So right now I’m in a big white van, zipping along a long grey road from Melbourne travelling west. To my left is a motley string of gnarly trees and endless fields of dull gold and white, rusty fences and occasional sheep. To my right is more of the same. But behind my head is a giant silver meat tray, almost half a van in size; an equally enormous slice of white bread; a bundle of musical instruments; metre-long tongs, hefty tomato sauce bottles and a stack of plastic Esky’s. You might well wonder how all these things fit together, and you might come to the bizarre conclusion that I’m in a tour van with a music-band of human-sized sausages heading for a gig in South Australia. You would be absolutely correct.
THE BURNT SAUSAGES are a trio of charred, reanimated meat-cylinders who came to life when a gust of wind blew them onto some magic heat beads. One sausage, “Johnny Charcoal” picked up a guitar; “Tina Tongs” took to the keyboard, and “Snags” jumped on the microphone. The rest, as they say, is barbecue history. I’m lucky enough to be joining them, along with some other musical mates, on a loop of our dry and grill-burned country. I’ve seen them sizzle on stages in pubs, theatres, country town parks and RSLs. They are a polarizing act – but for my part, not even my long-term vegetarianism has managed to keep me from getting deep into the BBQ Party spirit.
“Human bands suck!” exclaims Steph from the seat in front of me. I’m beginning to agree: why watch a band of people-punks when you can receive equally ferocious jams in snagger format? The BURNT SAUSAGES were kind enough to take some time out of their hectic sausage-schedule to chew the fat.
Lyndon Blue: I’m told you all attended BBQ college, how was that experience for you?
Snags: It was barbecue hell.
LB: Why’s that?
Snags: I was expelled.
LB: What for?
Snags: For tipping gravy on the library lady… spitting sauce on the teacher’s sweater… I didn’t want to wear a novelty apron… The list just goes on and on and on.
LB: Sounds like that wasn’t the life for you. So you formed a band… who would you say are your biggest musical influences?
Tina Tongs: The Sauce Pistols.
Snags: The Bread Kennedys.
Tina Tongs: Black Snag.
LB: We all know the three main sausages in the band (you guys), but can you tell us a bit about some of the special guests that appear during your shows?
Snags: We have the love of my life – the white bread – who appears during one of our songs “Throw Bread Arms Around Me” [a moving Hunters and Collectors reworking – Ed.] And also, Tongs Dancer.
Tina Tongs: He’s loose. Literally. Some of his little screws are loose.
LB: And Johnny Charcoal, could you tell me a bit about this mysterious figure known as “Herbatron”?
Johnny Charcoal: I dunno I’ve never seen him before.
LB: I’ve never seen you two guys in the same room together.
Johnny Charcoal: Apparently he looks just like me.
LB: What do you guys get up to when you’re not playing barbecue punk?
Snags: I chill out… in the freezer.
LB: And just to wrap up – your top three tips for a great BBQ party.
Johnny Charcoal: [Counts on fingers] Bread, sauce, onions.
Tina Tongs: Mum bringing out another tray [of sausages] just when you thought it was all over.
Q. Perfect. Any last words for your fans?
Snags: Tong on!
Johnny Charcoal: Keep sizzling.
The Burnt Sausages are on tour supporting Darren Hanlon and may or may not be coming to a town near you – suss out their Facebook page for details. If you can’t catch them live, the next best option is to grab their debut LP – “The White Bread Album” – a true meaty masterpiece, featuring such bangers (hawhaw) as ‘Burnt Sausages (Theme),’ ‘Ballad About Salad,’ ‘Total Fire Ban,’ ‘Song About Sauce’ and of course ‘BBQ Party.’