Legends of Motorsport - Start your engines!

Legends of Motorsport have been around the Melbourne music scene a good few years now, doing what Melbourne does best, guitar driven stoner rock. I caught up with Jean Claude Vangelis, who plays guitar for Legends of Motorsport, to talk about their upcoming tour of Tasmania and other things long-haired and smoky. As it turns out, 50% of the band originally hail from the ‘apple isle', which means that the band is looking forward to catching up with old friends and checking out what the Tassie music scene now has to offer. They will be taking to the air, as Jean explained "We are flying this time as the cost involved in getting four muscle cars over on the Spirit of Tasmania was prohibitive." To understand this last comment please check out their website, rev heads would be very pleased as there are muscle cars a plenty, a sight sure to gladden the hearts of many a true bogan.


With the release of their album, Remnants from the Big Bang - a stirring mind melt of stoner grooves, fuzz action and organ grinds - more shows are sure to be in the offering. The band has been around since 1997, played numerous ear splitting shows and released a mountain of EP's, so why was this album so long in gestation? Jean made it all too clear "Band members overseas, lack of funds, substance abuse issues, court action, car racing commitments, soap opera acting jobs, election campaigns, divorce, gastro enteritis, the tux didn't come back from the cleaners, ran out of gas, didn't have enough money for a cab, an old friend came in from out of town, an earthquake, a terrible flood - it wasn't our fault…"


Amongst these feeble excuses, is the truth that one member of Legends of Motorsport, is financing his musical career through the lucrative arena, of Australian soap operas, namely Home and Away. I didn't glean this nugget of information until after the interview, so who, what and where, I leave for the readers to investigate.


Stoner Rock has been around a good few years; Legends of Motorsport have had the pleasure of performing at Big Day Out and playing with Mudhoney and Queens of the Stoneage, but is there really any more that can be brought to this genre of long haired stoner types? Legends of Motorsport have played with everything from 20 piece jazz bands to one-man blues bands, and Jean feels that there is always something new to bring to the genre, no matter how long it has been around "What we do has probably gone in and out of style more than once since we've been doing it, and in that time we've seen nu metal, emo, pop punk and a whole passing parade of stuff that we've occasionally been shoe horned into, but we certainly have boys (and girls for that matter) who drink beer and have long hair and get stoned at our gigs, and that ain't bad…They're a discerning crowd in this town; you can't pull the wool over a drunken stoned long hair's eyes.…"


The band has had a few line up changes over the years, which has helped the Legends of Motorsport sound evolve, Jean clarified "We have had a revolving door policy on lead guitar (we recently did a show with ten of them on stage at once) and changed drummers a few times too. However we have had our current line up for a few years now and it is feeling pretty settled after an EP and an album. Whisky Ago Go and 2-Stroke have fitted in perfectly, but it's always interesting to see the subtle and not so subtle things that change when we change members".


What Australian bands do they admire the most? Obviously Celibate Rifles (Did anyone see him do a cover of ‘Careless Whisper', on the show It Takes Two the other day?) and The Scientists, but a few more recent Aussie bands keep them inspired, as Jean replied "There are plenty of great bands in Melbourne at the moment that give bands like us who've been around for a while some inspiration to keep it up. I guess some of my favourites at the moment would be Digger and The Pussycats, Dynamo, Shooting at Unarmed Men, Batrider and Eddy Current Suppression Ring."


Finally do such stalwarts of the Australian music scene have any advice for young bands, Jean laughingly replied "Carefully fashion your image with the help of an experienced consultant, find a good writer to sort out the trifling issue of the songs, hire a marketing department, and then sign on the dotted line. Oh and don't listen to advice from cynical old pricks like us"

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