A Fist Full Of Rock has announced a stellar 2017 line-up featuring Hoodoo Gurus, You Am I, Jebediah and Adalita, touring the country this August & September with shows in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast and Brisbane. This promises to be one of this year’s best tours and Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles spoke to the legendary Dave Faulkner from the Hoodoo Gurus about this upcoming tour.
Great news about the Fistful Of Rock tour coming to Adelaide particularly when so many bands leave us out?
Yeah, now we get to play some other places of course. We’re happy we can include Adelaide this time, I was getting yelled out on Facebook about it because we announced the first phase of this tour which is the You-Do Gurus where we’re touring with You Am I in regional areas as well. There’s a few people saying where’s Adelaide. We have to go to Perth on that one so people starting jumping up and down, it’s like calm down it’s alright! It will be ok!
Adelaide hasn’t had the best reputation for buying tickets early historically but that has changed quite a bit in recent times…
It is definitely something that I’ve heard and I think we might have experienced that where sales were so slow we cancelled the show. There has always been a problem with our understanding of how the dynamic worked in the city but I have got to say that the sales are great already for the Thebbie. We’re not worried this time!
Did you personally handpick the bands for this bill?
No I didn’t actually, obviously we know all of them and played on bills with them. I don’t know how much we have done with Adalita before but obviously with You Am I we toured with them way back when. With Jebediah we have done some shows with them in recent years in WA. It wasn’t actually our choice, we didn’t name that tour, I believe that is someone’s brand name Fistful Of Rock.
That whole concept lends itself well to becoming an annual event doesn’t it?
Well I think as I said they do, I had never heard of it before but then I saw something that said Fistful of Rock presents this year, then I thought they have done this before but I hadn’t heard of it. Youdoo Gurus is ours! That’s our name!
The relationship with You Am I goes back a fair way, you must have some ripper tour stories?
The main story was that we were on their first album Sound As Ever, they supported us and Redd Kross. The three of us went out together when we were doing our Crank album in 1994, that was a huge tour and we had a lot of fun. All three bands were pretty well matched.
Do you see yourself having the elder statesman and mentoring role for the next crop of new bands?
I don’t really see that for the Gurus as a band but we feel the reverberation of what we have done and how other people reflect us back at ourselves in a weird way. We see echoes of our own career in other peoples work and in some ways it paves a trail I suppose. I’ve been mentoring more in my role in working with Australian Music Prize and I see that as an actual real contribution to bringing people some attention and exposing new music. That is something I feel pretty strong about.
Do you get frustrated with where the industry is going and the direction it is heading particularly with so many good bands with great bands going unnoticed and flying under the radar?
That has always been the case, there is such an incredible volume of albums that come out now because anyone with a laptop can make an album and put it on Bandcamp. You might have the most inept people as well as some incredibly talented people and they are all trying to get their voices heard. The sheer volume of music coming out is staggering and anything you can do to filter it for people by putting up your hand and saying this is a good album here, have a listen is pretty important.
Are there any plans to have an all star jam at Fistful of Rock featuring everyone?
Um, well you never know! We have spoken about it and nothing specific has happened yet so we’ll see what happens. It is something that certainly has occurred to us so you’re not alone in thinking that.
There must be some pressure to be on your game that night given that it is a quality bill?
Absolutely!!! You Am I are no slouches nor are any of the other bands so everyone will be trying to knock each other off stage, that’s all there is to it! We hate that but we also love it. It would be nice to think we have an easy ride and just get up there and triumph in the end. Every single band has the ability to be able to steal the show on that bill. That’s all for the better and creates fun for the audience.
Watch out for Jebediah! They were the unsung heroes on the A Day On The Green tour…
No doubt! As I’ve said we have the worst spot, I’d like to open personally because when you’re the last band the audience says the other bands are a bonus, if someone really enjoys that and thinks that is really great, I’ve got my money’s worth now and with the last band you feel that they have used up all their good vibes and we have to deliver the money shot where people go away saying there was the value for my dollar I spent on this ticket. It’s like we’ve got all the responsibility for the show and none of the luxury of relaxing.
Do you enjoy touring as much now as you did in the beginning?
Absolutely, touring is a great joy, it gets me out of the house, I’ve got a bit of extra weight on my gut right now which will be gone by the end of this tour because jumping around on stage, singing and hollering is really good exercise for your diaphragm and you end up losing lots of weight. For me it is like the best work out ever so the fitness thing is pretty good and pure mental enjoyment. I’m a musician and love playing music and expressing myself that way. It is like me being myself being in my most natural state and preferred state. It is a really great experience and I love it just as much as I ever did.
Looking at the career of Hoodoo Gurus the band has pretty much done everything a band could do. Is there any ambition or goal that is still unfulfilled?
That’s a hard one, a good question! Not really! I do have some kooky ideas and have some hankering to do a larger musical theatre kind of thing. Whether that could be a Hoodoo Gurus project or something external to the Hoodoo Gurus I don’t know but there is talk of both those possibilities. Certainly in my mind I have little things turning over in my mind, there is a Hoodoo Gurus project that may or may not ever eventuate but definitely something that I’m thinking about and working towards. I won’t say too much more about that but hopefully it may happen. It will be on a pretty small scale and not on the scale of Wicked the musical believe.
Are there plans for a new Hood Gurus album or is that simmering away in the background?
It is hard to know, I’m supposed to be in song writing mode now and I have been a little slow to start. I just need to get my arse in to gear and start doing some work. I need to focus on writing when I write. Ideas are always cropping up and I’m always collecting melodies and lyrics which are there in like a treasure chest. It is not until I focus myself and force myself to finish the songs you can complete them and make them in to something that I get the songs. I don’t write a song a day, it’s just not my habit, I have to have an idea in my mind to work towards and force myself to sit down at the table dedicating several hours a day not allowing myself the luxury of being distracted by doing other things.
It is the million dollar question but how do you break through that distraction?
It is, in my case I have to set the schedule and not deviate one iota, I start at nine o’clock and not let myself out until midday, you’ve just got to keep writing. After a couple of days you start to get in to the groove and release yourself from the distractions and your inner critic by just getting in to work mode and not worrying. Things start flowing and being loose and creative. I just haven’t had a run at it and got it going at the moment. Things have come out but I’m doing other things which are getting in the way of getting in to the groove.
Do ideas come up during sound check and other times?
Very rarely because we are very focused on not wasting people’s time including the road crews as well as well as letting everyone else have their fair shot at a sound check. We don’t overly take longer than we need to do the very minimum to function and be happy. We don’t want to play a set in sound check, if a riff does come in to my head I’ll record that on to my iPhone, not that often though because most of the time I’m waiting my turn as I don’t want to make noise while Mark is getting is drums functioning or whatever. In a way you’re kind of behaving yourself by not making a racket, that’s how we work anyway.
Do you have any other bands on the go at the moment?
There is in a sense, with the guys from Antenna but not Kim Salmon (Justin and Stewart) and we have been doing something for a long, long time for many years just assembling stuff. It is starting to get to a point where we might be releasing something soon. That is one of the things that is distracting me to be honest dedicating a day a week to work with those guys, maybe a couple of days and that’s got me from sitting at my table doing some song writing. I have to figure that out too!
With the countless tours to Adelaide do you have a favourite tour story?
Well there’s a bad one that’s happened there! Very early in the band’s career I had a guitar stolen and it is still in Adelaide somewhere and some arsehole has got it, they know they have got it and enough people know about it. No one has ever given me the info to get my guitar back. It was the guitar I played the solo on My Girl and someone broke in to the dressing room while we were on stage doing our encore, I think it was at The Tivoli.
They literally broke in through the ceiling and passed the guitar through the ceiling. Someone was seen running down Hindley Street with a guitar and no case stealing it. Years later I heard someone knows so and so has got your guitar like it is a proud thing to admit that they’ve got a souvenir. It is not a fucking souvenir, it’s my instrument. It’s not to be stolen, anyway that kind of pissed me off.
The trouble was that I broken a string in the last song of the set so I put it down to play one of the spares in the encore so they got my main guitar and were running down the street with it. That was a bad memory. I have replaced that guitar, same sort of guitar, a Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar and I think the one I’ve got now is better. For a long time I couldn’t find a guitar that had the same tone that I liked in that guitar. Plus the sentimental value for me playing that guitar solo in that song.
Interview by Rob Lyon
Catch A Fist Full Of Rock featuring Hoodoo Gurus, You Am I, Jebediah and Adalita on the following dates…