Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys formed in 2009 when the original trio – brothers Nic and Ben Warnock and Joe Sukit – had all settled in Sydney. Back when they formed, Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys were very funny and entertaining to see live, but they were also very shit. Undeniably so. Combine the band’s innate shitness with a very dumb name and you have a band that, theoretically, no one would want to listen to ever.
Things turned around though. Later, they released two singles on R.I.P. Society – which Nic Warnock operates – and they were both very good. Eventually they recruited Doug Gibson on drums and, despite Gibson having never played the drums before, it made a positive difference. Ready For Boredom, their first full-length album – was recorded over two days in March 2012. It’s out now.
I spoke with all four members in their Enmore home last December.
Three of you are from Cairns. What was growing up there like? Do you remember it fondly?
Nic: When I moved to Sydney, which was when I was 17, I moved to the Western Suburbs to go to the UWS Penrith campus. Back then I’d tell everyone that I’d move back to Cairns when I was older. I thought it was a good place to raise a family and I was proud of Cairns in some way. And I still feel that was the truth: it was a good place to grow up. I had a good childhood experience and an excellent school experience. All the people I know in music that grew up in Cairns thinks it’s awful as an adult, but as a kid it’s pretty good.
Ben: I think it’s a good place to grow up, but because it’s a remote area schooling isn’t as good, sporting isn’t as good and culturally there was nothing going on.
Nic: But I’m thankful for that because we had no youth music culture in Cairns. Cairns isn’t that small, but we had no contemporary youth music culture. So we never had to be into pop punk. But now there is – now the kids are all into that bro hardcore screamo. That’s a thing there now, and kids are kinda sucked into liking it as a social thing. But maybe someone comes out the other end and finds out about the Cro-Mags or something, and it turns into a positive.
Ben: That [culture emerged] on the verge of me leaving high school. When I was in bands in high school there’d be these other bro hardcore bands playing and we’d get asked to play shows with them at PCYC rec centre things, and we’d be like “no, we can’t do that. We can’t play at a drug and alcohol free event.”
Nic: Yeah. The thing that I thought was good was that there was no contemporary version of the stuff we were listening to in our town, so we got to go at it with a really open mind. I remember this one time Joe gave me burnt copies of Generic Flipper, the first Jesus and Mary Chain album, My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and Spacemen 3. I had no context for any of it. I didn’t know until years later that Flipper were associated with hardcore. I had no idea about any of that. At one stage we were into classic rock, and at the other end Joe would give me some Electric Eels or Throbbing Gristle and that was equally exciting. Then we’d listen to Black Sabbath at the same time as hardcore.
Joe: It was a different thing because I didn’t have the internet. I’m from Gordonvale which is about half an hour south of Cairns. I didn’t have the internet until I was in grade 10. The only way I’d find out about bands was going to the library and getting all the Nirvana books I could find and going through the back pages, the indexes, and writing all the band names down. It was stupid shit: you’d write down Television and at the same time you’d write down Black Flag. I remember writing this Word document of all the bands that I had to find out about and what I thought they sounded like from reading the two sentences about them in the book. Then when you got access to the internet you’d wait the whole time to download a 30 second clip of whatever you could find. Rage guest programming [was a way of discovering] as well – but you had no idea about anything. You made up your own music history, it was everything at the same time. That was good. In terms of everything else – all I did when I was a kid was play sport, or I was surrounded by cane farms and rainforest so I’d just go and walk. Sometimes you’d ride bikes. It was a regular small town experience.
Nic: We lived a seven minute drive from the city, but public transport was shit so you had to rely on your parents to take you anywhere. We were in the inner western suburbs but it took 40 minutes on the bus to get to the skate park. It was a hot bus, it sucked.
Doug, you’re not from Cairns.
Doug: I’m from Trangie, which is about 550k north west of Sydney. Cairns is a city, but I grew up in a town of about 1000, and even then I grew up on a farm 20 ks out of town. I went to boarding school when I was in year 7. When I was growing up I had the intention of having a career in agriculture, of buying a ute with a fucking sick five-poster [bullbar] and big roll bar and big mudflaps; a couple of big whippies and spotties, going to B&S balls and smashing birds all weekend. That’s what I thought my life was going to be. I was basically just like any other country boy growing up on a farm.
Nic: Then those artistes got their claws into you, didn’t they? They got you into culture! [laughs]
Doug: I went to boarding school and I was going to school with kids that weren’t just from the country. There were kids from the city and the coast who had different interests. You start getting introduced to different music, the art teachers start telling you stuff that you look up, and you get exposed to stuff you wouldn’t otherwise get into in Trangie. Your attitudes toward what’s important in life change. I chose a direction that headed away from agriculture even though it defined so much of my life when I was growing up.
I went to a boarding school in south west Sydney. It was an agricultural boarding school on a 365 acre commercial dairy farm. There were 350 co-ed boarders, which was a novel experience. As far as finding out about music, I had a couple of mates who had similar taste in music to me, but most of the time it was me finding out stuff myself and trying to tell my friends about it and them having absolutely no interest in what I was listening to at all. I listened to Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Alan Jackson until I was about fifteen.
Cairns folk – Ben, Nic, Joe – how did you find Sydney when you moved here?
Nic: well I lived in Penrith for three years, hence my day job at Repressed Records. I was friggin sad when my Dad left; when I realised what Penrith was. I didn’t understand, I thought it was like Parramatta distance away. It was a different place to actual Sydney. But within a couple of days I was into it, and I found Repressed Records and I was like “fuck, there’s at least one cool thing in this suburb”. And there were some cool people from the country who were also from the university, and there were interesting international students. I enjoyed study. I was only 17, but I feel if I was in the city [from the beginning] I would have been more cynical and not have connected with those groups of people that I really liked.
What kind of people?
Nic: I mean just going to Yvonne Ruve, going to see any Kiosk or Naked on the Vague show, or any show Castings were playing when I turned 18. Darryl Prondoso, who was in Onani, the first band I played in when I moved down, we just got talking one day outside the MCA for class. We started talking about music and stuff, and I had finally met one other cool person. Which was shocking, because I was surprised that every other person wearing skinny jeans and a strippy shirt wasn’t obsessed with the Ramones, or didn’t want to know about the Dictators or the Germs or something. To me, that [dress sense] was a signifier of wanting to be into punk.
So then I started talking to Daryl about all this stuff, and the only contemporary thing in Sydney we both liked was Kiosk. When I turned 18 he took me to the New Zealand Noise Festival at the Mandarin Club, so we saw Castings and Birchville Cat Motel. That was my first live music experience in Sydney, because we both wanted to know what this noise music was. At the time, I was still deep into trying to figure out the history of rock ‘n roll. Moving into Sydney, I felt like I was already quite familiarised with the place because I was commuting from Penrith every weekend to see shows. All those people I met I’m still pretty connected with still, even though we’re a pretty straight rock ‘n roll band.
Ben: I moved down in 2008 straight after high school, about three years after Nic. When I was in grade 12 it was the prime of MySpace, so the internet was easily accessible. I could listen to bands like Kiosk or Dead Farmers through their MySpace players. My perception of bands was completely different once I moved to Sydney and saw them live. The first time I saw Dead Farmers I was blown away, though I hadn’t thought anything of them before that, when I was still just streaming on MySpace. It changed the way I got into music and it [MySpace] made it a lot easier knowing what was going on in Sydney before I came here – what shows I wanted to see, which venues I wanted to go to.
How did you know about those bands?
Ben: Well Nic told me to look them up.
Nic: Joe knew too. Joe knew Kiosk before he’d even left Townsville. Once I got to uni and had full access to the internet I accessed everything I could. I spent ages going through every single thing. As a fan of music you always want to find another band, always want to find something new. I guess it was amplified coming from a place where you were excluded from everything. It’s not like “missing out”, but it’s something that you’re interested in and feel something about and you just want to know it all.
[continues over page]