“Then on the 4th day there we just picked up some of the guitars and shit laying around Daniel’s massive house and Sam set up one of the drum kits and I grabbed my bass from the tour van and we just started jamming and then Daniel woke up and came in and smiled. He said we looked like a band again. We wrote “I’m Desperate” in about half an hour right then and there, with Daniel in the room. He was like a mad conductor just smoking and yelling at us. Kiss didn’t have a mic. He was just yelling over the noise. And it’s desperate because we really, truly were desperate man. It sounds corny but we it was so close to the end, but that little song saved us. It’s basically two chords the whole time. So simple, just an authentic punk party and Daniel said “man that was fun…if we did that ten more times you guys would have an album!” And there it was, out in the open for us to think about. Someone who believed in us. Someone who was succesful who believed in us. Someone who was succesful and believed in us and wanted to help us. And it didn’t happen right away.”
Tonight’s show at the Barwon Club in Geelong is better attended, better staged and better played. The Scare’s set is made almost entirely of new songs, dipping into Chivalry once to unleash some Bats. From the second they step on stage, The Scare take stock of the room and engage. For someone who remembers the old Scare, it’s a jaw-dropping moment. The shrieking guitars that announce the plunge into “I’m Desperate” echo the sound of a band bitter at the path they’ve led themselves down with little to show for it. With this song, and about 8 more (with the exception of “No Money”) nobody has heard any of these tunes before. Nobody knows, nobody cares, and you can see the crowd turn from curious to intent in a matter of minutes. Whether they notice this or not, I keep it to myself. The band always seem to work best when they think everybody is against them. They used to wear it like a badge of pride, but I think they lost it on one of their many trips between Birmingham and London. Side note – Barwon Club = great rider and great food. Not so great, the punter that copped a glass in the face. Geelong, you’re scary.
“As I said before, it may have looked like we were quiet last year but in fact it was the busiest year The Scare and it’s members have ever had as musicians. Sam and Brock played and recorded and wrote with Loene Carmen a fantastic actress and blues singer from Sydney. Kiss also sang on a Loene song and worked on his own material, a lot of which became skeletons for the new album. As a band we wrote a song with Paul Mac for the soundtrack to a new Australian film called “Beautiful”. Liam did some session and live work with friends of his and we also worked odd jobs ourselves. Although we weren’t playing much, behind the scenes we were very much alive and it’s what we needed to remind us that The Scare is our number one priority. It’s at that point now…it’s death or glory. This is all we have and we needed to hit that sensitive shitty lowdown blues point to realise.”
The next morning will go down in history and become of those infamous ‘where were you?’ moments that you’ll never forget. Walking out of the shower in the room I shared with the rhythm section, Sam tells me to turn the television on – he just a got a text which read “Michael Jackson is Dead”. So I did, and so he was. We sit and watch in bemused disbelief. Living in Australia, America always seemed a country of make-believe viewed from the dimensions of 28 inch television, so far removed and so unrealistic from the world we lived in, that when moments like this happen, you kinda shrug your shoulders and sit back and watch the expected drama unfold. Later in the evening we’re all back in the lobby looking at possible artwork for the album cover as a deadline is approaching and nobody is happy. In the van on the way to the Corner Hotel ideas are bouncing back and forth about what it should be. Kiss is adamant that since the album is about the rebirth of the band the cover should have mixed race newborn babies. He’s serious.
“Once we had dusted off our boots and put Daniel’s suggestion into motion we were unstoppable. We were writing and rehearsing 3 or 4 nights a week. With or without Daniel around. We demoed about 10 times for this album. We wrote and rewrote and came up with about 30 songs. We had our own studio so we took our fucking time, something we’ve never had before. We didn’t rush anything. We didn’t have to. We didn’t give a fuck. It just became, “What is best for this song…right now” and then later it became, “What is best for this set of demos” and then again even later, “What is best for the overall album”.
The Melbourne fanbase were out in force at the Corner Hotel. The mood inside is muted from the death of Jackson, something that’s picked up by Pets with Pets, who by this stage had begun to charm everyone on the tour with their bizarre behaviour, placing a copy of Thriller front of stage, and giving a quick reading of “Billie Jean” before walking off stage. Like a repeat of the night before, The Scare accelerate through the ‘voodoo heavy set anticipating the moment when the album is out and they’re headlining their own tour and playing to their own crowd. Throughout the tour they’ve had an extra pair of hands on percussion brought on amplify the ultra-percussive groove that drives Oozevoodoo . You notice its presence on “Surgeon” and “Cry”, but its effect on “Could Be Bad” encourages a handful of girls in the audience to lose their inhibitions and take their tshirts off and dance around, though security quickly intervenes, lest Woodstock and free love prevail.
Having given Wolf & Cub a run for their money and gained the attention of the shirtless fans, an invitation back to theirs for an after-party and an opportunity to remove them of liberties and alcohol is accepted, and for the sake of those in attendance, a black fog has invaded my memory, and nought but an image of Brock and Stevvy wearing wigs remains. On a Scare scale of debauchery, it would rate a 2, maybe 3. Nothing to write home about. Heading back to the hotel in the early AM, this writer regrettably has to grab his bag and jet back to Sydney while the band sleep in with one more show to play later that night in Ballarat. Without wanting to lay a curse on them, Oozevoodoo could be one of the most accomplished Australian albums released all year. From the beggars banquet that is “I’m Desperate” to the anthemic “who told you not to believe?” chorus of “Cry”, Oozevoodoo reads like a diary of the down but not out. It’s rock and roll for the no-fixed-abodes. It’s hope for no-fucking-hopers. Without The Scare you’d just be left with no talent junk like The Galvatrons, and what a shitty, shitty world that would be.