DRUGS and rock’n’roll have always been inescapably intertwined – for better or worse. They have influenced some of the greatest moments in popular culture like The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but destroyed the lives of countless musicians.
US punk band Direct Hit take a measured approach to illegal substances. Last year’s Wasted Mind, was a high-octane pop-punk concept album based on a “gonzo” approach to hallucinogen use. Direct Hit singer-guitarist Nick Woods said in his experience neither arguments for or against drugs were entirely right.
“That expression about ‘the reason why drugs cause so many problems is because they work’ is 100 per cent true, in my experience,” Woods said.
“They certainly give you a different perspective on life, and death, and the infinite, for better and worse, which has a bearing on the music one makes, since it provides a certain degree of inspiration that I don't feel can be duplicated sober.
“But I've written good songs high, and I've written good songs hungover. Taking a pill is fun because it puts you in a kind of mental theme park, or resort - It might be fun, but it's not reality.
“There's never been a point with me where I've wanted to live a fantastical experience inside my own brain all the time. Real life is too interesting and important.”
Direct Hit began in 2007 and slowly built a fan base through the release of regular EPs before their debut album Domesplitter in 2011.
Wasted Mind, the band’s third album, but first on famed punk label Fat Wreck Records, has seen Direct Hit’s appeal skyrocket.
“More people give us a chance now because of their endorsement,” Woods said. “But I also feel like our music has grown more collaborative among us with each album, and I feel like I've grown as a songwriter. “
Touring Australia has been a long-held dream for Woods, who covered The Living End in his first high school band. Woods is also a fan of Aussie acts Dune Rats, The Smith Street Band and Frenzal Rhomb.
However, musically the Milwaukee quartet take more obvious influence from fellow American punk bands like Blink 182 and Strung Out.
“It took a while for enough people to ask,” Woods said of touring Australia. “It also took a while for someone to take the financial risk on sending us over the Pacific.
“All of us have families and responsibility that kind of preclude us from putting 10 grand on the line, which is what it costs for us to buy plane tickets and eat and put gas in a van. My kid doesn't really care if I get the experience of just partying in a new place. So I have to be able to bring something back for her.”
Direct Hit play the Hamilton Station Hotel on September 1.