Front End Loader are far too jaded to be impressed by a pointy statue, but they’re pumped about their new brew, as frontman Bow Campbell vents to Steve Bell.
A weird thing happened at last year's ARIA Awards – Australia's self-proclaimed “least popular, relatively well-known band” Front End Loader took home the ARIA for Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal album for their sixth long-player, Ritardando. Not only did the Sydney quartet not think they were going to win, they didn't even bother turning up, leaving their friend Lindsay 'The Doctor' McDougall to accept on their behalf, delivering a speech concluding with the immortal phrase, “...let us never speak of this again”.
“Honestly, the ARIA was a really not very funny joke,” deadpans Loader frontman Bow Campbell. “It's nice to be recognised I suppose, but when we first heard that we were nominated we laughed. Basically we were completely cynical about the whole thing – none of us have any idea how the ARIAs work, how we got nominated, how anything happened – and with us being cynical cranky old bastards it was eventually our womenfolk who said, 'C'mon, we should probably go – we can at least frock up and walk the red carpet and offend some people'. So I emailed ARIA and said, 'We've been nominated, what's the deal with going to the award ceremony?' and I got a very polite letter back saying, 'Tickets are $495 per person, normally your label would pay for that'. We don't have a label, and if I'm going to spend a thousand bucks on a night out with me and the missus, it's not going to be at the ARIAs. In fact, if I'm going to spend a thousand bucks on me and the missus we probably wouldn't leave the house, we'd probably just order some shit and have some fun at home. Honestly, it's made no difference to us at all in any way.”
They're hard men to impress, Front End Loader, unless of course you're speaking their language. “Making a beer for us was far more impressive than the ARIA,” Campbell continues, discussing the band's recent brew Fresh Six. “There's a microbrewery in Sydney that makes interesting and different brews, and the guy who runs it is a music fan and had the idea to make some collaborative beers, and he asked if we were interested and we said, 'What do you fucking reckon?'. We sat down and talked about how you get the vibe and ethos of Front End Loader into a beer; it was perhaps the best conversation that I've ever had in my life. He said, 'I think it should be tight and pretty punchy, and it should be strong obviously', which was our main brief really. And he said, 'It should be fairly bitter, and I know you guys are fond of tequila onstage so we should include some dark agave syrup in the beer', which is the magic cactus that they make tequila from, and that in turn raised the alcohol content. I was feeling a bit of trepidation about how it would turn out, but once I tried one my fears were allayed. I'm happy to report that it was delicious, and perhaps the pinnacle of our career.”
Tying in with their beer, Front End Loader even decided to release some new music, with Fresh Six also being the name of their new EP. “[The song] Fresh Six is sort of about running out of beer, but it's also about dead fathers and Rugby League,” Campbell tells. “It didn't quite come out right when we originally recorded it, so we went in and re-recorded some guitars, and serendipity prevailed and we were thinking, 'Well we should do something with these songs', so it gave birth to a beer and an EP.”
Front End Loader will be playing the following shows:
Friday 23 November - Beetle Bar, Brisbane QLD
This week's new sets include music from locals Gurrumul, Josh Pyke and West Thebarton Brothel Party plus new tunes from The Maccabees and Albert Hammond Jr.