Is there anything more cliched than the rock and roll break-up? Secret meetings in dark alleys. The guitarist that suddenly pops up on other people’s records. The singer who doesn’t return their calls. You either see it coming a mile away, or it creeps up on you like old age. It happens to the best and it happens to the worst, and eventually it will happen to them all. Piss and moan about it all you like, but what’s done is done. The latest induction to the rock and roll hall of “fuck this shit for a laugh” are Webcuts’ favourite punk sons, The Scare.
Having triumphed against expectation (honest opinion of The Scare circa 2005 – “exciting live, less so on record”) with their second album Oozevoodoo (which received a 9.5/10 on this site), The Scare finally evolved into the band that at least this writer had hoped for them to become — a sharp, hip-shaking incendiary rock and roll outfit. Oozevoodoo was a true lock up your daughters, lock up your liquor cabinet, tie down the television record. It was The Scare ascending to the rock realm of The Stooges and The Birthday Party on their own terms.
On the eve of their final ever Sydney show, Webcuts’ man of the airwaves, Chris Berkley, invited a couple soon-to-be Ex-The Scare band members to come down to FBI Studios in Newtown to speak about their impending farewell and to reminisce over the good times/bad times.
We’re joined in the studio by Wade and Sam from The Scare. Gentlemen, welcome in. This is a big, momentous, night for you guys. The last ever Sydney show for The Scare.
Sam: This is a momentous occasion of being the last ever Scare interview (laughs).
There’s also some Brisbane shows to come so if people for some reason…
Wade: Yeah, but we’re not doing interviews up there though…
Sam: It’s a new band. That’s the launch of the new band up there. This is the last Scare show and we’re changing the name. NME doesn’t like us anymore, so we’re trying to keep it fresh.
You need to reinvent yourselves, do you?
Wade, is there a 25 words or less story about why The Scare are breaking up?
Wade: Shiiiiiit. That’s it. (laughs)
Sam: Yeah, it’s quite an ambiguous thing. But you know, it’s been a long run, eight years. We’re kind of, I guess, restarting our lives, probably how they should’ve been started, when we were 18. Kiss is applying for Uni.
Oh really? You’re getting on track with your lives? The Scare has just been a diversion all this time?
Sam: Yeah, exactly. It’s like an alcohol and drug binge that’s coming to an end, I guess.
Not a lot of bands break up after two albums though. Was it better to burn out than fade away, Wade?
Wade: I don’t know. We were ready for another one and it’s just not going to happen now and the world will never know.
Do you feel like you’re going out on a high or have you been winding down for a while?
Wade: I feel like we’ll be going out at probably the highest point of our career, which is like us shooting Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes into the desert. Like we’ve died and this is the last hurrah tonight.
Sam: And it probably hasn’t really kicked in, in a sense, yet. But it will. It has been a long time. It’s weird thinking about something that we all, collectively, cared about so much, coming to an end. It’s kinda like, even though there’s a possibility of some Queensland stuff, this night tonight was always going to be the end for the band. I’m actually nervous. Excited, but nervous.
Wade: Potentially everything could go wrong tonight and we’re just hoping to get through it.
This could be the way that people remember The Scare, Wade, the final show.
Wade: Yeah, that’s right.
(Sam and Wade are invited to program three songs).
First song – Suicide – “Ghost Rider“
Is this because of the MIA song that’s just ripped it off?
Sam: It’s because Brock’s a redhead and the MIA video kind of…
Gave you some ideas?
Sam: Gave us some ideas, yeah.
Wade: When we met Alan Vega and Marty Rev, I remember Liam saying to Marty Rev, “Hey man, we’re big fans”, and he just looked at us and went “I get that all the time” and just walked away.
Don’t meet your idols, that’s the story, Wade.
Second song – Hot Chip – “Boy From School”
Sam: We got given a bunch of CDs from three labels when we were in England when we first arrived there. I remember my iPod broke, so I was living off these records in a sense. Our van didn’t have an iPod connector, so we had to listen to records on our van trips because we were touring so much. Brock sat in the front seat. That was his assigned position and he played “Boy From School” from Hot Chip so many times and it was at a point where we were all really young, around 19 to 20, and that song, I remember lying in the back seat, feeling hungry, missing whoever and wondering why were we in the middle of Leicester playing to three people.
Wade: Hearing it just then, really took me back to that cold van.
It’s funny how it’s the weirdest songs of all that soundtrack those moments, even years later. Have you told Hot Chip this, then? They’re here this week. So Suicide will remind you, because you said at the start Wade, you had that brief encounter.
Wade: We supported them and that was one of the highlights of my downward spiral. That was a very funny incident. Alan Vega and Marty Rev — just the baddest old guys in the world.
And couldn’t even care less who you guys were…
Wade: Just didn’t even look at us.
Sam: The best thing about the whole experience was we kinda did the off-shoot show for their tour with Grinderman in England and with Grinderman we saw the night after and they played for an hour and 20 minutes, but for their own show, it was a tiny venue called the Buffalo Bar is Islington and it was just Suicide and The Scare and there were 300 people lined up to get into a 100 capacity venue (Webcuts was there, fact fans) and they played for 10 minutes (slight exaggeration there, Sammy…) and walked off, saying “I wanna go home. Where’s our van? Where’s our van?”.
Punk as all hell.
Sam: Yeah, more punk than The Scare.
It’s a good thing to have on your resume to say that you supported Suicide.
Sam: We should’ve ended then!
Third Song – Mick Harvey – “Harley Davidson”
So speaking of Grinderman and all those guys, the Mick Harvey connection, Wade.
Wade: It’s funny just because we saw Mick on the weekend while we were doing our last Melbourne shows and he sort of had a few drunken kind words to say to us about moving on, and if anyone knows anything about moving on from an ego-fronted man, from the ego of the century, then it’s Mick Harvey.
Sam: Was he in The Stooges? (laughs)
So is it a purely musical decision then, the end of The Scare? Had you done everything musically with this band that you could do, Sam?
Sam: I’d like to look back on it as a really positive growing up experience. I think every band could potentially move on to greener pastures, or just continue progressing. What I do like about The Scare is we never had to write a record that really compromised what we wanted to do. We were around great people, in a label sense, producers and whatnot that kind of let us be creative, and I’d hate the fact that if we went in again, hypothetically, and had to do a record to try and cater to sell more records and be a tad more successful than we were. So that’s my final note on The Scare.
You’re all, already, moving on pretty quickly. Wade, you’re about to go do some shows with Wolf & Cub overseas…
Wade: Yep. You just realise that I am a musician first and foremost, and when your band breaks up, it doesn’t end there. You’ve gotta move on and find something else.
Sam: (laughs) Yeah, Trad and I are doing a solo record, or duo, together. Sort of in the vein of Savage Garden.
Wade: No keyboards though because neither of them know how to play them.
Sam: It’s a little bit less gay than Savage Garden, but we’re trying to get there.