The Uglies and Lethal Dose Records, a interview with the mastermind moose about “how i run a successful label” and dinosaur eggs…
First of all, could you give us a short introduction of who is in The Uglies, and who came up with this name?
The Uglies is me – Mr Perfect – on guitar, Jonno ‘Boy California’ Klynsmith on drums, DOC Coleman on bass and Lord CHONGO Simmons on the mic. We went through a few names at the start, initially we were Sawblades because Tye’s dad was in an old Adelaide punk band called Septic Sawblades back in the day. Tye wanted to change the name to ‘The Ugly Teenagers’ which I thought was fucking stupid because we are all old cunts. We settled on THE UGLIES and I forget why, but I like it.
In july 2015, you released a 6 song demo via your own label “Lethal Dose Records”. Are you working on something new at the moment?
We just done a LP and it’s going to smoke everything else that will come out this year.
What does the cover artwork mean?
The pic on the front cover is of Phil Walsh, when he played for Richmond in the VFL. He coached the Adelaide Crows in 2015 but was stabbed to death in bed by his son. This was our tribute to the man.
When did you start your own label and which
bands you already released? Give us a short overview.
First of all, running a label is a thankless task that I would recommend to nobody. Actually, if I hate you and you’re reading this, start a label. But that won’t happen because nobody I hate in hc/punk does any heavy lifting at all. Hahahaha.
I started the label to release cassettes for my old bands Radlock and Starvation and it went from there. Starvation actually made 200 demo tapes and sold them all pretty quickly which is fucking crazy. If we put out a record today that was the equal of Ride The Lightning I think we would struggle to sell 150 of them. I’d dabbled in putting stuff out before, like I’d put out a couple of tapes myself and a polycarbonate pressing of an old band I’d done, but I wanted to be more serious about Lethal Dose.
There were some teething issues but I am reasonably happy with a bunch of the releases I did with the label. Easily the most popular releases the label did were for Manhunt, first the split with Internal Rot they did before I joined the band on bass, and then the self-titled LP. I think my favourite releases are the Starvation demo, The Uglies demo and the CUM 7”.
I heard few weeks ago Lethal Dose doesn’t exist anymore. Why you quit the label?
Because it’s the most expensive and pointless hobby in the world. You’re better off collecting fucking dinosaur eggs.
You are from Adelaide, tell us something about the local scene there. Its not your first day in hardcore and punk, can you see changes to the better or the worst in the last couple years?
Yeah – it was mad when I started going to gigs and now it’s shit. But it’s a combination of factors. I’m a lot older and have been involved with music pretty heavily for a long time; watching the number of payers at shows dwindle and people drift away from what was a really strong scene is depressing.
Adelaide was a really tight-knit scene for a long time, when I started going to punk shows the bands were admittedly like…. pretty average. But they were OUR bands and people felt such a strong personal obligation to them and were personally so invested in them. There was this band called The Jerks, and honestly when they would play interstate like 20+ people would go along as well just to support them. Like picture that, a convoy of punks on the road going to support their friends’ band. That shit was awesome.
Equally, Adelaide HC in the 2000s was one of the strongest and most fanatical scenes in Australia; with bands like I Killed the Prom Queen, Day Of Contempt, and Shotpointblank in the early 2000s and later bands like Jungle Fever and Stronghold being very popular all over Australia. JF was such a pivotal band for me, they were a local hardcore band playing the kind of hardcore I wanted to hear – they had great, short songs, genuinely catchy and funny lyrics and had a great vibe live. I think back on going to see them with great fondness because when you’re 18 going to see a band where the members are wearing Minor Threat and Bad Brains shirts is like such a buzz. Maybe it’s not now because every cunt has the internet and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of hardcore and are already jaded by the time they are 16 but whatever fuck them.
In the late 2000s the scene centred around bands like Snake Run, Stolen Youth, The Weight, Maverick, Infection and Can’t Relate and shows were great fun and now I was in the thick of things playing in a band called Sledgehammer and man was I amped on the core, running a distro, going interstate for shows, buying heaps of records and just hanging out and talking music all the time.
This enthusiasm led to the formation of Animal House which served as Adelaide hardcore’s rallying point in the early 2010s and seriously some of the best times of my life. To be able to say I had a part in forming a space where people from all over the country and the fucking world that I look up to played to this day fills me with enormous pride. I left the space in early 2013, but passed the baton to a younger crop who kept putting on awesome shows and kept the space vibrant and exciting and even exceeded anything I could have possibly imagined for it.
It’s all started to unravel in the last couple of years though, and Adelaide HC is on life support. In fact, the Uglies first show was Animal House’s fifth birthday in 2015, and one of the bummest vibes I can remember. So it’s been hard for us to gain much hometown momentum because there aren’t many shows or people interested. But that’s life in the core in 2017 I think. At the risk of editorialising, I blame people with limited personal investment and attitude problems for carrying out some weird misguided agenda against the space and by extension the music. I hope you’re fucking happy because I am not! If you don’t like it why don’t ya just FUCK OFF.
So yeah. This turn of events has a big part in the identity and agenda of The Uglies – it’s sarcastic and hostile and snotty and I really hope it’s polarising, but in reality I doubt we have the prominence for anybody to have much of an opinion on it. But we are plodding along regardless. Bands like All In and Level are forming their own scene which is cool to see and there are shows starting to happen again.
Back to the The Uglies, which bands influenced you sound and the band?
I have three rules for the band
My sister gave me this book about DIY and independent bands in the 80s, and of course the best chapters were about Ian Mackaye’s bands. He would refuse to use effects pedals in Fugazi and just plug straight into his amp with no crap muddying up the signal. So that’s rule number one.
Only use barre chords
The band is most influenced by garage and surf rock, early US hardcore (negative approach, dead kennedys, bad religion, fear, minor threat etc), early Australian punk (the victims/Saints), and even stuff like Rancid and The Offspring.
The second edition of your demo cassette has a green cover with Australian football players, right? You guys have a special relation to that game or is it only for fun?
The cover on the re-press is the same as the first press, I just used all different coloured paper I had laying around for both. Most of them are different colours. Sorry completists 🙂
I love Australian Football. I live for it. I’m a different person when the season is on. Colours are more vivid, smells more evocative, the days less hum-drum… because that weekend human-kinds rawest passion is on display.
You moved from Adelaide to Melbourne. Is it
difficult to practice or to keep the band alive in general?
We did not practice between August 2015 and November 2016. So no, it hasn’t made a difference.
I cant find the lyrics to your songs, please tell us in few sentences what the song “we are the uglies” is about!
‘We are the best – fuck you’
Meanwhile, there are lot of good bands in Australia. Do you have the demand a label or something like that again?
Are you planning any shows with the uglies in the next time or maybe a tour to Europe?
Our next show is at Total Attack in Brisbane at the end of April, ahead of that we are looking to play in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide obviously to promote the record. Personally I would love to go to Europe, I’ve never toured there before and want to do it before I get too old to do that kind of shit anymore.
With which band would The Uglies like to play a show the most?
Melbourne and Adelaide, can you compare the cities in relation to their scenes?
Melbourne and Adelaide are my two homes. I was born in Melbourne, my parents live here and I’ve spent heaps of time here over the course of my life. I feel a massive affinity with it, I love the city and the constant buzz it seems to have. At the same time, I grew up in Adelaide and led a pretty quiet suburban life throughout my young and adolescent years, and only really started going to shows late in high school, so my introduction to both scenes was almost concurrent because I lived in Melbourne for a little while right after school.
And yeah, they are really different. Just by virtue of being a bigger city, Melbourne has just always had this unmatchable lustre about it, a bit of the old RAZZLE DAZZLE, Adelaide has long been the workhorse, and unfortunately now it’s the wheezing, battered one that’s been flogged to death. Mind you though, I would go see Straightjacket a lot in their formative years (mid-2000s) and nobody would go see them and they’d go just as fucking hard in front of 20 people or 200. Melbourne has always felt like a national hub to me, people will come from all over the place for shows, but Adelaide is just kind of it’s own thing, a bit isolated, which is cool too.
When you’re an interstate band playing Melbourne, it’s where you most want to be good, and I think that pressure either makes or breaks bands. Most of the wildest and biggest shows I’ve been to in Australia I’ve been to have been in Melbourne – it’s like the EVENT city or something. Also everyone that moves somewhere typically moves here, for better or worse. I think half of Melbourne punk is actually from New Zealand.
To cover negative aspects, Melbourne has always had this superiority complex which has driven me mad, and equally the opposite is true of Adelaide. Adelaide’s a smaller city so nobody from ‘cooler’ places like Melbourne or Sydney takes them seriously.
This perceived inferiority has plagued Adelaide in recent years, as has constant efforts by losers from the periphery of the scene spreading bullshit online and disrupting the unity of the scene by pitting people against each other. Pathetic shit – those people can drop dead for all I fucking care. They know who they are.
Melbourne has the opposite problem. The most banal of accomplishments is met with the most outrageous fawning it’s sickening. Plus there’s just so many gronks that just rock up to shit to start fights and mosh like wankers and their coward friends let it happen. Truly lame. But whatever if that’s ya thing do it just stay the FUCK away from me – thanks
Any last word? Is there anything else you’d like to add to this interview?
Our record is out soon on the No Patience label check that shit out www.nopatience.org punk is love UNITED AND STRONG
Based in Melbourne, Australia.