Graveyard Train are a Melbourne band who who sing a strange mesh of foot stomping country, folk and horror songs. They’re coming up to Darwin for Hot August Nights! GRIND got to chat to Josh – the humble banjo player.
1. Where did the name Graveyard Train come from?
We’re all sort of Creedence fans so um I think we got right into the one particular song called Graveyard Train about a bus that goes down and carts off all the souls down to hell – or something like that (laughs). I haven’t heard it in a long time, yeah it was just a stupid idea.
2. The initial idea was for you guys to sing in baritone about Werewolves, Vampires, Ghosts and the like over frenetic foot stomping country music Where did this idea come form and how did it all come to life?
At the time there were a few dark country bands in Melbourne , you know, singing about death and despair, Johnny Cash style, darker country songs. I think Nick, yeah, Nick Finch the lead singer wanted to just write more about horror themes like werewolves, cheesy mummies and witches so it sort of took of there as a l bit of a joke. Its became little more serious after that and the songs certainly change. But that was the initial idea 4 years ago.
4. How did the grouop form?
We actually all worked together in this pub and we sort of all got fired, so one dropped off and the other dropped off.. I lasted the longest. We were all mates though and into music so we just decided to give it a go. It was just a bit of fun really.
5. Adam plays the chain yeah? Does he get a little bored of that?
(Laughs). He was the first one to gert fired! Yeah I guess so. Yeah he certainly gets a bit over it here and there, but that’s not all he does, he plays the harp as well.
6. Do you all sit down together and come up with the lyrics?
It’s a collaboration definitely for the first couple of albums. But I think that we’ve all had enough of each other for a little while and so the song writing gets spread out a bit more.
7. How do you feel about the reaction from your audiences? Were you expecting such and positive response?
Not at all, like I said you know, country music really wasn’t that popular in the scene, so we didn’t anticipate crowds at all, and then when it became a sort of sing along it was really welcomed by all of us that’s for sure. It just really came as a shock and then it just got bigger and bigger and more people got involved and said that you should push a bit more with this. Its always been fun so its pretty easy to play the music, and have people rock up (laughs).
8. Why do you think people are so attracted to your music?
It certainly doesn’t sound like any other band. None of us are really great musicians and so we all sort of bounce of each other to keep the song going. Thats what made it it unique I guess. Nick Finch, in particular, is a really good song writer and so is Beau and when you put those types of people together you definitely get something original. I think that’s why people continue to come to the shows. Yeah we’ve been told we put on more of a performance as oppose to just playing songs. We’ve got a better live reputation, radio always been sort of hard for us, its gives us a bit of support here and there, but other people say that live shows are where Graveyarad Train is the best. And it does sound completely different because we record in studios and stuff and when its on stage we’re all amped up and it’s a lot louder.
9. What have you learned in your new sense of fame and touring, any lessons in life you’d like to share?
Yeah vitamin C tablets and a pack of panadole and clean socks, and don’t sleep in the same room as Beau, he’s got a bit of a snoring problem! (laughs)
10. What is your favourite song of yours and, why?
Oh, that’s a tuff one! We’ve got this song we’ve never really recorded called….Man I can’t even remember what its called… Umm… No such thing as ghosts - Fran the Drummer just reminded me(laughs) – Hmmm, why do I like that one, I guess because it used to really embarrass me when we played it live cause we make these stupid ghost noises and ghoul noises and Adam makes some sort of horse noises and its just ridiculous, just stupid. And now I don’t care anymore and just have a bit of fun with it.
11. Who inspires you?
Everyone’s got different inspirations I rekon. When the band first started I as getting into hankling and a lot of bluegrassy stuff like Bill Munroe, Fran the drummer just mention The Stranglers. Now days I’ve been getting into a bit more of louder psychedelic stuff. I was listening to a band called the Black Angles, yeah I got right into their album last year. Its pretty cool!
12. What would you tell your 17 year old self?
Lay off the bad stuff.