C: Hello and welcome to the Modern Australian Underground podcast. I am your host Christina Pap, and on the show today I'll be talking to Zane, who plays in the Melbourne band Serial Killer, Vertigo and more recently joining The Living Eyes from Geelong. His older brother Billy also plays in all three of these bands as well as Ausmuteants and smarts, while running one of Melbourne's, coolest goth and punk labels ANTI FADE Records.
In addition to Billy and Zane, I'll also be talking to their father Grant, who is one of the founding members of the popular punk rock band from Geelong, Board, formed in the late 80’s and disbanding by the end of around '93. I wanted to fill in the timeline for the last 30 years or so of the Gardner family, and the influence Grant's time in Board might have had on his kids, not only being in bands, but in the capacity of music being a part of their everyday lives.
Also from playing in The Living Eyes, Ausmuteants and then doing ANTI FADE label - the sound Billy has helped grow into along with his peers, and then bringing that to Melbourne, the impact it had and changes it made in the Melbourne music scene.
It turned out to be a really lovely conversation, especially seeing how much Billy and Zane respected Grant and how proud Grant was of them. Just a small side note, I'm still doing my best to work at the recording hardware and didn't have enough mics for this interview, so the sound isn't as pristine as I'd like to give to you. But I hope you enjoy the conversation. This is the Modern Australian Underground.
C: How are you going?
GG: Good. My name’s Grant! Well, I can't tell you about any music stories, but I have been involved in a- there's a book being written on Board and it's pretty thorough and huge. And we've had to been forced to not relive, but go through a heap of things that nearly been erased from the mind. So it's really been very interesting. And yeah, the woman is doing a great job and people from all over the world getting-
C: When's that due to come out?
GG: It's nearly getting to be made into a book like this, all pages taken up, all the photos have been laid out. So yeah, I think it's gonna, it's definitely going to come out this year sometime like probably probably in hopefully the next five or six months. She's doing a great job.
C: She gave you a mind a thorough scraping and you had to dig through all those drunken memories.
GG: Yeah we've had to, like, as you can imagine, it's a long time ago. But talking to ringing up people going “How did this go? Is this what happened the way it went?” And yeah, slowly, we pieced together. But yeah, there's a lot of things that we never thought would have been important that we’re now talking about so, yeah, just gonna try and do our homework a bit.
C: I feel one of the cool things about those sorts of books is like when you ring people up, and you ask “What happened?” Everyone has a different memory of like the same, you know, like everyone just because it was like so long ago, you've just like, built a different memory. So it's interesting reading different accounts of the same thing. Was that a book that got started after your mate died last year?
GG: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Like, it's it's a bit of a fundraiser for him. But that's not the only reason it's getting done. Sort of like, yeah, it probably would have happened even if Dave hadn't have got sick at some stage, it’s been talked about for- I've heard the issue raised quite a few times over the years, but yeah.
C: I feel like it's a necessary part of Geelong history.
GG: Well, it's, this is something that we're all starting to talk about. Like, it was pretty unique times. Like we’re gone through pretty before, we went through before COVID appeared, you know, times are going great in in this state that Geelong and Melbourne were just as yeah, Geelong was-
C: Had a great scene.
GG: It was a massive scene, Yeah, it's just like a heap of people. They were just, they were full on, they were a rock and roll army. They really were just normal people that just got involved for a number of years and it just, we all sort of talk to some of those people you haven't seen for years and go for “Whoa that was a bloody wild time.” It was. It was great. creditease long.
C: Am I right in saying that you're only part of board for the first two years?
GG: We actually- I’m not 100% sure. I was looking at your little timeframe thing on the golden years sort of thing. That I can't even remember exactly when like- I'm going through this in the book at the moment. We were actually, the rest of us in the band are putting in our recollections of it. Yeah. I don't know exactly when Board's first gig was, but we had- we had a three piece that was just great fun for like Dave and the drummer Buzz and myself, for probably about four or five years and sort of was the background of-award bands.
GG: Yeah, but also like we, I was actually, only yesterday, I was writing about this, how we did all these covers, and and originals, sort of like 50/50, but we just did all those great covers, and later on, they came in really handy. And it was just like we paid to play this massive New Years gig in Torquay one year in Bells, there was a really impromptu thing that we sort of thought there might be about 500 people there because our mates sort of organised [it] and started selling tickets, and then we rolled up there at about 9:30 ready to go, like we'd only talked about it about four or five days earlier. And they went and printed a heap of tickets and sold them and then we we roll up to this joint and there's probably about 5000 people and it's going nuts, they’ve got a great stage. Massive PA and we had to play about four times. Yeah, like there was one other bband, one other local band that was supporting us and I think they played like once for about half an hour and said “That's it, we don’t know any more songs!” And yeah, we got up on stage and we couldn't sort of get off, we’d finally get off for about 10 minutes and then get back up, when we did about four sessions and just on all those old covers and it was really good.
C: I feel like especially around New Years, everyone's just plastered and they all want to hear the classics
GG: But they were, we did- we had a high standard for covers. There was, it was all good stuff. Plenty of great old songs to cover. And yeah, we did them good, it's pretty easy.
C: I saw you guys did like a colour, Coloured Bowls cover as well?
GG:Yeah, C: Like the first time it got covered.
GG: We had a little bit to do with Lobby Loyde actually and followed him. I was actually going through this book actually -C: Did you go out to Sunbury?
GG: Yeah, yeah we did. No, not the festival. No. He came into the studio and helped us with some recordings. pretty funny because he was deaf as a post from his life in rock and roll. Yeah, he was a dude, it was great to come across him. But when I was like 12, we had two lots of cousins in Melbourne. We had the Bishops and the Pals, and both those families were just so massive into rock and roll, but particularly the Bishops like, I think my parents sometimes sit back and “go what happened here” But yeah, I was getting brain rot real early on and whenever I'd go up to the Bishops, Lobby Loyde would be playing or Sabbath or Skyhooks! Yeah, Skyhooks were huge in Victoria and Australia for a period. Now a while I think just about every song was banned from from being played on the air with Skyhooks like they, I suppose maybe people might look on them, look back on them these days and get out fairly mainstream, but all that stuff massively influenced me and you don't really realise when you're a kid, but that's what happened to me.
C: Yeah, I think I remember I saw Board, but I think I went to some fest in Geelong in like 2009 and Board played at like-
GG: Yeah, that would have been
C: I couldn’t find it, I couldn't remember what it was.GG: I wouldn't have been in Board then.
C: So there was a point where like Board would start playing again, you didn't join in.
GG: I was I actually haven't really talked about this outlet too much.C: If you don’t want to-GG: No no I'm happy to you know, we had a- I'm pretty sure Billy might have actually been in his mum's stomach when we were still playing like, just, just you know, she was just pregnant. And I was just like, not because that was the stage in life we were coming to that I had to get out. But yeah, I had enough, it's pretty funny. I did actually discuss with someone a while back. He said to me “mate you timed your exit perfectly” like, bands if they've got - yeah, we had our we had great times. But once it gets bigger and bigger and wilder and it does, it's something that's it's a it's an animal that gets, you know, like, it gets going of itself. It's like a cyclone.C: And it's like you come to like a crossroads.GG: Well, it's like, I'm thinking, I'm gonna step off this cyclone, sort of thing. And yeah, there was things happening. And there's I had a couple of really close friends that were just so over me and going, “what is the matter with you?” We've- I've had sort of 10 years of great rock and roll. Yeah, it was pretty full on like, Yeah, I was fortunate enough to stop working, like not, you know, in Board we had a Sydney period. And we would go to bo- to Sydney, you know, really, really regularly, sometimes every three months, for usually about five or six days now that five or six days away in Sydney means probably about two weeks of not really doing too much from the time you go up and back and it was yeah, we had a we went pretty hard in Sydney, the Cosmopolitan in days, if anyone's heard of them. The Cosmopolitan was just this institution in Sydney, and you go and play and then come back at like, two in the morning and there'd be always other bands coming back and going up and down the lift, it’s just great, it as a really good time. Unfortunately, that's all gone. But yes, Sydney was great in the old days. We've got a- hopefully we never in Melbourne, let that happen to this giant because soo many great venues when we actually started playing there that was sort of with every time we'd go up, they'd be one of them and be gone. That was a great venue previously, so it happens swiftly.
C: Yeah, it's scary. Yeah. I've seen it happen to other cities as well. Yeah, it just destroys the music scene. Yeah, there's nothing worse, nowhere to play. So are you saying that, Billy is the reason why you quit Board?
GG: No, no. I’d had enough. It was just like, I was sort of, yeah, I'm probably just completely different circumstances these days. But we weren't, you know, it was just a real- just even playing. Like, if we played it was big. And it's not much different to these guys. Except they've had a bit of a, I don’t know a stop and take a big breath. You know, like I I was actually, I worked most of the time. Like I said before, I could get time off but I I was working to try and sort of pay out like, you know, like, I I work as a rigger. So it's, it's fairly physical.
C: Have you done that the whole time?
GG: Yeah and I enjoy it. But it's, it's a workout. And you've got to have your head about you if you've got anything to do with
C: Yeah, you can't be doing that.
GG: Yeah. And yeah, it was. They didn't overlap too well. And yeah, I loved the whole time. Like I could talk about this in the book. Like I would never envisaged my plan and rock and roll band. Like I got up. I got to about 19 and had a couple of not too much, but little periods of time mucking around with the guitar, but nothing too serious. And finally, we get Garan in our first band White Noise and it's just so much fun. I'm just blessed that I had not just the opportunity just like it wouldn't happen in my life normally but it did and it's one of the highlights.
C: I think it's a cool thing that you can like, you can do that. And then you hit a point where you like, Alright, that's it, and you can look back on it fondly, but you don't feel like, like, you're like, that was the time for me and you don't feel like you're you're missing out or because there are so many people that just don't want to let go of that party. They don't know when to like, start their actual lives, not saying that, like, rocking isn't your actual life, but it's just like, the way that you've like, cut it off and you like, look back on it. It's like kind of nice.
GG: I really thought that I would have continued to play and I sort of got together a few friends that I knew from those days, and we jammed. I just never got hooked into anything. And I must also say, this was a bit of a joke in the band days, but I've always been a pretty serious surfer for in my life. When I was younger, yeah, I was catching up on that. And then for a few years, and Billy was born, and then yeah, I just started. I'm a pretty happy dad as a father, like, I tell you both, both of the kids when they were about sort of very young. I'd be walking around cuddling them and rock and just, you know, just listened to stuff like Velvet Underground and the Kinks. But they actually made brain washed Yeah, yeah, well, I was really happy to. I'm not at the base rap.
C: You're not telling him that that song, talking about heroin in light of all that stuff.
GG: They can decipher all that. They’ve got the brains. I actually when I finished school, I sort of managed to stay stay at arm's length from situations that parents are sort of trying to push me into which was fair enough. You know, like, that's what parents do. And I think I had a couple of cracks at trying to do a journalism course in every year, I'd have about a week out the deacon and go nah I’ll defer this. That was about two years and was able to laugh my parents and there’s other irons in the fire. So finally, my mother said, like, I were planning a bigger trip, like we'd had a few little little trips, like sort of for four months, sort of trips, and we're planning this big trip. And my mom said to me, “Oh yeah so another trip so you know, what's the plan?” I said, “oh, we're going to be working. Yeah, like, we'll get work. There's no work around here. And we'll be able to get work up there. And, you know, I'm very onto it. You know, I really want to work.” She said “I’ll tell you what I do know this lady, and she might be able to give you a job. I'm not sure there's not much chance. But how about if you agree with me to give it a shot, if you don't get the job, you can go with our blessing”. No worries mum.
So within half an hour. Just trying to be as soo disinterested as I could possibly be. Yeah, show that nah I’m not into this. That Mrs. Green, remember Mrs Green rung Mum and said “He's perfect. We love him.” So I was mortified. Oh no, gonna work at Kmart, bout three days later, I had to go get a collar and tie and shiny shoes and put on some pants. And then then I met this other dude named Dave Thomas. And yes, straightaway we, there was light at the end of the tunnel, where we hit it off really quick. And he and he wasn't a musician then. But he, he was from a different background. But he, I started putting him on to all my records, I was only probably about six months older than him. But I just had heaps of records from back to the cousins influencing me. And so I started lending him records like, I don't know, Saints and Joy Division and stuff like that. And he just got to getting right into it. And before long we, we were- it was just records for that there was actually a Brashs’ just in in in the same shopping centre, and I knew a guy in there, Metro, and so we could get we could order records and get them at cost. So we were just buying all these records and David's sort of getting recommendations off me and before long, he went and bought a bass and that's what started it and what's pretty funny is that, you know, like the kids have actually raised some taboo conversations around the tea table. Like my boys with my mom and dad, like we should sort of still do it except the boys are now living in Melbourne, but we alternately have a meal every Monday with the oldies. Yeah. Yeah, like as they got older, they kept on bringing these topics out of the bag, hadn't had been dead and buried and never to be discussed. And they were discussing him like, “Hey, hey, nan, you know, do you realise that played in like, what do you think of him playing in Board? Did you you know, what did you think?” I’m nearly crying at this table, but yeah, there was a bit of talk about it. Yeah. And now my reluctantly so to started answering the boys question, we sort of joked about it later on, like, Mum sort of thought she scammed me by getting me a job, and she did scam me. But it actually led into something that they were going “Well how did this happen?” Well, Mom, it happened because of you. Yes.
C: Yeah she thought she was getting you on the straight and narrow.
??: What about? How did Dave come to teach in the base, the surf trip?
GG: Oh, yeah. Well, now well he bought a bass and I'd actually was planning on going away and told him that I wasn't going to be at Kmart for much longer. And yeah, went out to his bungalow, and had a few, like, little bit of 12, bar blues, sort of trying to get the fingers going and the scale. And it didn't seem to be too hard. Did that a few times. And then finally, the day came when I left Kmart and said to him, I'm going away for about six months. But I'll be back, you know, I don't know what's going to happen. And he said, Well, I've, I've been thinking about it too, and you go away. I'll get it. I'm getting it- guitar, like in days already been working. When you come back in six months time. I'll be able to play the guitar. You can get the bass going, and we'll have a jam and who knows we might get a band going. Yeah, and that's exactly what happens, which is fairly fanciful, but it really did happen.
C: Where’d you go?
GG: I just went up-
C: Up the coast?
GG: I just stayed at Burley, stayed in Burley, Noosa, for a while. Yeah it was great.
C: I have a question that has been sent in to ask you.
GG: Sent in by who?
C: Jake. Speaking of surfing, Jake said that your name on the negative wave LP was Grant ‘I'd rather be surfing’ Gardner. And then Zanes nickname Chris and biobridge. Stanley is Zane ‘I'd rather be rocking’ Gardner. So then he was like, Billy, what would you rather be doing?
B: I have no idea. I used to be, I used to be “Billy ‘I'd rather be Zane’ Gardner”.
C: Fair enough. That's a good answer.
B: I don't know where that came from. But hell yeah.
GG: They started surfing. C: You guys started surfing?
GG: They're coming along.
Z: Same beach, he was there, we getting smashed for half an hour
B: Yeah, I couldn't even get on the back, dad would just be laughing at us [unintelligible]
to slam in your face
C: You guys are just like caught in a rip and he's just like good one guys
Z: We had a crack a couple of times but that never took off.
C: You're like, proud of them for the music but disappointed in them for the surfing?
GG: No, no, I think I think [Unintelligible}
GG: All right. I'll put it to you, Bill. In case you don't know. Billy came to me when he was about 14, I suppose. He also says to play footy and cricket. Not huge. Z: Yeah, he was never any good at it
GG But yeah, he was going alright with that. Then one day, he actually said “Dad, I need to have a talk with you.” Alright, what do you wanna talk about?
We went to another room, went upstairs. And he said, I want to give up sport. I said what, I was chuckling away going “What do you want to give up sport for?”
“I want to play music.” And he's looking me right in the eye and I’m also chuckling back at him and he said, “Come off it. Come on, dad. I've seen you when you talk about rock and rolling your eyes just sparkle.”B: I don’t remember this conversation at all.GG: It’s true. This is the absolute truth. And then he said to me after that little bit, come on dad. He goes, Well, if you had your life again, what would you do? In music? What would you do again, if you if you had another chance, like you started pretty late, and I said I'd start at the, I'd start with the drums then I'd get a bass, become confident with the drums and become proficient on the bass and then start playing the guitar and straightaway said right put me- let's get a drum teacher.
GG: And he actually, I think he might have- [unintelligible]
GG: We had a kit though didn't we? Didn't-. B: Yeah Sally my auntie gave me a kit. GG: Yeah, that's right.B: So he was very supportive.
GG: Yeah started doing the drum lessons. And he was very serious and very diligent B: into drum lessons for a bit in grade six, and then gave it up, and then kind of didn't do music, like year seven, and then kind of got back into it year 8.
C: Is it because you feel like just drumming isn't like [unintelligible]
B: Well, I didn't have any other friends who played music at the time. There was one kid my primary school Actually, we played one show together as two piece called and band was called Volume. [unintelligible] kind of came back to year eight when I went to high school and met some of the kids like Mitch and Dale played in Living Eyes and stuff.
C: Did it just seem like a normal thing for you coming from a house where like your dad had been in a band?
B: Yeah, and that was a huge factor. But I think the biggest, the biggest thing was just going to Geelong High and meeting like [unintelligible] guys, like a couple years older and doing the same sort of thing. Was a huge influence
C: Was your first instrument drums?
Z: No, I was actually thinking about this the other day. I'm the first, I first learnt bass. I'm like, have [unintelligible] Billy to play cricket. He’s like, I’ll play cricket with you but first I'm going to teach you a song bass and then he did. He taught me the witch by sonics. I assume we went and bowled some oversB: It’s funny, me and Zane were pretty different at the beginning. I sort of remember the point where Zane started taking an interest in music and kind of what I was doing, but it definitely wasn't for the first few years, maybe around the time, like 14 or something and I would have been like,
C: Oh, you guys have a bit of an age gap.
B: We got six years between us. Maybe more like maybe was 14 Z: Yeah. 13, 13 or 14 B: When wet blankets [unintelligible] good songs.
C: So we’re you like like like this time in Geelong, were you like taking them to shows right?
GG: I remember one particular day where they had I don't know, he had I think he had a couple of jams, couple of noise sessions. And then finally one day I had to take a couple ya’s out to Dale's place. And Dale's mum was letting them set up in the garage and wait yeah, we took a I think we might have taken out a bass amp and speaker, I don't know that that was out there. And so we set up a few more things and then it was just an absolute school rock moment like they're all just sitting there going like “so how do we get this going?”
Just like righto- Nick just give us a rock beat, just give us a general rock beatB: No this is pre-Nick this is GG: Who was playing the drums? B: Well we’d switch around is like whoever Dale, Mitch, this guy Jimmy and myself GG: Do you remember this time talking about
GG: Yeah. And then I started doing a- it was a ripoff of a Van Morrison song. Yeah, no rip off of that Morrison song and it was just like a *imitates riff*
and you guys coming in on the bass
C: This is actually school rock
GG: The look on their faces. Going. This is it. This is rock and roll, and did not have to interfere with them too much after that.
B: It was good time jamming in Dale’s shed in Leopold. Yeah, it was good times.
C: So what was that? That wasn't Frowning Clouds.
B: Nah We had this band pre Living Eyes called Hideaways. Yeah. Well, we were like 14, we supported Frowning Clouds a couple times, it's like the only way we can get a show and play at a pub, even be in a pub. But yeah, that was good fun. And then that went kaput after like, a year or something and we kind of like did nothing for maybe like year 9 and then live in I started in like year 10 or 11, like 2009.
C: So I saw that living eyes had a self release and then later that year is when you started ANTI FADE?
B: Oh maybe I saw a CD or something-
GG: What was the song on Triple J?Z: Oh spray paint
GG: Song on Triple J that they discovered
B: Oh yeah in 2009 we made this, just a song in the bedroom he's played drums under moniker I think I played the guitar and bass and sang it. It ended up going okay, we sent it to Triple J Unearthed and then it made the top six final tracks or whatever.
GG: Next minute Billy's getting interviewed at like eight o’clock in the morning on Triple JB: By Steph Hughes! GG: We've never been too excited about Triple J. But it was it was really good what they did. It was good. It was it was it's one good thing that they do like the, What was it called?
Everyone: Unearthed High
B: Like getting up, doing an interview at like high school, like it was funny,
GG: Triple J were I would decent to except they if they want to do give them right. Okay, now that you've got to this stage, we're gonna send you over to whichever big record company dealership there was gonna boom, we're all
B: Yeah, I can't remember what happened after that. But that was like 2009, I don't even think we'd even played a show yet. It was just a little demo recording just me and Mitch then probably started actually playing shows like in 2010 2011.C: This is the Living Eyes? Yeah, cool. Was it that experience that made you want to start a label, like put it out yourself was it supposed to go to like a big thing?B: No label to we came from I remember, well, I was like, just hanging out with Zac one night. And we caught a train to Melbourne on the train ride I just got all these ideas about doing a compilation because there's so many good bands in Geelong, and obviously, Melbourne both have their own kind of respective scenes. I had this idea about doing a compilation that was a half Melbourne bands and half Geelong bands. So that was new centre of universe. And that came way before the label idea. And then so I was kind of like naturally well, I have to start a label to put out this compilation sort of thing so. I think the combination took like a year to put together all right, maybe in like six months, I've put out a couple of tapes of other bands before the comp, but yeah, it was definitely all about the compilation.
C: One my questions was gonna be when are you going to put out another compilation because I feel like
B: I should I should, they just take so long to organise. Yeah, but I should
C: like, I mean, it's a great comp. Yeah, it's just a nice way to have like, showcase
B: Yeah, like a time and a scene?
C: do you feel like at the time you were- so did you feel like when you like released the first comp it was really showing Melbourne and Geelong?
B: Yeah, definitely. We did a big show at the Gaso to launch it. UV Race played, it was awesome. Yeah.
C: You had a solo song on the second one. B: Third one.C: Third one. All right.
Z: Yeah, let's just like a, I dunno, I was just playing with a [unintelligible]. I wasn't even planning on doing anything with that. But I think Billy was like, Oh, I should put this on for like a year, and I was like, yeah I’ll make one, and then just gave him that one at the end.C: That’s cool
B: [Unintelligible] one. I remember me making it was like, real hot day. You were just siting on the couch not doing anything. Oh, yeah. It'd be the middle of summer.
C: How often do you go to Billy and Zane shows? Do you go to their shows?GG: Most.
B:Yeah. Dad’s pretty big fan.
C: It was a real shame about Jerk Fest last year.
B: I know. I was really bummed cos 2019, I did it like March 2nd, and that ended up being like a 40 degree day. It was a nightmare. Like it was too hot to play-
C: So you pushed it back?B: Yeah we pushed it back up after a couple weeks, like later in March, thinking that'd be a bit more safe. Yeah, I missed out by one week. I think the last show that anything happened was March 14. And there was a new order. This was March 21.
Z: You really fell apart that week.
C: So when are you announcing the next one then?
B: Jerk Fest? Well, I started organising one for late March again. I kind of put it a bit on the back burner with there's been a couple COVID cases popping up lately. And so like, I don't want to like book a whole Jerk Fest and then have to cancel it. So I'll just put - I don't think I'm gonna be booking shows like three or four months in advance even while just sort of booking like six to eight weeks in advance. A bit more realistic.
C: When I interviewed Jake and Rich. He was like talking about how he used to-B: Sneak into my house? C: Yeah.
B: Yeah, it was funny. Yeah. He said he could still do it these days. C: Did he actually do it?
B: At least a few times. Yeah. That song human Zoo and that’s on maybe the first Ausmuteants like just a little tape, it was all him while I'm at work, just at my house
C: I can’t believe you only moved to Melbourne like three years ago.
B: Yeah I’m late to the scene. Geelong was so good for so long. I was kind of like, I was a bit snobby about it like “Nah I’m not going to move to Melbourne, no way.” And then all my friends from Geelong moved to Melbourne and I was like “this sucks now.”
C: So what is like what is the Geelong scene now at the moment like is it just like-
B: It’s just a way younger generation, I feel old down there now. But nothing wrong with that obviously like bands like Vintage Crop rule, just like a few years younger than me and my friends in bands and stuff, like obviously very tight, like it doesn't feel like much of an age difference. But even when I go to a show, I feel the age difference
GG: There’s is one venue. [Unintelligible] Yeah, at the moment, there's only one venue. B: Yeah, it's kind of all changed. Like-
C: it's the same with Melbourne. Like, I mean-
B: Yeah. It’s not changed in a bad way, but it's just different pretty much when all moved to Melbourne. This is like a big chunk of my friends gone now. I need to follow them.C: Yeah.
C: Oh, yeah. So how did you start playing music? Well, like you started playing with Billy?
Z: Yeah, I was like, really hot summer we had neighbours that like went away for the summer. We just like swimming in that pool every day. Like, like in between swims, we just jam. On the navel all the time is pretty much living in a house. It's pretty good. It's kind of just how like wet blankets started. Just like I think maybe it was over the period like Christmas period where you had a couple of weeks off. We just kind of jammed and wrote a couple songs. Yeah, decided to start a band. I think we played that Pan studio show when I was like 15-16, which would have been six months after that or something.
C: So was Wet Blanket planning on playing Jerk Fest coming up or?
GG: Oh, we haven't talked about it, but we’d be keen.
B: Yeah we had two jams and it sounded real sick.
C: So Cereal Killer was after Wet Blanket?
C: And was there a reason why Wet Blanket stopped?
GG & B: Nah, no. Not really. It just fizzled out.
GG: 2015v was the year for both bands.
B: I think it just gets to a point sometimes where it's like-
C: But then you also both play in Vertigo as well, right?
B: Yeah. That was meant to be like, I was getting swept away for like a huge tour like six or seven weeks. And Zane and Troy both been Cereal Killer. Like, okay, let's go to Batmobile. He's gone. And then by the time I got back, we still haven't found a drummer.
C: He's like, ‘nice try’.
B: Yeah, I remember coming back and I was still jet lagged. I'm trying to play drums like half asleep.
C: Was that in the States at that point?
B: At that point, it was a huge. It was definitely the biggest tour we’ve ever done. Like seven weeks away. It was pretty long.
C: So, what was the first tour you guys went on together? Was it Japan?
B: No, it would have been a Europe tour in 2017. I think I finished Year 12 like two weeks before it.
GG: Yeah that was our schoolies.
B: Because we left at the end of November and came back on the two days before Christmas or something. Yeah, it was pretty-
B: But yeah, Japan was the best. Out of all the places I've been to, I’d definitely go back.
C: What's the biggest tour you've done, Grant?
B: We were talking about the tour before. We actually had a European tour booked already to go and there was just a heap of shit going on amongst the band. There was I don’t know, I wouldn't even start to talk about at all that there was some monumental shit going on. There really was. We weren't really that friendly for various reasons, like it doesn't take much. Yeah, I was just like, not good. There was a guy, a great guy, that came and replaced me and I was very happy with him and he must have gone over with me about half a dozen times going. Yeah, it's a shame that it didn’t eventuate. But I was glad not to be there.
C: Was that in a zine or something?
B: The internet.
GG: Every night you keep adding to it.
C: I think there was a thing called Resistant Harmony or something. And I had a copy, and it had in it ‘Board Tour diary’. I should dig it up.
B: Like in the 90s or something?
C: Yeah, well, it's some some 90s something. 91 Maube. Yeah I think it might have been a one.
GG: Talking about playing venues like Vera. Like Vera in the Netherlands. Walk around that place like a museum. There was all these posters of all these bands that played there, it was crazy.
B: They have a big Joy Division poster that's like, real famous for the hung right was taken.
C: Yeah, all right. So cool. The sound that you did with AntiFade came to Melbourne before you did?
GG: Yeah. Although, I feel like AntiFade is kind of really up and down. Like, started to be done in the 2011 but didn't really do that much of 2012. We're pretty busy. And then maybe like 2014 it kind of like, it just sort of fizzled out, like it didn't stop, we just did way do less. Like 2015-16 sort of thing me picked up again. At the end of 2017. And 2018, 19 and 20, have been pretty jam packed.
C: Do you feel pressure to keep it at that level?
B: Yeah kinda of bummed me out when it dropped off. And I noticed I just wasn’t getting up to do stuff. And I don’t know, I wasn’t spending time on it. It did bum me out for a few years. It felt really good and healthy to get back into it. And I have things to do for it.
C: But have you ever heard that Geelong has been referred to as like the Detroit of a trip? Do you know how that came around?
GG: Thankgod Geelong isn’t Detroit. We’ve got a Ford Focus.
C: Yeah like a couple years ago the whole thing [Detroit] was like declared bankruptcy.
B: Just it's like massive Detroit influence for Geelong. That kind of boy hard sort of sound. Sandor Rats. Detroit Sand. We met them very early on and they started coming down to Geelong. I couldn’t get enough of Geelong.
GG: Are you coming from Melbourne?
C: I feel like you bring in AntiFade to Melbourne. There was like some bands like YouBeRace that had that sort of garage sound. But I feel like you brought like, a real wave over Melbourne with that sound.
B: Like it goes back to all the Brandon’s clouds crew. I just put my hand up to put all this stuff out. They were like the biggest influence on everything. I went to school and met Zach and I was like, ‘who are these guys?’ Yeah. And then I met the rest of them all. That was a huge turning point.
GG: In 2009 when Zach like Internet buddies, and they come down and hanging out. Totally just kind of hit it off straightaway. It seemed like a natural. I didn't, yeah,the bass player left. So I think Jake was like the first person they offered the slot to Jake was like, ‘Yeah, I don't have anything else going on’. I'll be down.
C: There's such a web of who's been in what band and what time that I forget. Can you name a couple of your favourite releases from the last ten years? Maybe like one from Geelong, one from Melbourne and none off your label?
B: Dad still prefers the one after racism. We still argue. I think I prefer Homer. Geelon though, I think just the first grading clouds album I guess that was on Turner. Will be like turned out no I think that is pretty just older plan early releases.
C: How many times have you seen the UV Rays, seeing as they are one of your favourite bands?
B: Oh only half a dozen times. Yeah. Only when they come to Geelong. But yeah, I like them a lot.
GG: There's a real good gig in Geelong in 2011, it was UV Rays, Paw Patrol- definitely one to remember. And the original band promo with Gary Ablet.
B: Yeah and it’s on Zane’s bedroom at my joint on the wall. And it was very funny actually because after Jerk Fest, Mikey came with his lady and stayed in that bedroom where the poster was. It was gold. I haven't seen that for years.
C: Ha, I want to see it. But what about you Zane?
Z: I’m trying to think of the Melbourne albums that I have put on alot. Oh, yeah, it was 10 years. So listen to that Jamie’s album a lot.
C: Well AntiFade did. Wasn’t it, wouldn't this be your third release or something?
B: Yeah, first harrafine. So it was kind of like them doing the new sound. John hadn't really done before. And looking back I feel like it was pretty early. Like other people followed, but like years later. I think like 2014 or something, it was pretty early.
C: How did um, ‘cause isn't your first official release, like the Bonnie or something? Like, I don't know much about the Bonnie Walls.
Z: The idea was the cover would have like, two little giggly eyes. Like, you know, and stick it the piece of paper. That was the cover. Yeah. But then when we tried to close, it didn’t close. But that was the third release.
C: You’ve all been involved in the music scene for a while. You've seen things change, between even between, like Geelong and Melbourne. And, like, the different phases of different sorts of punk or whatever, after this last year, what would you have to say about 2021? In terms of music?
B: This a lot of people recently, but I feel like we haven't really 2020 had so much good music, because it's like, I feel like I released you, it takes like six to 12 months to come out. So like, yeah, 2020 was kind of like fueled with all these things that were called before COVID. And people were just like, finishing off mixing those tracks. Yeah, she can do in COVID. But feel like this is gonna be like, Alright, nothing got recorded last year. So it's gonna take a while, like, or a lot of bands would generally have a record like you finishing one, or working in one at least at the moment sort of but haven't been able to because you can't even jam, you know, I mean I’m sure there will be plenty of good stuff. Just maybe a little bit of slow stuff.
C: I mean, I feel like after COVID the thing that we've learned is you can't make any predictions about anything. But I feel like that, like, that's something that we've seen in music a lot anyway, it's like, things get trendy that you never thought was gonna blow up, you know, or something that you think is like so amazing, no one cares about. I feel like this year might be the year of like bedroom projects.
Z: Oh, yeah, sure.
B: I feel like even at the end of last year .
C: What have you been listening to lately, Grant?
B: We were just talking about this on the car on the way here. Billy gave me the Blake Scope solo album and I told him that he's from paid tempo. Yeah last time played it four times. Just one so I just kept on playing it. So that must be a good sign. I never really do that. It's good. Yeah, Billy is pretty funny. We were having a chat on the phone. And one weekend, I was chatting to him and he said, ‘I better send you something like a happiness package’. I actually said I gotta get that, the Smarts reports. Something I’ve been hearing on the radio. The first time I would have heard it a number of times, before they even got near a record press. But I hadn't really heard him, I didn’t really know what he was doing. So then I heard it on the radio. I can't wait to get the album. He said, ‘Oh, I'll send you a care package’ and it was three records. Yeah I've been spoilt rotten.
C: It sounds like keeping you up to date with all the cream of the crop Australian Underground.
Z: They've turned it it all in spades as to bribe them with whether I had any choice or not years ago. Whether they were two years old or 12 years old, but yeah, it's great to hear. I mean, though, most of this stuff I it's timeless is very rarely anything I really don't like. So yes, I don't struggle with it. Well, I have family in mind, a couple of the sisters that probably wouldn't have. You would be surprised at the listen to this stuff. But yeah, there are some abilities and zones biggest fans.
B: We had a big birthday party for my younger brother a couple of years back. And the whole, it was just pretty much the whole family with a few close friends. But the Living Eyes came down and did a full like I think there was there three sets?
Z: Nah it was two.
B: It's such a tragedy that we didn't film it out. Yeah, my mum was actually sitting there the whole time, like I've always said to the kids as an early age, Keep time with that foot. Keep time with that foot. Mum was sitting there the whole time, foot going, head bopping. She'd love it.
C: Like she was the one that should have been a drummer in the family.
Z: Yeah everyone enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it. It was a great night. My uncle, my uncle's mate, James Chonga sang a few songs for this. Brother. It was so good. He actually sung for a bnd in Tassie called The Rubes. Like they're pretty respected. He's got credibility. He was the life of the party.
C: Was an impromptu, like getting up there?
Z: It sort of was. He didn’t want to do it ilitally.
C: How many beers did you put in him to get him up there?
And it was
Z: Well, he's still not going to do it. And then suddenly, just something flicked. He got up there, denim vest with no shirt. It was really fun.
B: And there's a neighbour that's he's, he's pretty credible in the rock'n'roll stocks. I'll read and had a big history. Like he's travelled the world playing music and he couldn't believe it. So about a month after that, like every time I saw him, he was like, ‘I just can’t believe that family’. So finally, sorry, I'm sorry. I'm down there. Ready guys? Someone said that was his birthday coming up too.
C: So thanks for coming in. Thanks alot!
Z & B: Thankyou.
C: Hope you enjoyed the conversation I had with Grant, Billy and Zane Gardner on their lives involved in the Geelong and Melbourne underground music scene throughout the years. Keep an eye out for that book on Board Grant was talking about at the start. It will be an essential piece of literature for Geelong rock'n'roll history. Contact me via litmus.media and stay tuned for more episodes of the Modern Australian Underground.