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| 29 March 2018 | Reply


By Shane Pinnegar


A four-headed Irish-Australian rock Hydra from Sydney’s Inner West, Flickertail play guitar-fuelled rock and roll exactly the way it’s supposed to be played. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Thin Lizzy, The Darkness, and Oasis, the band honed their sound in the garages and booze dens of Sydney before hitting the road in 2015 to showcase their unique sound at every pub, club and back yard along Australia’s eastern coast.

Since their inception, the band have played relentlessly and are reaping the rewards. 2014’s single “The End” received airplay on Triple M and regional radio throughout New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, while new single “Guinness is Thicker than Blood” has been played everywhere from Bendigo to Brisbane. The tail end of 2015 saw the band landing coveted opening slots with Aussie rock heroes Buffalo and Sarah McLeod on top of endless sweaty shows with local legends Black Aces, The Lockhearts, and Foreign Kings.

The band brought their infamous zero-bullshit live show on the road once more in 2016, including support slots with The Casanovas and US juggernaut Supersuckers.

In 2017, armed with only their wits, guitars and their stunning good looks, Flickertail plan on conquering every state across this vast, thirsty continent. Their debut EP, Hurry Up and Wait, will be released through Golden Robot Records.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material that only diehard fans might pick up on?

This is a pure, honest rock and roll record. Does what it says on the tin – you see us in our skintight jeans, boots, denim shirts, great haircuts, and you don’t expect limp-wristed funky Telstra hold-please-sir music. We are unabashed about our influences, so people who know us will pick up on what we’re trying to do. I nicked a bit out of Joyce’s “A Little Cloud” for a lyric here, there’s a melody that’s dangerously close to “Molly Malone” elsewhere, that sort of thing. Anyone who can pick up our little nods to what we love gets a pint, on me.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realised you wanted to be a musician?

I can’t speak for the others, but as a boy I was an absolutely awful athlete. Couldn’t kick a ball to save myself. I’d always sung, ever since I was a little boy (I think my mum still has tapes of me doing “Sweet Chariot” and other limp crap in the ’90s), and I used to get in trouble in school choirs for singing everyone else’s harmonies. How’s that for rock and roll rebellion – the worst behaved choirboy. Sounds like a children’s book illustrated by Quentin Blake. Once I got to about twelve, I realised I couldn’t dance or play sport. Obviously I wanted girls to like me, so I gave playing guitar and singing a shot. Once I started doing both at the same time, I really hit a stride and there was no fucking stopping me.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

As a band, I have to say the obvious ones. Thin Lizzy, Oasis, The Darkness… then Thin Lizzy again, TWICE.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

I really dislike the superband crossover thing, so cross out all the rock groups on the planet. There are no good supergroups. As horrendous as the rap-rock crossover thing really is, bands like Rage Against the Machine, and collaborations like the Run DMC/Aerosmith version of “Walk This Way” can be outstanding exceptions to the rule, so I’d love to work with one of the big grime MCs, like Skepta or Stormzy.

That said, if I could have anyone jump on stage with us, it would be Dan Hawkins, so I could harangue him afterwards about when the second Stone Gods album is coming out.

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

It’s a pint of Guinness for your ears. It’s sweet, it’s tart, it’s robust, it’s nourishing and you can’t, and shouldn’t, have just one.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

I couldn’t say. It’s all brilliant. I get to hop in a van with my three best mates, sink tins, play loud rock and roll music, listen to loud rock and roll music, get chatted up by beautiful women and go to bed whenever I want. There are no downsides, as long as you don’t mind the smell of four unwashed blokes.


7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Matt is the best cook, but I must be slowly turning into my mother because I compulsively try to feed everyone. We all really egg each other on in terms of drinking, particularly when we’re playing with our mates like Black Aces, Black Heart Breakers, or The Lockhearts. It’s not an environment that encourages moderation. You bring a stubby holder and strap yourself in for a big one.

As for singalongs, I’d say it’s me too. I fucking love a singalong, specially the old Irish songs. Matt and I once ran into a load of Irish lads out on a bucks’ night in Melbourne – bloody ten of them – and the twelve of us got stuck in to the Jameson and the old ballads, all through Melbourne, arms around each other, destroying Uber ratings and our vocal cords alike. I’ve been recovering ever since.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Retired Liverpool player-cum-Sky news pundit. All you have to do is watch football, wind Gary Neville up, and then occasionally spit at mouthy United supporters. Piece of piss.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep, or you would like to be able to “do over”?

I used to wear a frilly purple shirt on stage because I thought it made me look like Prince, but really I just looked like a Victorian dandy with a white boy Afro. I don’t regret that, I just want to do it over and relive the experience.

10. If you were made ruler of the world, what would your first orders be?

I like to think I’d do something lovely, like redistribute all unequal wealth to starving children, or end slavery, or establish the first colony on Mars, but really I’d probably just make everyone listen to the Beatles and outlaw Brussels sprouts, sneans, and Jose Mourinho’s whingeing face.

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Thin Lizzy’s Live and Dangerous, being in that crowd for those shows and seeing the man and the zenith of his powers, would be it for me. Live and Dangerous wasn’t exactly a turning point for music in a global sense, but it marks a turning point in my life, when my old man gave me his battered old copy from the ’70s and told me I was too good of a guitar player to just be doing the same Sex Pistols riffs over and over.

Philip Lynott’s presence, the gravity of his voice and his songs, is what assured me that voices like mine can and do make an impact in rock and roll. You can be tough and strong, and sincere and sentimental all at the same time. You should be writing strong melodies on all the instruments, and you should be writing proper lyrics, not just rhyming fire with desire and throwing in clumsy metaphors for blowjobs here and there. I’ve always been given to playing with words, but hearing how Phil wrapped his brain around the English language to make you feel what he was feeling is what tipped me into taking lyrics and singing seriously. Before I heard that record, I was mainly a guitar player who could sing, but once I learned it back to front, I knew I could be the great, inimitable frontman you see before you today.

12. What, for you, is the meaning of life??

I’m here to write great songs, play them well, make my mum proud, and have a bloody good time while I’m at it. So far, so good.

Category: Interviews

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