Get Acquainted With James Bondage And The Safewords

Murwillumbah rebel rousers James Bondage And The Safewords have been steadily spreading their raw, stripped back sounds and infectious energy over the past few years, off the back of their raucous ‘play it like they mean it’ live shows, stylish manoeuvres and impeccable influences (think The Who bailed up at gunpoint by The Dirtbombs with Dead Moon rapping on the shutters and you’ll be halfway there).

The rambunctious three piece are performing at Vinnies Dive on 20 December, where they’ll be supporting local legends The Daisycutters. In the lead up, the band’s singer and guitarist Anthony Morton took time out to bring us up to speed on the Safewords experience.

Can you fill us in briefly on who’s who in the band and how you got together?

Ant and Simon started a few years back in Murwillumbah, doing a bunch of 60’s ‘Nuggets’ style covers and trying to offer a different kinda duo to the usuals doing the rounds in this neck of the woods. We played a few parties and local gigs until Sally Safeword joined on bass and our first couple of gigs were as the local garage/punk wedding band of choice! We wrote a bunch of songs, then Matt joined us just over a year ago and now Sally is off for a while to have a baby. So today’s line-up has Matt on skin duties, Craig paddlin’ his bass and Ant on guitaarrgghhh…

Where can we typically find you gigging? And what best sums up the band’s manifesto when it comes to playing live?

You’ll catch us anywhere between the Northern Rivers and Brisbane, with a couple of detours via one of our favourite venues, the Kerwick Hotel in Redbank. There’s a great scene happening there and those nights tend to get a tad raucous! There’s something to be said about playing on a pub floor – the audience is in your face, guitars are in theirs, there’s a good exchange of energy – why else do ya play rock n roll?  Strip it back, keep it raw, make it sweaty, put on a show – that’s what we’re about (and not just on-stage!) We’re into sharing a bill with those other local bands doing exactly that (they know who they are!)

Who are your biggest musical influences in shaping the sound of the band?

Well Billy Childish of course, in all his incarnations. That man has been delivering 60’s garage gloriousness for many years and still continues to do so. He embodies punk through and through and without his ongoing contribution we think there’d be less old gits like us willing to get up and bash it out. He plays it like he means it and that’s a beautiful thing for every band to embrace, no matter how talented you are or aren’t. Aside from him it’s hard to narrow it down, as we like all the good stuff! 60s mod, freakbeat, soul and R&B, 70s punk and power-pop, 80s mod/garage revival, 90’s indie. We can’t not mention the Maximum R&B of The Who, the punk/mod crossover of the Buzzcocks, oz mod-rockers You Am I and Rocket Science and even early Dexy’s – simply for the demands on the band to “play harder, play louder”, as seasoned musos left gigs with bleeding lips and fingers! We like that sentiment…you know it’s been a good show if there’s broken flesh, strings, sticks, or at least a split trouser!

Are you recording any material? And what’s in store for the band in 2020?

We just laid down a few tracks (with Sally) at Lucky Boy Analogues Studios, which was a heap of fun to put them down on tape. We’re a bit tied up right now (badoom-tsch!) so there’s mixing to follow and a release is set for early 2020. As for the rest of next year – more of the same really…keep building that JB Sound, gig it, stick it on tape…

What’s the ‘safeword’ to use when you hit the stage at Vinnies Dive on 20 December in support of The Daisycutters?

Pineapples and the government!

We’re pretty stoked to see The Daisycutters gigging again and even more aroused to be playing with them at Vinnies on December 20. Vinnies is a top venue supporting local and international alternative sounds and doing the scene proud, so yeah we can’t wait for that one. And with the Gold Coast’s Buffy Prescott also on the bill, it’s gonna be a huge night with sounds for every ear’ole. Break out the pineapples with The Daisycutters + Buffy Prescott + James Bondage & The Safewords at Vinnies on 20 December. Tickets through OzTix.

 

 

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