Up until earlier this year, Mammal were one of the most promising bands on the Australian rock scene. Their unique sound was a mixture of funk, heavy rock and alternative (and more), and their live shows had quickly become legendary.
Up until earlier this year, Mammal were one of the most promising bands on the Australian rock scene. Their unique sound was a mixture of funk, heavy rock and alternative (and more), and their live shows had quickly become legendary. Word of mouth was spreading quickly, they were packing some of the larger pubs and clubs around the nation, even coming to the attention of a major American record label. Their profile was growing rapidly, and there were even whisperings of comparisons to bands like Rage Against the Machine. But it wasn’t to be.
As so often happens in bands the world over, internal conflicts raised their ugly heads to an untenable extent, and the band split. A potentially world-beating musical force was broken asunder well before time, and Australian alternative rock fans mourned this sad loss to the scene.
From loss, new hope and new life can spring though; two members of Mammal, guitarist Pete Williamson and drummer Zane Rosanoski, recruited new bassist Michael Davids and forged on to create a new band, which they called, somewhat enigmatically, Black Devil Yard Boss. Despite their disappointment in Mammal coming to an abrupt halt, the guys seem to have had minimal difficulty forging a whole new sound and identity for the new project, and have ended up having a very successful year. They released a very well received EP, supported high profile acts including Dead Letter Circus and Shihad around Australia, as well as playing their own sold out headlining shows.
“It’s been a great start!” Pete enthuses. “Anything new, you have to introduce it. Any chance you have to launch a new band, and go out and tour with established bands is an opportunity you want to take. The Dead Letter tour was huge – that went everywhere: Tasmania, far North Queensland, WA, so that was great. And I guess the reason we decided to do that was that Zane and I were riding off the back of Mammal, and the fact that we had done a farewell tour, and the contacts we made. So there were lots of Mammal fans coming down to see the band, and saying ‘What happened?’, and then really enjoying the new show… which was great.
“The Shihad tour has just finished,” he continues, “it was unfortunate that Trial Kennedy had to pull out, but we moved up the bill, and you play to more people, get a longer set. It was a really fun show, and people were starting to know the words, which is a real buzz for us.”
While Pete and Zane had made a name for themselves as being members of Mammal, it was important for them to separate themselves from that band, stylistically and musically, as well as not conforming to any existing trend or a sound that’s considered ‘now’. And so they stripped it back and simply did what they wanted to do. That is, make up a simple three-piece band, adopt a bluesier, rockier, more straight-out ballsy rock approach, with Pete being promoted to lead vocals as well as guitar duties. And it works an absolute treat. Especially live, where Black Devil Yard Boss can let rip, improvise and, quite simply, rock the fuck out. Additionally, there’s an album release is on the way in the coming 12 months to continue to grow the Black Devil Yard Boss act.
“It’s about connecting with a fan base,” Pete explains, “and people are diggin’ it, and we’re diggin’ playing the style. The album that we’re half-way through recording at the moment is very heavy blues, groove, rock-based [with] lots of guitar solos, and lots of playing around with effects and stuff. Quite simple with the hooks and the melodies. Which is extremely uncool at the moment!” he laughs.
“But it’s traditionally possibly the style of music that works the best live,” he says, “you can set up a PA in the corner of a pub and rock a room and everyone will have a good time. Yet for some reason, at the moment, it’s deemed to be uncool… but there’s events all over the country that have that style of music, and it all works live.”
Black Devil Yard Boss will round off a pretty epic year with their own headlining Christmas show at The Evelyn this coming Friday night. And this, of course, gives them the chance to wind out musically, while road-testing some new material and to give a couple of newer bands the opportunity to support them – bands that, it must be noted, aren’t necessarily similar in style to themselves. “Yeah that’s gonna be great,” Pete says. “We get to play for an hour, maybe a bit more. We’re gonna try a lot of new songs from the new album. There’s probably four or five new songs. There’s some great grooves in them so we’re just excited to try them out live before we record it. I don’t like recording before we play something live, and getting a feel for it.
“And there’s a couple of different bands on the bill,” Pete explains, “like Clowns, they’re an up and coming kind of punk band, but they’ve got a real Bronx-y style energy, a really ‘up’ energy. They’re opening the night. Then the Sure Shot Hunters, they’re really bluesy, and good improvisers and stuff.”
“I’m a man of few words!” he quips in conclusion, after a two hour plus chat over lunch and coffee, “here’s to a bright rockin’ future, come down and try something new, that’s the main thing.”
BLACK DEVIL YARD BOSS wind up a massive 2010 with a huge Xmas show at The Evelyn this Friday December 17 with The Sure Shot Hunters and Clowns. Tickets from blackdevilyardboss.oztix.com.au, all oztix outlets or 1300 762 545. Check out blackdevilyardboss.com for more info.