|Mo Mayhem - Hell City Glamours - Interview Exclusive|
|Written by Dom Daley|
|Friday, 09 April 2010 05:00|
Hell City Glamours is a band that tick all the Über böxes and stand for everything Über Röck does. We're in the trenches, people - fighting the evil forces of music mediocrity! This is a band I'd be happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with as we go over the top and fight to champion great rock 'n' roll music. Visit their web site and buy their music - you won't be disappointed. Following a long list of great Australian bands, Hell City Glamours should be the next to join that list with a superb debut release out now in Europe on Powerage Records. We caught up with Mo Mayhem and Jono (who chipped in with a great list of influences!) and here's what they had to say when faced with some questions about what it takes to be a rock 'n' roller.
What is the rock scene like in Australia? As it's situated on the other side of the globe we tend to only get to hear about a few bands over here in Europe - is there a healthy rock scene there?
Mo: Well Australia has some fantastic rock 'n' roll bands and in that respect the scene is very very healthy, unfortunately radio, press etc seem to ignore the rock 'n' roll scene in favour of horrible indie disco crap. Which is nothing new I guess, but the important thing is - there are plenty of people who come to the shows and rock the fuck out, and that's all that counts isn't it?
Mo: Well, we got accepted to do SXSW and then we just tried to get some shows happening in between, totally punk rock style. We're self managed (well Jonno does 99.9999999% of managerial stuff) and so him and I got in touch with folks and we booked some shows and just played to whomever and whoever was interested. The thing I was proud as fuck of, is we didn't play a BAD show in the states - even when our singer was projectile vomiting side of stage we just ripped the fuck out of every venue we played. The best was supporting the New York Dolls in Austin where, after we played, all the bands in the band room gave us a standing ovation as we came back into the band room, clapping us and stuff - that was really cool/weird and then later I met Bob Clearmountain (I am a recording nerd) who had some really nice things to say, to be honest I was happier than a pig in shit. Even when we played to only ten people, those ten people got the most intense shows possible. We would LOVE to come to Europe, it's just hard because we are an independent band without a booking agent etc so getting money together to get over there plus getting actual shows is proving very difficult, not to mention the language barrier! But I would give both my testicles and half my penis to get to tour Europe. Any takers?
Mo: Some but nothing great, I don't really want to get involved with a major label until we have some bargaining power of our own. As it stands in Australia our CDs are in 99% of music shops, our "marketing" is hard touring - which is why our fans are so loyal (currently I think there are 12 Hell City Glamours tattoos) because we make damn sure we come to their town often and do our best to kick their asses every single time. Also if we were signed to a major in Australia there is less chance we could get OUT of Australia, and then we would never have had Powerage come onboard in Europe, and Europe has always been a major goal of ours to tour. It seems like Europeans are smarter about their music taste, less fooled by hype and care about honest heart felt rock 'n' roll.
Mo: We're all punkers - Dead Kennedys, I am a big Clash fan (not so much the other boys), Social Distortion is a big influence on myself and Oscar (singer/guitarist), as well as Operation Ivy, Propagandhi, Rancid and then older hardcore like Bad Brains, MDC, Gorilla Biscuits and whatnot. Add in some newer hardcore too like Sick Of It All etc. However in regards to musical influences - mine are so varied, I really don't think in terms of genres, I think there is only two types of music in the world. That's good and shit. I don't discount anything - if it's a good song, it's a good song. Beethoven's 5th has a riff that is up there with 'Satisfaction', AC/DC etc. It's just as ballsy in my opinion.
Jono: Ok, so my influences - Hellacopters, Rancid, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Black Crowes, Chuck Berry, Black Sabbath, The Band, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Jimi Hendrix (have the cover of Axis tattooed on my arm), Otis Redding, Sam n Dave, The Misfits, Little Richard, Motorhead, Queen, The Faces, Rose Tattoo, Guns N' Roses, Hanoi Rocks, The Easybeats, Stevie Wright, AC/DC, Johnny Cash, Alice Cooper, Bad Religion, Bill Hicks (it's the attitude!) and Front End Loader (one of the greatest Aussie bands that SHOULD have been huge), Iron Maiden, MC5, Stooges, Slade and of course THIN FUCKING LIZZY! See what I mean? I can't limit myself even when it comes to influences - let alone stuff to listen to!!!
Mo: Support slots can be great but they can be fatiguing, it's nice to play to your own crowd, but I love to play in front of new people. It's like Phil Lynott used to say when supporting bands "you try and leave the stage covered in blood and watch the headliners slip in it." And I dig that, just go out there and try and break yourself!!!! Granted the headliners aint gonna slip in it often - but it's nice after a really strong show (for a pack of no hopers with hair that's too long and pants that are too tight!). It's nice to finish and think to yourself "follow THAT motherfucker!" and it's nice to see them work a teeny bit harder - but I think headliners like that. I know I do when we headline - we always try and get AWESOME bands to play before us so there is no choice - we have to go out and destroy. Some shows and tours there have been a loyal HCG crew down the front to make us feel more at home which is nice. In fact we had a couple of fans travel to see us on so many supporting tours - like flying to different towns etc!!! But they would leave before the headliner! Crazy - with the amount of money they spent, they could have paid us to play in their backyard!!
Mo: No fucking way man! It rules! It's like being a soccer player and being compared to Pele! Malcolm Young is a huge influence on my guitar playing too. I mean it's pretty obvious we don't sound like AC/DC, but being compared to the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world is nothing but flattering.
Australia has given the music world some fine bands like Rose Tattoo and The Saints and obviously there are yourselves and Airbourne currently getting some much deserved coverage around the globe - is the fact that you're an Australian band at all important and how would you say it enters the songwriting at all?
Mo: Maybe we take ourselves less seriously, like that's the Australian way, ya know? Like we're not going to paint ourselves as bigger and better - we're more inclined to take a more sardonic approach, than a "look how rad I am I have all these coke n bitches!!!!" - like to us that kinda shit is lame, we're more inclined to make it LESS obvious and write about things that are real. Like every song on the record I know where it came from, what was happening, who it relates to etc and I love how Oscar writes lyrics like that - deep to us, but anyone can find something in it. But I think Aussie rock 'n' roll bands have a strong work hard/play hard ethic. We love to party but we make damn sure that we give everything we have at the shows.
Mo: When we have time really, when we're not on tour, working etc. It's hard. We're writing at the moment so we'll see - when it's ready, it's ready (and when we have the money to do it right and make it sound good). That's a massive stumbling block - the almighty dollar. Because we don't want to sell our souls it does make it slightly harder.
Mo: I'm not ashamed of my "lame" tastes! Haha I have my mp3 player right here.
Mo: Well, we have covered songs in the past, just for shits 'n' giggles. We have covered - 'The Letter' (Joe Cocker version) 'cept we did it super fast, 'Dumb Things' by Paul Kelly and not much else.....oh wait, Operation Ivy - 'The Crowd' (which a lot of people in our crowd did not get haha). I don't think we have covered anything else really barring the occasional jam in the rehearsal room - 'Black Night' - Purple, 'Devil Stole The Beat From The Lord - The Hellacopters........
Who would be your perfect touring partners for a world tour?
Airbourne - cause we have toured together before, they're pals, we're both hard workers, like Jack Daniel's, like bbq's and each band would make the other play better and better and better each night of the tour. And we both represent Aussie Rock 'n' Fucking Roll!
Mo: Too many unfortunately. Back when I used to drink a LOT more (still drink lots - just more AFTER shows) I have walked offstage 3 songs into the set cause I thought we were over "THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT!!!!" - our guitar tech pushed me back onstage hahahaha 9 more to go - whoops! I have also (after a gig) walked up to our lead singer Oscar and said "man I think I am too fucked up to play!" to which he replied "dude, we've already played, like an hour ago" apparently he saw me later on in the evening making out with a pretty lady but she was propping me up against a wall so I could stand upright.... Whoops. Other funny stuff - people getting naked, girls making out onstage (going a bit too far too), all manner of shit happens really. Coming to a HCG show is a license to lose your shit - we encourage it!
Mo: Another record out and touring.
There you have it folks - a glimpse into what makes Hell City Glamours rock! Now go check them out and show them your support. Thanks again to Jono and Mo for their time and effort. Visit Hell City Glamours at www.hellcityglamours.com and tell them Über Röck sent you.
Photo kudos to Richard Sharman.