Originally I thought the Aussie quartet rock band Spookyland got its name from the Roman Dirge illustrated novel titled “Spookyland” featuring the cockeyed evil heroine Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl but with our exclusive interview with singer/guitarist Marcus Gordon we were in fact mildly incorrect but not that far off the mark. “It came from some word play when I was 16 or something. I don’t care heaps for it, but it’s sort of apt. If there is an element for all the lyrics, it’s childhood imagination plagued by adult misanthropic concepts. Funny you should mention Dirge though, I had a Lenore comic a long while back, but wasn’t aware of his ‘spookyland’ branding until years after I’d claimed it for the music.”
Roman Dirge Lenore the cute little dead girl
Gordon is condemned to become a rock star with his macabre way of viewing life and writing songs that are presumptuously described as misanthropic country but in reality falls into the category of urban gutter rock. Gordon with his predisposition to mortality and spirituality. He has channeled the spirit of Lou Reed to become a rock and roll animal of current time. Gordon like Reed has this “nasal” resonance while he sings which initially makes for easy mockery but lyrically is where they both enjoy taking a walk on the wild side. Lou Reed had Andy Warhol to create an artsy interpretation of his music back with Velvet Underground; while Spookyland unintentionally have a different spin, “Death obsessive art of any form is something I can relate to, but to abstract it more I think it’s any looming fall from something, that gives a work ‘life’, ironically. We can all relate to being doomed and the people who broadcast that they can’t need to move away from the arts, or maybe commit their life to it, they’d surely learn the feeling then.
Spookyland eschewed themselves as another revivalist Americana band because of their producer Tony Buchen urging Gordon to take a more dynamic stance which led to the 2014’s “Rock and Roll Weakling” EP. And great it tis’
Gordon comment in the genre description, “The genre thing is tricky is as well, all great music is rock and roll, it’s a conviction and energy. Coltrane is rock and ’roll, Randy Newman is rock and rolll, The Foo Fighters aren’t, but Nirvana probably were. We try to create with energy that’s real and we feel and believe every noise we make. I’ve been sober on the floor hallucinating for no reason, shivering in cathartic fits in the middle of summer bearing witness to shutters of hieroglyphs written with the juice of raspberries and my child self-throwing up bubbles with cartoon Native Indians in business suits carrying vials of vagina excrement. Those kinds of incidents are where my songs come from, I don’t forget that and I’m lucky enough to have a band that matches that energy in music.”
The single from their most recent release is aptly titled Rock and Roll Weakling uses the biblical story of David and Goliath as a metaphor. It originates from Gordon’s youth where the naivety and immaturity is “self-evident” yet standing on your ground for what you believe in is always best regardless of one’s opposition…and in Marcus Gordon’s case it’s the music! The spaces in Gordon’s life that music fills were never such barren wasteland after all. Music is where his hopes and chakras are stored. His personal dedication drives him to strive his soul of music whose job is to make you take notice and then take choices.The video has featured Aussie kickboxing champion Steve Mckinnon, who has his way with a defiant Gordon and rather than give up he sucks it up and perceiver.
Spookyland were nominated twice for best Aussie band by Radio Station FBI; the biggest radio station in Sidney. The outcome of listener’s votes will be announced early January.
When asked about American music being interpreted by Australia he maintains a strong allegiance to his predecessors.
Spookyland Aussie singer/songwriter Paul Kelly
“ In terms of the copying thing, I think in Australia we failed to create and embrace our own mythos in the way America did so well. We’ve got a very fucking bad history here, but the difference is no one wants to talk about it, or it’s impossible to know how to, we’re in a stale mate with our past and future. There are no blockbuster films addressing our first nationals or our incomers from other countries. It was revolutionary when Paul Kelly started singing about actual Australian places and people, can you imagine? In1981? There have been a number of transcendent Australian bands, who play it unashamedly Australian and their international legacies have been niche, so I guess that’s the template up-comers look at. When I was a kid every band on TV was American and every popular show and everything at the cinema too, we’re mainlined American entertainment. That’s changing a bit now; a litany of unique Australian bands on the rise and radio is accommodating that growth more now than ever. I started off heavily consumed by American music The Band, Dylan, Reed, Young, you’d be sick if you heard some of those results, my accent was atrociously fake American. I was frenzied by archetypal structure and America represented ‘out there’ to me, my Atlantis, my inner-station, up river in the Congo… America was the only stage it felt right to set my imagination in. I couldn’t conceive of any great mystery going on down the road from my place or anything, but that’s changed.”
The Silly Fucking Thing… Spookyland
The track “The Fucking Silly Thing” probably resembles most what Spookyland are all about. The futility of a loving relationship and what great lengths a man must travel for acceptance and salvation . Gordon’s voice speaks with great passion and vigor. The constant reverberation of Gordon’s line.. “Your heartbreaking voice”.. could only be compared to Neil Young and Gram Parsons.
Neil Young…… Gram Parsons …. Marcus Gordon
Probably the most important catalyst came from their producer, Tony Buchen (aka Buchman) who really was responsible for not wanting Spookyland to be sold short as another American revivalist American band, so it was him that urged their sound into something poppy, dreamy and create a style that is indigenous to the band. They are currently laying down tracks with Buchman for their upcoming album…
Producer Tony Buchen…. Spookyland
We’ve been told that Spookyland are planning to tour America in the coming year….
I’d like to thank Marcus Gordon and Jess Thornhill