Talking to Scotty French about the temporary reunion of French Butler Called Smith is one part confusion and one part excitement.
Brennan Smith, Jake Martin, Liam “Rasta” Dorney, Matthew Hall, Josh Appleby (Cheap Fakes, not in the original lineup) and Scotty French himself are reforming for a very, very small run of shows: Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Peak Festival to be precise. Josh wasn’t in the original band, Brennan plays with Felicity lawless, Jake plays in Alone Alaska and Liam lives in Belgium. And as Blank readers know, Scotty French basically plays in every band on the Gold Coast (Felicity Lawless, Cheap Fakes, Lamplights, Leopold’s Treat, to name but a few).
I ask Scott to give me a potted history and he starts by saying that French Butler Called Smith disbanded because they’d “taken it to where we were meant to go and didn’t want to flog a dead horse.”
“We started at Swingin’ Safari,” Scotty said, “that’s where we crafted our sound. And basically we just started touring quite a lot nationally. We used to play at the snow a lot. We used to play WA a lot – we just toured everywhere as much as we could. We played Byron Bluesfest, Splendour, Woodford, Melbourne High Vibes Festival.”
All that came to an end in 2012 and the reason for reforming is fairly straight forward.
“Wehad an opportunity to play Peak Festival, at Perisher – which was always a favourite of ours. So we said we’d get back together to do that and we thought while we’re at it we should do some local gigs for the fans and friends.”
“It’s not a permanent thing though, it’s just a one-off.”
Scott says there’s nothing weird about coming back together. “It was really fun to get everyone back in the old room together and share some of the old stories,” he said. Of course I ask for examples. “Like trashing rooms at the snow,” he said.
It was an early start for Scotty, touring at 18 and 19 and hanging out with a lot of seasoned musicians. He said he’d often be doing uni assignments while on the road. But the touring lessons were the ones that stuck
“What we learnt really quickly from some of those mentors is how to make a career out of being a band,” he said. How do you make a living from being in a band.
“Go hard basically,” he said simply. “Tour as much as you can. Play as many gigs, as many festivals, do a bit of shameless self-promotion. Network with other bands and make connections.”
“We left a bit of a lasting impression on the places we toured regularly, so this time around, all of the venues that we’ve been dealing with all remember the band and were quite keen to have us back,” he said. Yes, even Peak Festival where the aforementioned hotel rooms were trashed.
Peak Festival definitely has a soft spot amongst Gold Coast bands and Scott puts that down to the crew.
“The crew at Smiggin’s Hotel (that’s where the main stage is). And being able to go snowboarding between gigs – what’s better than that?”
“Basically – one of the venues, you can ski down to the sundeck, have a beer, watch a band and ski the rest of the way down.”
“And there’s nothing else to do out there. You’re indoors, you’re confined to a certain space with the same people mostly.”
Plus, there’s the affinity between surf culture and snowboarding culture. But Scott says that in terms of music, Julz Parker and the Hussy Hicks really opened doors for Gold Coast bands.
This year in particular there’s a lot of GC love going on because Polly Snowden is involved.
As well as doing a French Butler set, Scott’s performing in the Bowie Show. Yes, the same one that brought Miami Marketta down earlier this year.
“Taylor, French Butler, Nadia Sunde are all performing separately and all then together in the Bowie show. And Allensworth are there as well,” Scott said.
_ _ _
French Butler Called Smith will play ONE ONLY Gold Coast show on 4 June at The Avalon, Miami, with Ivori in support. It’s a ticketed event, doors open 7.30pm and it’s BYO.
Read more about Scotty French here.