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Byron Shire
April 15, 2024

Hussy Hicks in the same, but different, boat

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Hussy Hicks – Leesa Gentz and Julz Parker in the studio they are rebuilding after losing everything in the February flood. Photo Tree Faerie.

Hussy Hicks are about to have the local launch of their latest EP Same Boat, which surprisingly is not a response to the floods. In a spooky turn of events, it was released just as they battled to save their stuff and then their lives on the morning of February 28.

The Hussys, Leesa Gentz and Julz Parker, made a couple of iPhone videos that morning showing their life floating metres above the ground, and the measures they took to stop themselves from drowning while they waited for help to arrive.

In a latergram they told how they exited the studio when it was still dark, at 4:46am, and then an hour later were waiting on their verandah on a kayak and a surf ski under the cover of the balcony roof. 

‘We really want to stress that we were absolutely prepared for a flood as big as any on record, we had done everything we possibly could to avoid being a burden on emergency services and, as it turned out, we were eventually rescued by family who came and found us in their boat.’

Watching the water steadily swallow everything

Leesa Gentz said that at the time of their rescue she had been sitting on the roof of her house in the driving rain, watching the water steadily swallow everything for about three hours. ‘Julz had heroically paddled over to our next-door neighbour to swim him out of the house and hold him above the water, also for several hours.

‘It was harrowing to separate, but we only had one single kayak stable enough to make the paddle and getting over there was the difference between life and death.’

The studio, whose floor sits 3.2 meters above the ground, was completely inundated to well over the roof. At the time Leesa said: ‘We have lost so much, but we are safe and we are dry and we are starting to come to terms with our reality.’

The EP was supposed to be an album. Gentz says they had the studio and had recorded a lot of the tracks. ‘We were doing overdubs and that’s when the flood hit. Julz lost seven guitars.’

Parker says they also lost all their hard drives. ‘Ten weeks after the flood when the scraper came and took everything away and the trucks finally we went, we did a run around seeing if we could find anything – and we’re like, “what’s that on the ground?” And it was one of my hard drives. We all had already got the [EP] music back before, but it was so much of the other music I’ve been working on that didn’t exist anywhere else.’

Too busy to notice

‘I didn’t even realise that I didn’t have that hard drive because we’d been so busy. And I just saw it. And it plugged in and worked straight away.’

Like so many in the region Gentz and Parker have dusted themselves off, wrung out the water, and gotten on with their life as best as they can. Nine months later, the studio is still a work in progress but the COVID mandates that kept them from touring are gone and they have travelled through Australia and Europe.

Over the last nine months, they have continued to rebuild and spread the love. The single Same Boat arrived with a fun computer game and that did everyone’s head in, but wait, more games have arrived with more single releases and Hussy Hicks are back into the swing of life.

Now they are playing a local show in their home arena as the town has dried out enough for fun to be had.

A Lismore homecoming

Parker says that playing in the area is really poignant. ‘For us, especially the Lismore gig, is a really special one, because, we didn’t know if we’d have the Star Court Theatre anymore. ‘We’ve been away and coming back and getting to see the progress that’s been made around town, and then being able to put a show on in such an iconic local venue – it’s a bit of a homecoming for us.’

Leesa says they offering special tickets for anyone who has literally been in the same boat as them.’ We’re offering half-price or free tickets to the Lismore show for anyone who has been flood impacted, because our goal is to have a really special community experience. A lot of people are still very much on the back foot financially.’

The Lismore show is on next Friday, November 18, at 7pm at the Star Court Theatre with support Yeeew!

There will be two other shows on the same weekend.

Saturday November 19 – 8pm The Regent Murwillumbah with support Áine Tyrrell and Sunday November 20 – 1pm Mo’s Desert Clubhouse Gold Coast with supports Yeeew! and Burger Joint.

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