Sydney’s Ivan Drago are gearing up to release their self-titled debut album later this month.
They’ll launch it at Factory Floor in Marrickville on Saturday August 29th with The Bottlers, The Playbook, Wasters and Dividers.
To find out a little more about the band and upcoming release we cornered guitarist Brendan to answer our Hotseat questions. Take a read of his answers below.
Band : Ivan Drago
Job In Band : Guitarist, and split lead/backing vox with Andy.
Website Address : facebook.com/ivan.drago.punk
Hometown is best known for : Auburn was recently named the murder capital of Australia I believe… so there’s that.
Best venue in your hometown : One of the many Charcoal Chicken or Kebab stores. Oh you mean music wise? There aren’t really any but Valve Bar is probably my favourite in Sydney, along with Frankie’s (just the smell when you walk in does it for me).
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown : Probably that Strung Out & No Use For A Name tour, my old band (Sniperival) supported at The Metro and I jiiizzzzed. That or They Might Be Giants. Also at The Metro. Also plenty of jism.
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown : Same show – Strung Out is my favourite band, and being able to say I played on the same stage as Tony Sly is pretty sweet.
How long has the band been going? Almost 3 years.
Is there an interesting story behind the name? Ivan Drago is the name of the bad guy from Rocky IV. I plug the bands shows a bit on Facebook and one of my mates told me he thought I was just promoting some sort of communist thing. This was the other day. Our first show was in 2012. I don’t know how many other people think I’m a communist, but I am NOT a porn star.
What’s your most recent release? Tell us a little about it… It’s our self titled album, due to be released at the Factory Theatre on August 29th. I dubbed it the ‘Chinese Democracy’ of Sydney punk rock, it feels like it’s taken just as long to put out. It’ll be 10 songs of harmony-heavy, sing-along pop punk and we as a band should be getting really sick of it just about the same time everyone else is hearing it for the first time.
Got a personal stand out achievement of your band to date? We’ve been lucky enough to play with some awesome international bands like A Wilhelm Scream, Anti Flag and The Flatliners (my personal favourite of those three), but seriously – actually releasing this album will be like climbing Everest.
Any band, album, or song that you personally credit as a major influence? Metallica started me off, but I must have played along with Strung Out’s ‘Live In A Dive’ record a thousand times in my old bedroom, and my favourite song was always ‘The Exhumation of Virginia Madison’ (side note: My dog, Maddie, is named after that song).
Your first band name, and what style did you play? Hackenbush. We played cheesy rock, influenced by bands like Janes’ Addiction (and by influenced, I mean we directly ripped off the chords from ‘Been Caught Stealing’ for at least one of our songs). I thought the songs were pretty decent for a bunch of kids in high school, but I cringe when I hear them now
Most prized music related item you own? I had one of those telegraph pole posters with my old bands name on it, underneath Strung Out and NUFAN, and it was signed by all the members of the three bands. And I lost it. I know its out there somewhere, I refuse to believe it’s gone for good, so I’m saying that.
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? Football (the soccer type, where you kick the ball with your foot). Playing (real or FIFA), watching, supporting… from October to May, my life and my plans revolve around the Wanderers A-League games, and for the rest of the year I wait for October.
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is… not being at work. There’s nothing like hitting the pub at 11am on a Thursday and watching nine-to-fivers do their thing (to clarify, I am a nine-to-fiver most of the time).
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… Hangovers, the smell of the van, the long trip home.
Any item you seem to always forget to take on tour? I left my guitar at the Espy once, luckily they were open first thing on Easter Sunday morning so I could go and get it. But I’d probably forget something important like leads or picks.
Got a favourite place you’ve toured… and why? I’ve really only been to Melbourne a couple of times, outside of NSW anyway. It ruled though, enthusiastic punters and they will show up, rain, hail, shine, 0 degrees or 40 degrees in my experience.
Got a favourite venue you’ve played… and why? Playing the Metro was cool because its such an institution. I’ve been lucky enough to play with the aforementioned Strung Out and NUFAN, as well as with Frenzal at what was meant to be their last ever Sydney show (obviously it wasn’t, but it felt like a farewell at the time).
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? I used to freak out when things went wrong (leads stopped working, guitar went out of tune, broken string, etc) and think everyone was watching me. I guess I care less these days and just get on with it. I do remember shouting ‘HOWSIT GOOOOIIIINNNNGGGGG’ at the Metro to get a cheap pop and noone responded. We got a DVD of the show from Moshcam so there’s absolutely no doubting that it happened exactly as I remember it.
Any pre-show rituals? Vocal warm ups, usually involving rolling my tongue to the tune of whatever song is playing on the PA before we hit the stage. Also if we’re playing anywhere on a Friday night (i.e. after work), I’m going to Eating World in Chinatown before the show for a feed.
What do you find is the hardest aspect of touring in a band today? In Australia, places to play are just so far away, and we’re lucky in Sydney because we’ve got venues here, Canberra, the Gong and Newcastle so we can put little tours together without too much hassle. I don’t know how bands like the Decline, and booking guys like 5hrflight do it, they seem to come from Perth to Sydney twice a year. Maybe all that mining for punk rock has made them rich.
Last album you picked up? Probably Strung Out’s new one, Transmission.Alpha.Delta. It rules.
Which band or album is currently on high rotation? Red City Radio. My mate Brock introduced them to me on our podcast, Less Talk More Rock (check it out on Podbean/iTunes), and I can’t stop listening to their self titled record. I’m a big Spotify guy, so being able to access it that easily is awesome. The song ‘Two Out Of Three Ain’t Rad’ just does it for me (the bit where he goes ‘you gotta walk tall… OR BABY DON’T WALK AT AAAALLLLL’ – oh man… so good)
Tell us an up and coming band or artist you think we should go and listen to right now? The song ‘The End Of The World’ by Sydney band, Wasters (its up on Unearthed) is an unbelievably catchy, kind of triple-j-indie-but-fits-in-with-the-punk-crowd song and I think if it got a bit of airplay, they’d be huge. Their singer belts out all their songs and I love his voice.
What’s on the cards for the next few months for the band? A little bit of a break due to weddings and travel plans, but then the launch is on August 29th at the Factory Floor, then there’ll be some other NSW/ACT shows in the weeks after that to support the album, and hopefully a trip to Melbourne, and/or Brisbane, and/or Adelaide – funds permitting. We’ve got a bunch of half written new songs too, so we’ll finish those at some point, and our second album will be out sometime in 2023.
You can pick any one band / artist to cover one of your albums in full, what would it be, and why? Get Metallica to do it, why not? Maybe that girl from high school will finally like me back…
One band you wish you were able to see live but never had the chance? Consumed – an English punk band who had an album and an EP on Fat Wreck. They stopped playing ages ago, and literally the day after I mentioned how much I liked them on the podcast, I found out they’d just played their first show in 12 or so years in England… so there’s still a chance.
One venue you have yet to play that you would love to? It would be rad to play at the Hordern or somewhere to thousands of fans, but I guess if there’s one on the bucket list it’s Gilman St.
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? Oh just like every band I like, ever. If I’m picking one though, I’d love to smash out some upstrokes with Madness. Suggs is a big football fan so we’d have something in common at least.
A headline tour overseas comes up, tell us two bands you’d take along to support your band. Nerdlinger are good buddies of ours, know how to party and know how to tour Japan as they’re currently over there for their second time, and Bagster because then we could do the obligatory Ivan-Drago-song-played-with-other-bands-horn-section-to-make-crowd-go-apeshit thing that would obviously happen if we went on tour together.