Hotpress Magazine - April 2005
ROWLAND S. HOWARD
CROWNED PRINCE OF THE CRYING JAG.
It's peculiar the way things happen.
I was well aware of Rowland S. Howard long before I ever knew him. We used to live around the corner from each other, and most days I'd see him careening along the footpath on Fitzroy Street. Oh, the velocity! I'd never seen a man move that fast and still be technically classified as 'walking'. All Cuban heel and switchblade cheekbone. I'd see him in the nightspots too, on stage with his gang of leering malcontents, coaxing shards of bloody glass out of his white Jaguar, whilst singing songs of tetracycline and nodding dogs. I had his latest album, 'Teenage Snuff Film', and wore it out. It was almost as though the Shangri-La's had shacked up with Louis-Ferdinand Céline and decided to spawn eleven of the unholiest little brats you could ever envision. It still remains for me the greatest Australian album of the last I-don't-know-how-many years. Are you going to make a better one?
I doubt it, buddy.
Since that time I've gotten to know him, work with him, even live with him for a brief spell. He wrote an article on the Devastations (after an interview conducted with a toy microphone hooked up to a 'My First Stereo' kind of contraption) just after our first album came out, and brother, we dined out on that bit of press for a long time. It followed us around Europe several times. People still ask us about it.
Anyway, a few months ago a rich guy in Spain with a record label threw some money at us and asked if we'd record a single for him, as Rowland's backing band. Naturally there were no rehearsals. As the B side we recorded a version of 'Ocean' by the Velvet Underground. And it's at roughly the 6.09-minute mark of that song that everything suddenly coagulated, and in that moment the four of us became one living, spitting, writhing musical tantrum.
Tantrums that I want to keep throwing.
- Conrad Standish