Stiff Richards

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by Matt Ryan (Munster)

Out of control rockers Stiff Richards self titled release was Munsters LP of the year. Mixed with 90s Melbourne rock sound and fun lyrics, the band has almost soled out their first long player despite only playing a handful of gigs in the big city. And I’m sorry, if you ave a problem with these guys, you ave a problem with rock n roll. Lead singer Wolfgang met me atb a place near my work where I was informed I couldn/t smoke outside. Pricks

Munster: how did you guys come together?

Wolf: I got into the band only a few weeks after the guys started. Drew and Raf, the bass player and drummer were in a funk band. They were getting back together for a show at one of our locals down our way, Baha Tacos. Their regular guitarist broke his arm so they got in Mawson, so they thought if hes in we may playing a jam show with Mawson. They wrote a few songs just playing round. Im friends with all those guys, Drew and Raf are family friends for a long time, Mawson I know through my sister and other friends, they asked me to come in, id been writing for a little bit so had some lyrics rocking round. I think I joined the band three days before our first gig. The gig was on a Thursday so we practised Monday Tuesday Wednesday and put five songs together and played thats how it got started, our other guitarists Gaz, or Tim or Gary whatever you want to call him he came in shortly after and joined us at our second gig, he joined as we figured we wanted another guitarist. So thats how the whole thing came together. We thought it was fun so we figured lets keep it going.

Munster: so those guys were doing funk stuff did you bring that rock n roll energy to the band?

Wolf: well funnily enough when I got into the band they weren/t really writing funk songs anyway, the three songs they had written where punk rocky songs. I think I put the energy up but they wanted to play those tunes for a while, but when I came in, I think Mawson saw me when they were jamming I was going a bit wild, you know rolling on the floor like an idiot (laughs) so they wanted that in a front man, the sound really developed after we got together but they always had a lot of raw energy

Munster: so with that short time frame you guys must work pretty quickly.

Wolf:  well funnily enough I used a bunch of lyrics that I had written for other songs that hadn/t turned into anything that were just lyrics, so we just had to figure out where to put them. That was easy as they were simple catchy songs, they ended up writing themselves, i was on a bit of a high when they play with a whole bunch of new people and its easy to write new stuff, everyone was happy to get back to playing music

Munster: did you write lyrics for another band or where just writing for the sake of it?

Wolf: ive always been writing since I was 16. Ive jammed with people but it never really got going. So ive got books of lyrics that were ready to go.

Munster: you guys are all from the Coast?

Wolf: we/re all from the coast, Rye, St Andrew Beach  area, we all live bout ten minutes from each other

Munster: what was it like playing with the Peptides?

Wolf: yeah that was at Ba Ha Tacos the one venue we can play at. Fred and the Peptides where awesome, they played for two and a half hours he had a double sided set list, the first one ive ever seen. he was unreal, he did the poster and I love his work. Its always great when we play the local as all our mates and family come down.

Munster:  what process went into making the LP?

Wolf: we wanted to get something recorded, we had 10-12 songs recorded, our mate Trev who runs Mooroduc Studios, bout 45 minutes from us. He has a studio in his house. We laid down some songs to see if they were sounding good and can do something with it. We recorded all 12 in two days, maybe even one day we got everything down, they performed it live. I did all my vocals the weekend after that. We were gonna record every song we had and then be like take out the ones we like. We had ten so we thought lets go for an LP. We got out mate Redro Redriguez, David Whip who does sound at Cheery Bar to work on it. So yeah, we want to keep it pretty local our way. We got it mixed by Mikey Young whose a Frankston native, he/s a mate of Mawson. The artwork was done by a mate, Jake Alexander. We were sitting on it for a while to get it back an mastered. None of us had released an LP so we thought lets get it on vinyl. We just flogged it to our mates, we made 300 and we/ve almost sold out. We made our money back from the costs. When Gary gets back we/re back at it hopefully recoding again soon.

Munster: I bought the LP from the Old Bar and I thought it was so cool we had a stamp and we could stamp the Stiff Richards logo on the record.

Wolf: we thought that was a nice touch. That was Mawsons idea we didn/t want anything fancy we wanted it to be all out the vinyl. So we got our two logos on either side of the vinyl and then the song names, then we thought lets get nice recycled cardboard, then we got this stamp made up, and how many times do you get to do that.

Munster: how do you bring the energy of the live show to the record?

Wolf: (laughs) I always say we/re a better live band, as thats where we ave the most fun, and we/re not the most tightest. (laughs) sometimes, the more energy the show has, especially when the crowd is amped up sort of doesn/t matter how well you play, and sometimes it can help when everyones focused and playing tight when the crowd brings that vibe. When I listen back to that record I feel I was a bit soft on some of my vocals, thats the only differential I can feel

Munster: John Nolan said to me that when he saw you guys oplay he knew he had to bring his a game when they had to follow you guys at the Old Bar

Wolf: thats unreal especially coming from him, I got to tell Raf hes had a man crush on Johnny since back in the day. thats awesome, they were awesome to play with as well as Ute Root. Raf got me onto the powder Monkeys it was great to play with them at Leaps and Bounds, was great turn out and we were well received.

Munster: you guys have played a few gigs at Cherry and done Cherry Fest and rock, how has that exposure helped?

Wolf: funnily enough, my mother was good friends with James Young. We got on the bill for a gig at Cherry, and we got on that through some word of mouth and he saw us play and he loved us. He later found out I was Donnas son and I think he liked us even more. It was crazy for him to see someone he only knew as a child turn into a manic. We/ve played Cheery Rock and Fest, so its great top get the support especially from Melbourne.

Munster:  that’s pretty cool you/ve almost sold out your first LP and played festivals considering you’ve just played the odd gig in Melbourne now and then.

Wolf: yeah absolutely we/re pretty blown away too. We tell people we probably wont press this record again, we/ll probably move on when its gone. And our mates were like why does this random band ave a vinyl  and I think that helped in the sales. We were pretty blown away how quickly it sold out.

Munster: being from the Peninsula was it a case of you all liked the one band, like say the Powder Monkeys, and then you all became friends, like how the Ramones were all Stooges fans and that’s how they met?

Wolf: not really like that, I knew Raf and long time before he got me onto the Powder Monkeys, the reason why I know Raf and Drew is they were good friends with my mum, and as I got older I got to hang out with my mums friends. You know there probably not gonna want to play in a band with a 14 year old (laughs). It is a tight community of friends and family lots of local love, we all go to the same parties see the same people. Its hard not to now everyone on the peninsula.

Munster: I love how you wrote a bunch of real rock n roll songs, you know just parting and aving fun.

Wolf: yeah well, the content was always different to me, sometime I would write a song off one word. Id see a word and be like how can I use that, then id figure out the choruses. I kind of work backwards sometimes i/ll work out the titles of the song before I come up with anything else. I don/t know if anyone else works like that. But just reading, writing and listening to music is how the content comes. And I listen to a board variety of music but it all blends in especially with the lyric writing

Munster: Is Layla written about anyone?

Wolf: No I don/t know any Laylas. I was listing to the Kinks song Lola and I had the melody of Layla, and it was a soft acoustic ballad, and I said to the boys to the Stiffs this was a really nice song and you turned Lyla into a bitch (laughs). It wasn’t meant to be a sad whaling song, was a happy song bout this crazy girl that doenst exist. I think its one of our more popular songs everyone seems to enjoy it. It guess it specks to the people a lot more,. A whaling sad number then a happy one. I don/t know where Layla comes from, think it was a pretty girl off Instagram.

Munster: what’s Next?

Wolf: we had quite a busy year, our next show is 25 November, the warm up for Ninch fest, a festival we started up our way, Drew did a lot of work for that, mostly local and Melbourne bands, and its our first gig with the whole band when Garry gets back. Its called the ninch fest warm up, playing with some great bands that are our friends. We/re really looking forward to our community day. After that we/re playing at GizzFest, 30 December we/re playing untangled, and trying to say no to other things so we can get focused on these gigs.

Munster: favourite Fall Lp please? 

Wolf: Bend Sinister. Love Mr Pharmacist. I was listening to them on the way over, A bit of their new stuff, was listening to Mountain Energy. Love the Fall, Mark E Smith is a legend. Do you listen to a band called Fat White Family?

Munster: Oh yeah.

Wolf: you can tell their very Fall influenced. They even ave a song Called I am Mark E Smith. Massive fan of the Fall.

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