Perth’s own preachers of the filthiest of rock’n’roll sermons, The Bible Bashers, have risen from the grave to launch a sonic assault with a new EP, Rise Hard, a whirlwind debauched tour of the Eastern seaboard and recent performances at the all-hotrod, all-tattoo, all-punked-up West Coast Lowdown Festival.
Rock’n’roll preacher and master of disaster, Laith Tierney, is dodging missiles from his bandmates in a seedy motel room somewhere in Newcastle on his “broke-ass punk band on the road” tour, but still insists, “that’s the way to do it.
“Seriously, it's good, it's good! We keep arguing over who gets to play the music in the car – but hey, I think I should be the only person that's in control of it. Let everyone else get upset.”
The Bible Bashers tore up Perth stages from 2008, finally coming to an inglorious end in 2012. That is, until they were asked to reunite to support UK punk legends The Damned in March of this year. Tierney delves into a little confessional history.
“The early years…” he starts with a sigh. “We all had bands that had kind of just broken up and we started a band and it sounded like a bunch of the bands that we were mutually appreciative of. And we did some recordings and stuff like that... but I don't know why we didn't do more or go further. We did tour but we just... had too many things going on at the time.
“Maybe I was a bit of an arsehole,” he laughs. “I don't really know. It seems like this version of the band are doing a lot better, and everyone's getting along a lot better, and kind of enjoying the whole thing much more. We toured for years, did a lot of shows, and I think we worked ourselves into the ground. It's great when there's heaps of people there, but when there's only 20 and you've busted yourself up for it and you've made no money and everyone hates you…”
Tierney goes on to attest that trying to ‘manage’ the band in their first incarnation was probably his biggest mistake.
“The other guys in the band can smell ‘business’ and when they smell it, they attack,” he muses. “They hate nothing more than a businessman and I think basically what happened, is that I, being a band manager and a venue-booker guy, took it a little bit too seriously and that can mean you become the guy that sucks the fun out of everything. And they were like, ‘well, I would like to get pissed before this show and go home with this person, I don't want you telling me that I need to stay sharp for tomorrow night's gig’.”
Reforming for their killer support slot for The Damned was a masterstroke pairing, and reinvigorated the band to just get out there and do it all again - better.
“Yeah, that was fucking awesome,” Tierney grins. “It's kind of like, when you don't try too hard, cool things just come to you. Dave Vanian was nice enough. Captain Sensible was a champion. They were wearing our t-shirts - it was cool, they gave us a bit of time for a chat, we went to the soundcheck and stuff and we yelled out songs for them to play – like, they played Nasty from The Young Ones, and then they didn't play that during their set, so a couple of things like that were pretty cool.”
From there, things escalated quickly…
“After we said we'd do The Damned and then agreed we'd play once every three months or something, I was over in Japan and I got really bored in the line at Disneyland and I decided to book a Melbourne tour. Because I was like, just why not – ‘cos fuck, the line’s there, man, seriously. So I wondered if I can book a tour in the line, make it a productive use of the time.
“So I just went straight for Melbourne, because it's a great experience to meet some people other than our friends. And there isn’t that Perth thing of people who play in bands pretending to not be too into other bands in case it makes them look less cool.”
Rise Hard is an eight-track EP full of everything The Bible Bashers are renowned for apart from the go-go girls: dirty guitars, a wicked and corruptive sense of humour, raw aggressive power, catchy tunes and Tierney’s evangelical growl that lies halfway between Lemmy and Lux Interior. And stay tuned – another EP is following it shortly, recorded with old mate Max Ducker in Victoria and featuring tracks old and new.
“We've got songs that we haven't recorded and we ended up writing a couple of new ones and digging out some half-finished ones we recorded in 2011 or 2012 with Al Smith at Begerk. He did a freaking awesome job, we actually did five songs with him. We released two of them - we did a single called Craybait, and then the other recordings just sat there. I think that was because we ran outta money, actually, so we couldn't finish the other three songs. And that actually caused a bit of drama within the band.
“The stuff that we've got waiting in the wings is actually fairly fucking depressing. A sort of murder ballad and a song about alcoholism and another song about being on the dole - they're more that sort of suburban, Nick Cave kind of feel. The stuff on Rise Hard is like The MC5, garage-rock-punk, fun stuff - our guitarist describes it as music for drunk girls to dance to. That's fantastic. I mean, that's what you want - you want to get drunk girls dancing. It’s the simple things in life.”
So is this what The Bible Bashers are all about now - getting drunk girls dancing and having some fun?
“Yeah, but there's still goals and stuff like that,” he yelps as his bandmates stick fingers in his ears. “It's just that, I think the clock has stopped ticking, so to speak. There's no, ‘gotta get famous by...’ I don't know if there ever was. We know how the music industry is and we know the style of music we're playing – we know that it's sort of offensive and low-brow and you don't hear that on triple J or radio or whatever, so there's no delusions of grandeur there, or any sort of false pretence. It's really been all us mates getting together and seeing what happens and just enjoying each other's company.”
Whilst some of us find Rise Hard hilarious and darkly sarcastic, Tierney says others are prone to being offended.
“I'm just waiting for the emails to start, or getting egged at concerts, or whatever - I'd love that! There is a heavy dose of irony and sarcasm and that kind of stuff at play in the music. We're taking it seriously, but we're having a laugh.”
Perhaps right now, the world needs The Bible Bashers?
“Well, I don't know if that's true,” says Tierney, “but they're going to get it anyway.”
The Bible Bashers will launch Rise Hard on Friday, December 8, at the Fly By Night Club with The Pain Killers, The Volcanics, Last Quokka, Chickspit and Les Sataniques and on Friday, December 22, at Amplifier Bar with The Floors, Catzilla, Frozen Ocean, Les Sataniques and more.