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DRUG, ALCOHOL & LANGUAGE WARNING!
After 12 years, the Dune Rats have gone from being a bunch of guys who party way too hard and play loud music for a bit of fun and beers, to being a bunch of guys who party way too hard and play loud music for a bit of fun and even more beers.
If you’re a sensitive petal you’re probably not going to go see them at Splendour in the Grass this weekend.
If you’re a sensitive petal you’re also probably not going to want to read this interview entertainment editor Eve Jeffery did with Dune Rats guitarist/lead vocalist Danny Beus in the lead-up to the festival.
You have you been doing this for about 12 years – it’s my impression that you never in your wildest dreams imagined you’d still be playing this ‘band’ gig.
I didn’t think we’d ever play Splendour – I think we’ve racked up a couple now. Yeah, just the fact that we’re still getting gigs is pretty miraculous, for three dudes that started the band just to get a bit of beer money, it’s turned into a little bit more than that.
I don’t try to think about it too much to be honest. We’re pretty lucky.
Have you moved on from beer?
Naaaaaaaaaaaaaah. We still play for beer money, we just buy more beer than we used to.
Has this unexpected success forced you to be a bit more serious about playing and your responsibilities, or are you still just banging it out?
When you’ve been in a band for as long as we have – when you first start, you kind of, you know, do the thing where you just get absolutely shit-faced and play gigs. And you do that for about three or four years till you either see some footage back of how horrible you were, or maybe, just as you play more as a band you get better.
Some of our first shows we were just more notorious about how wasted we’d get, over the actual music.
We’ve always had good people around us as well – we’ve had James from Violent Soho, Shane from DZ Deathrays, we’ve had lots of people come in and sort of give their two cents, it’s a big team effort to screw up Dune Rats.
Have you found that the audience which were shit-faced with you, have moved along with you, or have you just got a new bunch of shit-faced people now?
I think it’s really safe to say most Aussies get pretty shit-faced until they’re pretty old. We’ve been pretty lucky to get people who are 18 to, fuck, some of the people we get are older than you!* They just come in and we get 65-year-olds getting pretty shit-faced at our show.
So it’s pretty good. I mean, we’re pretty liberal with drugs and have a good vibe. I think that sort of brought a lot of like-minded people – people that like to smoke a few joints. We’ve always had a pretty fun fanbase.
Some bands they have real rowdy pisshead fans that can get a bit intense, but we’ve always had really fun people. Everyone’s there for a good time.
I see you wear a wedding ring – would that suggest that you’re married to someone? Has your private and personal life matured beyond getting shit-faced all the time?
Ummmmmm. Luckily I found someone who puts up with me being shit-faced all the time. She’s a primary school teacher so she’s used to dealing with little kids. We’ve been together for a long time, she’s been a part of the crew for a long time. We’ve always just been blokey blokes – we go out, get shit-faced, go back to an after party, smoke a bunch of bongs, drink beers and just sit on the couch.
We’re pretty lucky – well lucky or stupid. I’m just doing a lot of the same shit I’ve done since I was 20. Probably don’t do as many pingers as I used to, but other than that … it’s same-same.
Is there new music in the works?
Yeah, definitely. If we’re not touring and playing, we’re writing and recording. So I think that probably by the end of the year, you’ll hear new tunes.
Who are you looking forward to seeing at Splendour?
I’m actually really into Arlo Parks at the moment.
What inspires you?
It’s hard to say but it’s this feeling that you get – anyone who’s played in bands knows. It’s when you’re playing music together, and you feel like you’re all really humming along at one time. It’s just this feeling.
Also – I always think that’s it, I’ve written my last song, I don’t have any more songs in me. And then one day, you’ll just hear a melody or a song will come through. It’s that constant surprise that you have more in you than you previously thought. I think that’s something that is very addictive. It’s like in golf, you have to just have to have one good hit and it keeps you coming back to play, even if you had a whole shit round.
You know, you can go on a 47-day tour and you can absolutely butcher a show, or have the worst day travelling and then it’s just the best show ever – it’s just a rollercoaster of emotions being in a band. So I think that’s kind of what inspires me. Just being addicted to the lifestyle of it – and wanting to write fun stuff for people to dance to.
You can dance along to the Dune Rats at Splendour in the Grass this Sunday at 4.40pm on the Amphitheatre stage.
- Just for the record, The Echo’s entertainment editor is 59.