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Cuntz are a roving charm offensive; pleasant and slightly malevolent dudes snickering behind each other’s back, but more often right in front of your face, inviting you to take part in your own ridicule, to take hold of the useless everyday gestures and expose them for the necessary evils that they are. Or maybe Cuntz just get off on making loud noises squeeze thru cheap gear, somehow stumbling into a mass of killer hooks like a dozen punji sticks knifing through your body. Their songs are hard to get rid of, “dirty secrets deep inside” as the wounded wail of Solid Mates’ “Deep Gelato” asserts. I find myself repeating the lyrics, mantra-like, crude rhymes as forced entry. “I took a porterhouse/to your daughter’s house” suggests a multitude of interpretations as to how such a scene might play out. Mostly it ends in smiles (“She said she liked it rare”). Cuntz expertly walk a line between back-slapping chest-beating good times and isolated nights of room-pacing paranoia. Their tongue is firmly in cheek, but they have bitten the damn thing off and only a bleeding stump remains.Just to clarify the persons below: Deep Mackeshee is Ben, the singer. He’s got a ‘No Fun’ tattoo and is maybe what Ben Wallers would be like if he grew up on the beach in Australia. Rick is Mike, the drummer; if Cuntz were the A-Team, Mike would be Face. He would make a great Face. Loobis Fankle Hodgan is Lewis, the guitarist and also the guy who plays those dodgy keyboard lines that sound like obsessive takes on old video game music, and just as earwormingly effective. I hope his feet are OK. Freeball forever, brother. Mitch is Dom. I can’t tell if Dom is the most responsible lad of this gang or actually the sketchiest character in the bunch. I guess it depends on what time of day it is. All clear? Up the Cuntz. (interview conducted outside of a sports bar in Baltimore; beautiful day, apparently the Ravens won, but afterwards we headed to the park for some Aussie rules practice, not the padded poofter American shit)
TB: When did Cuntz form? How did Cuntz form? Why did Cuntz form?M: Two-ish years ago. R: Why? Cuz it’s funny. I think? DM: Me and Lewis got real wasted together, and he suggested we start a band, and get Dom to play. We asked another friend but he didn’t wanna be in it cuz of the name. So we asked Mike to play instead, even though he had never played drums before. M: We were just doing heaps of drugs and getting real fucked up and having a good time together. DM: And that’s all thanks to Carl Williams. M: But then he died. L: Rest in peace. R: His spirit entered me and I joined the band.
TB: So every time you take a shit an Ecstacy pill comes out?R: I’m their pill. I had actually never played drums before. We had a show six weeks after we got together, and I was just hacking myself. I didn’t know what I was doing. It was good though, it’s the best way to learn, just throw yourself in the deep end.
TB: And Ben you had never sang in a band before?DM: I had never played any music ever. Still can’t. But I’m a massive music fan. L: I just thought he’d be good; his talking voice is already good.
TB: The lyrics are really minimal and spare. They seem to walk the line between being funny and kind of in-jokey, but because of the delivery it comes off as really intense, almost threatening. Is that intentional?DM: That’s not necessarily the intention, but it’s a good result. Sort of like the band. We never intended on making two LPs and touring America, but here we are. R: Because the band is called Cuntz, we figured we could pretty much do whatever we wanted to do.
TB: So let’s address the name cuz why not. Who thought of it?L: I did, but I can’t recall when I came up with it, or later even thinking it was a good band name. M: We didn’t think it was going to go further than a couple of gigs. But at our first show, some people knew the words to some of our songs; I’m still not quite sure how that happened. DM: People knew us from being drunk at parties and saying stupid shit. A lot of the lyrics are things either I’ve said or other someone else has said to me while drunk, or high. Like “Hammer” is from when we sitting out back getting drunk at our place in Footscray… M:…and Mike was using his foot to hammer a nail in, so I said, “First you’re a man, then you’re a hammer, eh Rick?” DM: And I lost it. M: He lost it. I wrote the song in my head in about three seconds. DM: We went to practice that night and finished it. A lot of the songs started like that.
TB: What’s hoonin’?DM: It’s from the Benges (a family). They would say it, and I just took it on-board.
TB: Is hoonin’ a way of life? A philosophy?DM: It’s like, doing a bump, or hoonin’ a beer, or a cigarette, or anything really. Anything you can do too much of, that’s hoonin’. Taking it to the limit. L: Hoons are also guys who drive around, drinking and drag-racing, getting in crashes. Souped-up cars.
TB: But they’re different from bogans? They can be like, preppies or jocks?R: Anyone with a fast car can be a hoon. M: There’s lots of wog hoons. DM: Heaps of dagos, for sure.
TB: So Aloha was actually recorded a year before it came out?DM: Yeah, we released it ourselves on CD. Then Richie from Homeless Records saw us play with Bits of Shit. He was putting out their album and they’re our mates. He just really liked it and offered to put it out on vinyl, but we didn’t think it was going to happen. M: Then he changed the name of his label to Homeless, after the first song on the album. DM: Our old friend Alex Macfarlane, who’s in a bunch of awesome bands, had just started recording so he did it for free. M: We haven’t spent much money on anything. It’s all been stealing and money from the prison system cuz Richie’s a prison guard. L: We did a runner on the rehearsal space as well. M: It’s all been an accident that’s worked out in our favor. DM: Well, you make your own luck.
TB: Solid Mates?DM: Solid fucking mates.
TB: Give us a brief rundown of what it’s like to tour in Australia.M: Painful. L: It lasts for a weekend. M: There’s four cities to play in. Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. R: I don’t think Perth is even worth it. It’s so far and expensive to get there and back. To play, at best, two shows. M: Melbourne to Sydney is an 8-9 hour drive. It’s 24 hours to Brisbane, but Brisbane is where you want to play. DM: Brisbane’s great. R: They’ve got a good scene. DM: It’s smaller, but people are really passionate. L: And weird. They’ve got something there. M: Melbourne can be a bit frosty. We usually have banging shows though.
TB: Who do you guys like from Melbourne?M: We play with Bits of Shit and Jackals a lot. DM: We like The Stevens quite a bit. That’s Alex Macfarlane’s pop band. R: I wanna word up Celery too. And my other band, Bone, which I play bass in. M: For the first year, no one would ask us to play any gigs, but that’s changed recently.
TB: Why do you think that is?M: I think people were just offended that we were having more fun than them. R: Who else has a birthday song?
Listen to Cuntz live on WFMU here. Watch the video for "Never Felt Better" here.
Interview by Erick Elrick, 2013. To read other TB interviews, go here.
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