Interview by Higgo.
Eddie Fury (EF): We used to do a lot more of the Uni circuit, the student unions stuff, and I’m a bit out of the loop with it all, I dunno if there’s the platform for young upcoming bands to do that sort of stuff anymore, do you reckon there’s as much of a platform as there was say in the ‘90s? I definitely remember seeing a shift in the mid ‘90s music venues when pokies came in. That was the biggest shift for the arts community in Melbourne I reckon. Things were shutting down left right and centre. I mean the Bendigo is doing it these days, but the venues that are 2-300 people that have bands on 4-5 nights a week, that’s a rare commodity these days.
H: Yeah I agree, although there are still venues that do it, there’s definitely less of them, and it felt like it was as it was rising, I dunno, maybe it’s because I was discovering it all legally then, but it felt like 97-98 pokies really took hold.
EF: The pokies came in, and then all the focus sort of shifted out of the pub rock stuff, out of the beer barn sort of environment. There was more going into festival platforms, especially for indie bands, and for me, honestly, the ‘90s was the last wave of rock, of innovative rock anyway. I think every genre’s been covered and been documented. I don’t think there’s much experimentation in music anymore, I mean people go, “what sort of music do you play?” and we say “we play ‘80s psychobilly” and they go, “what the fuck’s that? Isn’t that just psychobilly?” (laughs) No we just play the 80’s stuff. (laughs)
H: I was bloody stoked to see you guys added to Brewtality, it’s been a while for me, but it’s great you’re doing shows again. I understand that life gets in the way sometimes, and we all have that.
EF: Well, that’s the other thing, we were treating it as a full time job, and you’d be playing festivals in the spring, summer through autumn, then in the winter you’d be in the studio trying to write new songs and do it all over again. Which is great, but you know, you’re never really away from it. I can totally understand bands that have been doing it for 30-40 years, just have their own hotel rooms and don’t see each other unless they’re on stage (laughs). You sort of all have enough of each other, but their money making machine is the priority. But it’s all good, I’m excited about doing some new stuff. It’s been a few years, and, as you said that whole life thing, it does get in the way, but you promise to meet up with each other next week, and then something comes up, then it’s the week after and before you know it a month has passed.
H: So what’s going to happen with The Fireballs after Brewtality? Is there going to be more shows, more time in the studio?
EF: Well our bass player Joe (Phantom) just had to have surgery, so he’s come out of that and he’s really excited to do stuff now that’s he’s healing, but it’s just time lost. But you know, the music industry, for what it is, doesn’t pay the bills all the time so you’ve gotta find that extra job, you’ve gotta dig in the dirt, you’ve gotta unload boxes from a truck into a factory, you’ve gotta put your body on the line which isn’t great for a musician. You smash your hand with a hammer and you’re out for a couple of weeks (laughs).
EF: And ya know, the weekend used to start on a Wednesday for us through to Sunday with gigs.
H: Oh yeah, then you’d have Monday Tuesday off!
EF: (Laughs) Yeah pretty much, the whole ‘hospitality week’. Yeah well you know I don’t go out 4-5 nights a week anymore, that seems ludicrous to me. It’d be different if I was gigging, then I’d be saying “where is everyone?”
Look I think we’re in a good place at the moment, I’m 46 this year, the body doesn’t recover as well as it used. I don’t bounce back as quickly as I used to, but at the end of the day, music is a passion, and I find if I don’t play, if I don’t get a fill in gig with a band, I go a bit stir crazy. I need to play drums. John Lee Hooker said it best: ‘The Boogie’s in him, and it’s gotta come out’.
H: Well I can’t wait to see you guys play at Brewtality, it’s a nostalgia trip for me and I’ll be singing along.
EF: Well that’s the other side, you know, when I was in my 20’s writing these songs, the biggest shock to me one day is when I was playing away and I look down in the crowd and I see someone singing along to one my songs I wrote in my bedroom (laughs), that’s what makes it worth it. It’s quite amazing, it makes all the rehearsals, all the band arguments, all the fuckin miles, all that… that’s it right there, that’s what makes everything worth it… you know, (laughs) BEING IMMORTAL! (Laughs)
I mean look at Lemmy, people will be singing his songs for the next fuckin hundred years at least, forever in fact. That’s awesome, he immortalized himself. All we have to do is keep passing the music along and making sure people never lose it.
H: That’s it. Pass along the old talking stick. You’ve inspired so many, just by getting on stage mate and giving it all.
EF: And it’s a great feeling, like I said, makes the whole thing worth it, makes me go ‘right, what are we doing next, going to Europe or recording a record or you know, so let’s do it, fire up fuck yas!’
Dave ‘Higgo’ Higgins is a radio presenter, band manager, podcaster, interviewer and writer. He’s been a staple on Australian radio for the past 16 years, working in Sydney, Newcastle, Adelaide, Mandurah, Horsham, Lithgow, and for the last 10 years, in Melbourne at Fox FM, then Triple M for the last 5. Higgo has always been an advocate and ambassador for Aussie music, believing that it deserves more exposure then it gets and will do what he can to make that happen.