Track by Track: The Datsuns
RUDOLF DE BORST reports on the classic rock rip-offs, procrastinatory jamming, and subconscious Star Wars influences that contributed to the creation of fifth album ‘Death Rattle Boogie’
‘Gods Are Bored’
Datsuns are terrible at rehearsing. We would always rather be writing new songs, so when Christian came in with the chords to this, we immediately launched into it. We opened our next show with it a day later, and it's been our ‘go to’ opening song since then. I think it sums up the band’s live show pretty well: noisy but with an underlying melody and harmony to it … somewhere.
Lyrically, ‘Gods’ is about how everyone can fall for panic in media/popular culture about disasters and doomsday scenarios: this is a recurring theme for us.
Gold Halo was one of the last songs we wrote for the album. We were listening to a lot of heavy boogie and psych stuff like Elias Hulk, Captain Beyond and Flied Egg! Ben really pounds the kit during the breakdown and you can hear us yelling encouragement: “BENJAAAAMIN!”
Even more so than ‘Gods’, this song was born spontaneously in the practice room – specifically a farm shed somewhere in the Waikato (New Zealand) – and we finished it almost right away. When we first tried this at soundcheck, there were guys practising their axe-throwing just a few metres away – it’s a real sport, you know. Christian thinks I subconsciously wrote this as a response to the imperial march from Star Wars.
I wrote this in the basement of Gutterview – it’s another track that seemed to come together really quickly. It’s about when off-hand, casual remarks hit home unexpectedly, maybe triggering something in your brain. I dig how messed up Christian’s guitar solo is.
‘Skull Full Of Bone’
Perhaps the first track we wrote for the record. Phil plays bass here, and does so live as well. I wanted to be free to just run around the studio/venue. Listen for the ‘push me, pull you’ percussion. We wanted the shit to roll too, so we really went for up-tempo, almost 60’s soul grooves on a few songs. It's in there somewhere!
‘Shadow Looms Large’
I love glam beats, that whole Sweet/T-Rex/Gary Glitter thing. On the last record it was ‘High School Hoodlums’, and on this one it’s ‘Shadow Looms Large’. I insisted that we re-record this a painful number of times to get the drums sounding just so. As for guitars, we stuck to the FUZZ theme that is all over the album. No cymbals.
‘Wander The Night’
I wrote the basic chords and idea for ‘Wander The Night’ on the night we moved to Germany to make Headstunts, and promptly forgot about it. It was 3am and I was testing gear, et cetera. Fast forward to Roundhead studios four years later, and we had a bunch of extra time left at the end of a day, so we decided to set up and record something, just to see what would happen. I played the demo for everyone once and then we recorded this. It’s the second take, I think.
This one is written about and for everyone who comes to our shows. It’s a thank you, a celebration and a plea of some kind. Mostly, I want an excuse for people to clap for me.
‘Hole In Your Head’
A song about trepanning in the 21st century.
Our best Led Zep rip off. But with faux-Beatles harmonies.
Features the Gutterview mens choir! Swedish men trying to sing like American women. On first listen, a friend of ours exclaimed, “this one swings like a horse’s cock!”. Straight up rock n’ roll, I suppose. For some reason it has this Southern kinda thing that I can't quite put my finger on. The lyrics are pretty self-explanatory I guess, shrugging off past bullshit to get the fuck on with living.
‘Colour of Moon’
Trying to get spooky in a Shocking Blue kinda way – of course, it doesn’t come out sounding anything like that. More fuzz.
I wanted to leave this one off the record, as it didn’t feel quite finished to me. Of course, this means lots of people pick up on it and decide it’s their favourite. I think this got used on MTV’s Teen Wolf. Although I if I had to pick my favourite lyric for the album, it would be this song – I really like it now, actually.
‘Death Of Me’
Another ‘jam in the studio’ number. Just hit tape and see what happens. Some amazing playing, in my opinion, from Ben and Christian here. Go on, wig out girls and boys.
‘Death Rattle Boogie’ is out now through Hellsquad/MGM Distribution.
The Datsuns Australian Tour – December 2012
Wed, Dec 12 – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
Thu, Dec 13 – The Spotted Cow, Toowoomba QLD
Fri, Dec 14 – Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast QLD
Sat, Dec 15 – Festival of the Sun, Port Macquarie NSW
Sun, Dec 16 – The Annandale, Sydney NSW
Wed, Dec 19 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat VIC
Thu, Dec 20 – The Espy, Melbourne VIC
Fri, Dec 21 – The Espy, Melbourne