An Interview with Melbourne, Australia Rockers,
Dead City Ruins
that took place outside the Dove & Rainbow, Sheffield, August, 2011.
Interview by Glenn Milligan
Glenn: So who are the members in Dead City Ruins?
Tommy: I'm Tommy and I play lead guitar.
Jake: This is Jake, I'm vocals
Drewzi: I'm Drewzi - Drums
Blanchy: Blanchy - Guitar
Nick: Nick - I'm on the bass.
Glenn: So before you became a band, what were your influences and made you wanna play?
Tommy: I think when I was about maybe 12 years old, I found my mums record collection. I sifted through it - there was Zeppelin, Stones, you know Neil Young everyone but I stopped on Sabbath and as soon as I put on the 'Paronoid' record that was it for me, I knew what I wanted to do.
Jake : I moved to England when I was about 19 and no one needed a guitarist and I needed a vocalist. Then I travelled around a long time, I met Nick the bass player. I met him in 2006 and we started a band in London and we were playing with these three English guys and they just weren't serious. I bought this transit van and they just didn't wanna do. So we played a lot of gigs and I think we drank more than we should have - we f*ck*d a lot of sh*t up so we f*ck*d off back home to kinda refresh and that's where I met Tom the guitarist. He was playing in a band at the time out with a couple of other musicians. So I suggested to Tom that we bring in Nick and he suggested that we bring in Drewzi cos they were mates and we played around for about a year - just f*ck*n' around Melbourne and playing as many venues as we could and went up and down the East Coast of Australia. We had a van and that so we did as much touring and playing as we could in Australia. Then we really needed a second guitar player because I was playing guitar but it just wasn't cutting the mustard. So we got in Sean who was best mates with Tom and Drewzi - he did a lot of guitar teching for Tom. So he was with us anyway. So he jumped in - in fact I think he jumped in just as we booked our tickets.
Blanchy: They made me play 4 shows - a string of four shows over a weekend.
Jake: That was it.
Blanchy: We worked our t*ts off and spent all our days to pay for this and now we are here for these three months. We are in England for most of it. We've bunched a whole bunch of more dates. We are supporting a band called Ratrace - they are doing like a comeback show so we are supporting them in Wales. We booked a festival in Germany in Hamburg.
Glenn: Which one's that?
Blanchy: We are playing the Kaiserkellar in Hamburg and one of the dates was double booked by the promoter so we said "Can we go on as main support?", so yeah, we are doing that. We've never played in Germany before so it's gonna be f*ck*n' amazing when we do that. Were playing a massive festival in Dubai on the way home which is gonna be pretty hard to stay alive - we are probably all gonna get locked up in jail.
Glenn: Don't even think of bringing any drugs into that one!
Jake: We just decided, there's no point playing in Australia. There's not enough venues, there's not enough people into it - all the venues f*ck ya! So we were thinking, 'we just come over here and just bought a van, we've bought all our gear. We are gonna put it in storage for when we go back home because we are coming back next year (2012) so we are gonna go all round England and all through Europe and meet people like yourself and spread the word and try and book for year and hopefully we can do four or 5 dates a week and make a little bit of coin and just get the name out there.
Back home it's quite funny. Most bands hate us and there's only like three bands that will play with us. Everytime we play like the main venue it's called The Cherry Bar, it's right in the middle of Melbourne. Evetytime we play there we f*ck*n fill it and get lines down the street and still the promoter f*cks us with money and he won't pay us for at least a month. Last time we played we all got kicked out because the drummer threw a pick and they kicked us out and we'd just filled the f*ck*n' venue! So we are trying to get the f*ck away from Australia - I love our country but for music it's sh*t.
Glenn: And that's where bands like Airbourne come from!
Jake: Yeah we met them in London and we were all as jetlagged as f*ck and Airbourne was playing down the road and someone gave us tickets, so we went down and watched them. There were f*ck*n' people going crazy - when they were playing in Australia they were like playing to 20 people, you know, and now they're killing it. It's great. But like I said man, we are just a f*ck*n' rock band. We got no pretenses - it's who we are. We don't think we are the greatest - we don't think anything about ourselves. We just.. we wanna f*ck*n' play music. I mean, my girlfriend's at home. I've got an apartment at home and I pay rent the whole time I am away. Like I said we worked for all out tour dates to get over here. Sh*t ain't easy. All these bands that think they can they play one tour and make it, we're not about that. We're about working our hardest and getting our name out there and being as good as we can be and having fun. We are gonna have a crack at it.
Glenn: What are you most proud of so far that you've written together?
Jake: Well actually for me vocally, it's called My Lai Massacre. It's about this massacre where America invaded vietnam during the war. Me and Nick are really into war and reading about it and just finding out the atrocities that people are capable of. Anyway, Nick came up with a riff and the idea of the song and I spent about 2 or 3 weeks researching it on youtube and reading about it andthe song is vocally amazing. It's just a documentation of pretty much exactly what happened from both sides. Because there were kids that were like 18 years old being forced to do this. But with our songs, it's really hard to say which ones best. None of us write a similar song. One of us will come up with a riff and somebody else will come up with another riff, someone will come up with an idea, someone will come with a lyric and we will just jam it together as a band - 5 dudes - no one owns anymore of a share and I think that's the way that bands should be. We are 5 mates doing the best they can and having the best time in their lives and make f*ck*n' music together.
Glenn: How would you say the difference between playing in Australia and playing over here?
Jake: In England?
Jake: It's fun because we've been known in our place for years. It just seems to be everyehere we go they still stop us and go, "You guys are a band, what kind of music do you play?", and we say "Rock", and they saym "F*ck yeah, we'll come and watch ya", and these are the normal 9 to 5 haircut suited dudes. Back home you know, we are considered scum. People hate us. Like I said man, we played this f*ck*n' Cherry Bar and we pack that f*ck*n' joint and they just kick us out and they just want us to keep coming back so they can make money off us. But Keith's place (Dove & Rainbow), he's giving us somewhere to he's giving us sandswiches and cheap beer and that and cool with everyone and moving around and trying to get us more gigs and I don't get that back home.
Tommy: Everyone's out for themselves - the bars, the bands and no one will ever help anyone. We just gotta do it ourselves.
Glenn: I guess it's because the UK knows and love and respects rock and roll. When American bands coem over we welcome them to the UK.
Jake: I remember from when I used to live here, being a musician is not kinda frowned on, whereas back home as soon as you are over like 22, 23 all your mates are getting married, buying houses and having kids and you kinda have that pressure on you to get a real job and cut your hair and you see your mates start doing that. It's like here, a lot of dudes with long hair they still do normal jobs - they love music and no one f*ck*ng cares.
Glenn: So who do you like as musicians?
Blanchy: I liked Nirvana, Metallica - that sort of deal. A lot of metal kinda stuff like Pantera, Slayer - classic sorta thrash sh*t that. As far as other main influences for guitar I'd say Frank Zappa. A lot of the classics man.
Glenn: What about you Drewzi?
Drewzi: As a drummer, I liked to listen to AC/DC - my mum used to hang out with AC/DC. At the moment I just into classic 80's and 90's Rock like Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Skid Row... yeah and I do like The Darkness - they are pretty wicked. All 80's Metal and Rock. New music sucks by the way.
Glenn: The only good stuff is the stuff that sounds like the old stuff.
Tommy: The Answer are are cool as f*ck. I've been onto their manager and tried to get some supports with them. We got another 8 shows sorted while we been here. For us to drive from Melbourne to Sydney it's like 8 hours to play to a crowd that's like 10 people and get paid nothing and then drive home. So I don't know what it is but we do it. As far as music goes, like I said, I grew up with Sabbath and for a long time in my life, I wouldn't listen to anything but Sabbath. Then on a bus trip to visit my Grandpa, my brother gave me a green tape that had Alice In Chains on one side and Megadeth on the other side and another that had Guns 'n' Roses and Public Enemy on the other side. And that was like what got me into all cock rock and glam rock and Megadeth just settled me slowly into metal because when I was 19 I couldn't wait to get over here. I got really into European bands like Helloween and Blind Guardian and stuff like that. I guess we are all just into Hard Rock,Classic British Hard Rock, British Metal.
Nick: I was mainly into a lot of GNR and all that sort of thing but like a lot of Stuff like Stevie Ray Vaughn and Rory Gallagher and that. So it was a bit of a mix from your hair bands to your blues and quite a lot in the day I'd mix that sh*t and also enjoy Steve Vai and Joe Satriani and that sorta thing. I studied that for technique. It was good fun to play as well. My influences were Led Zeppelin number one pretty much, Motorhead, AC/DC, Ronnie James Dio - very much old school rock.
Glenn: What are your favourite road stories you can tell so far?
Jake: I don't know man, we had nowhere to sleep so we slept in Holland Park in London - that was pretty f*ck*n' stupid but we are just gonna try and drink ourselves comfortable every night. We actually went down to Windsor Castle and parked there and pitched a tent and just slept right outside Windsor Castle. That was f*ck*n' stupid.
Glenn: Yeah it's a wonder you weren't arrested and put in the tower!
Jake: We actually pitced up in a bunch of ruins not far from here. It was pretty amazing there. We just sat around drinking beers in the middle of these old stone bricks that looked like dildos. We went to Leeds and met some cool people - it was f*ck*n' amazing. When we've been here about 6 months we'll be able to tell you the highs and lows. It's f*ck*n' surreal man. We stopped up near a Welcome Break and bumped into some angry Man City fans - they see us and we tell them we play in a band and the next thing they are buying our CD's and sh*t. We thought, 'This is not happening' but yeah - it all worked in our favour. One day this massive dude comes up to the van and goes, "Are you guys in a band?" and we thought we were gonna get trashed and sh*t and he was shaking our hands - it was ridiculous.
Glenn: Would you say when you come from Australia it's something different to what you are used to?
Jake: Definately. For starters, we all got long hair and all wearing the same undies for like two weeks and don't have to change 'em. We walked past this dude the other day and he was just like, "F*ck - you're f*ck*n' Metallica". As soon as you speak to them and tell you that you're from Australia, they are like, "You like you guys are crazy, let me get you a beer", so it is working in our favour so yeah. So you can't have highs without lows . Next year we are coming back, like I said earlier, we got a van, we got our gear - we got our Marshalls and f*ck*n' drum kits and sh*t. We are gona tour around Germany and then next year (2012) we are coming back around July/August. Hopefully we can organise some festivals, some gigs and hopefully we don't have to e-mail 4000 people for a few gigs. We just wanna meet people who are gonna like our sh*t and I mean, we just wanna keep rocking and keep playing good shows like we did tonight and meeting good people like yourself - f*ck yeah! We wanna sweat our balls off, be proud, meet people - that's it. So here we just wanna keep doing this.
Glenn: Cool, Thanks Guys.
Be sure to check out 'Dead City Ruins' when they come back over to the UK & Europe from the end of May onwards!!