Regurgitator have just released their ninth album and are bringing it to Geelong next week

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Regurgitator have just released their ninth album and are bringing it to Geelong next week

For many of us older folks, we may look back on 90’s and early 00’s Regurgitator gigs and albums through nostalgic lenses, but in these modern times we still head to their gigs and check out their albums for good reason… because it’s like catching up with old mates, seeing how they’re going, what they’ve been up to, and the stories they tell. That’s who Regurgitator are to us older folks. And to younger folks, they’d be same to you as what they were to us when we were young; a great band with a great sense of humour and great stories to tell. And most of all, they’re a lot of fun. I caught up with bassist and vocalist Ben Ely for a chat.
Having previously caught up with vocalist and guitarist Quan Yeomans in 2011, I brought up the same story with Ben about how I saw The ‘Gurge live in 2008 in the Laos capital Vientiane. The band were headlining a free sponsored gig entitled the ‘Tiger Beer Rock Your Passion’ gig. Four local bands played then the ‘Gurge closed the show. Problem was at the very start of their set, there was what seemed at the time, a power outage. Ten to fifteen minutes later the band re-emerged from behind the scenes, with all power surging, and kicked out a sweaty and powerful set in the National Circus, the venue which was a concrete structure built like a circus tent.
A laughing Ben on the other end of the phone explained what happened that night with the power outage. “That show was sponsored by Tiger Beer, which is a Thai beer company, and the most popular local (Laos) beer is Beer Lao and apparently Beer Lao sabotaged our power and went back and cut the electricity. They broke into the electricity box and then they cut the power and then they put a padlock on it, so someone’s had to find an axe, and we’re standing out the back and this dudes there with an axe chopping the electricity box open to get to the power to flick the mains back on,” he explains. Whilst Quan explained this to me back in 2011, it was not confirmed. However, ten years after the fact, Ben confirmed it. “We just found that out recently, ‘coz a friend of mine helped organise a show,” he says. “He does foreign aid work over there, and he just heard that gossip just recently, it’s just kind of ‘fresh off the press’.”
Now Regurgitator are about to release a new album, Headroxx, after five years. In doing so, they’re continuing to do what they have always done best by going against the flow of the current popular music industry style. “Because we’re older, we just don’t get played on triple j,” he explains. “It is kind of liberating for us right now because we just feel like ‘oh, no-one’s going to play us anyway so let’s just make it as weird as we possibly can’. So we kind of did that; we could probably make it even weirder.”
I asked Ben about the themes on the new album, out of curiosity. He explained that the band members generally write songs alone then bring them to the table to share and workshop for possible inclusion on the album. “We found out that a lot of the songs we liked had a similar kind of theme about being a bit anxious and kinda crazy in the modern world, and the stresses and pressure that the modern world brings, with pressure with money and bills and family and everything,” he says. “Every song had a similar kind of theme, that’s why we called it Headroxx. It’s kind of like rocks in your head or kind of like your head being rocked, or this idea that you’re a little bit mentally kinda crazy; driven a bit crazy by your situation in the world so that’s why we called it Headroxx. It’s like a fun play on feeling a bit strange.”
Considering it has been 22 years since The ‘Gurge released their first album (they released two EPs prior) Tu-Plang, and considering the crowds they still draw, I had to ask Ben what’s in it for the band. “We just really enjoy each other’s company and enjoy playing and touring. People still come out and see us which we’re flattered by, and we just really enjoy it… Then we thought why don’t we do new a new record.”
Regurgitator will perform at The Wool Exchange on Thursday August 9.
Release: HEADROXX is out August 1.

Written by Paul S Taylor
Photo by Stephen Sloggett