I staggered out of the Sando a few months ago after an exhilarating gig of raw punk, party antics and technical proficiency, and despite my lack of sobriety, which is perhaps the inevitable result of a night out with the Johnny Massive boys, there was one cohesive thought in my head. If I could sum up this band in one word, what would it be? My drunkenness didn’t allow a concise enough one word definition, so I settled on three. Insatiable party monsters.
What is rarer is that the band has the originality, wildness and spontaneity on stage to back it up. This is a record of the band’s thoughts on supporting local venues and progressing musically past a live show that has involved, on a quieter night, a live gimp and a dominatrix on fire.
The Johnny Massive boys had a lot to say about supporting local venues, as opposed to gigging more profitable locations with more opportunities for publicity. Local venues like the Sando, are, according to the boys “the sort of venues where you build your rock chops. Your fans are the ones that have been one of the five people in the room when you’ve played at the Sando, or the Excelsior, the Lansdowne. These sorts of venues these are the one that nurture the artist and nurture the band. There’s not a lot of venues like the Sando anymore. You’re creating alliances with local bands, plus, the whole thing of getting to a gig and having a bad energy with another band…all that bullshit’s gone. You wanna play shows with as many great bands as you possible can.”
Looking round at the rock steady, bearded and somewhat malodorous crowd at the Sando, I ask the band why its here that they feel at home. “This is where you come and your there your with the audience in your face. You can’t fake it, you can’t hide any bullshit, its right there and they’re right there, and if you fuck up, they’ll tell you.” So does that imply that bands get a more honest reaction from the type of crowd to frequent local indie/metal joints? “Yeah, from our perspective, we are a band that has to create and have energy between the band and the crowd. That’s what we really work off. We like people right up in our face, abusing us, spilling shit on our gear. One person at the Lansdowne kicked the mike stand into my mouth, as I’m singing,, and I thought she did it by accident but then she did it again, and then she spat beer on me …”
“..maybe she liked you?” I suggested unhelpfully as someone gets up to replenish the round.
Johnny Massive have built a reputation for themselves for boundary pushing, animalistic onstage antics. What is refreshing about the band is that the scare tactics don’t detract from music which is fast, in your face, and crowd consuming. I ask the band if the onstage vibe has changed, is it still all about shocking people? “Not really anymore, it’s a bit more about the music these days. We’ll always do really crazy shit on stage because I’m always keen to… I don’t know, I just don’t like to go see a band, pay my money if I could be staying out at the bar listening to them. I’m a very big advocate for performance.” So does it follow that your theatricality is inherent, or is it something you’re pushing a little bit? “This is the kind of shit we actually do in rehearsals as well. You’re born for it. If anything we push the other way at other times to tone it down. In rehearsals it’s probably even more outlandish.”
By this stage I am too pissed to cohesively record where I can see Johnny Massive going now. The boys were in agreement “The name is not going to change our influences, or the stage show, or the kind of music were going to play, were still very funk orientated, raw funk, lots of fucking rock rock rock.” The group leaves to play their set with a closer I couldn’t possibly top. “So to the guys rock out with your cock out, to the girls, jam out with your clam out.”