REGURGUITATOR 25 Years of Being Consumed!

2018 was a massive year for Regurgitator, with the release of their ninth full-length LP, Headroxx and two national tours. One was in support of the album, the other was performing The Velvet Underground & Nico record with Seja & Chinese violinist Mingy Wangs. Plus there was the release of the Really Really Really Really Boring Album via ABC Kids, the band’s first kids orientated album. Now that 2019 has rolled around, its time to celebrate Regurgitator all over again as the band marks their 25th anniversary of legendary high-energy live shows and diverse musical stylings that range from raucous rock to funky synths. To find out more about what celebrations the band have planned, as well as their fond memories from the past quarter-century, MICAHEL HOLLICK spoke to lead singer/songwriter, and deep-voiced conversationalist, Quan Yeomans.

Hey Quan, how are you?

Good, good. 

So, another Regurgitator tour then?

Well, it’s our 25th anniversary as a band. So it’s a quite a big one.

You’re going to play all the old stuff then?

We always play a mixed bunch of stuff when we tour, but there are a few old tunes that we are going to dig up that we haven’t played in a long while. A couple off the first couple of EPs that we haven’t played for a long time, I Like It Like That and some of the harsher tunes.

Do you find your earlier stuff really heavy now that you are returning to it?

More just really weird sounding tunes when you listen back to them, it’s like “what the hell?”

Looking back on the 25 years, are there moments that stick out or has it all fitted together?

It all just seems a blur to me, I don’t really remember much of it to be honest. There’s been a few very odd shows that we have kind of looked at each other in the middle of and gone ‘how the fuck did we get here?’ and they’re the funny ones but I can definitely think of the weirder ones, like Laos or China or Fuji Rock or the first Big Day Out.

Regurgitator have managed to carve out a very unique and enjoyable career, even after radio airplay died down. Did you find it easier once the attention had gone away to pursue your artistic desire?

Personally, I never felt that we were a great big crowd band. As a performer, I don’t really feel like I have the capacity to entertain a crowd of more than a thousand, so I did find those shows quite disembodying. Like I was there, you kind of resort to large gestures, large clichés, and all that sort of thing and I’ve never felt comfortable in those shoes. I’ve always enjoyed playing the small shows. Some of the smallest shows that we have played are actually the most memorable for me, tiny little bars in Japan to 50, a lot more sweat, a lot more sensory.

You had a unique career path to where success found you, and in a sense, the band has continued doing what it would have done regardless of outside attention. What was the period after the band reached mainstream success with your 1997 record, Unit, like for you?

I guess we kind of just plateaued and didn’t do much else [laughs]. At that time we had a different drummer so that was a bit strange, we didn’t spend a lot of time together and then he just didn’t turn up to one of the shows and then he went missing and all that sort of stuff (Martin Lee famously failed to appear at the 1999 Perth gig), so it was a tricky time. And I think we were all really burnt out because we were being pushed so hard by our record company, so we thought, what’s the point?

We took a bit of time and a bit of a hiatus, and we never had the same drive again after that.

You had time to breathe?

I don’t really know what it was, a form of burn out of some kind and the original chemistry wasn’t there. Now it’s completely different, we’re much more like a family and we get along and it’s just fun to do. Plus, I think we’re a better live band now than we’ve ever been, in terms of performance and consistency and sound . It’s just different.

I believe the band has also had time to expand into kids’ work?

Yes, we released a record on ABC Kids and I am currently doing a lot of work on soundtracks with cartoons and kids stuff too on the side.

Not dissimilar to what Custard’s Dave McCormack’s up to?

Well, it’s not as successful as (the McCormack voiced and soundtracked ABC Kids’ show) Bluey, but a cool little program on Channel 7.

The Brisbane rivalry, Custard v Regurgitator of the 1990s, lives on then?

[laughs] I think Dave may have it on me this time. This is a great revenge for him.