>Hoodoo Gurus. Aprenda inglés (del bueno) con Harlem

“All of our albums have made their mark one way or another”

Los reconstituidos Hoodoo Gurus estuvieron recientemente de gira por España, y OSCAR CUBILLO charló con el australiano Dave Faulkner. Las colinas tienen ojos, las grabadoras oídos, y aquí reproducimos lo que oímos. Cada uno desde su casita…

“This is Dave Faulkner, lead singer and main songwriter. I’m sitting at home in Bondi Beach, which is about 8 kms from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Bondi is probably Sydney’s most famous beach. Here’s a link to a Bondi website: http://www.bondivillage.com/panorama.htm and also the entry from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bondi_Beach”

Why did you created the band?
I was at a New Year’s Eve party with friends and, as it was a hot summer night, decided to get some fresh air. I climbed out of an upstairs window onto the roof of the kitchen and I was soon joined by Rod Radalj and Kimble Rendall. We drank beer and discussed the current state of music. I knew Rod from the punk scene in Perth but Kimble I’d met in Sydney through a mutual friend (his girlfriend, also from Perth). We all agreed that there were no bands in Sydney that reflected the mixture of influences that we liked so then and there we decided to form a band. Our first gig was 9 months later (Sept. 4, 1981) at the NSW Institute of Technology. Our guitarist, Brad Shepherd, was at that gig (Brad only joined the band a year later when Rod and Kimble left to pursue separate interests)

Which are your influences?
We have a plethora of influences: Rockailly, Merseybeat, Punk (60s and 70s), Glam Rock, Detroit Rock… the list goes on and on. Between the four of us you will find nearly every style of music irepresented n our record collections. We just love music. If I had to state what affected me the most growing up, I would have to say The Beatles. I had an older brother who bought all the latest hit singles (Rolling Stones, Easybeats, Manfred Man, Roy Orbison etc.) but I particularly remember being fascinated by With The Beatles (their 2nd album). I can remember every note of that record as I would listen to it going to sleep. It’s still my favourite Beatles album, though I fell in love with Revolver too a little later.


Why did you choose your name?
I’d been wanting to call a band The Gurus for a while but felt it wasn’t quite “complete” as a name. Rod and I were very much into 50s music when the band was forming, and a lot of those songs had rhyming titles: ‘Money Honey’, ‘Ooby Dooby’, Rod came up with adding Hoodoo to the Gurus to make an almost-rhyme. We were also into The Cramps and the whole Psychobilly scene too (I’d seen The Cramps play in NYC before they recorded their first album) and we were curious about Voodoo and other african-derived religious cults – Hoodoo was the southern U.S. version of Voodoo (or vodun). The occult Hoodoo influence (dark curses) seemed a good blend with the more spiritual Guru side. A bit of Yin and yang, if you will. Mainly, though, we liked that it (sort of) rhymed.

Do you feel that the Hoodoo Gurus are an influence in the rock and roll world because your three first albums, Stoneage Romeos (84), Mars Needs Guitars! (85) and Blow Your Cool! (87)?
I think all of our albums have made their mark one way or another. Magnum Cum Louder was a rebellion against the polished sound of Blow Your Cool and pre-dated Grunge Music (it would have been more acceptable afterwards). Kinky contains some of our best songs. Crank was our ‘thrashiest’ album and In Blue Cave is probably our most consistent record: that one comes closest to the sound I hear in MY head when I think of everything the Hoodoo Gurus try to do. Our latest album Mach Schau is our most intense so far and, like Magnum Cum Louder, is probably a little “ahead of its time”. Because we are veterans people don’t look to us for new music but I believe if an unknown new band had released Mach Schau instead of us everyone would have been falling over themselves to sing its praises. All we can say is we still enjoy music and want to keep expressing our own take on the world and where we fit (or don’t) into it. That’s been our philosophy from day one.

I think the band was split between 1997-2004. Why did you take that long break?
We broke up in early ’98 because I was afraid we couldn’t top In Blue Cave as an album. It perfectly captured the Hoodoo Gurus sound to me and I didn’t want to continue the band out of “habit” if I didn’t feel creatively inspired. I thought it would be nice to “quit while we’re ahead” rather than when we didn’t care any more. We still cared, obviously, and a few years later I had written some songs that I couldn’t find the right musicians to express properly. At the same time Hoodoo Gurus were approached to headline a one-off festival of aussie bands (Homebake, december 2001). The challenge was too great to refuse: we played up against all the latest and greatest australian bands and, frankly, we kicked their arses! We had lost none of our “spirit” and it was obvious to me that though the Hoodoo Gurus might not be playing anymore, we were still “alive” as a band. It just took me another 18 months to swallow my pride and admit that the band should play again despite my strong belief at the time as to why we should have broken up. We recorded Mach Schau at the end of 2003 and in early 2004 started touring again.

Tell us something about your last album, entitled ‘Mach Schau’.
I think Mach Schau contains some of the best songs I have written. Overall, it’s a very confronting album – not a “comfortable” record. I feel it’s our Presence (Led Zeppelin), an album that was not appreciated at the time of it’s release but one that the fans enjoy more over time (though a lot of our albums are like that. Personally, I liked Led Zeppelin’s Presence immediately.

How are your shows?
Rocking! We loved it when we played nearby at the Azkena Festival last year and can’t wait to get back. Good food, good wine and good people: what more could we want?