Perth’s Them Sharks released and launched their punk / reggae filled debut album ‘The Beasts Of Bulwer St‘ earlier this month. The album comes with a sweet comic book that ties in with the tracks. You can pick up a copy of it now [Here]. This week in The Hotseat we catch up with drummer Walt Johnston to answer our questions. Expand this post for his answers and a stream of the album. Stay tuned for more upcoming shows, hit up their page [Here] for more updates in that department.
Name : Walt ‘Salty’ Johnston
Band : Them SHARKS
Job In Band : Drums & Percussion
Website Address : www.themsharks.com / themsharks.bandcamp.com
Hometown : Perth, Western Australia
Hometown is best known for : Cashed up bogans and over-priced everything
Best venue in your hometown : Amplifier bar, but after gigs it can turn into a bit of a douche-fest.
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown : Toots & the Maytails at Blues n’ Roots festival. Toots is the real deal.
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown : With Them SHARKS I’d have to say it was our gig with The Members. It was pretty cool to hang out with punk rock legends. It was such an honor to meet Rat Scabies from the Damned too!
How did the band first come to exist? I joined later in the piece, mid-way through 2013, so not entirely sure! I met them at ‘free soup Tuesday’ at the Malaga Tavern. They found me on the men’s room floor and I guess they felt I had more charisma than their previous drummer (Sorry Rich, Jesus and I love you bro haha!)
How long has the band been going? Bout 2 and a half years.
Any particular story behind the name? I think the boys at the time, wanted to jump on the “Them bands” band wagon of 2010. Kind of ride on the coat-tails of Them Crooked Vultures, haha! Nah, I not too sure?! We’re all pretty keen on surf culture and let’s face it, sharks are awesome, majestic creatures that deserve our love and respect…
What’s your most recent release? Tell us a little about it… Our debut album! All recorded, mixed and mastered with James Newhouse at Real 2 Reel Studio’s Perth. He’s a genius! It was recorded to tape and on our limited budget, we achieved one hell of a sound. Special mention must also go to our home boy Kaz ‘DJ Fdel’ Hamilton for some super sweet beats and samples. He’s one talented mofo! We’re all super stoked with how it all turned out!
Got a personal stand out achievement of your band to date? Our debut album is right up there… Personally I think it’s a bigger achievement surviving the Bulwer Street mushroom bonanza with the Bob Gordon’s boys… Me and Lindsay barely escaped alive from the lower fourth dimension that night!
OFF THE STAGE
What was your first introduction to music that made you think seriously about playing it? My brother used to listen to music like Zeppelin, Sabbath, The Who, the Doors etc so he got me into that stuff early on… I listen to everything from punk, metal to reggae, hip-hop and funk. You know, the good stuff!
Any particular band / album or song that you personally credit as a major influence? If it wasn’t for John Bonham from Led Zeppelin I probably wouldn’t have picked up the sticks. The opening track ‘Good Times Bad Times’ from Led Zeppelin (self-titled) with Bonham playing broken triplets on bass drum gets me every time!
Your first band name, and what style did you play? The Restless Words, Strung-Out style punk.
Most prized music related item you own? My DW Collectors Series drum kit… It’s my baby… 100% U.S.A Maple 24×18, 12×8, 16×16, 18×16 and I’m using a DW 14×6 vintage bronze snare with a Pearl Sensitone 14×6.5 brass timbale / snare on the side. I have a Brady 14×8 jarrah ply snare I use from time to time to… Killer!
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? Boxing/Muay Thai, reading or having a beer, rum or a cheeky shiraz… I also love the beach, the ocean heals and soothes so much.
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is… Seeing new bands and playing to new crowds… Always killer to meet new people and make new friends…
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… early flights and leaving loved ones behind… I am homebody at heart… No place like it…
ON THE STAGE
When on offer, what’s your one must have item on the rider? Red Bull… On legal speed (the Australian way! rots your insides though) and beer, hard to top a coldie after the show.
Favourite place you’ve toured, and why? Have fond memories of the Woollongong punk rock scene. Topnovil and Run for Cover, just wild shows and great people. Every time I play there some seriously crazy shit goes down haha!
Most memorable show you’ve played? and why? Supporting NoFX… Me and Joel got to support them with our band Restless Words… Enough said… I remember Eric Melvin’s eyes were like pokie machines, it was awesome!! Meeting Fat Mike was such an honor, kinda scary as well! He commands so much respect…
Got a favourite song to play live? Sweet Bree… All of us in Them SHARKS are big fans of her work too! So much so, we sampled some of her more memorable quotes in the song…
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? Usually too drunk to recall haha! Lindsay usually drunk and disgraceful so that takes the focus of me and Joel haha!
Any pre-show rituals? Red Bull, and Sailor Jerry Rum & coke… Caffeine and sugar so bad, yet so good! Beer or a fine smokable to unwind after.
What do you find is the hardest aspect of touring in a band today? Unless you have radio and label support it can be hard to reach audiences… Social media/Internet helps heaps for DIY bands, but there’s so many bands out there it’s hard to get a break.
Last song you listened to? Castles of Sand by Slightly Stoopid
Last album you picked up? Wu Tang Clan – Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers)
Which band or album is currently on high rotation? To answer both, OFF!
Tell us an up and coming band or artist you think we should go and listen to right now? Scalphunter from Perth… Kick ass, balls to the wall punk rock and a great bunch of dudes to boot…
What’s on the cards for the next few months for the band? Keep writing and keep playing… Hopefully visit the east coast soon!
You can pick any one album for your band to cover in full, what would it be and why? Sublime – 40oz To Freedom, it’s such a gritty and catchy album and I love their interpretation of some classic cover songs.
You can pick any one band / artist to cover one of your albums in full, what would it be, and why? I’d have to say our brothers Medicine. They play some pretty catchy hardcore and I’d love to hear those boys take on some of our more reggae sounding tunes!
One band you wish you were able to see live but never had the chance? Wow, just one?? Hmmmm… Rancid, they always elude me… either that or Pantera or The Jimi Hendrix Experience. So many I could choose!
One venue you have yet to play that you would love to? CBGB’s back in the day…
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? Suicidal Tendencies … Their drummer Eric Moore is an absolute beast on the drums, and plays drums in Infectious Grooves too… I love the mix of old school hardcore and cross over thrash style drumming too… Would be a challenge to fill those shoes though…
A headline tour overseas comes up, tell us two bands you’d take along to support your band. The Bob Gordons and Medicine… Those boys know how to party!
THEM SHARKS – The Beasts Of Bulwer St
Available now on CD w/ Comic Book or digitally.
Grab your copy [Here].