Tag Archives: Inland Sea

Fourth Re-Mains album, Inland Sea, finally complete

In cahoots with our producer and sometime guitar-slinger Christian ‘Scales are for Fish’ Pyle (aka C.P.), we’ve just mastered 13 tracks for the long-awaited, much-belated and very nearly evaporated new album, Inland Sea.

It’s been three years since Love’s Last Stand, also produced by CP, was released, and in the interim Leigh Ivin left the band, Dave Ramsey joined it and was promptly almost killed by an errant outback cow, Grant Bedford also retired, hurt, and a string of other great players had a crack at country rock and roll. We toured Canada twice, played over 200 shows in both countries and released an earlier, Canadian version of Inland Sea there. But here, finally, is a collection of songs, some old now, some written in Canada, Lismore and various other timeless states.

It’s got a different vibe to the other records, there are a lot of players’ signature sounds on it – from Phil Daniel’s keys and occasional banjo, Bryson Mullholland’s eerie throat and Hammond flourishes, Scotty Dog Bennett’s righteous drum pounding, CP’s menacing guitar lines, Grant Bedford’s pre-smash drumming and Tom Jones Junior’s post-Stax bass barrages to the unmistakeable imprint of original country rock and roll banjo pioneer Shaun ‘Uncle Burnin’ Love’ Butcher’s gittar and banjo ministrations.

Inland Sea refers to the mythical body of water deep in the interior to which our convict ancestors fled, convinced that there they’d find wealth, rum and happiness – not an entirely different set of delusions to the modern country rock and roll model.

As such the songs are mostly road narratives sweated out in semi-delerium – Othello’s P-76, a haunted dirge in the wake of John Howard’s ugly reign, or This Could Be Anywhere, a ballad for the lost, somewhere in the boundless depths of Canada, or is it Grafton, NSW? Pumulwuy is the story of Australia’s indigenous Che Guevara, concerning the black leader who successfully fought the British for 15 years before treachery and lesser men brought him down. 2nd Century plots a trans-continental love affair while Left on King laments the glory days of inner-city rock. Praise Be to the Rooster follows the fallen into hallucinatory hell in a wintry rural desolation. Copper City Motel is a rock and roll explosion in the grand tradition of Gold Wig and Bye Bye Byron Bay. The dark underbelly of Nimbin rolls, bloated, to the surface in Who Shot Johnny D? and finally, we cheer up in Darn Tootin’ in Saskatchewan. There’s more riotous carry-on in Tequila and Methadone, Lismore’s white-trash anthem, and a cheery litany of country-style loss and regret in Woke Up Sad, while Your Reward stomps on iridescent adolescents and Things I Remember, Things I Forget toasts the joy of selective amnesia.

I love it. CP’s knack for unique sounds and textures has separated it from previous recordings but kept it unmistakeably in country rock and roll territory. There’s enough banjo and bare-knuckle guitar here to soothe the savage beast, but more space and time.

The prodigious procession of players created some confusion and chaos in their wake but ultimately, contributed to a fecund and edgy record. It’s dark and spooky but often sublime.

We’re releasing it at a number of venues across the country, in a more leisurely and protracted series of tours than the usual Re-Mains road onslaughts. CP is coming on the road with us for extra grunt and cynicism.

The first of these is on May 22nd at The Grand Junction Hotel in Maitland, just about our favourite pub in Australia. Home to rock-pigs, cowgirls, bullshitters, serial twitters, ladies choirs, truckies, bikers and seldom-pikers, this is one of the last bastions of the old school, low maintenance, high fidelity country rock and roll lifestyle. Room 19 is a portal into another dimension and many have taken it.

Sunday May 23 we revisit a Sydney institution – the Botany View Hotel. Our shows here are always packed, stacked and never lacking incident.

June 18 is our North Coast launch at Federal Hall. A beautiful building across the road from my old house, this place was overflowing into the street and down the road last time we played here – mind you, Tex Perkins was also on the bill. CP’s band is playing with us, as well as Doug Lord with Till The Cops Come – probably a self-fulfilling prophecy.

On the 19th we roll down to Yamba to play the footy club there. Our mate Dave always puts on an unholy bash.

Melbourne, Bourke, Cobar and Nymagee dates are in the offing, as well as a possible jaunt to Darwin, where we haven’t been since the Meat Tray incident of 2007.

Pretty soon Inland Sea is going to be available for order from the website or iTunes, just as soon as we get it set up. Meanwhile we hope you’ll turn up to shows and buy one offstage, where Tom Jones will be happy to sign it in exchange for beer.

The Re-Mains press release and bio for Inland Sea album launch

The Re-mains fourth album, Inland Sea, might have taken them three years to get out, but it hasn’t been for want of action. Since Love’s Last Stand, their 2006 live album   earned four stars from Rolling Stone, they’ve had a near fatal mash-up with a cow in the Northern Territory, two massive Canadian tours and enough line-up changes to put the Melbourne Hit Men Association to shame.

“We started recording early in 2007, then went on tour to the Territory and had the ‘meat tray’ incident,” says frontman/manager Mick Daley.

“Grunter Bedford and Ramshackle Dave Ramsey were horribly maimed and out of action after that. It took a while to get back into gear. Me and Tom Jones Jnr (bassplayer) were kind of freewheelin’ around with different line-ups, including Louis Tillet on piano one New Years Eve in Maitland, till Shaun (Uncle Burnin’ Love) Butcher came back from winning his bout with cancer, and took up the banjo again.”

Revitalised, the band did some more recording, at Christian Pyle’s Lot 61 Studios in Goonengerry, in the Byron Bay hinterland. Then they hightailed it to Canada in ‘08, for en epic four-month tour involving an $800 Chevy van, 16,000 kilometres, nationally broadcast breakfast TV and 65 shows from Vancouver to Toronto and back again. The rest of that year was spent back on the road in Australia, then in 2009 they did it all again, clocking up another 18,000 k’s and adding a circumnavigation of the Rockies with Canadian outlaw folkie Dr Joey Only to their carbon footprint.

Back in Australia, they finished the album, at last, and set about getting it out themselves, following the demise of their label, Croxton Records. They were rescued by Austrade, which awarded them an export development grant, in the nick of time to salvage their debts – and pay Christian Pyle.

Daley has high praise for Pyle, who had his own winning bout with the big C whilst engineering and playing on the album, twice.

“CP is a genius. He takes my rambling ballads and crafts them into … well, something else, something a lot more considered and refined. He also plays a mean guitar, invents most of his gear from scratch and laughs at conventional wisdom, about scales, recording, everything really.”

“We had a Canadian version of this album first. Then when we came back, I asked him to do it all over again, ‘cos I wanted different songs on the Australian version. It’s lucky we’re mates, I’ve seen him, er, react differently to similar requests.”

It’s more produced than previous albums, which were basically tracked live, to get the bands edgy attack authentically.

“This one has the same energy, but more overdubbing and fairy dust. It’s a big sound, a dash of 3D.

“It’s got road songs from Canada and more laments about lost love and loneliness, as well as my favourite, an epic about Pumulwuy, the great Koori warrior, and Who Shot Johnny D? a murder ballad from Nimbin.”

This winter the band is taking Inland Sea on the road south and west, way west.

Well Melbourne and Sydney and Darwin of course,” Daley says. “Then we’re headed out to Bourke, via Brewarrina, Cobar, Coonamble, back where it all started.”

The Re-Mains were renowned as the hardest driving independent band in the country when they first started their country rock and roll crusade in 2002. They boasted that they’d played more rodeos, outback dives and inner city hellholes than any other band in Australia. Splendour in the Grass, Six Tamworth Country Music Festivals, five East Coast Blues and Roots, three Darwin Festivals, Woodford Folk, Nymagee Outback fest, Nimbin Mardi Grass, (see sizzle sheet) and every other bush bash they could reach. Four albums, two EPs and more drummers than Spinal Tap. Banjos, pedal steel and balls to the wall country rock and roll.

They travelled where most East Coast outfits feared to tread, to the wildest outback pubs, where it was not uncommon to see heads go through plate glass windows while they played.

“There’s nothing like the sound of a banjo at full throttle to get some of those country blokes revved for a blue. And even the 3am emos at the Pony in Melbourne warm to it after a few songs.”

Their Canadian tours included shows at NXNE, NewMusic West, the Calgary Stampede and nine other national festivals, their compilation album reached Number 13 on the Alberta CBC radio charts and they appeared twice on breakfast TV. But they reserve their highest praise for Curtis, their Chevy conversion van.

‘$800 in Vancouver, we jumped in, drove him straight over the Rockies. He threw a starter motor in Calgary and lost his exhaust early, so everywhere we went we sounded like a Panzer battalion on the attack. We scared bears all over Canada. But that van kept going, two tours in Canada and we left him in Vancouver with Dr Joey Only, who killed him in a week.”

With the aid of Austrade they’re returning to Canada next year – meanwhile this year it’s all about the Inland Sea – and avoiding cows.

The Re-Mains are –

Mick Daley – management, songwriting, guitars, harmonica, singing.

Shaun Butcher – songwriting, banjo, electric guitars, singing.

Tom Jones – bass

Al Fisk – drums, singing.

And occasionally, Christian Pyle – electric guitars.

The Re-Mains at Australian festivals;

Splendour in the Grass (‘03), East Coast Blues and Roots, (x5) Tamworth Country Music Festival (x7), Woodford Folk Festival (‘04), Darwin Festival (x3), St Kilda Festival (‘04), Big Note Festival, Swan Hill (x2), Mullumbimby Festival (‘02) The Herb Festival, Lismore (x2), Brisbane Beer Festival (‘04), Barkly Arts Festival, NT (’05), Surfing the Coldstream, Yamba (x2), Casino Beef Week (x3), Two Rivers Festival, Gunnedah (‘05), Mt Isa Rodeo (‘04), Litchfield Rodeo (‘06), Gold Coast Rodeo (‘07), The Puppet Rodeo, Kyogle (‘06), Gove Peninsula Festival NT, (‘06),  Wagga Wagga Unsound Festival (‘05), The Gumball, Hunter Valley (x2), Candelo Festival (‘07), Wallaby Creek Festival, FNQ (’05), Yagubi Festival, Hervey Bay (‘05), The Mad Hatter Regatta, Albury (‘05), Blues and Tattoos Bike Show, Maitland (‘06), Kingaroy Peanut Festival (‘06), Long Flat Bike Rally (‘05) Big Sunday, Tyalgum (‘07), Mazstock, Lismore (’07) Yackandandah Folk Festival (‘10), Cool Summer Festival, Mt Hotham (‘10).

The Re-Mains at Canadian Festivals;

North by North East, Toronto (‘08), New Music West, Vancouver (‘08), Big Valley Jamboree, Alberta (‘08), Ness Creek Festival, Saskatchewan (‘08, ‘09), North Country Fair, Alberta (‘08), Gateway Festival, Sask (‘08), Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival, BC (‘08), Winlaw Music Festival, BC (‘09), Kitchener Blues Festival, Ontario (‘09),  Sled Island, Alberta (‘09).

Recipients of two Australia Council touring grants and an

Austrade Export Development Grant – current for seven years.