Formed from long tenured and storied bands of the Melbourne heavy music scene, Never have emerged onto the burgeoning Australian stoner-rock scene in timely fashion with their riff and hook orientated three-track demo. It’s been distribution in a grass-roots, physical way and it’s this ‘hand to hand’ delivery that landed one of these demos in the hands of Blank GC. It is well worthy of your attention.
The sampler opens up with the bass lines of Graham Wilson and the groove of drummer Ando McDougall before the remainder of the band enter the fold on Serpent Woman. From the get go the song speaks immediately to vocalist Jason Richmond’s ability. What could be considered a conversation between guitar riff and the lyrical hook ensues, both vocals and guitars taking turns and interlacing to inform the melody of the song. It’s punchy, it’s heavy, it’s concise, it channels the blues and it feels like it has always belonged on your stereo.
Trampled Like a Goat builds upon an impressive start with Richmond’s rich, powerful vocals again captivating the listener’s attention, strong but with a touch of a rasp. The middle eighth of the track sees guitar tandem Aaron Butler and Dan McDougall swap funk and blues infused voicings in a break-down, traditional in the sense of the term. The demo ends all too shortly with the heavier hitting Revenge is a Skull leaving the expectation of more riffing to come.
Fans of Melbourne’s Don Fernando or the Gold Coast’s own Baltimore Gun Club would do very well to add Never to their regular rotation of Aussie rockers.
Blank’s Jesse Kenny chatted to Never guitarist Dan McDougall about their emergence.
How did the band come about? Is it a situation where you all weren’t as active as you had been with your other bands?
Well, we are all pretty busy. Azza plays in two other bands (Frankenbok, Heaven the Axe), my brother Luke plays in other bands (Dreadnaught), Jay plays in another band (Red Sky Burial), so Wilso and myself are the only members who play just in this band. I’ve been playing with my brother since I was twelve and everybody in this band has been playing for up to twenty years on various projects either together or separately. Never pretty much started as a jam amongst mates on a Monday night. Soon enough a few songs started to formulate. We came across Jay–he’s an old friend of ours–singing in his new band Red Sky Burial and we thought fuck he’s good, and said ‘let’s just ask him and see if he’s up for it.’ He came in and he belted out vocals over the top, we all had smiles from ear to ear, and we knew we were on to something then.
You’ve all played in heavier bands before but Never is leaning more toward a stoner rock vibe. Is that because of the combination of musicians? Where did the direction come from?
I’m a guitarist in this band after being a vocalist with Frankenbok, The stuff we are writing is not as technically difficult as you might have heard in some of our previous outfits, but it’s the kind of music that is very much up my alley, music that I’ve listened to for a very long time. It’s very much a product of the environment rather than a purposeful direction. When we did this we had one rule, just keep it simple, less is more, really strip things back.
What influences are at play? Would American genre stalwart Clutch be a fair comparison or a fair influence?
Well its funny, definitely Clutch are a band that a few of us are in to. A song like Trampled Like a Goat is kind of Clutch-y but Wilso brought those riffs to the table and he hadn’t really been into Clutch at that time. Jay’s voice is just fantastic, it just suits exactly what we are writing.
It seems as if the stoner rock-sludge genre is doing well both internationally and here in Oz. Why do you think that is and are there any newer Aussie bands currently piquing your interest in the genre?
Yes most definitely, it’s exploded and I think that there’s a reason for that. I’ve really started getting interested in this myself. The music coming out again is really influenced by the seventies. The seventies decade of music was, to me, the pinnacle of rock music writing. I think people are just longing for a really good song to be written. There’s two bands that have really caught my attention from Melbourne. One is Child, just really durdgy and slow and blues/Hendrix influenced stuff. And the other one is Fuck the Fitzroy Doom Scene, awesome record, basically all of them sing vocals, great live band, they’ve blown me away every time I’ve seen them.
How did the demo come about?
We had looked at booking a show for the band which came along quickly and we though ‘oh shit we’d better get some music out’. We’d been demoing a whole bunch of songs in our studio in our rehearsal space, we sent them through to our producer and he came back with some unreal mixes and we thought ‘lets just get this stuff out’.
The first Never show is at The Rev in Melbourne with Dave Tice Band, any gigs coming up in the SE Qld region? How do you feel about the scene here?
From what I know it’s absolutely killing it, in Brisbane especially there are some great venues opening up like The Triffid which is amazing. We are looking forward to getting interstate where we can. Stay tuned!
Contact the band directly via their facebook page to get a copy of their release and to keep up to date.