Butterfingers give us a retrospective on their legendary debut album, Breakfast At Fatboys
They're going on a huge 15 Years Of Fatboys Australian tour early next year.
Enjoying something of a resurgence in 2018 which has seen new music, Aussie tours and a strong showcasing at the most recent BIGSOUND, Aussie hip hop heroes Butterfingers are taking some time to look back on their career with next year's 15 Years Of Fatboys Australian Tour. They'll be celebrating the release of their acclaimed debut LP, Breakfast At Fatboys, featuring Hottest 100-featuring singles Everytime, I Love Work, and Yo Mama. Their inimatable frontman Evil Eddie is understandably pretty excited: "We’re super stoked to be hitting the road for the anniversary tour of Breakfast At Fatboys, and can’t believe it’s been 15 years. It’s a good long list of shows, and there’s going to be songs in the set we haven’t played live since the original album tour in 2004."
Re-visiting the album today, while it was notable at the time for being Aussie hip hop when the genre itself was only really just taking off, it's surprising how incredibly diverse it is. There's some ska, punk, rock'n'roll, grime, drum'n'bass, reggae... It's a licorice allsorts held together by the hilarious, insightful storytelling abilities and flow of the aforementioned frontman. And today we're excited for said villain to give us a retrospective look at each track on the almost 15-years-young Breakfast At Fatboys, check it out below along with that full run of dates:
Hi! So here’s a retrospective look at the songs from Butterfingers' debut album Breakfast At Fatboys, a little insight into how and why I wrote them and what I think of them now. Let’s go…
So, the thing you gotta keep in mind when this was released, was that Australian Hip Hop was far from the established genre that it is today. There was literally a handful of Australian Hip Hop artist releasing stuff and radio coverage was sparse. For that reason, American gangster rap was what I was most used to hearing (and I loved it) and brag raps are a huge part of it. In my early attempts at writing my own raps, trying to emulate the gangster outlook really made me feel stupid, particularly when I tried to bust those raps out loud in front of other people. So, Hook Up was basically one of my first experiments in taking the vibe and the literary approach of a gangster rap song and then replacing the ‘gangster’ elements with stuff that was actually relatable to me and other people in my world. It’s about having people to hook me up with free stuff because, being unemployed and broke, having the ‘hook up’ was all I really had to brag about at the time. Sonically, we never wanted to be a rap/rock band but that riff on the intro had such a groove to it that we couldn’t resist dirtying it up for the chorus.
So, this is kind of an introduction song along the lines of Eminem’s My Name Is, where the band name is built into the hook. Australian culture at the time was still very anti-self promotion and very much a victim of Tall Poppy Syndrome so when I put this together I wasn’t super confident about how the crowds were going to react. Tom Thum actually did the “butterfingers-butter-butterfingers” vocal scratching on the album and to our surprise, one night at the Espy in Melbourne, the impatient crowd started chanting it before we took the stage and it’s stuck every since.
This was the first song we ever put out and it had been performed and recorded by our previous band Cable prior to the formation of Butterfingers. The lyrics were different, the music was different, but the concept was the same. It kicked around and evolved over probably a five-year period before settling on the version you hear now on the album. Beat-wise, I just wanted to get that heavy swung beat feel from one of my favourite Beastie Boys tracks Whatcha Want. To this day it’s still the most comfortable type of beat I’ve ever found to rap on. I feel like it’s in my bones.
In the early 2000s long standing Brisbane troubadour Guy Webster had a pop/rock band called Jackson and was writing all these riff using 3rds. I was really only used to hearing power chords and hearing these riffs played with 3rds really caught my ear, I experimented with it, wrote a song in Major which I also rarely do and that became the music behind the song. Realising that it was so different to our other material and wasn’t gonna really gel, the only thing that saved it was a stupid conversation between Dave Crane (our original bass player) and myself. Something like… Me: "Hey man, what you got goin on today? What’s on the top of your things to do list?" Dave: "Yo Mama". And that was it.
Girl From Gore
I get asked about this song a lot. People wanna know what a Girl From Gore is. Kiwis get it because it’s a regional town in New Zealand and I used to have a crush on a girl who was from there. Little known fact, Gore is the country music capital of New Zealand (as far I know) and is the sister city to Tamworth. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
Is It Just Me
So, 9/11 was still in recent memory when this song was written. I’ve always tried to keep my songwriting fairly nonspecific so that the tracks won’t date too quickly and this is maybe more ambiguous than it should be. Reading through the lyrics, who I’m condemning regarding 9/11 isn’t super clear and maybe that reflects how I really felt anyway, confused. The song is about feeling isolated with your opinion which I don’t think is such a problem these days since you can find a group for everything now and reach out to them via the web. Musically, Stevie Wonder’s Superstition has that cool wah effect clavinet on the intro and I always wanted to get that sound and this is what came out. Everything else was built around the clav.
Hurt Me So Bad
When I reread the lyrics for this I think of the classic Tremors tune Bad Teenage Poetry. I do like it musically speaking but I’ve never felt that showing my sensitive side has ever been my strength. It does come from a real place of hurt though if that counts for anything. The kind hurt you can only feel if you haven’t been hurt much before. I’m ok now. Really. I’ve just got something in my eye.
Well, this song is meant to be parody but I’m not sure everyone can tell. It’s basically written from the perspective of a jerk dude who thinks he’s a ladies man. I must admit, I was a jerk dude myself for a while after the Hurt Me So Bad breakup, but I was in some serious denial and morally I never agreed with this perspective. As long as everyone gets the memo I’m happy to play it live cause it bangs pretty hard. Not pun intended.
Piss On Ya
Now this is probably the most hardcore song I’ve written. I wrote it for myself and for my girlfriend at the time (who also performed it), who was living in a share house with her son only to find out that her flatmate was a convicted pedophile. It was a crazy thing to find out because, your mind starts racing back to all the times this guy and her son had been alone together. Worry, anger, distress all at once was catalyst for this tune. Pretty fucked up song/situation.
Smell You On Me
Dumb/Fun punk rock song. I don’t wanna over-analyze it.
Snatch And Grab
Another parody. I wrote this after someone stole all my clothes off the washing line. I tried to write about from my own perspective when it happened and I just sounded like a whinger, so I took the perspective of the thief instead and it made a way cooler song.
I Love Work
This song came from a set of circumstances revolving around a job I didn’t like where the boss used to refer to me (in front of other staff and customers) as the pauper. He was a dick and I wish I really had have punched him in the face like I do in the song. Alas I did not but, it’s helped my career to have written about it instead, so I guess that’s a win. When I started writing it I was obsessed with storytelling tunes like Slick Rick’s Children’s Story and Geto Boys Mind’s Playing Tricks On Me. This was my version of those songs, but in a more relatable everyday Australian kind of way. Musically I was interested in writing something with a reggae influence and someone said, "to play reggae you’ve got to put the accents on the 2 and 4". I guess I just counted wrong because the main riff is accented in between the beats like the skank should be but the bass and kick and everything is accented there which is why it’s so weird but that also makes it unique. Let’s call it a happy accident.
Speak Your Mind
This started from me trying to push the boundaries of my rap flow as I had never heard anyone rap on a completely swung beat before. It’s still not super common so yeah, it was fun to go out on a limb and do that. Thematically it all came from a real situation as well, a very tumultuous relationship where communication (as usual) was a key issue. We’d break up, get back together, break up, get back together ad nauseum so It’s basically just about the frustration you feel when you don’t know where you stand with somebody. I’m aware that the intro might sound very Marilyn Manson to some people but it’s a tribal kinda rhythm that predates him so I wasn’t gonna let him own it and not do it myself.
Fri 1 Mar - The Villa, Noosa
Sat 2 Mar - Miami Marketta, Gold Coast
Sat 9 Mar - The Zoo, Brisbane
Thu 14 Mar - Uni Bar, Wollongong
Fri 15 Mar - Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
Sat 16 Mar - Manning Bar, Sydney
Thu 21 Mar - The Governor Hindmarsh, Adelaide
Fri 22 Mar - Pelly Bar, Frankston
Sat 23 Mar - Geelong Hotel, Geelong
Sun 24 Mar - Sooki Lounge, Belgrave
Thu 28 Mar - Dunsborough Tavern, Dunsborough
Fri 29 Mar - Badlands Bar, Perth
Sat 30 Mar - Bar 1 Nightclub, Hillarys
Fri 5 Apr - The Corner, Richmond
Sat 6 Apr - Granada Tavern, Hobart
Fri 12 Apr - Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville
Sat 13 Apr - Magnums, Airlie Beach
Thu 18 Apr - Spotted Cow, Toowoomba
Sat 20 Apr - Racehorse Hotel, Ipswich
Fri 26 Apr - The Northern, Byron Bay
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