Citizenship Tests: Joe McKee from Snowman

Part 1. Geography
a. Tell us about your hometown.
Perth. Slumber town. It’s stunningly pretty and grotesquely hideous all at once. Void of any culture until you dig deeeeep beneath the surface. And there you will find a goldmine.

b. Name your favourite bands from your neck of the woods.
French Rockets, Rabbit Island, Magic Window, Cease, The Bank Holidays, The Tigers, Chrism and Fenris, Chris Cobilis, Stina, Wooshie, Pimmon – anything on Meupe, a lovely Perth record label.

c. Where´s your local and what´s it like?
My local was The Hyde Park Hotel – dingy, red walled, beer soaked, an old haunted pub. Bands set up and play on the floor seven nights a week. We played our first 20 odd shows there. That’s where every band from Perth cuts their teeth. It’s somewhat of an incubator. A couple of years back it was bought out by Woolworths and they were going to stop live music. The community rallied together and prevented that from happening.

Part 2. History
a. Which Australian bands did you grow up listening to?
I remember hearing lots of Australian music at a young age and not liking it much. Then I stumbled upon The Scientists, The Dirty Three, The Triffids, You Am I, The Tigers, The Birthday Party, Bad Seeds, Go-Betweens … all the obvious ones really, and my mind expanded significantly. Oh, and Regurgitator.

b. What´s the first Australian record you bought?
Probably [You Am I’s] Hourly Daily. But I think my sister bought me a copy of UNIT by Regurgitator a bit before. I think I was 12 at the time.

c. Who´s your favourite Australian band/artist of all time?
That is a fucking difficult question. The Dirty Three … probably.

d. What´s the most “Australian” record ever produced?
Whatever You Love, You Are by The Dirty Three. It’s the most visually evocative Australian record. It doesn’t cram the imagery down your throat like a Paul Kelly record. It just sits back and lets the listener conjour up their own dusty landscape.

Part 3. Current Affairs
a. Who are some of your favourite new Australian bands?
Super Wild Horses, Dead-before-death-gang, SPARTAK, Pikelet, Ned Collette band, French Rockets, Naked On The Vague, Fab Diamonds, Oren Ambarchi. Are these “new” enough? Baseball, Pivot, Always, Wooshie and, for all of us orphans abroad, HTRK, Devastations and Snowman.

b. If you could collaborate with one current Australian artist, who would it be, and what would it sound like?
I would collaborate with Super Wild Horses. It would sound like sibling rivalry.

c. Last great local gig you saw.
That is a surprisingly difficult question. Baseball were splendid every time we played together. So were the Drones. The first time I saw The Tigers, when I was about 15, really stands out. I saw French Rockets play at a house party fairly recently (about a year ago) to about five people. They had a laser/light show and a smoke machine all in somebody’s kitchen. That was nice.

Part 4. Multiple choice
a. Khe Sahn or Throw Your Arms Around Me?
Both in equal measure. They trigger the same kind of spasms in me. For better or worse.

b. Paul Kelly or Richard Clapton?
PK gives you a great new taste and refreshes your breath. PK.

c. Nick Cave or David McComb?
In a fight? McComb would have won.

d. Iva Davies or Michael Hutchence?
Iva Davies played the fucking oboe. Iva Davies, of course.

e. Muscles or Ben Lee?
Evolutionary development is sometimes thought of as exhibiting an inexorable trend towards higher, more complex, and normatively worthwhile forms of life.

f. Eric Bana or Hugh Jackman?

g. Kylie or Danni?
Kylie, without a doubt.

h. Picnic at Hanging Rock or Puberty Blues?
I’ve only seen bits of both. That makes me un-Australian I know. Oh well, I wasn’t even born in the country. I have heard wonderful things about both films. Flip a coin for me.

i. AFL or NRL?
I only started watching AFL about two years ago. I just didn’t understand it before then. I like the drama in Aussie Rules. The West Coast Eagles, at the time, were a bunch of petty criminals and back-alley thugs. They were like characters from a Tom Waits song. I couldn’t care less about NRL.

j. Holden or Ford?
Hillman Minx

Snowman back in the day with Joe on far right!

First published in March 2009 by Darren Levin. The second Mess + Noise Citizenship Tests type interview, I’m re-posting a few old ones of these on my blog over the next few days! I kind-of intro it yesterday so have a look at that, if you have no idea what is going on here? But basically it’s the stupid thing of how Aussie are you?

  The band Snowman are no longer around anymore but Joe has just released his wicked great second solo album. I’ve included the very last Snowman album and that brand new McKee at the very top of the post, you know? I’ve selected the Aussie songs to go with Joe’s answers and somewhat space or outer space theme appear. Maybe because I’m from Perth too and there is a hell of alot of space here!

Cheers 🙂


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