Deadly Are The Naked are a Melbournian band who know how to Party – that’s with a capital fuckin’ “P”, folks! – both live and on record, as well as mellow out with the occasional silky-smooth, chilled ballad. Michael Bowser moves up close enough to the flying sweat and the high-energy forces of nature otherwise known as Adam Juricev-Mikulin (vocals) and Dion Melder (guitar) to get the low-down on embracing the days when TDK D-60s ruled the Earth, renouncing foolish nicknames, and reigning in prima-donna tendencies with the threat of Martin Scorcese-esque gangster violence…
For those as-yet unfamiliar with how Deadly the Naked can be, let’s start by talking about the band’s influences. There’s some that stand out immediately like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against The Machine, though your album and live show also bring to mind such disparate artists as Scatterbrain, James Brown, Har Mar Superstar, Electric Six…maybe even Brisbane’s 6ft Hick? Enlighten us as to any I may be wrong about or missed, haha…
Dion: Using Masterchef as inspiration, our main ingredient is the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the funk/rock thing, that’s the meat & potatoes. But the different flavours and subtleties are our personal influences: Blues, jazz, 90s grunge, 60s-70s rock…they’re the secret herbs & spices. The sauce and the gravy (well, let’s not go there)…..but we each have our own top 5, that make up the 20 secret ingredients:
Dion’s Top 5 Herbs: Clapton, Hendrix, Allman Brothers Band, Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy.
Tim’s Top 5 Spices: Chilis, Radiohead, Tool, Jeff Buckley and Sting.
Jas’s Top 5 Sauces: Tony Bennet, Keziah Jones, Marvin Gaye, Ernie Dingo, Shirley Temple.
Adam’s Top 5 Gravies: Betty Davis, Ween, The Smashing Pumpkins, 12 Sandwiches and Jane’s Addiction.
We do get a lot of comparisons to Electric Six, which is funny and unintentional cause we don’t own any of their records, but I’ll take it as a compliment.
Deadly Are The Naked has gotta be one of the most inspired band names I’ve heard in years. An obvious couple of questions, but ones which beg to be asked: Who came up with this name, and what are its dark and mysterious origins?
Adam: Thank You. I ripped the name from the amazing Jim Smith’s sketchbook. A real lame story for such a wicked band name.
On your Myspace page, each of the band members is given a colourful nickname! Tell us a little bit about each member of the group, what instrument they play and where their nickname comes from…
Dion: The nicknames have no real significance any more, we should really get around to our Myspace…but anyway here it goes. Tim…well, “Beats” is self-explanatory, but he does hit those drums very hard, so maybe it’s subconscious…don’t mess with him or he’ll “beat” the shit out of you! Jason, who slaps da bass, is now known affectionately as “Papa Herft”, as he’s soon to be a Dad. Adam, lead vocals, was/is “UHF”, due to his surname being difficult for some to pronounce…it’s a nickname that’s been in circulation since high school. Dion, on guitar, was known as “Darkness”, because of a now well-known Chappelle Show skit with Charlie Murphy and Rick James…although Dion has renounced this name and now goes as “Black Slash”.
Your album, “Sex, Rugs and Carpet Burn”, not only has a great title but some rather fantastic photography/artwork accompanying it. Did all the band members contribute to the final concept, and were the guitarist, bassist and drummer happy to be allocated to the lowly stations of “butler”, “handyman” and “bodyguard” to the singer’s “debauched rock star”, hahaha?
Dion: We all had input into the cover art, but the initial concept was brought forward by the brother and sister team of myself and Fiona Melder. Fiona did the composition, photography and the artwork. As for playing servants to the “rock star”, well it was bound to happen sooner or later! As soon as the cameras appear, the egos inflate, and the Mariah Carey prima-donna tendencies tend to come out…just typical lead singer behaviour. Rather than rock the boat, we just complied. But if you look closely, you’ll notice the handyman’s hammer isn’t too far away! All it takes is a nod and a wink from the butler, and the “rock star” will get some Joe Pesci action, “Goodfellas” style, from the bodyguard.
The album strikes me as rather unusually structured, in that the more upbeat/rock-y/”fun” numbers are in the album’s first half, leaving the more ballad-ish and “serious” tracks for what I guess would have been “Side B” back in the good ol’ days of vinyl records. What was the thinking behind this sequencing strategy? Was it indeed a deliberate throwback to the vinyl/audio cassette days, or..?
Dion: You hit the nail on the head with that question. It was a definite and conscious decision to have a “Side A” & “Side B” feel. A deliberate throwback indeed, and probably a sign of our age, when blank TDK D-60s and twin-cassette decks ruled.
Your lyrics vary greatly between the tongue-in-cheek, oversexed antics of songs like “Breastify” and “Nudity In The 90’s”, to the decidedly more serious likes of “Cages” and “Conclusion”. Tell us a bit more about the “lyrical philosophy” behind the band…
Adam: Lyrically, we want to make you feel good and uncomfortable at the same time. Kinda like our live show.
Tell us a bit more about the overall song-writing process within the band…who writes what, etc…
Dion: We almost always write together as a band. A song inspiration may occur individually, but that idea gets brought into a practice, and gets developed and worked into song as a band. It is very rare that a song gets written completely by one individual. Even the songs that do, get scrutinised by the rest of us, and inevitibly will get re-arranged or modified in some way or another. Adam mainly writes lyrics once the instrumentation gets to a certain stage where we’re all happy.
Your live shows are very energetic and sweaty, as well-reflected by the lyrics of album-opener “Stock Standard” (“Let’s get this party started”, etc). In your own words, what should audiences who attend one of your gigs expect from the band?
Adam: Lots of deodorant, the latest in fashion, beer showers, man-love, jams, broken strings, audience participation and a smile on your face.
Nice answer! Heh. And a final question, one which we always ask here at Music Vice: Other than music, what current vices would you care to share with us?
Dion: The four F’s: Frothies, fornication, food & football.
© Michael Bowser, Music Vice
Deadly Are The Naked launch their debut album, “Sex, Rugs & Carpet Burn”, at The Mentone Hotel, Melbourne, Australia on Friday, 20 August. The Vaudeville Smash support.