Interview with Lucas George, East Coast Goth Shaman Music Man
The other week I sat down with a bloke named Lucas George in my kitchen with a bottle of red wine, a 6 pack of beer, two pouches of tobacco and a dicta-phone. Lucas is my spiritual guru, and I’m not the only one on the east coast of Australia who would describe him as such: the man is incredibly perceptive, and has a knack with Tarot cards. Lucas and I became friends through Peter Bibby; there were a few loose nights hosted at Christmas Street when I got back to Melbourne earlier this year, and Lucas was often there with a big grin on his face, and we quickly bonded over philosophy, writing, being extremely analytical and quieting our analytical brains with booze.
Lucas plays in a band called Whipped Cream Chargers, and does rad solo music stuff that has a sort of Dirty Beaches feel. Whipped Cream Chargers will be in Perth for the first time probably when this mail-out is sent forth to all you lovely subscribers, and I’m very excited to have this crew of Melbourne folk arrive, so many good buddie for Perth to find and learn and watch and listen to! Put them in the Indian Ocean!
I don’t like standard question answer interview things in words, and our interview went for like 2 hours and on all kinds of tangents, some of which cannot be repeated but might come out in like 20 years when no one gives a shit about our careers any more and we attempt to revive them by releasing it in full, when everyone we talk about is either dead or too rich/over it to care about how we described our feelings about these people to each other in 2014…
So this is some of it.
The Creation of Whipped Cream Chargers:
Lucas, Louis and Jeff were in a band together, but that band got really fucked, other members of the band got in to heroin, and those three guys not on the smack wanted to do something that was a bit more fun, musically. Atrocities was what this previous band was called, and they were quite dark, nihilistic, hedonistic, all black wearing crowd, slow nodding of the head in time to the music, all very very very very coooooooool, then the smack-addicted members started stealing other people’s gear so they got banned from every venue in Sydney except for one warehouse space… and they just couldn’t do it any more.
Lucas wanted to start a new band.
One day, Lucas and Jeff took some acid, and because Lucas was really in to following signs at that stage in his life, on this acid walk they would see a street sign that he really liked and would follow that, or some spray paint on the ground and go that way. They were on their way to a rehearsal with their old band, to meet Louis, and they found a box of books, while they were following signs, on Monks Lane. A box full of books that were “totally accurate” for what was going on in their lives at that point: for example: a book on how to take revenge on people, and it was really fucking brutal, describing all kinds of situations that Lucas could recognise in his life and those around him.
They took this box of books to Louis’ place, tripping out really hard. There was one book on poisons and antidotes- when they ate food he’d look in the poison book for that food and he’d see that the food was poisonous if not prepared correctly, so he’d force himself to vomit.
Someone put on Electroma, the daft punk movie- and it freaked him out. The world is becoming like this, everyone’s got their own i-pod and that’s like the helmet that they wear. Then they did some bulbs, the whipped cream chargers, Louis and Lucas did them together and they both started crying, extreme absolute joy and complete pessimism, and Lucas looked at the box, turned to Louis and was like “Do you want to start a band call Whipped Cream Chargers?”, and Louis was like “Yes, yes.” Crying, laughing; a mix of polar opposites.
They didn’t start it for four months. Disrespected by their ex-band members who were jealous of their involvement in this new band, they would rehearse loudly in the jam room of the house they shared in order to piss them off. It started off as Lucas and Louis, then Louis found Seb at a party, he was playing guitar and singing, asked him to jam/sing. Lucas didn’t like Seb at first. Lucas was broke, living off spices essentially, and Seb worked at a cafe and would bring him food every rehearsal, and thus the friendship grew in to something very close, best buddies after a while. At their first gig they didn’t have a drummer, so they “forced” Jeff to drum, “JUST ONE GIG BRO” but he ended up doing it full time.
Lucas says they were so shit when they started. The scene they were involved in while living in Sydney: RIP society, Kirin J Callinan, The Laurels, all proffessh very good styles… Lucas’ spiritual journey at that point was leading him to believe that professionalism was bullshit, in turn leading him to WANT to be in an amateur band, and have fun, do whatever you want, no dick sucking. They were shit for ages, and slowly built up a fan base, and have been together five years now. Have been based in Melbourne for 2 years.
The Sydney scene is apparently smaller and niche-ier than Melbourne, not as many venues to play in, a lot of dark stuff, a lot of suffering. They played all the venues a bunch of times, flitted around different musical scenes: psych-rock, garage etc but they didn’t really “fit in” anywhere. Some songs would fit a psych show, for example, but then the rest of their repertoire would leave the audience thinking “what the fuck is this” in a not-very-great way.
They got bored, had some friends in Melbourne, so thought they’d move there. Melbourne has been “fucking amazing”. A melting pot- they’re from Sydney, all their friends are from Perth or Queensland, everyone has moved there for the same reason, and it’s made an eclectic scene full of rad and interesting things happening all the time. We chatted about the kinds of scenes in Melbourne, how that same sort of thing exists but when it comes to our crew, our eclectic bunch, it’s less about the styles of music and more about the family/friendship connects, and respect for artistry. Which is why I think Whipped Cream Chargers, Mangelwurzel and Lalic will all have a great time in Perth, because that is the best thing about the Perth thing too- the sense of community and bro/sis times.
Whipped Cream Chargers do, however, feel like outsiders to a certain extent. Lucas and Louis are both quite social, Johnny is in various other bands. Because they try to do a lot of different things in the band, but fit in to that rock and roll type thing, and the kind of rock and roll they play is kind of like classic rock/dad rock with a twinge of something else, he feels they get pushed to the outside of things, they don’t play “cool” music though there are moments of cool… it’s just in their nature to be on the outside, they intended that from the beginning, and it has manifested, but he does on occasion find it frustrating.
Lucas hitch-hiked to Melbourne in 2010, had a crazy spiritual experience along the way (the details of which are fascinating and often quite dark, which shall be saved for another time, or a conversation with him if you see him). When he got to Melbourne, he was staying with Johnny through Jeff, who knew them through stuff from Newcastle- so he met Johnny, liked him but thought he was a total fucking weirdo. Then WCC came on tour to Melbourne in 2011, Johnny came to see them play and offered his services as a bass player. Late 2011 saw the big move to Melbourne, and their bass player at the time didn’t want to move to Melbourne, so they asked Johnny to play bass, and the band was pretty much done. Johnny is “one of the best guys that has ever existed”.
Johnny also plays in Mangelwurzel. WWC took Mangelwurzel up to Sydney for some shows, because “these guys fucking rock”- MW were a different band then, different line up, more punk, but Cosi drives that frenetic energy throughout. See: Peter Bibby’s interview with Cosi in this same mailout.
Discussions about how good Johnny is, about how we both are over analytical, about self perception and our variously-sized-at-times egos ensued. At this point we have drunk more than a few wines. We delve in to discussions about other Australian musicians, their drives and ambitions, questioning some and championing others, the question of fame, success, money, all that. And then we talk about smoking inside because we were smoking inside (the next day I was told off by my house-mate for it, I DIDN’T MEAN TO STINK UP YOUR ROOM BEK IT WON’T HAPPEN AGAIN).
What Whipped Cream Chargers ARE:
Big party dance vibes. The first show they played with Johnny was upstairs at the Gasometer, and everyone was going fucking crazy. Chicks were getting their tops off, it was amazing. That’s why they started the band, to have that cathartic experience of dancing. When people get in to it, the band gets crazier, and the crazier they get, the better they are. Vibe feeds man, vibe feeds. I’ve seen it once before- Seb takes off his shirt, Lucas throws his guitar on the ground and vibes off feedback in his amplifier, banging and crashing while the rest of the band keep the audience dancing like crazy people, all colourful and weird lookin’.
“It’s a bit of a silly band in a lot of ways, but that’s on purpose; if people are dancing, then they’re getting it. I guess what I see dancing as is this primal expression of joy, but also of many different things, and I enjoy… well, whipped cream chargers is about primal expressions.”
They like taking pop culture elements, stuff that’s been done before and turning them on their head, sapping them of their value and turning them in to something else all together. Seb has described it as a bunch of 1950s cowboys who are screaming about their loneliness in space.
“Our first do-woop song was called “Come On”- the verses are really romantic deals, like “I wanna hold your hand” and shit, but then the chorus is “I’m gonna sleep with you, you know you want me to”…
…modernise old ideas of what is romance? What is love in this modern age? If it’s all pointless, then what is the good part about here? Let’s have a dance, let’s have some fun, let’s have some drinks.”
They started off as a party band, deliberately only played at parties because they just wanted everyone to be pissed and having a good time, and getting in to their vibe which is just like let’s get pissed and have a good time, if you want to think about stuff there are some messages within the music which are intelligent, Seb’s a very intelligent guy, he’s got a lot of subtleties to his lyrics but no one ever notices that shit…
Then I asked Lucas to do a tarot reading. In my head I asked a question about Whipped Cream Chargers’ upcoming time in Perth, and unfortunately it all goes wayyyyy too long to fit in here because we’re already at like 2000 words… So i’ll make a video of it at soon, and put it on youtube. Rest assured that this little foray for all these Melbourne bands jumping in to Perth for two weekends will be an interesting time for all involved, and if you’re not going to be at Camp Doogs, makes sure you check out the shows that our multi-band Melb cohort at playing the following weekend at The Bird on the 24th and Mojos on the 25th.