Slam Dance Corroboree 2 RUST: Shit kickers from Sydney at home in the UK punk scene
Slam Dance Corroboree 2
RUST: Shit kickers from Sydney at home in the UK punk scene
BY Ian Browne Shamrock News 2017
“The Rebellion festival in Blackpool is the greatest punk rock show on earth, it's very hard to fathom if you haven't been there, 200 bands over 4 days, the absolute cream of the crop of the punk rock world.”
A yarn with RUST’s Gazz Campbell & Bevynn Wilkerson
Who is Rust, how did you all get together, and what are you all about?
Rust formed around 10 and a half years ago, after we had all done time in many Sydney punk/hardcore bands. We kicked off doing Motörhead and Radio Birdman songs, and when we knew we were all on the same page, we started to get serious. We still have 3 founding members: Fernz on Bass, Smurf behind the drums and me Gazz on vocals.
We asked Bevynn to join us on guitar about 4 years ago and it took him a year to decide, but now he's been a solid member for the past 3 years. Darrin from a Brisbane band, Mouthguard, plays rhythm guitar at certain shows and he switches to Bass for touring when Fernz can't join us. He's been with us 4 years.
Bevynn: As Gaz said, I joined Rust a few years ago. I was touring with The Corps at the time but that slowed down, so when the guys asked me again I jumped at the chance.
It’s been great fun, the shows are always energetic and I`ve met so many wonderful people.
Describe the Blackpool-UK gigs: venues, crowd size/demographics and history
The Rebellion festival in Blackpool is the greatest punk rock show on earth, it's very hard to fathom if you haven't been there, 200 bands over 4 days, the absolute cream of the crop of the punk rock world. The first time we went in 2009 we were like kids in a toy shop with a $1000 to spend. We were overwhelmed with excitement and nerves; we played the biggest show ever to thousands and made a real name for ourselves. We must've done something right as we keep getting asked back, that's a big, big deal as it's quite hard to get onto the bill.
There are 5 or 6 stages with the biggest room holding about 5 thousand punters. We pack out the one middle room that holds around 2-3 thousand. There's approximately 10-12 thousand that attend, so if you can imagine that many punks, skinheads and rockers, with bands running all day. Massive punk rock/alternative type markets, selling everything you could ever want all under the one roof of The Blackpool Winter Gardens. To say it's amazing is an absolute understatement.
The Winter Gardens is an amazing venue. It was built in 1878 and is huge. It takes up a whole city block and has a theatre, ballroom and rooms going everywhere.
What drew you there, how were you invited?
I went to Holidays in the Sun in Japan 2002, (that's what Rebellion used to be called) it was a two and a half dayer featuring The Adicts, The Exploited, Anti Nowhere League, The Business Cockney Rejects Red Alert, all the people working the festival were English and they made a big fuss of me cause I stood out as the only Aussie there, and that I had gone to a lot of effort to get there, they treated me like a king and gave me back stage passes so I could hang out with the bands. I even ended up on stage singing with the Business. I had taken CDs of my band at the time, Crucified Venus, to hand out sort of like business cards. Emails were swapped and the offer was put to me: “If you ever want to play in England let us know.”
How are you treated by the other bands? Describe the social interaction.
We have made lifelong friends with a lot bands from all over the world, it's made it a lot easier for us to travel with these connections, they really go above and beyond for us, but it's like anything though- there's wankers too.
I have met so many wonderful, like-minded people at the festival, and backstage there are no egos, just comradery.
How do the crowds respond? What do they like about you, and what Q’s do they ask of you? Do they purchase your CDs?
Crowds are great and we often sell out of merch and CDs before the end of a tour, the wilder the crowd the better, we've been over enough times now that a lot of people in our audience have become friends. They often ask if we are going to do re runs of certain shirt designs or when's the next album, can you sign this, can I propose to my girlfriend during your set- all kinds of stuff.
How does this make you feel; is it empowering; exciting; a good laugh?
It's all of the above, it makes it all worthwhile. I love punk, it's amusing all the time, it keeps you young to an extent. I'm 50 and it's a lot more appealing than playing golf I would say.
Playing to 3000 punters, and seeing them sing along with the lyrics, is very exciting. It lifts you to the next level. You can’t help but smile and laugh the whole time.
Will you attend other Blackpool festivals in the future, and where else did you tour during the 2016 visit?
I hope so, we can't do it every year, it's too hard on our home life to do it every year, but there is an interesting invitation on the table for 2018. We played Scotland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Czech Republic this time along with some pub shows around England before the festival. We finished in Prague and had a flat above the venue for a week. Pretty cool for some shit kickers from Sydney!
Describe the logistical pros n cons of such a visit.
It's fucking terrible, it's a logistical nightmare, it takes a year to organize from woe to go, time off work, and venues’ support bands’ gear and accommodation, 22 hours flying time, then trains, planes and automobiles. It's all got to match up and sometimes it doesn't, it's a lot of hard work to make it happen, we are lucky we have some great people in our corner over there or it just couldn't happen. It's tough, very tough at times, but it's always worth it.
We had a European promoter that pulled out because he was double-booked with another band. We had to ring friends and bands, email venues, get backline hire, accommodation and arrange the tour ourselves, but we did it in the end and pulled it off.
Thanks also to the many friends who helped us out just for the love of it.
These UK visits also allow you to tour with UK bands here in Oz. What British bands has Rust played with here in Australia?
We have had the pleasure and honour to play with the likes of
The UK Subs, Stiff Little Fingers, The Exploited, GBH, The Varukers, The Business, Sham 69, The Vibrators, English Dogs, Beerzone, and Bad Manners. This has been absolutely amazing as these bands were my heroes in high school in the very early 80's and I had posters of most of them on the walls of my flats over the years. I remember buying vinyl records and listening to the above mentioned in absolute awe of what they had put out, and now we are mates with a lot of them. Sometimes you have to pinch ya self and say fuck that is really cool!
What did you learn about yourself over there in Ol Blighty, and how does Rust grow from this experience?
I think you learn from traveling and playing that nobody got to headline and play Rebellion from doing nothing, it's a long way to the top if ya wanna rock n Roll, and if you think you are going to make any coin out of it, think again. Be prepared to lose money, learn to have a good time instead. If Rust moved to England we could carve a living out of it but we wouldn't make any money, you learn to be patient, very patient, under extreme circumstances. Sometimes, like the time we drove all day and got to a gig in Holland and there was no PA, how's losing ya shit gonna help? Accept the fact, go have a coffee, or a beer, play tourist for the arvo and hope something turns up for the gig, it usually does. Just keep telling yourself this is better than playing fucking golf!
The experience was amazing. You get a sense of freedom when you’re far from home, away on tour. We slept on friend’s floors and ate dinner with their parents, crammed into backpackers and got to know each other’s smells on the tour bus. It was a great way to really feel the culture of a country. We all save hard for 2 years just so we can go do this and I feel so very lucky.