Opinions were laid bare as Andrew Falkous spoke of Jesus, ABBA and… cocaine.
Andrew Falkous has nothing to prove. His 20-plus year track record of angular, eccentric and unwieldy guitar music – across mclusky*, Future of the Left and his solo project Christian Fitness – says just about everything that needs to be said. Most artists use their time on the promotional trail to really convince you that buying a ticket to their upcoming tour is going to be the best decision you’ve ever made. Not our man Falco, however.
“I don’t want to talk it up,” he says of mclusky*’s first Australian tour in some 15-odd years. “It’s self-evidently good. I don’t need to tell you it’s good – you’re gonna fucking come and tell me! All these bands out there, over-selling things… it’s like, ‘What are you hiding, you cunts?’ Just play the songs! That’s all that we can endeavour to do.”
Right, that’s that. So what, if not the upcoming mclusky* tour, is on Falco’s mind? Truthfully, it varies from day to day – were we to have this interview 24 hours earlier or later, it could have landed on completely different topics. Today, fresh from taking his daughter there, Falco’s mind is on soft play – ball pits, bouncy foam, the works.
“There’s nothing like it,” he says. “Rampaging around it with a two-and-a-half-year-old in tow, there’s such a wondrous reality there – going down slides, driving dodgems, jumping under gigantic foam rollers. It’s really good – especially if you’re one of those rare parents who is able to not live entirely on their phones. I know a lot of people worry about children’s mobile phone usage, but maybe, just maybe, we should be checking in on the parents before anything. All these kids are going to only have lasting memories of their parents having faces obscured by a black rectangle and an apple on it.”
Bounding fearlessly from discussion point to discussion point, a half-hour on the phone with Falkous leads a myriad of places – none of which can be discussed in full here. Among the wider topics are Jesus, dancing to ABBA as a kid and the art of a musician’s worst nightmare: The disco load-out. “Back when, you’d have doors for the gig at half-seven and have to be packed up and done by half-11,” says Falco.
“Now, these venues have you packed up and done by 10, so some cunt with more tattoos than you can play music off his computer to an empty room. It’s one of the diseases of modern touring, but there is a funny side to it. It’s almost Benny Hill-like, doing everything so quickly. You find yourself getting angry, but you have to remind yourself that you’re getting angry over something that is, at worst, an inconvenience. It’s not as though it’s some sort of terminal diagnosis of disco…” Falco laughs to himself over this turn of phrase. “I dunno if I need less or more sleep – what do you think?” he says. “I am going to write that down, though. That’s a song title if I ever heard one.”
The closest we get back into the musical side of things is discussing drug culture in relation to music, following a passing mention of Stone Temple Pilots inevitably leading to discussion of the late Scott Weiland. Falco notes that he considers himself quite lucky that mclusky* were never a big part of the music industry inner-circle, whose drug use is basically memetic at this stage. “The music business is cokey as fuck,” he says.
“Just the individuals that we were, though, meant that it was never a big deal to us. We smoked a bit, we drank a little bit, but hard drugs literally never came across our table. Cocaine is an annoying drug more than anything, really. It makes people with half a personality want to corner you so they can tell you about their ideas for a film for three hours.
“It’s also rubbish, because it makes people unreliable. Everybody on coke is a pain in the arse. It’s already enough drama being in a band without somebody having a seizure in the back of the van because someone sold them dodgy gear.”
mclusky* hit The Corner on Saturday January 11 and Wednesday January 15 (both sold out).