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Gravel Samwidge: Probe Choice.

20 May 2002 | 12:00 am | Kane Barwick
Originally Appeared In

London Calling.

Gravel Samwidge launch the Area 52 7” single at the Paddington Workers Club on Saturday.


It’s nice to occasionally interview someone who is talkative. The brains behind stalwarts Gravel Samwidge, Mark, was as keen as they come. We discussed the elongated history of his band. So here are the edited highlights of the Gravel Samwidge story, just before the release of their debut split seven inch.

“It’s a London thing. They have their own magazine called Probe and a label called Area 52 Records. It’s a split seven inch release featuring four bands: us, Truman’s Water, I’m Being Good and Penthouse.”

“We actually formed in Sydney quite a few years ago. We used to play on the Black Eye scene with bands like Lubricated Goat. Then we lived in Melbourne for a year or so. You could basically say that we’ve been around for ten years but we really haven’t. After Melbourne I moved up to Townsville because my folks live up there and I got sick of everyone being out of it all the time. And then we sent a tape to Triple J when they first went national with their unearthed thing. We almost did it as a joke, because we thought they’d only like nice bands. We won because they said we sounded very Australian. They wanted us to do stuff, which was a little frustrating because the guys I was doing it with up there were only interested in finishing uni.”

“Then about three years ago I moved down here. In Brisbane I hooked up with drummer John McManus, a bass player named Andrew Callan and Rob (whose also in Shuriken) plays guitar with us.”

“They had a launch for the Probe seven inch in London but we couldn’t afford to get over there. So we’re gonna do a night here instead. We’re more motivated at the moment. We’re one of those bands that need a manager because we really hate all that schmoozing and record industry stuff. The first tape we ever sent away was for unearthed.”

“When we played up in Townsville, just for a hobby almost, we were completely misunderstood. Even down here there aren’t any other bands doing what we’re doing which is great. Y’know we get put on all these different bills and none of them suit us. And now that we’ve added keyboards we’re headed in an analogue direction.”

“John our old drummer came up with the name way back when we started out. We were pretty bloody young then. We were trying to think of a name that was as abrasive as we sounded. We’ve always been into making up our own chords and stuff like that.”