By Danger Coolidge
Unbelievably Bad Editor
Seedy Jeezus knew they’d made it when they released their Live in Netphen, Freak Valley 2015 album the other week, and the very next day a bootleg T-shirt featuring the cover art showed up for sale on eBay – just reward for all the hard work the Melbourne trio have been putting in lately.
The live LP, recorded at Germany’s Freak Valley Festival, is one of three records they’re releasing in the next two months. The second is a song-per-side 12” called Tranquonauts, a collaboration between Seedy Jeezus and Isaiah Mitchell from Earthless to coincide with their upcoming tour together [see below for dates]. And also out in time for the tour is a split Seedy Jeezus / Isaiah Mitchell 7” through Tym Records.
So there’s a lot for UB to talk to bassplayer Paul Crick about…
What’s brought on this spur of activity?
The busy releasing schedule was based on a very hectic two-year period since we released our debut album. We had a busy 2014-15, including more shows interstate as well as a tour to Europe. We also found ourselves laying a whole lot of stuff to tape. We started experimenting in the studio with jams and bits and pieces. Andrew Day was working at Studio OneBee so we used to go there, plug in and jam. We had lots of ideas going on and a real zeel to get stuff onto tape. We ended up using some of the things on the Etched in Time 12” we did for our tour of Europe. Other stuff made it on the Denim release of Into the Midnight Sun. We recorded stuff with a mate Matt Murphy who is a keyboard-playing firebrand. I thought of it as Seedy Jeezus being in Pink Floyd mode. When we recorded the tracks that would become Into The Midnight Sun we also recorded some long jams. We just sort of put them in the bank and sat on them for a while. It was from this time of recording and the trip to Europe that we then connected the dots and found the opportunity to release some of it in various forms.
You just released the Live in Netphen, Freak Valley 2015 LP – tell us all about that.
When we played at the Freak Valley Festival in Germany, we recorded the show. It’s one of the best festivals I have been to. It’s sort of like Meredith and Golden Plains in Germany with psych rock, stoner and metal all day! We got invited to play and it was awesome from the start. From the moment we got there the weather was great, the food, beer, stage, format, merch tent everything was perfect. Jens and the crew are awesome and the crowd were fantastic! It’s one of those experiences where the people you meet become life-long friends. Heaps of people we met there came and saw us again at other shows in Jena, Nijmegen, Berlin, etc. so it was great. We were really happy with the recording so when we got back Jason Fuller at Goatsound mixed it for us. The cover came about when Ange, my girlfriend (who came with us on the tour and took heaps of the photos that were used on the back and insert of the album) was trying to discuss with Lex [guitar] different directions for the cover and he was protesting all night that the concept wasn’t doing it for him. We were really nagging him about all sorts of aspects about it. He went home after the show and just sat down and started carving up a few photos that people had posted around certain rock blogs after the festival. Lex works really well when he is challenged to find the end product he is happy with and the next morning he sent me this cover that was a cross between Status Quo Blue for You and BB King Live at the Cook County Jail and we just went, “fuck yeah!”
Someone is already selling bootleg T-shirts of the cover art. What in the hell? Have you found the scoundrel?
Mmmm, there are some guys in Indonesia that took a liking to Lex’s artwork about a year ago but most of that artwork had been around for a while. It looks like they are trying to keep up with the seasonal fashions of Seedy Jeezus now. We posted the artwork for the album and a day later there was a T-shirt up on eBay with the cover art. I also guess you know you’ve made it when you’ve got bootleg shirts on eBay!
You have a tour coming up with Isaiah Mitchell from Earthless going solo. How did the tour happen?
I’ve loved Earthless from their Cosmic Sky days and have seen them as many times as I can. They just have this thing where every member does what you want them to do in a band. Every member is just awesome. As our debut started selling and getting heard by more people, we just started finding ourselves bandied around in similar circles and started talking to Isaiah at different events, etc. Lex and him have very similar interests in inspirations from the basics of the musical food pyramid like Hendrix, Floyd, etc. up to specific periods of 1970s ZZ Top, Roy Buchanan, Rory Gallagher, and so many others. They just get on like a house on fire. It was great when we played with them at Freak Valley we hooked up with them and later on Lex came up with the Isaiah Mitchell, Under the Influence idea, where Isaiah could come out and play with us based on music he was inspired by though his musical career. He had already done an awesome solo tour of Spain and Portugal where he played solo as well as jumping in on some awesome jams with Black Bombaim and other bands. You know he is a fucking insane guitarist and we have always held the belief that music is something that is shared, loved and just grows exponentially when you propagate it with other kick-ass musicians. So we went into this concept knowing that while it will be a lot of work, it will also lead to the uncovering of some hidden gems and some great fun along the way.
There’s also a Seedy Jeezus and Isaiah Mitchell LP where you collaborated on some tracks?
The album is called Tranquonauts. I guess that is also the name of the configuration of Seedy and Isaiah playing together. It sort of comes from an idea of a combination of space travel mixed with altered mind states and music. So when we were recording we had a range of things that we believed with modern digital recording techniques we could invite Isaiah to add his bits and it would be a kick-ass record. Lex edited everything and again we just gave the whole thing to Jason Fuller and he mixed it and it was turned into a real exploration of sonic trajectories. It will come out on vinyl here in Australia on Blown Music and in Holland on Lay Bare Recordings, the label that released our debut album. Just like the live album there will be a ‘Deluxe’ version which will have some awesome bits and pieces related to the theme of the album. It will be released and for sale when the tour happens.
And the Seedy Jeezus and Isaiah Mitchell split 7” on Tyms?
I guess, as it was a song that had to be written for a special project we went for a sound and structure that wasn’t necessarily Seedy Jeezus. As we had been listening to and playing with a lot of different songs for the up and coming Isaiah shows we fiddled with some ZZ Top and Rory Gallagher sounds and processes and then covered it with Seedy. Like a finger bun with icing and sprinkles…
You guys are going to act as Isaiah’s backing band on the tour – double duty! How are you approaching the prep for that?
Yeah back-to-back is sometimes quite a challenge. I guess it always comes down to match fitness. Some of us would like to train Olympic athletes but I think it’s more like a combination of when Roy Masters was coaching Western Suburbs in the late 1970s mixed with Robbie McGhie when he played for Richmond. Roy had a 60% win ratio, not bad really!
The Seedy Jeezus live record is in the seedyjeezus.com shop.
They are touring with Isaiah Mitchell:
Sep 23 – The Tote, Melbourne
Sep 24 – Beer Deluxe, Wagga Wagga
Sep 25 – Phoenix Bar, Canberra
Sep 27 – Tyms, Brisbane
Sep 28 – Doomsday Fest, Brisbane
Sep 29 – Small Ballroom, Newcastle
Sep 30 – Newtown Social Club – Doomsday Fest, Sydney
Oct 01 – Barwon Club, Geelong