If you grew up in Australia in the mid-late 90's and liked any form of alternative music, chances are you either saw Frenzal Rhomb, or had their albums. To myself (and many) they are the quintessential Aussie punk band. Their 1997 album, "Meet The Family", is probably my favourite Australian album released of any genre ("Sirocco" by Australian Crawl is a close second) and at 22 years old, the album still holds up. Lindsay McDougall is Frenzal's resident plank-twanger and probably one of the reasons many young people picked up a guitar and started a punk band in Australia. As well as that, he's a radio host / animal rights activist / all round great dude who also happens to play in Me First & The Gimme Gimme's who'll be touring Europe in June this year. If you see him, say G'Day. He gets six questions, just because.
1. Is there a song or band that made you realise that music was your calling?
Yeah, but it's not punk. It'd be grunge. Pearl Jam to be specific. I was in year 9 when I started learning guitar in 1992, just after Pearl Jam had released their debut album Ten. I was a young, white, middle class teenager growing up in a fairly comfortable suburb, so obviously I was full of teen angst. And Pearl Jam songs were easy to play! Couple of riffs, some chords, a flannelette shirt, and then guitar solos for days. All while staring at your feet and singing/whining like a beached seal. It was the perfect form of music for a budding guitarist. Incidentally, that fortunate upbringing was the perfect breeding ground for punk as well.
2. What Frenzal Rhomb release are you a) most proud of? AND b) most ashamed of? Why?
a) Definitely our last one, Hi-Viz High Tea. It sounds so good! The people at The Blasting Room are so good at taking our dumb ideas and turning them into rad songs, and since I'd quit my radio job a year before we recorded, I had time to actually write songs that didn't suck. Jason continued to write songs that didn't suck too so that helped. It's not as full-on as the record before, but it's got enough riffs and laughs and nonsense, it's great to listen to. Not that I've listened to it in a while.
b) Shut Your Mouth. No, the album, that wasn't a request. The album sucks, we were either dying (jason) or drunk (me and gordy) or about to be kicked out of the band (the other guy) and we didn't write very good songs. Also the producer was a cockhead and also had no idea how to make fast songs sound good, or guitars sound tough. The record label told the band who he recorded before us to lie to us about how good he was. Anyway, it was a good lesson learned, and a shit album recorded.
3. What is one artist or band that you think deserves more attention?
I really fucken love Cash Savage and the Last Drinks' last album, Good Citizens. It's got great Patti Smith/Nick Cave vibes and some real hard-hitting slower songs, plus some rad guitar and violin bits. Cash's lyrics can be fucken crushingly great too.
4. Do you remember the first album you bought?
Yeah, it was Max Q, the electronic side project for Michael Hutchence from INXS. It was pretty good but not as good as INXS. I think I had a record shop voucher and had to choose between Max Q and B-52s. I would prefer B-52s now.
5. Is there an album you want on vinyl but are having trouble finding? Your "White Whale"?
Probably some of the older This Is Serious Mum records. They were an amazing fucked-up Australian band from the 80s and 90s, they all wore balaclavas and had a brutally hilarious live show, they'd do things like host a wedding reception, church service, or log a forest (with real chainsaws) behind them on stage every night. Their earlier releases like Form And Meaning Reach Ultimate Communion, or their Defecate On My Face 7” in a 12” sleeve, sealed on all sides, are as rare as hen's balls these days.
6. Is Def Leppard's "Photograph" the best song ever written? If you disagree, what song would you pick?
It's the best song called “Photograph” ever written (Sorry Nickelback/Ed Sheeran). The best Def Leppard song is objectively “Love Bites”, and when you play it acoustically, if you drop it down 6 or 7 whole tones it can be sung by a normal human adult male. (But let's be honest, there's as much real singing happening at a Def Leppard gig these days as there is at a Milli Vanilli or Amity Affliction gig).