By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
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Dave Faulkner, singer-songwriter for Australia's legendary punk-pop combo the Hoodoo Gurus, sips coffee in his home in Sydney and talks about the band's decision to regroup and their first trip to the United States in more than a decade.
"We played a festival date in Australia, and we discovered we still had a great desire to play music," says Faulkner. "It didn't feel like a half-assed affair." The band's last show in the U.S. was, ironically, in Dallas. "Maybe we are returning to the scene of the crime," laughs Faulkner.
The Hoodoo Gurus have been together, off and on, for nearly 25 years, creating their happy hybrid of punk and pop but never receiving the same acclaim elsewhere that they have in their native country. Despite not having their past two efforts released in the states, Faulkner feels like the Hoodoo Gurus played an important role in the development of punk and new wave.
"We came about in the dark ages of the '80s," says Faulkner. "There was a whole lot of floundering around, and I think we did help bridge the gap between punk and grunge."
Indeed, their just-reissued debut, Stoneage Romeos, still crackles with a definite punk spirit, appropriately garnished with Beatles-esque harmonies and power-pop hooks. Like a better-educated Ramones, the Hoodoo Gurus matched the roar of classic punk with literate and humorous lyrics that surveyed both Australian and American culture.
"I have this barometer of what makes me feel good," says Faulkner assertively, "and the results just happen to be pretty damn catchy."
Best evidenced by such singles as "Bittersweet," "Come Anytime" and "What's My Scene?," Faulkner and guitarist Brad Shepherd have always been able to contrast the harder edges of punk with polished pop infused with a wry sensibility.
"We've always had the soft/hard dynamics since day one," says Faulkner. "We also have dark and dirty stuff that has a certain lightness about it."
Currently listening to Wolfmother and the Arctic Monkeys while working on getting a stateside distribution deal for Mach Schau, the band's 2004 effort, Faulkner is also preparing material for a future Hoodoo Guru release.
"I was supposed to already have written those songs," he admits, adding, "I have to get myself focused after this tour."
With the recent release of Tunnel Vision, a fantastic two-DVD collection of videos and live performances, and plans for their entire catalog to be reissued, the re-formed Gurus' profile has rarely been higher. Faulkner sees the recent interest as well-deserved accolades for a career spent doing things right.
"We work hard," Faulkner says. "And we don't take ourselves too seriously."
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