How was Speedfest?
Speedfest was magic mate. There was a cross pollination of genres, there was the Hookers, the Dwarves, Discharge, Reverend Horton Heat, the Brains, The Sonics and local heroes Peter Pan Speedrock—who played an unbelievable set—they were all cool and there was a really good vibe. There were 8,000-10,000 people there. It was good seeing psychobillys, punks and head bangers all in the one spot, it was a massive indoor gig (being early winter), with a good vibe and I really hope to go back.
Did Peter Pan Speedrock contact you guys about going over for the Festival?
We were supposed to go over in 2010, it was kind of lucky we didn’t because it was the coldest winter they had in 200 years, it was minus 60 and it was also the same year that the volcano erupted in Finland and grounded everyone, so we decided to go over early this year just in case we were delayed. We had contact through Bart from PPS who was helping organise the bands. It was just great to play a show on foreign soil and give ’em a bit of Aussie psycho.
Even though it was a Festival, with that many people there, how was the crowd response towards something that is a little bit different? You are classed as a psychobilly band, but you have a lot metal and punk influence—you are quite a diverse band.
For us, it’s really good, we had people coming up to us afterwards just saying, ‘you guys are unique’ because we crossover so many genres, we just attribute it to being Australians. It’s not like in the ’90s we were just doing psychobilly showcases, we were playing with everyone from KISS to Damaged or Bored! There were all sorts; we played with the Fauves and Custard—that essence of Australian rock. I don’t think the ‘subculture’ is as big as it is over in Europe or America or Japan, so everyone just gets along and supports their own bands, even if there are other styles of bands playing, which Speedfest showed me as well. The Dwarves were playing on the same stage as The Sonics and Pentagram. Australian rock is just a cross pollination of world rock and we do it in our own way, and we have bigger pubs than they do.
Which was pretty much the breeding ground of Australian rock really. Yeah! Though I think it’s getting harder for younger bands to do it but there’s definitely a pub vibe here.
Did you get to tour any other European countries or was it the one off show at Speedfest?
No, we just went over for the one gig and they were saying to us ‘why are you guys just doing the one show?’ and well it was because Speedfest came to the party and helped us get over there. They wanted us to do these little tiny bar room gigs and we just said “Nah! F@#k that, we did that in the ‘90s.” That being said, we could’ve but decided to the exclusive show on a big stage and that’s kind of our home, we love big stages and love big egos.
You couldn’t get much a bigger ego than Blag from the Dwarves.
Yeah! He was doing his radio show (Radio Like You Want) and it got really weird, really quick and he asked what kind of drugs we were on, so I rattled off half a dozen or so and he looked at us sideways. But all the bands were really cool and meeting them backstage was just a great vibe. I’d love just to do it all over again and hopefully we’ll get to this year.
It’s great to see after all these years, you are able to do something like that, pull it off and get people actually reacting to it …
Like you say, it’s taken 30 years for us to be an overnight sensation. I’ve said this before in interviews, its just a hell of a lot easier these days with the internet, Facebook and being able to sell merchandise through your own website. It’s a completely different climate than what it was in the ’90s and just as we were breaking up, someone was talking about getting the Fireballs a webpage and we were like ‘what the f@#k is a webpage, that’ll never take off’. Technology has just gone nuts.
And with that, do you think it’s a lot easier to tour and get gigs? Communication has gotten a lot easier to organise things. We’re talking on a mobile phone, five seconds ago I was in the shower, you know, if the phone rang 20 years ago I would’ve missed the call completely. With that it becomes accessible, there are more contacts. It is easier.
Obviously you are looking forward to these Queensland shows coming up?
I can’t wait, we’ve done the Hi-Fi for a couple years in a row and it’s good to get out and get a new fan base, as I’m sure there are people into it now that the ‘subculture’ has become more accessible. I actually don’t like the word subculture, I believe we’re above culture. The fact that we’re an underbelly is irrelevant, but I think that most people into the ‘subculture’ are free thinkers and think for themselves and know what they like and how to get it, it’s all good. Doing some shows that we normally wouldn’t do is a great vibe, I can’t wait, that’s what we thrive on, like Speedfest, we didn’t go over there with 8,000 fans chanting Fireballs, we sort of went back to the whole thing of ‘You know what, we have to play a killer gig tonight, we’re amongst the worlds best. We have got to show ’em what it’s all about, we have to represent Aussie psycho’.
So is that what you are aiming towards in 2012 and onwards?
Everyone’s got to have a goal.
Exactly, aim high.
Hope for the best and expect the worst. I think 2012 will be a good one for us, do more shows, more tours, that’s our thing, mate, we’re a rock ‘n’ roll band and if you don’t play live there’s a million YouTube clips, go to virtual gigs etcetera and I’ve said this before too, if you don’t have a record collection and big pile of cd’s, I don’t think you have f@#king anything, just a computer that can crash at anytime.
Fireballs haven’t put out any full length vinyl?
We’ve got Hellrider coming out on vinyl, should be coming out this year, it’s sitting in the pressing plant in America.
Who will be putting that out?
We will be putting it out ourselves. It’ll be a splatter colour vinyl. I’ve heard the test pressing and it sounds completely different to the CD, it has that whole vinyl sound to it and the American mastering vibe to it as well, as the American like to put their own little take on what sounds right, I think we’re in good hands.
Did you leave all the mastering to them or set guidelines?
No, we had our guy who did the Hellrider stuff here in Melbourne do a vinyl master and when the plant get it they tweak it as well. It’s exciting for us, we’ve gone all this time and carried on about how much we want vinyl but we haven’t released it apart from the Youth Injection 7”. I hope people get excited about it.
Back to your tour, is it just Queensland you’re doing?
We’re doing this fundraiser for the awareness of Rhino Horn Poaching for a company called Raw, in Mornington, Vic. It’s a great cause, because I don’t want to be shot and have my hair cut off. As I get older, I wonder where this planet is going. Senseless slaughter of animals and people, when you got an asset like a Rhino in your country or whether it be the eradication of the cane toads and environmental issues like that, or saving a species from extinction, it sort of touching a raw nerve with me as I get older, maybe it’s outing the hippy in me. What they do is tranquilize the rhino and cut the horns off so they don’t need to shoot them. It disturbs me, I watch these shows and see bear gallbladders for Chinese medicine and think there must be another way. But that’s the next show after Queensland.
You’ll be playing with a Gold Coast band called the Big Rigs, just get you’re liver ready with those boys, it’ll be one of those tours, so be prepared!
That should be a lot fun [laughs]. We’re doing some filming for a clip on this tour, so I’m sure we’ll get something good out of it.
So your still doing that Psychobilly Symphony?
We’re no closer, we’re no further, we haven’t been rehearsing since getting back from Speedfest with the silly season and all, but it’s all in pieces, we’re just jamming on it and we will cut and edit, but ultimately we would like to have something that we can actually learn. We have guys that play the French horn and saxophone that want to play on it, we’re just having a heap of fun with it.
You’re not finding it difficult to write? I would have thought it was a totally different style compared to what you’re known for?
I don’t think it’ll be a different style. I think the symphony part will be an extremely long piece. We’re looking for 18 to 20 minute as a piece and as all symphonies do it has stops and start, low bits and high bits. Something like the Flight of the Valkyries would be good but that’s been done. When you play music for years on end you always have to look for something you haven’t done unless you’re AC/DC and still play three chord rock and are really f@#king good at it.
Tell you what, that would be awesome to come out on a side one on vinyl.
That’s what we’re hoping for.
And just do an etching on the other side.
I was just about to mention the old etched ones.
I haven’t seen an etching on a vinyl in many years …
The last one I saw was on a Split Enz album in the ’80s.
Just before you go, I just want to apologise for leaving half way through your set at ’95s Livid, to see Jello Biafra Spoken Word.
Well if my memory serves me correct, he was boring the pants off everyone and what we thought would be the punk thing to do was go on 15 minutes early and play over the top of a punk rock legend … We just wanted to play high energy rock ‘n’ roll, I didn’t want to listen to some old fart go on about his political views, he boring us f@#ken shitless, if I wanted to listen to that I’d put on Question Time.
Anything else you’d like to let out of the bag regarding the Fireballs?
Come out to our shows, we’re looking forward to it, it’s gonna be fun!