Interview by Vaughan Blakey
Andy Walker is the genius behind Bunny Racket, a rock and roll antidote to the excruciating soda-pop jingle fluff that passes as modern music for kids. Over a decade in the making Bunny Racket has been a labour of love for the Byron based musician who roped in hard rocking royalty for the first album including Brant Bjork from Kyuss and Robbie Krieger from The Doors. The first single A Chicken is not a Fruit might just be the funniest kids song ever and, with the band already booked to play Wembley Stadium’s crèche, we thought we’d have a chat with Andy to find out how this denim wearing cottontail came into existence. SW: So you’ve been playing gigs, how are the kids responding to giant black rabbits wearing denim jackets and rocking the hell out?! AW: The kids have been going crazy. It’s all I have hoped for on that front, it’s unreal. And there’s no bouncers at kids gigs, so nobody’s getting bashed or thrown out. They can go as nuts as they want, it’s fantastic. Where’d this idea come from because it seems really obvious to have a great rock and roll kids band and yet nobody has really nailed it? It started a long time before I had kids. I’ve always been into rock and roll, mainly because of my older cousins and siblings. When I moved up to Byron in ’99 I was living in a house up in the hinterland and me and my mates set up a makeshift recording studio and we always had friends with kids around making music. I had no money and if it was a friend’s kid’s birthday they would invite me around but I wouldn’t know what present to get, so I’d just write them a song. I’d make a song about them or their pet dog and that usually kicked way more goals that a little football or something. What did you listen to growing up? Patsy Biscoe, Don Spencer, Peter Coombes? My first record my neighbour gave me and it was a Creedence album. I was living up at Karratha in West Australia so there was no tele and all the older kids had BMXS and ghettoblasters and they were all into AC/DC and Creedence. When I moved to Perth I got introduced to the Ramones, The Misfits and Sex Pistols and that set me on that path… I still love my punk stuff. I think I was 15 when I first heard Monster Magnet and Kyuss and that just blew my mind. I was listening to a lot of Zeppelin and Sabbath before that so by that age I was just thinking “WOW! You can take this stoner rock sound in so many directions,” and that’s what I’ve always tried to do. The roll call on this record is incredible. Robbie Krieger (The Doors) and Brant Bjork (Kyuss) being a couple of notables. Did these guys want to get involved cause they just couldn’t handle the Wiggles anymore? My aspiration for doing this had nothing to do with what’s out there. It wasn’t a backlash because I’ve never really listened to a lot of kids music. It’s torture mate. I’m telling you. There hasn’t been a decent kids song since
Bob the Kelpie.
I listen to so much great rock and roll and I want to share that experience of musical appreciation with my kid and other kids. I’m hoping Bunny Racket can be an introduction or a first step into that universe. I remember driving up the coast with my kids when they were 5 and three and all of a sudden I hear them start singing a Katy Perry song, and I just ripped into the nearest servo and bought Elvis, The Beatles and The Stones best ofs’ said “It’s time you two got schooled.” Haha! That’s great. It’s a real privilege to be able to get into children’s heads and hearts. They’re sponges and they tend to find something cool in just about anything they listen to. There’s a choice to bring something with a bit of substance and positivity into their experience of musical discovery. You’ve been in bands your whole life, what’s the pre and post gig party scene like for a rock band Bunny Racket? I still get to write and play music with my mates so not much has changed in that sense. We played a gig on the weekend and I had a bunch of friends who hadn’t seen me play for years came along and they said it was just like the old days except that we were dressed as bunnies. It all comes down to what the kids think. When I played A Chicken is not a Fruit to my niece and nephew who are two and four they gave you the perfect one word review “AGAIN!” That’s as good as it gets. Well you’ve nailed it mate, and I reckon parents should give Bunny Racket a go because it’s a lot of fun and the music is absolutely sick. Just one final question… any kids been shit scared of your suits? I think everything comes back to the main idea of what Bunny Racket is about, good music and having fun. If it’s a little bit scary or heavy here or there that’s fine. I grew up with the Muppets and they used to scare the shit out of me but I still loved them more than anything. That fear made me want to find out more about them. So it’s ok to push the boundaries a little bit.
King Bunny presents the next generation with the gift of rock.