(Originally featured in Party Fears #7, October 1987)
[Triffids photo] Caption: If you don't know by now which is which then you're an ignorant bastard.
THE GARRY MEADOWS SYNDROME:
David McComb — guitars, keyboards
Will Akers — bass
Gary Jennings — guitar
Alsy MacDonald — drums
Graham Lee — slide guitar
More than just the usual string of straight Triffids shows this last time around ... one show at the climax of the Original Music Festival (the night people turned up — And An A and the Triffids make quite an interesting combination, don't they), one show at the wonderful Australian Made thing (DMcC: "Yep, me and Barnesy are just like that, maan ..."), and a truly wonderful conceptual experience known only as the Garry Meadows Syndrome ...
DMcC: "It's a bit of fun, a diversion. The rest of the band were off backing a single by Bill Drummond" (ex-Echo & the Bunnymen manager) ", so I put this idea for an extracurricular activity together. Will and I had kept in touch writing letters after he left the Triffids, so we got this going.
"I felt much better when I came back to the Triffids. Anything that keeps you fresh is good.
"The band plays a pile of covers — Madonna, Hot Chocolate, Velvets, some older covers, three really old Triffids songs — "Stand Up", "Place In The Sun" and one other — and one really new Triffids song.
"Gary Meadows was an old Perth TV personality, who did game-shows, adverts, things like that. Anything 'orrible and tasteless.
"He's dead now. We picked someone dead and also changed the spelling so as to avoid lawsuits, and also 'cos we're nice and don't want to upset anyone. We were originally going to take four 'orrible TV personalities and name ourselves Gary Meadows, Sam Kronja, Jeff Newman and Gary Carvolth, to form a supergroup, Carvolth, Kronja, Newman and Meadows, like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, but this way we get less lawsuits.
"The Garry Meadows Syndrome may get back together sometime, but probably not for another year or so at least, ie. when the Triffids are back in town."
How's the joy of being a commercial enterprise?
"It's fun being commercial, getting in Smash Hits, getting on Countdown. It's good that we got there, especially when you see bands like the Go-Betweens who seem to be hated by the commercial world for no reason anyone can figure."
How was winning one million things at the Original Music Awards?
"Embarrassing. No, it's great to win things ... It was good in that it brought attention to these bands and gave them a bit of encouragement. Though it's obviously rubbish to say that all originality is good — a V-Capri original song is not going to be a major contribution to the world, their covers are probably better-done." (No they're not — ed.)
"I really like Shower Scene from Psycho — they do lots of covers, it's what they do to them. I'm not too keen on these loads of 60's-ish tasteful acoustic guitar bands that seem to be springing up in Australia (names some). It all seems a bit limp. I like Shower Scene because they have that horrible edge."
Love In Bright Landscapes, an apparently random compilation of Hot recordings:
"That originally came out in Holland and Belgium, and now it's been released here. Most of that stuff isn't available here any more."
Whatever happened to Hot Records?
"Hot seems to have crumpled up into a little ball, and nearly nothing is available. The unavailable stuff will be reissued locally eventually — maybe on White-Hot, maybe on Island. Wait and don't buy expensive imports.
"We're now signed to Island Records. We scouted around for a long time, and decided on them 'cos we like them.
"We recorded a lot of demos, our only recordings since the woolshed — odd stuff with synthesizers and drum-machines and all sorts of things. THIS WILL NOT SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY! We started recording the new album in the UK around February and March.
"The woolshed recordings were done around April '86. We recorded about twenty songs, and used thirteen of them on the eventual LP. A lot are quite short, maybe one minute. A lot are bare sketches — maybe one or two, no more, will be redone properly. I don't like the idea of polishing something to death. The fragments suited the recording environment.
"Lots of them are like pre-rock'n'roll songs, like 30's songs."
Mmm, I remember a bunch of Triffids on 6NR one night a few years ago, playing a pile of very old records.
"I like old stuff, but I like all sorts of things. I like Shower Scene from Psycho, I like Love Pump (my favourite Perth band) ... I don't like being caught in a rut, assigning my tastes a certain category. A small-"c" catholic taste, that means a wide taste, doesn't it? Yep."
How fast do you write songs? How did you have 20 ready for the woolshed?
"I write songs not that fast. I've written eight songs this year ... or eight that I'm happy with. Put it this way, I reject two songs for each song I like.
"The woolshed songs were songs from '83 to '86 that didn't fit in elsewhere; not leftovers, just songs that didn't fit in. We probably wouldn't play them live much, if at all ... we probably wouldn't play them full stop.
Do you still write everything?
"No, Jill's written a song for the next LP and Alsy has one on the woolshed LP. The way it usually works is that I write perfectly good songs, then I take them to the band and they foul them up. Don't blame me! Unless they come out good, of course."
Where are the Triffids based, where do you feel at home? If that's the same thing.
"We've come back for Christmas the last three years. We like to spend Christmas at home. I like Perth, I do feel at home here. But then, when we're in England, I feel at home there.
"We spend most of the year based in the UK — a great place to help you appreciate Perth, oh yes, great for sapping the spirit. We'll be spending this year touring Europe, the UK and America."
Have you been trying to get to America for a while?
"We've been trying to get work permits to the US for a while. Having the weight of a company the size of Island helped us in getting them to decide that we were of 'sufficient artistic merit' ..."
"I don't really look forward to touring. I don't like travelling. I'm probably in the wrong job."