MEMOIRS OF A GEEZER
WHAT'S BEHIND THE GRIND?
Interview by Aaron Beer
Joe Geezer is the shirtless billy-smoking vocalist for the noisy, grindy hardcore punk band Uncle Geezer. They hail from the land of extinct tigers and Boags XXX, but moved their asses to Melbourne to get amongst the scene and play some unruly shows. Over the years, two members of Uncle Geezer have become staff and family to us here at Last Chance. Seb the drummer was our chef, cookin’ up a storm to other hungry Tassies on our Tuesday night parma nights. Joe worked late weekend nights on the bar with me. He’d rock up on his BMX at 3am to start his shift, rip a few bongs in the stock room and we’d be on. Those were fun days. Joe has recently escaped our plagued city and headed back home to breathe in some of that world famous air, but it wasn’t without its troubles.
So you’ve had the run around lately trying to escape locked down Melbourne on the voyage home to sunny Tasmania, what’s going on? What’s been the fuck around?
Oh man it's been a headache to say the least! The application process was pretty extreme and I had to rely a lot on other people to get the application through, but I think the biggest struggle was how many supporting documents I had to provide, just made me feel heaps trapped.
What does Tassie mean to you?
Tassie represents home now more than ever, I grew up kind of hating the place until I got to see enough of Australia to realise what a blessing it is to come from Tasmania. I really don't think there is anywhere else I want to be!
Boags Red or Cascade Premium? (I already know the answer)
You know it's red till death bröther! But if someone whips out a pack of Cascade Blues (Clagers as they are commonly known in the deep south), ya might see me struggle to decide on what beer I'm drinkin'.
You were living in Melbourne for quite some time, when did you make the move and what drew you to move here originally?
Couple of things really, I moved to Melbourne around June/July 2014, but prior to that in 2012 - 2014 I'd become heaps unmotivated and was just wasting.. So to kinda get out of that rut, I made the move to Melbourne to play a fucken heap of shows. That's all I could have cared for then, shows shows shows. After a few years of Geezer mincing around Melbourne and the odd tour up and down the coast and we were calling Melbourne home!
What’s the scene like in Tassie? Any bands you wanna shout out or mention?
Well I can't quite speak for the scene right now, but back then for us the scene was always fun and wholesome, very rarely a bad time even if it were a poor turn out. The Tassie scene has so much potential to be one of the best out! I think people down here have been realising that for a while and shows are only getting better and better from what I can see. I absolutely want to shout out THREATS, long time friend of mine Bek Binnie (total fuggen legend) is the high impact female fronted punk-lord the world has been begging for. Can't wait to see them play with my own eyes.
Uncle Geezer played their first show at Last Chance, the infamous 2am slot, and since have played endless gigs here. What are some memorable shows playing here?
I'd have to ask Seb about that, but I think the 2am show was our first time playing Last Chance, as before we had played it as Public Bar? Nonetheless wowwww... That could easily be in the top 5 best moments of my life!! Such a cool experience for a couple reasons at least, firstly not every band on the circuit gets that slot.. They are quite rare and unique shows, so the band booked must fit hand in hand with that which truly was a blessing from you lot at LC to reach out for us, but the second coolest thing is the actual history of late night shows in that venue many many moons ago! Perhaps Shane will do a write up on some of the history around that topic??
Anyway, I love Last Chance cause the building bleeds Melbourne musical history and Shane and Leanne bleed just the same.
Where’d the name Uncle Geezer come from?
This is the million dollar question and I love telling this story.
So, Seb Alcock our drummer started really hanging at the skatepark in around 2011, and before too long he ends up driving my previous deathcore band "Ruin Of Gaia" to and from our gigs all the time. Then In 2012, ROG fell apart and all my motivation went out the window with it, but Seb out of nowhere approaches me at our local skatepark and asks me if I'd join his hardcore punk band he wanted to start. I’m pretty sure I refused fresh off the bat saying "no way, I play death core and you play punk, don't think it'd work" something along those lines. He then responds with "I already have a name for it" I ask "well, what is it", Seb says "Uncle Geezer".. I pause, laugh and agree that's a sick name, aight fuck it I'm in! But it wasn't until our drummer at the time Jakob actually left the band forcing Seb to get on the drums and ultimately pushing us in a more grind/power violent direction.
So glad Seb approached me that day hahaha.
With song titles like 'Bong Song', 'Too High for Mum' and 'Marijuana Propaganda', it’s safe to say you smoke a bit of the ol moon lettuce. What’s your ultimate munchie snack?
Hahaha yeah we smoke pretty flat out, so the munch is important. Lately I've been ordering chocolate thick shakes and churros from dominos and dipping my churros in the thicky.. It's a deadly combo!
But I guess almost anything taste good when ya cooked.
Got any secrets to a homemade bong?
Do I ever! So I usually grab the Gato, whack my thumb where ever it feels best then put my lips to the mouthpiece and keep a constant breath of air (almost like blowing up a balloon that doesn't expand) into the bottle with a flame gently hovering on the opposite side to where your thumb is. After about 5 seconds of blowing/melting the outside of the bottle the pressure from your breath inside should pierce the bottle like a tiny little pin prick and from there I hold the bong horizontal and start bringing the lighter up slowly to the little hole, until I get the shotty size the way I like. Then repeat with the stem, but be careful not to go to big or else she's fucked!
Weed gives me crazy anxiety, so I can’t smoke in a social setting, but you will get naked in front of a crowd during the middle of the day and perform. I really respect that confidence, where do you think that comes from?
The confidence and the clothes are a funny one and I can thank a few people for that. Uncle Geezer's first ever show was with 'Michael Crafter' (the grind band, not the person) on their Tassie tour and I'd never seen such mincing madness. Two dudes, no shirts, no pants. Chaos. So from that, Dave and Matheson had opened my eyes to what kind of shit you can get away with in grind/punk/powerviolence etc.. Eventually we start playing shows with all time Tassie legends 'Now You’re Fucked' and their frontman Samora Squid comes to me to say that he likes what I'm doing, but if I'm gonna get naked then I need to not cover my shit up and just get naked. What Sam had given me was a golden ticket of sorts, because from then on I really just did what ever I felt like doing, spitting all over myself, punching/flipping onto my head/arse and of course some full frontal nudity.. Although, in saying that, my confidence can be mistaken for ignorance. I guess it's all about pushing the boundaries a bit.
I know shit’s been difficult lately, but are you writing or working on anything?
Yeah nah nothing in terms of Uncle Geezer. We're on hiatus for now. But I did join up with Good Time Aussie Bogalars a little while back and they are releasing a few things with a few songs from me.
Future plans for Uncle Geezer or other projects?
Hard to say at this stage, but it's likely to be a pretty massive overhaul. The music we have doesn't represent the people we are now. In the future we will come back, just a bit different to what you'd expect from us.
New projects on the way are Bong Gnarly, Ill Devastation and Choof!! Really excited to show everyone whats going on!!
Thanks to Joe for the insightful answers. I hope everyone can get out there and make a billy in his honour.
Check out Uncle Geezer here.
Photo by Zo Damage