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Nathan Banalands Bad Habit Records

WORK?

You may have heard by now, we’re gearing up for a big celebration of our one-year anniversary at the Old Ambo, which also happens to be the weekend of Record Store Day. We’re putting on a bunch of gigs around Nambour, there’ll be a ton of new and exclusive records out, plus we’ll have a record fair and vintage market in the Ambo on the Sunday.

The hoopla kicks off on Thursday 18 April at the Old Ambo with a show featuring rock heartthrobs Wifecult, Nambour rock legends Work?, Melbourne punks Glen and Brisbane indie pop rockers ExtraFoxx.

Our sophisticated hype machine has calculated that the best way to promote this gig would be to interview Work? guitarist Nathan “The Kit Walker of Pub-Rock” Leitch AKA Ross Brigate, Quandamooka man. We’re also quietly confident that the members of various local Facebook groups would appreciate a deeper look into this mysterious mind…

BAD HABIT: You're a bit of a dickhead. By that I mean you're often doing impulsive annoying and sometimes hilarious activities. This question isn’t meant to low key humiliate or make you look dumb or be some bro-down in-joke introduction to show how we are good time buddies. I wanted to ask what you would you consider the pros and the cons of your particular brand of enthusiastic off the wall-ness? Has it been a roadblock to opportunities? Has it opened doors that would have not been opened had you not come at it in some wacky way? I also wanted to ask how it’s changed over the years. As a younger person was it difficult in school? Do you feel like you've harnessed that force with time and experience, like a tamed wild stallion, or do you still often get bucked into the mud?

NATHAN: If you have heaps of trauma and you’re Aboriginal and you’re also neurodivergent, you either end up like this, or you find a Dungeons and Dragons club. Those are the only two pathways for us. My cultural and political education and identity makes me strong, and my fucked brain makes me reckless, ergo impulsive annoying sometimes funny guy.

I actually have crippling anxiety attached to not being active or busy, and not doing anything valuable, so I’ve spent years doing as much as possible, and burning out in grand ways. School sucked because the above reasons, but also because school, well, sucks. No fkn way I’m gonna wake up in a house that is militantly socialist, feminist, progressives etc etc and go stand in line to be told I was bad at maths and should sit still. A spade is a spade, and I called my school a fucking shit-covered spade with no value other than an archaic mission of industrial grooming. Oh, I also smoked heaps of bongs and that probably didn’t help. But, yes, over time I’ve definitely learned to understand my strengths and weaknesses, and I’m far more chilled out these days. But I still remain committed to social agitation and general cage kicking. 

BH: So you've moved to Nambour to be with your lovely future wife. From Melbourne. I can understand the draw of true love, but I gotta ask, what made you make that jump. Nambour is a backwoods sleepy town with barely any of the trappings of the cultural superhighway of melbourne. Do you see yourself staying local for years? Will you die in Namba and be buried in the Nambour cemetery?  

N: Yes I’ve been here for a bit over a year now, after a long period of long-distance relationship bliss with Evelyn. I’ve been back and forth my whole life as SEQ is home, so it’s really sick to be back and officially local. Wanting to be on Country, and wanting to be able to play a role in local stories is a huge factor in it all. I’ve spent most of my life working for other communities, and it felt like I need to come back and start sharing with my own people. I’m proud of my work in Vic, but I’m home now and it’s like a fresh start. 

I think there’s a fair chance I’ll die somewhere near here, possibly by the hand and sword of a racist nerd, but what a way to go. I won’t be buried though. I’ll be cremated and my ashes will be made into a brick which the local kids can take turns throwing at the Park Smart car.

I love Nambour, especially the way that we’ve traded yuppies for cooked fuckheads. I’m sure the gentrification will take hold one day, but for now the white linens are too scared to live here because so many hectic fucked cunts are here, including us. It somehow feels like the 90’s, with fresh waves of creativity and culture pulsing out of the impacts of industrial collapse and conservative government. 

BH: Speaking of death, you nearly checked out early last year from a pretty savage car crash. I know from my own experience growing older puts the spectre of your own mortality in more vivid focus, but it’s a slow and gentle process. Did the last-minute escape from the reaper’s blade give you a new perspective on life and the world? Do you believe in the afterlife, or have any spiritual beliefs?

N: Yeah I nearly died. What a wild ride. Looking back at it all, and following heaps of discussions with friends and family, it really feels like a massive reset button was on my head, and a 2004 Hilux had to hit my van head-on at 80kmh to press it. It’s made me stop and completely redesign myself as a person. I’m not even into the full rehab phase yet, but I absolutely feel like I’ve been bashed into a new lane. I’m not entirely comfortable with it just yet, as I’ve got physical and neurological disabilities and new weights to bear, but all in all I feel pretty lucky.

I have a pretty solid spiritual belief system, mostly based on knowledges shared by family and elders, with some personal experiences thrown in there. It’s an entire book (not that book) but in short, I believe in a cyclical matrix of souls, weaving throughout multiple planes on Earth. Some instances are perhaps comparable to an afterlife, but mostly are relative to a true symbiotic existence by design – the planet and all of its beings. There are good souls and bad souls, some are here in this instance, and others are at different junctures in their cycle/s. There you go, stick that in your middle-aged punk pipe and smoke it. Actually, have you got any smokes?

BH: This is getting pretty heavy. Hope this interview isn’t too full on. Let’s move onto Bananalands. Mainly the Black Flag shirt. From what I understand, this shirt was so incredibly popular with the people. Can you give us the story with this shirt, and Greg Ginn's lawyers.  What’s the next move for BLands? It would be near impossible to top the cultural moment of that Aboriginal Flag shirt tbh.

N: This isn’t heavy, you coward. Scared of death are ya, mate? Pussyyyy!!!! Nah don’t die. Yes, the T-shirt that paid for my youngest child. His mother and I only decided to have a baby when we did because that sweet sweet bootleg cash was flowing in, kinda like the Scarface money montage, but it was mostly PayPal.

Basically, I’ve been designing and making clothes since high school (hated the school, loved the ability to run cash hustles there) and after I dropped out, I went to art school and picked up some casual work with a screen printer. I’d do a shift making bucks party polos and stubby coolers all day, then stay up all night printing merchandise for my band/s, or mates’ bands, or for one of the various labels I ran for times. This was in country Vic, so pretty DIY backwoods kinda shit, but it was hella fun and I loved having an art job. Anyway, I moved to the city and got a job in a proper screen-printing business, and after a few years there (great years where I continued making side-hustle stuff for myself and a bunch of bands/artists) I realised I didn’t like factory life, so went and started what would be a 20-year career in social sciences – across education, health and research. Anyway, fuck the timelines are a bit off but I started missing the game so I drew some designs and showed my friends – one of them was the Black Flag design. I got the hardest green light ever from every cunt, so I called my mate Oliver from High Tee Screenprinting and organised to do a run of 20 shirts. They sold before they were even printed, so I set up a webstore and sold more, and more, and have now sold thousands of them. It’s been a massive platform for me to make lots of other more niche shit that doesn’t really make money but makes me happy. A highlight is getting to meet and collaborate with Stephen Cummings, someone I’ve idolised for years, and he was/is such a lovely guy. He got permission from his mate Paul Worstead (also an idol) for us to use his original artwork to make a shirt based on the Lovetown album art. We also have the original Sondra artwork to use at some stage… maybe I should get onto that.

But yeah, back to the flag one, the first Bananalands webstore was on Etsy, and I got a couple of cease and desist notices from Black Flag’s lawyer, which in true punk fashion I completely fkn ignored. So the lawyer gets Etsy to delete the webstore, in true fuckhead dog fashion. Then I started a Big Cartel and stopped showing pictures of the design to avoid any further corpo rat action, which did the trick. BUT, during this time, Rollins was in Aus doing a (*cough*corpo*cough*) project and happened to meet my cousin who explained the situation. Rollins went back to the States, went to the label office, and directly told the lawyer dweeb to fuck off. I believe the quote was “Dude there are assholes out there putting my fucking face on candles n shit, and you decide to go for THESE GUYS?” I don’t know what actually happened in that office, but in my mind I like to imagine the lawyer doing a literal piss and shit in his chinos, and Rollins in his younger-more-cooler persona fully shredding him and calling him names n stuff. So, yeah, the whole Bananalands thing has been a sick vehicle for me to do cool stuff and also reach amazing distances. Lately I’ve really sucked at running the label, because I’m disabled as fuck and also just straight up busy, but I hope to revive it this year. I’ve started buying printing equipment, and I’m gonna get back to my OG bootlegging ways, maybe even open a shop in Nambour that competes with you. 

BH: Alright buddy, let’s talk about Work? The band. Personally, I know all about it, because I’m in it. But people reading this don't. So give us the press pack puffy description and then feel free to go off script and dish out the dirt/inside story/five year plan of Work?

N: Okay, the press pack is from an early 80s breakaway label staffed by ex-Mushroom employees. They’d been through the golden days of Aus Rock, and they knew if Jimmy Barnes didn’t shut the fuck up soon they’d all die of boredom. They decided to rifle through their files to scout for talent from those Gudinsky hay-making days, and set about making a list of the cheapest session players who had been involved in records that charted – a process they would eventually call “Bargain Hunting”. They knew they wanted to cover many bases; big fat fucking riffs, super spicy solos, thumping basslines, caveman backbeat drums, stoned wizard keys, and an unassuming frontman who gets sexier every time he yells at you. After scouring through mountains of documents relating to hundreds of recordings spanning punk, hard rock, prog, post punk, and some other stupid shit, they collected six names and sent each of them the same fax – a handwritten note that said LOOKING FOR WORK? With a phone number at the bottom. The rest, as they say, is history. Work? are the original rock n roll band, literally and figuratively. Work? invented rock n roll. Don’t believe me? Well, firstly, fuck you, but you might wanna get a ticket to the April 18th show at the Black Box. Our arch rivals, Glen, are coming up from Melbourne to pretend like they actually invented rock n roll, but I’m sure the punters will see through it. Jet Boys from Japan are headlining that one. Tuck your entire outfit in, cos it’s gonna be a clinic.

BH: Cheers for answering this biz. Congrats of your upcoming wedding. Anything else you want to add?

N: No worries, and thanks. Sorry you got so stressed about my wedding being on Record Store Day. One day we will look back and pin-point this experience as your most prolific hair-loss era. Anything else to add… hmmm… maybe just that in these fucked times of global crisis, including multiple ongoing genocides and multiple ongoing bad guy power structures, we all commit to telling our friends and family when they’re behaving in ways that enable these horrors. Learn about White Supremacy but also learn about Black Joy. Learn about Settler Colonialism, but also learn about Global Indigenous action/s. Too many people are doing the bare minimum or less, and that is piss-weak. 

Yuwaii,

Nathan Leitch - Quandamooka

BANANALANDS

Catch Work? at The Old Ambo on Thursday 18 April with Wifecult, Glen and ExtraFoxx. Grab a ticket online and join the BH Birthday Weekend event page to find out more. The details for your diary are:

Thursday 18 April
Wifecult, Glen, Extrafoxx, WORK?
Bad Habit/ Old Ambo
Doors 6pm – Tickets

Friday 19 April
Katorga (Melb), The Meat (Bris), Skirmisher (Bris), One More Billy (SC)
Bad Habit/ Old Ambo
Doors 6.30pm – Tickets

Saturday 20 April
Record Store Day at Bad Habit
Tons of new records out, Bad Habit RSD exclusives, Dedlee DJing in the shop
Doors open 7am – Free entry

Saturday 20 April
Cimiterium (Melb), Fat Dog and the Tits (SC), Exit Ploom (Bris), Gudgeon (SC), Schkeuditzer Kreuz (Syd), Moth Trap (SC), Flogg (SC), Double Sided Nail (SC)
Bad Habit/ Old Ambo
Starts 12pm midday - Tickets

Saturday 20 April
Carcinoid (Melb), Malignant Aura (Melb), Cerebral Erosion (Bris) and Slowcut (Bris)
The Presynct, 15 Ann St, Nambour
Doors 8pm – Tickets

Sunday 21 April
Record Fair and Vintage Market at Bad Habit/Old Ambo
Doors 7am – Free entry.

Sunday 21 April
Block Party at Quota Park
Jalang (Melb), Sick People (Bris), Pussy Jane (SC). Skate jam, street art, community.
From 2pm – Free entry, donations to travelling bands welcomed.

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