The band, who released 'Tu-Plang' in the mid-'90s, is still going strong well into the second decade of the 21st Century. And next month, The Gurge will head north to the Sunshine Coast to headline the inaugural Monsoon RockStock music festival.
What does it mean for a regional centre to have another festival like Monsoon added to the local calendar?
[Ben Ely] Regional areas in Australia tend to not get many shows and not have that many venues. We played The Big Pineapple and we’ve played a couple of other festivals up there [Sunshine Coast]. They seem to sell out really quickly and everyone seems to be very enthusiastic.
I think because they don’t tend to get a lot of that kind of thing there, so when they do people really come out and have a good time.
Do you sometimes feel things are stagnating with the music scene, and at other times things are starting to happen and people are doing interesting stuff?
Yeah. I think when you factor in the amount of time that we’ve been around – it’s been 23 years – but I was probably playing in bands 7 years before that. You see so many different trends and phases come and go constantly. I think that’s the nature of life and the world.
Do you have a favourite venue in Australia for live music?
There’s a bar near my place in Brisbane called Junk Bar that I love to go to, it’s a very small venue.
I wanted to ask you about playing with Primus, ‘cause I’m a mad hillbilly Primus freak…
So how was that?
Well it’s funny you say that, because I just bought 'Frizzle Fry', again. They were my favourite band. That’s probably something we all have in common, that we all loved Primus. It was really crazy, it was like our third show or something when we got the support, and it just freaked us out.
Because our band was kind of like a joke, it wasn't really a main priority for us. But when we started getting gigs with bands like Primus we thought, 'ah, maybe we should be taking this a bit more seriously!' It was a really great gig.
Les [Claypool] played the whole show in his underpants, which we thought was pretty hilarious. Bad Y-front undies too, not even kind of cool undies, really bad undies. That was great for us. Huge
At the moment, culturally and politically, it seems like potentially we are approaching a bit of a nuclear holocaust…and I think more than ever it is important that music can be used as a vehicle for advocacy and political change. I know you guys have been involved with environmental protests, and I’m wondering if you feel your political ideas have changed over time, and are there causes now that you’re passionate about and want to advocate for?
We’ve always been politically conscious. My last solo record I wrote when Tony Abbott was in power. I wrote a song called 'Idiot King'.
We do write about that stuff in our music; if you listen to the lyrics we sometimes get political about what’s going on in the moment. It’s not intentional, it’s probably sub-conscious. I wrote a song the other day for the next record. It’s called 'Mr Stupid'. I didn't even know where it was coming from and then I realised, 'oh, I think that’s about Donald Trump', and it just kind of fell out.
Regurgitator headline Monsoon RockStock at Lake Kawana Community Centre (Sunshine Coast) 4 March. They also headline The Gum Ball (Hunter Valley) 20-21 April.