Don’t become too excited
After two decades, Frenzal Rhomb are now role models, writes
TO celebrate 20 years of Frenzal Rhomb running their own program, frontman Jay Whalley urges fans to come to their shows wearing clothes.
‘‘People get over-enthused. They have been known to take their clothes off on stage,’’ he says.
Founding member Whalley says after two decades in the business, Frenzal Rhomb are role models. ‘‘We are mentors,’’ he says. ‘‘The other day, a homeless window washer, who maybe had addiction issues, came to wash my windscreen.
‘‘I said ‘no thanks, mate’, but he started to do it anyway. I offered him two dollars and he said ‘no worries Jay – Frenzal Rhomb changed my life for the better’. I don’t know what his life was like before. But he shouted me my window wash.’’
The punk-rock four-piece last year released its eighth album, Smoko at the Pet Food Factory .
‘‘A lot of our jobs we have had doubts about, like, ‘I’m just peddling something else’s s - - -, selling someone else’s product’,’’ he says.
‘‘I like the idea of bands like us being downtime, like a knock-off period. You see a band, forget about your s - - - job. It’s like smoko.’’
Whalley says his favourite track on the album is Mummy Doesn’t Know You’re a Nazi.
‘‘There was this Neo-nazi fascist guy threatening a band over the net, saying he was going to glass them. The police were monitoring the band, and ended up finding the Nazi. They went to his house and realised he was 16. His mum had no idea.’’
Frenzal Rhomb travelled to Colorado in the US to record Smoko at the Pet Food Factory, enlisting help from American producer Bill Stevenson.
‘‘We have been pretty hands-on with production but it turned out we should never have been,’’ says Whalley.
‘‘(Stevenson) knew what we wanted to do. I didn’t want to use auto tune so I had to sing everything a thousand times to get it right.
‘‘The cool thing about our band is that we are all actually good at what we do. I can sing in tune 80 per cent of the time.’’
Whalley says he takes inspiration for songs from ‘‘stuff and things’’. ‘‘I write about whatever really. It’s not like we’re going for the shock factor, people are easily scandalised and outraged.
‘‘People will watch grotesque acts of human horror on TV and are desensitised, but then are shocked and appalled when people say such things in a pop song.’’
Frenzal Rhomb play Parkwood Tavern on Saturday.