The Bennies
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The Bennies

“I ended up having the owner of the bar on my shoulders while we were playing a cover of The Clash. That was the first time we had been overseas and we did not know what was going on.”

In just two sentences, The Bennies bassist Craig Selak has perfectly described the Melbourne four-piece: a bunch of hard-working Aussies who love to tour and love to party even more.

Since the release of the bands second full length LP ‘Wisdom Machine,’ The Bennies have found themselves playing their biggest Australian tour yet, as well as gaining the attention of Less Than Jake drummer, Vinnie Fiorello, who has since released their album in the UK and US through his label Paper & Plastic. Then on top of all that, an extensive tour of Europe – which included the massive Groezrock Festival in Germany. According to Selak the time in Europe was surreal.

“On the freeway in Germany, you can go to a 7/11 to buy petrol and you can buy a bunch of beers and just drink them in the car or whatever and then drive….So if you take that mindset, and then apply it to a bunch of drunken people in an audience…that’s the difference between Europe and Australia,” he laughs before continuing. “Australia is the best place to party in the world so I’m not complaining! But, it was unreal to suss out a different vibe and get a different experience.”

Trying different things is nothing new for The Bennies who have won over fans worldwide with their signature sound of punk, rock, reggae, ska rock with crazy party synths. ‘Wisdom Machine’ highlights the band’s diversity and according to Selak, the band has been very humbly surprised with the reception it has received.

“We have been absolutely blown away. I am really proud and appreciative of how it has been received so far. The first single was ‘Party Machine’ which went really well and got in the Hottest 100 – which is just something we did not expect and it absolutely blew our minds,” he says.

Now being back in Australia, The Bennies are embarking on a huge 27 date ‘Wisdom Machine Regional Tour’ bringing along friends Clowns and Axe Girl and luckily it will be making its way through our lovely hometown of Geelong.

“It’s been a place that has definitely always looked after us – even from the first time we played in Geelong back at The Nash (the National Hotel),” he says.

“People were coming out and really getting around us – it’s always great to come back. We love the Barwon Club. I am pretty sure we have played there every night of the week except maybe a Monday and every time it doesn’t matter what night it is people come and get around us, so we just love it.” However, no matter how accepting Geelong may be, when asked what town will have the craziest gig Selak named a different place.

“I’ll tell you what, just Brisbane in general. Any show in Queensland is just guaranteed to be loose as a goose,” he laughs. (Is that a challenge?)

Written by Alex Callan

When & Where: Max Watt’s, Melbourne – June 24, Pelly Bar, Frankston – June 25, Karova Lounge, Ballarat – June 26, Mynt, Werribee – June 29, Barwon Club, Geelong – June 30 & Music Man, Bendigo – July 3

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