Rex Banner

Between growing a beard, shopping for Millencolin approved merchandise and knocking off a kilo of ribs, Kelly from Sydney punk powerhouse Rex Banner still found the time to answer these questions for us…

Interview with Kelly (Guitar)
of Rex Banner

By Cameron Chambers  

For the kids at home, your name, what you do in Rex Banner and your
highest score in WII bowling?

Adrian John Kelly, I play guitar and I think 183 is my highest in Wii
bowling. Wii tennis is where it’s at. 

Can you please tell us a bit about how the band got together, past and
present lineups etc…?

Brendan and Jerry, our bass player and drummer, started jamming years ago at
school on punk covers and over time have changed names and plenty of members.
The current lineup has been together since the beginning of 2007 AND IS THE
BEST YET!!!!! Haha.  

Not a lot of bands are flying the flag for mid 90’s inspired punk at the
moment – what made you guys want to start a group like Rex Banner instead of
entering Australian Idol and making the big bucks!?

It was never a conscious decision
which is pretty strange. Like I said before, Brendan and Jerry started it, but
I have no idea how they avoided turning into a screamo band in 2003 seeing as
that’s what everyone in the shire was doing. I’d like to pretend that they were
very focused and had a clear vision but that would be lying haha. Loukas played
in a skate punk band on the south coast in the late nineties, so he was keen
for a resurrection. I just wanted to play fast and Cotter just wants chicks. In
hats. That like Metallica.  

The Sydney scene seems to be flooded with a lot of mosh friendly hardcore
and metal bands – did you end up on a lot of mixed bills at first or were there
some like minded bands you were able to get together with?

Sydney is weird. There is a “city” scene, where everyone is chilled out and
really old haha, the music being pretty varied. Then there are the younger guys
in the west and the south who produced all of the modern sounding metal/
hardcore bands. As time has gone by though, the good western and southern bands
have come to the city more often and the gap is being bridged so that’s pretty

When we started off, we played
almost exclusively with the older bands. Our first show was with Perish The
Thought, Omerata and Bad Blood. We played lots with Between The Devil And The
Deep, Lungs, Furcurve, The New Justice Team, The Riot And The Trauma, TwinCity
Faction… the list goes on. So like minded bands who sounded nothing alike. 

A lot of bands are in a hurry to get a record out to the masses but you
guys played off the back of your demo for a good 12 months. Was it important to
you as a band that you showed people that you aren’t afraid of a little hard

Hahaha no. The last few questions
sound like you are checking if we have a master plan! Sorry Cam,
we don’t hahaha. We always planned to do it, but you know how things are. You
go to work, go to practice, go to a show, look at the calandar and 4 months
have passed.  

It has worked out well though as we
managed to gain better control of our songwriting over the year and not just
have 65743823 riffs per song. If Dave Hammer had not asked us to do a track for
a compilation he was doing in Febuary and Loukas had not gone overseas
mid-year, we probably would not have even started recording hahaha. 

We are not afraid of hard work
though (token hardcore sentiment) 

 Speaking of releases, your debut EP “The Good Times Are Killing Me” has
been out for a little over a month now, are you surprised with how well the
record has been received?

At the risk of sounding like
wankers, we knew it was good. I just wasn’t sure if people still cared about
fast punk. Turns out they do. Thanks guys xoxo.

Do you have a favorite song off the EP? If so, what is it and why? 

I am quite partial to “We Used To Be Groundbreaking, Now We’re Derivative”
though the rest of the guys all like different songs haha. I like that song
because it is fun to play and totally awesome. And fast as shit haha. 

It’s been suggested that your recent and very generous review on a
particular website (which cannot be named for legal reasons) was the result of
bribery – is there anything you’d like to say to that?

Jarule has not been laid in months.  

Is there a main song writer in Rex Banner or do you guys get together
over a few kilos of barbeque ribs and come up with all your tunes together?

Hahahaha. BBQing is definitely an important part of Rex Banner’s writing

Either someone brings a riff to practice or something is noodled up on the
spot, then we work on it from there and constantly review it to make sure it
isn’t getting too shitty haha. There were times last year when we would spend
close to 3 hours on about 7 seconds of music so it is pretty labour intensive!

As a band you guys listen to some fairly diverse music. Is it difficult
catering to all your members tastes when it comes to writing?

Not really. We know (pretty much)
what we are after from our songs and there is actually plenty of room to move,
sound wise, so we can veer into pop punk or metal sounds or whatever without
too much trouble. The new songs that we have (post-EP) reflect that pretty well
I think. They are diverse but not stupidly eclectic so we are pretty happy with
them. If you listen to “You” by Horsell Common, that song has this lovely
uplifting chorus and then a dissonant noisecore breakdown, yet the song still
flows really well. That kind of thing is good motivation to not write the same
Pennywise song 20 times.

In your short existence you’ve been lucky enough to play with a lot of
big name Australia bands as
well as Strike Anywhere (USA)
and New Found Glory (USA).
What’s been your most memorable show and why?

For me, I really enjoy the ridiculous shows we have played in Brisbane. Everyone is
wasted and the crowd goes mental. Its awesome. I also really enjoyed playing
with New Found Glory just because it was so fucking big haha. Any time we play
with Amity, Horsell, Capeside or MDK is fun, dudes know how to party. And
Lifetime will be amazing. 

Rex Banner were recently announced as the Sydney
support the almighty Lifetime (USA)
and you’ve also been included on the massive Aussi Numbers lineup. What do you
think it is about you guys that appeals to different kinds of audiences?

I have no idea, but I speak for
everyone when I say we are totally stoked on it. The fact that we just played
the Boomtown showdown with emo bands and then will be playing with hardcore
bands at Aussi numbers is great, we get to spread it around. And Lifetime, wow.

I would guess that a lot of people
who are now into the divergent metal, pop punk, hardcore and emo sounds in the
scene grew up on that common punk rock sound that we are influenced by, so its
either a nostalgia trip or something they still get down to. 

Which member of the band behaves the worst on tour? Any particularly
memorable stories you’d like to share with us?

Oh god. We can all be pretty terrible haha. Every night in Melbourne or
Brisbane ends with us being totally hammered doing something stupid.  

There’s been a lot of great local releases this year. Who are some
Australian bands that you think people should be listening to?

Apart from the obvious ones like
Horsell Common, Amity, Miles Away and Kisschasy, I would say The Gifthorse from
Brissy, Stolen Youth from Adelaide,
Homewrecker and BTDAD from Sydney, Capeside, The Galvatrons, Wormz and
Magentaline in Melbs. But don’t listen to MDK from Melbourne. Euurrrggghhh. 


What have been your top 5 records of 2007? 

Daggermouth – Turf Wars

Paramore – Riot!

Fall Out Boy – Infinity On High

Horsell Common – The Rescue

Miles Away – Rewind, Repeat 


Final words? 

What the hell does “Lunchbox” mean anyway. 

Or, check out if you want to know anything
about shows, the EP etc. 


For all things Rex Banner head
over to:

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