The HOODOO GURUS are part of our musical and cultural DNA. They’re everywhere, but strangely seem to exist outside fads, genres or (what’s my) scenes.
With a collective range of influences that run the gamut from Fleshtones and Nuggets-era garage rock through to surf, Little Richard and ‘50s rockabilly legend Gene Vincent, the young Hoodoo Gurus formed in the chaotic and creative early ‘80s Sydney, as lead singer/guitarist Dave Faulkner explains: “We were looking around and seeing the remnants of the Radio Birdman/Detroit scene on the one hand, and on the other there was electronic post-punk art rock. We didn’t see anything in between and realised there’s a whole lot of music that’s not being played.”
The band found their confidence pretty quickly. “We were a bit arrogant,” Faulkner admits. “Within a few months of rehearsing, without even talking about it, it was obvious something was happening. We were just serious from day one. But our success came incrementally.”
After a pair of incredibly well received albums (Stoneage Romeos and Mars Needs Guitars) in the mid-‘80s yielded a string of instant paisley-tinged pop classics (Tojo, Death Defying, Bittersweet, Like Wow – Wipeout!) the band were ready for their early career wobbles. Ironically, it happened with one of their biggest albums, 1987’s Blow Your Cool. As Faulkner explains: “We got a little bit ahead of ourselves around that album. We had troubles with our record label – they were independent but they were stealing from us and we weren’t getting our overseas royalties; they didn’t approve of our choice of producer… We weren’t masters of our own destiny.”
Faulkner readily admits they were swept up in all the excess of the ‘80s. “Yeah the times we were in, and also getting caught up in the myths of who we were, got us away from the core of what were about. Brad was into Guns N’ Roses and was doing a lot of Eddie Van Halen finger tapping – that was not what I signed up for!” Faulkner isn’t entirely dismissive however. “It was a necessary step. But we had one of our biggest hits (What’s My Scene?) so it was a very important album for our career.”
Fast-forward ten years and the band split to focus on other projects. A few years later the pangs of reunion became too strong to ignore. After well received shows at Homebake and Big Day Out, the next step was obvious. “Those shows were a wake up call. This was a really amazing band just doing nothing. And if people say I’m a sell-out for reforming the group then let them say it. If you don’t like it – just don’t come to our gigs. Just ignore us.”
I think it’s safe to say it’s almost impossible to ignore the Hoodoo Gurus.
The Hoodoo Gurus play at the ANU Bar on Friday August 6. Tix are $40.90 + bf from Ticketek.