MOJO Sept 2003 Issue
Another garage rock band from Australia? Indeed. But this one packs heavier firepower than
most , says Nadia Plumridge.
"We love full throttle punk and always have done,"declares Rocket Science's burly, singing organist Roman Tucker.
"Underground garage, '60s punk, all psychedelic music, Back From The Grave, Music Machine, anything on Pebbles
"I've just discovered Public Nuisance and Acid Mothers Temple!" enthuses bassist David Gray.
While this could be a carefully rehearsed spiel from the mere parvenu scene crasher, Melbourne's Rocket Science
speak with the utmost seriousness. Having nearly missed their rendezvous with MOJO after Tube hassles - they fruitlessly travelled
from central London to the western suburbs and back again - they're also refreshingly cheery, drinking lager like early thirties
men vindicated by their love for righteous punk sludge.
Formed in mid - 1998, Tucker, Gray, Kit Warhurst (drums) and Paul Maybury (guitar) came together when they were
all between groups. "The Melbourne music scene's small but busy. Everyone knew of each other and we all played in a load of
different bands." says Gray, and it was via an acquaintance that Tucker sent Gray a demo of material. Thereupon, they realised
their common purpose.
The critically lauded Welcome Aboard The 3C10 followed in 2000, using the untouched demos which landed them their
record deals. the follow-up, Contact High, is a similar fist-fight of Hammond-driven garage punk, given freight-train impact
by Tucker's robust and maybury's frantic guitar-worrying.
The added imput of electronic producers Sound System, however, brings an added free-form approach, and makes
Rocket Science's sound hard to categorise. "It's an interesting amalgamation of styles, and people," admits Tucker.
"We're so analogue, we're a lo-fi orientated band. So it was interesting to work with modern technology.We walked
in with all our vintage gear, recorded it very raw. All the sounds on the record are our own, but have been chopped up and
placed where we would never have contemplated."
Fortunately, Tucker's never shied away from the random. Starting his first band, Royal Flush, as a 10-year-old
punk, he and his bandmate had a bold approach to songwriting.
"One of my friends was really into the Sex Pistols so we decided to form a punk band.Wee'd only play the top
singing in unison, in falsetto, about angel dust and stuff." he recalls."All things we didn't know about but had read
With the support of 'alternative' parents, his bandmate's mother contacted a club manager friend and Royal Flush
had their first show in the adult world, though it came to an abrupt end when a local newspaer ran a sensationalist front-page.
The band first came to the UK after Gaz Coombes saw them playing in Melbourne and asked them to support Supergrass.
"They were the best bloody band I've heard in simply ages," said Coombes. Much of the live focus is on Tucker. "I wanted to
push the organ up front , no one really does that," he sais. "I decided i wantd to write songs with this really kitch sound,
inspired from monster movies, and you can really rock out properly with an organ. it can be as tough as a guitar!"
So tough, that support slots have been bagged for such as The Vines, Mudhoney, Rocket From The Crypt and Kings
They've also been inspiring the rockers back home. In Adelaide, the Kid Rocket Scientists play sets comprised
of Kid Rock, Rocket Science and The Scientists.
"We're totally flattered. And amazed!" enthuses Gray. "It's great to have people that love your songs so
much, they want to cover them." "Unless," interrupts Tucker, "they play them better than we do." Somehow, that seems rather
to listen to a great Rocket Science interview with Nigel Bell.
|:: GIGWISE :: FEATURE ::|
Rocket Science are a quartet of Australian punks who've built up a reputation for explosive live performances,
being downright cool and every so slightly crazy. Currently supporting the Vines on their sell-out UK tour, they've also managed
to squeeze in a few solo shows. Here they share their wisdom before the Night and Day gig, Manchester on 11/05/03.
Gigwise: What sort of day have you all had?
Roman Tucker (Vocals,
Yamaha, Theremin, Dance): Well, we drove up from Bristol today so feeling a bit knackered. We had the day off yesterday so
it was a case of Bristol, Saturday night and no sleep
For those people who don't know much about you (er..I'd include myself there) can you tell me a bit about how you got together?
We started in '98 and were all in bands before that in Melbourne, Australia. We were all enjoying the live scene over there,
with a common interest in '60's garage punk'.
We're avid record collectors and really enjoy being record buffs..and we
love fuzz pedals, and loud rock n roll, and cheap wine!
Lots in common then, but how would you describe Rocket Science's sound?
RT: The whole band has such detailed
and individual influences. We're not purists though and will combine anything that interests us. Apart from that, there is
an obvious punk/ garage influence.
Gigwise: You're playing quite
a few dates in the UK at the moment, but you've been once before...
Paul Maybury (Guitar): Yeah,
we supported Supergrass last year which was great..also a good way to see the place. We've got a licensing deal over here
so we had to come back..which of course we wanted to! We'll be releasing the albums we released in Australia over here.
It's been nice to see a bit of the countryside through the van window..it's all very green. We try to see as much as possible
but have so little time.
PM: On a day off we'll go and look at the architecture in the different towns and stuff.
Every town has it's own totem, Bristol has a unicorn and Newcastle, a griffin or something.
RT: Can I have a griffin?
PM: Yes, I think so.
RT: Anyway, I wanted to get a cat for the van but they wouldn't let me. But yes, we like to
get out. There's so much more history here than in Australia. Er, does that answer the question?
Gigwise: In every possible way. So, how's it been touring with the Vines?
RT: The fans have been
really keen. Playing to a thousand people who don't know your music..hopefully we have won over a few. There were some people
pushing to the front, checking us out..but at the same time waiting for Craig. Lots of waiting for Craig! It's been quite
weird though, playing for half an hour in the daylight. In Australia we usually go on about 12.
We've been enjoying these
smaller shows though, getting ourselves in the moment, vibed up and all sweaty!
Dave Gray (Bass): Don't need
a stage to get sweaty!
Gigwise: I recently saw a talk which Our
Lady Peace gave in Manchester, giving advise to young bands etc. Do people give enough back once they've made it?
Depends on the personality. Some people think it's their God-given right to be a star and the world is there to serve them.
Some people believe something else.
RT: Yeah, we have no time for that sort of thing, like "I'm in this position
so I don't want to talk to you." That's bullshit. We just enjoy playing music to an audience and everyone's enjoying themselves.
That's what it's all about.
Gigwise: Serious music question now.
What sort of impact do you think internet downloads will have on the music business?
PM: Well, people
have been able to take music off the radio for years. If you are a fan and enthusiastic about music, you want to own the piece
of work that artist has produced.. Not a burned CD. Anyway, the music industry is always up in arms about something.
It will be the major labels that suffer; the artists are the last to get paid anyway. If they can by-pass the major labels
and people buy into music at roots level, that can only be a good thing for music.
On the back of The White Stripes 'Elephant' they make quite a song and dance about the fact that no computers were used
in the recording of the CD. What's up with that?
DG: CD's are digital..oh, and guitars use electricity!
Well, we won't be downloading their stuff off the net! No, I think Jack White's a lad.. really like their recordings. At the
same time though, we're not afraid to delve into the world of technology.
PM: The great thing about digital recording
is that it's really cheap. Young bands or people with not much money can make a great sounding record. If that means more
music gets out to people, it must be a good thing. It's up to the artist though..
RT: Yeah, but maybe it's more
about how you use the technology, than being techno phobic.
I just love my record collection, man..never delve beyond 1968!
I don't understand people who imitate their record collection though, and not account for what's gone before that just because
it's their favourite period. For us it's a creative process, making it interesting for ourselves and the people listening
Gigwise: So what's next for Rocket Science?
RT: We're putting
out EP out over here, 'Run Like A Gun.' After finishing these dates, we'll be back in about 6-7 weeks to do some more stuff
and release the album here. Hopefully it'll come out in Europe and that will give us the chance to go overseas and play.
Gigwise: Finally, what are the important things in life?
Sex, drugs and rock n roll..
RT: ..And a good Balti. Well, it's hard to give a sincere answer without sounding glib,
but I love music!
Words and pictures by Lucy Winrow :: firstname.lastname@example.org
Adelaide Advertiser Jan 2003
The Vines aren't the only Australian rock band playing packed venues overseas - Rocket Science has just completed
a British tour with Supergrass where every show was a full house. But Rocket Science hasn't yet seen the cover of Rolling
Stone - and that's how the band likes it.
Rather than the idea of instant stardom, the band prefers riding on tits cult status.
"Rather than be a nobody one day and have the cover of NME the next, I think this way is a lot better." says
bass player Dave Gray.
Rocket Science may not have had the cover shots but British magazines such as NME did take notice. Its shows
received glowing reviews and its UK 7-inch release made the NME writers top 10 list.
Rocket Science Sept 2002
The Vines once supported Rocket Science, Dave Gray tells Melanie Sheridan
Pull quote:"...they fell in love with us that night!"
Rocket Science created such an impression on brat sorry, Brit
popsters Supergrass when they supported them on their national Australian tour a couple of months back that they've been invited
to open for the 'Grass on their forthcoming 15 date UK tour. Supergrass front man Gaz, converted to the ways of Science in
a matter of seconds, has been spreading the word. He could be heard telling anyone who would listen and there are quite a
few, which can only help the Scientific cause that Rocket Science is the "best bloody band I've heard in simply ages."
And he's not far wrong, either. Having released one of the
year's finest local albums in Contact High, a body of work rife with Neanderthal passion and precision song-writing, Rocket
Science are poised for the big time. And while Supergrass may not be the phenomenon they were five or six years ago, Gaz's
laddish word of mouth can't hurt. Bassist Dave Gray pretty much understates things when he says "Oh it's been going really
This is good to hear, as things don't always go "really well"
when there's love involved, and there seems to be a lot of love between Supergrass and Rocket Science. Dave tells how it all
began: "Although we were touring with them and playing in the same venues and such we didn't get to hang out with them that
much. But then they came to see us one show and they fell in love with us that night!"
Out of this world
With new album Contact High scoring Rocket Science a much higher profile
than their debut, the bands members are finding themselves on the receiving end of a growing schedule of live performances
and promotional duties.
Thriving on the lively pace thats followed the release of the disc, vocalist
Roman Tucker has nothing but positive words when asked about how the band is handling their growing commitments.
I feel that I live like a musician, Tucker remarks. Its all part of the job.
Its very exciting to tour, you know, to go out and go forth in the van and have lots of places to play. Its not something
special though, its just part of the deal if youre going to be a musician and have any kind of conviction as to what you play
and do. Its a big part of your life, especially in this part of the world. I mean just like the tradition set by AC/DC, Rose
Tattoo and The Angels, its great to follow in that tradition. Were one of those bands who love to play live, so going on the
road is always exciting.
The live arena is certainly where Rocket Science excel. Like so many Australian
rock acts, they enjoy capturing the moment and, as much as possible, use the opportunities to advance on new sonic expeditions.
We like to improvise on stage, Tucker continues. We like to think theres
a lot of movement on stage and that always means that theres something to think about. Were four people playing together and
we all are coming from different aspects, but we all end up in the same space influence-wise. Weve been playing for a while
and were lucky in the fact that we can all play our instruments well and find moments to experiment and we take those on fully
when were playing live. Its just a moment that happens for that show and hopefully we can grab it and move with it. It might
be quite landscapey, there might be huge sounds going in all directions, but we like to think of the dynamics and using different
rhythms, all that kind of stuff.
Rocket Science are attempting to push the boundaries of their music in the
studio as well. Wanting to avoid being pigeonholed, the band have used Contact High to actively bring together a multitude
of influences, melding them together to create the Rocket Science sound.
One thing we all want to avoid is just having the music of Rocket Science
confined to one genre, Tucker explains. I dont want to see what we do being interpreted in one way just because some people
have a preconception of what it is we do. Thats been hard to do as well because some people want you to always be playing
the same thing and always have the same sound and were not a band that can do that well. We want to be dynamic and we want
to write different songs and not be chained to expectations.
The fact that our first record sounded the way it did made some people think
that we were just a garage rocknroll band or whatever. Thats not all of what were about and we want everyone to know that
what were capable of doing. Theres a real dynamic that weve developed in the music and I think that comes through on Contact
Aware of the limited potential of the Australian music industry and wanting
to avoid reaching this countrys glass ceiling, Tucker and his bandmates are keen to spread their music overseas. Theyre not
afraid to go the DIY route to get there either.
Id like to think well be able to get overseas before too long, Tucker says.
Weve seen a lot of our friends go over to Europe and just put together tours over the Internet and theyve seemed to work out
very well. So youd hope that we could organise a tour, considering the support we have around us.
In a way, were very conscious of not playing just here in Australia. Some
bands dont tend to think like that, but I feel youve got to be honest and realise that if youre just going to play here then
its going to be very difficult to make a living. Australia is a small country and the music industry is small as well and
that means you can only go so far before you hit a wall. So we dont want to see that happen thats why were open to playing
overseas and getting our music out there.
Rocket Science play Armidale Uni Wednesday Apr 24; The Zoo Friday Apr 26; Surfers Paradise
Beer Garden Saturday Apr 27; and the Great Northern, Byron Bay, Sunday Apr 28. Contact High is out now on Modular/EMI.LAWRENCE ENGLISH
by Nazz (keyup)
Australian amped-up, ass-shakin psychedelic garage rocknrollers, Rocket Science, recently
answered their own lo-fi, call-to-arms debut album, Welcome Aboard The 3C10, with a meticulously produced extra-terrestrial
follow up named Contact High thats already received rave reviews. Band leader, Roman Tuckers happy to wax rhapsodic
on their new sounds but promises the rock aint stopped not by a country mile.
"Contact High is a different kind of record to Welcome Aboard The 3C10, the first
record it was recorded differently. I like both of them for different reasons, but I enjoy the fact that Contact High
has its own flavour which is different again from the first one. It was a challenge for us and really exciting to do."
Youve told me before that Welcome Aboard The 3C10 was originally recorded as a demo yet
your record company, Modular, were impressed enough by the results to release it as was. No complaints there it worked a treat.
"I guess thats true to a degree. In my mind the first album has now become an album that deservedly
should have been released as it was even though we did record without knowing what would happen with it, a lot of time was
spent on making it a quality album. Welcome Aboard The 3C10 was recorded mostly live and more improvised album."
The impetus for Contact Highs creation was different. Did you feel any pressure over recording
a follow up album knowing full well it had to build on the firsts success?
"I hadnt really thought of it that way. Contact High is more about building the sounds
from the bottom up. Rather than playing live, weve been playing long enough to know how to capture that energy so weve developed
the sounds in a different way."
Were you surprised at how well Welcome Aboard The 3C10 defied what the music industry
"No one expected that kind of record, using vintage, analogue recording equipment. You just dont
expect nowadays youll ever get a song on Triple J. The community stations will get it but youre not entirely sure whether
the wider music industry in Australia will take it on because it might seem too frightening or trashy for them.
"With the second album, my idea was to do an opposite album, to give the songs space and find
out what our vintage equipment would sound like recorded in a really hi-fidelity platform. The first album was characterised
by having a thick and swirling sound. There wasnt any space to speak of. Space eluded Rocket Science up until when this record
was put together."
On the same tip, Rocket Sciences reputation has been built on being a pretty wild rocknroll band.
On Contact High, youve offered Hyperspace and In My Head, both of which are anything but wild rocknroll.
Was their creation related to these ideas of space and opposites and how do they translate live?
"In My Head was the last song I wrote for Contact High. It was something wed just
been jamming around with. So we just played with it in the studio and Hyperspace, though it was written recently, the
idea for it had been around for a long time. Were rehearsing Hyperspace at the moment. Weve played it live a couple
of times, but at the moment were just enjoying playing it in the rehearsal room. From what I can gather and from my perspective
it sounds amazing. It sounds a lot like it does on the record, cos thats how we wrote and recorded it. There are a few swirls
and modulating sounds that we probably wont be able to recreate live, but the dynamics or heart of the song is all there because
we didnt add anything we didnt do anyway."
Whats the chance of hearing some the other atypical Rocket Science songs live, such as Being
Followed or Open Air Channel?
"Youll definitely hear Being Followed and potentially youll hear Open Air Channel
and Hyperspace. We wanna do most of the material from the new album. Being Followed has got a great dancing
groove which people seem to love, and once people know the songs they tend to move more, like if theyve heard them on radio
or whatever. When theyre listening to songs for the first time, Ive noticed they spend more energy listening, but once they
know them, they allow themselves to just enjoy the songs and start dancing. The radio singles tend to get a lot more movement
from the audience.
"The first single from Contact High was One Robot, and weve just released Being
Followed as the next single, and that will have a video and will come with four previously unreleased tracks that were
recorded ourselves as demos before we went in to record Contact High. Were really happy those songs are getting out
there. I dont know what the third single will be or if therell even be one. Itll depend on what the record company wants to
do. Were just really rapt that we could release those four songs and let people hear them."
What are the chances of the opener, Heavy Traffic, being released a single?
"Yeah I think thats a great song. I really thought thatd be the first single from Contact
High actually, but I thought there were five tracks thatd make strong singles so I put my hands up and decided if the
record company picked any of them, Id be happy. If it was outside of those five songs, then maybe Id have chucked a wobbly,
but it didnt happen. I was quite interested with their choice of One Robot, I thought was a different kind of song.
Run Like A Gun is also crying out to be a single, but I do also like the idea of releasing songs like Being Followed
and One Robot because, after Burn In Hell, maybe you wouldnt imagine theyd be songs Rocket Science would do.
Its good to show were really interesting in songwriting and developing as a band."
Nazz Ripitup Magazine
From their matching outfits to their menacing live performances,
Melbourne four-piece Rocket Science are fast becoming Australias quintessential rocknroll rabble.
In stark contrast to their perceived image, the band opted to record
their second album Contact High with Pound Systems Woody and The Rev, something guitarist Paul Maybury attributes to
the pairs work on Screamfeeders album, Rocks On The Soul.
Id heard the Screamfeeder album and was very impressed by the production
on it it had a nice sparkle/sheen to it and a lot of Australian recordings dont, Maybury recalls. Roman had met them on a
weekend away and knew they were good guys who were easy to get along with beer-drinking loudmouths, just like us. We met them
and all got on and basically had the same ideas about music and what we thought a rock album should be.
Rocket Science entered Melbournes Hothouse Audio studio in winter
2001 with a solid template for their sophomore effort.
We demoed all the songs ourselves on our little digital studio so
we had pretty tight arrangements we knew worked. We went in wanting to pursue them, but also wanting to add anything that
inspired us along to way. They [Woody and The Rev] definitely managed to control everything we were trying to do they had
the skills to reign it all in and make it work.
As a band, were three years older now. We all play better and have
a more refined understanding about what Rocket Science does or what we all want to achieve. We wanted to make a record that
was high fidelity and contained more detail and thats what we got.
Contact High has largely received positive reviews around
the country, much to Mayburys relief.
Its getting a really good response, so I can uncross my fingers a
bit now after six months of biting my nails and worrying about what it was going to be like. Im quite a perfectionist and
obsessive about things, so I tend to worry, but I was always very happy with the work wed put into it. I just wasnt sure if
other people would understand it.
Fans itching for a dose of Rocket Sciences sweat-soaked rock shows
can rest assured that by the time the band tour Queensland in April theyll be on fire.
Weve been playing One Robot live and that wasnt even written for
the demos: it was written just before we went in to do the album. Most of the songs were pretty well road-tested [before recording]
but I cant wait to get out and start playing them every night. Thatll be great.
Interview with Dave Gray December 2001
When Rocket Science
burst onto the Australian music scene sometime mid last year, few bands could boast such immediate chemistry within the outfit,
and with their many fans, who were quickly swept up in the wake of their punky and histrionic organ heavy noise. Here was
a band whose main strength was their rougharound-the-edges approach to releasing a record, and it was something that surprised
the boys themselves, as bassist Dave Gray explains.
Absolutely he agrees. It did surprise us because we recorded Welcome
aboard the 3C10 with our own money and fortunately Modular were very keen and liked it. We then thought if they were happy
with those songs as demos, and then wanted us to re-record them then we would have, but they thought they were fantastic and
released them as they were. In fact, the title track was used from the actual two-track recordings of the bands first ever
jam session together. We then got Triple J play for Copycat and Burn In Hell and the clips were on Rage quite a bit and that
helped us get some good support tours and festival gigs and stuff, so yeah, it was a pleasant surprise
Now fast approaching
2002, Rocket science are back with a new single, One Robot, and a brand new album (in the can) awaiting release around February/
March. One Robot is derived from one of science fiction writer Isaac Asimovs most renown works I Robot, and began life as
a piece of music written by Rocket Science drummer Kit Warhurst, with the words later added by their excitably manic frontman,
Roman Tucker. Theres also an added spoken piece by guitarist Paul Maybury taken direct from the aforementioned book, something
that is entirely alien to Gray.
I cant say that Ive actually read any of Asimovs stuff, so its a bit of a mystery
to me, he admits.
But yeah, the way the song is done I can understand it because the music has a robotic, mechanical feel
to it, but with that bit of groove, so I can see where he got the inspiration from to fit the futuristic society lyrics in.
As the title suggested, their debut album had a very distinct aviation theme throughout. Do we now expect the new
single to herald the direction of the follow up?
Theres no definite kind of theme like the first one, but it is more
abstract Gray allows.
One song is called Heavy Traffic, and thats about the surrealness of driving down the street if
you look at it in another way, and theres a few psychological thrillers, I suppose on it. So yeah, its not quite as thematic,
but will still have its own definite feel to it.
We actually did demos for this album, whereas the first album was
considered to be the demo sessions he laughs.
We actually recorded about twenty-odd songs and then picked the best ones
and used them to help decide who was going to produce the record, which ended up being Woody and The Rev from Pound System.
We had a couple of meetings with them beforehand and spoke at length about how we would like to go about doing it. Whereas
with the first album, we all sort of played live, but with this one its more us playing more overdubs. We did a couple of
songs where we all played live in the same room, but it was still more of a thoughtful process whereas the first one was more
just go for it. But having said that, there were elements of thought in the first one, and theres still some elements of spontaneity
in the new one. The fidelity of the new one is a lot better, but if you notice with Crazy, one of the B-sides on the single,
thats still more like the first record. But we made a point of taking each song on its merits, and if it is warranted that
sort of powerful, gutsy raw sound, then we did. With something like One Robot, which required a bit more pristine, sonic sound
to it, well that was necessary so we did it that way. With the new record, theres going to be lots of fuzz, lots of rawness,
but definitely some spatial moments in there as well. And theres more psychedelic tangents going on too.
Steve Jones dB
Interview with Roman Tucker December 2001
When we finally got Rocket Sciences front-person/keyboardist/theremin
antagonist, poor ol Roman Ticker (a lovely bloke and I wouldnt knock im) on the phone to discuss their new single, One Robot,
he was suffering from a touch of interview lethargy. Still, all I had to do was ask about the future of rocknroll, and tired
or not, he was off like the proverbial.
Were basically three years down the track and continuing to push what we do
in terms of our boundaries so it stays fresh for us. Space eluded my songwriting for years. The songs were always really cluttered.
I really looked foreward to achieving that coz without space, youre often left with nowhere to go dynamically youre already
as intense as you can get without having somewhere else to build to Thats what we were after with One Robot. Its not the first
time weve done that.. take copycat for instance. That uses call and response in the musicianship to get space. Our sounds
have interesting qualities, and I really want them to be heard
Hows the new album panning out?
full garage rockin ethic is still apparent, its not so different. Its to do with the songs and our little mission to go beyond
being genre specific. To emulate our record collection in an exacting way is not what were out to do. The new album Contact
High is not necessarily better sounding than Welcome Aboard the 3C10, but it is different sounding.
Were 50 years
on since rocknrolls birth. Is there any hope for it in the new century?
In a post rock sense, its easier to emulate
then to innovate. But thats pointless for us. Australia has a tradition of cutting out a niche for itself outside of overseas
trends. In the 70s, it was bands like X, The Saints and to a more dramatic effect, The Birthday Party. We cant ignore the
overseas dynamicbut we dont look to them for permission. Were more interested in taking what we do to them.
on top again Roman..that usually means were in between genres, and some serious rocknroll is brewing just beneath the radar.
Hell, look at what that musical climate did for England in late 1976.
its kinda interesting overseas, to hear what
the Swedes are doing, like The Hives and International Noise Conspiracy. Then theres New Yorks thing, with the Strokes and
White Stripes. Theres some hype surrounding it. And Australia has always had its own identity even though we dont give it
the credit it deserves. Weve all been here, playing, rocking and not going away. Theres also an art punk concept of rockwhich
might not always be at the forefront of peoples minds, but certainly has a life of its own.
We have some leaders in Australia
its not a case of having no identity of our own so we jump on the bandwagon although I wouldnt extend that to the younger
audiences who are believing everything they see and hear on Top 40.
Sadly it goes around in circles, but its nice to know
our kind of music is being noticed around the world; because you want a platform to travel as well. Its one thing to be here
in Australia but its another entirely to take it to the world. If there is any kind of opportunity for Rocket Science, its
a nice time to think that maybe we could head over to Europe.
Whats the eternal fascination with rocknroll?
me, rocknroll should always be dangerous. It should be a bit scary and give you involuntary tingles. Its more to do with what
could happenyou dont know, they dont know, nobody knows untill it happens and then, WOW! And its always threatening to fall
apart at any minute
Nazz Rip It up
Interview with Roman Tucker April 2001
"We aren't going to give the rock album they all think well
do because thats never been what Rocket Science has been about."
The man speaking is Roman Tucker, frontman
vocalising wildman keyboardist, theremin abuser and main songwriter of Rocket Science... and hes addressing preconceptions
about what his bands follow up to the exciting Welcome Aboard the 3c10 will be. Obviously, he has no time for repetition.
Its about having what is available and being as creative as possible with it he asserts.
"We didn't even think
we'd get the first record out because it was recorded as a demo. We didn't have a record deal yet, but it just turned out
that the record label that did sign us, really loved that particular record and wanted to release it as it was. We've had
two years of songwriting development and growth since then, so as you can imagine, weve evolved! We've been incorporating
different styles, whether it be new wave 80s stuff to 70s punk, garage or the filmic, soundtrack music like Midnight Express
or b-grade biker movies... just stuff we like. You name it. We're trying to combine it all together so it sits well in a new
environment as opposed to being retro.
I just think the songs are a lot more rounded nowadays, he offers.
I'm doing a lot more singing and were trying to avoid becoming more slick. I'd actually prefer to be more sparse in the
recording. Well have a lot more money (for recording) this time...so that might mean we fuck it completely! Hopefully we wont.
Were going to enjoy the development I'd say, and try to use people and producers who can push us rather than have our growth
impeded. We like a challenge."
Roman's also eager to clarify any lazy retro labelling the band has
been laden with, stating that of course hes a huge fan of 60s -70s garage/psychedelic rocknroll but, Its not the only thing
I get off on. Im not really into the idea that Rocket Science are a retrospective band or only a retrospective band. We aren't
flying the flag for 60s garage music or anything that absurd. We're fans and love it when we turn people on to that music,
but anyone who thinks that were only interested in retreading the past hasn't really got our vibe at all.
DO use primitive kind of instruments its all old analogue equipment but its what we choose to do with it from there. that
said, the primitive was all over the first album because it was created as a very live, garage-y kind of thing. There was
a reason though...we never intended that to be an actual album. Wed only been together for four months at that time and we
recorded it with a very low budget purely as a demo! We had no money. no wonder it sounds the way it does I like it though!"
"You know what I dont get? Roman asks pointedly. Those bands that proclaim originality but are really
ripping off MC5, New York Dolls, The Stooges or whoever else is in their record collections. They don't deviate from that
or throw in any artistic or creative ideas. I'm REALLY not into that. What I get out of those bands is that they were truly
creative within their time and they inspire me to be just as creative in my own era
It seems really stupid
to me that bands could ever think they could just emulate their heroes exactly and think theyd be equally incredible. No!
If the music has connected with you in an honest way, its asking you to be as creative, Not merely a copy" .
Nazz db magazine Adelaide
Interview with Kit Warhurst
"ITS NOT AS THOUGH WE RE ALL NEW fish in the pond: all of us have
been playing for around 10 years in a lot of very different bands, so now we all know what we want to do, and were not sick
of it, because we are all still hanging around," says Kit Warhurst drummer for Rocket Science.
he confirms, has been his main concern for the past eighteen months, although Rocket Science shares members with such other
Melbourne bands as Velvet Tongue, Hog, The Freeloaders and The Martians.
It all came from the germ of an idea by chief
writer, vocalist and intrepid organist Roman Tucker, who lured them into the rehearsal studio just to see what would happen,
and from that initial rehearsal the magic began.
"We all got together and it worked incredibly well says Warhurst.
Dave (Gray, a bassist well known from his time in many Adelaide bands) actually rang up Paul (Maybury,guitarest) that night
after rehearsal to ask if he thought that was as good as he thought it was. So we knew we were on to something, and I know
that sounds clicked, but it really did sound good right from the moment we atarted to play."
I noted how the
album does indeed sound like one big jam session, and that the title track Welcome Aboard the 3C10 was infact recorded in
an offhanded manner on two track recorder that fateful night. if i really needed any convincing on how incredibly honest the
Rocket Science sound is Warhurst offers the proof...
"Theres some proof of what that night was for us, its
kind of why we put it on there really. Because we were really proud of it, we were first and foremost fans of what we came
up with, we"ve really enjoyed it right from the word go".
The rest of the album was recorded over a four
month period (in a studio), so it would have been all too easy for Rocket Science to overproduce and sanitise their sound.Considering
the thematic and conceptual nature of their venture, the danger was in them coming across as somewhat contrived, but as the
name belies, it aint rocket science. Instead Welcome Aboard the 3C10 is just about the freshest, most exciting and punkiest
collection of offbeat tunes youre likely to find this soon into the millenium: even if they do appear to be a throwback to
the fifties and sixties. The band is almost boasting of their love of the era of bad film and television culture..
"Definitely says Warhurst. We're all big fans of different genres of film and especially the soundtracks that come
from them. You know, sci-fi horror, blaxploitation, biker flicks, early sixties porn, all that kind of thing. A lot of music
we listen from our collections come from that and were heavily into instrumentals."
Now he"s warming
to his theme.
"When we come up with songs well talk about the sound in the stylistic sense of some sort of
film. he enthuses. We then have to go down the same track, like we may say this one is a spaghetti western, so we have to
With the title of this debut, and the CD artwork (theyre all dressed as pilots standing on
a runway), presaging some aviation concepts within, Ill add to their credit that theyre supplying the right ticket here and
believe me the turbulence along the way is half the fun. Using a huge Hammond sounding organ (provided by a late 70s model
Yamaha fed through a Lesley cabinet) to provide the impetus to the albums frenetic pace, it does come as a bit of a surprise
to learn that such controlled fury is in fact Roman Tuckers first attempt at writing and performing with keyboards.
"Yeah that"s right. He"s never actually played one in a band before, allows Warhurst. I think as a musician
he had a limited background with the instrument as he only knew finger placements and chords...But...his playing thats more
his background and what he thinks music should or shouldnt be and what works for him. Hes always played in bands that were
heavily based in punk, so he approaches his keyboards as he would his guitar, definitely emotion over technique."
Steve Jones db magazine
Interview with Paul Maybury.
Melbournes groovy as psychedelic garage rockers Rocket Science, have
created something of a sensation during their short time together, amassing a formidable live reputation playing with the
likes of You Am I, Andre Williams, Rocket From the Crypt, Mudhoney, The 5,6,7,8s and guitar wolf fuelled by frenzied theremin,
genuine rockin and space walk organ. Theyve even managed to break into the increasingly less dangerous play listing of one
time National bastions for free thinking radio Triple J. In a rare, adventurous show of taste (in rockn roll), Rocket Sciences
single, Copycat is currently luxuriating in the glow of high rotation on the alternative station: alongside other surprisingly
cool sounds by way of Boss Hogs Whiteout and Luxedos You Really Suck.
Their guitarest Paul Maybury (Megalong Valley
and ex Hog of Sydney) was kind enough to explain the origins of not only the band, but their hot new record too.
we recorded this after only five gigsif not less!" He exclaims incredulously.
"We'd only been together for
about four months by that stage and had 15 songs, so we went in to record just to see what it would sound like. We did it
on a 16 track, but it was fairly frantic and only for our own satisfaction. Steve Pav (infamous concert promoter and head
of Modular Records) came to see us play a show with The Make Up (a raw Washington DC rock'n'roll act) and asked us to send
him some stuff, so we sent him that. He then got back to us saying he wanted to release the record as is! It was great to
be able to have such a raw piece of work tickle the ears of jaded industry types and get it played on the radio! I always
assumed there was a Tonic requirement to get on the radio and that certainly wasnt within our budget! You dont get much more
garage rock I mean you should've seen the studio!"
He groans playfully before resuming.
a garage. Just to get it realeased is a major achievement I think!
We're really excited to finally have it out to. Its
been finished for over a year but has been bogged down in negotiations."
Together for only four months?!
Fifteen songs?!? Cripes on a bike fella. That's quick work I must say. That explains the exerpt from the bands first ever
jam you tacked on the end. Nice touch.
"We HAD to do that. We were really happy with that and thought we'd
offer a little taste of what it was like when we first rehearsed. I didnt know Kit (Warhurst, drummer and ex- Manic Suede)
or Roman (Tucker, vocals, electronic organ and theremin and ex- Martians) at the time we all got together, but I knew Dave
(Gray, bass, The Freeloaders, an Adelaide ex-pat whose history here includes Pigs Nipples, Mother Fuckers, Superfly etc) because
were both in Megalong Valley of course.
Roman had come up with a few demos and he called us together to have a one off
jam.Thats what it sounded like from the first rehearsal, so we figured we'd best be a band! We figured wed put a little taster
of our very jam."
Did you have any idea what to expect before you walked through the door?
from the demo tapes Roman gave me, it struck me as loungey 60s garage kinda riffs. Probably four or five of the songs that
turn up on the record were on the demo. Because Roman has used an ancient drum machine and a wheezy old grandmas lounge room
organ on them, they sounded more loungey. But when we got all together, our history of being in rockn roll bands for years
, just took over and it came out as just rocknroll.
This is a real leap ahead of what we'd already been doing. It seemed
to take on a life of its own. Theres a lot of different influences at work in there. Were all into b-grade sci-fi films and
soundtracks to Italian horror films and things like that. That's why its thematic, and why the CD artwork almost looks like
a soundtrack to a movie. Those influences took it away from being just trying to drive a riff home and through your skull.
Its more spacious and groovy. Im glad those things bubbled to the surface coz we've all got different backrounds, but thers
plenty of common ground when we play together.
It wasnt like we ever went lets be THIS kinda band. It went much further
than that or anything we couldve predicted. Its the sum of our influences and affected by the way we play together. Thats
just what we like. Im really influenced by rockabilly stuff Link Wray and those nasty guitar players. Romans heavily into
American and English classic garage rock and so is Dave. Kit's into all that stuff too, but also things like Portishead and
bit more spacious electronica.
Everyone is coming from a different angle but we all have common ground and that is 60s
garage rock and thats what we all agree on as great music.
It was only semi-international but we were never going to
deny all the other aspects we love about music just to fit into some genre"
You also seem to have brought
that beat back.
"Its good to hear you noticed, coz thats how we think of it to."
By Nazz Rip It
Interview with Roman Tucker
Jet Setting with Rocket Science
Mix one part DIY punk
with a pinch of garage strut and a helluva lot of
charisma and what do you have?
Rocket Science Melbourne's
most exciting new band and a name that have been on the lips of those in the know since their inception in July of 1998. And
do they rock?
"I think the kids can get into it," states Rocket Science front man Roman Tucker without
a hint of irony.The group - Tucker (who handles vox and Hammond organ), Dave Grey (bass), Kit Warhurst (drums) and Paul Maybury
(guitar) - are a hybrid of all the members' various musical influences. From straight edged guitar rock, to raucous garage
punk and inspired psychedelic wig-outs Rocket Science are raw and immediate, offering a fresh take on the vintage rock equation
"We're really into the whole punk energy," says Tucker. "Intensely powerful, high energy music.
That's the drive for me. Hey, we're not Californian punk or even the kind of 'punk' the kids are listening to now but I'd
like to think that we have the right kind of thrust for the music to be taken on. It's not complicated or overly bogged down
in trying to be philosophical or adult - it has a real adolescent flair to it."
Just months after the group
formed they headed into the studio to record some demo material. What was initially just a jam session, a practice for all
the members to become more acquainted musically ended up resulting in Rocket Science's acclaimed debut record Welcome Aboard
The 3C-10, one of the most exciting, confident and charismatic debut albums by an Australian outfit in eons.
like 'HELLO', here we are!" jokes Tucker, "I think music should have some kind of passion, vibe and attitude. People's
ears are absolutely crying out to hear something fresh and people really want to sink their teeth into something different.
I think Rocket Science have a fresh vibe on the ear when they're hearing it for the first time."
thing that makes Rocket Science endearing it's their confidence. "We're feeling really good about what we are doing and
we are very confident," admits Tucker, "because it seems like in Australia it takes ages to prove to an audience
that you've paid your dues, so to speak, and that seems to be a very Melbourne thing. It's like 'Who are you anyway? Where
have you come from?' and to get respect you have to have been doing it for years and years. We don't just feel confident about
playing live or recording, we feel confident about the entire situation, and it's taken me eight years to become this confident.
The four of us are totally in tune musically, and we all back each other up, we don't crowd each other and we all get along
really well. These are all subtle things that take years of development and when it gets to the point when it all starts to
click it's just magic."
Interview with Paul Maybury
We caught up with Rocket Science guitarest Paul Maybury as he
was languishing in the warmth of Melbournes first sunnt day in six months. Last time we spoke, their first single Copycat,
had just been released from the album Welcome Aboard The 3C10 and Paul was wondering how it would be received. Of course since
then, Australias National alternative radio station Triple J, seized upon the song and have now moved to the opening track,
Burn In Hell.
"It's been going pretty good hasnt it? Lovely I must say. We've got the Boss Hog tour soon to,
and well be over in Adelaide this coming weekend for the first time since last New Years Eve!"
Thats a long
time between drinks mate.
"Yeah, weve been pretty busy. I'm really looking foreward to coming back though.
We just did a tour with Tumbleweed that took us up and down the East Coast and that was good. We just did a couple of sell
out shows of our own in Sydney last weekend which made us all pretty happy."
Are we starting to reach a critical
mass with nuts'n'guts and groove attitude sex music at last?
"I think everybody needs a good healthy or unhealthy
dose of rock'n'roll as you know. Were happy to provide it if nobody else will. Well step up for it.
It seems that people
have started to dance at our gigs which is just fantastic. I havent seen that for a long time."
Will you predominantly
be playing material off the new album for the Adelaide shows?
"We do have a lot of new material. We try to
have a new set every night nowadays. We change things around a lot, so well probably end up doing half and half. Well decide
on the night. Its always a debacle when we get together to write the set list five minutes before we go on. Well definitely
be playing the bulk of the record."
How does the new material sound?
"All the different areas
we covered on that album, we're going further down those paths. Some of its really straight ahead, Kinks styled rock'n'roll,
some are much more sparse and funky sounding. We're just taking it another step further. (organ playing vocalist) Roman's
the most prolific songwriter in the band, but we all write. Actually, Kit (drums) hasnt written anything for the band yet,
but hes a very strong songwriter as well. Our bass player Dave has written a couple that were working on at the moment and
I manage to churn out maybe on e song every six months(laughs)!
We're all writers but Romans definitely the most prolific
and hid ideas encapsulate what the bands all about. He brings those ideas in and we all talk about how were going to hammer
them out, try different versions and come up with the finished product."
Now, your original garage demos
the ones that promoter Steve Pav salivated over and turned into your debut album for his label Modular were never intended
to be the finished product were they?
"Yeah we were never actually thinking about then for a record. We didnt
really put a name to what they were. They could've just been demos for us, but other people liked the sound so we were happy
to release them."
What kind of studio would you turn to for the follow up record?
to demo all the material and try to work out what it needs, with a traditional producer wholl get into helping with the arrangements
and sort the writing out. Wed like to do that, but itll all depend on budgetary constraints and whos got the most enthusiasm
In an ideal world who would your first choices be?
(Laughs) "Ive got a few! Id like
to get Vanda & Young (producers of the original AC/DC albums) to do it. That'd be a great rock'n'roll recording! They
obviously know all about guitar sounds and what makes a great song. Thats probably on top of my wishlist but on the other
hand, Id think maybe someone like Lee Scratch Perry (infamous experimental Rasta heavy dub reggae producer) might be good
- just to turn it on its ear and see what he could do with it. Thatd be great wouldnt it? A rock'n'roll band produced by
the biggest nutter in the world (laughs)!
We cant afford either of those people, but thats the kind of mind we'd like
to attract if only we could decide whether we wanted to make it a straight ahead pumping rocknroll record or an off the world
experimental thing. Itll just depend on what the bulk of the material requires."
By Nazz Rip It Up Magazine