The Dwarf In Conversation With Massive

The Dwarf In Conversation With Massive

This week I had the opportunity to speak with Massive frontman and all round nice bloke, Brad Marr. We talked about the early days of his career and most importantly their stellar new album Destination Somewhere. Strap yourself in, it’s a great ride.

Hey Brad, how are you? Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. Let’s get into it, then my friend.

For sure. Let’s do it.

Well done on the new record Brad. It is the perfect progression from where you left off with Full Throttle. What do you think are the major differences between this new album and Full Throttle?

Well three years of spending a whole heap of time together cramped in a van touring as much as we can. When you do that you get to know each other very well. We experience new things and are influenced by new things so when recording time comes around the progression isn't anything planned, it is just we are more mature both as musicians and as people.

Since Full Throttle you have had a lineup change with Ben Luguda leaving and Brendan Forward coming on board. What difference has that made to the band and the writing process or style?

Brendan came in and totally nailed it. He is a blues guy and that has come through on this album a lot more without really changing our sound too much. This is a guy who left Newcastle to move to Melbourne and become a full time musician. We found him working in our manager’s bar. We gave him one rehearsal then the next week we asked him if he wanted to join. He said "yes". There was a condition. We were leaving for tour that night and he had enough time to finish his beer before we were heading up the coast. So with just the clothes on his back and a few celebratory shots later, he borrowed Jarrod Medwin’s guitar and spent the next week touring with a bunch of blokes he barely knew. As I said he nailed it.

Was there a lot of pressure to follow up Full Throttle. How was the writing process this time around?

There wasn't too much pressure from label and management. I mean they wanted us to have something good but to their credit, there was no deadlines or anyone trying to hurry us up. We didn't set any pre production time or anything. It was more a case of when we had forty odd minutes of killer music we would put it down on record. The writing took place over two years and it was written all over the place. 'The Way It's Always Been' I wrote in a Nuremberg Hostel, where 'Made Of Stone' was a real slog to get right. I think we started that two years ago and worked and reworked it the entire time. No two songs are the same process, that's for sure.

How long did this album take to record?

We spent about three weeks in the studio, which was the same as Full Throttle. We knew what we wanted to achieve and we purposely went back to Ricki Rae out in Lighthill Sound Recording because we are comfortable there. He gets us and knows how to get the best out of us. So it was a very natural thing.

You recorded two covers for the Four On The Floor EP. Did you record any covers for use as B-sides this time around? If so what can we expect?

We got a little caught off guard with the first album. We didn't know we needed bonus tracks. So those four songs were the two newest songs we had written and the two covers we were enjoying the most at the time. For this album we had a few ideas just in case ready to go but no covers as bonus tracks this time. There is a ripping tune as the iTunes bonus track, which I rate as one of my favourite songs I've written. Pity it's a bonus track and only a few people will ever hear it. That’s the way it goes I guess.

Who shot the album cover and where was it done?

A legendary photographer named Rom Anthonis. We wanted to be on the cover but didn't want to make it cheesy. We wanted 'Cowboys From Hell' but trashy and nasty. So the whole blown up bar with us still there drinking away was an idea that Rom absolutely nailed. Seriously couldn't be happier. It's a very unique cover that sums us up perfectly. We're the last blokes in the pub.

The Dwarf In Conversation With Massive

How have pre-sales been so far? You must be close to a Top 10 placing for the release in Australia?

Not sure about Top 10. We are hoping to get a place in the charts though. With very limited press over here though we know we aren't big enough to knock the Biebers of the world off the main spots. That's cool though, we're just more excited about getting this music into the ears of people who want to listen to it. We think it's a bloody good record.

How was the album launch gig at The Evelyn Hotel on April the 23rd? You hinted at some mega things on Facebook a little while ago. What can you share?

I think we had a rocking show. It was a packed house and we filmed the whole thing so stay tuned for more Massive live footage madness. Thank you that came out and rocked and drank their arses off with us.

The ten date May tour with The Screaming Jets is not the first outing with them you did a twenty-three date tour from September to November in 2015. You obviously made an impression and have become good mates for them to invite you out again. What if anything have you learnt from touring with The Screaming Jets?

Let me just start by saying these guys are all in their late forties and whatever. They still party like they're in their twenties. I don't know if there were any specific lessons we learnt on tour with them but every time you tour with a legendary band like The Screaming Jets, you become a little more aware and accustomed to what it actually takes. We really hit it off and by the end of the tour we were all mates. So we can't wait to get back on the road with them.

'Beaten Dog' to me sounds like a missing Screaming Jets tune. Was that a co-write?

No, it was actually penned by Brendan Forward. It was a song he brought into the band finished and we fell in love with it and begged him to let us play it. We let him sing it though, as we thought it would be a cool way to end the album. Have co-written some stuff with Paul Woseen from The Screaming Jets though. One drunken night on tour last year, I planted the seed and the next morning I woke up to four or five texts of lyrics saying let’s co write. Not sure what will come of it but the guitar, a pen and paper are never far away.

Energy of the band live is something to behold – it’s a brave move for The Screaming Jets to take you out. It’s an amazing double bill.

Well their album comes out next week, so it's a sort of a double album tour. And don't worry, they pack an almighty punch on the live circuit. We have to bring our A game every night just to keep up.

Did The Screaming Jets remember you from the Misty Fizz days?

(laughs) No. Bloody hell. That was mine and Jarrod's high school band. It was our first ever gigging band. We wore bagging blue jeans on stage and we had shorter hair and Jarrod was on guitar? Let's just say, we sucked. We really did. But we snuck our way onto a Jets gig almost a decade ago now. We were opening and we thought we had made it. This was the big time for us. Now we laugh at how horrible we really were. (laughs)

I love how you guys are so great to your fans. You take the time to genuinely connect with them. What is your favourite fan story?

We love our fans. We have a seriously loyal army of rockers the support us. We're very lucky and appreciative of everything people have done for us. You wouldn't believe the amount of stranger’s floors we have slept on. I haven't told this story enough but there is a couple out in the Black Country UK named Al and Val. They emailed us saying we could stay at their house whenever we wanted. They even went to the effort of looking at our tour and letting us know which venues were in driving distance to their house. They came along to so many of our shows all over the UK. They cooked us the most amazing dinners and breakfasts. They did our washing and gave us all places to sleep in their two bedroom house. Their house is an encyclopedia of rock'n'roll. They have bootlegs of famous bands before they were famous. We are forever grateful to them for what Al and Val did for us.

The Dwarf In Conversation With Massive

Your manager did an around the world in fourteen days PR jaunt and obviously brought Massive to the attention of the masses worldwide. It must be amazing to have that kind of support?

There was a method to this madness. To get on the big gigs overseas you need people on the ground doing the work. We needed a booking agent and Rick had a wish list. So he flew around the world forcing his way into meetings and after two weeks he came back with us signed onto United Talent Agency. Paul Ryan and Ben Ward are now looking after all of our bookings in Europe. If you need proof that these guys are the real deal just Google who else United Talent Agency book for.

I know you have tirelessly been doing press in Europe for the launch of the album this last couple of weeks. Have you booked any dates this far? If so, who are you going out with?

We have a few things locked in, we have a starting date in September and we will be there until November. There are still too many gaps to fill, so we will hold off announcing anything until it begins to look more like a tour. Although Hard Rock Hell in Wales have already put our name out there on their first announcement, so that’s all the public know so far.

The album reviews have been incredible from European media. You must be proud and excited. How has the Australian media reacted to Destination Somewhere?

It's very surreal. I mean these are the rock magazine's I've read ever since I was young. Now they are reviewing us and giving us huge props, which is insane. We're stoked it is getting out there and will do our best to show them what we can do live when we get there. The Australian media is a lot slower but that is to be expected. Australian media has always since the 70's and 80's followed what America and Europe were doing. AC/DC had to go to Europe to break it, INXS with America. If that's the journey we have to take, then our bags are packed ready to go.

Europe seems to embrace Australian rock 'n' roll, better than Australia. Why do you think that is? Bands like Airbourne, Rose Tattoo and a few others have had great success?

I think it is the population difference and the culture as well. Some of those countries in Europe are totally mad for rock 'n' roll. We went into a "beer bar" in Belgium. They only sold house beer, nothing else and only played heavy metal and it was packed at 2am on a Tuesday night. Rock 'n' roll is relevant over there, so as I said if that’s what it takes, then we're all for it.

To wrap things up I like to have a little fun with what I call the lightening round of questions – shall we do it?

Why not, lets do it.

If you could tour with one band who would it be and why?

Guns N' Fucking Roses - Original line up and it's closer than ever.

Fastrack & Deep End, are they still available? What was the most valuable thing you learnt from that era?

(laughs) Wow! Mine and Jarrod’s first recording bands, first time either of us toured interstate with a band. And I'm sure you would be able to find both those bands if you searched hard enough.

Who do you believe to be the most promising new Australian band you have heard?

I can't pick one. So, The Lazy's, Tracer, Electric Mary, Tequila Mockingbyrd, Hailmary, Dead City Ruins, The Lockhearts, Cherry Grind. If you don't have these in your collection yet, you are missing out.

Vinyl, CD or download?

Vinyl. It's special. It makes the music feel important.

Funniest road story?

Where do I start? Too many to have a definite funniest. The day before we went in to record this album, Jarrod and Aidan decided to go on an all night bender. Aidan's brother called me at 8am to tell me I better try and contact the boys, as they were headed to Hollywood. Sure enough they had packed their bags and cabbed it to the airport. Meanwhile we had called the airport telling Qantas do not sell tickets to two long haired drunk guys. Luckily, they forgot their passports.

Through the history of music which song do you wish you had written? Why?

'Thank You' by Led Zeppelin. It's majestic and beautiful. I play it at solo gigs every now and then.

Favorite Australian venue?

The Palace. RIP. What a fucking joke. This week they have announced it is definitely more important to have generic apartments in that space instead of an iconic piece of Melbourne. Fuck.

Best thing about being in Massive?

The money. Definitely all the money we are making.

Worst thing about being in Massive?

(llaughs) The fact we're all completely broke. We're still alive and I know lots of people with lots of money, who would give a million dollars to have the experiences we've had.

Strangest thing you have read about yourself?

Hmmm, there was a review for Full Throttle back in the day, Swedish maybe? Norwegian? Who knows, anyway they hated us. We got a 3/10 but the description baffled me and made me think they got the wrong disc. "They sound like a poor man's Air Supply" What?

Aidan McGarrigle

Mad Man. Irish beast. Can go a nine hour drive without saying a word. Fill him with beer, doesn't shut up.

Brendan Forward

Doesn't wear shoes very often. Busks for a living. Everyone's best mate.

Jarrod Medwin

The man who started this journey with me. The only bloke in high school who would spend his lunch times making music instead of chasing a football around.

Ben Luguda

One step ahead, three days late.

Josie O’Toole

Imagine Keith Moon and Tommy Lee had a love child and that love child ended up with their combined drumming styles. Mayhem. She goes alright.

Ricki Rae

Genius. Nuff said.

Brad Marr


Sustained Anthem

Wow, that's some serious homework you have done there. The name of our first high school band that rehearsed a lot but never made it out of the battle of the bands stage.

Worst gig you have done?

Probably not the worst gig but in comparison to what we had just done this was the biggest soul destroyer. Picture this...playing every night to sold out theatres across Europe supporting our brothers Blackberry Smoke. We finish that tour in Sweden, after playing the encore as a super group ripping out 'Highway To Hell'. We get in our van, drive twenty-seven hours back to Leeds in the UK to start our run of headline shows. When we get there, it is a cupboard. I mean it is smaller than an office with no stage, no lights, no signage to say there’s a band upstairs. The venue had no idea what "Massive" was, just that there was something going on in their band room that they had been taking calls for all week. We filled the joint which wasn’t hard but from a 1500 capacity theatre to a 40 capacity storage room was the biggest reality check ever.

That Coles commercial?

Don't know what you are talking about. Don't watch TV much myself.

Favourite song from Destination Somewhere?

Love them all like my own children but if I had to pick, the title track 'Destination Somewhere' is the song that defines everything we are about. That is Massive.

Thanks again Brad for making time to me to chat with me, it’s been great. I hope to catch up with you on the road sooner rather than later. Good luck with everything. Go kick some arse.

Cheers Andrew, thanks for the support. See you soon.

If you haven’t already got yourself a copy of Destination Somewhere, please go grab one now.

For limited versions and merchandise please head on over to:

Check out all things Massive here:

I need to say a personal thank you to Brad Marr for taking the time to have a quick chat with my son after this interview. My 11 year old is a huge fan and just loved that Brad took the time to say "Hi". The future of rock 'n' roll is safe with these guys.

Massive touring with The Screaming Jets

Fri 6th May
8:30 pm The Screaming Jets - Chrome Tour - 2016 - POSTPONED
Hallam Hotel, Hallam VIC

Sat 7th May
8:30 pm The Screaming Jets - Chrome Tour - 2016
Corner Hotel, Richmond VIC

Fri 13th May
7:30 pm The Screaming Jets - Chrome Tour - 2016
The Governor Hindmarsh, Hindmarsh SA

Sat 14th May
8:00 pm The Screaming Jets - Chrome Tour - 2016
The Charles Hotel, North Perth WA

Fri 20th May
8:00 pm The Screaming Jets - Chrome Tour - 2016
Villa Noosa Hotel, Noosaville QLD

Sat 21st May
8:00 pm The Screaming Jets - Chrome Tour - 2016
Hamilton Hotel, Hamilton QLD

Sun 22nd May
1:00 pm The Screaming Jets - Chrome Tour - 2016
Blue Mountain Hotel, Harlaxton QLD

Thu 26th May
8:00 pm The Screaming Jets - Chrome Tour - 2016
The Bridge Hotel, Rozelle NSW

Fri 27th May
8:00 pm The Screaming Jets - Chrome Tour - 2016
Rooty Hill RSL, Rooty Hill NSW

Sat 28th May
8:00 pm The Screaming Jets - Chrome Tour - 2016 - SOLD OUT
Belmont 16s, Belmont NSW

The Dwarf In Conversation With Massive
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