Q&A: Neon & Venom
Steve Lucas has a new band, Neon & Venom. We spoke to him to get the skinny.
You played your final X show at the Tote the other week, will we still hear some of your X songs played live?
As long as I play music I will play X songs. I have been doing this (X) for 35 years, that's two-thirds of my life, or close enough. I am those songs, and those songs are me. I could no sooner stop playing those songs than stop breathing. They are my life and I would not dishonour myself or other members of the band in such a way. The music will live, though X may not.
Tell us about your new band Neon & Venom?
It is a great band. Neon and Venom will incorporate the current X rhythm section into the music. We already have a bond so it will be a natural progression. Plus I have the added pleasure of co-fronting the band. Joey Bedlam, founder and lead singer of DollSquad will be there by my side. It takes some of the pressure off me and allows me to actually have a bit more fun. Songs that I guess I would have presented to X will be included in the set and we are more than capable of tossing out a few X faves if the mood suits us. Dare I say it? We look good and sound better. I love the band and everyone in it.
Who is Neon and who is Venom?
After all this time in the business the Venom is mine. Joey brings some light into the equation. She is Neon she glows in the dark and is radiant. I am the dark onto which she sheds the light. Rick and Phil are the maintenance crew. They turn on the lights and milk the venom. (Ha! That is so wrong.)
Describe the sound of this new band? Who else is in it?
Phil Grinder and Rick Student will be tagging along. The sound of the band has a garage psych-punk fusion thing going on. Our youthful musical influences are given free reign. There is a strong ‘60s – ‘70s undercurrent but it still maintains a contemporary feel. I am reinventing the wheel to a small degree and picking a few stray threads from my past ventures like Groody Frenzy. There is also a bit of an X/DollSquad hybrid thing going on. An intoxicating vibe with a grinding feel behind it. We all bring something to the party.
What can people expect from the live show?
People can expect to have a good time. They can expect to be entertained, it’s okay to use such an old fashioned term these days. We are presenting ourselves to the public for a mutual kind of pleasure. They can expect to be expected to move and dance. They can expect me to give my all as well as the other members of the band. It is about having fun and we are quite serious about it. Have fun or face the consequences. It is a chance to escape from today and tomorrow and yesterday.
Is this your first major Neon & Venom live show?
Yes it is. We did one out at Geelong ages ago, before my accident and recently played at Yah Yah’s. So yes, this is our first major event I guess. We are most delighted that The Cherry Bar has let us in, but then James is a true believer in rock and roll and has a keen eye for talent.
Are there any recordings planned?
Yes many plans. I am constantly writing and making demos for the band. We hope to get something together before the New Year but will be content to see how things play out. We have our eyes on Europe, the kind of music we play would go down extremely well over there. I have written more than enough for two albums. We just need to gig them about a bit so as to grow into them a little more. Recording is going to happen. It is a must.
Will the Cherry Stage be big enough for the personalities of both Joey Dollsquad and Steve Lucas?
Ha! We may have to add an extension. They used to have a special platform for Joey, I wonder if they still have it? Joey and I are cool, we don't need to compete though we do like to 'challenge' one another to a degree. Joey is also pretty mobile - she likes to go out into the audience and mix it up a little. I don't think it will be too much of an issue.
How is your health Steve? People in Melbourne are worried and want to know what's wrong, and are you recovering? Please quash the rumours with some fact and hopefully some good news?
My health? In many ways I am more healthy than I have been in years. I am suffering the after effects of a severe spinal trauma. My life is constant pain. How does that sound? Grim, huh? Well I am getting used to it. I have a good team behind me medically and musically and I have the love of an amazing woman. I am not about to complain. In many ways I have never been more happy. Life is like that sometimes. You need to lose a little to appreciate a lot. I appreciate the concern and need some support but I don't want anyone to worry.
You use Facebook almost as a sage, sharing reflections on life as opposed to mundane updates. What does Facebook mean to someone of your experience in the music game?
Speaking words of wisdom from the mountaintop? For a long time I was pretty much stuck in bed. It gave me a lot of time to reflect upon things and to grow. Facebook gave me access to the hearts and minds of, well, thousands of people. Sometimes I wonder if I said too much, or was maybe too honest about who I am and how I exist, but my views were so well received that in the end I just could not shut myself up. It became a confessional (almost) and people seemed to appreciate what I had to say. A lot people shared similar fears or pain or experiences. It opened the world up to me on a totally new level. It gave me a sense of purpose. Now that I am playing again I have a little less time to postulate. I have been referred to often as an ' elderly Statesman of Rock,' and if I am going to walk the walk I have to talk the talk. It's really that simple.
Neon & Venom play their first Melbourne show this Friday August 3 at Cherry Bar with The Black Gypsies (EP Launch) and The Reprobettes. Tix $13, only from the Cherry Door.