Back in November of last year, the first signs of life began to emit from the Mark Of Cain camp. After a roller coaster few years, the band managed to hammer out the full-length album Songs of the Third and Fifth. Fans hailed the release as meeting and surpassing their expectations. Now, as they prepare to hit the road, we got talking to founding member John Scott about everything that’s led to this moment.
Following the success of the band, John had started a career as an engineer for the Defence Force, but he wasn’t loving it, and this is where the story begins:
“I needed a break. You just get sucked, you know? It’s not 9-5 into it and it gets hard. You find you start working these hours, but after my relationship split, selling the house – and all the other shit that went with it – I thought, ‘Fuck this, I don’t even want to work.’”
I briefly shared with John my experience that morning of seeing a Facebook update informing me that my own ex was now in a new relationship. “Fuck em, we just gotta forget about em,” he laughed. I thought I’d bring up something more positive.
Whether or not he knew it at the time, the events John went through would ultimately lead to the triumphant return of the great The Mark Of Cain. “We had John Stanier [drums] playing for us, obviously, and we wanted to do another album – we were talking about that back in 2005. It was just a matter of getting him here, he’s been playing with Battles and Tomahawk, and sometimes we’d only get a rehearsal once a year if he were in town.”
John does explain that he is also partly to blame for the delay, adding that “life” simply got in the way of adding the final touches to the release. “I was going through a big split-up, leaving work, going back to ground zero basically, but this was the one thing I had going for me – it was sort of a lifeline,” he says.
Fast-forward to 2013 and not only have The Mark Of Cain released Songs of the Third and Fifth, but the band will also be embarking on a national run of tour dates. How did it feel after all those years? “It feels bloody good to be back, I’m happy. It gives me a purpose, I’m very happy to be playing again.”
It was a hard fought return, even into the final moments as the group considered the possibilities of a permanent drummer. John (Stanier) was touring with Tomahawk, but a new recruit, Eli Green, rose to the challenge. “What were we gonna do, you know? John couldn’t play, Eli fitted the bill. He’s a bit different from John – he’s part of the Mark Of John package, so there will still be people disappointed, but they shouldn’t be.” John assures us that next tour, Stanier will most likely be performing, and it seems as though the fans are happy with the outcome too. As John explains, “Things are really good, it’s getting great reviews. There wasn’t any formula or anything, if anything, I went into vocals with a bit more melody, previous stuff was just… barking it out. There is still a bit of that on there, but this is everything that is The Mark Of Cain, but plenty that it’s not. I dunno, whatever… It’s worked out… Something worked.”
The new album also caught the attention of a long-time friend and past collaborator Henry Rollins, who’s featured on the track Grey 11. “We’d always catch up with Henry whenever he was in Adelaide. I was the one, I think, that had that bit in the song, but I thought what a great part for someone like Rollins to sing, and we had that connection, so we asked if he wanted to do it and he was like, “Yeah, fine!” This was what it took to get Rollins out of musical retirement.
You can get your hands on Songs of the Third and Fifth right now, and the live show will be making its way through to you very shortly. The Mark Of Cain are back and seem way more focused to fuck shit up than ever.
The Mark Of Cain kick off their national tour TONIGHT in Adelaide before trundling off to Golden Plains and capital cities across the country.
Friday, 8th March
HQ, Adelaide, SA
Tickets $38.90 + bf from www.venuetix.com.au ph: 82258888
Sunday, 10th March
Golden Plains, Meredith, VIC
Friday, 22nd March
Coolangatta Hotel, Coolangatta, QLD
Tickets $33.00 + bf from www.thecoolyhotel.com.au
Saturday, March 23rd
The Metro, Sydney, NSW
Tickets $41.90 (includes booking fee, some transaction fees may apply) from www.ticketek.com.au or ph: 132849 also www.metrotheatre.com.au or www.feelpresents.com