The Oblivians | Laughing Messiahs

The name ‘Oblivians’ is one often spoken about in hushed tones of reverence amongst underground rock aficionados the world over.

Their uniquely unhinged garage-punk-blues racket was a major influence on a host of current day acts such as Ty Segall and The Black Lips. And now 22 years after their original formation, messrs Cartwright (Greg), Yarber (Jack) and Friedl (Eric) are a semi-reformed entity once again and finally making it over to Australia to blow eardrums and minds! In the lead up to this exciting event, Anthony Gebhardt fired off some questions to singer/guirarist Greg Cartwright, who also fronts the sublime Reigning Sound..


So what brings you guys all the way out to Australia after 22 years – did you get an offer too good to refuse?

Yeah, we got an offer and we’ve never been there.

How were the 2009 European shows you did with (Detroit primitive-garage legends) The Gories? Did the two bands hit it off, and what’s your relationship with Mr Mick Collins, the coolest man from Detroit!? 

We all knew each other prior to touring. Touring with them and the Country Teasers in 1995 is a tie for best tour ever. Mick’s great, they’re all great!

What was the music scene like in Memphis when you first started the band? Did you have a hardcore fan base or was indifference and hostility the truer reality for a band such as yourselves who have forged such a singular, non compromising musical path?  

We didn’t have anything resembling a hard core fan base until we stopped making records. The Memphis music scene had some really great bands at that time. None of them garnered a lot of attention except maybe The Grifters. Unless you’re making very mainstream music or genre pandering nonsense this will usually be the case no matter where you live.

What’s the reaction been like to your most recent record Desperation, have the hardcore fans embraced it?  

I think so, I don’t know. When we released it we were happy with it. It’s hard to know what other people think.

Are there any Aussie bands currently ‘doing it’ for you on a musical level?  

Sure, Ooga Boogas, Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Ausmuteants. Eric (Friedl, Oblivians drummer and Goner Records head honcho) knows more about this scene and could probably expand on that list.

What are your top three favourite Australian LP’s ever?

Easybeats- “Best of the Easybeats + Pretty Girl”, The Saints- “Stranded”, Scientists- “Weird Love”. It’s tough because there are a lot of great ones. I’ve probably listened to those three the most. Those and AC DC’s “74 Jailbreak” or Radio Birdman “Radios Appear” or that first Bee Gees album…Too many greats to make a list of just three!

Any plans on bringing your other, equally amazing band, The Reigning Sound, over to Australia for some shows? Because that would make a few folk out here rather chuffed!

I would love to do it. We’ll see how this upcoming tour goes first.

I know there will be plenty of fans over here salivating at your impending arrival…what can we expect from The Oblivians in the live arena in this year of 2015?

We like to think of our show as more of a comedy act. I expect to meet some great rock and roll fans… who like comedy!


So if laughing it up while rocking the hell out sounds like a great night on the tiles, make sure you book a date with The Oblivians when they obliterate The Woolly Mammoth in Fortitude Valley, on 14 March.

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