Boys on Film - In Press 2006

Wally and Link tell Mikey Cahill all about the brand new Meanies DVD.

Remember that Pearl Jam concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl when everyone stormed the fence? Fucking great night, even if Strongbow Sweet was my fire-up petrol. The other things that fired me up that day was the support act: The Meanies. They tore through about 20 songs in an hour, barely letting up their raw-as-hessian assault on our teenage ears, while a light rain fell after every third song, cooling off the circling mosh-pit and accentuating the smell of bong breath, soggy Converse and oh-so-pungent-flannelette-sweat. If I close my eyes (play along if you were there, class) I can feel eights bodies pinned against me, laughing as we each pick our moment to throw in a few forward thrusts of the cranium.

Listen up power punk pop fans (The Herald Sun’s attempt at categorisation), your old faves The Meanies have a DVD out through mighty Madman and it captures the hanging-out-with-the-Nirvana-fans-smoking-at-lunchtime phase of your life. Y’know, right before you went to university and everyone started loving Blur, Chemical Brothers and The Tea Party. Pay homage to the mosh-educators. In fact, take the advice on the DVD promo spiel.

“Sit close to the TV when watching The Meanies DVD to recreate the front stage experience of a Meanies gig – just get someone to spill a beer on you, wack you in the head with a sneaker, stick a dreadlock up your nose and drench you in their sweat – it will be just like the real thing.” Ringo the Wig.

Too true. Ahh, glory days of listening to 10% Weird on our shitty Akai boombox in the Year 11 rec-room at lunchtime. The DVD splices 11 full length songs, plus a feature length doco with plenty of home truths and a mental live gig from Newcastle in 1994. The word ‘exclusive’ could be bandied around here too, but then it would sound to sales-pitchy. Younger viewers be warned, The Meanies DVD is rated MA15+, which will definitely pose a problem for all those kids with cool older brothers who played them Cruelty’s Fun at age six.

I thumb-screwed a few bucket bongs, hit the banter button with Wally and Link and got the lowdown on why they are putting out this action-smacked DVD.

Be immodest and tell me the bestest bits on the imaginatively titled DVD.

Wally: “Jeremy taking acid while he was on stage with us, that was a brilliant little bit of animation, he got his jaw broken but he kept drinking through it. Jay from Frenzal Rhomb’s interview comments on the lyrical genius of Probe TV. Of course they pick the dumbest song I’ve ever written.”

Was that before or after Nirvana’s Moist Vagina?

W: “Before. Fucking Kurt and his copycat ways. I don’t think he ever heard of The Meanies. Wash your mouth out with soap.”

Link: “This is a professionally run operation. It was an awesome experience. It’s not every day you play in front of 20,000 people.

W: “’Long lead to the forward pocket!’ (Ted Whitten voice). ‘Live on stage!’ I kept imagining myself on the football field while I was on stage with a bass around my neck, therefore concentration lost. Other than that I quite enjoyed playing in front of 20,000 people.”

I actually saw you guys for the first time at the Pearl Jam show. How many times have you heard that?

W: “Heaps of people. We made that fucking show. They would have been nothing without us.”

I actually left as soon as you finished. It was The Meanies, supported by Pearl Jam.

L: “(laughs) You weren’t the only one! It was a pleasure to be on tour with them. It was nice to be asked. At first it was like, ‘yeah right, you’re pulling our legs’. But in the end it turned out beautifully. I couldn’t even list the amount of people that saw us for the first time at that gig. As you said, you were one of them. We did a show the other night at Ruby’s and a few people said that. It’s all in the DVD.”

Are The Meanies revitalised and ready to go? You look young and spritely in the DVD. What’s your longevity?

W: “Well, as long as we think we’ll be huge, we’ll BE huge! We’ve got a whole bunch of singles coming out after the DVD, so it’s gonna line our pockets hopefully (laughs). We’ve only ever been in it for the money. No, we’re bringing out some singles with all Australian bands covering our songs on the B-side. Mach Pelican, The Drones, Cockfight Shootout, The Spazzys, Dan Kelly, Augie March, You Am I, Spiderbait, Frenzal Rhomb. The Drones were very sober before they did their track (chuckles). Dan Kelly’s done a great version of Cruelty’s Fun, that’s brilliant.”

How much footage did you have to cull to get the rockumentary (if you will), to get it to run for under two hours?

L: “We supplied everything we’d accumulated over the years, whether it be friends of family. We put an ad in the papers a couple of years back and we came up with the people we wanted to interview. There was stuff we had to leave out because it was recorded on H9-Ace and we wouldn’t find a fucking Hi-Ace machine.

W: (starts tangent) “When we played New Year’s Eve Revolution in ’94, that was a great show, except for the fact we were playing at 11:30pm and we had to have the pyrotechnics man alert us that it was midnight for the countdown…but he forgot, so the pyrotechnics were going off and people were celebrating and we were halfway through the song Scum. So yeah, lots of footage that didn’t make it but we knew [Director] Rachael Hough and she put her hand up when we suggested dong the DVD and she was a huge fan, which is kind of nice. Better than have someone do it that doesn’t have a fucking clue about the band. It’s golden.”

The Meanies DVD is available through Taiyo Films/Madman.

- In Press August 2006