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Bodyjar

The full version of an article I wrote for Opus, my Uni's Newspaper, on 1st September, 1997.

On a bleak and miserable day, Ross Hetherington, the drummer of Bodyjar, kindly rang to cheer me up with talk of overseas travel, pet hates, day time TV and ruptured spleens.

At the end of last year you did some shows in the US for your American label Revelation. What kind of response did you get?
Not to bad, like we didn't spend a lot of time there. We only did about four or five shows, I think, in America. Then we went to Canada. Yeah, they seemed to take to us okay I suppose. I mean its very, very competitive over there. There's a lot of people and a lot of bands. We didn't do to badly. I don't think we really made a dent on the charts or anything like that but we had fun.

There was also a tour you did across Europe last year with No Fun At All. Did you get a better response from the Europeans?
Oh yeah, especially Germany. Europeans have a tendency of really digging their rock n' roll and they love their beer. They are also really keen about buying merchandise, which is a beautiful thing. It seems that whenever they go out to a gig they always pack enough money to get in, buy heaps of lager and a t-shirt or a cd or two as well.

You also went to Canada in May this year. You guys are touring overseas quite a bit.
We had, for a while, within about six months or something, we went overseas about three times. Which is great fun. But we will probably be taking it easy for a while. We probably won't go overseas again until maybe early next year when the album comes out.

Bodyjar photo You stopped off on the way home to record tracks for your new EP and album.
What was so special about the studio you chose?

The last time we went to Canada, this guy Padge Williams who managed our shows in Canada, we said to him we're going back to Canada for these Sno Jam shows, we figured we might as well record. Padge recommended that studio. Yeah, it was great. We just went there for the Sno Jam shows but we a did a two or three week tour with another band called Ten Days Late, who we had toured with the previous time we went to Canada. Then we had two weeks to record, and yeah, it was great fun. It turned out to be cheaper as well, although we didn't get to finish it, we had to send the tapes over to Australia and we finished it off in Melbourne.

Bill Stevenson and Stephen Egerton (All / Descendents) who worked on "Take a Look Inside" also mixed the new stuff.
Yeah, the last night we stayed in Canada, we were lucky enough to play a show with the Descendents. Cameron (Baines - guitarist and lead vocals) was just talking to Bill and he told him we had just recorded. Bill was just as keen as mustard to work on the new stuff. We thought about it. I was a bit skeptical at first, I would much rather mix it locally so you can, if you not happy with something, you get them to turn it up or down or just alter it. But when we got them to do it we had to send it over to Colorado, so of course we couldn't go with it. Yeah, we took a bit of a gamble and just let them take care of it. In the end of the day I was really, really happy with it the way it turned out.

The new stuff on the EP is a bit less full on then "Rimshot". It has a more melodic edge that has a really smooth feel. It contrasts extremely well with the live recordings of "Windsok" and "Glossy Books".
That live stuff was a bit sketchy, a bit rough. That day we were like fully shitting aggro, so, yeah. We only had thirty minutes to play and we wanted to cram in as many songs as we could, so hence we had the tendency to play them at breakneck speed, just to fit them all in.

Who is singing on the song, "Alone at Last"?
Oh that's me. Yeah, I'm not a singing man. I just grate the old larynx and hope for the best. It was just a throw away song, that one. We just hope people don't care, don't take it seriously because it's not that way at all.

Strange Harvest Hence the title "Strange Harvest". There are two tracks that will be on the next album, both sounding, shall we say, like "normal" Bodyjar. A cover of 'Racist Friend' originally by They Might Be Giants, which delves into their "calypso" side. This is followed by two non album tracks, one of them that rather raw "throw away" demo. To finish it off two live songs, 'Windsok' and 'Glossy Books' recorded at CBGB's in New York.
So when are you looking to get the album out?

Hopefully late January, early February. We originally wanted it out in September, but Shock, they said there's far too many bands recording stuff, releasing stuff between July and Christmas. So rather then having thrown into that batch of other bands releasing stuff, Shock just said wait till after Christmas, so we will release it then. I'm really keen to get it out there and tour on it, but the EP should keep us going for a while.

So is the album finished?
Yeah, it's completely finished. We haven't got a title yet, so if you have got any suggestions.

You haven't toured around Australia for while. Are you excited about getting back out on the road?
I'm really keen. We got back from Canada in mid May and we have had a brief sort of hiatus, getting the album together, mixing it, then finishing it off and getting artwork together. Just playing shows here and there, just like around Melbourne, close to home. But yeah, it's great to be back on the road again. I really enjoyed the break but we've had a long enough break now so I just want to get out there and play again. Make me feel like I've got some kind of purpose, rather than sitting around and watching telly.

Well you are certainly dropping yourselves in the deep end. Going from talk show hosts to 20 shows in 30 days.
Oh yeah, but its pretty good though, I've checked out the itinerary. It should be okay, we've done those sort of tours before and there's no sort of unfamiliar terrain. It should be fine, unless someone ruptures their spleen or something like that

The"Nervous Wreckage" tour links you up with the Living End. Are you enjoying that?
Yeah, they are one of my favourite bands. They are real cool rocking daddies as well. It's just good to tour with a band that, I mean they still rock, but they groove to a different tune sort of a thing. They're not like a direct carbon copy of Bodyjar. One of my least favourite things is seeing three bands who are all just so alike, it's just like seeing the same band three times. So it's good for a bit of variety to make for a broader show and audience.

Well you should get that when you play Newcastle, on the 17th of September, as the line up also includes Suicidal Tendencies.
I'm really stoked about that. It should be great fun.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?
This tour finishes up in late September, then we are up the east coast again in early October for the Livid Festival. Then we are doing some shows with Millencolin from Sweden. It hasn't been set in stone yet but I think we are going to Perth and Tasmania in October. Then I guess just some more shows until next year and the new album comes out.

"Strange Harvest" is out now on Shagpile thru Shock.

Marty

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