CAST­ING A GURU SPELL

Band mem­bers have come and gone over the past three decades, but iconic Aussie rock­ers Hoodoo Gu­rus have main­tained their pas­sion. They head to the Coast to­mor­row night for a spe­cial show

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY| LIVE & LOUD - KATHY MCCABE

As the Hoodoo Gu­rus ap­proached their 30th an­niver­sary in 2011, their leader Dave Faulkner came up with an am­bi­tious idea. He wanted to re­unite all four line-ups of the sem­i­nal Aus­tralian rock band that had fused punk at­ti­tude with pop sen­si­bil­i­ties to cross over from Syd­ney’s al­ter­na­tive un­der­ground to the top of the main­stream charts.

His cur­rent band mates, Brad Shep­herd, Rick Grossman and Mark Kingsmill – the long­est-serv­ing Gu­rus crew since 1988 – were into the idea.

So were orig­i­nal mem­bers Kim­ble Ren­dall and Roddy Radalj, who formed Le Hoodoo Gu­rus with Faulkner in 1981. They had left the band in 1982, re­placed by Shep­herd and the band’s first bassist Clyde Bram­ley.

Their found­ing drum­mer James Baker wasn’t into the idea. Baker was sacked in 1984 and joined the Beasts Of Bour­bon. His seat in the Gu­rus was taken by Kingsmill, who re­tired from the band last month.

“James wasn’t in­ter­ested at all. He has his other bands and he thought it would be weird to play with us and then go back to that,” Faulkner says.

“He was still a bit con­flicted, I think. It took him a cou­ple of years to kind of get his head around it … He was thrown out and that was con­tro­ver­sial. And we still haven’t spo­ken about it, to be hon­est, be­cause it’s not one of those things you can re­ally talk about. And it doesn’t change any­thing.”

Faulkner sug­gests Baker’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in a Beasts re­union in 2013 may have changed his mind and about 18 months ago, Baker told Faulkner he’d like to do it.

With all eight mem­bers on board, Be My Guru: The Evo­lu­tion Revo­lu­tion – fea­tur­ing all four line-ups – made its de­but at a gig in Perth last Novem­ber.

It is im­pos­si­bly rare for a band to main­tain its orig­i­nal line-up over a ca­reer span­ning decades. Ten­sions brew, de­sires cool, friend­ships stretch and life and death test the bonds. But mu­sic seems to have a grav­i­ta­tional pull, bring­ing bands back to each other de­spite those dis­agree­ments.

“It’s not about friend­ship, I’ll be hon­est. We have other lives and we need to have other lives oth­er­wise we would go in­sane,” the front­man says.

“Ob­vi­ously you have great re­spect and pride in each other’s work and ev­ery­thing you’ve done to­gether. We’ve given so much of our­selves to each other and re­lied on each other so there is a bond.

“Even with James, when we played to­gether there was no ten­sion. It’s won­der­ful to have all those things drop away and just be mu­si­cians to­gether, shar­ing those songs we own with each other.”

Faulkner is an ex­cep­tional song­writer, which is why Hoodoo Gu­rus’ songs have lasted the test of time.

He’s per­formed with sev­eral bands but is best known as lead singer, prin­ci­pal song­writer and main­stay.

Faulkner formed the band in 1981 with Shep­herd and, apart from a six-year break from early 1998, con­tin­ues to per­form with the band to the present day.

The Hoodoo Gu­rus an­nounced their farewell tour in 1997.

The spark for a re­vival was most likely inspired by the 1986 hit, What’s My Scene, which was re­worked for the NRL to be­come That’s My Team, the theme for the rugby league com­pe­ti­tion’s TV advertising cam­paign in 2003.

It is 33 years since Hoodoo Gu­rus re­leased their first al­bum, Stoneage Romeos, with the de­but sin­gle Leilani and like many other Aussie bands, are proud of their longevity.

In 2012, they re­leased Gold Watch: 20 Golden Greats with one new song, Use-By Date, a tongue-in-cheek ad­di­tion to the al­bum.

Faulkner is a cham­pion of live mu­sic and a huge fan of smaller venues.

Some time ago, the man be­hind such mem­o­rable hits as Bit­ter­sweet, Come Any­time, My Girl, Like Wow – Wipe­out and Miss Freelove 69, launched a tough on­go­ing bat­tle to save Syd­ney’s dwin­dling live mu­sic scene.

The Hoodoo Gu­rus will play Twin Towns at Tweed Heads to­mor­row night.

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