The New Christs

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The New Christs

“I like reading interviews where people come across as stuck-up fools. It’s entertaining, and I reckon some people may need to be total wankers to feel like they are livin’ the dream somehow. Whatever floats one’s boat, really.” Diplomatically observed, Dave Kettley, guitarist for legendary Aussie outfit The New Christs.
“We have other things which force our minds to stay grounded in normal life – kids, jobs, rent and mortgages like everybody else. Though being a pain in the arse to people is unavoidable for some. They can’t help it, but where would we be without rock ’n’ roll egos?” (I’ll admit doing this job I’ve often pondered that exact question.)
Now, if you think The New Christs couldn’t be any cooler, please read on. They’ve been reborn and are back touring the country in support of their fifth studio album, Incantations. Not only is it their first new music in over five years, they’ve chosen The Bridge Hotel in Castlemaine this Friday for the album’s official launch. Who knows, you may wind up sharing a beer with them at the end of the night, because take it from me, The New Christs are as clever and charismatic off-stage as they’re on it. “Above all, this band plays as honest as we can. If people turn up and like it, that’s great,” Dave remarked candidly.
The New Christs themselves will be the first to admit they’ve had a long and varied history. Perpetually fronted by the incomparable Rob Younger (also of Radio Birdman), this influential band has maintained a cult-like following throughout the last three decades. “I’m not sure it’s a key to success … we’re just persistent, maybe? Longevity probably depends on reality. Knowing how many shows you can do to make it work is important, rather than busting a gut, playing too often and burning yourself out. That ain’t good.”
Rewind your mind back to 1983 and with a fresh line-up led by Younger, The New Christs raised eyebrows across the country, soon catching the eye of punk rock icon Iggy Pop who wasted no time asking them to join him on tour – and who could forget when Rob and a new crop of Christs reformed for a one-off Ramones gig in 1991.
Enough reminiscing: in 2014 Dave and Rob are joined by long-time members Jim Dickson (bass) and Brent Williams (keyboards, guitar) alongside the freshly appointed drummer Paul Larsen Loughhead (the only new addition since 2006). From all accounts it seems like the guys are on to a winning combination, but Dave was quick to remind me that life in the music business is anything but a sure thing.
“Bands are never really harmonious. Don’t ever believe it if someone tells you that,” he warned me good-naturedly. “However, there must be some kind of common connection which makes people see past the little things which may bug them. We’re all friends and do our best to get on with the job of being in a rock band. I’m sounding like a hippy aren’t I?” Dave joked before continuing to assess what has helped them stay together. “Mmm … we all have a love of washing clothes while on tour. This is another thing I can put it down to. Oh, hang on, not Paul. He throws away t-shirts after every show so he doesn’t have to wash, so there goes that theory. Put it this way, I’m glad I’m not married to any of these guys…”
Thankfully, what goes on tour stays on tour!
When&Where: The Bridge, Castlemaine – August 8
Written by Natalie Rogers