There’s a kind of bleakness to the world these days. It could be easy to think about giving up when mostly all we see on the news is brawling politicians and monuments to our past literally on fire. Times like these, one might feel the need for a bit of counselling. But, what with the price of everything going through the roof and the corporate fat cats keeping their RM Williams’ firmly on the wages pipeline, who can afford that?
If you’re not familiar with Dear’s output do a quick search online. He’s a true Perth and Aussie music living legend
Here at Around The Sound, we have an idea for you. Music is your salvation and, is scientifically proven to be even better when the band includes a psychologist. Low price of entry, drown your sorrows with a few beers and watch local legend, Greg Dear, and his band The Holy Rollers resurrect themselves for a one-time-only blast from the 1980s. And if you’re still feeling a bit down after all that, maybe go see someone, because, if a night with The Holy Rollers can’t soothe your soul, it’s probably time to get some professional help.
For those not in the know, The Holy Rollers played their first gig opening for The Triffids at the Shenton Park Hotel in April 1984. Subsequently, they were engaged to perform their own headline gigs on a Tuesday night at The Wizbah and then secured some Saturday bookings at the same venue along with gigs at other venues around Perth. They were one of THE bands in their day and, as well as their headline gigs, their CV boasts supports for the likes of The Violent Femmes, The Go Betweens, Ed Kuepper, Nico, John Cale and Jonathan Richman.
Yes, folks! The Holy Rollers are coming out of mothballs to play the Bassendean Hotel this Thursday, 18 April. We spoke to band leader and world record local gig attendee, Greg Dear to find out why.
Actually, the real why of the whole thing is a secret. Probably not a very well-kept secret, but we did pinkie swear not to mention it, so we won’t. We do have some integrity! Besides, secrets are fun.
Here are some of the things Dear was willing to talk about.
The Holy Rollers’ line up set to play The Basso on Thursday isn’t the original line up, but it’s probably the most stable and the one that created the majority of the band’s recorded output.
“We’ve done a couple of Holy Rollers things in recent years, but never with Kim (Williams), he’s always been unavailable. So, this is the first time that this full line up of Holy Rollers from the 80s has played, since ’86.
“It’s not the original line up. I don’t think there’s any chance we could ever get the original line up back together. The original line up had Tony Watson on Bass and James Hirst on drums. James was also drummer with Chad’s Tree and when they went to Sydney at the end of ‘84 we were looking for a new drummer and that’s when we brought Flick (Dear) in. Then Tony left so Craig switched to bass and we played as a three-piece from November ’84 to about April ’85 and that’s when Kim joined. It was the line up with Kim on Bass and Craig back on guitar, the line-up we’re playing with, that went from early ’85 through to the end of ’86.
“It’s the line-up that stayed together the longest and would be best known and played on all the recordings.”
The Holy Rollers did some brisk business with their recordings.
When Dear told me about the release of their music on cassette I shared the moment from UK TV series The League of Gentlemen, which includes the recurring character, Les McKeon, who was briefly almost famous with his (fictional) band Crème Brulee and now has drawers full of their cassettes at home and the catchphrase, ‘It’s a shit business.’
Dear knew exactly what I was referring to, he even shared a chuckle at McKeon’s predicament, but then fired off the brisk comment, “We pretty much sold out of all out stuff.” An accommodating and friendly man he may be, but don't mistake Dear for one who’s not serious about the ‘shit business’ that is the music industry. And, if you’re not familiar with Dear’s output do a quick search online. He’s a true Perth and Aussie music living legend.
Things will get loose on Thursday night, but they will be tight and authentic, too.
“We’re looking forward to it! We’ve been running through the songs and the bits we were rusty on we’ve worked out now. I must say, we were never the most polished band back in the day, anyway, so a few loose moments will be authentic.
“We’re doing our best to remember all our parts. We’ve got recordings to prompt our memories. But, it’s going to be an accurate performance of pretty much what we sounded like back then. I’m trying to drag out the same pedals I used and a few things like that. But I think the old delay I used back then has died, so I’ll have an updated delay pedal.”
There will undoubtedly be some surprises, but punters will be on familiar ground, too.
“A couple of the covers that were a regular feature of our gigs back then will make an appearance. I don’t think there’s any need for suspense as to what will they play, so I’ll give this away; our classic sets back then, including the original and the three-piece line up would typically end with a cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘The Stranger Song’. We did a pretty different version, so that’ll be an authentic end to the evening.”
The Holy Rollers will be supported by Ghost Hotel, a band that hasn’t played a gig for around five years. That makes the night an even sweeter proposition, if you really needed any convincing. Get more info and tickets right here: https://www.facebook.com/events/409750819817987/