Because Death Is What Country Needs
Picture this: seven guys stomping, bashing, shaking and singing the shit out of the place. A rhythmic tour de force with the chugga chugga of a train and the howling sadness of a western wind across a midnight desert. Four years old, three albums and a couple of international tours under their belts, GRAVEYARD TRAIN have sold out shows across the country with their achingly awesome horror country. I spoke to front man Nick while the remaining members of the band played a silent game of Uno, rolling down the highway to Warrnambool.
Four years ago Graveyard Train was but a dream that popped into the head of Nick en route to his bar job in Melbourne. "The other guys happened to just be at the pub at the same time and I sort of just pitched the idea of a horror country band at them. It was a pretty ridiculous band to start with. Half the guys didn't play instruments. One of the guys plays a hammer and chain and another guy plays the washboard. It was pretty random. Obviously over the last four years it has developed quite a lot. Everyone can play something."
Despite being a bunch of white middle-class guys the Graveyard Train boys have uniquely and successfully tapped into the psyche of a zombie cowboy in order to create a perfect country sound that is so awesome and chilling you immediately want to ride your horse into the midnight desert and go ghost hunting.
"We always had this horror country idea so lyrically the parameters were always going to be kind of dark and stormy sort of stuff. On some of the older albums it was a bit sloppier and we had mummies and vampires and werewolves and all that kind of horror stuff… Now it is more about the human condition. There are a lot of songs about death and the idea of not having a soul. I'm not really interested in writing broken-hearted country because that isn't me. I may as well write about shit that concerns me—like the end of my awesome life."
Although proclaiming themselves a country band, Graveyard Train far from fit the bill of the cringingly over-produced modern day country artists. "We have been up to the Tamworth Country Music Festival like three times but it's sad because the bulk of the music up there is just that schlick modern shit.
“We go down really well up there and we have a bit of a following but there are also dudes up there who think we aren't playing country music because we aren't like that schlick sound. The Rhinestones came in and it all went to shit. Unfortunately that's popular country music. That's what is big in America and Australia as well… Country really fucked itself."
Bring your chaps and your spurs to Canberra Southern Cross Club Saturday June 7 for an old fashion hoedown. Tickets are $20 + bf. Call (02) 6283 7200 for details and bookings.