After being a work in progress for over two years, it was a truly exciting moment for fans of Frenzal Rhomb when they dropped their first studio album in six years, Hi-Vis High Tea, earlier this year. Debuting at number nine in the ARIA charts, its position in the charts was sandwiched between two Ed Sheeran albums. However, Frenzal Rhomb’s notorious guitarist Lindsay ‘The Doctor’ McDougall says there was luckily no copy-write issues between the two acts, even though there was a brief moment of doubt over the song title ‘C*nt Act’.
“I thought all of Ed’s songs where called ‘C*nt Act’, that’s my mistake,” McDougall laughs, “We are in constant contact with Ed Sheeran; we love trading boring verses and boring choruses amongst ourselves. A lot of us, in the top 10 tier of musicians are usually in constant communication.”
This is the exact kind of larrikinism that first attained the Rhomb success in the mid ’90s; releasing nine albums fuelled by political activism and funny narratives, Frenzal Rhomb have always been a controversial act. From being briefly banned from triple j, to having notorious feuds with media personalities such as Kyle Sandilands and releasing songs with titles such as ‘Get Fucked You Fucken Fuckwit’ and ‘Johnny Ramone Was In A Good Band But He Was A C*nt’, it begs the question, has there ever been a lyric too controversial for Frenzal Rhomb to record?
“I don’t think so,” McDougall says, “If you don’t expect anyone to ever play your songs on the radio, then it doesn’t really matter.
“The only thing is, now that I’m looking back at some of our songs, I’m going ‘oh shit’, there are some lyrics there that I probably wouldn’t write or want to play now because they are a bit violent or c*nty (siq) towards certain people. Not songs like ‘All Of Your Friends Think You’re A Fuckhead’ or whatever, they are fine, but even songs like ‘Bucketbong’. I was playing it acoustically at this gig the other night and it got to the last verse and in the song the protagonist tricks the girl by not having a bucket anywhere and so she has to have the bucket-bong in the bath with the protagonist. That’s non-consensual and horrific so I don’t imagine we would write that lyric again, about tricking a girl into a bath with us to have a bucket-bong, even though it’s an entirely fictitious story,” he explains.
“But the point is, we are always going to be punching in the right direction, the people we are taking to task are people in high levels of power doing things that deserve them to be taking to task for. We aren’t fucking over anyone who doesn’t deserve to be fucked over.”
Since not having released an album since 2011’s excellent Smoke At The Pet Food Factory, it’ll be interesting to see what the guys have up their sleeve as they head off on the 12 date Hi-Vis High Tea tour with friends in Totally Unicorn for shows at Benidgo’s Music Man and Melbourne’s the Corner Hotel, among others.
“Those shows at the Corner are going to rule! Last time I played there was I was playing guitar for my friend Cati, who was supporting Guy Sebastian. I accidentally got in a pre-show payer circle with Guy and his band, so I imagine these shows with Pagan and Totally Unicorn should be very much the same…”
When & Where: Music Man, Bendigo – July 27
Written by Alex Callan