August 13, 2003

Senor Johnny aka The Sheek, uh, sacrifices a sombrero. Geroge Munoz photo

He's conquered musical kingdoms from Doha to Darlinghurst, and back again. He's Sheek the Shayk, a shadowy, other-worldy musical character whose true origins are obscured in the mists of time. The Sheek has been assaulting Australian audiences with his unique brand of garage fuzz since the mid-1990s. Two singles, a mini-album ("Enters the Sandstorm"), cuts on Citadel Records label and Radio Birdman tribute sets and now an album, the very rockin' "Hour of the Seventh Moon" on Laughing Outlaw, are the sum recorded output to date and present a solid body of evidence of the carnage the Sheek and his veteran backing band can unleash. Sheek the Shayk peddles a strange mix of '60s snarl, '70s rifferama and glitter punk, over which the shadow of bands like Radio Birdman, the Psychotic Turnbuckles and the Lipstick Killers hangs. The debut album's release seemed like a good excuse to bowl up some questions to The Golden One. THE BARMAN did the interrogation.. The Sheek provided the, uh, answers....

Seeing as you're a sheikh, how do we properly address you?

As I am a Shayk, you will address me accordingly.

Exactly how did Your Eminence become royalty and what does the title "The Golden One" mean?

It is royalty which becomes one. The one who is wise shall reap his reward at journey's end.

Well how does a member of Royalty end up fronting a fuzz-laden rock and roll band in Sydney? Did you come to Australia legally or as an asylum seeker?

It is the vehicle of which Sheek has chosen to journey the sands of time. The red carpet is afforded the Shayk throughout the entire galaxy.

Communing with the audience. George Munoz photo

OK, but you didn't seem to be very high profile immediately after 9/11. That's suspicious. Let's cut to the chase...give us the dirt on ASIO investigating your potential links with Al Quaeda.

9/11? Are thee a student of The Oracle? ASIO? What is this? A creature of the desert? Al Quaeda? I know nothing of this man.

Why do you wear a mask? Is it because you're suspiciously similar in appearance to one of the guys on the George Bush Most Wanted playing cards or are we simply not worthy to gaze upon your countenance?

It is you who is masked, you who fears the unknown.

Sheek: "Would you buy a used T-short off eBay from this man?"
Richard Sharman photo

"Hour of the Seventh Moon" is the first album for Sheek the Shayk. Why did it take so long?

Did the hour not convenience you? It is impossible to manipulate the sands of time.

Your first single came out on Vicious Kitten, and the label is sadly no more. The second seven-inch came out on Haveacone, and they've hardly been heard of since. What does the future hold for Laughing Outlaw?

It is true. He who approacheth the Shayk must die. But their reward shall be great, for they will bathe in my glory for eternity.

How did you con Peter Wells into playing as a guest on your album? Is it true tattoos of your countenance are now the most popular request at the House of Pain tattoo shop where he works?

Wells? Oh yes, the beggarman outside the palace gates. Of course I had him sent away. Tattoos? The countenance of Shayk is visible across the entire eastern sky.

There are rumours that some of your band members may have a connection to a former Sydney rock and roll group, the Psychotic Turnbuckles, who were once claimants to the Rock and Roll Wrestling World Title. Would you care to comment?

Royal Camels of Shayk consorting with peasants? You would be foolish to believe this.

The Sheek shows off Jacko's glove. George Munoz photo

On a different note, there's another rumour that because your band members are commoners, they are required to spend the last few minutes before going on stage kissing the Sheek's ring. Is this correct and is this why you come out on stage last?

The Royal Harem never fails to accompany Sheek to his every performance. And so to the Camel go the crumbs, and the Shayk....the cake.

Speaking of the Sydney music scene, are there any other bands that impress you? I'm thinking the Uptight might rate a mention...

Earth music? The bleatings of an unmilked goat.

On the same theme, which member of the late Thurston Howlers was your favourite?

These questions are becoming tiresome.

Happiness is a Royal Camel with something to hit. George Munoz photo

What's the most outrageous demand you and your band have made as part of your backstage rider?

It is the Royal Harem who attend my every whim.

Are many Sydney venues camel-friendly?

Wherever I journey, an oasis awaits.

Sheek in traditional garb. Barman photo.

Sheek, you sing a lot of songs about girls ("I Want That Girl", "Just a Chick", "Mary Lee", "Cage Girl", "Jane Kennedy"). How many wives do you have? HaIf it's not too personal a question, have you ever required the assistance of a little blue pill?

I believe yes, even. Seven thousand wives. Assistance? You believe Sheek to be humanoid?
Who in your band has the hots for Jane Kennedy and does she know?

It is forbidden to desire the wife of an earthman.

Senor Johnny lays it on the line. George Munoz photo.

Is it true you and your band are being invited to play live on The Panel?

It is probable. Invitations are sent from all over your planet daily.

Who wrote the lyrics for the song, "Hour of the Seventh Moon" and can you give us a translation? It's certainly the trippiest song on the album. What were you smoking in your hookah?

It is the thoughts of Sheek that are manifested by the power of Shayk and partaking of the hookah is forbidden during the Year of the Seventh Moon.

Thanks for your time, Oh Golden One. This may not be an appropriate question for someone from the Middle East where it's usually a dry argument but, seeing we're in a Bar, what are you drinking?

You may water the camels.

"Hour of the Seventh Moon" is reviewed here and out now on Laughing Outlaw.

Win a copy of the album as well as early singles in our contest here. Hurry, it closes on September 30!