By Kevin Prested
Without doubt no one can question the punk work ethic of Melbourne’s own Clowns, who after five years on the live circuit have racked up over 300 live shows. Since the bands inception in late 2009 there have a been a few line up changes, most recently the departing of guitarist Joe Hansen, yet the band continue to trail blaze their way through the live scene having just returned from a month long US tour in support of their second full length release Bad Blood on Poison City Records.
The hard work is obviously paying off with the new record selling well and an invitation to return Stateside in September to take part of the much lauded Riot Fest. According to frontman Stevie Williams it was all part of the bigger picture. “We developed a plan about twelve months ago to write and record a new album and then release it and tour overseas. We wanted to play South By Southwest and we made that happen too”. The band’s energetic punk style morphed with its explosive rock ‘n’ roll mix certainly translates into the live setting with sometimes chaos ensuing while the band are ripping through it’s set to what is quickly becoming sold out shows in Melbourne.
However, after three years of established Australian touring this would feel like a new hurdle to overcome with a new audience in the US. “It’s almost like starting again,” Williams explains. “It was kind of funny feeling like we were going back to square one, but it was also a good picture on how much more work we have to do to get some stuff going on over there. If we are starting again in the States we are a far more developed band with a bigger back catalogue”.
As the front man points out, “It’s a little bit hard to comprehend” when confronted with how far the band have come from its early days to offers of US festival dates, which he puts down to continuous road work month in month out. The fourteen tracks on Bad Blood most certainly won’t have harmed either with its Californian roots hardcore influence on display topped with a large helping of rock ‘n’ roll swagger. Both are equally represented with thirty second hardcore blasts to eleven minute fuzz rock closer Human Terror, all in all leading to a satisfying rollercoaster ride of explosive power. The growing popularity of the band has convinced the singer that the band has stepped up with the follow up album, from hearing himself on the radio to the first vinyl pressing of Bad Blood selling out. “We’re not trying to fool anyone,” states Williams in regards to the bands style. “It’s raw aggression and we just go for it”.
Which begs the question of how the band are able to sustain such a draining performance, coupled with the bands partying stance? “I don’t think there is a gig I have ever had to pull out of because I’ve gone and partied too hard, but it’s certainly something I personally keep track of. It gives it a different element, makes it more punk or more raw. We tend to get more drunk by the end of the tour and I think people definitely feed more of that as well.” The near future is looking bright for Clowns with new guitarist Jarrod Goon unifying what seems to have been a bond strengthening exercise in overseas touring. With plenty of plans in the pipeline the young punk frontman is quite confident in where the band will end up, and with no apologies in tow. “We are all in it together. I definitely think we learned a lot about each other and it’s probably the most stressful and hardest tour we have done to date was the American tour. I guess Joe decided he didn’t want to do it anymore but we’ve got our new guy who is a bloody legend. We’ve definitely found our home with Poison City in Australia, and there is no way we are going to be leaving them anytime soon. We’ll see what happens in the US, I guess if we keep going back then maybe something will happen there. We’ll just keep fishing around, and if worse comes to worse we’ll just do our own distro. We’re not relying on anyone to do work for us. If we don’t get a label in the States it doesn’t mean we aren’t going to tour there or not get our stuff over there it just means we devise a plan to do it and some label is going to miss out on selling a bunch of Clowns records.”
Clowns are in the middle of their tour with Summer Blood.
19th – Valve Bar, Sydney [18+]
20th – Corrimal Hotel, Wollongong [18+]
26th – Music Man Megastore, Bendigo [18+]
27th – Barwon Club, Geelong [18+]
3rd – Price of Wales, Bunbury [18+]
4th – Four5Nine Bar, Perth [18+]
5th – Mojo’s Fremantle [18+]