Dirty Rats were originally a 5 piece rock band that were very active in the Melbourne pub rock scene from the mid to late 1980’s. The band released a 4 song EP in 1987 and played extensively throughout Victoria, as well as interstate festivals such as Ponde 88 until internal pressures caused the band to implode and eventually fold in the early 90’s. Smashcut forward 25 years and the Rats are back, with a new line up, but still playing “old school” hard rock, trying to stay faithful to the sound the band had in the 80s when we were all fresh faced and optimistic, and had hair and stuff.
This current line up is a leaner and meaner 4 piece with original member, Jamie Beovich on bass along with Wayne (Richie Rat) Rich on vocals, Anthony (Chooka) Chapple on guitar, Andy Thomson on drums and has brought the Dirty Rats kicking and screaming into 2018, while still retaining our hard rock roots and sound. Dirty Rats are a little older and worn around the edges, but still produce some of the best rock coming out of Melbourne today, and always give one of the best live performances you’ll see in this town
Wayne Rich – Vocals
Anthony Chapple – Guitar
Jamie Beovich – Bass
Andy Thomson – Drums
It’s that time of the week again so welcome to another instalment of “Pub Rock – The Now Generation” where we chat to and celebrate the bands out on the front line of pubs and clubs keeping Aussie pub rock music alive for the rest of us.
We’ve had chats with a couple of younger bands in recent weeks so it’s nice to mix things up and welcome a couple of guys who don’t have to imagine what the 70’s and 80’s were like because they lived them, both in the pubs and up on stage…
Welcome Wayne & Jamie from Melbourne based rock outfit “Dirty Rats”
If you’re joining us for the first time don’t be shy. Jump on in and join the discussion, especially if you’ve seen them live or heard their album. Have a question? Ask away. Or even just drop by and say g’day to the boys…
So I grabbed a copy of your album a while ago and have been having a listen. It’s pure old school rock and roll, very reminiscent of Rose Tattoo and early AC/DC. Having said that it’s still clearly your own sound and yet there’s something so familiar and comfortable about your music
Wayne – Yeah, it hasn’t changed a lot since the band first started in the mid 80’s. Few line up changes since then, but I think we have stayed faithful to the pub rock sound. We try to play stuff that we would like to listen to. Try to appeal to those of us from this age group
This is a track off the first EP the Rats released in 1987 (Dance Dance)
Mate, that’s a great track, so reminiscent of Radio Birdman
Wayne – Yep, did alright around the Melbourne scene at the time and has become a bit of a cult classic over in the Nordic countries
I know we’ve got a few members who were kicking around the Melbourne pub rock scene during that time that can hopefully chime in who saw the boys back in the day. Given you guys were kicking around during the 70’s and 80’s who would you say were some of your biggest influences as you shaped your musical tastes.
Wayne – Probably the most obvious influence was Rose Tattoo. The one original member left in the band, Jamie, is a big fan and it has definitely affected the look and sound of the band
Jamie – Hey guys. I am that original chap.
Wayne – Jamie was the main songwriter for many years, so Motorhead also played a big part in developing our song style
Bunch of good looking roosters…and holding your age well
Jamie – Photoshop dude
Wayne – Yeah, amazing what a good photographer can do. When I joined the band in 2015, I started writing songs with Jamie, I come up with lyrics and music and he basically listens to what I have written, shitcans my music and then writes a proper tune to go with the lyrics. It’s a very productive relationship
Jamie – Wayne tends to use melodic chords…..we can’t have that. Plus it’s a bit slow. Having Wayne write the lyrics has taken the pressure off me. I no longer really have anything to say. Tell the nice people about our current plans Wayne. Or don’t. Short version is we have signed a deal with Sliptrick Records. They are going to release our album throughout Europe and the USA. With luck we will tour there next year.
Mate, that’s awesome news…since Wayne hasn’t mentioned it. Just make sure you tour in our winter which would be their summer…unless you love winter then reverse that
Jamie – We are currently writing a new album for release next year. Maybe this year. But due to the deal we have time on our side. We also just released a live EP “Live At The Bendigo Hotel”. Limited cds but available on itunes etc. Yeah mate. Their summer. Hope to do festivals but I will play carports if we are overseas….
Wayne – Sorry, three threads going on here. Yes, have just been signed to Sliptrick records who are going to be distributing “Rock n Roll” in the European Union, Scandinavia, UK and the US. Very exciting times ahead we hope. Hopefully more Motorhead than Anvil.’
Jamie – 3 threads eh. I might go and have a look….
Love hearing our Aussie bands getting rewarded for their hard work
Wayne – If the album does well overseas, then they will facilitate a tour over there. Be nice if it happens. We have been getting quite decent airplay over in Europe and the Baltic states, but bugger all here. It’s a bit frustrating, but that’s just how it works I guess. I know one of our favourite Melbourne bands, Tequila Mockingbyrd have been going great guns throughout Europe and are currently touring Spain, so something to aspire to I guess
I’ll have to check them out…
Wayne – Do that, they have a great sound
Speaking about the dynamic of a band, I read that you recorded the album “live” and you can tell there’s that raw and honest feel to it. Tell us a bit about that process
Wayne – Yeah that was great fun. Bit of a story behind it. Jamie could probably tell it better than me, but essentially, the Rats reformed around 2013 and an EP was release in 2015, with different guitarists, and singer. It was produced in a studio and was very polished and excellently produced. But the guys felt that it was a little too slick and, I dunno, shiny? It didn’t have that rough and ready feel that we produce on stage. So when we decided to record the current album, Jamie and Andy suggested we should just book a studio for a weekend and go in and just play the songs all together, as if we were performing them live. So we did just that. Set up in a big room, got the instruments miked up and just played. I was in a separate room to do the vocals, obviously cos I’m special, but we did most of the songs in one, maybe two takes, minimum overdubs, and that was it.
I love that sound. I recently picked up a copy of the Sunnyboys first album and the bonus disc was their “live” studio recording and it really sounds awesome. I think more bands should embrace that type of recording
Wayne – We kind of changed over guitarists in the middle, so we had to re-record some of them, and I did all the backing vocals as well, but other than that, it was just play and move on. I’ve always preferred live recordings, if they are done well. Just sounds more honest. I like to hear the same sort of sound that I would if I went to see a band live
Jamie – Wayne sacked one he means….
Wayne – Well, yeah, but changed guitarists sounds a bit more diplomatic
One of my favourite bands with one of their favourite songs (“Take A Long Line” – Angels). Doc was the ultimate showman. Do you draw a bit of inspiration from his performances…well, maybe not the jumping around but his presence…
Andy – Wayne doesn’t jump around on stage. He falls off the stage.
Wayne – I do. I wish I could move around like him, I’m more angry than Doc. I had an m/c accident a few years ago and damaged my leg a bit, so I am not as agile as I would like to be, but I do try and pattern my performance and audience interaction on him
Jamie – Can I point out we get heaps of airplay overseas…none here. It’s even a struggle to get punters to gigs. We hope to get the hell out of here asap !!!! Mainly to escape the Royal Wedding…..
Donna – Jamie you can’t escape it
I see you’ve included a cover of Yesterday’s Hero on the album. Is that a bit of a nod to getting on a bit in years and a yearning for the good old days (hey, not judging, none of us are getting any younger)…or is someone just a big JPY fan?
Donna – Love it
Wayne – It was a song that the guys were covering before I joined and it was a favourite of mine, the JPY version. I previously played in a cover band in Adelaide and the guitarist would argue that the BCR version was better (she was a bit thick) so we decided to give the Rat treatment and do our own version. I love it, it came out sounding grouse
You mention that pub rock bands might seem to have more success overseas than here at home and I read the following quote somewhere online from an interview you did and I reckon it sums up what a lot of us in this group feel as well:
The fact is that the commercial market is flooded with pre-manufactured pop and watered down stuff for the teeny bopper crowd and we felt that we wanted to get our stuff out there for our demographic, the rock fans over 40 who are nostalgic for the music they grew up with, but wanted something new, not just the same old regurgitated stuff that classic rock FM stations throw at them.
Wayne – Hell, sounds like I know what I’m talking about. That doesn’t happen very often. But it’s true, I haven’t listened to commercial radio for years cos I was sick of the manufactured sound and teeny bopper crap. Contemporary music at the moment seems to be aimed at 13 year old girls, and it’s been a long time since I was a 13 year old girl. But I also get sick of hearing the same Cold Chisel song and the same Coldplay song and the same Dragon song over and over again. It’s why I mostly just use Spotify now, cos it’s the only way I can casually listen to new Australian bands and get new content all the time. I know Spotify is supposed to be the devil, but until commercial radio pulls its head out its arse and recognises that we don’t all want to hear Ed Sheeran’s latest bowel movement or Katie Perry trilling away at her latest focus group effort, then that’s what I’ll listen to. If it wasn’t for Spotify I wouldn’t know about Cosmic Psychos, or Riff Raiders or Zombie Motors Wrecking Yard or Breaking Kebabs or any other of my current favourites
Some more bands for me to check out, awesome sauce. I’m discovering more and more fantastic Aussie bands through this group but you’re right. The landscape has shifted and commercial has overtaken quality…
Jamie – Wayne’s ability to unearth new music astounds me. Our fan base overseas is made up of young kids as well as oldies. In Australia the music scene is pretty lame…..due entirely to the bean counters in charge of fm radio. The cultural cringe still exists I think. How we get played on the wireless overseas beside 5 Finger Death Punch but can’t get anything here speaks volumes I think. Young bands, my advice is to get your good selves overseas. On a positive note we have a very loyal fan base here. Some of our punters have been with us from day one. And I love them for it.
Hopefully a few of them here in this group…
Jamie – Hi old punters. How’s your hearing? Hopefully we contributed to its loss!
Andy – You sure did.
I love some of the promo lines on your website, how good are some of these…
Close your eyes and you can envision yourself in a bar with your mates, swirling stubbies of beer in the air while trying to sing along through drunken slurs. The 80s are still well and truly alive within the Dirty Rats, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down
Dirty Rats epitomise everything great about Melbourne pub rock and have dragged it kicking and screaming into the new century. You want a great night out that you’ll remember forever? Lets go Rocking out in Rat Town!
Don’t worry about locking up your daughters … it’s your mothers you should be worried about!
I love that last one. In fact I remember reading about how AC/DC’s “Rosie” came about from a one night stand Bon had with the titular Rosie.
Surely you guys would have to have a couple of good stories there…but keep it PG. There are a couple of younger impressionable minds in this group…
Wayne – Probably a good one for Jamie to field. Tell ‘em the story of “Notch in your Belt” Jamie.
Jamie – I really only have 4 topics I write about. Girls. Cowboys. Girls. And other stuff. So, anyhow, back in the day there was a girl, let’s call her Josie Jason. Coz that was her name. Anyway I was besotted, she lead me a merry dance. Talk about being used….anyhow one time we were intimate. Totally messed my head….I was a notch in her belt. Fast forward many years. We catch up. She falls for me, we do it, and I say bad luck baby. Not happening. Payback is a bitch….ha ha ha….
“Suicide” is a song from a very dark time.
Wayne – It’s one of my favourites to sing
Jamie – Talks to you a bit ?
Wayne – Maybe
Jamie – “Badman” is a cowboy song. I love westerns, John Wayne in particular. It’s a story about shooting badies. Really like that one. Many of the other songs I wrote are based on some fairly x rated events. So kids when you grow up I might tell you then.
Upcoming events? Where can we point the guys and girls towards so they can come along and get involved?
Jamie – Good question. If I didn’t have the mental capacity of a gnat I could post a link to our website and our next gig……Wayne?
Andy – A link has been posted earlier.
Jamie – What I can tell you is it’s us doing 3 sets. That’s right folks, 3 sets of Ratty goodness. We will repost the link as soon as Wayne wakes up……
How good has it been chatting to the boys from “Dirty Rats”? Cheers to Wayne and Jamie. Make sure you like their facebook page and more importantly get along to a gig near you to show them we support our local pub rock bands. Grab a copy of their album and if you see them at a gig in the near future make sure you say g’day
Jamie – Wayne must be watching the wedding. Thanks for having us. Peace and love.
Wayne – Come and see us at The Phoenix in Sydney Road Brunswick on Saturday the 30th of June. It’s gonna be a blast. Thanks Chris, it’s been a blast. Make sure if you pop along to our Brunswick gig to mention you are a member of this group.
If I’m ever down Melbourne way I’ll hit you up for a few drinks. Cheers