Frenzal Rhomb

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Frenzal Rhomb

Looking back over their career, Frenzal Rhomb have had a tricky time, amongst getting banned from multiple radio stations (including triple j), criticised for their choice of album art and generally copping a bit of slack. Still, the only thing Jay (Jason) Whalley would change is the band’s name.
“We went into a band competition and we needed a name that night and our guitarist at the time, Ben, was studying physics and so he opened up his text book and on the page he opened it up to there was this invention called the Fresnel Rhomb, which was some kind of light device,” he says.
“It was one of those things where you go, ‘Yeah, we’ll come up with something better than that’ and then we didn’t, ever. Now we’re kind of stuck with it.”
Now with Lindsay McDougall 100 per cent back on board, after stepping down from his role as The Doctor on triple j, the band is set to tour regional Victoria, with dates in Warrnambool, Ballarat and Geelong.
“I have recalled him to my life,” Jay adds with a laugh. “Actually, I went to his big party thing for his last show with triple j. I saw his mum and she was like, ‘Oh, I was so emotional when I saw you Jason because I remembered the day when I had to give him to you’. It sounded like some terrible thing where she’d been grooming him for some horrible weird life. I guess in a way it has been a horrible weird life for him, but he’s also done quite well.”
In true Frenzal Rhomb style, and always ones to make a statement, their Steroidosonic tour poster features a ’roided up bloke taking a swing at the band – inspired by the king-hitting at the festival mere weeks ago.
“It’s a bit harsh isn’t it, when we haven’t been to one and we’re sort of tarring it all with that one brush. I know that Lindsay goes all the time and he loves it. I’m sure there are lots of lovely people that go as well, but we always like a soft target here at Frenzal Rhomb,” Jay says.
With posters like that, album covers featuring dicks on bread and their live show, there is far from anything dull about the band. While they’re entertaining choices for us as mere onlookers, their decisions hold a bit more weight for the band and I couldn’t help but ask: do you really analyse each decision before you do it?
“We tend to have stuck to the philosophy of just do it and then see what happens, but I’m always slightly amazed at how easy it still is to shock people or offend people,” Jay says. “That example of Dick Sandwich that you brought up is pretty funny because that was a cartoon, and admittedly it was of several penises on a bit of bread, but when we toured regional Australia there were so many places that wouldn’t let us tour there or they wouldn’t put up the posters. It was community outrage, but it was just a drawing really.”
If all goes to plan and no Stereosonic lovers take offence to the poster, Frenzal Rhomb will be sharing their unique brand of punk rock with us normally forgotten towns.
When&Where: The Loft, Warrnambool – January 22, The Karova, Ballarat – January 23, Barwon Heads Hotel, Barwon Heads – January 24; and The Reverence Hotel, Melbourne – January 25.
By Amanda Sherring