Since their fruition in Adelaide over 2 decades ago Muscle Car are showing no signs of slowing down. Now based in Melbourne, they continue to melt audiences faces off with their unique brand of Rock. With numerous releases, extensive touring and having shared the stage with music royalty Alice Cooper and Motley Crue, lead singer Damo took some time to have a quick chat with us before their show Friday June 21st at Bombay Rock!
How did Muscle Car the band begin? How did you all meet?
Well this can be split between two eras of the band; the Adelaide era (1998-2007) and the Melbourne era (2008 – present). I formed the band while I was at a rehearsal for an old hardcore band I was in. While the others had a short break, the drummer and I started playing a rock n’ roll tune and at that moment we decided we should start a rock n’ roll band. It was something I had wanted to do for years but it’s not easy when you can’t really play guitar. I found other like minded souls and we got together, wrote some songs and played our first show Feb 27th, 1999.
When I moved to Melbourne at the end of 2007, I wanted to reboot the band as I felt there was still a lot I wanted to do. Poodle jumped right in on bass, we had a few line-up changes since then but we finally we found Jason (formally of the Brisbane band Iron Bird) and with him came Bek (formally of Rabid Zulu). It all fell into place very quickly and we came back firing on all cylinders. It’s actually the most comfortable I’ve felt in a band in years.
Could you tell us about the first gig you played together?
The first ever show in Adelaide was at the Crown & Anchor Hotel and to be honest, it was a bit of a mess. We had no idea really what we were doing. We were still finding our feet. We probably played that show prematurely and could have waited and rehearsed a lot more but we were so enthusiastic and just wanted to play so we did it and while it wasn’t very good, it did open some doors for us.
The first show with the current line-up was at Smashfest 2018 which we were super excited for. The band hadn’t played a show in a year and we knew there was some pressure on us because we had two new members, and Bek hadn’t played a live show in years. By the time the set was over, it felt like we were welcomed back with open arms and it’s been a steady run of shows since. People love this new line-up and it’s been a lot of fun writing and playing new music.
That’s awesome, What does it feel like to look back at your first live performance and reflect on it in comparison to how you perform now?
Well I know for me personally, I have learnt a lot not only about playing live but about songwriting and connecting with the audience. Also being 20 years older, a lot has changed in my life both personally as well as musically.
Muscle Car seems to play a lot around the Brunswick area, what is a day in the life of a band like yours?
That’s an interesting question… we do play a lot around the Brunswick area because we all live close by, we love the venues and the people. In saying that, and I can only speak for myself, I personally am a bit of a recluse. I prefer to spend a lot of time on my own reading books, listening to records, and playing guitar. It’s not really that exciting but I am not very rock n roll. If you asked Poodle that question, I’m sure his answer would be completely the opposite and would involve excess usage of the word “brutal”. Ha!
Muscle Car has shared the stage with Motley Crue – Crazyyyy! Tell us about it!
Walking out on that stage and hearing people scream out “Poooooooodle!!!” was the most insane thing I’ve ever experienced and not something I’ll ever forget. People generally don’t go to these arena shows to watch the support band but honestly, there was a huge crowd there early and we were showered with an abundance of applause and cheers from the audience and that was the most rewarding part of it all. We had 25 minutes each night to do what MC does and I felt both shows were really good but that time on stage went by so fast. It was such an adrenaline rush and I am very thankful that we got the chance to do what we do on that stage where so many legends have rocked before. The craziest story from that whole experience was that before we went on stage on the second night, there was a knock on our dressing room door and Alice Cooper was standing there. He thanked us for warming up the crowds and wished us a great show. He was a true gentleman. His band were absolute gems to be around and were very welcoming from the moment we arrived. You couldn’t find a nicer bunch of rockstars. We never met Motley Crue.
What does your creative process look like?
A pile of Motorhead, The Wildhearts, and Ramones records lying on the floor by the turntable.
How do the songs come about usually? Is there a predominant song writer?
Well I guess I write a majority of the ideas and I take them to rehearsal and ask the others what they think and what needs changing, any ideas to improve on it, etc. It’s also interesting as now if I write something, I am usually thinking of how Bek will sing it, or harmonise with me, etc. as I really want her to sing a lot more. She will be singing half of the new record actually. In fact, she will be singing the lead vocals on the opening track which is pretty exciting.
New record? That’s exciting! When can fans expect to hear it?
Well we released our latest EP, The Honeymoon Is Over, in December last year and we are still pushing that but we are keen to go back in and start this new record. We will probably be recording later this year. We have songs for it already and if you see us play, you’ll hear them currently in the set. It’ll be an interesting record but it will still sound like MC.
Where can people find your music?
One last question about the song Sandra Sully– It was found by the Channel 10 news presenter herself in 1999, and after hearing (and loving) the lyrics Muscle Car wrote about her, she continued to support the band until now! We just want to hear it, which one of you is actually guilty of this cutesy crush?
Well to be honest, none of us ever actually had a crush on Sandra (that I know of). The song was written in 1999 when one night the old guitarist, Paul, and myself were watching a movie and when the film ended, Sandra was on TV reading the late night news. She kinda fumbled over some of the words, gave a slight giggle and kept on reading the news like a pro. We laughed and Paul said “we should write a song about her” and seriously, five minutes later the song was born. It was never supposed to gain the traction that it did. It was just us trying to make ourselves and other people laugh. Sandra has actually been really supportive of the whole thing which we think is pretty wild. I really wish there was a better answer for this question as this song has been stuck with us for 20 years now. Still, it’s one of the most fun songs to play live and it has been played at every show since the day it was written. I think it’s the only song in the band’s set where that has happened.
Cheers for taking the time to talk with us Damo! We are super excited for the gig and can’t wait to see you guys alongside Simon Chainsaw, As A Rival, BIFF and RQTBL. Let’s Rock!