Frenzal Rhomb not only released a best of called "We Lived Like Kings" to celebrate their 25th anniversary, they also finished recording a new album which should be out early next year. Time to catch up with Australia's finest and let vocalist Jay set us straight on their country's music scene.
PRT: First of all, congrats on your 25th anniversary! You celebrated the occasion by playing a bunch of 'by request' shows where the audience could vote for songs they wanted to hear. Did you have to re-learn how to play certain songs?
Jay: Thanks! Yeah the requests only idea was one of the worst we've ever had. There's good reasons why we don't play a lot of those songs in our regular set. They either suck or we can't remember how to play them. I had a stage full of lyric sheets taped to the ground at the first few shows...kind of embarrassing since I wrote them and as they were laminated it became a safety issue once they were covered in beer. Anyway, a majority of voters seem to like them so who are we to argue against democracy?
PRT: What was the most obscure song anyone requested?
Jay: We had a guy that seemed like he would kill himself if we didn't play the theme song to an obscure '80s TV show called 'Sweet and Sour' from an even more obscure compilation called 'Shit Hot '95'. No one needs to hear that.
PRT: Looking back on 25 years as a band... when was the first time you stood back and realized you had in fact made a career out of playing in a band.
Jay: Probably on this tour I've felt a real since of pride and achievement for the way these songs have resonated with so many people over the years. Then I looked at my bank balance and realised I've wasted my life.
PRT: Does it feel like it has been 25 years?
Jay: 25 long, long years.
PRT: What are some of the most important life lessons you have learned over the course of a quarter of a century in a punk rock band?
Jay: Keep your friends close and your enemies you should flush out of your life like dead goldfish.
PRT: I remember back when I first heard Frenzal Rhomb. Back then it seemed like there was just one punk rock band in Australia, whereas now there has been an explosion of good new bands. Do you think that in some way you are responsible for that? Like that you showed them it was possible?
Jay: You, my friend have been living under some sort of rock. Australia has a long, rich and continuing tradition of punk rock of which we are nought but a blackhead on the nose of Australian musical history.
PRT: You also released a double best of called "We Lived Like Kings (We Did Anything We Wanted)". How did you go about picking the songs that made the album?
Jay: We used the punkest of all the office administration programs; the excel spreadsheet. We had a list of 500 songs and we all voted for our favorites. A rare example of democracy working. Or not depending on what you think of the record.
PRT: There is not just the best of, you also just finished a new album. What can you tell us about it?
Jay: Yes! Just finished up at the Blasting Room, what a privilege to work with such pros! By pros of course I mean prostitutes. Those guys will do anything for a dollar. Also great to finally achieve that 'A Day To Remember' sound we've been striving for. Should be released early next year if the bigwigs at the record label do their job, i.e. pay 15 bucks for a promoted facebook post and organise an interview with Punk Rock Theory. Hey hang on...
PRT: This might be a weird question... do you ever think about what you will do when Frenzal Rhomb ever calls it a day? I mean, when you have a desk job like me, you look forward to retirement where you get to enjoy your pension and finally go and visit all the places you wanted to see. You already saw the entire world.
Jay: We have a welfare state that is slowly being eroded and on track to become more like the US model where individual achievement is valued over collective responsibility. As such by the time I'm eligible for a pension I won't even be able to travel to Wollongong by bus. (it's 50 minutes from my house for non-Wollongongophiles)