Image stolen from Eddy Current’s website, photo orignally by Brett Frost
Alright, let’s get it out of the way – that title is straight fucked. But look, what was I going to do? Eddy Current have just been announced for Golden Plains 10th Birthday, and they’re going to be headlining the Sunday night. What else was I going to call this bloody article? It’s like Aunty Meredith was begging us: “OI! REMEMBER THAT SICK SONG THAT EDDY CURRENT DID? MAKE A PUN ABOUT THAT!”
Although I’ve fallen victim to the bait, my excitement hasn’t wilted. Why? Because Australia’s greatest group is coming out of retirement. There’s a whole generation that missed out on watching this band, a whole stream of teenagers and twenty-somethings, like myself, that thrived upon classic ECSR dynamite like “Get Up Morning” and “Which Way to Go”. Sure, you can look up one of the band’s many bootleg performances on Youtube, or their full set as part of triple j’s Live At the Wireless. But everyone knows that beholding Brendan Suppression throttle an audience through a computer screen is essentially musical porn, erotic punk voyeurism that pales in comparison to the real thing. I want to smell the sweat in the air, I want to feel the splashes of beer hailing down from a mosh of drunk punters. I want to hear Brendan’s gloves snap around the microphone, I want to hear Mikey Young’s guitar strings crackle, Brad Barry’s bass guitar propulsions and Danny Young’s drumsticks threatening to fracture the skins he beats. I want the live experience. I want to say that I saw what everyone else got to see.
Now, don’t take that to mean that this article is about mere bragging rights. Sure, the opportunity to witness ECSR doing what they do best is a claim worth lording over those who weren’t lucky enough to attend. But this desire, nay, NEED, extends further. It’s about completing the experience. Y’see, a band, especially one like ECSR, has got their entire legacy split into two parts: the recording and the performance. Now, the recordings, they speak for themselves. You’ve got five albums: three studio records, one compilation of 7″s and rarities and a live split with The UV Race. I think it’s fair to say that these albums are all works of art. No one is denying that, are they? WHO THE FUCK SAID…oh, that was just a cough? As you were, mate, as you were.
See, every few years, there’s an album, a loud, brash, unhealthy thing that smashes through the windscreen of the careening rock underworld, and gets thrown on a stretcher, into the hospital lights of the mainstream. Bloody and bruised, the band sits in a daze as concerned doctors and nurses of the media and music industry look on in disgust and concern. “What is it? Is it okay? Can we save it?”. Stretching back to The Saints, The Birthday Party and Radio Birdman, there will always be that album that explodes into the view of impressionable kids previously obssessed with dumb stuff like school, and it changes their worldview completely. It reaches up from its graveyard headquarters, and pulls the innocent child into its zombified dwelling, where they will marinate in the juices of the undead and decomposing. They will begin to treat music as a lifestyle, an adrenaline injection of stories, chords and vitriol that fuels their day to day lives, sucking them from their homely oasis, and into the hellhole of local bands and pubs. Recent examples could include The Drones’ “Wait Long By the River…”, Dick Diver’s “Calender Days”, and Royal Headache’s self-titled. Blank Realm look like they’re on their way there, but that’s an influence that remains to be seen (fingers crossed).
For me, ‘Primary Colours’ was the album that changed my perspective on the world. I consumed it at the ripe age of 15, and it was a record that seperated me from my previous infatuation with Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Stone Temple Pilots. It made me realise that there was actually some crazy shit happening in my own backyard. With the aid of Straight Arrows and the aforementioned Royal Headache, ECSR opened my eyes to a thriving scene of people with instruments, assembling music that anyone could make. A few pedals, a coupla chords, and your mates – BOOM! Bob’s your uncle and you’ve got a garage band. But what seperated ESCR and these other garage bands, and indeed, what inspired a young ginger kid with no friends to dive into the world of local music, was the energy. The appeal of Eddy Current Suppression Ring wasn’t necessarily apparent in their traditional skill, but the way they translated raw power into an album of recorded music. Their charm, and by an extension their legacy, exuded from that unmatched foercity. The poetry of their music was a culmination of their un-apolegetic Australian identity and unbudging adoration of rock n roll music. They tore away the bullshit that was so evident in many of their peers, and commited themselves to making music that could be judged purely on its merit of making you smash in a fucking wall.
‘Primary Colours’ persists with a listenability because ECSR created an essential, timeless portal that transcends other rock albums. It gets to the meat and bones of the soul, and refuses to loosen its vice grip. It’s a masterpiece because it understands the same basic values that have made classics of The Stooges’ ‘Raw Power’ and Black Flag’s ‘Damaged’. ECSR understand core concepts – lust, boredom, confusion – and boil it into steaming aggression custom made for any hormone-addled kid who wants to fuck and rock their way out of adolescence. You could travel to any point in historu, chuck on “You Let Me Be Honest With You”, or “Anxiety” and be met with raging grins and rabid reactions of glee. Personally, it was that understanding that rock music could open the gates to a more manic human being inside of me that eventually leeched its way into other facets of my life, and bascially, that’s how I’ve ended up as a foul-mouthed fuckwit who spends more time flipping through records than being a productive member of society.
So, Eddy Current’s records cracked open who I am now, and I’m certain they’ve lubricated the process with a fair few others. But unless you had awesome parents or a fucking great fake ID, there’s a lot of kids between the ages of 18-23 that have never been afforded the opportunity to see the band. There’s also legions of fans who have gotten into the band after they went on hiatus. In the time since ECSR called it a day, their influence has grown at a parasitic rate. Nearly driven to insanity, feverish and blind, these fans NEED to see their favourite band. We NEED to complete the second half of the equation. We NEED to chew upon memories of our favourite rock n roll group jumping up and down on a stage in rural Victoria. We NEED this, or we might just fucking die.
For this reason, it’s just incredible that we are going to be afforded the opportunity to see Eddy Current Suppression Ring headline Golden Plains Festival next year. It’ll probably be really good. Maybe not the best show they’ve ever performed, but that’s not really the point. It’ll be relieving to close the gap on the ECSR fandom that I, and many others, have been festooning on for the last five years. In just a few months, when the lights dim and the band walk off stage, tired but exhilarated at their first performance in yonks, I’ll stand in a field of strangers, covered in mud and chest heaving. Cheers will fade to mild chatter as the next band begins to set up. But who gives a shit? I got to see Australia’s greatest band in the flesh, and it’s probably going to be one of the most important moments in my brief life so far.
The 10th Golden Plains will take place March 12-14th at the Meredith Supernatural Ampitheathre in Victoria. Ya gotta be in it to win it, so head along to the ballot here to be in the chance to buy a ticket. I’d really prefer if you didn’t because then there’s better odds for me to win, but whatever.
P.S You really should buy all of Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s records ‘n stuff here. Trust me, there’s worse things to drop cash on than three flawless albums that have influenced a generation.