The Clowns


These Clowns definitely aren’t the ones you would take your little sister to see at the Circus. Nor are they the sort who sport shiny red noses and bouncy shoes and hope for a cheap laugh.

These guys are the ones you would find in the Haunted House on Halloween, flicking your ear from the darkness and making you scream with delight not shriek with hopelessness.

Clowns are Melbourne’s latest punk success story, a band who seem to embrace the wreckless abandon of their craft and survive on the mayhem wrought by their music.

Put simply, they are punk rock at its entertaining finest.

In a musical world unfortunately dominated by manufactured ‘talent’ and nurtured by the premise that has been pop stars can transform even the meekest into stars on National television, it is refreshing to see a band who care nothing for trivialities and adulation, and focus more on the two things that matter most.

The music and the fans.

Typical of the genre to which they represent, Clowns formed straight from school, daring to turn their back on higher education and instead focus on the pipedream of making it in the dirty world of music.

“We formed in early 2010,” drummer Jake explained, “fresh out of High School. Three of us went to school together and then recruited the bass player and just did that for a couple of years instead of going to Uni and doing the shit you’re supposed to do after school.”

The culmination of that rebellion was one of the most amazing debuts by a punk band in recent memory. Yes, it really is that good.

Released in 2013, “I’m Not Right” was voted number 5 in JJJ’s Short.Fast.Loud Top 40 releases and cemented their growing reputation.

On the eve of their first visit to the Far North, Jake said the band is looking forward to it, having been keen on coming here for a while.
While we might not have seen these guys before, Jake was quick to give us a few pointers on what to expect.

“There’s going to be a lot of noise,” he promised.

“And a lot of potential injuries. Do you guys bring crocodiles to your shows? I’d be keen to eat a croc while we were up there!”

With the album having been out for over 12 months now, Jake says the band have already exceeded their own expectations with the release.

“It’s been really good,” he said of the response. “We’re on our second pressing of vinyl now. We sold out of the first pressing in about 6 months which is pretty much what we were aiming to do. I feel like in the last twelve months the band has definitely stepped it up. I think that since we released the album we’ve just done so many greater things and we’re playing with better bands and we seem to be getting a better response from everybody which is really sweet.”

Not content to rest on their laurels, Clowns are already well and truly under way on the follow up.

“Yeah, it’s getting there,” Jake teased.

“It’s pretty much there actually. We’re just sort of putting the final touches on it and heading into the studio pretty soon. I think maybe by the time we get to Cairns it might be done, maybe.”

When I point out that’s less than two weeks away, he laughed.

“Well, it will be written anyway. It’s pretty exciting but. What we’re doing is kind of all over the place, it’s not really one genre. It’s kind of hard to explain. It’s still punk but it’s got elements of thrash and elements of metal, soft core, hard core, just a whole mixed bag all within the heavier side of things.”

One thing that Jake says has been an invaluable assistance in the bands budding career is the help from Community Radio, and not just the one that everybody seems to know about.

“Triple J have been helpful in giving us a few plays but I feel like the stations that probably deserve more of a mention are Triple R and PBS. They play a song on regular rotation as opposed to every so often. Community Radio as a whole…… I don’t really know much about Cairns, but it’s so alive in Melbourne, it’s great. It’s just really cool to have local stations playing local music all the time! There’s no certain level that you really need to be at either to get a spot on it. I mean, if you’re a band and you’re doing something and playing shows that’s usually enough. We’re very appreciative of all the help we’ve had.”

While Clowns are currently riding their own wave of success, Jake says the punk rock scene as a whole is experience a purple patch.

“There’s some bands absolutely killing it at the moment which is awesome as well because a lot of those bands are bands that we were playing with three or four years ago and it’s really cool to see how far everyone has come.”

“I feel like we were lucky enough to have played with a lot of the bands that we grew up listening to. Tonight we’re playing with The Meanies and that’s sort of a dream come true. They are a band that has definitely had a lot of influence on us. Same as Hard Ons, Frenzal Rhomb and Mass Appeal. A lot of Australian punk from the 80’s into the 90’s, the Melbourne and Sydney punk, is probably where we’re at I’d say. Apart from that we’re really a mixed bag of influences. Kind of whatever we’re listening to around the time we’re writing.”

While admitting it isn’t really in the nature of punk music, Jake says it is important for a band – of any genre – to set themselves goals. Nothing big or too fancy, just something to let them know they are on the right path.

“Yeah absolutely,” he said when asked if they set goals for themselves.

“I mean, like I said before, selling the first pressing of the record was a pretty big one and was cool to achieve. There’s sort of been milestones in the bands career, just small things that we’ve always pushed for. Putting out our own record was one and signing a good deal was another. Even just playing at some venues, like earlier this year we got to play at the Corner Hotel In Melbourne for the first time and that’s…. if you’re a musician growing up in Melbourne that’s somewhere you think you will never play and that was a goal we had.

Now we’ve played there something like six times! Little things like that are great. Little goals and milestones you push for feel so good when you achieve them.”

Kris Peters

Clowns will be playing at the Grand Hotel Saturday, November 8, supported by Meat Bikini, Swamp Donkey, Peyote, Odius, Barefoot Belles, Rum Forest Rum, Kroovs, Oakshot and Will Carrol.

Facebook Event

Tickets are $15, music from 1 p.m

Tickets available from the Grand Hotel

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