After moving from LA back to their native hometown of Newcastle – a city that according to Leroy Macqueen and Kat Friend is much better than LA – The Gooch Palms are back to work on their third album.
My conversation with Macqueen (guitar/vocals) started off unexpectedly by discussing what BC Michaels from Dune Rats had been up to lately. “We’ve got BC from The Dunies here… just hanging out for the last couple of days,” he says as we hop on the phone.
Fun Fact: The Gooch Palms and Dune Rats are such close buddies that they did “over 50 shows together just last year”, Macqueen tells me.
Speaking of shows, The Gooch Palms’ most recent gig in Sydney performed at The Lansdowne Hotel aka Sydney’s historic (and recently resurrected) pub and live music venue – home to booze, babes, and bands – was a wacky one indeed.
“Yeah that was a fun show, it was sick. I love The Lansdowne. It got way more wild than I thought it was going to be. [We had] a couple of naked dudes on stage,” he laughs.
While playing sport in high school, I got hit by a few balls in the face. I can imagine this Gooch Palms gig to be a similar experience. “Yeah, you know, that’s how you gauge a good show,” he agrees. “You’re like ‘Oh there’s no naked dudes tonight, means we must’ve played shit.'”
It’s always really refreshing when one comes across musicians who value camaraderie and humility, especially when it comes to supporting their fellow Aussie artists at gigs and festivals – just like The Gooch Palms did at Grow Your Own Festival in Foster at the tail end of last year.
“I kind of feel like I’ll be watching the whole day,” he muses, the event merely days away at the time of our chat. “I’ve got a thing about playing festivals because it’s not very often you kind of get to see heaps of bands. You sort of just get to see whoever you’re touring with, but that’s the bit I enjoy the most… Once you play you’re kind of free to do whatever you want so you just wander around. It’s sick. We head in and stay in. You can’t get rid of us,” Macqueen explained.
The Gooch Palms love to have a few bevs after their show, but beforehand is a different story. “We’re always chomping at the bit as soon as I get to a festival or just our own show. I’m just eating the hours away before we have to play… I hate waiting around… I’m just anxious to play. Let it out, it makes it more fun.”
Before a gig it is also typical for musicians to enact out a pre-ritual in order to achieve great success. Keith Richards, for example, used to insist on scoffing down a shepherd’s pie before every gig. For The Gooch Palms however, it’s is a little different.
“We only have a ritual with our sound guy we like to do… the one time that we didn’t do the ritual everything went haywire, so now it definitely needs to happen before every show. We’ve just gotta make sure we say ‘Have a ripper’ to each other… Then we’re ready to go.”
When asked what happened the last and only time the ritual was not completed, Macqueen expressed dramatically, “Everything! Everything that could happen, happened. We’d be here for four hours if I was to tell you. Yeah, I might end up in a mental institution if I bring back some of the memories.”
Macqueen then went on to reveal some of the bawdier moments he’s experienced while performing live. I must warn you… they are quite confronting.
“The only weird thing that’s happened to me really playing live is I crowd surfed one time and someone sucked my dick. As I was crowd surfing. Like, against my will too. And I still don’t know who the culprit is. Yeah I dunno… I definitely felt stubble.”
“That’s pretty fucked up.”
“Yeah it is! I was too stunned. Yeah so I’ve kind of been keeping my clothes on a bit lately…”
With the current reaction against sexual harassment at gigs, it’s prudential to remember that punters are not the only potential victims, even if this particular instance is taken with a laugh. Hands off the talent y’all.
Macqueen went on to give us an insight into some of the other 18+ scenarios that have gone on at other Gooch Palms shows.
“I’ve had like a bottle thrown at my head… Someone came on stage one time and stuck their fingers up my butt. I can take it but I’m a little older and wiser now so pants on more fun,” he laughed, unphased.
The Goochies don’t have any upcoming tours on the cards just yet, but laced with sarcasm and humour Macqueen declared: “That’s the name of our new tour that I’ve just decided! I’m going to call the tour the ‘Pants On More Fun’ tour. Yeah, you’re the first journalist to hear about the new tour that hasn’t been booked yet… It’s a press exclusive with LunchBox.”
Cheers for the info mate. We will be holding you to that vow.
In the meantime, what you can get amped for are the new tracks that they will play from their up and coming and as of yet unnamed third album.
“We’re only just going in this Monday to record the first single. Then in February we’re going in to finish the whole album. Novo’s was just like a classic first album… that was the set we had that we played… then Introverted Extroverts is kind of very similar. It was just like we started writing songs and playing them live. This is the first time we’ve ever sat down and gone ‘Alright we’re writing an album.’ It’s been a different process but it’s been good.”
On bridging the gap between partner and bandmate, Maqueen expressed his admiration of Friend’s creative output.
“Normally I’ll write the guitar and yell a melody and then Kat will either write the lyrics, or we’ll sit down and write the lyrics together. Then Kat’s really good at producing the song before you get it into the studio… It’s really good having that, you can get really carried away, like ‘Oh yeah I love this middle-age section’ and Kat will be like ‘Nah I’m not feeling that’ and I’ll be like ‘What?! Wait yeah actually it sucks.’
“It’s good to have that because me and Kat have been together for 11 years now, it’s easy to kind of feed off each other.”
How did Friend and Macqueen get together you may wonder? Oh you know… a boy saw a girl and a girl saw the boy. The rest is history. Yep, that’s a love story right there.
“[Being in a band] actually makes you forget that you’re a couple sometimes. We’re like ‘We probably should go out for dinner… do what couples do every now and then.’ It’s sick! I can’t imagine having a partner back at home and being somewhere around the world. It’d be hard,” says Macqueen.
He also expressed how keen the Gooch Palms are to get back on the road, highlighting some of the best aspects of their touring history.
“Probably the gnarliest thing I’ve ever seen is in Prague… BC [Michaels] vomited into a garbage bin on stage and then this kid drank the vomit and then every single person back stage was vomiting. Except for Kat, ’cause she’s tough.” said Macqueen.
The glamorous world of rock’n’roll isn’t always as glamorous as it seems, apparently.
To those who have read this and are now convinced into checking out tracks by The Gooch Palms, I welcome you to the fold. You’re in for an adventure. To the love me long-time fans, keep being excellent to each other and party on!