By Danger Coolidge
Unbelievably Bad Editor
That’s it for Bits of Shit. After quite a good stint of riding the highs – the highest being 2012’s Cut Sleeves LP, which was so rad it’s been repressed about eight times – the Melbourne foursome have put their matching denims in mothballs.
Towards the end of last year BOSMC ended a hiatus by touring Japan and releasing the one-sided “Make Room Make Room” 7″ on Japanese label Episode Sounds to coincide with the jaunt. Then…another hiatus.
Drummer Pete Sampson tells UB this latest one is likely to last.
How was Japan, Pete? Can you give us a quick blow-by-blow, perhaps some pointers for bands that may have the priviledge (can never fucking spell privalege, hey!) to go one day?
Despite some hiccups, a great experience. Good people (our hosts Bisco and Naoki were the best). Good bands (i.e. Frantic Stuffs, Wotzit, Nuke, P.C.2, Douglas, Head Rose, Geros, d/i/s/c/o/s, etc). Cool record shops. Andy [Lang, guitar] brought along his copy of Henry Rollins 1000 Ways To Die, which gave us much inspiration and laughs on the tour. Danny [Vanderpol, vocals]’s brother Jezza even read out a few haikus from the book at the venue in Kanazawa (which reminded us of a jazz club inside). I don’t think the locals knew what he was on about, but it was a nice touch. Eli [Papoulias, bass] couldn’t make it the first five shows, but lucky for us, our friend Tommy G was coming over too, offered to play bass and fill in for these shows. He pretty much saved the tour. A highlight for me was at the Osaka gig. During our set, Andy dropped his pick slide and this girl got up on stage, grabbed the slide and started wailing away like crazy on his guitar. The Osaka and Kanazawa shows were probably my favourites. The gigs were generally well organised and the venues we played at had pretty decent equipment to use. All we really needed was guitars and drumsticks. Though with all the venues we had to pay to use the gear, venue, mixer, etc. Luckily, we mostly made our money back. Another expense on tour which cost a fair bit was road tolls. We had two vehicles and drove for seven days around the country. All up road tolls were around $AUS1300 for both cars. Even though it cost more to travel to different parts of the country, it was worth it. It was cool to take in all the different sights and culture along the way. If we only went to the bigger cities like Tokyo and Osaka, we wouldn’t have had those experiences. Another thing I should add is it helped to know a little Japanese (and have local hosts), as not everyone speaks fluent English, nor were all signs/ menus bi-lingual.
The one-sided 7″, “Make Room Make Room” – why is it only one-sided? Is it a Batpiss cover…or somethink?
It is kind of a Batpiss cover. Originally we got asked by a US label from Oakland, CA called Batshit Records to do a 7″. We thought it would be a good idea to get Batpiss in on it and the label was down with that. The idea was to write a song and do artwork for each other. We both recorded our songs on the same day. Our version turned out faster and a lot different to the original Batpiss version. I think only one riff was used in the end. We probably sent the masters and artwork mid 2014. However, we only heard back from them once or twice months later, then nothing. After a year of waiting, Batpiss were over it and the idea was scrapped. But they ended up re-recording their song (“Daredevil) for their second LP. The offer came up to do a tour 7″ for Japan with Bisco and Episode Sounds. We asked Omit Vomit (Bisco’s band) to do a split, but they had nothing recorded. So it ended up turning into a one-sided 7″.
Where was it recorded and who helped? Was that the last time you “laid down tracks” as they say in the biz?
Recorded maybe late 2013, early 2014 at Crosstown Studios in Preston by Josh Whitehead. We were going to record on my 8-track reel-to-reel but it broke down in the studio. Luckily Josh had recently acquired a 16-track (from Weddings, Parties, Anything I believe) and it was working, so we used that. It turned out all right, though I reckon the LP was our best recording. The last time we laid down tracks was April or May 2015. This was for another split 7″ with Cuntz to come out with an edition of The Humans comic (which is great, by the way). Alas, that hasn’t been released yet either. The curse of the split 7″. The song can be heard though on our tape comp (and Bandcamp), which we put out to coincide with the Japan tour.
Who’s idea was the fade-out at the end – genius? There should be more fade-outs, don’t you think?
Maybe Andy’s or mine or both? Thanks, mate. We were happy with it. Fade-outs do sound good with certain songs for sure.
What’s now for Bits of Shit? Back on hiatus?
Not a lot. Yeah, back on hiatus. Likely a permanent one this time. However, Eli has another band called Whipper. They have a 7″ called Shit Love. Check ’em out.
Listen to “Make Room Make Room”: