Perth rockers The Bible Bashers are back with a fresh new EP, Rise Hard, to be launched at The Fly By Night Club on Friday, December 8, followed by a Perth launch at Amplifier on Friday, December 22. NATALIE GILES had a chat with lead singer and front man Laith Tierney over a few pints in a dive bar about what it means to be a Bible Basher.
For those few who are unfamiliar, can you tell us the tale of The Bible Bashers?
Without getting hung up on the history, because the future is more exciting, it started about 10 years ago, after the breakups of our bands The Beverley Killbillies and Fear of Comedy. Both of those bands have reformed several times since then. The Bashers have also broken up and reformed. We’re all just mates who learned to play our instruments together, then formed bands together. We had a three year break before this reformation. We got back together because I was missing playing original music, and there’s something really special about the spirit of The Bible Bashers which is really unique, particularly in the Perth music scene. There’s a lot of staring at shoes while singing to their guitars about feelings out there. There’s a real rock and roll deficit. There’s a lack of attitude, a lack of comedy, and a lack of fun. There’s no real sense of danger – everyone is so well behaved, and Bashers are not well behaved. And that’s what a rock and roll band should be. Obviously it’s amplified onstage, but it should be amplified. It should be over the top. It should be a heightened sense of persona and reality and everything should just be ridiculous. Everyone is so afraid of being offensive, so there’s a risk associated with that in this particular time. But it’s so much fun being the bad guys.
You guys certainly aren’t afraid of being offensive. Don’t you just revel and roll around in it?
Well, yeah. Take the song Dick Pills, for example. Byron rocks up 2 hours late for rehearsal, walks in and plugs in his bass and the first thing he says is “by the way, I’ve got some dick pills.” And I was like “WHAT?! what the fuck?!” No apology for whatever he was doing, just offering up dick pills to smooth it over. And we just went, that’s it. That’s our new song. Because what a fascinating concept. Rock and roll has always been all about fucking chicks and it’s just so macho with all that “yeah baby, you’re mine and we’re going to fuck tonight” kind of shit. But what if you add dick pills into that situation? You’re talking about the inability for a male to achieve that potency. So that song sure doesn’t seem all that smart on the surface, but if you break it down and analyse it, it’s actually about toxic masculinity. Guys like that needing dick pills is comedy. The fact that dick pills exist is comedy. I mean, male impotency is no joke or anything – it’s a serious issue but… oh man, fuck it’s hard. [guffaws from both] See? I’m not even trying to be offensive and it just fucking happens! Jeez, man.
Your Boxing Day gig in 2016 was meant to be a one off, so how did that evolve into a new EP?
We went from reforming to supporting The Damned earlier this year, which was pretty cool. Then while I was in Japan, I booked us an eastern states tour while standing in a queue at Disneyland. Because, you know, why waste any time? So while we were in Melbourne, that escalated into a recording session with Max Ducker of Cellar Sessions.
How were you received on that tour?
Really fucking good. We’ve actually played more shows over east than we have in Perth. I actually think more people like us over east than in Perth. I don’t know why that is – maybe because they actually know us here? [laughs] We focused our attentions over there, anyway, and played something like 14 shows over east and 6 in Perth this year.
We had a really cool gig in Brisbane, where we sold a bunch of our shirts and CD’s before we even played because people had already checked out our shit online and liked our sound. That was really fucking cool. I know that’s partly because our name sparks interest and curiosity. If we had some innocuous name, it possibly wouldn’t have the same effect, you know?
Anyway, there were these two goths there, and after the show I bummed a smoke off them as a way to say hi because you don’t see too many real goths around anymore and I just kind of wanted to recognise that. They pressed a bible into my hand and kissed my hand as they did it, and that was just so fucking cool. And it’s so great when people get it. They’re the people we want to reach.
You want to reach out and touch all the weirdos?
Yeah, man! We want to be like John Waters, the band version. There’s a guy that didn’t give a fuck, and came from a very interesting time where any independent film was shown in porno cinemas, and there were midnight sessions and all that. Like those cult films, that’s what we want – to be the cult band equivalent. Absurdity should be celebrated! But at the same time, there’s stuff that’s so absurd that you just have to take the piss out of them in order to take their power away.
How would you describe your sound to the unitiated?
We’d include in our influences The Stooges, Beasts of Bourbon, The Cramps, Sonics, swamp rock, proto punk, even a bit of classic punk like New York Dolls and The Ramones. We describe ourselves as low budget, low brow. Down and dirty songs for the damned. Look, we’re basically just a bunch of assholes getting together for a good time, trying to rattle a few cages.
And your shows?
Dude, we’d love to have an Alice Cooper budget and production, but instead we’re getting one of our mates who’s a snake dancer up on stage, and that one who can breathe fire, or we’ll get a mate who’s a Fringe performer to pretend to be crippled and we’ll faith heal them. We’ve got some stained glass windows, which are actually just remnants from a mate’s Halloween party ages ago. They look horrid. They’ve been in a shed at our drummers house. Basically, everything is just held together by gaffer tape. Fuck, the band is held together by gaffer tape.
So why the religious themes and heavy focus? Explain that one to us.
Because it’s fucking delicious! Anything sacrilegious is so much fun because it’s absurd – religion is absurd. All the trimmings, all the pageantry is so fascinating. The costuming, the delivery, the sermon. The church of rock and roll, you know? That concept is so great, because you have all these people that come to worship, and they pray together and listen to some guy spout stuff from a pulpit. The guy on the stage is just saying what’s up. And everyone gets to drink wine at a rock and roll show. So the mass analogy is really interesting. Rock and roll is the eucharist. It’s shared, it’s a communal thing. And fuck, it’s a damn good gimmick.