Todd Macalpine has a quick chat with M.J Hegarty from Townsville Rockabilly band The Koffin Rockers.
“Don’t you open that trap door!” This phrase comes from a recent show at Molly Malones Townsville, where The Koffin Rockers opened with the theme music from the cartoon ‘Trap Door’. This cartoon is a perfect description of the 3-piece Rockabilly band from Townsville Queensland (A little silly, a little crazy and a whole lot of fun). The Koffin Rockers are made up of Michael Hegarty (Guitar/Vocals), Shaun Butcher (Upright bass/Vocals) and Dean Gilboy (Drums/Vocals). The Koffin Rockers blend traditional rockabilly with punk, rock, pop and country delivering an interactive and energetic show that streams across genres and generations.
TM:- The Koffin Rockers are playing Greazefest festival in August, great name for a festival.
M.J:- Greazefest is an annual festival held in Brisbane and for the first time this year it is run in Melbourne as well. It is the largest rockabilly festival in the southern hemisphere that promotes and showcases rockabilly, rock n roll music and culture. It has been running for a long time and we are proud to be asked to play there this year.
TM:- I see you have played on the same bill as Sarah Blasko, how did her fans react to the Koffin Rockers?
M.J:- The show with Sarah Blasko was with a different incarnation of The Koffin Rockers, though it used a lot of the same songs. The people at the show responded quite well as it was in front of a local crowd.
TM:- In October you are doing some Sydney and Brisbane dates with Evil Elvis from Canada, can you tell the readers a bit more about Evil Elvis?
M.J:- Evil Elvis formally KC and The Moonshine Band is hot stomping psychobilly from Toronto Canada. He is a well established musician in Canada that frequently tours Australia, Canada and Europe. His band consists of local players representing the cream of the crop of whatever country he tours. He has taken a liking to our brand of psyhcobilly/rockabilly and asked us to jump on board. The best way to describe his music is B grade movie music like, attack of the 50 foot woman or Swamp thing crossed with carnival music with a touch of the man Elvis.
TM:- In some of your press photos, it looks like you have been in the wars a bit, whats the story behind that?
M.J:- The story behind our photo shoot was to show people of the kind of people we are…Twats. We did have a show last year where a guy tried to punch us out while we were playing. He was angry because we played a Living End cover. So we figured we would be those guys. The guys that you like or you hate, it doesn’t matter. Hence the Ep name ‘These Guys’.
TM:- Being somewhat isolated from the bigger cities, what are some of the trials and tribulations the Koffin Rockers have endured being a rockabilly punk band from Townsville?
M.J:- Some of the things we have had to face would be as mentioned above, almost getting punched on stage. Travelling to shows is a big one. Most of the big shows and opportunities are down south, and even though it is a simple plane flight, travelling with a double bass is no easy task. Another issue we have had is people thinking we are a pub covers band or a jukebox. North Queensland is in some ways confused about original music and what to do with it.The biggest thing that we have come across and the thing we are most grateful for is the support we have in Townsville and in Cairns. We travelled to Cairns last year and did 5 shows in 3 days. That was crazy!!! But we made a heap of friends including the guys from ‘Big Dirt FNQ’ who want to use us on an upcoming episode of their TV show.
TM:- When was your “These Guys” E.P released and where can punters buy it?
M.J:- You can buy our EP at any live show or visit our Reverbnation store and purchase it from there.The Ep was released on the 1st of April 2013. (Yep April fools that’s us). We are in the process of writing songs for our next release, which will be a full length album. We hope to have it out before we hit Cairns again later this year.
TM:- Any plans for future Cairns shows?
MJ:- We are trying to put together another Cairns show later this year with some local Cairns bands (Jobstopper, Sworf and Peyote). This will give us an opportunity to get back up there and rock out.
– Todd Macalpine