on tour,” James points out, “but we wanted to push the album out across Australia, we hit everywhere possible,” To clarify he continues, “We weren’t constantly on tour though, we had a weekend where we would hit Sydney, come back to Uni or work and head to Queensland, it wasn’t gruelling but it was long.”
Jake resolves, “It was heaps of fun, it was just ourselves and local acts we booked.” The self-management of the band knowing no bounds, “It was a bit of an obstacle booking 50-60 supports ourselves but it something we’re pretty proud of.” Smartly, Clowns mixed up the styles of music at their shows but were there any acts that stood out? James continues the conversation, “We always choose mixed genres on our bills so it's hard to say one is better than the other. We always make a conscious effort to do that and so it's really hard to compare bands that play completely different styles of music.”
Jake: "One of my favourites was actually here in Crowbar called No Anchor - there were so heavy, best band I’ve seen out of Brisbane but they’re on temporary hiatus for a while.”
James: “There was a band we brought down from Sydney that we really like called Chinese Burns Unit, they were really great to play with....It’s so hard to pinpoint out of so many great bands but those 2 definitely stood out.”
“From brutal gore grind to classical pianist music, there is everything in Melbourne.” - James
The Filth and The Naked Fury
The touring lifestyle is always a curious one, Clowns using the time to get dirty, “None of us bring anything more than a backpack, we’re just real dirty bastards, I mean when our girlfriends aren't around we will go days without showering.” James clarifies, “So to answer the question, it’s what will we not bring.”
Stripping away all the necessities doesn’t stop there, “Stevie really likes getting naked,” Jake hooks in and illustrates further, “On the I’m not Right Tour, I’m pretty sure he got naked at least 5 times - he’s pretty comfortable with his own body.”
“We did a show with Frenzal Rhomb a couple of weeks ago and he got completely butt naked and crowd surfed.” Fresh from viewing the evidence Jake discloses, “We were watching a video of it today and he actually landed on top of the Tour Manager.” Bemused he continues, “I don't understand how that dude didn't kick us off the tour.”
“We’ve actually taken the time to nut out every single minor detail of every song for this next album, I think it’s going to really show, there’s a lot more crazy shit going on.” - Jake
The enthusiasm about Melbourne’s full on music scene is spreading across country and thanks to the local record labels and promoters - the noise getting louder and hitting other sides of the globe. James talks about the support they’ve had, “Andy at Poison City really helped us out with our album, he definitely assisted us on getting us to the next level that we couldn't do ourselves. Jake picks up, “People like Glenn [The Drunk Promoter] who bring out international touring bands and who are happy to have us play the support slots and the other promoters that do exactly the same thing.”
James: “People who run the bars, the people who run the Bendigo Hotel, they're always willing to support us."
As a scene, Melbourne is “Very spread out but at the same time it’s very strong.” explains James.
Jake: “There’s not really any struggling sub genres of music, everyone’s got their own shit happening and got their own bands, crowds and venues that support that - its really awesome. If you’re into a type of music, you will find an area where it’s happening for that particular genre.”
James: “From brutal gore grind to classical pianist music, there is everything in Melbourne."
Jake: “I think there is a local band for everyone in Melbourne, everyone has their local band that they love.”
Close to their hearts is The Public Bar in Fitzroy. The band and Jake hopelessly devoted, “It’s no secret to anyone but we fucking love The Old Bar and The Public Bar, regardless if were playing or not, we always end up there its a sick place to see bands play - I even moved walking distance from The Public Bar so I could stumble home."
The New Shit
The band have been in the studio writing the next album reveals James, “There is a small army of songs we’re knocking about at the moment, we’re aiming to write about 25, we’ve written about 7 or 8, we’ll choose the best 11 or 12 out of that.”
Jake: “We’ve been road testing a few, it's been cool to add new ones into the set.”
James: “There’s no titles or artwork yet. A lot of them are so new they don’t have clear written lyrics so it’s just gibberish, I still think it’s important to road test them, regardless.”
Writing their parts separately for their first album has been abandoned in favour of a more exciting communal approach, Jake describes the new process, “I think with our first album it was based on someone bringing a song and we’d learn it but this time round, we’ve actually taken the time to nut out every single minor detail of every song for this next album, I think it’s going to really show, there’s a lot more crazy shit going on."
Don’t Fucking Stop
When advice is brought into the mix, Jake has a strong opinion on the matter, “Don’t fucking stop.” Justifying his stand point he continues, “I’ve seen a lot of my friends bands over the years that were at the same level as us for over a good couple of years but they just stopped when they should have kept going.”
James: “It’s always the ones that stop that should have got more involved. We won’t break up, because if we did, we wouldn't have anything to do."
Photo by Matt Loncar Photography