’Gurg swear by ir­rev­er­ent hu­mour

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - WHAT’S ON -

THERE is some­thing ter­ri­bly wrong about sit­ting down to watch Re­gur­gi­ta­tor. This tear in the fab­ric of rock his­tory oc­curred two weeks ago when the Aus­tralian mu­sic in­dus­try con­gre­gated at the open­ing soiree for the an­nual BigSound con­fer­ence in Bris­bane. The ’Gurg made men­tion that it was their first seated gig ever and launched into I Will Lick Your A..hole. It was the first of many gigs the band will play in sup­port of its new Dirty Pop Fan­tasy al­bum.

Re­leased ear­lier this month, it proves the band formed by Quan Yeomans and Ben Ely two decades ago still has plenty left in the tank. Nine­teen songs’ worth of fuel.

Rather than in­dulge their love of tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate the record, Ely trav­elled to Yeomans’ base in Hong Kong to get the Dirty Pop Fan­tasy party started.

‘‘I went over there for five and a half weeks and lived with Quan in a lit­tle apart­ment and then back again to fin­ish it off,’’ Ely says.

‘‘It was close to Cen­tral in this nine-storey walk-up and we were on the top floor so once you walked all the way up, you were stay­ing there all day. It was an old yoga stu­dio and we felt like a cou­ple, with­out the sex part, hav­ing lit­tle din­ner par­ties and sleep­ing on the floor.’’

Af­ter 20 years, the pair in­tu­itively know each other’s song­writ­ing and musical strengths and weak­nesses.

‘‘We are def­i­nitely more thick-skinned now and don’t take any­thing to heart. If I tell Quan I re­ally don’t like a song, he’ll just say ‘OK, all right’,’’ Ely says.

They joke that they are the only con­stant in each other’s lives, out­last­ing their ro­man­tic relationships. But the other con­stant in Re­gur­gi­ta­tor is there are no rules. Like all ’Gurg al­bums, there’s punk songs and pop songs, a folk aber­ra­tion and ev­ery shade of rock from me­tal to elec­tro.

‘‘The one thing we prob­a­bly draw a line at is emo. Be­cause there is a cer­tain Re­gur­gi­ta­tor sound,’’ Ely says.

‘‘I think the one con­ver­sa­tion we had be­fore we went in was that we wanted ev­ery song to be strong in its genre.

‘‘We love it when our mu­sic jumps around stylis­ti­cally, when there’s these jagged jumps be­tween punk rock and a pop song. The more ex­treme, the more we like it.

‘‘The next al­bum we should start with clas­si­cal and end up with coun­try.’’

And of course the other non-rule, which is ge­net­i­cally ob­served on ev­ery al­bum they con­struct with their drum­mer mate Peter Kostic, is hu­mour; naughty, ir­rev­er­ent, sweary, more dirty than your drunk un­cle at Christ­mas hu­mour. One track which they may not want to alert the US im­mi­gra­tion depart­ment to is My Lit­tle Ter­ror­ist.

‘‘We won’t be tak­ing that to Amer­ica any time soon,’’ Ely says.

As for the swear­ing, which in­cludes the song ti­tle F ... You Sweet­ness, a song that namechecks all your favourite con­fec­tionary, the ’Gurg make no apolo­gies.

‘‘I think swear­ing in mu­sic has lost a lot of strength. I re­mem­ber when we re­leased Tu-Plang and Chris­tian com­mu­ni­ties in Queens­land tried to get the al­bum out of Kmart and Myer,’’ Ely says.

‘‘That helped us to sell more records. these days it doesn’t have the same value.’’

With eight al­bums of shoutout an­thems, Re­gur­gi­ta­tor could play marathon gigs should their fans de­sire it. But Ely isn’t too keen on three-hour sets yet.

‘‘It’s funny that when you get older, the shows go longer. We’re not at the Bruce Spring­steen level but we can still cover a lot of songs in close to two hours,’’ Ely says.

– KATHY McCABE

Re­gur­gi­ta­tor play the Coolan­gatta Ho­tel on Oc­to­ber 12 and the Great North­ern Ho­tel, By­ron Bay, on Oc­to­ber 13.

– Pic­ture: LES­LIE MONT­GOMERY

Re­gur­gi­ta­tor’s Quan Yeomans (left) and Ben Ely.

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