So after a month on tour and the night after Gonerfest in Memphis, our next show was in New Orleans. We were fried and bored out of our minds on bands. A band called Ooga Boogas was added to the bill and going to play last. We wouldn't have watched Dr. John play with R2D2 if they were next, let alone a band called Ooga Boogas. So we decided to get our stuff and split. OH NO, they've already set up in front of our amps. Oh well, I'll go lay in the middle of the street and hope for the best. Go outside. The first song sounds kinda good. So does the second. We go in and watch. It's hard to decide who to focus on, all the instruments are so important and restrained. Night ends with us standing on tables, both brain cells blown out, screaming for encores. Now I'm walking around in a t-shirt with the Ooga Boogas on it.

Lars begins with a track-by-track analysis of the LP. -Ed.

Lars: 'Romance and Adventure' - Side A - "Ooga Booga II"
Stack: A purposefully inauspicious start to the record. One of Mikey's wonder-riffs, but one best kept short. The album was recorded over a long weekend April 2008 at a little holiday house called Moorehouse, located near the town of Mansfield in country Victoria. As the promo blurb states, the house has a small tape collection and a regularly tuned piano. The best cassette was probably Paul McCartney '2' which we listened to regularly. The house also has a great secure paddock with good access to water and ample feed for those who bring their own horses. Always handy!

Lars: "Fannie Mae"
Stack: Song about an ex-girlfriend musician who disappeared to Berlin to further her music career, along with the rest of the Australian music fraternity, and of course to hang loose with Blixa. I brought this to the Oogas pretty much complete, and yes the chorus does sound suspiciously like the Buster Brown song.

Lars: "Neon Sunset"
Stack: Mikey pulled out this riff at rehearsal and we played it and played it and played it endlessly. We used to play 10-15 minute versions live, then we thought, hmmm this might just make a nice short pop song. This song brings together three of my personal obsessions: country towns, country women and ecological holocaust. The song was going nowhere until the central character took a leaf from Rich's book, disappearing from view, gash in hand.

Lars: "I Can't Clear My Name"
Stack: Adapt unrecorded Sailors riff to lyrics about reaching the point of realisation that you've taken things about as far as they can go - namely women, mischief and being a general public nuisance. "The barking's drawing nearer, they know who I am". Alas, poor modern-day public servant author is on the run in Nazi Germany with SS in pursuit.

Lars: "On Safari"
Stack: My brother led my brother-in-law and 21 year old nephew on a perilous five-day bush walk to the infamous Federation Peak in remote SW Tasmania. It's an imposing mountain, reproduced for y'all in the top left hand corner of the album's back cover. The drawing comes complete with what appears to be a Skeletor-like face screaming from the rock, care of Per's artistic licence, however reflecting the treacherous and occasionally fatal climb. Realists and interested nature lovers should look it up on the internet. After two days of trudging through leech infested bogs, the adventurers made their way along a deadly ridge on their approach to the perilous mountain. Nephew started to have panic attacks. As the adults attempted to coax the unwilling nephew down another deadly descent he declared, "I'm 21, I'm my own person, and I'm not going down there". A good starting point for a song about a resurgent Bermuda Triangle.
An independently facilitated Ooga band poll confirmed that this is the band's favourite song on the record. May also be Per's shining moment on the sticks, though there is competition elsewhere on the record. I just wish the guitar solo at the end went longer; Mikey says it's the best thing he's ever laid down on tape. Ooga Boogas: 1, Eddy Current: 0.

Lars: "Ooga Booga I"
Stack: The Oogas had already jammed a few times before I joined. They were busy playing that ascending/descending riff, as I walked in late to my first jam with my two-watt amp. As I was listening to Tears for Fears and Iris Dement at the time, I thought it sounded retarded, and they were being purposefully difficult. When it was resurrected many months later I also registered that it was good. Guitar spac attack. Hard not to scream "Loaded, Ugly!" during the smash up at the end. This was done before "Ooga Booga II", hence the title.

Lars: Side B - "Rich and Me"
Stack: Based on true events. After the 2007 Gonerfest, Rich and I headed to Bristol (East Tennessee/Virginia) for a week, due to its proximity to the home of the Carter Family, and to attempt the destruction of the Holstein River dam. We attended the Saturday night show at the Carter Family Fold. Alcohol is not allowed and if you turn up with alcohol on your breath they won't let you in. Luckily the lemonade is delicious. Five days later, no closer to dynamiting the dam, we left with some fine Merle LPs, some useless rusted trinkets and a firm friendship with the town's resident Syd Barrett wannabe.

Lars: "Clock is Ticking"
Stack: Another older song. This sounds so goddam good that I didn't bother playing much guitar. It sounds like my contribution was thankfully deleted from the final mix anyway. Per is smashing some odd pieces of metal that he found on the farm and Mikey gets on the nicely tuned piano in the holiday house. A lyrical idea that has been floating around for a while. The old cliche about the ticking clock. Was originally going to be a spoken word "tune" with a backing track of a very steady and annoying tick from one of those cheap clocks that seem to hang from every wall of every strange room you wake up in hungover and feeling pissed-off. There would be no instruments in the song. As the character of the song continues to fuck up every chance at parenthood, and becomes increasingly desperate, a chorus of ear-piercing alarms would explode to life; banishing our life-hero to a childless and lonely future. We decided to keep the guitars. Someone has since commented that this sounds "heaps like Primus, eh?", permanently eliminating it from our live songlist.

Lars: "Oogie Boogie"
Stack: Original title "The Oogie Boogie". Some songs are described as crucial, some as relevant, some, like this, as important.

Lars: "Kiss Your Rocks Goodbye"
Stack: You know, old story, Rich starts to play random bassline, rest of us play along, go fast, go slow, fast again, slow again, try in-between. No lyrics? No problem. Temporarily borrow lyrics from favourite song of the moment: the Jerry Lee Lewis song "Herman the Hermit" by some songwriters I've never been able to find anything about. Lyrics fit. Apply them in anticipation that alternative lyrical inspiration will intervene. It doesn't. Record and package.

Lars: The name. Please explain.
Rich: I thought of it at a BBQ in Sydney in 2004. Some Sydney guys ran with the idea and came up with this concept band that would have seven drummers and a bunch of chicks in loincloths dancing along to it. Typical bullshit BBQ conversation, y'know? When we started this band we were nameless for about six months till I remembered it. The guys in Sydney had naturally got no closer to realizing their concept than they ever would, but still cracked a sad when I stole my own band name back. Sydney people are like that.

Lars: What do you like and or dislike about living in Australia?
Rich: Dislike = it's too far away from everywhere else, it's built on a solid base of English conservatism. Like = almost everything else really.
Stack: Like = wombats and isolation. Dislike (fear) = white pointers.

Lars: How would you spend an ideal day off?
Rich: Have a steak for breakfast, swim at the beach, band practice for a few hours, roast chicken dinner, go to bed in a hotel at a reasonable hour.
Stack: Make my girlfriend breakfast in bed and take her on a drive to the country with a fresh picnic hamper that I had packed that morning. Find some isolated field, spread blanket, eat picnic, make love. Meet friends for dinner later in the afternoon. Watch sunset. Drink gallons of alcohol before bedtime.

Lars: What is your take on cigarettes?
Rich: They do their bit for population control. You get what you deserve.
Stack: Love 'em.

Lars: How was Gonerfest?
Rich: Great fun.
Stack: It was a blast. Great choice of bands for 2008.

Lars: What was the best show of that tour? The worst?
Rich: Best shows were the basement show in Milwaukee, Philly with Pissed Jeans, Gonerfest. The worst would definitely have been that show in New Orleans with the Intelligence.
Stack: Best = Dipping Station, Milwaukee. Worst = No such thing.

Lars: What was the best place you got to sleep? The worst?
Rich: The best were Gene's house in Columbus and Lisa's back veranda in Austin. We stayed with these two hipster chicks in New York who lived in total squalor. Somehow it didn't seem like genuine filth though. I think it was some kind of statement, it always is with those chicks. They got home delivered breakfast though.

Lars: What bands did you like on tour?
Rich: Tyvek, Pissed Jeans, Limes, Dan Melchior, Box Elders, Intelligence, Static Static, Thomas Function, Eat Skull.
Stack: Also Tyvek! Rich and I were lucky to also see Roy Loney at Basement Rock in SF. He's so sweet.

Lars: Who was the worst?
Rich: It would be unsporting to talk shit about people who set up gigs for us, fed us and let us sleep on their floor, and we are nothing if not a sporting people.
Stack: I'd love to nominate one or two American bands as a joke, but not sure how you'd all take it. OK then, Eric and Zac's band.

Lars: Please talk about X 'Aspirations' LP...
Rich: One of my most lucid impressions of that album came from Stacky's 30th birthday. He rented a bus and took a bus load of his friends on a tour of country Victoria's pubs and wineries. We'd go and have a beer in a pub, taste some wine then get back in the bus and drink on the way to the next stop. The drunker we got the more schizophrenic was the split between bus time and pub time; there was some semblance of decorum outside in the sunny wineries, but inside the bus was a nightmare. At one point I came to on the floor of the bus and "Waiting" was playing full bore on the stereo. I couldn't work out what it was and it forced me to listen to that song and the dynamics of the band in a way I'd never heard them before. It was frightening, pure psychic horror, and has stuck with me ever since.
Stack: That record seems to inspire mayhem wherever it goes. X taught me a new way to love music.

Lars: What's the worst thing someone in the band likes to listen to in the van?
Rich: The rest of them listen constantly to Hall & Oates and INXS. I can hack it, but I don't enjoy it. I don't get how all of a sudden everybody loves Hall & Oates, when no-one seemed to give a shit five years ago. They're not being ironic about it either, they genuinely love it. I can't hear what's to love.
Stack: All the other guys listen to obvious rubbish. Makes me want to wriggle out of a tour van window and hit the asphalt at 100 mph.

Lars: How clean is everybody?
Rich: I bathe two to three times a week. I always have out of laziness, but I recently heard an interview with a British scientist on the BBC World News Service who said that bathing every day, while good for your spirits, was "scientifically indefensible", so now I have a solid excuse not to bother. Stacky and Mikey are your regular daily bathers, and Per is a fastidious hygiene freak.
Stack: I suspect that Per is the cleanest in a hygienic sense. Our souls have a few flecks of dust on 'em.

Lars: Please list each individual's strengths and weaknesses.
Rich: I am possibly too aware of each, which could be seen as either.
Stack: Strengths = organisational skills. Weaknesses = I annoy the other guys so much they won't let me organise anything.

Lars: What's the favorite unanimous band of Ooga Boogas?
Rich: Probably the Monks or Devo. We all went and saw the Monks documentary early on as a band and bonded over it pretty hard. That sort of thing tends to have an effect.
Stack: I'd guess it was Hall & Oates.

Lars: Who drives after the show?
Rich: Anyone besides Per, who's getting his license soon, promise.
Stack: Never me.

Lars: Analog vs. digital?
Rich: Analog.
Stack: If we're talking distortion, then definitely digital.

Lars: What old music do you like?
Rich: Lots, although I haven't been listening to much recently, so listing anyone would seem fake.
Stack: I've been listening to this early music CD called 'Francisco Javier, La Ruta De Oriente' by various folks. I don't know much about it, but it's nice on long drives. It lasted about ten minutes in the tour van.

Lars: Talk to me about Kim Salmon.
Rich: Kim is a talented and visionary musician, and a genuinely kind fellow. He's been fucked over before which makes him hard nosed and free of bullshit when organising gigs. I think perhaps he cares a little too much about making it, which leads him to try on new musical outfits as the breeze changes. Some fit (late period Scientists), some don't (Kim Salmon & The Business). I saw a bunch of his solo gigs in the early Nineties and he was always great.
Stack: Can't really comment about Kim as a person. I love a lot of his stuff particularly the Surrealists "Essence" album. He's a very funny lyricist. Songs like "Self Absorption" and "Soul Bank" make me laugh. Kim was a guest guitar player during The Sailors ill-fated Wah-Mania guitar competition. While he was battling away on his wah pedal I started pulling faces at him so he pushed me over onto my amp. Anyway, he came second, beaten by some local has-been. Haha, suck shit Kim.


'The Octopus Is Back' 7" (Aarght!)
'Romance And Adventure' LP (Aarght!)

Ooga Boogas on the web here.

Pics provided by Mr. Finberg and the band, if anyone would like a credit please contact the editor.

To read other interviews in the 'Lars vs...' series, go here.