Anyone who has ever picked up an instrument and dabbled in rock and roll in this country, no doubt owes a debt of gratitude to iconic ’60s rockers The Easybeats.
This is a fact not lost on pub rock heroes The Choirboys who will be ripping into a set of Easybeats classics and deep cuts as well as their own formidable catalogue at The Cambridge this weekend.
While having previously dipped their collective toe into Easybeats waters for the cracking 2007 set So Easy, The Choirboys revisited tat formidable catalogue for a multi-tracked live stream last year that will form the basis of the band’s next album.
‘I had set up a studio at home so it made sense to get on the live stream bandwagon in the absence of gigs,” frontman Mark Gable told Newcastle Live.
“We multi-tracked the shows meaning we recorded them as if we were recording a live show so we’ve got gigabytes and gigabytes of multi-tracks which will form the basis of the next album.”
The band has a long association with The Easybeats with The Choirboys releasing their first album on Albert Productions after sending a demo to Alberts producer and Easybeats principal songwriter and rhythm guitarist George Young.
“The genius of The Easybeats is they just had incredible songs and oif you really listen to those songs, you cant help but go: ‘oh my God.’ Even now they are revolutionary songs,” Mark said.
“When we were working with Alberts, George Young, being the rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for The Easybeats, he would always say (in my worst Scottish accent) ‘It’s all about the songs, Mark. It’s all about the lyrics.’
“They were also the beginning of Australian rock and roll. I mean there was Johnny O’Keefe and what have you, but if it weren’t for them you wouldn’t have AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, The Angels, Choirboys and a whole bunch of others.”
Having previously reinterpreted tracks by the likes of Tom Petty and Creedence Clearwater Revival for previous EP releases, Mark said that he was keen (much to the chagrin of his bandmates) to have a rock and roll crack at ABBA as well as rocking up some Oz classics.
“Everyone loves ABBA so I’m going to keep pushing because their songs rocked up sound amazing,” Mark said.
“What we wanted to do next in a stream and record it was some of the more obscure great Australian classics. I want to do those songs that we all know really well that transpose into pub rock really well. One of course is Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn even though it’s not an Oz song, she is and it just sounds great rock and roll. I want to do the unusual ones where people go: ‘what the hell was that?'”
While all of this reinterpreting is an entertaining lark for the band, Mark said he was keen to get back into penning some original Choirboys tunes – the stupider the better!
“I’m itching to write a Choirboys dumb rock album – I want to take rock and roll back to stupidity again. Go back to the early days where people didn’t think too much,” Mark laughed.
And that’s also an ethos that Mark applies to a Choirboys live show.
“I love it when everything goes wrong – when everything goes right its boring. The other guys freak out I say: ‘lets make mistakes boys,’ because that’s where the gold comes from.
“I was talking to Dave Gleeson and he told me he was playing Newcastle that weekend and that he needed to redeem himself. I asked why and he said: ‘last time I was up there I was that drunk I was lying on my back on the drum riser,’ and I go: ‘Dave, you don’t understand – they don’t remember if you did a good show, they remember the one where you were lying on your back on the drum riser.
“The whole thing is built on stupidity so why not celebrate it?”
Catch The Choirboys at The Cambridge on Saturday 10 April. Get your tickets here.