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Interview: Brad Marr from ‘Massive’

Massive promo shot

If home is where the heart is then the home of rambunctious Melbourne rockers Massive is out on the road. They’ve travelled across thousands of kilometres of baking desert and ventured overseas to Europe, all with a beer in one hand and an instrument in the other. In the newly released sophomore album ‘Destination Somewhere,’ the quartet share their hell-raising adventures with fans. If that’s not enough, the boys are about to hit the road again with Aussie rock veterans The Screaming Jets for another round of party-hard shows. We caught up with frontman Brad Marr to talk about the new album, life on the road, and the future of Massive.

Congratulations on the new album! Aside from the album launch, have you had any special celebrations? 

We’re focusing a lot overseas. After the Jets tour we will probably do a run of our own here and promote it that way, but as for the second half of the year, it’s full steam ahead for Europe. That’s the end game for us. It’s where we think our music is liked the most so why not go over there and show them what we’re made of?

What was you’re overall vision for ‘Destination Somewhere?’

 Our first album was pretty much the first eleven songs we wrote as a band. We toured a lot for it here and we went to Europe as well. But when we came back we didn’t sit down and decide to write another album. We’re always constantly writing so ‘Destination Somewhere’ was written in Australia, it was written in Europe, it was written in the back of a van when we’re sitting around doing nothing. It was such a scattered process of writing an album that I think it’s a cool kind of theme for a collection of songs written over a big period of time and over a big stretch of land. It’s pretty much our experiences for the last two years since the first album came out.

Did you have a particular recording process this time around? 

We didn’t change much from the last time, really. We went back to Lighthill (Sound Recording) where we recorded the first album and we used the same producer, Ricki Rae. I think because we spent so much time on the road and we had written all over the place, bringing it to Lighthill again was a way back for us. It was a matter of taking all the madness and stories on the road and bringing them somewhere we feel comfortable.

Do you have a favourite song on the new album?

On this album it’s Destination Somewhere – the title track. It defines who we are and what this album’s about. It’s basically a song of us packing our bags and going wherever our music will take us. We don’t really have anything holding us back here in Australia. We don’t have jobs we’re tied to or kids, marriages or mortgages – anything like that. We’re full-time musicians.

Who are your greatest musical influences? 

I like the 70s and 80s. I’m a very classic rock kind of guy. Our band itself is very different in the sense that we all love rock music but (guitarist) Brendan Forward is also a blues guy – his favourite artists are Muddy Waters and 50s blues artists like Chuck Berry. (Drummer) Jarrod Medwin’s pretty 70s-inspired – he’s a Led Zeppelin guy, and (bassist) Aiden McGarrigle likes stoner and metal. I don’t know how we end up sounding like Massive when you put it all into one. I think we’re just four guys who like loud, fast music and this is the end result. It’s why we don’t sound like other bands. Other bands have the problem that if they all like AC/DC then their band ends up sounding like AC/DC. I think it’s really cool we have lots of differences because no one can kick who we sound like.

How did the band first form?

Me and Jarrod went to high school together. It was ten years ago now but we’ve always been the two guys in our school to play music. When everyone else was kicking a football we were in the music room playing guitar, drums and whatever. I think we got sick and tired of our old bands and decided to start a new band. We set up a home studio in Jarrod’s attic and just started writing songs. We found the other guys a little later on. We knew Aiden from the pub, we always used to drink with him. We didn’t know he was a bass player back then but it turns out he’s a bloody good bass player. Brendan is the new guy. He only joined a year ago but he moved down from Newcastle to be a full-time musician. That sort of dedication made us know he was the right guy for us and he fits in like a glove. We’re a very happy band at the moment. I think we found our little family.

Are you looking forward to your upcoming tour with The Screaming Jets? 

Yeah. We toured with them last year and by the end we were great mates. They asked us back this year and it works out well for us because it’s two weeks after our album comes out and one week after theirs. It’s almost a joint album tour. We can’t wait!

How did you first meet The Screaming Jets?

It’s all about putting your name up for the tour and hoping you get it. We’ve been turned down for so many tours in the past that sooner or later one has to stick. They liked what they heard and picked us to go on tour with them. They’re a bunch of fifty year-olds but they still party as hard as we do and I don’t know how they do it. They were actually showing us a few things on the road. With a bunch of twenty-something year-old drunk idiots and a bunch of fifty year olds who have done it for the last thirty years, it’s just fun.

What can we expect from your lives shows?

We’re a bunch of idiots! We like to make a mess on stage, we like to run around a lot. It’s a high-energy rock n’ roll party. We like to drink beer and make as much hectic times as possible and hopefully it rubs off onto the crowd. If you’re having a good time that’s great, if you’re not then have a couple more beers and I’m sure it will be great. 

Do you have any particular rituals or vocal warm-ups before a show? 

I should. I did more so overseas because we were playing every night. We were in Europe for two months and the days we were off we were doing live radio performances. For seven weeks straight I was singing nonstop so over there I was so professional it wasn’t funny. Here, when we’re not touring I’m a little bit looser and don’t take it as serious as I probably should. I still get through gigs but when the pressure’s on the absolute, fanatical kind of warm-ups are always in place. There’s a two beer limit before we go on stage, afterwards it’s mayhem, but when push comes to shove there’s rules set in place and we’re very disciplined.

What are your opinions about the recent lockout laws?

They don’t work. Queensland’s are even worse than the Sydney ones! I’m in Melbourne so we have 24-hour weekends and 24-hour public transport. If you ever get down to Melbourne you will see how much safer and happier it is.

It’s insane. Late-night drunken idiots don’t affect live music. That’s the club mentality, so to put a blanket lockout law against the whole city is unfair. It isn’t fixing the problem, it’s just hiding the problem. If nobody went out ever than nobody would get coward punched, so what are you going to do? Close the world? You can’t. You have to make it safe and teach people the right and wrong things. That’s my opinion anyway.

We did actually have lockout laws in Melbourne for a while and they didn’t work. They lasted for a year and then they were taken away because violence didn’t change. The economy did though – so many places went out of business.   You you can push people to drink earlier and send them home but if they want to drink and party they’re going to drink and party. People who are reckless are still there.

 What is essentially the heart of Massive?

I would say our tour van is our heart because we spend so much time in it and if we didn’t have it we would all probably starve. Touring is in our blood and it’s what all of us want to do. Our tour van is actually struggling at the moment and it looks like it’s been hit by a kangaroo but its going alright.

Have you ever driven from Melbourne to Cairns? We did that on the Jets tour last year and it took us three days and some of the roads in the middle of Australia aren’t roads, they’re just sand. Our van came back looking like it was 40 years older than it actually is. It’s actually a pretty good van, it’s Mercedes-Benz but it looks like its been off a cliff. But it still goes forwards which is good, so fingers crossed for the next tour.

What can we expect in the next few years for Massive?

Touring nonstop. We obviously never stop writing but we want to tour this album a lot more. We want to get around Australia a lot more than we have and in Europe too – that vicinity is where rock and roll is still relevant in the world. Also Asia and America, and if there’s a pub on the other side of the world in Antarctica then we’ll play there. We just want to be on the road and we don’t want to sit still for very long. We’ve got a fair bit locked in so we look forward to announcing more. Look out for us!

The Screaming Jets ‘Chrome’ Tour
supported by Massive

Hallam Hotel, Hallam – POSTPONED
Corner Hotel, Richmond
The Governor Hindmarsh, Hindmarsh
The Charles Hotel, Perth
Villa Noosa Hotel, Nossaville
Hamilton Hotel, Hamilton
Blue Mountain Hotel, Harlaxton
The Bridge Hotel, Rozelle
Rooty Hill RSL, Rooty Hill
Belmont 16s, Belmont

Get Tickets HERE