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The Sunset Strip interview

May 14, 2013

The Sunset Strip interview

In mid 80s there was an interesting band from Australia, that mixed various of styles from Crazy Horse kind of guitars to various of other psychedelic music and released two LP’s, but never had the right opportunity. We are happy to present you the story of The Sunset Strip.


How did The Sunset Strip come to life?
Warwick: It would have been 1985/86. Me and
Wayne Arnold and Les Butrims had been in a band called BEHIND THE MAGNOLIA
CURTAIN with John Nolan (who ended up in Bored! and Powdermonkeys)…anyway us 3
would hang out and jam at my house in Carlton, Melbourne, and it just evolved
from that really.
July 1984GUMS Magnolia interview
What do you recall from the early basement
sessions you had?
Warwick: Mmmm, I just recall we had a room
with all these instruments in it and my house was a house were everyone would
hang out and party all the time so people were always playing instruments and
making music. I really loved just hanging out and playing. It was more fun than
gigs which always involved carrying heavy equipment everywhere. We also played
a lot at Ian Hill’s house. He had a large lounge room and we would all meet
there and spend days jamming and making up songs…..great fun!
Your first LP was released in 1987. What’s
the story and how many pressings were actually made?
Warwick: Hell we were just happy that someone
we knew was connected to a studio and we had a chance to record some stuff. We
were happy just to have a chance to make a record. We were very inexperienced
with recording at that point so maybe we let the dude who owned the joint take
over and have his way a bit…it was kinda’ a thrill to hear our first song on
the radio and stuff. It’s not a good record though.
Andy: I came in late on the album. I’d heard
Going Home the first 7” and loved it and loved the other tracks I’d heard that
were planned for the album. That original lineup, though, had changed somewhat
and Warwick wasn’t happy with how it was sounding. When he decided to change
and expand the lineup I jumped at the chance to put my hat in the ring for the
guitarist slot. A couple of wonderful rehearsals later and I was recording with
them for the first time on a track called Satisfied Mind, a sorta’ late
Clash-meets Country rock tune. I think I only played on one more track called
Run On and my rawness and naiveté really shows up badly on that one. It became
one of our best live show rockers in the end. I was proud to be on the album
but we all agreed that it was patchy and out of date as soon as it was released
and gave some fans the wrong idea of what to expect when they came to see us.
From the whole album we only ever kept Rising Wind and Shotgun Blues in the
live set.
You must have been a big Neil Young fan.
What are some other bands you liked and would say influenced you in the
process of making albums?
Warwick: We listened to lots of Crazy Horse
but we listen to lots of different stuff too. 
Most of us in the band were huge record collectors of all genres – free
jazz, delta blues classic pop, country…whatever…but I think we kinda wanted to
stay away from being another band who just sounded like The Stooge , The
Ramones or The Birthday Party…there was enough of that around. We liked playing
long guitar jams, but liked writing country and pop stuff too. I guess we like
Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crazy Horse and The Grateful Dead – all bands
that would cover all sorts of genres on one album. I think Zuma would be the
best example Later on our albums were taken from all sorts of sources. We
recorded a lot of 4 track cassette stuff at home and stuff in bigger studios
all over a period of time. So we’d take the best songs from wherever and put
them together. Our ‘new’ album (the never-before released) Stone Lazy was
recorded from around 92-95  in about 5
different places.
Andy: I love Neil but Warwick is the bona
fide Neil fanatic. He lives and breathes Neil. We –certainly took from Neil the
mighty guitar solo and the ramshackle live-style recording. On the other hand
we have incredibly eclectic tastes. I adore the Stooges and the big rifferama,
Big Star, The Beatles, the blues, jazz, psychedelia, Sonic Youth, Wilco, Yo La
Tengo on and on…
Later one EP and another LP followed. “Holocaust” was the name of EP and the name of the LP was “Move Right In”. The
last stuff you did was EP from 1992 called “Scrape It Out” and another in 1993
called “Nothing Lost Nothing Gained”. Tell us about these releases.

Warwick: There were very different eras and
lineups for those records. Holocaust and Move Right In was from the mid to late
eighties. We worked our arse off trying to get Move Right In right. Turned out
to be a pretty good record! Scrape It Out and Nothing Lost were with a whole
new lineup. We were recording a lot of stuff at home on a portable 4-track and
then mixing it later in the bigger studios. Life had sunk downhill for most of
the band. Way too many drugs, bad relationships, just bad, bad times…but we
ended up making easily our best music. I remember the sessions we did at
Recordio Studios as complete chaos and dysfunctional…but those eps have great
stuff on them that really represent how it was back then. The album we have
about to come out is called Stone Lazy. We never got to finish it or release it
even though it was recorded at the same time as the eps…we lost interest in it
for years…but it’s great to listen to it again. A double cd of it will be out
soon.

Andy: Holocaust came out of wanting to do
more than just a single for our second non-album release. We wanted a chance to
stretch out a bit and name-check a few influences. The choice of non-originals
came from tossing names and songs around. When we decided to do Holocaust it
was my idea to bring in John Dowler on vocals. He’d sung it before with his
band The Zimmermen and I knew he did a great job and would give the ep some
variety. It’s a neato little ep though it’s the title track I’m most proud of.
I think we really nailed an original take on that track. The cover said ‘Avec
John Dowler’ as a sort of in-joke cos ‘Going Home’ had topped some chart or
other in France, so ‘big in France’ became a joke amongst us. Amazingly, one
reviewer took it seriously and thought we were trying to suck up to the
international market and took us to task for it! The Move Right In album was
another album of multi-lineups over multi years but this time The approach
worked. Prior to its release we had recorded a whole album’s worth of material
with the Holocaust lineup and I wasn’t happy with it at all. I was certain that
if we released the album as it then was it would have been hated and we would
have been sunk. So, I left the band and regrouped as a duo with Warwick for one
of the album tracks. From that we got a few other lineups happening and
recorded a bunch of new, much heavier stuff. While we were never a Stooges-type
band Move Right In channeled a bit more of our Iggy side. The album was a
critical success (“a minor masterpiece and the best album ever released on Au
Go Go” said one review) but never sold much. I love it. The eps were tracks
originally recorded for the Stone Lazy album but we were impatient and wanted
to get something out quickly. Think of those 2 eps as part of Stone Lazy and
play then all together. The eps are wildly eclectic. Just about every influence
we ever had came out in those. They veer from deeply psychedelic to slab-heavy
rifferama, from the quietest we ever played to the loudest. Nothing Lost got
some great reviews.

You must’ve been very unlucky with the
press. I mean did you ever get any reviews or what do you think was the main
factor, for you remaining pretty much over looked?
Warwick: Oh we never pushed ourselves. Never
bothered with that side of it too much…never had a manager etc…we just presumed
no one really liked us!
Andy: It wasn’t so much the press – though I
recall we did get some brutal live reviews. When I compiled the reviews we had
kept I realized there were more in total and more positive ones than I had
originally thought. So, critically we were generally a success, particularly
the records. We were a very, very erratic live band though. For all sorts of
reasons (getting waaay too wasted before a gig and having lots of songs in
different tunings and spending forever tuning up were two of the most common)
we could soar or hit the ground hard. So we never developed a significant
following, certainly not enough to push our name into the wider gig-going
public consciousness. We were always under the underground, a cultist’s
delight!
Where did you play concerts?
Warwick: All over Melbourne. Every dive and
dump and pub in town.

Andy: We never made it out of the pubs
really. Pubs were the lifeblood for the type of bands we were and played with.
The Prince of Wales. The Tote, The Punters Club. The Evelyn. The Richmond Club,
The Duke of Edinburgh, The Great Britain and so many more long forgotten names.
We did some Uni gigs and some of the bigger clubs like The Venue and our
biggest audience was probably the Meredith Festival in 1995. We also did some
live-to-air for radio and a couple of tours of Sydney that were pretty
depressing!
                 
What happened after the 90s for you guys
and what currently occupies your life?
Warwick: Kids and running a record store for me.
Andy: I completely abandoned music to recover
my health after a lengthy period of drug addiction. In the end I became a drug
and alcohol counselor. In the last 5 years I’ve had some other health problems
that have kept me busy as well as focusing on getting out the long lost 1995,
never before releases Sunset’s album Stone Lazy. That should be out this year.
It was all finished in 1995 except the cover and then the record company went
bust and so did we. It’s been a long time coming. Apart from that I do my best
to be a Dad, watch TV, follow the football, waste time on Facebook and play the
guitar.
Any chances of getting back together?
Warwick: We never officially broke up!
Andy: Warwick and I have also played a gig as
a duo and we have enough rough material for at least one more album. We hope to
get a lineup together to at least promote Stone Lazy a bit.
What’s currently on your turntable and
what are you reading?
Warwick: I’m reading Louise Eldridge’s
books…and Japanese stuff like Kafka on the Shore. Currently playing The Flaming
Lips’ new album The Terror, which I love. Also the new Big Star double album.
Lots of Bill Fay.
Andy: Wilco. Alice Cooper. The Beatles.
Robert Pete Williams. Cinematic Orchestra, various 70s Aussie rock on youtube,
Zero 7, Brian Eno, God, The Monkees, Neil Young live in Australia and the Zuma
album, Old Time Radio plays (esp hard boiled detectives) BoBigoks – Athiest
Universe (David Mills), Some of Your Blood (Theodore Sturgeon), The Cold 6000
(Ellroy), lotsa Agatha Christie for a retro-kick.
Thanks a lot of taking your time. Would
you like to send a message to It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine readers?
Andy: While we don’t identify ourselves as a
psychedelic band there is much in the attitude and sonic approach of the Sunset
Strip that is deeply psychedelic. One local writer described Stone Lazy as
“deep, psychedelic ‘decomposing’ rock as I like to term it, in fact I’d go so
far as to say you guys are the kings of that genre! It’s a pretty epic record,
lots of extended jams and wah wah, reminds me of Sister-era Sonic Youth,  On The Beach Neil young, Sticky- era Stones,
Big Star, Swerve driver and those Rowland S Howard/Nicky Sudden/Jeremy Gluck
records from the 80s.” If you dig psychedelica check us out, especially Stone
Lazy. Move Right In is also available for sale via bandcamp too. Yeah I’m
pushing the promo. Mostly wanna say Hi and hope you keep expanding yer minds.

Line up: 
Core of:
Warwick Brown: git, voc, harp, keys, bass
Andy Turner: git, voc
Complemented at various times by:
-Les Butrims (Endangered Species, Behind The
Magnolia Curtain) – drums
-Matt Cadush – git
-Wayne Arnold – (Behind The Magnolia Curtain)
bass, voc
-Ian Hill (Olympic Sideburns, Bo Weevils)-
keys, voc
-Kerrie Hicken (Klu Klux Frankenstein) – bass,
voc
-Paul Ryan (Endangered Species) – bass, slide
git
-Rod McMurrick (The Gas Bavies, LSD) – drums
-Tim Hemmensley (GOD, Bored!, Powder Monkeys)
– bass
-Joel Silbersher (GOD, Hoss, Melonman)-
voc 
-Mike Glen (Hoss, Souls Stirrer) – drums
-Ian Wettenhall (Philisteins, Seminal Rats,
Wrong Turn) – bass
DISCOGRAPHY
-1986 One track on Polyester Records
cassette-only compilation. Deleted
 -1986 Going Home 7′ AuGoGo Records vinyl only. Deleted
 -1987 ‘The Sunset Strip’ 12′ Au Go Go Records
vinyl-only album. Deleted
 -1998 1 track on Au Go Go christmas giveaway
7″ Going To A Go Go Deleted
 -1989 Holocaust 10″ Au Go Go Records
vinyl-only. Deleted but re-released as bonus tracks on  Move right In cd. also, you guessed it, Deleted.
 -1990 1 track on Hard to Beat, Au Go Go
compilation. Vinyl and cd. Deleted. This was 
a collaboration between Warwick/Andy, Dave Thomas from Bored and Dean
Bateup, singer from Behind The Magnolia Curtain. Listed under band name Behind
The Magnolia Strip
 -1990 Move Right In. 12′ Au Go Go Records
vinyl & cd release. Deleted
 -1991 1 track on Set It On fire  compilation (bands doing Scientist songs). Deleted
 -1993 Scrape It Out cd ep Dog Meat Records. Deleted
 -1993 Nothing Lost Nothing Gained. cd ep Dog
Meat Records. Deleted
 -1993 2 tracks on Home Is where the Floor Is.
Dog Meat label roster compilation. Deleted
 -2013 
Stone Lazy cd. (recorded 92-95 but never relesed) Death Valley Records

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2013
© Copyright
http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2013
One Comment
  1. Anonymous

    They were a great band! Nice interview btw...

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