October 10, 2006

The Australian underground was an exciting place to be in the 1980s but a few worthy bands slipped through the cracks. To an extent, Voodoo Lust were one of them. Their name still elicits a nod of appreciation among knowing Sydneysiders who caught them live (especially south of the harbour) but let's be honest - you could throw up the names of other bands Voodoos members played in (the New Christs, The Trilobites, the Celibate Rifles, the Lime Spiders) and raise more reaction. It's a fact-of-life in a crowded scene that some bands become part of the furniture.

Occupying that exciting place where melody meets hard rock, Voodoo Lust delivered two indie chart topping singles and scored some of the choicest supports around. You can't wind back the clock but sometimes you can have fun trying. This Saturday (October 14), the Voodoo Lust line-up of Gary Slater (vocals), Tony "Houndog" Harper (guitar), Steve King (bass) and Phil Jacquet (drums) gets up and does it all again at The Empire Hotel in Annandale. The Barman thought that was as good an excuse as any to invite GARY SLATER into the Bar for a quick sip and a third degree.

Q Thanks for joining us in the Bar, Gary. What's everybody from Voodoo Lust been doing in recent years and who's been musically active? I know Phill Jacquet plays with the Rifles.

Thanks for having me! Cheers!

Myself, after The Trilobites, I returned to Brisbane, formed a couple of bands, The Pot Monsters and Grumpy. Recently, occasional acoustic gigs.

Tony (Houndog) Harper, played in The Hitmen, The New Christs and most recently, The Upsets.

Stevan King played with Ed Kuepper and most recently in The Raouls with Warwick Gilbert and Chris Masuak.

Phill Jacquet, currently, plays with Adolphus.

Q What was the catalyst for the band reforming?

We’re all good friends. We couldn’t think of a reason not to!!!

Q It's being billed as "one night only". Any prospects for something more lasting?

No plans, we’ve always loved playing so …. who knows?!

Q Voodoo Lust came to Sydney from Brisbane at a time when the live scene had never been stronger and certainly those days have never been matched since. Tell us what it was like for those who've only heard about it.

I guess the main difference as a band was we played all the time. We would play 3-4 gigs a week in Sydney for 4-6 weeks and then tour….. then start again. These days it seems a long time between drinks.

Q The contrast with Brisbane at the time must have been stark...

Houndog and I were in punk bands in Brisbane in the late 70’s. 4ZZZ radio started in 1977.Tthis helped a healthy underground scene. The main difference was, we couldn’t believe when we came to Sydney, we could play original music in the suburbs. Unheard of in Brisbane, to this day.

Q Are you a Brisbane boy too? How and when did you come to join Voodoo Lust and what was your history before then? I'm presuming you were there from the start?

I was born in Birmingham but raised in Brisbane. Tony and I met when we were 15. We played in bands together (3B2, The Viscounts) for about eight years before The Voodoo’s. I was still playing with The Viscounts when Tony formed Voodoo Lust. After a couple of months they asked me to join because "we need someone who can talk between songs!” They spent the next six years telling me to “shut the fuck up”!

Q Voodoo Lust seemed to fit into a variety of slots with a real pop streak mixing it with the harder rock and roll sound. In retrospect, was that a blessing or a curse?

Melody is critical, but it must have an edge! I guess it gave us an opportunity to play with a lot of different bands. As far as a blessing or curse?? Right or wrong, we knocked back a couple of major labels… so not really a curse.

Q Did you guys ever have overseas aspirations? I'm trying to recall whether you had anything released in Europe.

Whether we released anything overseas or not is a contentious point. We certainly were never paid. Twice, we had tours partially booked but never got there due to line-up changes.

Q For the record, what was the band's total recorded output? My recollection is that the "Shake Shake Hey Yeh" single placed pretty well in the indie charts. Are there any plans to re-release any of that stuff?

All releases on vinyl only -

3 singles
Shake Shake Hey Yeh b/w No No No

Stop Breakin’ My Heart b/w Gossip

Cathy’s on Heat b/w How Do You Sleep

2 EP’s
Self Titled
Life Love Booze and Bitterness

Minutes to Midnight
Skate Hard
Sacred Napkin

"Shake Shake" and "Stop Breakin’ My Heart" both went to No 1 on the indie charts. There are no plans for a re-release.

Q Tell us about some of the choice supports you guys scored. You were with Johnny Kannis' management for a while, which opened a lot of options?

Johnny was a relentless manager! We pretty much played with everyone ( The Lime Spiders, The Hard Ons, X, Painters and Dockers, Hoodoo Gurus, Divinyls, Sunnyboys, Wall of Voodoo, The Angels, The Screaming Tribesmen, The Scientists)…… so many great bands!!

We even got to support Iggy Pop !! We walked into the dressing room ….. Houndog saw this guy from behind, drinking his bottle of Scotch:

“What the fuck are you doing!” says Tony. I’ll never forget Iggy Pop turning around "…..Sorry, man,” he said. True Story!!!!!

Q I might put that supports question another way and ask if there was any band that you guys would have loved to have played with but never did?

For me… Elvis Costello. For the band….. we were booked to play the first Big Day Out with Nirvana, only to be cancelled a few weeks out because of agency management politics. Never quite forgot that one!

Q On a side note, what did you do after replacing Mike Dalton in the Trilobites? I'm sure I saw that line-up but it seemed to disappear all of a sudden.

I returned to Brisbane and played around for while. Glen the drummer joined Machine Gun Fellatio. Marty formed Spurs for Jesus. We just kind of dispersed.

Q Did that line-up record anything else besides the "Lost Generation" album that came out on Citadel?


Q Speaking of other projects, I didn't realise that The Upsets EP (Tony Harper, Phil Jacquet and Brad Ferguson) was recorded at Abbey Road...

Something that Tony always wanted to do!

Q By the way do you remember Voodoo Lust copping a really bad slagging from some prick in Juke magazine? Apparently the reviewer ripped into you for being posers with haircuts...well, Steve Lorkin has that clipping and he says the writer was me! Of course I have no recollection...


Q Anyway, what brought things to a halt after six years or so? The track record of more than 1000 shows stands for itself but was there a feeling that there was nowhere else to go?

I guess that feeling did exist to an extent. Tony did the UK thing. I had an offer to join The Trilobites. I guess it was just time to do something different.

Q What can we expect from the reunion show? Have rehearsals started?

We have been rehearsing for about six weeks. As far as the set, as Houndog put it: "I want to play a fuckin’ rockin’ set!!”"

Q Since we're in a Bar, what are you drinking?

I’m still trying to rid the world of Scotch!!!