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Earlier on this year Mudkiss gave Thee Savage Kicks' debut album ‘Preacher’ a glowing review - and why not, ten tracks of tightly-focused hard rocking garage-punk-psych showed a group to be reckoned with. Our reviewer was especially taken with the drive & interplay of the two guitars & invoking the likes of Gallon Drunk, the Byrds, Stooges & Sonics along the way. Right up my street too! Then about a month ago lead singer Dan Durack got in touch after reading a couple of things I'd written for Mudkiss. Soon we were chatting away about anything & everything, from Australian legends & semi-forgotten heroes like the Saints & the Triffids, to a discussion of the Doors' gig at the Roundhouse in 1968 - so it seemed only natural to get Dan in the Mudkiss interrogation chair.At the time, the group were looking forward to a weekend doing gigs in Paris. We caught up with Dan on their return...

DEN: So how did the Paris shows go?

DANIEL: Paris was rockin'. We played at Le Rigoletto on the Friday & Espace B on the Saturday night, both venues in the 19th arrondissement, with support from Les Guillotines, the Norvins & Brain Eaters. We really liked Les Guillotines, cool & fuzzy 60's garage, Gallic style. We're going to try to get them over here for some shows next summer. There was plenty of booze laid on & rowdy crowds - and 30 degrees both days! We had a blast

DEN:Give us a bit of background please - who's in the group?

DANIEL: There's Mikey Deville on drums, Shaun Marsh on lead guitar, Shane O'Connor on bass, & me on rhythm guitar & lead vocals. Two original members left in late June, so we advertised & then held some "booze auditions", considering it sensible to get any potential members down the pub before rehearsing. Shaun was the first guitarist we met & he joined without having to play a note. A few pints in he went to the bathroom & Mikey said "Let's just ask him to join," as we were getting on very well. I said we still had some people to meet later in the week, but then Shaun said he had a '59 Les Paul Junior. so that pretty much sealed the deal! Shane couldn't make it to a booze audition as he was about to go on holiday, so we invited him to rehearse with Mikey, Shaun & me. He'd spent one day frantically listening to our Myspace songs, & two songs into the rehearsal we knew he was definitely in. Both Shaun & Shane did amazingly well, learning an album's worth of songs, plus some newer songs in the space of a few weeks before the Paris shows. They've given the band a much-needed positive jolt.

DEN: Where are you all from originally?

DANIEL: I'm from Western Australia, Mikey's a born & bred East Londoner, Shane's from Dublin & Shaun's from Devon

DEN: And where are you now?

DANIEL: We're all based in North & East London

DEN: Got to ask you - main musical influences & inspirations?

DANIEL: The stuff we agree on is meaty 60's garage/punk/psych, blues & soul. You know - the un-poxy shit!

DEN: Do you prefer playing live or recording?

I personally think playing live is what it's all about. Recording can be fun provided it doesn't take too long. Laying down vocal tracks makes me nervous, so I did the vocals for "Preacher" in my underpants & nailed most of them in one take. Too much information?!?

DEN: Who writes the songs?

Me, mostly. I'm used to writing stuff in my own time & then having the boys knock it into shape during rehearsal. With Shane & Shaun on board I can see us coming up with more ideas in the studio, which is great.

DEN: What's the story with the "Night of the Hunter"  [classic 50s film noir, starring Robert Mitchum as sinister preacher] styled cover on "Preacher"?

DANIEL: The song started out as a bluesy instrumental, I added lyrics inspired by the film, & that became "Preacher". We originally wanted the iconic shot of Bob Mitchum on the album cover, but MGM said "Not sure you have the budget, but it will cost you $20,000 to use an image from "Night of the Hunter". If you want an image of the talent [i.e. Robert Mitchum], it will probably run into six figures." So that's why my mug is superimposed over Bob's. Thieves!

DEN: When we were chatting on email, I remember you saying you only really liked 60's/70's music - how so?

DANIEL: I'm probably like a lot of folks whose parents had a cool vinyl collection. My Dad's was all Led Zeppelin, Stones, Who, Black Sabbath, Hendrix, Deep Purple etc, whereas Mum had Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, gentler gear. It seems as I've gotten older I find myself digging deeper into the past looking for more golden sounds. I've been into the "Nuggets" & "Pebbles" stuff for years, but Mikey's an absolute 60's freak so he's always turning me on to some obscure, crazed 60's stuff. I'm not slating all modern music by any means, but I just think that 60's/70's stuff has more staying power than most of what's released today. But you know what they say - everyone's entitled to my opinion!

DEN: Are the group doing any recording?

We've got half an album written, we'll look to record again later this year/early 2012

DEN: Next live action?

There's nothing solidly booked while we get some new songs percolatin'. We just played four shows in two weeks, which is insane for us. One a month is more our speed! We'll probably do a 12 Bar gig before the year's end, hopefully another Rockaway Freaks gig at the Miller near London Bridge. We played there recently - top night.

DEN: Any major interests/activities outside of music?

DANIEL: Outside of the band? Nothing exciting enough to warrant a mention in Mudkiss!

DEN: Hope you don't mind a wild card question, Dan - where'd you get that great button-down paisley shirt?!?

DANIEL: It's from Pop Boutique, they've got a shop on Monmouth Street in Covent Garden, but I picked mine up in Spitalfields Market. It's indeed a beauty!

Well, it's no surprise to hear that the French loved Thee Savage Kicks, they've always had a special place for real black leather rock'n'roll with a dash of je-ne-sais-quoi, revering classic Jim Morrison, Fun House era Stooges, early Patti Smith, & producing labels like Skydog. Wish I'd been there...

So look out for more recorded & live action from Thee Savage Kicks, Mudkiss will be keeping an ear cocked ... as always, you can check out some of their songs on their Myspace page. And if you haven't seen it, check out the original b/w version of "Night of the Hunter", one of the greatest & strangest films ever made.

Interview with Den 23/09/11
Photos provided by Thee Savage Kicks


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