By Rod Hunt
Unbelievably Bad Contributor
Ten years into the life of SixFtHick, they issued their Canetrash album, one of the greatest moments in Aussie rock ‘n’ roll, in our humble opinion. After only being available on CD, it’s now finally getting a proper release on black wax. One of the Queensland band’s two frontmen, Geoff Corbett, put down his fishing rod long enough to answer some questions from UB.
Canetrash was originally released in 2006. What stands out the most when you think back to the period when you recorded the album?
I reckon the Canetrash era was the peak of the amphetamine years. In retrospect, there was very little planning, control or management of SixFtHick. Ever. But that era kinda epitomised the spontaneous, hit whatever crosses the bow type thing we had happening for whatever reason/s. Live we played stupidly fast, back to back songs, and basically tried to hurt ourselves. Recording Canetrash was almost straight forward compared to our previous LP Chicken, which had Tony Cohen (RIP) and Spencer P. Jones on the desk and chair, respectively. The Canetrash sessions were (reasonably) well-rehearsed and punched out live for the most part, no click, a few overdubs. Very workpersonlike. Loki Lockwood from Spooky (Records) recorded it and he worked us very hard. Probably too hard. He was maggot pissed for half of the session. But so were we so que será, será.
Some of the songs off the album like “Beat Myself” and “Post Powder Blues” have become fixtures in your live set and crowd favourites. How do you feel that Canetrash compares to what you’d released prior to that point? Which songs off the album do you like the most and why?
I think what we had released to that point was either under produced or over produced, too drug fucked or not gritty enough. I think Canetrash probably saw us working a lot better in the studio. We’ve always been a live band, no question. We’ve always copped criticism for not having “songs”, mostly from people whose bands couldn’t tear toilet paper live but I get where they’re coming from. But y’know I reckon songs like “Flight of the Shitbird” and “Nervous Ticks” stand the test of time. And really, who gives a fuck?
Is there anything that you’d change about Canetrash, if you could?
I reckon six months after it was released there was probably a bunch of shit we’d have done differently, bass sound/s, arrangements, edits, trimmed a couple of songs etc. But now it is what it is. A little time capsule thing and at the core very, very Queensland.
I-94 Bar’s review of your set at the Binic Folks Blues Festival in Brittany, France, in July this year, convinced me that it’s a music festival that I should definitely experience one day. How was it for you? Considering that it was the band’s fourth visit to France, I assume that people like you guys and you like playing there. What makes it so great?
We went into after hearing stories, seeing the photos, etc. We got a good run down on it from HITS who’d played it the year before but it still didn’t prepare us for the scale of it. On the last day there was 35,000 people. You look out from the main stage to a sea of people. To the immediate right is the actual sea with people watching you necking beers waist deep in the water. To the left you have the beautiful town of Binic. In a sense we we’re lucky as far as timing goes because we’d already chalked up seven shows in France before we hit the festival stages and we had incredible momentum. We were doing shows with Gentle Ben and his Shimmering Hands and Shifting Sands as well, so we just stayed really warm for the whole three days and probably pulled off some of the best SixFtHick shows in our 22 years. The festival is free, there are no fuckwits. None. Not one fight. Nothing. Just people being respectful of each other, getting shitfaced and losing it to some music. The bands, volunteers and crew went out of their way to stay on the level of the crowd and sort of go “we’re here to fucking party too so let’s all drop the egos and have a good time”. Also the food. I ate my body weight in moules (mussels) and drank my bodyweight in Ricard.
I interviewed you some years ago and asked you to describe the strangest thing that has ever happened at one of your gigs and you nominated the time that a lactating woman in the front row of the crowd sprayed you with breast milk. I think that happened in Melbourne. Has anything since equalled or topped that?
That was pretty fucking cool. We all had epic buzz-ons when that went down. Shit was getting disco and breast milk brought the love to a whole new level but that feels like 1000 years ago now. I guess recently the coolest thing that has happened was our show at Le Galion in Lorient, Bretagne on our last run. On our first tour to Europe 11 or 12 years ago we we’re the first band ever to play the venue. The owner Jean-Baptiste took a huge punt putting us on but it worked and since the venue has hosted hundreds of rock and roll shows, and plenty of Australian bands. We ended up playing there following two years after as well and the shows were always great. So 2017 we played there again and it felt strange driving into this town because we were a bit apprehensive because in our minds we have built this place up as our spiritual home. We thought fuck are people even gonna show up? Anyway, to cut a long story short-ish, the gig sold out, we turned away over 100 people (which was sad) and had another 300 French drunks yelling our songs back at us and doing a better job of remembering them than us. That is something that you don’t want to forget in a hurry.
Your last release was 2010’s Barely Legal 7″ EP. Can we expect anything new from the Hick in the near future?
Not in the near, near future. I can say that for sure. We just have to wait and see. We were never the most productive band recording-wise even when we had the time. All I can say is that if we feel like it and have some songs we’ll do it. The pressure is on us to get back to France next year for some shows but to do that we’re gonna need something new. So yeah. Maybe next year. Maybe.
SixFtHick re-launch Canetrash (Beast Records) on vinyl for the first time at Marrickville Bowlo, Sydney, on Friday November 3 and at The Tote, Melbourne, on Friday November 10.