Death stalked Tex Perkins and The Beasts in 2018. After the emotional and devastating loss of their mates, bandmates and Australian musical icons Brian Hooper and Spencer P Jones, Tex Perkins and compadres, Kim Salmon, Tony Pola, Boris Sujdovic and Charlie Owen resolved to continue carrying the torch of the unstoppable life force that is the Beasts of Bourbon. Gathering all remaining members past and present to record a set of jams and covers that became the new album, Still Here, proving that there was life in the old dogs yet.
And now they’re backing it up with an Australian tour that will bring The Beasts back to Perth for dates at The Rosemount Hotel on 21 December and Rock Rover on 22 December. Around The Sound spoke to The Beasts’ front man, Tex Perkins, finding him, understandably, reflective.
“The reason this line up exists is because we gathered to give Spencer (P Jones, former guitarist who passed away in August 2019) a chance to make his final statement in the studio,” Perkins said. “We also did that last gig for Brian’s (Hooper, former bass player) benefit, which was literally the last thing he did. He gave it all that night.” (Hooper played the gig in a wheelchair attended by ‘nurses’ of various kinds and died a week later on 20 April.) “The reason we came together was to tribute those guys. Now we’ve done that and recording that album (Still Here) was part of a mourning process, our way of coming to terms with it. It was also a chance to have a good hard look at ourselves as well.”
That ‘good hard look’ has resulted in a reinvigorated Beasts outfit and they’re ready to rumble!
“When your friends pass away, you naturally start thinking about mortality and your own life, but you can’t mourn for ever,” Perkins told us. “The last tour was a goodbye. The thing that remains with me is we’re a lot closer to the end than we are to the beginning. Some of these guys have been with us for 36 years now, they’re my oldest friends. It’s been a real joy. We’ve been playing rock and roll since we were kids. We’re going to be having a lot of fun! We’re going to be enjoying every second of the tour.
“This line up is the rebirth of my creative relationship with Kim (Salmon). And having Charlie Owen adding to the sound and playing together is a revelation and something which hadn’t been able to happen up until now. Charlie replaced Kim in the band and now they’re in the band together at the same time.”
Through the mourning, there’s a real sense of joy emanating from Perkins about what’s to come. “In my younger days, I worked myself up, Perkins said, “I sought an intensity and an attitude, a kind of Neolithic approach to rock and roll. But I’m really about just enjoying this. It’s going to be brutal but it’s going to be a lot of fucking fun. I think we’re all determined to squeeze all the joy we can out of it.”
The Beasts play The Rosemount on 21 December and Rock Rover on 22 December. More information and tickets here.