It would be safe to say that Frenzal Rhomb have got to have some good luck heading their way. First, they have to withdraw from touring in 2013 due to Jay Whalley‘s ear surgery. Then this year, not only does Gordy Forman break his arm in spectacular fashion mid-gig in Perth, but Lindsay McDougall became the latest Frenzal member to be rushed into surgery, almost losing the sight in his right eye thanks to a detached retina.
“We’re going to get some sort of award for the most hospitalised band at some point.” Jay says during a recent chat ahead of their upcoming Soundwave sets. “When that happened [to Lindsay], I was like, ‘Yeah – sounds about right.’ Poor Tom [Crease], he must be so paranoid. He’s sitting somewhere in Adelaide completely wrapped up in soft material.”
Set to tour up and down the east coast from mid-December through into January, Frenzal haven’t let any setbacks kill their vibe. While Jay admits some of the momentum they’d generated in studio surrounding new music was affected by Gordy’s injury, he notes the Frenzal process is always an ongoing one, so it’s not been too much of a creativity-killer.
“We had the momentum, it was building up and the songwriting sessions were more productive than the previous ones.” he admits. “I generally will go into demoing with ten of the best songs that anyone has ever written and then within five minutes, they’ve been whittled down to half of one song because of the brutality of everyone else in the room. It’s good! It’s a slow process anyway. For a band like us, we shouldn’t really put out half-okay records, we really need to – within the boundaries of our own genre – make it as good and as interesting and catchy as it can be. That stuff takes time, but we’ll get it back.”
“We were demoing for three years for this new record,” he deadpans. “We were pretty much ready to go, then Gordy decided to throw himself off a stage for no good reason. We postponed the recording, because he can’t really do it with one arm, unfortunately. He’s already getting better, so the plan is just to hang loose and do some shows while we can with Kye Smith, who has been playing drums with us. He’s good, we only had to have one rehearsal. The guy’s a prick, that’s the only unfortunate part of the whole scenario. He’s an absolute fucking asshole, but he plays the drums okay and so we’ll put up with him for the duration. If you meet him at Soundwave though, trust me, don’t talk to him. You’ll be worse off.”
The band’s appearance on the Soundwave tour next year will be their first and Jay anticipates some good times ahead regardless, even if the whole festival environment might not generally be his favourite in any normal context these days.
“I’ve never been before, so I’m looking forward to going along.” he says. “Festivals aren’t fun for me [as a punter]. I mean, I enjoy seeing the bands, but a lot of the time there are usually small pockets of men who are quite drunk, who will see me and get me in some sort of headlock and then start spitting my own lyrics back in my face. Or they’ll start yelling way too loud in my ear things like, ‘I saw you in 1998 at Gosford Leagues and it was fucking sick, all about bongs!’. I usually try and correct them because people like to make up their own history a lot of the time and generally, I find that after about two minutes of conversation with me, they’re the ones who just generally walk off. I’m not sure what they expect, but it’s rarely what they get. I think they expect me to swear at them and call them awful names, but really, I’ll want to talk about children or…that doesn’t sound great. Parenting, I should say!”
“My boy’s been to shows and stuff,” he says of balancing parenthood with touring. “He’s stood on stage and on one hand, with all the hanging around back stage, you think you’re being surrounded by all these creative people and so they’ll grow up as these enlightened beings. In reality, they could very well be Liberal voting stockbrokers like, ‘You call this a life?!’ They could be like Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties.”
Looking ahead to what 2016 stands to bring for Frenzal in general, Jay is enthusiastic about the idea of producing some solid music and getting it out there after some stop-starts and understandable periods of despondency. This upcoming tour with Clowns stands to serve as a great precursor to the Soundwave shows and fans will no doubt be turning out in force to see the guys do their thing before the festival tour kicks off.
“When Gordy went into his operation when he broke his arm we all got a little despondent afterwards.” Jay admits. “It was like, ‘Fuck – we really need to get back on track.’ In the last little while though, we’ve had good news about Gordy’s arm; for a little while it was like, ‘Fuck I just want to throw all of them out and start again,’ but I think it’s going to be good. There’s enough stuff there and we’ll probably write a bit more before we go, it’ll be good.”
“It’s [the tour] going to be fun,” he enthuses. “I’m looking forward to it and am slightly terrified. As far as the friendships go, it’s a bit of a cliché to say that it’s all about the bros or whatever, but over the years, that’s been the constant in it all. Our mateship, our whatever. Because we all live in different cities, the band has been this constant reason to see each other and to hang out and have good times. There’s a lot of shared experience in playing in a band and whether you like it or not, you become a family. If Gordy had broken his arm and we were all 20, then I’d already be at my third drummer since him by now! The guys are excellent humans and I’m lucky to be able to hang out with them at all. You’ve got to hang on to these things.”
“We did leave Gordy in Perth by himself when he broke his arm,” he adds. “Lindsay and I flew back first class. We’ll be stronger for Gordy as a result.”
Frenzal Rhomb will be appearing at all dates of Soundwave 2016 – see below for dates!
You can also catch the band touring with Clowns down the east coast:
December 17th | Carmens, Miranda | OZTIX
December 18th | Marlin Hotel, Ulladulla | OZTIX
December 19th | Fitzroy Hotel, Windsor | OZTIX
December 20th | Baroque Room, Katoomba | OZTIX
January 6th | Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour | OZTIX
January 7th | Club Forster, Forster | OZTIX
January 8th | Chelsea Heights Hotel, Chelsea Heights | TIX
January 9th | Village Green Hotel, Mulgrave | TIX
January 13th | The Northern, Byron Bay | MOSHTIX
January 14th | Solbar, Maroochydore | OZTIX
January 15th | Spotted Cow, Toowoomba | OZTIX