Touring in support of their new album, Cum The Raw Prawn, Cosmic Psychos and their mates Dune Rats hit Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, on Friday, June 26, and the Rosemount Hotel on Saturday, June 27. AUGUSTUS WELBY chats with singer/bassist, Ross Knight.
Australia’s premier farm punks, Cosmic Psychos, are back with their ninth album, Cum The Raw Prawn. It’s been four years since the band’s last effort, Glorious Barsteds, but in spite of the somewhat lengthy delay, Cum The Raw Prawn is by no means a departure.
Led by Ross Knight’s Aussie brogue and bulky bass playing, the album is chock-full of the sort of lyrical vulgarity and instrumental ferocity the Psychos have been pumping out since 1982.
“It’s funny how it just happens that way, but I guess that’s the way I think and it’s the way I get a bit of shit off me liver,” says Knight. “There’s no real pre-planning involved. Especially this album, it just happened. I had a few ideas that’d been rolling around in me head for a couple of years, but most of it was written on the spot.”
The album was recorded in Knight’s Victorian farmhouse earlier this year. The finished product flaunts a tough, ballsy sound, which belies the nature of the recording arrangement. “The drums were set up in the lounge room and me and Macca (John McKeering, guitar) stood there, off from the drums a little bit,” Knight explains. “We had the two amps in my sons’ rooms and the control room was in my bedroom, and we did the vocals in the laundry.”
When it comes to the nuts and bolts of this makeshift studio, Knight remains almost entirely ignorant. “I think it was into a computer,” he ponders. “All I know is that I sing into a microphone which has a lead on it that goes into a whiz-bang box with a few dials on it.”
Interest in the Psychos resurged in recent years thanks to Matt Weston’s 2013 documentary film, Blokes You Can Trust. However, as depicted in the film, the band’s irreverent and uniquely Australian punk rock has been an influential force for decades. In addition to making fans and friends out of grunge linchpins Eddie Vedder and Mark Arm, Cosmic Psychos continue to embark on regular European tours. However, such far-reaching respect won’t silence the band’s naysayers.
“As long as we’re playing, there’s going to be people who just think we’re a bunch of potty-mouthed pricks,” Knight says. “And you know what? That’s fine. There’s certainly a spot in there for a band every now and again to pull rock’n’roll out of its own arsehole. People just get carried away and take it all a bit too seriously.”
You could argue that pissing people off is better than making no impact at all. Also, it’s quite healthy to let yourself simply enjoy something and not worry about whether it’s a meaningful use of time. Either way, Cosmic Psychos’ vocal opponents haven’t impinged upon the band’s fearless attitude.
“We played in front of 45,000 people when Pearl Jam first came to Australia,” Knight says, “and there was 45,000 people booing us. We had a ball. They were cranky, it was great. We’re almost an anti-band. We just do it because it’s a bit of fun, and if it pisses people off, well, that’s fine. And if people like us, well that’s good too – come and have a beer with us.”