Just in case the first pop punk surf ditty on Australian trio Regurgitator's
debut U.S. album, Tu Plang...Kon-Uak doesn't catch your attention, ("I
Sucked a Lot of C**k to Get Where I Am"), hang around.
Chances are one of
the other 13 songs will. Erring on the side of eclecticism, the young group
(average age 25) manage to hit on everything from punk to hardcore to
industrial, rap and ambient on the diverse disc.
Already stars in their
home country ("Best Australian Alternative Release," "Best Debut Album" at last
year's Australian Grammy's), the relentlessly "been there, done that, next..."
three-piece band are hoping American audiences will get the morbid humor behind
songs including "Pop Porn," a grating, grungy rap with lyrics such as "I'm a
semen geyser/ Woman despiser/ A gender spender/ Emotional miser/I Glorify the
back-stage betty," or, at the very least, dig the hard grooves behind the
"That song," explains singer Quan Yeomans," is more about a genre of
music, a type of lyric that pisses me off."
As for the always dicey
possibility that some knuckleheads will take it the wrong way, Yeomans says,
"if people take it the wrong way, they're just too thick to pick up on the
obvious cynicism in the lyrics. It's not our problem."
Yeomans explains that. he and his friends, bass player Ben
Ely and drummer Martin Lee, who've been together for three years and previously
released two EP's outside the U.S. on East/West Records, don't aim for any
grand themes or artistic statements when they enter the studio.
"We had a
couple of rehearsals, played our first gig and got signed six months later,"
Yeomans says so off-handedly you can almost hear him shrugging over the phone
from L.A. "Things went ridiculously smooth when we recorded the album because
we had a general consensus that we wanted to make a more groove-oriented album
to begin with and then we branched out into pop and eventually said 'what the
hell?' and included anything that sounded good."
The results of that
"anything" range from the hipster hip hop, heavy bass and drums of the rap tune
(and first single) "Kong Foo Sing," to the junglistic electronica rap jam "G7"
and the spaghetti western instrumental "348 Hz." Not as hard as Korn or as
corny as fellow countrymen Silverchair, Regurgitator's mix of rap, punk and
hardcore coalesces on songs including the aggressive, iambic funk of "Miffy's
Simplicity" and the straight up hardcore of "F.S.O."
Yeomans feels he can
speak for the rest of the band when he says they listen to everything from Brit
pop to "dance stuff," and are willing to try anything, but not to emulate any
particular artist, whether it be the Red Hot Chili Peppers or the Beastie Boys.
"It's just easier to focus on the funk/thrash stuff since we've all been in
bands since age 16 and Martin's been touring with punk bands since he was 12,"
he says, by way of explaining the preponderance of snotty attitude and
Bandmate Ben Ely, who grew up listening to Fishbone
and Jane's Addiction among others, is happy with the album ("We can do anything
now, since the album is so diverse, and it won't matter because people don't
know what to expect"), but wishes the group could bring their arsenal to the
states to show Yanks what their live show is really about.
"We did a show
at South By Southwest and it wasn't really what we do in our shows at home. In
Australia, we use toy guitars, sitar, keyboards, DAT machines, samplers and all
kinds of novelty toys and stuff, but we just couldn't afford to bring it over
for that show." Instead, the group played a focused half-hour of hard punk
tunes, with Yeomans and Ely switching instruments several times and generally
whipping the sweaty crowd into a frenzy of "did you hear what he said?" rib
All three members are in various side groups, Yeomans, along with
his lover Janet, fronts a pop band called Spiderbait, while Ely and Lee front a
seriously hard punk band called Six Billion Asteroids.
album title Tu Plang...Kon-Uak came about when the band listened back to
the album and couldn't figure out how to sequence it because of its diversity.
In addition, "Kon-Uauk" translates from Thai into "sick people" or "people
vomiting," a nod to the spewing-forth nature of many of the songs.
asked if "I Sucked a Lot of C**k" is yet another in a long tradition of
first-album songs about paying dues in the recording business, Yeomans thinks a
moment, and deadpans, "Not really. It's just about life in general, something
everyone can relate to."