Tag Archives: The Re-Mains

A potted history of Mazstock

A potted history of Mazstock*

*may not be factually accurate

mazsidey

My recollections of the inaugural Mazstock are hazy at best. It was held at the fabulous Winsome Hotel in the heyday of Maz’s reign there, an impossibly debauched and gloriously fun era that would have made the Swinging Sixties, the Fabulous Thirties and the Nihilistic Nineties look like a tea party in Fred Nile’s drawing room.

That was some serious rock action. If Iggy Pop had burst in wielding his favourite stage prop he would have had to sit down for a minute to take it all in. Ok, maybe I’m getting a bit carried away now, but touring bands did love to play the Winsome.

Maz always looked after them sumptuously. Her devotion to rock and roll has been a mainstay of music in Lismore for a long time, and without the Winsome flying the flag in those days there wasn’t much else around. Maz’s dedication to keeping music ablaze and relevant in the midst of her own furious political life has been a beacon for rockers on the East Coast.

Bands got paid to play, even if it was on a Tuesday night performing to the Slate-Fancier and whoever was tending the bar. They got put up in luxurious rooms, fed and watered in all kindsa ways. There were all kinds of fringe-dwellers to marvel at, as they interrupted proceedings with lunatic intensity to berate or assault the punters with an assortment of props from druidic staffs to occasional full nudity.

The PA was great and when occasionally some of Lismore’s rock fanciers did saunter in for a look there was always a full-tilt show on.

Not that they weren’t occasionally well attended. Dave Graney, The New Christs, Hey Rosetta (Canada), all had smashing crowds and the after parties were always wild, and long. When Mazstock became a thing in 2009, the Winsome was the perfect venue.

People flocked in from Bellingen, from Brisbane, from Broadbeach, anywhere that started with a B, even Nimbin. The front bar hadn’t been so crowded since Mick Elliott wearing his favourite Davy Crockett hat tried to marry all the bar staff in one night.

Black Ghost Party, The Tendons, Slug, Antibodies, Manifest and The Re-mains got that ball rolling.

There was the great Brut 66 from Bello, an old school rock and roll band that were as much about the Flamin’ Groovies as they were Television. Their set featured Pete Bufo’s psychedelic performance piece, whereby he crouched tuning his guitar for a good twenty minutes, whilst we sat silently, stunned by his insouciance. Till suddenly everyone burst out laughing and eventually, the band resumed as if nothing had happened.

That gig also starred Nimbin’s Antibodies, who are the only mob to have played every Mazstock since with their incendiary show, Ritchie out front whirling and yelping political firebombs.

Local outfits such as the invincible hard rock Claymores, Slug and Tesla Coil have also been longtime Mazstock stalwarts, while the mercurial Blurter rear their ugly heads now and then to keep things on the level.

That was the beginning of a beautiful partnership between Maz, Sideshow and the rock and roll community of the east Coast. They’ve established a hard won tradition of impeccable taste and rock majesty that’s reverberated across the shrinking cultural tapestry of this Tory-terrorised, art, music and literature-hating wilderness. In defiance of the socio-economic malaise, over the years a succession of superb bands have made their pilgrimage to Lismore to pay homage at the court of Mazstock.

2010 saw The New Christs and Celibate Rifles headline a frantic fixture, with the likes of Pineapples from the Dawn of Time, Blurter and Lennox Head’s immortal Boozehag keeping the engines at full throttle.

Later Mazstocks happened at Lismore’s Italo Club, where in 2011 in the big ballroom the likes of Kim Salmon ripped it up on the big stage, while on the smaller stage Screamin’ Stevie, draped in an Australian flag set about restoring our pride in the nation that brought us Abbott. Elsewhere Leadfinger, The New Christs and Six Ft Hick slugged it out with Slug and a horde of other great acts. Representing the roughneck bush-rockin element, Den Hanrahan and the Roadsiders put in a boisterous showing.

As an impresario, Sideshow has been without comparison in the Northern Rivers and it was here that he was really able to turn it on, with big PAs and stages and an audience that was slavering for rocking good times without stint.

Three stages and a multitude of bands is a broad palette to work with and Sidey, in his element, sleepless, occasionally feisty and never without a comeback, was born to rule in this environment. He also doubled down as bassplayer in the Re-mains on that occasion and pulled the job off with aplomb.

The Re-mains set got off to a roaring start with hula hoop dancers and Uncle Burnin’ Love the Banjo King vying for the spotlight. UBL had had drink taken and bemused by the bright lights and high fidelity PA, enacted a rage-filled turn before heaving his banjo across the stage. When his electric guitar also declined to satisfy his requirements, that too was ejected with great velocity and he stormed off to the bar.

Undeterred, the band dug into that big PA sound, and played what was for me one of our best shows ever.

That Mazstock saw the historic deployment of Hits, a devastatingly good rock band who have gone on to cult status after their relentless domination of Australia’s rock scene. With two undaunted women on guitars and a ferocious if diminutive frontman, they’ve gone on to conquer Europe and inevitably, the USA.

In 2012 Gravel Samwidge came down all the way from Townsville to christen the Lismore Uni Bar as part of a stellar bill also featuring a resurgent X and once again, the mighty Hits. Other highlights of that year were Substation and Thundergods of the Multiverse.

More recent Mazstocks have employed the Lismore Bowlo to devastating effect, with the overworked Sideshow bowing out for a couple of years while the entrepreneurial James Doyle flexed his fledgling promoters wings. With his own band Raygun Mortlock tying down a solid roster of local acts, 2013 saw the return of Leadfinger.

In 2014 Six Ft Hick, Substation, Hell Crab City and Sideshow’s own band Birdbrain held the fort, while Hits hung in despite the siren song of stardom screeching in their ears.

Then in 2015 Mazstock returned to the Italo Club with a roar, inducting Sydney’s bellicose Front End Loader into the Mazstock community. Ably assisted by punk rockers Dunhill Blues and the perverted maunderings of Blurter, among a huge cast, they helped keep the doldrums of Abbott’s brief regime at bay.

The 2016 event looks set to be a return to the mythical Mazstocks of yore, with 13 bands across two stages, back at the palatial Italo Club. Sideshow has come out of semi-retirement to oversee this daunting logistical feat while Maz is curating a dazzling lineup and and feverishly hunting for the perfect frock/catsuit in which to adjudicate proceedings like a great purring, whip-wielding dominatrix.

With a focus on women in rock, four great chick-rock outfits have answered the call. Lismore’s very own howling viragos, the Callachor sisters are fronting Spanx in their first Mazstock and with members of Antibodies and Bombed Alaskans backing them up, they’re bound for certain rock glory.

Brisbane is sending down two femme fronted outfits in the Dirty Liars and Marville, both raucous and racy ensembles by reputation.

Hot Sweets are fronted by the rambunctious Carrie Phyllis fresh from a support with Cherie Currie (voice of the Runaways) they’ll be in red hot form. The band boasts two members of Leadfinger who are also making the long drive up to play their fourth(?) Mazstock with their characteristically bittersweet rock and roll demeanour, located somewhere between Wilco, Big Star and the Ted Mulry Gang.

I’ve snagged three members of that brilliant outfit for my own Mick Daley’s Corporate Raiders, otherwise known as Leadfinger Lite, playing our first Mazstock.

Headliners this year are Bunt, another Brisbane mob with massive punk rock credentials, big in Japan, soon to be bigger in Lismore.

Forever Since Breakfast come back for their second bite at the cherry. This supergroup are prolific songwriters and combine years of rock experience with sizzling guitar chops. Also highly touted are Loose Pills, Sydney’s answer to Cheap Trick.

Maz is having conniptions as the big day approaches and there are not enough hours to spin vinyl while excoriating Tories and tyrannical landlords. But as the memories of bygone Mazstocks fade and new ones flare briefly, rock music will be the undisputed champ.

And in a world where Playstations and porn have become the weapons of choice for many of the front-line generations, it’s a great relief to see the formidable team of Maz and Sidey once more allying to revive the dormant beast of rock in its purest form. I for one am not planning any yoga or pilates anywhere before, say, at least 10am the following day.

 

Rock promoter pops the gas bubble

Nick Hanlon had already lived several lives when she decided to take on gas miners through the power of music. The fearless promoter of the hugely successful Rock the Gate and protest camp Pop-Up concerts grew up singing and acting and, having trained as an opera soprano, won Sydney Eisteddford singing in Gaelic. Continue reading Rock promoter pops the gas bubble

Northern Star Column, 20/5/2010

New album finally to hand and on the weekend The Re-mains decamp to The Junkyard in Maitland and The Botany View in Newtown to flog it. It’s only taken three years and more line-up changes than the Melbourne Hit Men’s Association to finish this one. We’re going head to head with Jackie Marshall in Newtown, where just up the road she’s launching her new record as well. It’s going to be interesting to see how we go in the new all-digital environment where everybody downloads and an analogue product is allegedly a thing of the past.

I know you North coast Luddites are all desperate to hear it, so I’ll be bringing it along to Nimbin Pub tonight where Grandson, the new duo with myself and Uncle Burnin’ Love is making its debut. You may have to make an appointment however.

Meanwhile it appears that someone with either an agenda or a morbid fetish for Mazstock is systematically tearing down posters for this esteemed event as fast as promoter Sideshow Bridge can get ‘em up. Perhaps they’re selling well on the black market.

Christian Pyle, ‘Nothing Left to Burn’ album review

Christian Pyle, the North Coast’s most respected, irreverent and unconventional songwriter and producer, releases his new album, Nothing Left to Burn at the Buddha Bar on June 12th, supported by M Jack Bee and Sara Tindley.

It’s a vibrant, intelligent album bristling with verve, paranoia, anger and joy. Not for the faint-hearted, this oughta be the gig of the year.

Continue reading Christian Pyle, ‘Nothing Left to Burn’ album review

The year that iswas

Winter has not been a feature of my life for some years, in fact almost since the inception of The Re-mains we’ve found cause to be largely absent from it, whether in the Northern Territory, far north Queensland or Canada. But this year, as the band takes a hiatus from touring and I’m at Uni, here we are. Freezing….. We’ve launched the new album, Inland Sea in Maitland, Sydney, Yamba and Federal and next weekend, in Lennox Head and Nymboida. It’s selling well and getting radio play at various places….. The band is an eclectic beast, as always. With Shaun in semi-retirement, Tom Jones wintering in Darwin, Al Fisk tinkering in Sydney, CP (Christian Pyle) reprising his role on guitar and Darren Bridge the new bassplayer, it’s all new sets and relocating the sound….. Last weekend we played Lennox Head, Nymboida and a party near Alstonville. The band was in furious form and still recovering. Saturday night I’m playing solo at the Tatts in Lismore, opening for a band called the Little Stevies who are apparently making waves in the folk scene. In August I’m going south, to Goologong, where my mate Balfe aka Mush aka Craig Lawler (see his review of Inland Sea) and his beau, Josephine live, to rendezvous with the Lonely Horse Band for a week of songwriting on the ever contentious and lively issue of bushrangers, of which there are the ghosts and legacy of plenty in that region. August sees The Thoughtful Hussars return into action on the 26th, charging like the Light Brigade into the Gollan Hotel, where, supported by Captain Freedom, we’ll be playing a few new tunes and anticipating Dylanfest with a few run-throughs. On the 28th, The Re-Mains play in Brissie at The Old Museum, a venerable venue managed by the manager of Bang Bang Boss Kelly, a banjo-swinging mob from that part of the world who are launching an album of their own. …. In September a long awaited return to Darwin looks likely, with the return of Leigh Ivin to the band. We’ve been in discussion for a while about the possibility of recording some of the vast back catalogue of unrecorded country rock and roll classics (well, they’re classic to us – Country Rock and Roll is Number One, Coalface Annie, Sharks, Return to Lizard County, Beef Week Queen, Same Road … the list is exhaustive), and playing some reunion shows, culminating in a short stint at Tamworth Country Music Festival next year. A Darwin/NT run will be the first of these – looks like an interesting time. In October I’m playing Dylanfest at Coraki Hotel. Part of Darren Bridge’s growing musical empire, Dylanfest will be a celebration of the works of the great man (Dylan, not Bridge) by a variety of local and visiting outfits including Mick Hart, the man whose constant circumnavigations of the globe resemble those of Bob himself – and Hart did in fact support Dylan on one European leg of his never-ending tour a few years back….. The band I’m putting together for this festival will be known as The Antiquarian Filibuster and will feature the aforesaid impresario Darren Bridge on bass guitar, and on loan from Invisible Friend, Brendan Drinkwater on drums and Michael ‘Whitey’ White on electric piano and organ. …. I’m stoked to have this all-star lineup, as I’m really quite chuffed to be able to play a full set of Dylan songs at a proper festival. Dylan was personally responsible for lodging in my head the notion that I too, could write surreal and stream-of-consciousness narratives, whack a guitar and tootle on a harmonica and get paid for it and I’m returning the favour with renditions of Idiot Wind, Tangled Up in Blue, Jokerman, Sweetheart Like You, Just Like A Woman, I Want You, Lay Lady Lay, Mozambique, Oh Sister and possibly Series of Dreams….. This will be part of a busy month in which I am also supposed to be completing my thesis for Honours in Media. At the start of the month I’m playing Gibbostock in Nundle, a celebration of another great and strange man, Gibbo. That’s on the 2nd. These events are usually recreations of Nymagee Outback Music Festival in miniature, only with freezing cold instead of blinding heat as the central theme….. ON the 24th The Re-Mains, or a version of the band, will be playing Big Sunday at Tyalgum, in cahoots with Gleny Rae Virus and Den Hanrahan. These shows will also possibly feature the return of Leigh Ivin….. In November we’re on the bill of a small festival in Nymboida, again at the Coaching Station, owned by one Russell Crowe. His Museum of Interesting Things, on the site of this venerable building, holds a number of interesting props from such movies as Gladiator, Romper Stomper and Robin Hood, not to mention some of Johnny Cash’s gold records….. Later that month we’re also part of a bill at a big charity do at Lismore Turf Club at which The Hoodoo Gurus are allegedly also appearing. Stay tuned for more CRnR action.

Craig Lawler’s review of Inland Sea – The Re-Mains new album

Praise be to the Rooster – An insider’s review of Inland Sea

There’s a bit in Pumulwuy where the Re-mains stop channelling Hunters and Collectors for a moment and the weight drops – Silence. It’s like aspirin. Finally, the Re-Mains have discovered dynamics. Producer and guitar-slinger Christian Pyle evidently understands the power of both silence and cacophony.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this band, I’ve been to the coalface many times with them, Bourke, Gooloogong, Melbourne, Maitland, Moree – I’ve driven hundreds of ks on dirt roads just to see them live, we’ve got history. I used to share a house in Marrickville with Mick, I went to Uni with him in Canberra in the 80s, I knew him when he was a skinny Albury cracker listening to Chris Rea for fuck’s sake. I reckon, I’ve probably been to more Re-Mains gigs in more places than anyone bar Mick, Uncle Shaun or the Owl.  But I rarely listen to their records.

I remember the conversation Mick and I had before he headed to Europe for the last time, the gist of that conversation?: get back, commit to music full-time, form a country rock and roll band and tour, tour, tour until something is built. That’s ten years ago and he’s been good to his word but what has been built? A consistently cracking live band that channels Creedence, Bob Dylan, WPA and the Bad Livers, which makes people from Saskatoon to Coonamble dance and drink too much, endless and indefatigable touring and a serious casualty list of crippled champions, line-up changes and ruined vehicles.

On record though?  Too much emphasis on trying to capture the undeniable wallop of the live arena and less on allowing a full expression of the band’s talents.  Records were something you got together in between tours to sell on tour, for someone who saw them live so often they were kind of superfluous – until now. This record’s been four years in making, not that they’ve been louching around Nellcote jamming and having orgies (much as they’d like to), but they’ve taken their time about it and it shows.

As you might have heard, there’s been a few hurdles: in 2007 a steer walked out in front of their van in the NT (home of no speed limits and no fences), Various bones and the steering column snap, the van careers off the road coming to rest between  two huge boulders, Grant and Dave are still severely injured. Uncle Shaun got Cancer with a capital C but he’s back and firing. Mick and fellow Re-Mains founder steel-guitarist Leigh Ivin’s fractious relationship burst, as did that with Leigh’s replacement Mick Elliott. Two northern Summer tours of Canada saw new horizons conquered and a now collectible early draft version of this record, featuring Mick Elliott’s guitar work, released.

Through all of that, this record lurked, like the band, like Rutger Hauer in The Hitcher, It would not fucking die. IT LIVES.

Track by track:

2nd Century – Hola Beatriz. An ode to the end of the doomed relationship between an Albury boy and a great Galician beauty, Beatriz Villares de Cuba. Beti lived with us in Marrickville where we would infuriate her with incomprehensible conversations in deep strine which she could not ken despite being a professional translator of English: “You stupid farmer Mick, you cannot even speak English, what is this Mull Bowl?”

Your Reward – Setting the tone of measured yet mobile sonic adventure, this one floods into your loungeroom like sunlight through the a gap in the curtains, you can see the dust suspended. It swings, it floats, it’s ruffled by a breeze, it lands. Tom Jones deftly underpins it all with trademark swagger.

Copper City Motel – Doctor Pump once wrote me a letter about his first trip to Mount Isa (1982?) with his covers band The Avengers. It involved Medi-slims, Flagons and riding Mad-Max-style on the Bullbar of the truck hooting at passers-by (mostly cattle). Not much has changed in the Isa. Every band in Australia wishes they wrote this song: “we don’t play no Copperhead Road” indeed. This song also chronicles the meeting of the Re-Mains and last-man standing tent-boxing operator Fred Brophy. Talk about simpatico – beating the drum, dealing with rough-necks, keeping shit on the road, trying to entertain. Fred hits the outback demographic square on the chin, the Re-mains try and draw them into a clinch and sneak in a few crafty rabbit punches coupled with the occasional flashy bolo.

Things I Remember, Things I Forget – It’s a slow-building waltz and Daley eschews the literal and drops his generally taciturn emotional guard.  “I’m a stranger, stranger in my own country, I’m a witness to death, and to deceit, and I’m a patriot …” An equivocal yet clear-eyed constitutional pre-amble if I ever heard one.

Pumulwuy –  conjuring both Tony Joe White and Hunters and Collectors, this is a belter. The great Eora guerilla gets a righteous tribute with a thumping bassline and clarion horns treatment which should come up huge with the aid of the Kenny G Spot Horns Experience at some stage.

Praise be to the Rooster – The first time West Wyalong has been mentioned in a song since the Aunty Jack Show (Kev Kavanagh if I recall correctly).  A fractured loping banjo-fuelled ballad of something gone wrong – it happened out on the Bland.

Who Shot Johnny D? – recalling the Re-mains classics Ballad of a Wrong’un and My Friend the Bushranger, this slice of subterranean north coast action sums up the dichotomy that is Nimbin – it’s like a tie-dyed, stupid-hat-wearing version of The Wire. It broods, it skulks, then explodes. Must go down a treat at Mardi Grass time.

Tequila and Methadone – Gronk national anthem.

Othello’s P76 – when I first streamed this on the Re-Mains Myspace page a couple of years back I knew something was up. Sonic adventure, an elliptical lyric and the poison dwarf square in the sights. It was my favourite Re-mains recording to that point and remains so.

This could be Anywhere – from the Canadian Prairies to the dun-green wastes of New South Wales, globalisation and road-weariness expressed through the personal.

Darn Tootin’ in Saskatchewan – I wish I was there.  Things get shifty in Canada, a party favourite. I reckon it’s the first time Canadian breakfast TV has been treated to lyrics about “waiting for the acid to kick in.”

Left on King – “In the ruins of where we used to play” just about sums it up. Sydney used to be the joint, bands from Melbourne used to move there to get ahead (can you imagine that?). Is anyone still there? “Every time I go to Sydney I get the flu”. Daley, you’ve been reading my mail …

Woke Up Sad – Good fucking grief – vulnerability expressed by Michael Daley in a public forum? Wonders never cease. Deft and gloopy electric piano makes it positively sweet. It hit me somewhat like the shock of Bob Dylan’s “I want you”. Where’d this come from?  The old curmudgeon’s got a heart.

Golden Shoes –  This spectral outro keeps the freak on.

Anyway, it’s the Re-Mains best record. I’ve just listened to it three times in a row – you should too.

Column, 13/5/10

So we’re having dinner after rehearsal for our new album launches and the subject came up of how many players have passed through the ranks of The Re-mains. Bassplayer B-12 reckons he got a good laugh when he admitted to it in a well-known music shop. Guitarist C-8(z) reckons if you took a poll of North Coast musicians at least half of them would sheepishly admit to having dabbled. Drummer BB-09 claimed he’d spoken to three other previous Re-mains drummers that very day.

Funny business. Seems we’ve had a bigger turnover than the Melbourne Hit Men’s Association. At least, apart from the odd encounter with rogue steers in the outback, it’s a rarely fatal profession.

But as we meander down the coast to Sydney next weekend for a couple of shows, one reformed and latterly lapsed guitarist will be in the van and at least one ex-drummer, a guitarist and a journeyman piano-payer in attendance. There have only been two banjo players, you do the math.  If you’d like to follow the fortunes of the survivors, check out my blog at www.mickdaley.com. And if you are a hurdy-gurdy specialist, be very, very afraid.

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.

Dennis Boys bio – they used most of it

The Dennis Boys have a sister up front. Not that you wouldn’t notice either. But while her big, likeable brothers roll out their hard-hitting country rock, Leah Dennis has a high, lonesome country contralto to match.

She’s not the youngest of the clan but certainly the best looking.

Eight generations in the Hunter Family, the Dennis family are all full-time ringers, drivers or in Leah’s case, jewelers. But their music is a genetic force and when they’re on stage, brothers Lyle, Erle and Shane own that venue.

The result owes as much to (insert name of favourite rock band) as it does to Hank Williams and Elvis, its unmistakeable country twang tempered by vicious guitars and a rollicking beat that’s flipped wigs in city venues as righteously as in the Muswellbrook Pub.

They’ve worked up a set of original songs that burn their own brand on the genre.

“It’s ball-tearing country rock and roll, as savage as anything we can pull out,” says Mick Daley, of the Re-Mains, who’ve played with the Boys in Sydney and Tamworth.

With family friend Dave Bourke on drums, the current line-up, Erle on bass, Lyle and Shane on guitars and vocals, Leah on fire, has been playing for nearly two years.

Erle’s won a Golden Harp at Tamworth Country Music Festival and the band, in various incarnations, have played there for the last 25 years. Shane, being the senior party and the best talker, is the spokesman and plays a mean telecaster, Lyle duplicating the feat on an upside down left-hander.

Experience The Dennis Boys Band this Tamworth Country Music Festival and remember what it’s like to be knocked out cold and enjoy it.