That is most certainly the case for Australian rockers Nothing Sacred, as their individual careers as musicians, as well as a band, have truly stood the test of time, leaving them still as passionate now as the day they first emerged.
Now, still as serious as ever, the band try not to lose sight of the fact that it should also be fun, and still enjoying what they do wholeheartedly, they have captured a lot of this in the new album. And so, with a classic twin guitar sound, cutting riffs and driving rhythm, they put the pedal to the metal, tackling any pace from Rock Ballads to Thrash with a Punk attitude and whatever they feel like at the time, embracing 4 decades of performing and writing, with plenty of new touches on display, and much more fuel in the tank.
Over the years, the band has made their presence known along the eastern coast of Australia, hitting the major cities such as Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, and Japan in 2015.
The 80s for Nothing Sacred was a great time to be in a band, where venues were plentiful and fans literally chomping at the bit to get their very own pole position at the footlights at any gig, and more importantly, everyone got on. In those early glory days, there was no rivalry amongst bands, allowing them to play with anyone and everyone, to a point they even spearheaded the Punk Metal movement in Melbourne by performing joint gigs with many Punk bands including Depression, which later led to a support slot with Australian legends Rose Tattoo and also a supporting role with first Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Dianno as part of his Australian tour.
The core of the band, formed by Sham and Karl still remains to this day, with George joining in the late 80s after a stint with 80s Melbourne band Taramis. George has been a key part of the local scene, and been with the band ever since. But it wasn’t until 2017/2018, when Stu and James joined, completing the new lineup that now consists of-
James Davies – vocals, George Larin – guitars, Stu Bedford – guitars, Karl Lean – bass and Sham on drums.
Karl, stepped into music on bass in the mid-70s at high school, cutting a fat groove in many rhythm sections of local Rock/Punk bands. His passion to play even today is fuelled by Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, David Bowie, Motorhead, Plasmatics, Hawkwind, and the John Bush era of Anthrax.
George, first picked up his axe aged 10, with Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath forming his early style and later, leaning on Anthrax, Metallica, and the bay area Thrash.
James, originally a drummer as well as a vocalist, joined his first band at 16, slowly developing a style of his very own, mentored by Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, The Scorpions, Soundgarden, and Tool
Stu, found his instrument of choice in 1983, first focusing on Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Accept before turning to Testament, Forbidden and Metallica to further his craft.
As a band, the aforementioned inspirations remain a big part of what makes them who they are today, blending everything together into one mixing pot to create something that doesn’t relate a specific style or influence, and constantly draw from anything that each member brings to the table in the writing process.
“It probably sounds like a cliché, but we just want to play.”
With that said I asked what the meaning was behind the band name, they replied;
“Not sure, there really was a lot of meaning when we picked it, other than we aren’t big fans of organized religion. With freedom of choice and all that, people can be who they want to be and believe what they want. But religion as a base for laws and rules is something we are happy to say no to. Nothing is Sacred to everyone, right.”
So I went on to ask about their songwriting process and how they would overcome any creative blocks, they explained;
“Whatever works really. Sometimes a member brings an entire song to the band and we go with it. Maybe a tweak or two. Sometimes a few members work together. Sometimes we just jam on ideas as a band and see where it takes us. About the only real common theme is that the lyrics come after the basic song riffs are in place. In the early days, probably beer would always solve a block in creativity, but now it’s usually a coffee as Sham in particular is a bit of a coffee fanatic. When we toured Japan he packed his own coffee pot in his luggage for the trip.”
“Yeah, pretty much. What you see is what you get. This isn’t Gwar, there’s not a lot of difference between us on stage, at rehearsal, or hanging at a gig watching other bands. Back in the mid-80s we wore bullet-belts on stage. But that was because we wore them off stage as well. Boarded a few flights back then wearing bullet belts – no way in hell that’s happening in the 21st century.”
So I asked the lads what they enjoy most about being in the band and what they have learnt about themselves on their journey so far in the music industry, they told me;
“Great people to play with, a chance to share music with fans that enjoy it just as much as we do. As for learning, It has been almost a 4 decade journey so far. In our early twenties, none of us thought it would last this long. We’ve tried to hold true to what we want to play, and what makes us feel good as a band. Looking back, it’s a hard road but worth it – always worth it.”
Finally, I asked them if there was anything they wished they had known before starting a career in music, they replied;
“Not really, part of the journey is discovery. It’s not always good news, but every new moment is a chance to experience something fresh. Sometimes it would have been great if certain things had fallen into place differently along the way, but we’ve ended up here and it’s a good place to be right now. New album, and a great one at that, and we are happy to have the chance to share it.”
From the get go, this single takes care of business as originally intended within its genre all those years ago, capturing the same dynamic from back in the day, and sets the perfect example of a tried and tested sound and recipe that’s stood the test of time, and what gave birth to the band itself.
The whole process from studio to stage is a true recipe of love, brewed from the same cauldron, characterized by loud distorted guitars, emphatic rhythms, dense bass and drum sounds, with minor scales and power chords.
Vocally, James demonstrates the same classic sound, range and resonance of the day, both virtuosic, and powerful, striking the air with the same exuberant energy that first opened his eyes to this genre.
Musically, the fire is permanently stoked, and the engines primed for a roller coaster ride that washes over you at breakneck speed, from first class fretwork, menacing bass and precise syncopation from the riser.
In all, this single is a credit to its genius in composition, engineering and creation, and has all the elements to tease any rock fan, no matter their subgenre as to what’s to come on their forthcoming album No Gods.
“Thank you for taking the time to read all about us and checking out our music. Rock Music and bands are making a comeback to mainstream for sure! There’s a lot to be positive about in the music world right now and it’s clear the younger generation coming through now are yearning for something real and authentic. You can connect with us on any of the links listed below.”
So why not clear a space in your collection, and give Black Star Jackals a try for 2021.
© Stargazer Music Magazine 2020
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