Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
The birth of Australia’s Blood Duster occurred in 1991 with Jason Fuller (aka Jason PC on bass), Anthony Barry (vocals and guitar), and Andrew Brown (drums). The band’s name was taken from a John Zorn song, “Blood Duster“, off his 1989 album release, ‘Naked City’. That 3-piece version of the band was short-lived as Anthony Barry was almost immediately replaced by Troy Darlington and Callum Wilson. By their own admission, they formed with the sole purpose of being more intense than other bands that were around at that time.
While still a trio though, Blood Duster self-released a three-song demo in 1992 titled ‘Menstrual Soup’. After its release, Darlington and Wilson came aboard but even they too were soon gone, replaced by Tony Forde (aka Tony Roth), Shane Rout, and Brad Johnston. This lineup was in place for the band’s first official release for Dr. Jim’s Records, the 25-song ‘Fisting The Dead’ EP.
By all accounts, Blood Duster was well on its way to accomplishing its mission. The music they were creating was brutally dense, bottom-heavy Death Metal fused with Grindcore. Pummeling, savage music with extremely guttural vocals permeated every moment of their artistry. Those somewhat indecipherable vocals helped mask the lyrical content and subject matter of songs ranging from stalking and underage sex to drugs and necrophilia. However, Blood Duster would be plagued with seemingly never-ending lineup changes in their membership.
In 1996, with another lineup shift that saw Jason and Tony now joined by guitarist Fin McCarthy and drummer Matt Rizzo, Blood Duster released the ‘Yeest’ EP for Dr. Jim’s Records once again. This is considered the breakthrough release for the band, one that saw increased experimentation with differing musical styles, use of samples, and improved sound quality.
By this time, Blood Duster was actively touring throughout Australia but there would be yet another roster change in, where else, the guitar and drum departments. In came Fin Felini and Euan Heriot respectively for the band’s official full-length debut, 1997’s ‘Str8outtanorthcote’, once again on Dr. Jim’s. This release is clearly the point where heavy rock elements began to creep into Blood Duster‘s sound.
The ongoing, continual lineup alterations would persist, of course, seeing players like Josh Nixon, Matt Collins, Beltsy (?), and others grace further releases in that period. Those releases included Singles, the studio album ‘Cunt’, the live release ‘Kill Kill Kill’, and the VHS Video ‘The Shape Of Death To Come’. A real stand-out during that era was the ‘Lyden nå’ release for Obscene Productions, a triple album with one CD of deathrock, one of grindcore, and a third containing a 21-minute song of drone doom type styling.
In fact, for a decade or so things were business as usual for Blood Duster. Revolving door-like lineup changes, Split releases with Venomous Concept, Dwarves, and Brutal Truth, compilations, Singles, etc. ‘Kvlt’ was the last full-length studio LP from Blood Duster, independently released in 2012 and followed by another EP from them that same year, ‘Svck’.
There is an interesting catch to the ‘Kvlt’ LP and ‘Svck’ EP though, as ‘Kvlt’ was a vinyl album with the letters “KVLT” and a pentagram scratched into it, rendering all 66 copies unplayable without destroying your needle. The digital master files were deleted, however, a few tracks were saved and those became the ‘Svck’ EP and the “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” single (a cover of The Angels track).
‘Kvlt’ had been deliberately rendered unplayable; its producer Jason PC explained “It’s kind of a statement piece… We made the album, sat down and listened to it, thought: ‘Yep, that’s perfect, let’s wreck it’.“
Just last month, on August 5th, Blood Duster performed as the headliners of Brutality Fest 2017 but there has been a sad announcement since then. The band has just announced that after 26 years, the Australian grinding death rock outfit is going to call it a day, announcing their last ever gig. The statement from the band reads:
“While Blood Duster have had a great run of way too much fun with way too may rad people, we feel that the time is right to put an end to all this before we really start doing things for the wrong reasons,” comments the band.
“Don’t get us wrong we love playing and when the band gets together for a show we almost always have the most fun out of anyone in the room, but the preparation to be able to play and have that fun is now becoming too much. Half assing it on our own terms has always been ok, half assing it simply for cash is something we don’t wan’t to do.“
“Blood Duster have always prided ourselves on doing our shit on our own terms, our own way, and fuck everyone else. We feel that we have stayed pretty true to that over the 26 years and 4 months that we have been around. Our natural inclination as a band was to do the opposite of what people wanted. Sometimes that lost us fans, but we could always look at ourselves and know we did the right thing for all the wrong reasons.”
“Blood Duster’s last show is at the Corner Hotel on December 9th with our friends Fuck… I’m Dead, Contaminated, Neck Grip, Reaper, Blunt Shovel, Dead Root, and Christ Crusher. It will be a sick show with sick bands!“
“Please come down and get wasted with us one last time! Tickets will be $6.66. This is as cheap as we can make the show without actually losing money… we could have done the cash-in thing but it feels a little crass considering how much fun we’ve had with all of you.“
“Also, as part of the winding down process, we are compiling everything we can think of into an album called All The Remains. This is designed to give you access to all the rare / never released / B sides etc. in one easy to find place. So that no one has to write to us asking for stuff… after all we will be dead. Download the entire thing from goatsound.com, or we will have copies on vinyl on the night. Official release date for the download and the vinyl versions is October 20th. Vinyl is available on Magnetic South.“
Blood Duster, being the cheeky comedians and ultimate smart-asses that they are, did include this career-spanning list of the band’s personal highlights. They include:
– Telling James Hetfield of Metallica: “Sorry, we are totally out of merch“.
– Apologizing to Shane Embury of Napalm Death for accidentally hitting him with stray piss.
– Rizzo being sure Fergie was “cracking on to him.”
– Inventing the Butt Shot while on tour in Europe.
– Having Darryl Cotton appear on a track with us.
– Trying to convince The Strokes to drive off on Drew Barrymore.
– Writing “cunt” on things and then convincing people to buy it.
– The Cunt album charting higher than Rhonda Burchmore’s album of the time.
– Making and not releasing the KVLT album.
– Punching other band members in the face for fun.
– Having artwork banned by distributers.
– Doing lines with the Dwarves.
– Tony going to court for stage props.
– Beating Lars Ulrich of Metallica at Ping Pong.
– Sharing bills with Mr. Bungle, Carcass, Napalm Death, Repulsion and “pretty much everyone we have ever wanted to play with.”
Parting is such sweet sorrow, Blood Duster…you shall truly be missed!