The StiFi version of the 1981 hit takes the original’s focus on rising unemployment and violence in London and maps it onto the lockout laws which have impacted Sydney’s night-time economy.
Speaking to triple j, Sticky Fingers bassist Paddy Cornwall says the band were amused by how well the original version of Ghost Town reflects what’s happening in Sydney.
“A few months ago, me and the lads were listening to The Specials’ version of the song and then we all just started laughing because the lyrics are so poignant to how Sydney is feeling right now,” Cornwall says.
“‘This town is turning into a ghost town / All the clubs are closing down’… Lockout laws and the general attitude towards culture and live music in this city, and I guess all of Australia.”
Cornwall says the lockout laws are damaging Sydney’s music scene, and that a key reason why the laws were implemented has been swept under the rug.
“We kind of feel like the whole issue hasn’t really been addressed: that Australia has an aggressive drinking culture.
“I guess it’s an educational thing and it’s an awareness thing and that’s going to take time, things like that don’t just change overnight.
“You can’t just shut down a city and expect everyone’s going to go home to bed and that nothing bad is ever going to happen again — it doesn’t really work like that… It’s going to be up to new mums and dads to try and teach their kids how to drink [responsibly].”
A music video for Sticky Fingers’ version of Ghost Town is also said to be dropping later this week, featuring the StiFi boys cruising around Sydney “in a pretty sweet car” — kind of like the music video for the original track, only in a more modern car.
Speaking about the video, Cornwall says, “It’s more or less a total rip-off [but] our spin on it obviously. It was one to cross off the list to do [a clip] that involved a cool car, which is our friend Jamie’s gold Mercedes and we’re all looking pretty schmick.”
Sticky Fingers have been working on their third album in their studio in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville. The follow-up to last year’s Land Of Pleasure is “taking slightly longer than anticipated”, but the band are excited about their shift in direction.
“Land Of Pleasure was different from [2013 debut album] Caress Your Soul and this one, once again, is sounding really different. So we’re pretty excited to get into a big dope studio with [producer] Dr Dan Hume in December/January and smashing it out,” Cornwall says.
Catch Sticky Fingers’ new version of Ghost Town below, alongside the original. The band are set to perform at Originals Music Festival, Castaway Festival, This That Festival and VANFEST later this year.
UPDATE 14/10/15: Sticky Fingers have released the music video for their cover of Ghost Town. Catch it, below.
Watch: Sticky Fingers – Ghost Town (The Specials Cover)
Watch: The Specials – Ghost Town
Gallery: Sticky Fingers – Groovin The Moo 2015, Maitland / Photos: Maria Boyadgis