Punter Profile – Benny Mayhem
When did you first start going to see local Perth bands?
The first local Perth band I saw, and remember, was Murphy’s Law, featuring Chris and Courtney Murphy, circa 1994. I saw these guys in Albany, then at the Raffles, and then bumped into them again on New Years Eve 1996/97. They’re a cover band, of course, so perhaps they don’t count.
Later on, there were some Beaverloop encounters, and Bordello and Turnstyle, but I didn’t hit the ground running until about 2000. I was quickly drawn to Hydey punk gigs because the music was better, and the people had more fun and were less self-important… or were self-important in a more entertaining way, perhaps…
Favourite local releases for 2006?
Well personally it was good to be able to put the Painkillers’ CD out, and The Homicides, they both did a very good job and I was glad my label [Blazing Strumpet Records] was involved. To be honest I haven’t bought that many local CDs this year—I’m constantly seeing bands live, and CDs don’t always do that justice, so it’s not the hugest priority for me.
The Unfair Dismissal demo had a great song on it—“Nine To Five”—and I gave the Battletruk / Pillar Of Hope split EP a spin recently and enjoyed it, especially the Battletruk stuff. Chainsaw Hookers demo has a great song too, “Nazi Warewolf Attack”. I also picked up Extortion’s first CD. Anything that’s recorded by Al Smith at Bergerk! Studios seems to come out sounding fresh and energetic.
Are you involved in the music scene besides going to gigs?
Yeah man. Organising shows, putting out records, playing in two bands (occasionally with other projects on the side), and recently I’ve been doing a bit of spruiking as MC Bender. Good times. I’ve also been known to do the CDDJ thing… plus I like writing sometimes—I used to have an online zine but it was too esoteric or something.
Which venues do you like and why?
The Hyde Park Hotel because it feels like home, and like a party—stages and full PAs are really quite unnecessary. The Castle on a good night can be fantastic—it depends on who is promoting, playing, and attending. Mojo’s though is my find of the year—no tap beer but enjoyable surroundings—it’s one of the only venues left where you can smoke, drink, and play pool all at once.
Who are your favourite local bands and why?
The Homicides—like I said in Project Mayhem’s recent Drum interview, they’re just such a phenomenon that brought all these extremely entertaining people together and gave us something in common. Catchy hooks, raw as fuck, extreme personalities, they’re the real deal. They define “punk rock” without tying themselves too much to it.
Also, going back a bit, Jed Whitey—they used to put on the most awesome live shows. Loud, fast, overtly wanky rock moves—presented with more than a touch of parody for guaranteed good times. Fourstroke were great too—a bit more mature, perhaps, or at least more intricate in the stoner rock vein. These two were certainly the best rock’n’roll bands in town at the time (circa 2000/2001).
What is the best gig you’ve ever seen?
The Hard-Ons’ 21st anniversary re-union tour last year at Amplifier. Just an amazing night, I was off my head!
Three Orange Whips’ last show, again at Amplifier. I think this was 2002. Shirts off!
Motorhead at Claremont Showgrounds last year.
Six Ft Hick Sunday show at the Hydey in 2001. It was one of my first Hydey gigs and they were just so damn entertaining—they got down to their boxers and one of them was lying on the bar pouring tomato sauce all over himself.
What do you drink at gigs?
Primarily beer, or bourbon and coke, but I’ve been known to dabble in vodka and Red Bull, sambucca, tequila, and champagne.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on stage?
I have no idea. The Magoos always used to make me laugh because they were Indonesian Muslims singing quite unashamedly about killing us all. It was absurd. Mike Van Es (The Crackers) was always extremely entertaining—one of those fiercely intelligent drunks who found a good deal of righteousness in the concept of fucking oneself up. A total bohemian… like Winston Churchill, or one of those poets from years ago… Luke Marinovich from Jed Whitey used to get up to all kinds of rock star hijinks including stealing people’s beer and spraying it all over everybody. Chris Brown from Amputee Porn Stars gave me an amusing three months as well.
Are there any new local bands you have discovered lately?
Bands that have impressed me this year include:
Surprise Sex Attack—80’s punk traditionalists who have taken bits from here and there to create a fresh sound in an old style.
Battletruk—when a band features the best members of Negative Reply and PC Thug, plus guys from Miles Away etc.; you know you’re in for some ripping hardcore.
Unfair Dismissal—I hear a rumour that they have called it a day, but these guys mix skate punk with enough aggression and theatrics to blow any competition off the stage.
Fear Of Comedy—they’re a whole new take on the whole post-punk/proto-goth thing, as if The Damned were being covered by Elvis Presley tripping hard on LSD while he was watching some 50’s B Grade horror flick. Leith’s an extremely entertaining and committed frontman, with an unbelievable set of pipes on him. He blows me away.
Additionally… I try to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s happening at a grass-roots level. There have been some cool bands playing at the 20 Minutes Of Fame, which I’ve been judging recently. There’s loads of crap of course, but it’s nice to find someone genuinely impressive such as The Trevallys.
Also I’m really impressed with the way Sex Panther have taken off recently, they’re focussed but they’re still having a really good time. Slim Pickins impressed me too with some pretty damn good rock’n’roll, I haven’t seen them for a few months though. Also how’s OkiOki? They play Nintendo music! Fantastic.
Why support local original music? Why not cover bands?
I think the main reason behind both the “support local music” and “support local original music” mantras is the idea that people should look outside the square, and that what is popular is not necessarily the best music around. Too many people look to the US, UK, or even Melbourne to provide them with entertainment; but the truth is that there are many great bands here in our own backyard. However, the idea that all Perth bands are somehow inherently better or worthy of support just because they are local is retarded—it is the excuse that sub-par soft-metal bands use to justify their mediocore existence.
Likewise, cover bands are just regurgitating the same old crap. I understand why those guys do it—to make a living out of music—but personally I’d prefer to have to do my day job to pay the bills and keep my rock’n’roll fun—and do things my way. I don’t see anything inherently wrong with covers so long as the band believe in the songs, and are doing what they want to, not just going through the motions for the sake of the publican.