Vicious Circle Interview from Skull & Crossbones #07, 1988
After hearing their "Price Of Progress" LP I thought a Vicious Circle interview would be in order. Off to Australia went my questions and in under 3 weeks came back the replies, thanks to Paul for the answers.
Some info first:
Vicious Circle formed in March of 1984. Banding together through friendship, we also wanted to create something worthwhile and meaningful as a band. Rehearsing for only 4 weeks, we played our first live show at the Seaview Ballroom in St. Kilda. The band went on to play around Melbourne and tour interstate on a regular basis. The band's theme is plainly this common sense, enjoyment, respect for life and responsibility. We express our individuality through our music and lyrics.
S&C: Have you played any gigs outside Australia? Any plans for the UK?
Paul: We've played in the US in June '86, playing from LA to Texas, then back to LA. We played with Agnostic Front, M.I.A., Doggy Style, Christ On Parade, Final Conflict, Attitude Adjustment, GBH, Pig Children, MDC, Life Sentence and lots of other good bands. We usually tour around Australia in the summer. Living in the arsehole of the world it takes a bit of money for airfares, etc. to go on to tour overseas. We hope to tour overseas in '88. Perhaps in the States, Europe and UK.
S&C: What's the scene like in Australia? Is violence a problem at gigs? Any bands that deserves a mention?
Paul: All round there are a lot of bands, but I'd say Sydney & Melbourne have the two major scenes. There are a lot of fanzines and radio shows (on community radios 3PBS, 3CR and 3RRR) which play hardcore music. These stations are not funded by the government. Some bands worth a mention are: Mass Appeal, Hard Ons, Hellmen, S.I.C., Extremes, Arm The Insane, Aftermath, G.A.S.H (Girls Against Sexist Hype), S.S.D.C., God, Mental Health, Utter Stench. Most of these bands have records & cassettes out. In Melbourne at the moment there are 2-3 shows a week, and in Sydney a lot of shows also. Recently V.C. played at a party and the police invited themselves in and told the band to stop playing or "they'd start busting heads". These were their very words, so we let them have their own way and luckily there was no violence. At times police come into gigs and arrest people and beat them up and at some clubs bouncers are violent. We'd rather play all ages shows as you don't tend to get as many morons as you would at a pub. There are also junkies and Nazi skinheads who should take a good look at themselves. Racism and drugs divide too many people. I wonder if a lot of scenes around the world have this problem. [Yup! We have Nazi skins and junkies, pissheads especially are THE main problem – John S&C]
S&C: In the UK we got quite a bit about the Bi-centerial celebrations but little about the Aboriginal side of the story, what's your account of the "celebrations"? Were there many protests from white people?
Paul: The celebrations are a farce. They celebrate the murders and the genocide of a nation. The so–called celebration is nothing than a capitalist ploy to push patriotism. It seems to me men, women and children were murdered in the so-called colonization of Australia and these people are Aborigines. 200 years later and they're throwing a party. It's ridiculous. You can't turn the hands of time back, it should be more a year of communication and education. Instead of spending millions of dollars on extravagant party celebrations, we should be clothing, feeding and housing people. The Aboriginal culture has existed for tens of thousands of years, and in 200 years they have nearly been stripped of their identity. Many ancient peoples around the world face the same kind of problems (technology or termination). There are been huge protests with thousands of people, black and white. The media always seems to paint the marches down. The Aborigines have the highest death rate in custody of indigenous people in the world. There were protests in all the cities when the first fleet re-enactment arrived.
S&C: I take it that Australia still mines uranium. Is there much public protest about it? Is there anything in the way of strikes, demos, etc. happening at the moment?
Paul: Australia has been exporting uranium for years. The customers are France and the US. The uranium is used to make deadly missiles. There is plenty of protest from different political parties. A lot of people in Australia are actively involved in the fight against nuclear warfare. Most uranium is mined on sacred Aboriginal land. There is a huge demonstration this Sunday, a peace march. The dock workers went on strike because they refused to load uranium onto the ships. There are heaps of strikes in Australia. The nurses went on strike last year and won. They were striking for the same reasons as the nurses in the UK are now. The B.L.F. (Builders Laborers Federation) is very powerful and this year was outlawed by the Australian government. Their offices were raided by riot police, the place stripped, members bashed. Twelve hours later, legislation was changed to make it illegal. The government set up its own union and banned B.L.F. members from working. They're still fighting, and support other strikes and causes such as Aboriginal Land Rights. Australia is infamous for its strikes. There are a few very powerful unions with good ideas but a lot are token representatives of the working people.
S&C: What's the band views on Animal Rights? Is it a major issue in the "punk" scene in Australia? Does Kangaroo hunting still go on?
Paul: James and Paul are vegetarians. Other members of the band eat meat (Les and Alby). We don't force our views, as I see vegetarianism as a very personal thing. It must come from your own want, not wanting to eat others. There are vegetarians in the scene but I couldn't give you any figures. I know people from many different backgrounds who are vegetarians. Kangaroos are shot mainly in the N.T. and Queensland, and their meat is used for hamburgers for food chain stores and pet food. At the rate they kill them it might not be too long before they're extinct like the Do-Do bird. The Do-Do bird was a large bird which was very docile. People killed them and their feathers were used for hats and pillows, etc... In just over a century they became extinct. Other wild life is under great threat due to the exploitation of natural resources and wild life parks.
S&C: What's your idea of a perfect society?
Paul: (Hypothetically) The individual having the right to control their own destiny, and shape their own future without violating the rights of others.
S&C: Do you ever get disillusioned with the "movement"? What gives you the inspiration to keep going? Do you have any influences musically or politically?
Paul: Disillusion is part of life. Inspiration comes from many different things, We listen to a lot of different forms of music from Hardcore to Blues to Reggae to Jazz. None of us really follow any political form.
S&C: What's your thoughts on the "Rhyme With Reason" LP? What countries is it being released in? What's the reaction been like to your two UK releases?
Paul: We were pleased with the way it came out. It's basically a Compilation for Europe & UK of material that hasn't been released there. It's selling well. "Price Of Progress" sold 2000 copies in 8 months. It's now deleted, but into its third Australian pressing. The "Price Of Progress" record was released in '84. We’ve just finished recording another new album called "Into The Void". It should be out in a few months. We've already started working on material for our 5th album.
S&C: What's your plans for the future? Last words?
Paul: Our plans for the future are to keep recording and touring. To keep being actively involved in the band. To communicate with people and get as much response as possible. Eat lots of falafel (Lebanese food) and Mexican food.