Lindsay, aka ‘The Doctor’ was gracious enough to give me ten minutes prior to their gig to have an open chat about what it’s like to be part of an Australian Iconic Punk Rock band in our modern era after 25 years of playing.
Keijo Interview with the Dr
Keijo: Canberra Summernats, huge car festival and you’re playing punk rock Music.
Dr: the two don’t often intersect but I think what we’ve managed to do is get everyone who has lost their license. We’ve got a big following among the lost their license community. People with one point left on their license, we are really big against that market. So we’re pretty much getting a bunch of people who’s parents are driving them to the show and picking them up and we’re massive among the cab companies because they have having to pick up our fans
Keijo: That’s the stuff, I’m a massive fan of Uber, it’s a digital disruptor and that’s what brought me here today. Another thing that brought me here today was Frenzal Rhomb. 20 years. ago.
Dr: we are more a digital disruptor like having a finger up your bum, that’s the original digital disruptor back before your apps and your public shared transport technology, the origianl digital disruptor was a finger up the bum and I think that’s where we fall on the scale of digital disruption.
Keijo: so before digital, I didn’t even know digital spelt until I worked out what a digit was and that could be the finger we are talking about.
Dr: it could be
Keijo: I was in the Domain in Sydney it was very muddy. I experienced Frenzal Rhomb 20 years ago it was punk rock, it was the scene it was a thing it was a vibe, is that vibe still happening today?
Dr: It’s definitely still there, it’s still very muddy, it’s similar except it’s a lot older and we try and keep ourselves as far away from that mud as possible, so the mud is still there, people get in the mud and get very dirty, we though, we have people who lift us over the mud now. That’s I think the main thing that’s changed.
Keijo: fantastic, I haven’t seen your set today but I’ve seen you warm up and I’ve experienced Frenzal many time in my history and we’re about the same vintage but I’m exhausted, what keeps you guys alive.
Dr: narcotics, hard core narcotics, no – actually what we do these days is we DON’T take hard core narcotics, and we actually have a nice little rest, I was at the Murrumbidgee today Paul. It’s in Wagga Wagga, Wagga beach along the Murrumbidgee a couple of hours away from this beautiful part of the world, my wife and I woke up. We got a blow up mattress that we’d previously been sleeping on, we walked it maybe 15 minutes up the Murrumbidgee we chucked it in the water, we jumped on it and we floated back on down to Wagga beach, we did that a couple of times. That’s how you get longevity in a band. Couple rounds sliding down the Murrumbidgee on a Lie Low and you are good to go.
Keijo: I love to hear that sort of stuff. some of the younger guys that I’ve interviewed recently and their all about the punk scene and their all about sex drungs and rock n roll but there is another side to the story,
Dr: yes, it’s sex drugs and blown up lie lows these days for us.
Keijo: blown up lie lows, I love it I mean, you go to new zealand it could be a sheep. Blown up lie lows aside, where in Canberra, do you play Canberra a lot?
Dr: Yes. We seem to play here more often than other places, in fact we’ve played like the Basement, and come back and played another place … Zierholz room, that’s a place isn’t it.
Keijo: a beer brewer in Canberra yes,
Dr: or at the Helenic Hall
Keijo: Helenic Club yes.
Dr: we do play at these places but most recently it’s been the Basement the last few times, our friend Clementine, he’s the house engineer here, we love how he’s slowly turned this place from a stinking house of beer swilling metal heads to a slightly less stinking house of beer swilling metal heads and we appreciate that.
Keijo: So that was actually going to be one of my questions what do you think about the Basement and its progression over the years. You’ve pretty much answered that it’s great.
Dr: I do miss all of the set lists being stuck up on the walls, like all the.
Keijo: Jay walking in the background.
Dr: I appreciate that we are doing an interview because otherwise he wouldn’t talk to me. The set list used to be up on the walls at the side of the stage that was quite nice. This used to be the band room.
Keijo: so you’ve obviously got a bit of history with he Basement, you are happy to come back, would you consider this a Premier Venue for Canberra?
Dr: it’s the only venue we play in Canberra, and since we’ve been around for 25 odd years I think we should be able to make that call what else is there, I mean there’s Smith’s Alternative, I played a little acoustic gig there and that was nice but in terms of rock n roll then yeah I’d say that this would be the gig, this would be the venue.
Keijo: so I’ve been out of Canberra, I spent a fair bit of time in Sydney, I spent a fair bit of time in Newtown. The songs that come out of Frenzal around Newtown do you still support the Newtown Vibe
Dr: I just moved 5 days ago to Woolongong actually no, 7 days ago. But up until that point yes, I lived in Newtown for 21 years I think and my brother still lives in the house that I was renting for 20yrs in Newtown so I still have place to sleep if I’m in Newtown. The problem in Newtown of course is the lockouts push all the f..wits from the city to Newtown, Newtown is not quite as fun as it used to be but also at the same time I spent a lot of time sitting on my couch watching TV so I can do that in Newtown or Woolongong that’s fine, also Woollongong is getting a lot of the city night life brought to it because a lot of people couldn’t afford to buy houses in Newtown moved to Woollongong and with it they brought the live music scene and a bit more Sydney culture. These guys are going on early (Scabz in background)
Keijo: we have got a bit of background noise going on but that’s OK, I love a good bit of vibe, I love Sydney I love Newtown I love the heritage of the whole Frenzal scene. I’ve actually worked with Lex one of your ex band members so I spent some time in the corporate world actually not so much the band scene, how does different people coming into the band change the dynamic
Dr: I think that mainly once we got Lex out of the band there was one less absolute f..k wit in the band and that helped the dynamic be more full of nice people than one less arse hole, I’m sorry you had to work with him he’s a horrible human being.
Keijo: ok, I’m not going to ask any more questions that pretty much clears that up thank you very much
Dr: quite alright
Keijo: so we’re back in Canberra and I’m looking at a lot of younger punk rock bands, Australian punk rock, is that still the classification that you like to go by ?
Dr: we are definitely Australian, although any geographical boundaries are generally abitrary and invented purely for ideas of domination and trade so they’re kinda silly, punk rock is such a lose term these days, I think we are just a bunch of dudes who play music with a lot of swear words in them and we live in the confides of the continent currently known as Australia and the songs are quite fast as well.
Keijo: Slightly controversial then, are you doing that on purpose for a … are you trying to make money out of this type of pursuasion
Dr: I’m not sure what you mean but yes, in answer to your question everything we do is basically to make as much money as possible.
Keijo: do you play corporate gigs?
Dr: no we don’t play corporate gigs, not because we wouldn’t but we’ve literally never been asked. I think we got asked to do an ad once for Coke a Cola and we said no. The only slightly corporate thing we’ve ever done is play a 40th birthday party a couple of years ago. Whenever people ask us to play birthday parties we are like sure yeah what ever, give them a high ball price and these people said yes. And so we played it, we ended up doing the whole night. We DJ’d we played, we played for about 3 hours, played like 2 hours worth of covers, we gave em their moneys worth god damn it, although we are pretty sure it was a surprise party and the woman organised for her husbands 40th and pretty sure with the big reveal and we were there, even though he looked kinda happy, we could tell in the back of his head he was going “f..k I wish it was grinspoon”, but you know. We did what we could.
Keijo: So I talked to a lot of young guys, younger artists, around the 20 year old age group. Punk, maybe not, they’re playing anything, their playing acoustic and their doing a lot of stuff around Canberra, they are getting a lot of gigs, they are solo artists, they are also involved in bands that are very similar to Frenzal, is there something that you could tell them to say Hey maybe you should do this to get noticed
Dr: Well it’s a very different world these days, the internet can make you immediately accessible, but also you dissappear into the myer, if I can say anything it is that we are not very good and yet 25 years on we are still doing it so, even if you have the tiniest shred of talent you’ve gotta be better than us and look at us we are still going, so that’s gotta count for something, take heart, you’re probably better than us.
Keijo: if that is not inspirational words kids I don’t know what is, thank you very much for your time
Dr: that’s alright Paul, I’m going to go and watch Scabz who are my favourite band from Newtown, even have songs about Newtown and the surrounding areas.
Keijo: I loved it, thank you very much for your time.