After a monumental 22 years in the Aussie music biz, Aussie icons Regurgitator are back on the road with their Cheap Imitations tour-ché, with a couple of festival appearances plus sold-out hometown show at The Zoo in Brisbane in support of their first live album, Nothing Less than Cheap Imitations: Live at the HiFi Melbourne Oct 2012.
We caught up with one-third of the ‘gurge, Quan Yeomans, the weekend of their first show at Beats in the Heat festival in Karratha.
So Quan, what’s been happening in Regurgitator-land since we last heard from you? (Dirty Pop Fantasy)
My wife and I had a baby on a Mong Kok traffic island, realised the air quality probably wasn’t conducive to his health or our sanity so we moved back to Melbourne. Basically over the last year and a half I’ve been expanding my baby vocab and now I have more words for the innumerable varieties of poo than the Inuits have for snow.
You’re kicking off this tour with some festival shows – didn’t you want to play some smaller shows first?
When you have an opportunity to fuck up royally in front of 10 times as many people as you normally would, why wouldn’t you take it? Here in Regurgitator we’re all about efficiency.
How do you feel dusting off the gear again after a couple of years off?
To be honest, gripped by a chronic addiction to eBay over the last 18 months I accidentally sold off most of my musical equipment and last week found myself scrambling frantically through cupboards looking for something resembling a guitar. It took me three hours to restring it, 20 minutes to tune and then I got into a raging four-hour argument with my bass player Ben about which was was ‘up’ and how to plug it in. I’ve also put together an incredible Vivienne Westwood-esque work-clothe-ensemble made entirely out of sports compresses, slings and safety pads and I’ll be so high on anti-inflams I won’t feel a thing.
Your independent releases never quite got as far as those on Warner – do you think that’s a nod to the majors having more influence in the market? Does it even matter any more with the inter webs?
When you ‘borrow’ a lot of money from a bunch of gangster, sports-jock types they will generally work their hardest pulling strings and scratching backs to see it returned. Back then major labels were the primary force felt in the industry.
Fortunately since then our species has been busy making a god in their own image and now it does most of the heavy lifting far more quickly and potentially much more cleverly than those large lumbering companies ever used to.
Money still talks of course but bullshit can run marathons online these days.
Unfortunately as a band we didn’t grow up with the ubiquitous internet that we now know and love. So the challenge evolving with an industry that seemed to change overnight was as hard and as alien to us as it is for most older waves of artists/producers still comfortable with the successes of now outdated modes of production, marketing and distribution.
What also tends to happen with age is that your priorities alter, you get fatter, your skin and hair lose their lustre and you inevitably start writing shitter, duller songs, more or less completely irrelevant to the youth of today.
Marketing that, no matter how internet savvy you are, is invariably a hard task.
You’ve always had a few side projects going on – which one/s would you resurrect tomorrow?
Well it looks like I’m foolishly resurrecting one for the Queensland Poetry Festival up in Brisbane later this month.
I haven’t done a solo show in several years so I’m understandably nervous but a small part of me is definitely thrilled to play that particular misfitted role again.
After 20-odd years in the music biz, what sage advice would you give to those just starting out now?
I think in the moments I’ve sought advice about artistic endeavour it’s been because I’ve felt lost. Actually I wasn’t lost enough, just lost in the wrong thoughts and habits. If you’re lost in your artistic practice chances are you will neither feel the need for advice nor the inclination to heed it.
That was just a bullshit way of saying ‘I have no sage to sprinkle on that pork roast of yours that’s about to be overcooked to shit.’
One truth is that Chaos seems to have the last laugh when it comes to ‘succeeding’ at whatever you do in life.
So I can’t even come close to offering up any neat aphorism that’s guaranteed to trigger success in anyone’s life including my own but here:
If you love it keep going hard until something unexpected happens.
If you start really hating it stop and be open to something completely different.
Picture of a kitten.
And how has it all changed for you guys?
Back when we started we made music by banging rocks together. Now people compose shit on their watches.
Jon Coghill (Powderfinger) once filled in for your old drummer and reportedly caused a bit of a rift between you guys and the ‘finger – would you stick your middle finger up at them now, or have you smoothed things over?
Haha. This far down the track that’s like trying to remember who made who cry in preschool.
Would you ever consider doing another Band in a Bubble stunt again? What would you do differently?
To us it wasn’t really a stunt. It was just another fucked up experience we couldn’t get out of.
I did reimagine it romantically for a few years after the first one.
More intense. No where to hide. Bathing and toilets in full view, based somewhere like Shibuya Square in Tokyo. These days I’m not sure I could really put myself in such a crazy situation again but I do think that something like that will happen. It just seems like future entertainment to me.
A few years ago you said you’d stop releasing full-length albums and focus on putting out individual tracks, which is something Ben from Silverchair was also talking about doing with his solo stuff. What happened to that idea, and can we expect to see any new stuff from you soon?
I think those statements were a bit of a reaction to our confusion with the rapid changes that were/are constantly happening with the industry. Now we’re relaxed enough to say – we just create at our own pace. If there’s something worthy of your attention that comes from that focus, you will probably hear about it in one way or another.
Regurgitator will be touring nationally through August and September. Dates are:
Sat 22 – Townsville Cultural Fest
Thurs 27 – Brisbane The Zoo
Fri 27 – Brisbane The Zoo * SOLD OUT
Sat 29 – Sydney Manning Bar
Thurs 3 – Melbourne Northcote Social Club
Fri 4 – Melbourne The Prince
Sat 5 – Adelaide The Gov
Tickets are on sale now. For more info go to the band’s official web site.