HOODOO GURUS Scarbs Needs Guitars!

Hoodoo Gurus
Hoodoo Gurus

The great thing about the various Hoodoo Gurus line-ups playing together again is that they sound just like they did ‘back in the day’, though with better equipment this time. It sounds real – and unreal.”

The Hoodoo Gurus present Be My Guru, where all past and present members of the band perform a one-off show, with special guests Ratcat, Jebediah and British India this Sunday, November 30, at Scarborough Amphitheatre (gates open 3.30pm, Hoodoo Gurus onstage 7pm). BOB GORDON chats with vocalist/guitarist, Dave Faulkner.

The Eagles called their reformation Hell Freezes Over. Were there times over the years where it seemed such an event for the Hoodoo Gurus would be deemed similar?

You can say that again. There have been lots of ups and downs over the years between us all but I’m glad to say everything is much healthier now. It’s nice to be able to enjoy making music together again, even if only for a little while. I actually thought Hell Freezes Over would have been a perfect description of the odds of this ever happening.

What were the strengths of each unique Hoodoo Gurus line-up?

Well, Le Hoodoo Gurus (1981-83) was quirky beyond belief. Oddball, peculiar, a bunch of misfits. Somehow we managed to attract a following despite being completely out of step with everyone else around us.

The Stoneage Romeos (1984) line-up speaks for itself: we weren’t as deliberately quirky as before but the addition of a bass guitar solidified our sound and we became the band we were always threatening to be. The Mars Needs Guitars/Blow Your Cool (1985-87) era cemented all that and I grew incredibly as a songwriter and singer. The band overall became even stronger on stage, burnished by endless touring.

The current line-up is all of that plus everything else we’ve learned along the way. More than ever before, we are a take-no-prisoners outfit in concert. The old cliché about vintage wine is actually true: there’s a maturity and depth to the band that can’t be simulated. We’ve lived it.

What have rehearsals been like, given the multiple members and line-ups?

The hardest part has been that James (Baker, drums, ’81-’85) and Rod (Radalj, guitar, ’81-’84) live and work in Perth. We’ve spent a bit of time on Skype and also face-to-face. Since this gig was announced I’ve been back to Perth a few of times and rehearsed with Rod and James. I was in town again last week and I’m coming over early for final rehearsals with Kimble (Rendall, guitar, ’81-’82) as well. Kimble lives not far from me so he and I have been rehearsing together a lot.

We did a cut-down version of this concert at Splendour In The Grass this year with Clyde (Bramley, bass, ’84-’88) and James. We recreated our history from Stoneage Romeos onwards and that went really well so we’re feeling pretty good about this Sunday. 

What’s the structure of the show like?

Basically, it is an accelerated version of what happened historically. The show begins with Le Hoodoo Gurus and then mutates through all the different line-ups – and the songs each played – before winding up with all eight of us onstage playing together as a finale: two drummers, two bass guitarists, four guitarists and a helluva lot of vocals.

Have you dug up any lost gems along the way?

Yes, we released an EP last Friday, the Gravy Train EP, featuring all four line-ups on a new recording of some ‘lost’ classics that date from the beginning of the band. Basically a few of the songs that we couldn’t fit onto Stoneage Romeos and so never got recorded. We recorded it between rehearsals for Splendour. Rod overdubbed his parts here in Perth on one of my visits. 

It’s been a year of revisiting for you, between this and The Victims/Television Addicts.

What’s it done for your heart and soul?

It’s just great to be back working with James again, even if it’s only now and then. We’re doing some Television Addicts shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane this coming February so I’ll start practicing my punk guitar riffing for that as soon as this show is over. The great thing about the various Hoodoo Gurus line-ups playing together again is that they sound just like they did ‘back in the day’, though with better equipment this time. It sounds real – and unreal.

What are your plans for 2015?

I’d like to do another Gurus album, perhaps do some more touring overseas. I have a few other things on the go as well so 2015 is already shaping up to be a busy year. I like it that way.