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Front End Loader

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

We are back on track now, so everyone’s ready to hit the road and the Front End Loader Travelling Rock N Roll Comedy Revue shall continue.

After two and a half years out in the rock wilderness, Front End Loader return to unload their new album ‘Last of the V8 Interceptors’. I had a chat to Davis Claymore about it......

It has been about two years since you guys released ‘Lets Ride’....
Don’t remind me. It is about that. It is a very long time isn’t it.

It is a bloody long time.
It is an eternity in pop music terms.

Considering the standard is about an album a year, you have got people a bit confused about what you are up to.
We were basically up to not much at all. We toured on ‘Lets Ride’ for about a year or so. Sort of ran that dry. Would have liked to keep on touring of course but there is only so many times you can tour the east coast without getting bored of it and, I hate to talk about it in marketing terms, but supply and demand is very simple thing. If you go up to Brisbane once a month, although it will be good to be on the road, your going to stop getting the crowds because it wont be an event because people will be like ‘I’ll just see them next month’ or ‘I saw them last month’.

We also really wanted to get this album done and through various outside influences it just didn’t happen for ages and ages. We had songs ready. Jobs were lost at our record company and people replaced with other people and we had a couple of personal things that went down and slowed it up. It is a very long and boring story....We wouldn’t have chosen to wait that long but in the end it did mean that we went in with 30 songs to choose from. Believe me, Front End Loader is the most disorganised band in the world, every other time we have recorded we have had not enough songs and ended up writing songs in the studio or doing songs that aren’t road tested so we will record them and be happy with the result and six months later they have been changed a lot through just playing them.

So it was good with probably all of the songs we had a chance to extensively tour on them and they got the chance to evolve a little bit before we put them down on tape. Which is interesting and we are just really happy with the way it sounds. I am sure it is a lot of things, I am sure it is the fact that the songs were well and truly ready We were a little less precious going in this time about ‘we are a live rock band and we shall not use technology more than we have to’. This time we thought if we are going to make an album, we might as well try and make a good sounding record as opposed to a live representation of the band.

Also using Magoo who has been a friend for quite a few years and it just seemed natural that he would do it for us. He is a great guy, always willing to work with bands that he actually likes and just has great attitude, he almost thinks like a musician, he is right into Front End Loader and a couple of times we were playing and he would stop us and say ‘I am not the muso or anything but i can hear you thinking about it, start it again and play it like you play it live and let me fiddle with the knobs afterwards’.

Bodyjar photo It has been more than a year since you went on tour with Shihad. Have you got nay plans to tour on this album?
We are going on tour through October, the start of the tour is actually the Beach Party. From there will be on the road with Custard like a double bill type thing. Then we will be doing our own tour on the album through December. Publicists and journalists really struggle to describe your style. Have you tried?
We have all tried to over the years. The problem with words is that it is all subjective. I used to be fond of saying we are a ‘rock band who play pop songs’ but even then people have a different idea, even if you use ‘hard rock’ or ‘jangly pop’ it conjures up associations with other bands. We have always just written music that we all enjoyed playing, so when we were younger and all into fast heavy stuff we played that all the time.

With this album I think we tried to approach it song by song. For the heavy ones, lets play it really, really heavy lets produce it really, really heavy. I mean the single Pulse, it is obviously not a hard rock song so we didn’t play it really fast, we didn’t play it with completely distorted guitars and tried to get nice sounds for a nice song.

After listening to the album the only way to describe the whole thing is just ‘diverse’.
To me that is a really big compliment. There are some bands that I like, I really like what they do, but half way through an album I know what is coming up and turn the album off. Having said that it can work against you. Not everyone listens to music a discerning ear, some people do like one style of music and do want their band to just play that style, and there is nothing wrong with that. But I just think it makes much more sense if you want to hold people’s attention to just do something different.

Where did you guys get the title of the album?
It is a line out of Mad Max 2. Mad Max’s car is the last of the V8 interceptors. It is the only one left and he pulls into the camp in the middle of the desert. There is a mechanic there who uses a crane to move himself around because his legs don’t work and he recognises it and says ‘ah, the last of the V8 interceptors, be a shame to blow it up’ and pulls out this booby trap from underneath it.

Strange Harvest So are you guys big movie buffs?
I wouldn’t say we are huge movie buffs but yeah. We have realised that there is quite a few movie references on this album which isn’t a deliberate thing actually. If you are not writing about politics or baby I love you, I guess art and literature is where you draw some inspiration. Whether it is like this song is about this movie or whether you just pick some stuff up. ‘Making Lunch’ is taken from the David Lynch movie Wild At Heart and that is just a pure silly song really but we just really liked the movie, liked the crazy character. ‘That’s All’ is inspired by a book called the Master in Margarita which is a great book. ‘Punk Rock Kevin’ I wrote that after reading a book called For Simmo which is about a guy called Kevin Sims who in the 70’s led the NSW police on a huge goose chase and made them look really, really stupid. He was a hardcore criminal and was resigned to the fact that he was going to get caught and just decided that he was going to make them look stupid before they catch me. I am sure there are others that I am not thinking of. It is not like you sit down and say lets write a song about.....

To keep themselves busy the guys have been involved in some side projects. Bo retreated to the mountains and is now working full time at the ABC, proof reading and collating sheet music for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and plays in the Impossibles. Richard works at the State Library. Peter is in Jim Cobain as well as the Dreamtime Escorts. Davis plays in the Greg Brady Overdrive, a ‘spoof cover band’ and the ultimate side project....he got married.

‘The Last of the V8 Interceptors’ is out now on Shagpile thru Shock.

Marty

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