Now on their fourth album, the riff-heavy Kiwi rockers are enjoying the fresh enthusiasm of new drummer Ben Cole and their discovery of anagrams (The Datsuns new album is called Head Stunts… geddit?). Guitarist Phil Buscke chats about breeding horses, topless fans and becoming a hobbit.
Your hometown Cambridge is renowned for breeding horses. Doesn’t sound very rock ‘n’ roll? Not really. My dad would be training horses. It’s a nice place to grow up and a nice place to retire, but we just wanted to get out. We just had so much fun playing that that was what we wanted to do. It wasn’t like we were sitting in Cambridge thinking, “let’s start a rock and roll band”. We just got together and played on our guitars. We would just find obscure records and listen to old classic rock records. It was all we wanted to do really.
You got really big, really quick. What was it like having such a rapid rise? It was pretty weird at the time. We were so busy, we’d pretty much toured for a couple of years so when we heard about winning awards, we thought it was all a bit strange. We never thought we were a band that would have songs in charts and stuff. It was kind of a weird thing to go through, a lot of fun though. It was more like it gave us a chance to do what we liked for longer.
You’re renowned for having some pretty hectic live shows. Do you ever get fans doing crazy stuff? Sometimes you get crazy drunk people get on stage who try and dance with you and give you a hug. I remember one time we were in America somewhere and some girl took her top off and stood on someone’s shoulders right in front of us. It was the funniest thing ever, trying to not pay attention.
Do people always mistake you for Brits, like in genius Kiwi comedy Flight of the Conchords? I love that show. We were living in Germany for a while and they would assume we were from England. We were in a small town with English army barracks, so they’d be like, “so are you in the army?” and we’d be like, “no, we’re so obviously not in the army, we’re from New Zealand”. Then they’d talk about The Lord of the Rings.
Do you get bored of talking about The Lord of the Rings? It’s a good thing to talk about. It’s kind of funny. I like Lord of the Rings. Some of it, the scenes from Hobbiton, were filmed about 20 minutes from where we live. The others are trying to get me to apply for The Hobbit, but I don’t know, I’m not a very good actor.
What’s the new album like? Well it’s still like a Datsuns record, but there’s a bit more to this one I guess. We’ve got a new drummer so its obviously a little bit different with the chemistry and stuff and he’s a different type of drummer so there’s different type of songs, but like, essentially it still sounds like us.
What’s it like having a new band member? We had the same [drummer] for about 11 or 12 years. But we knew Ben, he’s like an old friend of ours. It wasn’t like someone completely new. We used to hang out with him when we were growing up. Initially it was like quite scary as to what was going to happen. At first I thought the whole band was going to break up and stuff but it worked out all right. He fitted in perfectly.
The Datsuns’ new album, Head Stunts, is out now, through Speak n Spell Music.
They can be seen rocking Brisbane Dec 11, Sydney Dec 12, the Meredith Festival in Victoria Dec 13, Melbourne Dec 14, and the Big Day Out in Auckland Jan 16. See www.thedatsuns.com.