Q&A w/ Lenny of TUMBLEWEED

Tumbleweed’s classic album Galactaphonic was a highly influential statement from the 5 piece back in 1995. 20 years on the album enjoys a strong legacy – with Galactaphonic-era tracks making up a big portion of the band’s incendiary live shows. Singer Richie Lewis remembers “Out of a tumultuous storm in the craziest of times Galactaphonic was like trying to bottle a wasp nest. But we had it, and in comparison to the first record I thought this one was vibrant and electric, dangerous and sweet. Every waking hour was about the band, we soaked up everything around us, mixed it up in our whirlpool and channelled it into the album”. Now in 2015 – Galactaphonic becomes ‘SuperGalactaphonic’ with a reissue this August 7th, accompanied by the Galactaphonic 20 tour. The reissue collects the original 13 track album and expands it to a sprawling 34 track celebration. We have a chat to Lenny Curley about the relase and upcoming tour.


tumbleweed2015Lenny Curley

1. Where was the band at 20 years ago before Galactaphonic came out?

We were at home in Wollongong writing Galactaphonic. Obviously we wanted it to really good so we were rehearsing songs. Listening to it now I am reminded of the amount of work we put into it as some of the songs are well and truly packed. It’s a riff o rama while at the same time trying to incorporate some simplicity. We wanted to incorporate different styles, rock, and rock and roll. Early heavy metal (before it was called heavy metal) and a funky blues psycadeliic swing. However believe it or not I think our biggest influence was and is punk. In saying that I may need to clarify what punk I think is, like Jesus it has been misrepresented and misunderstood. First of all I think of punk as an idea rather then a musical style. Elvis was a punk for most of his career; he was the ultimate individual who did exactly what he wanted (except for the movie years. He broke a wild new sound to nation of fanatics and copped a whole lot of resistance. The Ramones were powerful and hilarious The sex Pistols were confrontational and John Lydon was fiercely intelligent, they and others introduced to countless kids the possibility of expression with guitars drums and lyrics, later Husker Du, The Celibate Rifles, Sonic Youth, Fugazi and others successfully recreated it. Most of the stuff that gets labeled punk lacks originality and intelligence. The need to incorporate these styles and ideas was both conscious and unconscious. We understood that to be punk meant to be original and kick against writing commercial hits. While at the same time we had a natural flair for classic rock. Where was the band? We were contemplating music, listening to records, reading books practicing, enjoying the success of the band while attempting to consolidate and improve it while maintaining what we considered a punk attitude.

2. What was the feeling within he band once the album came out to such great success?

I don’t remember feeling that it was a great success. I was seduced by the dark side and only craved more success.

3. What can punters expect from the SuperGalactaphonic release that they didn’t get 20 years ago?

More songs.


4. How does coming from Woolongong shape you guys as musicians and as a band?

As a musician I have been shaped by the records I listen to. The proximity to the Sydney pub scene of the late 80s shaped us. Our early bands in Wollongong had great gang like tributes. Leather jackets and 60s fashion that could still be found in op shops, we dressed loud and would need to be careful sometimes not to draw any violent reaction against a jock saturated town. Maybe being from Wollongong helped us in our desire to be different as it made you feel like an outsider. Or maybe we would have sounded and looked the same had we come from anywhere.

5. What did your musical diet consist of growing up in the Gong and how did it influence the iconic Tumbleweed sound?

My musical diet was of the highest caliber thanks to my big brothers. From a very young age I loved Kiss, Suzi Quatro and the Sweet. Hearing the Sex Pistols when I was 11years old is a clear memory; I was instantly drawn in and completely fascinated. Next was midnight Oil, and then at 15 it was the Ramones, the Hoodoo Gurus, Radio Birdman and the Celibate Rifles. Then the floodgates open I started buying my own records, The Stooges the MC5, the Velvet Underground. You could travel to Sydney or go to the markets in Wollongong of a Saturday morning where you could go see George. You would always chat to others who were looking through the boxes and talk about records. I remember a guy telling me I had to buy a Captain Beefheart, I was meeting for the first time. He was wearing a paisley shirt and had long hair, so I trusted him. There were not many people into this kind of music in Wollongong so all of us that were became friends.

6. Top 3 fave Oz venues?

The Tote The Annandale (Gone) The North Gong (long Gone)

7. Top 3 fave Tumbleweed shows ever?

Dead of Winter festival 2015. Glebe Bowling Club 1992ish Prince of Whales St Kilda Galactaphonic tour

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