Regular John burst onto the scene four years ago, demolishing crowds with their loud, abrasive fuck you attitude and blistering rock n roll. The release of their debut album The Peaceful Atom Is A Bomb in 2009, was a massive success with fans and critics alike and saw the band touring incessantly for months afterward. Skip to August 2011 and things have changed a little in the Regular John camp. Music Feeds caught up with Caleb Gomen from Regular John while the band prepare for their imminent return and a new album.
MF: You guys supported Motorhead on their Australian tour earlier this year, how was that? Did you guys get to hang out or have any cool chats with Lemmy or the gang?
Caleb Goman: It was great for us to be in an underdog position again. We had a new guitarist and a setlist of 95% new material. We were playing our biggest venues to date and Motorhead’s fans are a tough lot. I think we played the hardest and heaviest we’ve ever played. Miles did an awesome job considering his third ever show with us was a Motorhead show. It was also the most fun we’ve had on tour. Lemmy was an enigma who stayed in his dressing room most of the time. We only saw him when he needed to shit. The drummer Mickey Dee and guitarist Phil were awesome. They went out of their way to hang out with us and watch our sets. The roadies were the real deal and looked like they’d been lifting amps since ’82. It was comforting to know dudes like that still existed.
MF: Asides from opening for Motorhead you guys have been pretty quiet; what have to been up to? Have you guys just been fishing or have you been doing some exciting new stuff?
CB: We have been up to all sorts of things. I moved to the Blue Mountains and grew mushrooms, built fires and listened to records for about 9 months. Ryan bought a bunch of analog synths and samplers and got knee deep into that hoopla. We purposely decided to relax as a band and not put any pressure on ourselves. We spent a long time jamming as a three-piece, not writing songs, just trying to have fun again and see where we ended up. It took a while to come down from that and get back into structuring real songs. There’s a lot of thirty minute kraut/prog jams recorded. I still want to put them out one day.
MF: What does the new stuff sound like? How’s it different from the last album?
CB: At the end of all that experimenting, the new stuff still sounds like us. We went into lots of different territories, but the tracks that have stuck are very much our style. It’s still heavy, just less aggressive, less angsty and more relaxed and psychedelic. We needed to get a lot of experimentation out of our system and we’ve kind of come full circle again, back to the almighty riff. The tracks that sound like what I would call classic Regular John were written very quickly and came out very easily.
MF: The Peaceful Atom is a Bomb, really struck a chord with Australian audiences and mainstream media like Rolling Stone and triple j; is there any pressure with your sophomore album?
CB: We’re not really conscious of any pressure. We’re very intent on doing things as they suit us and only if we want to do them. Because of the success of The Peaceful Atom … I don’t think we are concerned with things like getting onto radio or into magazines because we’ve already done that. The only pressure I feel is from Cliff Burton and Satan. They are adamant that I do them proud.
MF: You’ve recently had a line-up change – can you tell us about that?
CB: Miles joined the band late last year. He and Ryan were guitar pedal nerds and met at a guitar shop. About 10 minutes after we decided to ask him to join, we found out we were playing Big Day Out. It was a sign from Valhalla. His real name is actually Miles Devine and he’s a very clever guitarist and also a killer organ player. He’s younger than us so he’s not jaded or cynical yet. We’re feeding off his youth and energy to make ourselves stronger.
MF: You’ve got a free show coming up at The Landsdowne. It’s an interesting pick of venues considering you guys could easily sell out a bigger venue; what’s the ethos behind this show?
CG: We just want to play some relaxed shows with our friends again. After The Peaceful Atom came out, we were out on tour for ages. A lot of the bands we used to play with broke up and venues closed down. It’s all well and good doing big shows and tours but it’s nice to play a free local gig in Sydney with your friends and not worry about ticket sales or promotion or driving all night and things like that. We’ll be playing mostly new songs with a couple of old ones thrown in. We’ve got loose plans for one of the shows to be more experimental, perhaps just jamming and seeing where it takes us. The main thing is that we just want to have fun with our friends and play for free cause that’s how we started. If you can dig that, then you’ll dig the shows.
Regular John are playing a FREE SHOW at The Lansdowne Hotel with Whipped Cream Chargers and Kill City Creeps This Friday 19th August