Published on theMusic.com.au, Feb 2015
Forget crowdfunding or slogging it away at a day job – Clowns guitarist Joe Hansen tells Daniel Cribb he’s found an easier way to satisfy the band’s financial needs.
Bright lights and a flurry of confusing sounds set the scene for Clowns guitarist Joe Hansen as he’s called up to the podium of Channel 7’s Million Dollar Minute. He may spend a lot of his time shredding for the Melbourne punk hardcore outfit, but as the camera focuses in, he’s dressed in a nice button-up shirt with a grin that becomes even cheesier the further into the game he gets. You’d be smiling too if you claimed over $20,000 on a quiz show. “I needed some money, so I figured, ‘What’s an easy way to get some fast cash?’ I just applied for some game shows, got on that one and, um, won it somehow,” Hansen laughs.
“They get you in for an interview and a knowledge test, and if you pass all that and they reckon you’ll be entertaining, they’ll put you on. They just want to make sure you can be on TV and not screw it up and make people change the channel, I suppose.”
His winnings were flushed into the band, which set them up for a big year. Their new record, Bad Blood, dances between ‘90s punk rock, straight up hardcore and even borderlines on metal at times, giving new life to the DIY scene in Australia. Much like Hansen’s TV debut, you won’t be changing stations if a track from the new Clowns record comes on. Not only was the record written in a building that also hosts a bakery, cattery and a morgue, and is located across the road from a cemetery, but the band ended up rewriting the songs numerous times over. Setting up a “little shitty PA” in the building, they found a second home and didn’t relent until the record was done. “We were there multiple times a week for months. Overall, we would’ve been pushing about 20 songs. Each song may have had five different versions with a different riff, a different structure… I think we’re definitely fans of classic albums and understand the power of making something where every track works with the one before it and the one after it, and how the whole thing sort of works as a whole.
“We worked until we felt like we had what we needed – which did take a while, but it was all worth it in the end.”
The next step is to get as many people as possible to hear the record, and their select style lends itself nicely to international touring, but Hansen won’t be collaborating so nicely with fellow contestants as he does with his band mates if he lands a spot on a US game show. “Fuck them; I play to win,” he laughs. “A [US] game show tour is an awesome idea… The Price Is Right would always be the dream.”