Melbourne noise merchants Jack The Stripper were kind enough to answer some questions about their particularly discordant brand of hardcore.
What’s your name and what you do in the band?
Julian- I play bass and guitar in Jack the Stripper.
Luke- I do the vocals.
Where are you right now?
Inside, staying out of the heat.
How would you describe your sound in one sentence?
Luke: I’ve always figured it sounds like car accidents.
Where do the band members hail from?
Julian: The other guys live in the west, and Luke’s from the outer east of Melbourne. We rehearse at my recording studio. I live in St Kilda, but spend most of my time in Williamstown at Legion.
You’ve been raising hell on Melbourne’s live circuit for a few years now, how do you rate the current Oz live music scene?
Luke: It used to be terrible a few years back, every band was trying to do the Bring Me The Lamb Of Suicide-chapel thing. 40 breakdowns in an 8 song set, hammer-on riffs and an assortment of misogynistic lyrics peppered with breeeeeeee.
Recently there’s been a big movement of diversity though, people are realising its okay to cultivate their own tastes and there’s plenty of new bands making some really cool sounding stuff. I’m syked about the scene at the moment and what it holds for the future. Provided all the venues don’t decide to close down, of course!
Having tested the waters interstate, how has JTS been received in cities outside Melbourne?
Luke: We’ve had a great time playing all the other cities. Every state tends to have its own prevalent favourite style and sound to their music culture. So when we play, we’re either met with confusion or utter love- it’s always been in a positive way though. There’s no real middle ground or indifference, which ensures an interesting night for everyone!
You’ve got some gigs coming up in Sydney late Feb, any more plans to expose JTS further afield?
Luke: We recently finally made our stuff available on Interpunk, for people overseas who want our album. It’s been moving along pretty well too. We just stuck a track from the album on the latest issue of Blunt magazine.
We’re also currently arranging for a pretty big tour on other shores, but there’ll be more details on that later!
Julian: There’s also plans in motion for putting some tracks on an indie horror film, and metal/hardcore compilations.
The band has seen a line-up change just before releasing Black Annis, was the record written from scratch, in collaboration with new singer (Luke Frizon), or was it mostly complete before he came on board?
Julian: The album was almost finished with our old vocalist. When we knew Luke was our guy I spent a couple of months with Luke reworking melodies and rhythms. Luke is a solid lyricist and he obviously wrote all new lyrics. The end result was a stronger record.
What’s a Black Annis anyway?
Luke: Black Annis is the name of a bogeyman of sorts, from great Britain. She was an old woman who became a child-eating demon, hunting down unwary travellers and lost kids and degloving them to wear their skin.
Being that the theme of the album was nightmares and bogeymen, we reckoned using her name was the best way to wrap it all together! Hopefully it doesn’t mean we’re hexed.
If you could invite any three people, living or dead, to your dinner party, who would they be, and what would you serve them?
Luke: Sam Neill, Bruce Lee and Cthulu, the elder god of destruction.
I’d give Bruce Lee a tofu stirfry and a pad of paper to write me how-to-be-Bruce-Lee instructions, I’d feed Sam Neill to Cthulu and then everyone will be happy!
What do you reckon is the worst lyric in a pop or rock song EVER?
Julian: Any lyric that’s had to be vocoded is usually terrible.
Luke: I remember Shakira had something in one of her songs about how her breasts weren’t meant to be confused with mountains. That was amazing.
How’s it working out having to share your drummer (Shane O’Brien) with Confession, particularly when they have such a solid tour schedule?
Julian: It hasn’t slowed us down. My brother Max has been filling in; lucky for us he’s an awesome metal drummer. Though he yells a little louder when I jump off his kick drums.- Has the worst personal hygiene?
Luke: Surprisingly for a metal band, we try to keep pretty clean. I have a lot of old band shirts that have been worn to a few too many sweaty places (seedy bath houses and the like), so there’s this aura of funk about them that can’t be removed. It’s awesome, sometimes I smell like a smoked ham and get dogs chasing after me.
Julian: Brian likes to remind me frequently that he’s covered with horrible microscopic germs.
Which band member…
– Is the biggest Facebook/MySpace/Twitter addict?
Julian: Shane for status updates, he’s savvy with an iPhone.
– Is the biggest computer geek?
Julian: Luke is great at finding useless videos on Youtube, Brian has a gift for Xbox and I use computers to make recordings so together we’re one big wheezy nerd. Also, Brian is the only guy who’s Halo and Gears of War skills actually work in laser tag. He is our velvet commando, we will hide behind him if there’s ever a zombie outbreak.
– Parties the hardest?
Julian: There are enough stories to everyone’s credit to certify us all as fairly fun guys and we enjoy nothing more than a decent prank that usually involves purging someone with fire. On the last tour we started a fire in our manager’s hotel and balcony. Once I set this guy on fire at a party when he was wrapped in toilet paper. That was magnificent. Luke set his own pants on fire trying to ignite a fart.
Luke: That was the worst.
– Is the ‘old man’?
Julian: Me because I am, but Luke tells the most boring stories and Brian has the oldest cock.
– Has the worst playlists on their iPod?
Julian: Lucky for us we all like and hate the same kinds of music, as varied as it is. Though we have a rule that whoever is driving the bus gets to pick the music. So when I drive I play Heavy Heavy Low Low to piss off a JTS member who will remain nameless, and when Shane is driving he’ll play a local band who will also remain nameless to piss me off. We’re a band that thrives off spite.
Luke: Also the occasional Lucozade to fuel our burning rage. All my playlists are just Pig Destroyer anyway.
– Pulls the most chicks?
Luke: We used to have Aaron Carter in the band, but we kicked him out for that very reason coz we’re jealous pricks. Also, he was stealing office supplies and injecting meth into his eyeballs.
Julian: A few of the guys are pretty smooth with an MSN account too.
– Has the biggest rock moves onstage?
Luke: I just climb on everything and make an awful mess. You can’t take me anywhere. Julian’s worked out a way to turn his bass into a terrifying weapon, somewhat like a great axe wielded by a viking. He’s thrown it around and knocked Brian and myself for six on varied occasions. All in good fun!
Julian: I disagree, there isn’t much love on stage and it’s payback for putting their feet on my sofa and being late to practice. Brian looks the best because he is thinnest, and nothing tastes as good as thin feels.
Luke: I’ve decided it’d be prudent for everyone except Julian to wear a bike helmet from now on. Maybe even a bulletproof vest, get a real G-Unit vibe going.
A good reason why we should check JTS out next time you play in a city near us?
Luke: We tend to completely destroy ourselves and our surrounds in our live performances, and then party hard afterwards.