Gold Coast four-piece Tokyo Beef aren’t exactly what you’d call media darlings. They’re middle-aged rockers and they don’t mind turning the volume up. They also don’t talk in sound bites. Not that it matters. Last time they played a live show it was to more than 500 people at a little party tied to the Quiksilver Pro, and they’re more than a little embedded in the surf and skate scene here.
Tokyo Beef are Graeme Treanor (rhythm guitar and vocals), Peter Punk (lead guitar and backup vocals, Jonny Fairlane (bass + Ford Fairlane’s brother, LOL) and Joel Dillon (drummer).
“If you got The Angels, with Peter Garrett singing, doing a bit of surf-punk-rock, that’d be us,” they tell me, as we sit down in front of Beatniks Record Store in Broadbeach. “Maybe with a bit of Rose Tattoo thrown in.”
Jonny has only been with the band for six months. Joel got brought in two or three years ago and Graeme and Pete are the stalwarts – they’ve been the constant in Tokyo Beef for seven years.
Their soon to be released EP, which is also yet to be named is their first release in this current four-piece format.
“We did another release about a year and a half ago with another lead singer, but we had a different sound,” Graeme explained. “We did the final of the Exhumed competition for ABC and Joel came and filled in on drums, so we kept him.”
“This is the proper lineup now,” Peter said. “Yeah, this is the future,” Graeme agreed.
As well as the Tracks party, which saw 500+ “Corona-toting” surfers packed in, they’ve had a recent support slot with Dallas Crane at the Shark Bar. Their next show is at the Lonestar. In the public bar.
“I quite like playing at the same level as the people,” Graeme said, as he describes the space, “it worked quite well at the Tracks party.”
“The only way to get a taste of the Beef is live,” Joel said. “The one coming up at Lonestar will be a good one for us.”
Lead single off the EP is It Ain’t Weak to Speak and the track is due for release 10 May. The fellas tell me they’re still working on what to do with the rest of the tracks.
It Ain’t Weak to Speak was chosen as the lead single because of its strong suicide prevention message.
“I’m mates with Casey (Lyons) from Livin,” Graeme explained. The organisation was formed to wipe out the stigma attached to mental illness and raise awareness for suicide prevention. #itaintweaktospeak is a phrase used regularly by Livin and their supporters.
“A few months ago he got a (Pride of Australia) award and I thought he’s really putting his passion into this and he’s a decent bloke,” Graeme said. “So I thought why not see if we can write a song they can use to help spread their message.”
“I went home one night and was mucking around and came up with it. It’s got a good sing-along chorus.”
The band tell me that when they played their full-house show for Tracks, they played It Ain’t Weak to Speak and people were singing along to the chorus with them.
“To hear that song come out was pretty special,” Jonny said. “To be playing that and singing that and to see the crowd singing back to ya, with ya…”
“For an original song, that was unreleased… I thought, we must be onto something,” Joel added.
The EP was recorded at Lovestreet Studios by Scotty French and the lads rave about the experience. “Lovestreet would have to be the best studio on the coast,” they say, nearly in unison.
“We wanted to record live and everyone was like ‘you can’t record live’. Scotty was the first guy who said ‘yeah, I reckon we can do that’.”
And then they recorded seven songs, live in one day. They may not be media darlings, but Tokyo Beef do not mess around.
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It Ain’t Weak to Speak is released 10 May and Tokyo Beef are live at Lonestar Tavern on Friday 30 April.
PHOTO CREDIT: Lamp Photography