theMusic.com.au: 5 Unlikely Collaborations We’d Like To See

Published on theMusic.com.au, Sept 2015

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In a confusing and intriguing turn, Burger King put forth a proposal to McDonalds that would see them temporarily put aside their differences to collaborate on some kind of disgustingly delicious hybrid burger. Macca’s have said no but the whole beef mash-up got us thinking about some other highly unlikely collaborations we’d like to see come to fruition.

taylor swift/katy perry

Speaking of (Twitter) beef, we wouldn’t mind Taylor Swift and Katy Perry teaming up for a track. Love or hate either or both of them, you’ve got to admit that their combined forces would no doubt yield some sort of mutant pop earworm that could be used in extreme forms of torture. Unfortunately, after being pals for years and years, a feud began to brew – perhaps started by them both dating John Mayer in 2012 – and things continued to go south from there. If they could Shake It Off, maybe the world would be a better place. But probably not.

chevy chase/everyone

When it comes to arrogant actors, Chevy Chase tops the list. He’s been collecting enemies who don’t mind speaking out about his actions since he started on SNL in the ‘70s, where reportedly ticked off most of the other actors and writers. The trend continued over the years and his stint on Community even saw him piss off creator Dan Harmon. Perhaps his character on the show, Pierce Hawthorne, isn’t too far from his actually personality? While it would be nice to see him reconcile with all the people he’s wronged over the years (Bill Murray included) and appear on SNL and Community again, there’s something oddly comforting about the fact he acts that way. Think an angry Clark Griswold all the time.

adidas/nike

The long-running feud between Adidas and Nike even has the king of controversy, Kanye West, feeling uncomfortable. West’s Yeezy branded shoes were ripped from Nike in 2013 when he signed a deal with their direct competition, Adidas, and has been trash-talking them something chronic every since. “Y’all should thank Nike because they made me make these songs right here,” West reportedly said at a concert in LA before playing New Slaves earlier this year. Just imagine the level of foot comfort that would arise if they teamed up. It’d be like walking on a cloud.

android/apple

You could debate the pros and cons of Apple and Android all day long – and that’s the problem. Maybe if they paired up to create some sort of ultra smartphone the masses would stop bickering about which is better. An anti-selfie or no-recording-at-gigs function would be just swell too. Anyway, you’d be hard-pressed to find any phone that either produces that isn’t actually pretty decent these days, and anytime you feel the need to complain about your iPhone (because they suck), just think about life in the ‘90s.

rancid/australia

Tim Armstrong, whatever we did to upset you, we’re sorry. Please tour Australia again. There’s been many a leaked festival or tour poster that falsely advertises Rancid’s glorious return Down Under, but there’s been little in the way of any real confirmation. Just tell us what you want!

bonus round:

tony abbott/the general australian public

Less onions, more discussions.

johnny depp/tim burton

Because there isn’t enough of these films in the world.

will anderson/adam hills

As if it wasn’t confusing enough.

While all these mash-ups would be great, there’s still no beating Always Sunny‘s Charlie Kelly’s literal interpretation of the concept. We’ll leave you with this image of Kelly squashing beef.

http://themusic.com.au/news/all/2015/08/27/5-unlikely-collaborations-wed-like-to-see/

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INTERVIEW: Good Riddance

Published in The Music (WA, NSW) and on theMusic.com.au, June – Aug, 2015

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GOOD TIMES

“I believe the situation is dire,” says Good Riddance vocalist Russ Rankin on the current political and environmental state of the planet. Daniel Cribb discovers the band’s new record is a call to arms.

Aussie fans of Californian punk legends Good Riddance couldn’t believe their luck when the band announced a tour here back in 2013. An integral part of the ‘90s skate punk movement, when they called it quits in 2007, it sent shockwaves through the scene. But nothing could repress the collective passion the project yielded from its members and fans, and with a second Australian tour on the horizon and new album doing the rounds, they’re back to their former glory -albeit the dynamics of the band have changed. “Writing and recording is much different,” bandleader Russ Rankin tells.
His resumé is an impressive feat. Not only does he sing in punk hardcore band Only Crime and perform solo, he’s also an ice hockey scout in California and a regular contributor to Amp Magazine. “Back in the old days we would block out about four to six months and we wouldn’t have any shows booked. Fat Wreck Chords would advance us the money against our royalties and we pay our rent, basically show up 9-5 every day in the practice room and work.
“Today, we’ve all got other jobs outside of the band that are our main source of keepin’ the lights on and so we had to be really judicious with our time and rehearsal schedules and everybody had to work that much harder to make sure that we were keeping our eyes on the prize.”
The creative process and scene changed during the band’s break, but, being a politically-driven force, the subjects have largely remained the same. “I wish I could say the world had evolved and that I’ve moved on, but it’s still the same old stuff. Social and political issues have always been a big part of what attracted me to punk in the first place and it keeps me in it. And so our songs, for the most part, still had to be reactions to what’s going on in the world, but also trying to find some kind of hope. And we’re trying to be a sort of instrument of change; if we can inspire people to think about it as well, I think it’s all for the good.
“I think a lot of the songs have to do with climate change generally. I believe the situation is dire and I believe that more people ought to think the same and have to think the same for the amount of change to occur in time to prevent a catastrophe.”
Peace In Our Time has again been released on Fat Wreck Chords, which has released records from fellow ‘90s-bred acts Strung Out, Lagwagon and more. “Our lives have changed and we’ve got different responsibilities but all of us are still feeling compelled to create new music and still have something to say. And Fat is still there to share it with the world. I think that is humbling. It’s like, everything is changed but suddenly it feels like nothing has changed.”

INTERVIEW: Bodyjar

Published in The Music (VIC) and on theMusic.com.au, Aug 2015

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Work And Play

Time and major lifestyle changes have given Bodyjar frontman Cameron Baines a different perspective on the past, present and future of the band. Daniel Cribb discovers How It Works in 2015.

A lot of bands seem to be digging up old records to re-release and play in full of late, and although Bodyjar’s 2000 album, How It Works, is still a fan favourite 15 years on, vocalist Cameron Baines says its success was somewhat unexpected, considering the angle they took when writing it. At a time when the punk rock scene largely revolved around fast beats, Bodyjar took a step back and brought something else to the table.

“It was a really, really melodic kind of rock album, you know?” Baines tells. “At the time, there was all these Epitaph and Fat Wreck bands that were just flat tack and we didn’t want to be another one of them. We thought it was really refreshing and was the best thing we could do to make it a bit different. And I guess for some people it wouldn’t have been heavy enough. I thought it was still real heavy, and it had heavy subject matter in the lyrics and heavy riffs, but it just wasn’t that fast; it just wasn’t that.”

It was also a time when the band — through innocence — didn’t subscribe to conventional songwriting structures. “We didn’t even give a fuck if two riffs were so different; we just put them next to each other and played just ’cause we could. You sort of don’t consider the rules as much when you’re younger. I think that’s what I’ve realised with learning all this old material; you discover what your frame of mind was at the time.”

The production of the album was also different to how the band operates today, especially when comparing the process involved in recording 2013’s Role Model, which came about after the band reformed in 2012 after taking a hiatus in 2009. Recording back in the day, before growing up, getting job and having kids, the studio was primarily a place to hangout rather than work. You might recall Bodyjar had to pullout of a NOFX show last November — that was because Baines’ partner went into labour. Things have definitely changed for the members of Bodyjar.

“Just listening to [How It Works] now — I was talking to Tom [Read, guitar] about it the other day — I can smell the studio, and the smell of weed in the air, and beer, and people — our friends there, who are fucked up. And there was always some crazy shit going on. I just got that vibe again. It’s awesome. But Role Model is so much more focused; we knew what we were doing. I reckon it’s our best album. We just didn’t want to have any of those weak moments. EvenHow It Works has got Good Enough that maybe shouldn’t have been on the album. How It Works was so produced. It was the first time we had major label money and we wanted ‘big’, American. We just had all this budget to spend, so we just thought, ‘Fuck it, let’s go with it. Let’s make it big.’ With Role Model, it was more focused — and more noisy, and a bit rough around the edges, like it should be.”

The good news for fans is Baines has already begun penning the band’s next LP and is taking into account the better aspects of both How It Works and Role Model, while also moving things in a new direction.

“I’ve been writing a fair bit lately. When I’m at home, I’m always trying to write new shit. I’ve a basement sort of studio and have just been demoing and flicking ideas around to everyone to see what they think. We might do, like, an EP at the end of the year, and then probably an album pretty soon into 2016, hopefully. I think that’s the basic plan. We have to get together now and chop them up and chop the fat out, try and keep the good stuff and all that. But yeah, basically it’s still punk rock, but it’s a bit more mature.”

INTERVIEW: Andy Fickman (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2)

Published on theMusic.com.au, Aug 2015

Gary Valentine, Ana Gasteyer, Kevin James and Director Andy Fickman on the set of Columbia Pictures' PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2.

Gary Valentine, Ana Gasteyer, Kevin James and Director Andy Fickman on the set of Columbia Pictures’ PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2.

The themes and depth of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 go further than you may think, as director Andy Fickman tells Daniel Cribb.

“Oh, that makes me very excited!” a loud and chirpy Andy Fickman begins after realising he’s on-call with Australia. His late father worked for Shell Oil and so Fickman spent a “tremendous” amount of his formative years in the country. “I grew up loving — aside from all the Mad Max movies — Peter Weir. He was just somebody who I was blown away by and I think Picnic At Hanging Rock haunted me so much and still does to this day.”

It was his father’s connection to Australia that put his love for film into overdrive and his own son that saw him decide to take on the roll of director for Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. “The original movie, my son and I saw together and we both just laughed and enjoyed the ridiculous nature of Paul Blart, and it was always a favourite movie of my son’s,” Fickman explains.

“When I was given the opportunity and I read the script, I thought it was a chance to kind of be a part of something that has a personal connection for my son and I.”

The storyline immediately caught Fickman’s attention, and it’s clear when watching the slapstick-oriented film where Fickman was drawing his directorial influences from. “The fact that this one was an art heist and in a beautiful resort, it felt very Pink Panther to me, so I think I was very interested in exploring that type of film.”

And explore that area they did indeed — just ask the old lady that gets slammed in the stomach by mall-cop Kevin James. “It was a lot of fun,” he laughs. “The minute we shot it I think we were all looking at each other thinking, ‘This’ll be one of those things where we’ll know in the first test screening that audiences love this or want to punch us.’ And you know, the sustained laughter and we were like, ‘I guess people enjoy punching the old lady.'”

James co-wrote the script, and you might think the fact that he wrote himself beating up an innocent old lady might make him a questionable human being, but Fickman suggests otherwise. “I was always a big fan of his but I’d never met him. And what’s great is that he’s not only an obviously very gifted comedic actor, but he’s just a great actor. And he’s very aware of his comedic sensibilities and he’s very aware of his emotional core. It was just a joy every day on set with him.”

Having directed family comedies She’s The Man and The Game Plan, Fickman taking over the reins from Steve Carr, who directed the first film, was seamless. “I really give credit to Kevin and Todd Garner [producer] for welcoming me and allowing me to put my handprints on it. When you come into a sequel, I think it can be a little scary because you’re the last person on the team and the team’s been winning, you want to make sure that you’re helping to continue the winning.”

INTERVIEW: Frank Turner

Published in The Music (VIC, NSW), X-Press Magazine (WA) and on theMusic.com.au, Aug 2015

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With his latest record, English troubadour Frank Turner went from fighting inner turmoil to literally going head-to-head with a pro wrestler. Daniel Cribb steps in the ring.

The title of Frank Turner’s sixth record, Positive Songs For Negative People, might seem like a scripture for fans down on their luck, but the record’s far from a mission statement to the lost and broken hearted. “I’m always slightly weary of music with a ‘Message’,” Turner begins. “If people take ideas and thoughts from the music I make, that’s great, but I’m not setting out to spread the good word; the songs that I write are directed at myself, and not too much anyone else.”

The singer-songwriter’s previous effort, Tape Deck Heart, dropped in 2013 and was  “a breakup record, and record about failure and fucking your life up”.

It was a vulnerable time in Turner’s life, and a back injury and run-in with the media compounded the themes throughout album number five. It was during that time that the new songs started to form. “All those things were survivable, and in those situations, you can either wallow in your misery, or you can do something about it. I had a bit of a wallow for a while, but decided that doing something about it was a bit of a better direction.”

The biggest battle Turner faced that year was when The Guardian ran an opinion piece in which they dug up comments he made in 2009 and labelled him right wing. “They tore my life apart for a period of time, so I think I’d be mad if I weren’t more weary of [the media] now. It’s also made me just utterly, utterly, thoroughly bored of any discussion of politics in a public forum; I’m not interested. The standard of debate is way too fucking low for me to be bothered to be interested in it.

People got fucked off a bit because I refused to toe the line, essentially, and subscribe to what the correct thing is, which to me doesn’t feel very punk, but that’s just my opinion. A lot of people these days are extremely bad at dealing with the concept of debut and opposing views, in a way that I find very depressing, but it’s not a fight that I’m interested in having anymore.”

A fight he was interested in – and one that effectively summarises the themes around Positive Songs For Negative People– was one with pro wrestler CM Punk in the music video for lead single The Next Storm. “It fucking terrified me, because wrestling is really not my scene,” he laughs. “The guy who directs my music videos found out that CM Punk was a fan and we just sort of got in touch.

“This was a record about gathering yourself and standing up after a fall. It’s an optimistic record, but not in a ‘don’t worry, be happy’ kind of way, kind of a ‘fight back, don’t let the fuckers drag you down’ way.”

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2015/08/07/frank-turner-daniel-cribb-1/

INTERVIEW: RTRFM’s Radiothon

Published on theMusic.com.au, Aug 2015

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RTRFM’s Radiothon kicks off this Saturday with a massive opening party. Daniel Cribb catches up with some of the station’s presenters to get the lowdown on all the action.

There’s been a lot of talk surrounding the state of the WA live music scene of late with a series of venues closing their doors over the past 12 months, but you needn’t look any further than RTRFM and their annual Radiothon to see that all is well on the Perth music landscape.

“It’s true that we’ve lost some venues lately, but I feel their absence will create space for growth and evolution of the Perth scene. The more people that make their pipe dreams a reality, the better,” says Siamese Dream presenter Jesse Yuen.

“As long as artists are passionate and they get involved in what they’re doing, the scene itself will be fine,” Poster presenter Adam Trainer chimes in. “Getting the music out to wider audiences is always the key to ensuring the sustainability, viability and hopefully also the expansion of the music scene.”

And that’s exactly where RTRFM comes into the equation. Jade Nobbs, who oversees the El Ritmo, Soulsides and Golden Apples programs, says many of the presenters at the station often shape their own personal record collections based on the shows they host, which, as you can imagine, consumes a large amount of time and money. “[Radiothon] is the one time of year when listeners have the chance to show their support for the constant labour of love that RTR presenters pour into their shows, week after week. It’s important, because it lets us know that the hard work we do — generally for free — is valued by the community,” Nobbs explains.

“RTR provides a space and a vision for the nourishment and nurturing of local musical talent, and this means not only bands, but also DJs, broadcasters and persons of substantial musical taste.”

The community station relies heavily on funds raised during its annual Radiothon to stay afloat and continually bring WA punters some of the best local music the state has to offer. In recent months, RTRFM has diversified its presence, dishing out visually appealing live videos under the title The View From Here, which sees a new band pop by each month to deliver a stripped-back performance of a couple of tunes.

The View From Here series showcases a diverse mix of bands and reinforces the station’s stance on covering all bases. “Without RTRFM, tonnes of talented, up ‘n’ coming local artists would lose the chance to break into the music industry,” Cloudwaves host Dani Marsland explains. “Without RTRFM, tonnes of bands that are now touring Australia, and the world, may never have made it to our ears. I also just enjoy the fact that if you love any kind of left-field, non-commercial music — be it club, bands or electronic — you can find a family to share that love and fully support your passion in sharing it with others, at RTRFM.”

“There’s simply nowhere else, either in traditional broadcasting or online, where you will hear as much local music being played, local gigs being talked about and the local community being celebrated,” adds Trainer.

“One of the things I love about WA music is the fact that whether or not artists follow a current trend, dedicate themselves to an established style or try to break the mould, the music always seems to be coming from a genuine place. That’s the only trend worth following.”

Radiothon aims to up the number of subscribers the station has, but even just attending the opening party goes a long way by not only showing your support for the work the station does, but also the live music and the bands that make it happen.

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2015/08/14/rtrfm-radiothon-daniel-cribb/

Show Review: Good Riddance 12.08.15

Published on theMusic.com.au, Aug 2015

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Pic by Daniel Cribb

Infusing pop-punk riffs and rock melodies, Californian outfit Versus The World are a band that formed ten years too late.

Their songwriting and performance rivalled some of the best artists in the genre, but they exist in era where the Fat Wreck community in which the headline act lives largely isn’t looking to invest the time to make a lasting emotional connection. The result is a band doing it for no other reason than a love of the music, and it showed. As the band spun hits off their latest album, Homesick/Roadsick— guitar parts dancing around the room to upbeat bass, drums and vocals — punters were transported to a simpler time and were more than warmed up for the main event.

Harmonica and classical guitar floated out on a bed of bass for Good Riddance‘s intro, and the band let the feedback roar before hardcore-punk anthem 30 Day Wonder saw frontman Russ Rankin gravitate to the stage. Instant comradery seized the room and everyone was united as the Santa Cruz band dished out the perfect blend of punk and hardcore. It was hard to believe it was only their second time in Perth. Relentless, tight punk drums and trashy guitar with punk rock vocals sung with a gritty edge were the perfect recipe for an instantly engaging and captivating live band. Through all the musical chaos and crowd interaction, the political themes that imbue Rankin’s lyrics shone bright, making them all the more powerful and inspiring.

It wasn’t all balls-to-the-wall ’90s skate-punk, though, and the more rhythmic hits, such as Darkest Days, gave the set refreshing diversity. “Where’s the fucking money, Keith?” a punter yelled between songs, quoting a sample from the band’s 1999 record Operation Phoenix. “That’s either impressive or kind of scary,” Rankin laughed. The jokes continued: “So what’s been happening since the last time we were here?” A long pause was ended by the frontman casually dropping the name of the Prime Minister: two words that incite shame among many at a punk show.

Instant pop-punk classic, 1995’s Mother Superior, proved that even though Good Riddance broke up in 2007 for several years, the fans didn’t stop listening for a second, a fact reinforced by the response from this year’s Half Measures single, off the band’s April release, Peace In Our Time. It may have been the final show of this tour and a Wednesday night at that, but that didn’t stop what some would dub the best punk rock show of the year from unfolding.

http://themusic.com.au/music/livereviews/2015/08/13/good-riddance-amplifier-bar-daniel-cribb/