Currently barnstorming around Australia in support of the release of their second album, O’ Exquisite Corpse, self-proclaimed ‘salty, scruffy and salacious’ Australian band The Good Ship have been blasting out of the Bandplanet office boom box for many a week now. Using pleasingly archaic instrumentation, bucket loads of humor and a slight dose of anarchy, the Brisbane-based eight-member troupe released their first album Avast! Wretched Sea in 2010, and immediately found an audience for their wild, riotous and decadent live shows.
We climbed aboard The Good Ship herself recently for a quick and dirty chat about making up your own super genre, hair metal, and picked up some welcome advice for warding off scurvy on the high seas.
Congratulations on the release of your second album, O’ Exquisite Corpse. How does it feel to have it out there in the world now?
Thanks! It’s a huge feeling of satisfaction as it has taken two years since our first album Avast! Wretched Sea. For most of that time we’ve been touring, playing a lot of shows, so it was hard to find time to get into the studio. We spent 3 months recording and mixing at the start of 2012, recording in 6 different locations, with multiple engineers and heaps of instruments, plus lots of vocal harmonies. The whole thing was quite a monster, but it came together great.
O’ Exquisite Corpse – has somebody been reading Poppy Z. Brite, or have you taken up a new method of songwriting?
No, but I think we should read Poppy Z Brite, there could be some good material there for the next album. The term Exquisite Corpse refers to a game played by the Surrealist art movement, where a group of people add their own piece to an artwork, creating a piece of work that is something no individual could create. This is how we saw the songs on this record, each of us contributed our own ideas and built these songs into the complex and exquisite creatures they are now!
You’ve described your music as PoCoFoCa – that’s quite a mouthful. Is PoCoFoCa the next Big Genre?
We made that term up. It’s the first two letters from Porno-Country-Folk-Cabaret. As far as we know we’re the only band in the genre. So it’s probably not going to be very big. Unless we become very big. So it will probably be very big.
Tell us the tale of how such a band of unsavoury types got together.
John and Daz, the two captains of the ship, were playing in other bands and realised they both had these follky country filthy songs in their heads. One night they got drunk and decided to form a new band, then a bunch of their friends jumped on board to play accordion, banjo, even lagerphone (a stick with bottle tops nailed onto it). A few people have come and gone since the band formed in 2009, but the current line-up has been together a while now. We are held together by sexual tension.
Your greatest musical influences?
Most embarrassing teenage musical obsession?
Hair metal like Poison, Motley Crue, Skid Row.
Dream festival line-up?
That would be our list of influences plus some newer bands featuring cute young boys and girls. We don’t know their names, they just look nice.
We’ve heard rumors that there is an almost-doctorate of Ancient Greek in your midst – are pirates now breaching the bastions of higher education? And does that mean that we may see a Good Ship: Odysseus Edition album sometime in the future?
The rumor is true. John is a PhD dropout. He regularly annoys the other band members by quoting ancient texts, correcting their grammar and droning on about the Greek derivation of English words. An entire album based around the travels of Odysseus is a great idea for an album. Thanks!
With names such as ‘6000 Cocks’, ‘These Are a Few of My Favourite Flings’ and ‘Roger the Cabin Boy’, The Good Ship could be accused of being, gasp, a little smutty – where do you find the raw inspiration for your lyrics?
Yes we are quite smutty and dirty. This is something that most bands shy away from but we embrace. We don’t see anything wrong with singing in the same way as we would speak to our friends. There are enough boring songs about love and feelings. We’d rather write about prostitutes, killers, sex and death.
Bluebeard. For one he’s French and everyone knows Europe is better than England. The accent is so sexy. And he was a serial killer so that makes for good songwriting.
Any advice for warding off scurvy on the high seas?
Lots of nourishing cider and beer and wine. They’re all made from fruits and vegetables so they are practically health foods.
What songs is the resident Good Ship parrot currently squawking in the Captain’s ear? Or, what’s on the current Good Ship playlist?
Future plans for public lewdness and exhibitionism ie, any plans afoot to sail beyond the safe harbour of Brisbane, Australia?
We’re currently touring our new album around Australia, and will do another tour at the end of the year. We’re hoping to come to Europe next year to play some folk festivals and shows, so if anyone wants to help out let us know!
Any extra features that you would like to see on Bandplanet?
Video. We love video. Video of ourselves.
Thanks so much for talking to Bandplanet! Good luck with the new album and tour, and hope to see you in Europe sometime.
The Good Ship are: Daz Gray (singing, guitar & mandolin), John Meyer (singing, guitar & percussion), Geoff Wilson (mandola, mandolin, percussion & shouting), Brett Harris (banjo, guitar, percussion & singing), Janey Mac (bass guitar, double bass & singing), Kat Cooke (trumpet, percussion & singing), James Lees (drumkit & percussion), Kat Ogilvie (accordion, percussion & singing).
O’Exquisite Corpse is out now on Autumn Recordings.
Live gig listings here.