It’s certainly been an interesting few months for Frenzal Rhomb. Gordy’s intrepid stage-dive-to-end-all-stage-dives left him battered, bruised, and tasked with mastering a bionic arm, but the show must go on, and a Newcastle local is set to take his place behind the skins. We spoke with Lindsay ahead of their Cambridge show on Fri 18 September about the cyborg-littered future of Frenzal Rhomb…
Hey Lindsay, thanks for taking the time to chat with Newcastle Live. We’re currently on the countdown for you guys to roll into our fair city in September, and every time you’ve visited, you’ve always put on a fun, sweat-drenched, and generally rowdy show for us… So, what has Frenzal Rhomb got in store for Newcastle this time round?
We’re hoping for a bit more of a relaxed affair to be honest. We’re a bit tired of our band members injuring themselves by either slipping on the sweat that drenches us, or just the generally rowdy shows getting us in the eye. So, we’re imagining a more sit-down arrangement, with a security guard for each of our arms, to stop them from breaking.
And, there’s now a bit of a Newcastle connection in the line-up with one of our locals, Kye Smith, filling in for Gordy behind the skins. How did you guys team up with Kye?
There’s always been a Newcastle connection, ever since way back in ’07 when we steered the cruise ship we were touring in a little too close to the shore at Nobbys Beach (I know the news reported the ship as a “bulk carrier”, but that’s just because we’d really let ourselves go). So, with Gordy in the sanitorium until his bionic arm is properly tested, we decided to return to Newcastle to poach ourselves a new stick-hitter. Kye was the obvious choice because, although he’s never played any of our songs before and has little to no interest in punk rock, he’d recently also had an arm injury. This made his body the perfect host to test the prototype Gordytron Bionic Armbot Tubthumper2015. And it, along with it’s symbiotic host Kye, will make its live debut in Newcastle!
Ahh yes, so with poor Gordy down for the count, are the plans for you to head off to Colorado after this tour to record your new album still on the cards? Or, will fans have to wait just a little bit longer while he recovers/becomes one with his bionic arm?
We definitely did our best to keep to schedule. The lab-testing of the Gordytron Bionic Armbot Tubthumper2015 (GORDYBAT15) was going well, but we couldn’t iron out a programming error which kept making it play third wave ska beats instead of punk rock. We eventually worked out the assistant had accidentally used a LessThanJake97 chip instead of the Meanies94, but by then it was too late and the booking had lapsed. So, we’ll see what happens in the new year. You know what they say: “New Year, New Arm!”
Frenzal Rhomb have been rather infamous for “profane” (yet, mostly humorous) song titles and album artwork… Can you give away any clues as to what irreverence we can expect on the upcoming album?
We had pretty much finished writing all the tunes and lyrics for the album, even had a sweet album title nutted out. From memory it was all sounding very humorous, a little profane, and certainly the best thing we’d ever done. Unfortunately, we had a habit of writing down our lyrical and design ideas on Gordy’s left arm in tattoo form. Kind of like Guy Pearce in Memento, but with 4 terrible memories instead of one. And when we finally got to the hospital in Perth after finishing the gig sans-Gordy, the well-meaning surgeons had hacked the broken arm off at the shoulder and burned it with fire. Something about “seeing the etchings of satan’s madmen reflected in the flesh”. So I guess we’ll have to start those lyrics again from scratch. And use Gordy’s good arm next time.
After two decades of writing and performing in Frenzal Rhomb, do you feel the songwriting process has changed for the band over time? Do you still go at it all guns blazing, not afraid to offend?
Well, apart from having to change our preferred writing medium (see above), we still just write about stuff we see around us that either annoys us or makes us laugh. For example, I’m at the lab now and one of the tech-surgeons is soldering wires into the exposed nerves on Gordy’s shoulder. Gordy is in intense pain and crying, but the way the nerves are being singed is making his arm flail up in the air and his fingers twitch, like he’s playing a giant air guitar solo. It’s a wonderful image that may make a great song in the future. So I guess we mostly write the same way we always have, only now with more of a focus on the humour/pain continuum in human-machine hybridisation as a potential lyrical topic.
And finally, there have been some pretty funny old photos resurfacing on your Facebook lately… Looking back over the years of Frenzal history, is there any one particular moment or show that will always stand out as the best?
I was quite fond of the last show we played in Perth, specifically up until the 8th song, the moment when everything was going great guns and just before Gordy decided to show someone how to stagedive and then broke his arm and now we have to hitch our future successes to the progression of the global musical bio-cyborg industry, which as we all know, gets most of its funding from electro-folk consortia, which are, in turn, primarily concerned with keeping well known cyborgs like Ed Sheeran and Mumford And Sons spreading their disinformation.
Also I just found this photo and it was a cool time too.
What to learn more about the future of musical bio-cyborgs? Lindsay and the Frenzal Rhomb lab team will be on stage to answer all your questions – or, probably just play a bunch of kickass music – when they hit The Cambridge Hotel on Friday 18 September. Get your tickets here!
If it's on in Newcastle, it's on Newcastle Live