Ben Lee is one of Australia’s most popular soft cock musicians. His cheesy melodies creep insidiously into your mind like the slow crawl of gangrene up a wounded soldier’s leg; his quiet, unassuming visage is to violent anger as night is to day. The fact that he has won awards for music and slept with Ione Sky is definite proof that there is a God and He is a spiteful bastard just like the Bible says.
I am filled with trepidation as I make my way to the underground bunker which houses the Anti-Ben Lee society AKA Benleesacarnt.
This solid crew of musical activists have been about their business in the dark alleys and smelly pubs of Sydney. Their business? Stirring up righteous ire with which to smite that mong-faced pussyboy back into the foul womb from which he were spawned.
Upon arrival I am ushered down dark hallways towards some vast cavernous space. The walls are pockmarked with shrines to the Elder Gods: Here black candles darkly illuminate a poster of stoner rock gods Zeke; there a collection of maltreated mannequins with Lagwagon masks gently mock.
Above it all hangs a giant Bronx banner, rippling lightly in the updrafts blown through this subterranean amphitheatre.
But where is the hateful propaganda? Where the pin-stuck Ben dolls? Where the burnt and twisted effigies, making creak music as they spin slowly, grotesquely under their nooses? Arent Benleesacarnt all about that Ben Lee cunt?
“Nah, the name’s pretty much a gimmick,” says Miss Alex, bringer of bass and breasts. So, Ben Lee isn’t a cunt?
“Of course he is, isn’t it obvious? But we’re more about getting together, drinking and having fun on stage.”
I have been deceived. Benleesacarnt is about Ben Lee just as black is about white – that is, not at all.
Their sound is self-described as a drunken postie revving his bike while yelling at a male prostitute. Trad rock riffs at punk rock speed provide a riotous backdrop to the screamed, irreverent vocals. Boskie, the vocalist, usually hits the skins and says he isn’t used to being up the front, so he makes up for his fear of unruly mobs by trying to out-mob the bastards, twisting the fear into steamy punk rage.
Chops Chopsson, the Swedish transvestite drummer, didn’t bother to leave his make-up room to speak with me but sent out one of his boys with a perfumed letter assuring me of my place in his affections.
These guys are as local as it gets, with songs about the death of Newtown pubs (Fuck The Townie) and the prevalence of pretentious fat girls in corsets in the rock club scene (Bettie Page). Having decided to set themselves up as the justice system of Sydney thrash rock, they go about it with obnoxious glee.
I ask Ham, geetarist, what he thinks of the Sydney scene and he grunts and tells me to fuck off. He is watching the soccer while furiously strumming on his Gibson Explorer. I try again but the glare I receive is enough to warn me off future sorties in that direction. Boskie tells me Ham lets his guitar speak for him, which would explain the bloodstains on the fret.
After taking their particulars, I sit down to dinner with the band. We are having steak au steak, with steak frites and steak on the side. I ask for mine well done and the atmosphere suddenly turns nasty.
“We eat our meat bloody around here. Straight off the bone.” There is a moment of silence. Matt Hell stands to escort me out. As I am hustled out a different hallway I catch a glimpse, through a slit in an iron prison door, of Ben Lee’s much-hacked-at corpse hanging from a butcher’s hook.
The much-awaited album is titled Die Fluken, a play on the name of a popular hygiene medicine. As Matt Hell, geetarist and rantwriter, says as his boot assists with my exit: “Diflucan is a thrush treatment. We’re a thrash treatment. We don’t need your kind of pussyboy attitude around here.”
So if your nether-regions are looking a bit crusty, get your self down to the next Benleesacarnt gig for some righteous rock action that’ll blow those spores from out between your thighs.