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Cosmic Psychos

COSMIC_PSYCHOSThe Cosmic Psychos will hit up Big Day Out on Sunday, February 2, at Arena Joondalup. GARRATH WESTMORE reports.

For 30 years Ross Knight has stumbled through a music career with Aussie punk rock’s most debauched outfit, the Cosmic Psychos.

These days, the Vic farmer made good seems unchanged by three decades of touring, partying and generally just being a menace. Buoyed by renewed interest thanks to the Matt Weston documentary, Cosmic Psychos: Blokes You Can Trust, he and the Psychos are back to belt it out at this year’s Big Day Out.

Speaking about the documentary, Knight is as typically laconic and humorous as the doco and live performances would lead you to believe. “I told him not to waste his time and money,” says Knight when asked about his reaction to Weston’s desire to make a Cosmic Psychos film. “But Matty did a fine job. I thought, ‘if he wants to do it, that’s his business’. He did a great job of documenting what a bloody car crash the band has been the whole time.”

And as far as ‘history of’ stories about bands go, there’s probably none more amusing, more loose and more surprising than that of the Cosmic Psychos. Knight, a country boy and farmer from Kyneton teamed up with guys just as rag tag as he was, and ended up finding fans not just in Australia, but over the world. It’s well publicised but worth mentioning nonetheless that guys like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the Melvins were fans of the rough and tumble trio; their antics and attitude helping endear them to audiences worldwide; unpretentious songs about farming, road kill and hitting the pub a breath of fresh air for many.

“I don’t think people had seen a band that really wasn’t serious,” Knight reflects. “We were basically three drunken clowns, and I think it appealed to a lot of people that we didn’t take the music too seriously. A lot of people who did take it seriously, especially locally, they didn’t like us at all. They thought we were taking the piss out of them… which we were.”

Other people took them seriously though, after impressing in the States they were signed to Amphetamine Reptile Records and sent into the studio to record Blokes You Can Trust (1991) with none other than Nevermind producer, Butch Vig.

“He is just such a good bloke,” Knight says of Vig. “When he heard me fire up the bass for the first time, he came running in saying, ‘what’s that fucking noise?!’ And from there we just got along so well.” Vig in Cosmic Psychos: Blokes You Can Trust recalls the sheer amount of beers consumed (a studio record of 50-something slabs) and the Psychos’ haphazard approach to recording. It seems that not too much has changed.

“Everything’s pretty much spur of the moment, have a few beers, get the creative juices flowing and just have a sit ‘round, and a shit and giggle,” says Knight summing up a typical Cosmic Psychos recording session.

The topic of beer ends up being a big one, despite the fact that we have a 30-year music career to discuss. The Cosmic Psychos are famed for their ability to consume the amber ale, their best-of was even called 15 Years, A Million Beers, not a bad estimate, according to Knight. And though the calculations to find the exact figure would probably be too difficult, he does estimate the Psychos have at least consumed a million dollars’ worth of free beer over the years. Despite being a hard nut, he doesn’t mind the Pure Blondes either.

“If anything you can drink more of em’, light on the fizz, they don’t fill me up. I don’t mind ‘em, simple as that. I drink a lot of different beers, but if I’ve got work to do, I’ll drink a Pure Blonde. How’s that for an ad?

“If I wanna leave room for a bloody Souvlaki at 3.30 in the morning from the Souvlaki King, well I can fit one in if I drink Pure Blondes.”

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