SCOTT ADAMS: TERROR AUSTRALIS
HELL CITY GLAMOURS
31st March 2011
Oscar McBlack is in a good place right now. The recently-married frontman of Australia's finest hard rocking sons, the Hell City Glamours, is regaling me with details of the recording process for the bands up-coming second release, and he's very happy with the way things are going.
"Things are going really well, we've got four songs down so far, which we've recorded with three different producers."
That's a very west coast, Fleetwood Mac way of going about things, I muse?
"Well, you know, we've only got a limited budget. This way, we make a bit of money at the shows we play, we go straight into the studio, we get something down. It's a good way to do things I think. Last time we recorded (their self titled debut album, released over here in 2009 by Powerage Records), Robbie (Potts, the band's affable yet always-on-the-beat sticksman) had to put down fifteen recordable drum tracks in two days – and that's pretty tough shit for anyone to do."
He's not wrong. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. It took a fair while for the 'Glams to get into that rushed recording scenario, years of playing Australia's extensive network of public conveniences, both on their own terms and as support for the likes of Paul Stanley, Alice Cooper and that most overrated of hard rock attractions, Airbourne (indeed your correspondent had the pleasure of witnessing the Glamours completely pulverize Airbourne a few years ago in Canberra; 'kicked their arses' being not even close to describing the respective performances that night). It's a long way, as the blessed Bon might have said, if you want a sausage roll...
It's a testament to the band's sheer stickability that they are still around to tell a tale at all; Australia's club circuit is an unforgiving mistress, but the band's live prowess means they've always been welcome wherever they've laid their collective hat, whether or not there's been anything new to promote or not.
With their incendiary mix of bluesy hard rock sleaze (think: Hanoi in their prime) and breakneck Heavy Metal thunder (Motorhead at their very apogee in the early eighties ain't puffing this band up too high) there's never a dull moment in the live arena with Oscar and co (the lineup being rounded out by the classicly metallic lead guitarist Mo Mayhem and the punk 'n' roll sensibility of bassist Jono Barwick), their sheer juggernaut talent being the glue that sticks their diverse influences and styles together.
That first album featured everything from cow punk rockabilly balladeering (the fabulous Josephine) to full on heads down mania (the effervescent The Money), the two extremes seeming to come from two entirely different worlds, let alone bands. Yet in the live arena the two songs together make perfect sense. It's a theme Oscar is keen to develop on album number two – the mighty sophomore effort of fable and yarn.
"Absolutely. The two songs you've heard (at the time of our chat I had indeed only been lucky enough to earwig a brace of the band's new output), 'One for The Road' and 'Trainwreck', are poles apart. We've got some country rock stuff, some punky stuff, some heavier numbers. You know, the sort of artists I love – The Stones, bands like that. On their classic albums, there's so much different stuff."
Indeed there is. I love the varied nature of 'Exile on Main Street'.
"Exactly! They recorded that in different places, at different times, yet the whole thing hangs together so well! You gotta love that."
And whilst Oscar – one of the finest men ever to draw breath, by the way - is far to modest a mouse to claim that level of greatness of his own outfit, I've no such compunction. There are a lot of charlatans out there earning a crust out of similar good-time proclivities to the glams and none of them – NONE, I TELLS YA - do it with the sass, the swing - Christ, let's just admit it and say the goddamn sexiness - of Sydney's finest.
Do yourselves a favour – get down to your local record 'n' tape exchange now and command them to get a copy of Hell City Glamours in. Then sit back and let it do it's work. I promise you won't be disappointed.