Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Collider: Riots

This week you get not only myself and R-man's liner notes for the track Riots, but also a brand new exclusive video from award winning directors the Turrell Brothers!

C-bomb - This has its roots in a track of mine called Hot Riots, but is rawer and heavier. I really love the interplay between the guitar and bass in the middle section, it’s one of our most beautiful bits as a duo I think. Benn and Regan did the first mix of this without me and to my surprise and delight they’d gone for a “space bass” sound in the mid-section (a hallmark of my solo work that is usually shot down well before it makes it onto a GM track!).

R-ManThe unmistakable sound of small arms fire; this highlights the mixture of inspiration and mundane practicatility that goes into creating a GM track. We used to listen to a lot of Thelonius Monk who was famous for a stop/start technique with really heavy percussive attack. Riots reminds me of this, but i think its sound actually lies in my sloppy playing.  When I was a kid I listened to and learned to play along to  Reggae and Dub and so in Chris’ ears I was coming in “late” (or “right” as I was concerned) I recall having to really exaggerate the on beat in songs to get out of the habit, with this as prime example.  The middle section is pure Jah Wobble of course...

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Collider: Hot Meat

Continuing our meandering journey through Collider, here's some insider info on Track 5, Hot Meat.

CW says - This is a descendant of a track I did a few years ago called OHM In A Storm. For the first guitar “solo” I had the idea of rigging up a Marshall cab as an extension to the Vox AC30 we were using throughout, and boxing me in between the two on my knees so I could get a bit silly with feedback without disturbing the mics on the Vox. We called it the Feedback Den, and an early favourite title for the album (from me anyway) was Postcards From The Feedback Den, until the Manic Street Preachers pipped us to the post with Postcards From A Young Man. Here's a photo of the action...

R-Man - Ridiculous name, stupid solo.  I Laugh my head off every time I hear it remembering C-Bomb scrabbling around on the floor like some shredding mole-man. The name was cheerfully stolen from the starter of a curry we had while breaking from the writing sessions this came from.  We tend to end live shows with this, by which point I’m reduced to shouting “ Hot Meat Hot Meat Hot Meat!” like a crazed restaurant owner/ bordello pimp.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Poison City Weekender

I just got back from a fantastic weekend in Melbourne, watching the cream of Australian punk bands playing across 3 days. So many shows and so many beers, unfortunately some of the details are a bit hazy, but here's what I recall:

Hopping on a plane straight from work on Friday, thanks to the miracle of human flight we got to the Tote Hotel in time to catch Grim Fandango, who were solid with some nice guitar interplay. Being 2 British beer drinkers it took most of GF's set for us to recover from the shock of an $11 pint! That pretty much pays for a night out in some pubs back home. Unfazed, we soldiered on, surrounded by our bearded brethren (I'm pretty sure I only saw 1 clean shaven guy the whole weekend!). Up next were my highlight of the night, I Exist. With 4 guitarists on stage, plus bassist, singer and drummer, it initially looked like there'd been a mix up with the scheduling and 2 bands were setting up at the same time. The singer looked like Wayne Campbell and sounded like Phil Anselmo, and the riffing had a heavy Pantera groove; all delivered with a tongue in cheek ("this song's about 500 women; it's called 1000 Boobs") - I had a massive grin on my face for the duration.

I think Luca Brasi are probably the first Tasmanian band I've seen, and I was not disappointed.'Nuff 'spec to the guitarist for sporting a Queen t-shirt. Rounding out the night after them was Extortion, playing the "fast, heavy, short" brand of anarcho-thrash pioneered by Napalm Death back in the day. I suspect they were scheduled last as the organisers knew it would be too much for some audience members, but I loved it and stayed for the duration.

Recovering from the Itchy Green Pants ale and the [well deserved] kebab, Saturday saw us roll up to the Old Bar in Fitzroy for some chilled out acoustic acts, and the first of many Mountain Goat beers. Wil Wagner roused the crowd with acoustic renditions of his Smith St Band anthems, but for me the highlight of the acoustic troubadours was Lincoln Le Fevre, another Tasmanian I believe and maintaining the success rate for the island state.

After a jazz apple cider followed by a successful trip to the Little Creatures flagship pub, we headed across town to the Corner in Richmond in time to see Restorations for the second Saturday in a row, having caught them at the Annandale in Sydney the previous week. A top notch US touring band; highly recommended. Inevitably it was now time for the ubiquitous Jamie Hay to make an appearance onstage, with the final ever gig for A Death in the Family, yet another solid act. Headlining the night was US "big name" Rival Schools, who were very good but I felt the pacing was a little off, RS being a little more considered and laid back after the high energy punk rock of the preceding bands. The Corner is a great venue but my advice to you is this: don't bother trying to get in a taxi; it's open warfare between arrogant cabbies and drunks down in Richmond. We eventually walked home and saw a possum weeing out of a tree.

Sunday's festivities took place in what, to a Melbourne noob like me, felt like the middle of nowhere, in a surprisingly large pub/venue called The Reverence in Footscray. We eventually found the 2nd, larger, stage concealed in a separate building out back, through an unassuming doorway, reminiscent of the "people training to be in a James Bond film" scene from Wayne's World. We were just in time for Milhouse, whose more dynamic and angular approach set them apart as another highlight for me. The camaraderie of the scene was evident, with Wil Wagner jumping onstage a couple of times to shout some extra vocals and exchange sweaty man hugs with the bass player. Back over at the front stage, Lincoln Le Fevre was making his second appearance, this time with a band backing him. Impressively he managed to pull off 2 distinct sets over the weekend that each felt perfectly arranged, rather than simply the same approach with different instrumentation.

Finally on the acoustic stage was old [but surprisingly young] favourite Jen Buxton, with the inevitable and welcome Jamie Hay appearance. I felt the set lost its way a little with too many lineup changes onstage - all great performers and songs, but why not give them their own, longer sets instead of a last dash potpourri? Our crew were unanimous in enjoying Jen and Jamie's duets as a highlight of the weekend. Finally, back in the sweaty secret room out back, the weekend closed off with a triumphant set from the Smith Street Band, probably on their way to being Australia's next biggest punk idols. The crowd-surfing was endless, the HULK SMASH shirt ripping from Wil Wagner was probably a trifle unnecessary, Jamie Hay inevitably made an appearance, and through it all the venue's glass collectors tenaciously gathered every empty vessel as if they were being paid by the glass.

All in all an excellent weekend, with not a bad band in sight, and wonderfully not a single idiot in sight either (I'm going to give a bye to the people who jumped in our booked cab in front of us. I only hope they've not continued to assume our identities.) It was also a great way to see more of a fairly unfamiliar city. Thanks to the bands (and sorry for the ones I forgot to mention here, but not a single bad one!) and the folk at Poison City Records for making it happen: a triumph!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Collider: Ghost in the Machine

In the absence of a lovely paper booklet with loads of interesting stuff to pore over as you listen to the album, and because we love spilling words out in front of you, we're going to use this here blog to throw some extra commentary on the Collider album. To mix things up we'll start with the closing track, Ghost in the Machine. If you haven't made it that far through the album yet, now is a perfect time to pop it on and listen while you read!

CW, he say: This one grew from R-Man’s bass solo, in fact most of the parts in this one were from his fair hand. Counting enthusiasts will notice that the drums and bass are operating in two different time signatures for the first half of this track, and the guitar has a go on each. I have fond memories of the 2 of us in Regan’s back room practising this and concentrating intensely to make all 3 parts wind together at the right time. We’re idiots.

R-man: This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever been involved in.  When we play this live there is a moment in the intro where the whole song hangs on the edge of feedback before crashing back into drums and riff.  Its what I imagine that moment when you jump off a cliff might feel like: genuinely heart stopping.  

The recording doesn’t quite catch it but the smoothness of the whole track more than makes up for it.  If there is an archetypal Great Men sound this is it for me.  It sounds complicated and angular but actually Ghost is pretty damn whistle-able.

I’d like to claim that the title was inspired by Koestler and his take on Descartes’ Mind/ Body Dualism and the artwork certainly was...however the truth is that I really like the cover for The Police’s Album of the same name. It was suitably retro sci-fi in a Bladerunner sort of way, so we nicked it.

Thursday, 6 September 2012


After much anticipation, Great Men are delighted to announce that earlier this week we released our debut album Collider!

You can download it for free on our brand new website, what R-man crafted himself from rocks and earth:

We recorded the album in London with Mr MCG of Ulterior, who kindly contributed chrome production, huge snares, cyborg pterodactyls and man screams. We then shipped it off to Amsterdam for Mr Zlaya (producer of Sonic Youth amongst many others) to master. Big thanks also to Mr GWM, bourbon drinker and nonsense-tolerator, for designing the graphics.

We're tremendously proud of Collider and would love to hear what you think. If you do find something you like, please tell your friends!

Enjoy Collider with our compliments,
Chris and Reegs