Scarecrow Wallace: Smokin’.

19 August 2002 | 12:00 am | Eden Howard
Originally Appeared In

Back In Stack.

Scarecrow Wallace & The Smokestack Orchestra play the B Lounge on Thursday.

If you’ve not caught a Scarecrow Wallace & The Smokestack Orchestra set, you’re missing one of Brisbane’s musical gems. The trio take you on a twisted ride through some hard rocking swamp grooves, pummelling your senses, and compelling you to move your feet.

“We all grew up in the same town, Alstonville, outside of Lismore,” explains frontman Tal. Myka is my sister, so she was one of the first drummers I ever played with, and the first band I was ever in was in high school with Dean. In 2000, we all found ourselves bored in Brisbane, so we scraped ourselves and our influences together, and this is the result.”

The band has a really unique approach, where does the heart of the sound come from?

“A healthy respect for all kinds of music from all decades, an urge to stamp our feet and the realisation that rhythm is at least as important as melody. Oh, and guitar played through bass amp. I could stand pointing fingers at influences all day, John Lee Hooker, White Zombie, Tom Waits, Clutch, George Clinton, Jon Spencer… It’s dance music for people who like rock music.”

Although it’s absence isn’t obvious from the bands sound, why no bass in the line up? Does it give you more freedom to experiment than if the position was filled?

“At the moment I don’t think we need it. It’s not like we’re anti-bass, but bass guitar is by no means a necessary part of rock and roll. People tend not to understand until after they hear us play. I think adding one now would only clutter up the songs. I like it stripped back with room to breathe.”

How do you think Scarecrow Wallace fit in with Brisbane’s musical happenings at the moment?

“Like a round block in a square hole. We’re somewhere between your third and seventeenth drink of the night. We’re higher than your boots but lower than your arse. We’re above the silt but still below the water.”

Tell us about your upcoming CD release. What’s on the record, how was it all put together and when is it due out?

“It’s called Under Sepia Skies. We recorded it November last year down in Alstonville, mastered it in Sydney in January. The six tracks that are on it are some of our earliest songs, we have progressed a little from that sound since then, but the CD is an excellent example of our beginnings. It’s loud and warm, it sounds like something that’s been dug out of the ground, the sort of record I want to hear. We’re in the middle of sorting out distribution at the moment, so it should be out in the next few months.”