Little Bastard are a mighty seven-piece country blues band who incorporate guitars, bass, fiddle, banjo, harmonica, mandolin and vocals. We spoke to front man Johnny Took ahead of their Australian tour, which will celebrate the release of their self-titled debut album.
The name Little Bastard was inspired, says Took, by David Cronenberg’s 1996 film ‘Crash’; a psychological thriller about a group of people who take sexual pleasure from car accidents. The film includes a re-inaction of James Dean’s crash with the Porsche nicknamed ‘The Little Bastard’ – and hence, the name was formed.
The band come from different walks of life, from playing at school, to growing up in the “Australian country stuff” of the West. Took’s brother Matty recently joined the band as a banjo player, and Took says “it’s nice to have family on the road.”
Little Bastard have evolved from their unorganised performances into a more tasteful ensemble since their first days of performing. When there are so many different elements to one band, “it’s good to know your roles,” says Took.
“When we first started playing it wasn’t as tasteful as it is now. We still aren’t too organised, but there’s a certain caliber of musician required to make our music what it is today. There’s no babysitting.”
Having recently played at Boogie Festival, Gum Ball and Cherry Rock festival, Johnny thinks his best performance so far was the Secret Garden Festival when “the sun was setting in the country and we were smashing out the tunes while being the perfect amount of intoxicated.” Due to go on an Australian tour this June and July, Took is most looking forward to playing in Rye because he thinks it’s great to explore towns you wouldn’t usually expect to visit.
Little Bastard’s debut album was recorded in just 8 days, yet despite its haste, each track leads onto the next in a fresh anarchy. “It was more financial to be honest, dude; we didn’t have heaps and heaps of money. It’s good to give yourself deadlines,” Took says coolly. While he mentions it’s a shame that some songs he would’ve loved to have on the album missed out, he hopes there’ll be room on the next one.
The first single of the album, ‘High For You’, is a song about being reckless for the one you love and the crazy repercussions that come of it. Took briefly mentions he experienced these emotions in “a big drug-fuelled event,” but is pleased to say that “beautiful stuff comes from these moments.” Without them, he probably wouldn’t be the musician he is today.
When asked what Johnny’s worst fears about performing are, he went back to the time he was playing bass in a psych band called Under Lights. For some reason his bass kept cutting in and out. “It was fucked,” said Took, “the rest of the band was looking at me and it was so obvious I was freaking out.” He asked the bass player of another band if he could borrow theirs, and comically, it was a five or six string metal bass they plugged in that saved the day. Luckily, this daunting experience has not happened again.
On a lighter note, when asked if he could switch places with any musician for a day, he racked his brains to decide it would be the “rad” Jack White. Any bets Johnny wishes he switched places with Jack White on the night of his ‘bass stuff up.’
Little Bastard is set to tour Australia this June and July, so don’t miss out on tickets.
Little Bastard Album Tour 2014
Thursday June 12 – Rad (Yours & Owls), Wollongong NSW
Friday June 13 – Newtown Social Club, Sydney NSW – SOLD OUT
Saturday June 14 – Small Ballroom, Newcastle NSW
Thursday June 19 – Prince Of Wales, Bunbury WA
Friday June 20 – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River WA
Saturday June 21 – Mojo’s, Fremantle WA
Thursday July 3 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat VIC
Friday July 4 – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne VIC
Saturday July 5 – Baha’s, Rye VIC
Thursday July 10 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane QLD
Friday July 11 – Sol Bar, Maroochydore QLD
Saturday July 12 – Railway Friendly Bar, Byron Bay NSW
Sunday July 13 – No. 5 Church St, Bellingen NSW
Sunday July 20 – Newtown Social Club, Sydney NSW – NEW SHOW