Oh The Horror!

1 June 2012 | 1:29 pm | Steve Bell

They started out their life as a simple party band, but inevitably The Horrortones have entered the recorded realm with a triple seven-inch boxset. Frontman Pete Collins tells Steve Bell about doing things for sheer fun and why they aren’t a fucking cover band.

They started out their career as a humble all-star Brisbane party band, but over time The Horrotones have become entrenched as a fixture on the Brisbane live scene, their soul-drenched covers and goodtime attitude enlivening many a bash over the last few years. As such it's not surprising that they've decided to eventually release some music – a collection of great covers by acts such as Bob Seger, The Contours and The O'Jays (via The Dirtbombs) – and it's not really even that shocking that they've decided to release them as a triple seven-inch boxset, for this is a band designed from the outset to take the road less travelled.

“It was one of those things where we were going to do a triple-gatefold, and it was so hard to actually find an example of a triple-gatefold – they're pretty much non-existent,” laughs frontman Pete Collins. “Tom at Rocking Horse had a Jesus Lizard triple-gatefold which was a promo from Sub Pop in the mid-'90s, and we took it everywhere but basically no-one could work out what to do. The other idea was doing a boxset, because we wanted to do something different for our launch and being a bit of a soul band we wanted to stick to seven-inches, so why not record three seven-inches and put them in a boxset? It's an instant seven-inch collection!”

Even though The Horrortones contain luminaries from such local stalwarts as Vegas Kings, Texas Tea, SixFtHick, The Sips and The Stress Of Leisure, to name but a few, according to Collins it was never really meant to be a recording concern.

“No, it was always going to be a live band, but we never had anything to sell at shows and people were always asking for stuff, so we decided to a couple of seven-inches – which in turn turned into the boxset,” he continues. “But we recorded these songs nearly two years ago, so it's not like it's been at the forefront of our minds – we were never going to be a band existing to put stuff out, but when we do we want it to be a bit different. We're a live band at the end of the day. We want to be a party band, and some of the favourite party bands that you see live don't cross over to listening at home because you don't have that same energy and atmosphere, so we'd prefer to be known for our live shows.

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“It was originally started off as something that should and would mutate – one of the main concepts of The Horrortones was for it to be a band that never had a permanent member, similar to The Party Boys from the '80s. It's great having that idea where anyone can be replaced for any show – there's no set line-up, ­ if someone has to miss then someone else can come in and do it.”

Playing devil's advocate for a second, an uneducated person might ask what the difference is between what The Horrotones are doing and those reviled cover bands that are the bane of every pub-goer's existence.

“We're a party band – there's a difference,” Collins says sternly. “I think a cover band plays music that everyone in the audience wants to hear, whereas we're a band that plays music that we want to hear. A cover band also is a band that plays popular songs that the audience will recognise, but we like to play songs that people may not recognise but will still make them want to act as stupid as we do.”