Frenzal Rhomb on exploitation, Thrashville and why Josh Homme is a bully

SAFETY FIRST: Frenzal Rhomb have promised to issue protective headgear to all photographers at Thrashville.
SAFETY FIRST: Frenzal Rhomb have promised to issue protective headgear to all photographers at Thrashville.

ANYONE who has ever logged onto Frenzal Rhomb’s social media accounts knows the punk stalwarts often champion the next crop of Australian bands coming through the scene.

Many of those young acts like the colourfully-named Mental Cavity and Semen and Garfuckel have benefited from sharing Frenzal Rhomb’s stage.

Yet frontman Jay Whalley cheekily admits they don’t mind partaking in the age-old music industry practice of exploitation. 

“There’s always loads of really good bands starting up and coming out in different places,” Whalley said.

“If we see bands we like we give them a little run and exploit them by paying them $100 and a six-pack and force them to put up posters around town.

“They’re probably the most exploited group in the entire music industry actually, the support band. As much as we like to outwardly say we’re championing the cause of young bands, we’re actually just taking them for a ride.”

However, the odd poster drop seems much easier than what Frenzal Rhomb endured during their formative years in the ‘90s before they broke out with their 1996 single Punch In The Face.

“We were more exploited actually,” Whalley said. “When we first started there was a culture of support bands having to load in a whole PA, like unload a semi-trailer.

“At some point during our early years we stopped doing that because it was terrible. We did find there were a few shows when we started and we played first on a four or five-band bill, none of the road crew would know we were playing.

Frenzal Rhomb - Punch In The Face

“That made us think if we turned up early enough we could play at any show and just turn up.”

The days of Frenzal performing first on the bill are long over. The potty-mouthed four-piece will headline the second Thrashville music festival at Lower Belford as part of their regional Hi-Vis High Tea tour.

Whalley is also promising to issue photographers at Thrashville with protective headgear.

The headgear has become part of Frenzal’s shows in the past month after Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme kicked a female photographer in the face during a recent concert. Homme later apologised and claimed he was in a “state of being lost in performance.”

Frenzal Rhomb guitarist Lindsay McDougall criticised Homme for his weak excuse and called him a “bully”. McDougall and Whalley infamously had an spat with Homme in 2011 while interviewing the US rock star for triple J.

“We encourage all photographers to bring their own [headgear], but we will be providing some in case we decide to fly off the handle at any point,” Whalley said.

Frenzal Rhomb headline Thrashville on January 20.

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