talks about his Idiot Box soundtrack of mangy young dog
How did you first get involved
in the project?
David (Caesar, writer/director) contacted me through some
insidious little racket and showed me the draft of the script.
We talked a bit over a couple in a pub in Leichhardt. I
sent a couple of bands a copy of the script, told them who
was involved and they all jumped at it. Either it was a
mixture of respect for the people doing the film, or they
wanted to see their names on credits. And all the bands
get on personally as well. It was a friendly little project.
You chose to avoid the westie
When I read the script early on and talked about the soundtrack
there didn't seem to be any time frame. The script had a
late '70s and early '80s feel about it. There were a couple
of directions we could have taken. One of them was for everyone
to do AC/DC songs, or Angels songs, but the film is about
the underdog in a way, and the bands we covered (X, Beasts
of Bourbon, the Saints) weren't exactly underdogs, more
like mangy young dogs. Also I wanted to pick songs that
weren't so obvious but were gritty, great songs that time
has not elevated to their proper place. Songs that didn't
really make it past 500 singles at your local indie rock
store. And songs that were what the characters were about.
What did you think when you finally
saw the film?
We got a video of the final cut sent over to us in the States
when we were on tour, and we had this American tour manager
from LA. I must say the phrase (in phony US accent) "Get
a dog up ya" has gone the width and breath of the small
bars of the States. They did not get it in the least. Maybe
they'll translate it to something more American. I don't
think overseas audiences will be able to relate to it in
an everyday way, but more as a curiousity factor. Like "What
a bunch of freaks!" which is great.
Tell us about some of the songs.
Well "Degenerate Boy" was an X song. X was a band
from Sydney in the late '70s early '80s, a very aggressive
three piece and a huge influence on Mark of Cain - and You
Am I, actually. I suggested the X song and John (from MoC)
said they loved it. It is just a classic song. You Am I
have wanted to do it for a while but have never got off
our arse to do it. There was a song on the last Hoss record
called "The Bullshit Never Ends," which was the
first song that I knew had to be on the record. I kinda
wanted it to be the central theme for the film, because
it fits in so perfectly. The filmmakers didn't actually
agree; I wish it had a bigger part in the film. And I just
think that Joel (Silbisher) is one of the more talented
singers, rhythm guitarists and composers in the land basically.
"My Pal" is a classic God song. That was the only
song that I didn't have a lot of involvement with, I had
to be in America when Magic Dirt did that. So we just talked
a little at a pub and (co-producer) Nick Launey went down
and did it with them. "Love in Motion" is, of
course, an old Icehouse song, which Ross from Snout really
wanted to do. "Television Addict" was by the Victims
- Dave Faulkner from the Hoodoo Gurus' first band. Simply
on of the great early Australian punk rock singles. "Second
Language" was by a band called Tactics, an early '80s
new wave band from around Sydney, which Crow perform. "Simple
Love" (covered by Hoss) is by the Saints, and then
You Am I do a Beasts of Bourbon song, and a few other things
that will probably end up as B-sides.
And I guess you got a kick out
of the loungeroom air guitar, "No, I'm the fuckin'
bass player!" scene?
Yeah, and I think the funniest thing, and I don't know whether
it's deliberate, is the two are pretending to play bass.
Because normally it is always wanting to be the guitarist.
The scene is just fucking fantastic. And of course I play
fucking great air guitar - anyone who has seen You Am I
will know that.