Meat Raffles & Lockout Laws with Sticky Fingers
How Sydney went from a Land Of Pleasure to a Ghost Town.
“And then Beaks [Sticky Fingers drummer Beaker Best], while watching a meat raffle at an RSL , said, ‘How good would it be if we did a meat raffle at the Enmore Theatre?’”
And so begins the tale of how Sticky Fingers hosted a meat raffle at their recent Enmore show, as told via phone call with bassist Paddy Cornwall. At the end of their sold out on October 24, Charlie McClain, lead singer of Cornwall's dad's band 50 Million Beers, started a meat raffle: “…Out the back everyone was pissing themselves. But in the crowd people were wondering who the hell this man with silver hair was and why he was holding a massive tray of meat.”
^Sticky Fingers at the Enmore Theatre by Adam Scarf
Sticky Fingers, who are Dylan Frost (lead singer), Beaker Best, Paddy Cornwall, Freddy Crabs (keys) and Seamus Coyle (lead guitar), sold out the show before it was properly announced. But how? “It was great man…in reflection it’s quite funny because for the first five years we felt like we had to harass all our mates to come to our gigs because otherwise nobody would be there. And now for the second five years in we can’t get our mates in!” He's quick to add how grateful the group are for the privilege.
This awareness prompted them to have the aforementioned raffle with the proceeds going to Youth Off The Streets. It’s also behind their recent cover of The Specials song, Ghost Town. The Specials concocted this song to protest against then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s neo-capitalist policies and their destruction of the UK club scene in the 1980s. Cornwall points out its continued relevance now, “…we were cruising through the city when we heard the song and we all had a chuckle at how perfect this was for the lonely streets of Sydney. Particularly around Kings Cross where once it was so alive.”
But Cornwall claims they don’t have the answers, “We’re responding the best way we know how, by putting out a song.”
However, Cornwall did go on to say, “I guess these lockouts have failed to address the problem at the heart of the violence; Australia has an aggressive drinking culture. And if you want to fix it, it has to be more of an educational thing rather than shutting the city down.” However, pubs like those along King Street have indirectly been fighting against this ‘shut down’ with the King Street Crawl on September 6. Originally aimed at celebrating the diversity of the inner west it became an example of the spirit of the Sydney music scene with pubs along King Street in Newtown banding together for a day of live music.
Sticky Fingers performed a secret show and Cornwall touched on the mood of the day, “….that’s a potential 12 hours of straight drinking. However, there wasn’t a single case of violence and I reckon it was because people were too busy engaging in the arts and feeling apart of something to even consider decking another human being.”
2015 also saw Sticky Fingers make their debut in the United States - Cornwall reminisces: “It was one the best times of our lives, just finally getting over there and doing the classic style of touring in a ridiculous bus. Like this bus had bunk beds and showers… It’s quite an experience taking a shower while travelling 100 miles an hour along a highway.” And for the most part North America adored Sticky Fingers - except Portland. A dispute arose due to Crabs, who as Cornwall explains, “…since the beginning of time has played shows in nothing but his footy shorts and boots. That’s just how he likes to rock it.”
The venue manager at the Mississippi Studios in Portland, “…was telling our tour manager, Jimmy, Crabs couldn’t go on stage saying, ‘Look at him he’s naked!’ And Jimmy was saying, ‘He’s not naked he’s got on footy shorts and boots.’ So there was a bit of a bad vibe and then Dylan was doing some freaky dance moves on stage and the venue manager thought he was out of control. The lights got turned on and the gig stopped. We ended up going to vegan strip club.”
Wait what? A vegan strip club? I blurt out only for Cornwall to start laughing, “It’s where the girls aren’t allowed to wear any animal-related products like leather or suede. That was the better part of the night.”
And amidst touring Cornwall confirms recording for album #3 has begun. Unlike Land Of Pleasure and Caress Your Soul, this album won’t be crafted in the band’s communal home in Croydon Park. They all live apart now and have built a new studio inside a warehouse in Marrickville. Cornwall explains they are thinking of finishing the album in New Zealand as they are playing some festivals there for new years. “Ultimately it’s about not getting distracted because we are known to get a bit excited. Even like last week Dylan and I went down to Melbourne just to write songs. And not knowing many people down there we managed to knock out seven songs. And they’re all pretty good.”
Cornwall promises these ‘pretty good’ songs will start to come out by March next year with a sizeable Australian tour planned for the mid-year. And the money they raised from the meat raffle? “…To get the meat tray it cost $100 and in the end we raised $132. There was good behind it, we’ve written Youth Off The Streets a cheque, we hope they don’t all spend it at once and they can keep the change!”
Sticky Fingers are currently touring Europe, and play Vanfest (NSW) Saturday 5 December, Castaway Festival (WA) Sunday December 6, and Astor Theatre, Perth Monday December 7.