Interview: Cinema Prague

George (Cinema Prague)
Interview by Leo Abbs

You played a return show after 9 years in September. How did you feel after the first show back?
It felt fantastic Leo. As one reviewer put it “it must surely rank among history’s greatest gambles” and for us it really felt like that. There were only two ways it could have gone – spectacularly or catastrophically. We put a lot of effort into the rehearsals, the songs and the promotion to leave nothing to chance and we gave ourselves lots of time to get things just right. It’s funny though, you can do everything conceivable, but once the night starts there’s nothing else you can do. You just have to enjoy it.

We had always intended on leaving the door open so we wanted to make it MORE than just a reunion gig. I think involving Roy (new bassist) helped in setting that “we’re moving on” vibe.

On the night, it was just awesome to see all the crew and lots of new crew too. It was a very sympathetic audience in that everyone wanted to have a good time. There we’re only a few people grizzling that it won’t be the same without Rex. You think we didn’t know that? It feels great to finally move on.

How does it feel to be playing with a new bass player?
Roy is such a great player, not only technically but his approach and sensitivity to the songs is very generous and intuitive. He’s a gun. Personally, I think the band is sounding better than ever because we’ve had time to think about what we are. We are a live band. In the past, our live show was good but it would try to straddle the gap between live and studio and would loose some potency.

Snakes Alive is the new album coming out. When it is to be released?
We have just started the mixdown of the album. At this stage, we’re on schedule for a Feb ’08 release. The album was recorded nine years ago and captured some pretty fiery performances. It’s really raw and rocking.

Who are the horn players? Are there any plans to include more members in the Prague live performance?
Trumpeter Marty Pervan leads the “horns”. We have done some work with him in the past (Freo prison CD launch, 1994) so he’s our man. It’s up to him who arrives on the night but for the Mojos (23rd Nov ’07) we’ve got him, Sirio on tenor sax and Mark of baritone. Sorry, I can’t tell you their surnames.

I guess the idea behind adding extra stuff onstage is to spice up the three-piece sound. They can do lots of singing parts too. Essentially, we’re a three-piece though.

Where did you first meet Tim and Rex? Are you guys the original members?
We are the original members and we were called Cinema Prague before we even began. In 1986, in a bedroom in Attadale, Tim, Rex and I started penning and recording punk tunes. Tim and Rex went to Attadale primary, and Tim and I went to Applecross High – so Tim was the link.

We’d listen to bands like The Dead Kennedys, The Sex Pistols, The Cure, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Septic Death, The Exploited, The Clash, Depression and many more. There was such a cool alternative scene and rivalry between Applecross, Perth Mod (where Rex went), Hollywood High and also Jarrahdale high.

Lots of bleached jeans and Mohawks on 45-degree days and liquor that we would steal from our parents. At one stage, it was cool to be our manager, and we just couldn’t say “no” when people asked, so at one stage we had about thirty managers all doing their little bit for the Prague. When everyone turned 18, we could fill a pub, which really helped us get gigs.

What Prague songs are you playing in the setlist? Are you writing new material?
The set for the Capitol show and these ones coming up is pretty much a classic Prague set from where we left (off). It covers our whole career from George’s Blues (1990) – Rose Sun P and Snakes Alive (1998). We will start introducing some newies into the set next year but we don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves. We will be touring Snakes Alive so those songs will be the focus.

You have done international tours before. Which countries have Prague played?
We’ve done a bit of overseas stuff. We got invited to the Grahamstown Festival in South Africa. It’s kind of like the SA version of PIAF but when we got there we discovered that we’d been invited and that was that! No gigs. Anyway, we hustled our way onto a line-up and it was such a success that we headlined every night at this particular venue for the two weeks of the festival.

This set us up for a quick national tour of SA and played in Jo-burg, Capetown, Durban and others. From there we went to Madrid but didn’t play any shows. We went to Amsterdam and did a couple of gigs before settling in London for six months. This is all in 1997. We did some shows in London, Liverpool and Manchester and went to America to do two shows in LA. That’s pretty much our international CV.

We came back to Perth, recorded Snakes Alive and then broke up. While we were over in Europe, I had to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Grail – Prague. I traveled there with my girlfriend at the time and we went and saw “Men In Black” at Cinema Prague – it exists!

Gig Details:
We have two shows this weekend:
Friday 23rd November – Mojo’s Bar, North Fremantle
Supports are Brash & Sassy and Day of the Dead.
$15 door sales from 7pm.

Saturday 24th November – The Bakery, Northbridge
With Brash & Sassy, Druid Le Roth, Fall Electric, Bourgeois Bogan DJs and much much more.
$15 pre-sale through heatseeker $20 on the door from 8pm.


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