“My theory is grunge was exported from Adelaide to Seattle then re-exported back to the world,” John says.
Now, before you start screaming 'but what about Seattle and Nirvana?!', hear him out. “We were in bands playing grunge in '84/ '85 and it was called grunge in Adelaide,” he continues. “I call it: 'grunge before it was grunge'.”
Keep in mind that Nirvana didn't form until 1987, the same year the term 'grunge' was first used by Bruce Pavitt to describe Green River's 'Dry As A Bone' EP, often cited as the first recorded use of the term.
So how did it make its way all the way from Adelaide to the stormy skies of Seattle? “There were a whole lot of guys [in Adelaide] – Harry Butler and his cronies, people like Dave Mason, Martin Bland, people who were in Bloodloss and Primevils,” John explains.
“What people don't realise is that a lot of the people associated with that went to Sydney then later on moved to the US; people like Martin Bland ended up in Seattle, friends with Mudhoney, guys like that.”
What's important here isn't where grunge was invented and by who, but the fact that The Mark Of Cain are among the pioneers of Australia's heavy music scene.
This year marks the 30th anniversary album of their debut album 'Battlesick', a record that laid foundations for subsequent sub-genres of metal with elements of sludge and doom metal before such things were even thought of or spoken out loud. “I don't necessarily class us as purely heavy metal,” John admits.
“I think of us as a heavy rock, not total metal because when I think of metal I think of Metallica or something like that. We were tacked somehow in a side genre, which was heavy and demanding.”
Wherever they sit on the spectrum of heavy music, the influence of The Mark Of Cain is undeniable. This October, The Mark Of Cain are on tour to celebrate 30 years of 'Battlesick'. The current three-piece line-up sees John and his brother Kim back together with Eli Green, who's been playing with TMOC since 2014.
Speaking about what to expect from the show, John says fans are in for a big night if the band's rehearsals are anything to go by. “We played 'Battlesick' from beginning to the end the other week and it sounded, from my point of view, awesome.
“I hate to brag, but f... it sounded good. So strong. I'm hoping someone who has never seen us comes along and goes 'f..., what just happened? What did I just see?'”
The Mark Of Cain 2019 Tour Dates
Thu 17 Oct - The Triffid (Brisbane) Fri 18 Oct - The Factory Theatre (Sydney) Sat 19 Oct - The Basement (Canberra) Sun 20 Oct - Small Ballroom (Newcastle) Thu 24 Oct - Rosemount Hotel (Perth) Fri 25 Oct - The Gov (Adelaide) Sat 26 Oct - The Corner Hotel (Melbourne) Wed 30 Oct - The Gov (Adelaide)