Frenzal Rhomb

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Frenzal Rhomb

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“Wow. I apologise for that interview. It must have been horrendous,” McDougall laughs. Dude, I’ve been waiting to hear that for 20 years. “That was before I’d ever interviewed anyone we and we didn’t realise how hard it actually was!” 


But the real reason for this interview, of course, is Soundwave, which Frenzal will be laying waste to in just a few short months. “We’ve got a whole album ready to go but we can’t record it until our drummer gets his broken arm better. The nerve damage has almost healed, and these shows will probably be the last we do with our fill-in drummer Kye Smith. We probably won’t do any of the new songs at these shows because we’re not going to teach Kye the new songs, but here’s the good thing about getting Kye in: the new guys know the songs so well and it’s a whole new thing to go ‘Oh that’s how that song’s supposed to go!’ Kye’s like this kind of drum savant who knows every drum part of every song ever. So it’s going to be a masterclass of how our songs are actually meant to be played, for the audience and for us.” There’s something else McDougall is looking forward to about Soundwave too: “You just get to go and watch a bunch of awesome bands! You get your set over and done with and then you go and watch bands or, if you don’t like that band, go into their little dressing shed and nick their beer while they’re onstage. We did that to NOFX.” 


So what kind of guitar gear does one of Australia’s pre-eminent “elder statesman who’s not even that ‘eld’ yet” punk guitarists get excited about? “I’ve been playing some shows with Briggs, the hip hop artist from Shepparton, and I’ve just pulled my Roland guitar synth out of storage! I’ve started learning how to use footpedals! I’ve never had to use them! I’ve been using the Line 6 M13 stompbox modeller! But in Frenzal I just use a Marshall JMP and a tuner. I bought the JMP quite a few years ago. About that time I was using 5150s which are rad but too heavy to carry. Then I started using Mesas again because our bass player is our sultan of sound, the guy who sits there twiddling the knobs on the amp. Then last year – maybe it was the NOFX tour – I thought f**k it, I want to use Marshalls again. So I pulled out my JMP, which I’d never used on stage. It hadn’t been modded at all and it was the loudest f**king thing in the room. It was amazing. It was like ‘There’s Malcolm Young. That’s that sound. It’s a proper amp being overdriven because it’s being blasted in the power amp, not by a BOSS Metal Zone pedal. And I’m really excited to do these shows in NSW and Melbourne because I can drive to the shows and bring my amp.”


McDougall is a longtime Gibson SG guy: “It’s a pretty boring …I say off-the-shelf but really off-the-online-store… model, a 2007 one. And I got another really cheap one from somebody in Brisbane on Gumtree that has really nice P90s in it so that’s my spare guitar. But P90s are very different pickups so if I need to switch to that guitar it’s like, ‘Shit, that’s very loud and buzzy…’ But my favourite guitar is this beautiful Cole Clark Culprit that I used in Triple J a lot. It feels like a Telecaster but it sounds rad, and really angry when you overdrive it. I had astronaut Chris Hadfield come in and I brought that guitar in. We had a little jam together on that and an acoustic. And after the interview I left it in the studio. We had these desks in our studios that can be lifted up or down electronically, and unfortunately I’d left the guitar under the desk and …lowered the desk. The whole thing smashed at the headstock and I cried a little bit. I sent it down to Andy at Cole Clark. Unfortunately they had a fire a couple of years ago and they didn’t have any necks. So he’s gonna fix it one day when he finds another beautiful neck. It was a really beautiful guitar and it will be again.”


Frenzal Rhomb are playing at Soundwave 2016. For more info, visit