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an interview with Rob Younger

by Divine Rites Webmaster - Divine Rites - May 22th, 1997

DR : After Distemper, we had to wait 'till 1995 for a new New Christs LP. What happened between these two ?
RY : Not very much. I just tried to get a new line-up together. It took a long time before I found out. Jim and Nick didn't wanted to carry on without Charlie. So I just look around for a few people.

DR : For a band as powerful ?
RY : It was a really good band. But you just find new people and see witch way it goes. It's good to find people with a musical voice. If you can.

DR : We need that too ! (laughts).Your actuality seems rich at this moment. Compilation on Lance Rock, "Lower Yourself " on Citadel, Birdman rebirth, Ritualism. How do you live this growing activity ?
RY : I haven't to do much for that. The compilation just comes out on Lance Rock in Canada. I either didn't select the songs. Jack done that. Birdman thing. It was only for 2 or 3 weeks, both times. The record [lower yourself] took a long time. Learning, putting in the songs together. Rehearsing because we really do once a week. That took some time. I have to work every day.

DR : Do you want to talk about your job ? Do you live from your music ?
RY : I can't make a living out of the music. I never done that really on. It's just a day job. But i don't really want to talk about that. Shit job !

DR : In an interview, you said "New Christs have no position at all in Australia". Is it still the same ?
RY : We are not popular or anything. may be people perceive this is too old, especially me i'm older than the other guys. The band used to be popular in the late 80's. We had big audiences. We did nothing for a long time, a couple of the line-up played uncommitted gigs, not very strong. We made a couple of records who didn't get a lot of airplay. We really just died with dawn. So we ar just rebuilding it , so that's why the new album is stimulating.

DR : In Australia, is the new album well received ? Because a lot of people are thinking this will remain as a classic, like Distemper.
RY :Distemper didn't sell in Australia, did badly. You really need national airplay in Australia. We usually get a little bit of airplay in Melbourne and that's our biggest audience but that's nothing fantastic. We are just not that popular.

DR : New Christs seems to have a solid basement now, with Christian and Peter (with the band from 1992). How did you met Alan & Mark ?
RY : I didn't played with Peter since 92 ! (laughts)
DR : According my sources ! May be there is something wrong.
RY : 5 years with Peter Kelly ! Fine (laughts) How depressing (laughts). So what was the question ?
DR : How did you met Al & Mark ?
RY : Mark ring-up when we were looking for a new guitar player. Someone gave him my number. Al is a friend of Peter's. I knew him, playing gigs with his other bands. He auditioned for the band, a year before he joined, and we went together. He was good, he probably would have the job. But I fucked around.

DR : Who is Stan Holroyd who play organ on Woe Betide ?
RY : He is a friend of Peter's. I think he plays on the Australian Doors show. He plays good stuff.

DR : You're in Radio Birdman, Christian is in Driven, & Al is in the Panadolls. Does it affect the way you think the New Christs ?
RY : Well .. No. It doesn't really, not the Radio Birdman part of it. I always think when people are playing in an other band ... ? I used to think anyway they are not satisfied with what they are doing and they try to get an other interest, just in case. It's like insurance. But it's hard for me to criticize that, because i'm doing these things. This is unlike a couple of weeks. It's not like Driven. They play more gigs than the New Christs in Sydney.They play more often. And Peter and Al they play a lot more. They are playing several different bands. And mark has differents sorts of projects, not all into the R'n'R and it's fine. That doesn't really interfere. It's not supposed to interfere. I really think that if the New Christs is supposed doing something then that would be the priority. That's the way I feel that.

DR : After Richard Jakimayszyn, Mark Wilkinson is in the New Christs. Is there a special relation with the Spiders whose you produced two of their best 7".?
RY : Richard was in the Spiders ? Oh yes in the first EP "24th hours". That's right. But no, Mark was a lot later. I either didn't knew Mark packed in.
DR : All Australian rock is a big gang-bang (laughts) It seems like that from Europe.
RY : It's a small world and a real fucking small country. There is no real connection. Things just happen to be.

DR : How were the "Lower Yourself" sessions ?
RY : The session pre-recording went pretty smoothly. We all rehearse. A lot of the songs, we took first take. Peter is pretty good doing that. We really want to keep the drums. We kept the drums and the bass live on everything and may be half the rythm guitar. So we did a lot of quickly on the recording. Singing to the beat cause I hadn't still writing the words. The mixing was a big problem. First mix, it had taken too long screwing around, so we had to remix some stuff. We use mixes from both sessions. We keep a couple of problem mixes, we think the sound was right. The mix was interesting on some stuff like " Asphalt ", "Lower yourself ", " Big City ". A kind of weird. The other songs were done by Wayne Conolly.
DR : Wayne Conolly seems to be the new Alan Thorne of the 90's.
RY : He guess a lot of work. He is a producer, not just an engineer. So was Alan. Wayne is quite big. He produces You Am I, and a lot of good bands. He is a good musician. He is a good guy.

DR : Did you produced "Lower Yourself" ?
RY : Yeah. But it's not a lot of production at all.Probably saying that should be the way it is. Just may be because I have the strongest opinion. It's why i didn't labelled the point.

DR : So ... the second part of the question is : first New Christs single & Woe Betide's producer is Ayatollah Smith. Is it about your character (laughts) or is it some modesty regarding your producing work ?
RY : When i'm doing it for money I use my own name. When i do my own records, I don't worry about the name I use. Next time I'll make up something else perhaps.

DR : What was the last producing works you've done. RY : Fear. a 3 piece band. 3 young women. Really good record. I like it. Great. And the last Died Pretty. DR : So not so much producing at that time. RY : No. I mean, if I had a lot of work; I shouldn't had this shitty day job. DR : how did you came to produce the City Kids? I've heard it was because of Jim Dickson.
RY : I'm not too sure if I remember. He met them first that's for sure. I think they were interested in bands that I have played in, and they contacted me about doing something. I don't quite remember wether Jim suggested me or not, but they are nice people.
DR : Yes, I met them once and they were really nice. And those records are incredibly good to me. Unfortunately they have split.
RY : There is a good stuff on it. There was a few problems, recording the album in Firenze (Italy). Because of the studio. We mixed it in an other studio in Paris, and it wasn't too easy either. It was good working on their songs. A couple of this guys ring me up on the Ris-Orangis gig.

DR : You never produced the Scientists. Why ? I always thought it could fit well.
RY : Well. I don't know. The closest I got to that, actually was mixing them live at a gig once. Well,... I never really done properly before, but I was the only man who knew anything at all. The guy who had the PA, he goes somewhere, an mergency. I don't know it happened but it sounds really good. I think the Scientists have their own internal structure, dynamic, controling their music, and I'm sure, there was enought opinion in that band, they didn't needed me. They are great. I just like everything Kim Salmon has done. He is really talented. His band is really good now.

DR : Let's talk about Peter.
RY : We do ?
DR : We will ! (laughts). You said "I can't go along with drummers ... but drumming !!!!!!". Does Peter knows that ?
RY : No one likes drummers (laughts). Drummers are necessary evil, that's why there is all of these jokes about them.
DR : Like in Spinal Tap with all those drummers disapearing strangely ?
RY : If there is one thing on Spinal Tap, it's based on reality. It should be.

DR : What are your memories about the European 89' tour ?
RY : I remember pretty strong. We played a lot of good gigs and we had better hotels that we have on this tour. I remember most of these shows.Well it's the tour that broke up that line-up. Seems to be a lot to do with my faults, but I really enjoyed it, it was a good line-up, a very flexible line-up. It was fun to play.

DR : Does some live tapes exists ?
RY : There is probably no live recording.
DR : You told me that you don't like to keep live sounds
RY : I don't care about that. I've got some tape, but very rough. I know there is a lot of people recording those gigs.

DR : On pedestal you covered the Love & the Who. I have a 7" with the Rifles where you covered songs. Does ...
RY : Rifles was a bootleg ! So it don't really meant cover. Just fucking around. It's not a deliberation, doing it in the studio.
DR : OK . so my question is not pertinent. The idea was : does it announce a certain " back to roots " ?
RY : Well,... no. For the Pedestal record, it was just supposed to be demos. We thought we better get something out because we didn't made a record for a really long time. We just picked up the two best backing tracks and i went did the vocals. And Jack (Lance Rock) suggested we made an EP and he'll put that on 10 " on vinyl witch is a good format. So let's do a couple covers. And we just happen to pick " the seeker ". I love the Who, this song has not been covered before that I know. The Love one is just a personal favorite. A friend of mine this guy Alex committed suicide on his 30th birthday and it's his favorite song and it's one of mine, and it's why I tried that plus that song, in it's original form (the love one) has a flute playing that melody. Ta di la da .... because Peter plays the trumpet, I thought it could be a good instrument to substitute for the flute. A sort of bad version. But i sing a little bit off key. It's hard to sing.

DR : You made a special with all the Radio Birdman guys on 3RRR for new year 97'. You didn't got lot of time for talking about your musical taste. Can you tell us more ?
RY : I grew up with white music as long as i can remember. But it really hit me big when the Beatles came. I buy records before that. Cliff Richard, this sort of stuff, instrumentals, like the Shadows, few things here and there, Roy Orbison, Chuck Berry, then the Beatles hit big and that was it. The biggest thing in the music. And I started to get more with the british stuff, Standels, the Animals, the Kinks. I always thought it was greatest time for music. I liked british stuff mostly but in the 70's that was the whole thing with the New York Dolls, Stooges, the Velvet becoming more proeminent than in the 60's, but for me it's mostly british.

DR : Will we be lucky enough to hear someday what the Other Side was playing ?
RY :There is no recording . We tried to do a little demo. I think a couple covers, may be one original. I don't know.

DR : People reports that band as a good one.
RY : Well, it was a really energic band, and we did some good shows. But it was mostly covers. We have few of our own songs, may be four at the most, ever. You can't go around, playing so many covers. First band I was, the Rats, we did nothing but covers. and you really got to move on from that. And we haven't done that at that point.
DR : Yes. It's history, it's just that we are interested in all what you've done.
RY : Well, playing in that band was good because Mark Kingsmill is a great drummer, Clyde, .... and Charlie Georges is a really good guitar.

DR : How is the musical scene in australia at the moment ?
RY : For us, as a band it's not that .... well ... thrilling ! It's more diverse than it was 10 years ago. There is a lot of good bands but not so many places where to play. Everyone is looking for works, so everyone needs a records and the exposure on 3JJJ and that sort of business. The opportunity that something happen. It's a little bit harder now I think there's a lot of good bands around the place. A lot of good places where to play have closed down. Because some of the venues have a monopoly, they can pick who they want to play, they treat bands like shit, and it's probably the biggest problem.

For some minutes, the sound check was running, so Rob left. The show was great, but you already know that.

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