Frenzal Rhomb interview by Grind Online 2011
Frenzal Rhomb are quite possibly Australia’s most irreverent and controversial band. Following a hiatus since the release of their 2006 album Forever Malcolm Young, Frenzal are back – playing the No Sleep Til’ festival last year with legendary punk band The Descendents, and recording a new album; Smoko at the Pet Food Factory with Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson at his studio (located at an actual pet food factory). They’re playing an all ages gig this Saturday at the Darwin Ski Club, so Jack from GRINDonline spoke to Jason Whalley, lead singer, and also ex Triple J presenter (Jay from Jay and the Doctor).
How’s the tour going?
It’s going very well, beyond all expectations. So far. I always expect them to be fairly average but this one’s turn out really good. There’s been a lot of people coming tot the shows and the band has been sober enough to play the songs with a certain amount of professionalism which I enjoy. We’ve made skateboards.
When were you last in Darwin, and why’s been so long since you were here?
Well, it’s a long way away, but that’s no excuse, and we’re very negligent that we haven’t been up there recently. I’m looking forward to getting up there actually, it’s been ages, I can’t even remember, was it Bass In The Grass the last time we were here? [Yes] Yeah, so it should be a triumphant return.
Tell us about the new album and what was it like working with Bill Stevenson?
It was a lot of fun. He was a bit of a slave driver which was quite good for us and we didn’t slack off at all. He was quite brutal especially with my vocals. As soon as I’d sing something he’d be straight into the microphone “That’s s**t, do it again, it was s**t, do it again, do it again.” It was good to be kind of pushed a bit and sing and play to the best of our abilities. Yeah, it’s good. It’s a real production line over there. They really know their s**t. It’s good to work with people who are really so enthusiastic about that sort of music. [Laughs]. It’s kind of what they’re into so it’s great.
So you guys are big Descendants fans?
Yeah, massive. Like a dream come true working with that guy. Yeah, it was really something else. The Descendants were actually rehearsing in one of the rooms, and because we were sleeping in the studio we were woken up at about 9am by the Descendants rehearsing in a room next door to us, which is very exciting.
Frenzal's new album Smoko At The Pet Food FactorySo what was it like being a part of the Descendants first ever Australian tour?
Yeah, that was cool too. I never thought I’d see that band play live so it was really great to be involved and I guess that was the tour when we kind of approached Bill and said can we come over your house and record a record and he said pay money and we said ok.
So what do you think of the support acts you’ve got down for the Darwin gigs?
I’m excited, I hear we got three support acts so it’ll be like a mini local Darwin Festival. Yeah, I reckon they sound pretty good for me.
So how did you go about selecting the bands?
Uhh, we put the band names up on the wall and we threw turds at it and whichever that band name had the most turd on it at the end of it got support. So Gordy (the drummer) actually threw his own turd at the wall this time and it spread out over three bands so we had to pick all of them.
The Darwin gig is a licensed all ages gig, do you do a lot of licensed gigs or do you prefer 18+ gigs?
Yeah, it’s all ages licensed and everyone gets a look in, so that is, you know, my favourite type of gig. So if you’re a hundred years old you can come along and enjoy it or if you’re three and a fan of the band you can come along.
You should definitely come along to the show at the ski club. It’ll be the night of your life, I can guarantee 100% that it’ll be the night of your life or you get triple your money back, but that may or may not actually happen. It’s going to be good.