Tag Archives: The Beasts Of Bourbon

Kim Salmon

Kim Salmon is without a doubt one of this country’s most prolific musical artists – and it seems that the older he gets, the busier he is.

Whilst promoting an upcoming tour for The Beasts (formerly The Beasts of Bourbon), Kim was also busy with the admin side of touring, like merchandise design, as well as preparing for his own solo shows and a tour of the USA with his other band, The Scientists.

“They’re off a week after The Beasts tour finishes,” he said.
“There’s an even bigger onslaught with The Scientists over in the USA, which is kind of on the back of the tour we did last year – we did the West coast, so now we’re doing the East coast.”

Kim said last year’s tour – the band’s first ever American tour – was successful enough to warrant another.

“Well we sold out all the shows, and they wanted us back,” he laughed.
“It’s been a really long time coming… we’ve treated them really mean so they were super keen. It works if you can stick it out for that long, until you’re in your 60s.”

Before hitting the road with the bands later this month, Kim will venture out for some solo shows to celebrate the much-anticipated vinyl pressing of fan favourite Hook Line and Singer.

“For years I’ve been flogging my own legitimate releases, but people would always say, ‘I’ve always liked that one,’ and it was on Facebook I noticed it was still happening, people would take a picture of their little cassette and say things like, ‘Oh no, it’s been all chewed up by my car, I loved that cassette, it was better than anything he ever put out.’” he laughed.

“Well, you know what I mean. So I thought what the hell?

“It was recorded after I’d done solo shows for a couple of years, so I’d sort of got it to where I could get it, and in a way there was sort of a backlog of material, so I had Beasts material and Scientists material and Surrealists material, and just me sort of material that I could just play around with, and there were a lot of songs there, so when you’ve got lots to feed off it helps for the strength of the material. So I just thought it’s a pity I never put that out as a legitimate album release, maybe I should just do it.

“It was Tym from Tym Guitars, the guy who makes vinyl records amongst other things – like guitars, as his business name suggests – he came on board with that one. We were originally going to do it for World Record Store Day, but every year it comes up to the Christmas holidays and I don’t get any work over them, it’s also really hard to pick gigs up (laughs) it’s a terrible time of year. So I thought well I’ll put something out so I can put some gigs on the back of that, so that’s what I’m doing with Hook Line and Singer – it’s really just an excuse to go out and do some gigs. But you know, it’s actually coming out in the USA, that record. I never thought that this cassette thing that I was just going to flog cheaply at gigs had any life in it at all, but it seems like it has.”

Something else with a new life is most certainly The Beasts. The band has been reborn with a new name, and is releasing a new album on Friday, aptly titled Still Here.

After the band reconvened last year for a benefit for bassist Brian Hooper, lead singer Tex Perkins encouraged the band into the studio one last time. Unfortunately, Hooper never made it.

“I think Tex realised when doing the last show with The Beasts of Bourbon, Brian and Spencer were both very sick but bravely standing up on that stage doing it, he realised it was probably the last time those people would ever play together,” Kim said.

“So he thought maybe let’s get everybody together before it’s too late, into the studio – not with any expectation other than let’s just go in and do that.

“Really, the studio was almost a case of well, if something goes down it’d be handy to have tape. But also, the fact is, I think my most fun moments with the Beasts of Bourbon have all been in the studio more so than rehearsal rooms and on tour. All the fun times I can really remember, a lot of them are in the studio. The Axemans Jazz went down just after maybe two gigs played with the band, it was just that somebody saw it and thought they’d put up some money and pay for us to go into a studio and do it a certain way… yeah, it was crazy. So nothing’s changed.”

So does Kim consider The Beasts to be a studio band?

“You would think that, wouldn’t you?” he said.

“You would think that from what I just said, that all our fun times have been in the studio… but studio bands usually means bands that labour over things and use the studio to get it all exactly right, and to build a huge landscape or whatever, or to make something symphonic or something grandiose – that’s what it usually means.

“In a way, yes, I think we are a studio band… well that’s how it’s been for me, but in a different sense, in that in the studio we’ve got recorders handy, so if things go great we can capture it. There’s a great producer I had the fortune of working with, Jim Dickinson, and one of his rules was ‘always leave the tape running, never let it stop,’ because you never know… so a studio is perfect for that.”

Kim said whilst the tragic passing of both Brian and Spencer P. Jones, who recorded At The Hospital on the band’s new album before he passed away, was a devastation for the band, they were used to the line up changing throughout the band’s career.

“For me, playing against Charlie Owen as a guitarist is a very different proposition because I wouldn’t say we’re similar, but we’re more similar than Spencer and I,” he said.

“It’s probably more the same kind of guitarist, so that’s going to be fun. It was fun playing the classic kind of thing with Spencer, too, don’t get me wrong it was great. So that’s changed. I’ve noticed that’s just a different thing now, and I’m looking forward to that.

“I think with Brian he was sort of a riffmeister, whereas Boris (Sujdovic) is more… well Brian, he was sort of out there competing with the guitars, cranking and grinding away, upping the ante, whereas Boris is more your minimalist, ‘I’m just going to do as little as possible’ sort of guy: ‘What’s the G string for? We don’t use those!’ He’s a classic bass player. Which in many ways is probably suits The Beasts sort of style, it’s what The Beasts are about. So then we’ve got Tony (Pola, on drums)… it’s a line up that’s never occurred – Tony, Boris, Charlie and me. I have no idea what it’s going to be like. I mean it seemed to work in the studio so we’ll see how it translates to stage.”

So does it keep it fresh, after 35 years?

“I think it does, yeah. If you can get away with it – there’s always the thing that people have expectations of what you are, so whether you can get away with serving up something that’s slightly different, that’s sometimes another story,” Kim said.

“I’m interested to see how it goes down (laughs) but I think the parameters of what people accept from The Beasts is fairly wide, really, it’s sort of an anarchic proposition.”

Kim said he was looking forward to The Beasts’ upcoming show at Tanks in Cairns – his first visit to the north.

“I’ve never been to Cairns. Maybe The Beasts of Bourbon have been to Cairns at some stage but I’ve never been, so I am looking forward to it because I have no idea what to expect, other than it’s going to be quite tropical,” he laughed.

“My hair is terrible at any time, but worse in wet or humid weather… I think I’ll have to just give up, stop being vain.”

Having spoken of fallen band mates and finally hitting the States after nearly 40 years, it seemed fitting to ask Kim what he would like his legacy to be, at the end of his career.

“Ooh, to get to choose,” he laughed.

“No, let’s be serious… I think things have always happened kind of slowly in my life, and I’ve always taken the… well, not the easiest path. Like the salmon, you know, I’ve gone upstream against the flow. Maybe that, you know, the end of your life could actually be like it is for the salmon when they get to their spawning ground (laughs) it could be a lovely, happy time, you know, it’s not just stuff that happens to you when you’re young. Maybe that could be something as an example – taking the perverse route or the difficult route the other way can work. You know, people have often scratched their heads at me and thought, ‘Okay, well… whatever.’ (laughs) It’s looking a bit that way, but the more I say things like that the more I jinx myself, so… (laughs) Touching the table next to me… Maybe that could be my legacy; maybe I’m yet to write that song that talks about such a thing. That could be my legacy, that’s what I would like.”

The Beasts will perform at Tanks Arts Centre on Thursday, 28th February from 7.00pm. Tickets available from ticketlink.com.au.

© Copyright 2024 | NQ Music Press