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Bastard Squad
15/11/2005 (interview with Jason)



The band started 18 years ago. Please give people a brief history.

We formed in early 87 and our first gig was in October of the same year. Between 87-92 we released two full length albums (Hardcore Revolution & Shows Over), played roughly 200 gigs, and toured inter-state several times. We managed to get on a few compilations, some from overseas, and a limited number of our albums left Aussie shores. During this era, tours of Australia by international punk bands was virtually non-existent, so we didn’t really do much in the way of supports. Though, at the majority of our gigs we got plenty of local interest, and I guess we were largely responsible for a type of revival of second generation punk rock.

Between 92-2002, I was unavailable, though the band was still doing gigs now and then with John (the bass player) filling in on the vocals. During this period the band was playing shows under the name ‘Hardcore Revolution’.

From early 2003 to the present day we have played about thirty gigs, released a new album (Realpolitik), toured Sydney and Adelaide, and supported the Anti-Nowhere League, Dayglo Abortions, and Real Mackenzie’s. We have also appeared on more well recognised overseas compilations. The most recent one should be ‘Punk in Sunderland’. We also just finished a film clip, which we are sending to Aussie alternative and community music shows. Our next aim is to play the Wasted festival in England.

How has the band ethics and ideals changed since the band started, and how have you seen your audience change over the years?

I don’t think the bands ethics and ideals have really changed. If it appears that way it would be more the case of a change in focus, and that depends on what’s provoking us at the time. Being mediocre about things has never been our way. There is so much of that around these days, and in most cases its all about acceptance. But an aggressive or non compromising stance isn’t necessarily about stating the obvious or being rhetorical. If we take a stand on something, we want to know as much about the issue as possible, otherwise its just relying on catch phrases – which, in my view, is just as bad as being tame.

Our latest album ‘Realpolitik’, is, as the title suggests, mostly concerned with issues relating to U.S. foreign policy and imperialism. For us, it was no less than a duty to say something about these matters, but at the same time, there is much else to say which has nothing to do with politics.

The type of audience is relatively the same. It’s not the same people (well, maybe a few), but its always been mostly hardcore/chaos punks influenced by early eighties British punk. Of course, there are a lot of different people who come to our gigs – for instance, metal heads, goths, skinheads, crustys, skaters – they have all been there. But it’s the punks who are mostly into Discharge, Exploited, G.B.H, Chaotic Dischord and so on, who have always made up the majority of the crowd.

Which of your releases are you most proud of and why? Which was the most fun to record?

Our first album (Hardcore Revolution) was released around the time of a punk revival, so there was a lot of demand for it. In regards to the local scene it had a lot to say and was quite influential. Many punks could identify with it as it stressed the fundamentals of the earlier punk days. It did however reinforce divisions in the scene (a bit like the Exploited & Crass war), but what can I say, I’m still proud of it. Of course, like many other bands, I’m most proud of the latest release, which I must say was also the most fun to record. That’s only because I could hear everyone else out the front of the studio getting pissed while I was finishing the vocals. Should have used what they were saying between songs. ‘Live, Lewd, Lust’ has already been used as a title, but that’s probably the best way to describe it.

If you were writing a review of the band, what would you put?

They’re old, but you’d never be able to tell. Hard hitting, pure mayhem, going straight for the jugular. Y’know, that kind of thing.

How does living in such a vast, under populated country effect the amount of gigs you do? And the scene in general?

The only real problem is the distance between major cities. The scene is great in Melbourne, but confined. It effects the gigs in the sense that you’re mostly playing at the same venues, in the same city. So its not like you could play every week. That would be overkill. Touring may therefore be difficult, but gigs in Melbourne are awesome. They’ve never been a problem.

 

Which international bands have you managed to catch when they have been to Australia? And who would you love to play with?

From 83’ to now, Dead Kennedy’s, Anti-Nowhere League, Killing Joke, PIL, The Stupids, Buzzcocks, Ramones, DOA, Conflict, Varukers, and the Dayglo Abortions have all been to Australia. I may have left out some, but that’s definitely most of the international bands.

As for who we’d love to play with: the list would be too numerous to mention. First that comes to mind though would be Discharge, Exploited, G.B.H, English Dogs, and the UK Subs. Same gig, preferably.


Which bands inspired you to play in the first place, and which bands would you recommend checking out today?

I can’t really speak for the other bands members, as no doubt there could be quite a broad range of influences that gave inspiration, but in general I would have to say many punk bands from both the UK and US that were around from 76’ to about 84’. Thinking back to the original line up, the major bands would have to be Discharge, UK Subs and Chaotic Dischord.

Today’s bands? I’m not familiar with heaps of them, but Aussie bands worth checking out are: Distorted Truth, Unclean, The Worst, Charter 77, and Slick 46. They all have recordings available.


Describe punk at the beginning of the 21st century.

Its thriving. Just the same as always. It will forever be relevant and never outdated. I think that being into bands from 25-30 years ago doesn’t promote that feeling of ‘living in the past’ or give an impression of kids borrowing their parents studded leathers (even though that does happen). Its because the contribution punk makes both musically, and as a politically and socially aware movement, that it will always be necessary for any particular era or location. It cannot become stale or simply be tacked to a particular decade like most sub-cultures. There are many young people now that are only just getting into bands from the late seventies and early eighties, and nothing is wrong with that at all. Even corporate punk didn’t kill the real thing. So its definitely here to stay.

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2005/2006.

Our ‘Realpolitik’ album hasn’t been out for very long, but we still want to do another recording around the middle of next year. We want to get copies of our new album overseas as soon as possible. We’re still looking out for compilations, opportunities to send clips, finding more internet links, that kind of thing. We are on the bill for ‘Wasted’ Australia in March next year, and want to get on the one in England later that year. The more often we can get overseas the better. We’ll keep working on it.

Any final comments?

On behalf of all Bastard Squad members, from its origins to the present day, cheers for the interview. Its always good to let punks overseas know that there is, and always has been, a great punk scene in Australia. Our latest album (Realpolitik) and also second album (Shows Over – vinyl only) can be obtained through Missing Link Records, Melbourne, Australia. Our first album (Hardcore Revolution) is unavailable at the moment, but we’ll get that sorted out soon. Cheers. See you at ‘Wasted’ hopefully.


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Please note that the opinions expressed by band members does not necessarily reflect the views of this website. Punk & Oi in the UK Limited are in no way liable for comments made by interviewees.