The Dead Salesmen

Subscribe to Forte Magazine

The Dead Salesmen

Ballarat legends, The Dead Salesmen, are re-releasing their 1998 album Amen to vinyl through Heart of the Rat Records. Hap, Ryda, Lenny, Pat and Julitha will be getting back together to run through your favourite songs for three shows only – one at Karova on Friday, February 6 and another Castlemaine and Melbourne show to be announced. We spoke with Hap (Justin) about these exciting times!
Hi Justin, thanks so much for chatting with Forte. What are you up to at the moment?
I’m a secondary school English teacher so I’m gearing up for a return to the day job. I love what I do but I’m very happy to balance it out with the odd gig with my old mates.
Amen was originally recorded back in 1998. How excited are you to now release it on vinyl?
We released quite a few albums and EPs back in the day. Our first album was actually a tape. To have something we are proud of finally out on an actual ‘record’ is pretty cool.
… Okay, I cried a bit when I got a copy recently and put it on my crappy old turntable.
 The band will be getting together for the launch at Karova Lounge on Friday, February 6. How long has it been since your last gig?
We are a special occasion band these days. We re-released our album Jealousy (on CD) a few years back. We played the Brunswick Club and our fans drank the place completely dry – setting a bar takings record! So yes, every now and then…
What selection of songs will the band be playing? Anything new?
We will play most of the record and then a selection from all the other stuff we recorded over the years. We have nothing new, but our gigs are always a bit unpredictable in terms of what we will play and how we choose to play it.
Are there any plans for more shows or recording at all?
We hope to record some of these launches because we are pretty fired up and want to capture the live stuff. We may record a new album when we are REALLY old I reckon, just to be silly old trippers.
You played the very first Meredith Festival. Are you amazed to see how the event has grown?
Yes, I played the first one with Justin Ryda as The Dead Salesmen when we were just an acoustic duo. We played in a barn to less than a hundred people I’m sure. On the Sunday when all my mates went home I kicked on and Chris Nolan put me in the spare room. After a lovely brekky, Mrs Nolan drove me back to Ballarat! One of my most treasured memories.
I still get there every couple of years and make sure I say hello to the Nolan family. And I am amazed by the festival these days – it is a well-oiled machine but it still has a big heart!
The launch will also be for Mark with the Sea’s When the Blood Runs Dry. What other Ballarat musicians are you a fan of at the moment?
I love my singer-songwriters – Paige Duggan and Freya Hollick are personal faves. An old friend called Mick Dog is playing some amazing stuff lately. I also like Josh Haire, The Electric SunKings and The Yard Apes.
The vinyl has been brought out by the new Heart of the Rat Records. How important do you think they will become for the region?
I can’t tell! All my favourite bands and movies and works of art were important to me but not necessarily big in the places they were made. All I know is those guys running that label are great thinkers and artists in their own right. I certainly hope they make a huge impact on our community.
Any more news for us?
I’ve written my first-ever screenplay! Now I can put it in the drawer and get ready to make some music with my old friends. I just reckon you need to always have something going on artistically – if not I get very low. The Dead Salesmen are all pretty like-minded in that respect, I think.
When&Where: The Karova, Ballarat – February 6