Bitter Sweet Kicks
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Bitter Sweet Kicks

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""Nothing beats the thrill""

Bitter Sweet Kicks are a band known for their energetic live shows of chaotic rock n’ roll.
They were born from the streets of St. Kilda and have been working hard around Melbourne’s most well known pubs and venues ever since.
But what is a Bitter Sweet Kick?
“I think it’s a phrase that sums up our bands choice of lifestyle,” the band's Jack Davies says.
“To us, nothing beats the thrill of playing music to an audience with your best mates, we love it so much.
“We’ll probably spend the majority of our lives doing it.
“I guess the bitter part is that we’ll probably spend a majority of our lives being poor, but it’s worth it.”
Their lyrics are inspired by personal experiences.
“The words spill from the back of my brain, straight onto the page, so they remain pretty un-processed and raw,” Jack says.
“It’s never just one of us that writes a whole song.
“We get together and just jam until we have a song, sometimes it can take months to craft a song.
“And sometimes we will all magically, somehow know what to do, even though we’ve never played the song before.”
Bitter Sweet Kicks’ sound is extremely powerful with intense rock riffs and wild chaotic vocals.
They are known for their ability to go all day and all night, but the key to their endurance is simply keeping regular.
They have performed alongside some of Australia’s most renowned artists
“We went on tour with Spencer P. Jones from the Beasts of Bourbon a few years back,” Jack says.
“The whole time he kept on raving about this famous all-night pie shop in Maitland, NSW.
“Apparently the pies were breathtaking.
“Anyway, we had a pretty big night and later he decided to catch a cab all the way out to the pie shop.
“I must have fallen asleep, but I later awoke in my hotel room, and saw Spencer rubbing pies all over his bare chest.
“He then got into a bed and went to sleep.” - Bendigo Weekly


"A Little Bitter Punk"

The Bitter Sweet Kicks have a reputation for mayhem, madness and nudity. The St Kilda punk rockers are known for their often-naked bassist, and have been banned from performing at The Esplanade Hotel. But lead singer Jack Davies says they take their music seriously. “We like to get a bit loose, but not at anyone else’s expense,” he says. “The bad-boy image is a curse and a blessing. I don’t think we’re any crazier than anyone else out there.”

The band’s second EP Linea De Fuego offers a new direction. “This album is still pretty balls-to-the-wall, but it shows more diversity than our first EP. We’ve progressed a lot and matured a lot, both in ourselves and in our song writing.”

The album embraces the same manic energy, splintered guitar hooks and screaming vocals as last year’s self-titled release, but is shot with new ideas thanks to recording with Andy McGhee, one of the founders of indie label Shock Records.

“When we get together [with McGhee], someone’s been listening to metal or blues and then we just put it all together,” Davies says. “There’s so many genres mixed in there, it makes its own genre.”

Davies and other band members – bassist Johnny Kicks, Jerry Cola, Brendan Charlie, and Chris Taranto – formed the band in 2006 and have been gigging around Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane ever since. When I point out the names of some of the band members seem too strange to be true, Davies laughs. “A lot of them have come up from people mishearing our names,” he says, “but Johnny was different: one day he just said: ‘Call me Johnny Kicks’. And that was that. His real name is Tony Pook!”

The Kicks head to Europe in August for a whirlwind four-week tour promoting Linea De Fuego in France, Spain and Italy. The band is looking forward to hearing the EP on vinyl “We heard the Europeans are really keen on vinyl so we thought it would be beneficial to get it pressed over there.”

Davies says Linea De Fuego is Spanish for ‘‘line of fire’’. “Or at least I hope it is,” he laughs. - The Weekly Review


"Bitter Sweet Kicks"

The Bitter Sweet Kicks would have to be one of the most exciting new bands to emerge on the scene. Spawned from the gutters of St Kilda, this is rock n roll 5 piece shows how it should be done, they make it perfectly clear that they love what they do, they love performing and certainly are performers. After witnessing one of their live sets it becomes perfectly clear why their following ‘Team Rock n Roll’ is growing at a rapid rate.

The Kicks energetic live shows are renowned for leaving the stage covered in blood, sweat and broken glass after they bash their way through a solid set of chaotic rock n' roll, never say ‘Break A Leg’, yet be sure to clear a few meters front of stage from sharp objects.
Front man Jack Davies has unbelievable stage presence, he puts on an incredible show, climbs the walls, hangs from the ceiling or anything within reach and often lands with a thud whilst the rest of the band thrash around in similar fashion without missing a beat. Brendan Charlie (Guitar) is not afraid to throw himself out front with Jack Davies, Chris Tarranto (Guitar) goes head to head with Charlie, Joe Cunliffe belts out the beats on drums whilst Johnny Kicks puts on a show of his own, earning a reputation as the naked bass player, Kicks nudes up only to be left with his bass guitar as his only attire. The beauty with the Kicks is there is so much going on, so much to look at and so much to entertain you, so much so you just want to push your way up the front and get where the action is, one cannot help but to totally enjoy and be left feeling energised and wanting more.


The sound is Raw with splintering riffs, catchy as hell bass lines, belting drums and howling vocals which come together in a mixture of ‘proto punk’ and old school bluesy rock to create a uniquely powerful sound that can only be described as real. Although young lads, the Bitter Sweet Kicks draw a crowd ranging from their 20’s through to 50’s, the older are reminded of rock when they were similar age, while the younger fans feel they are experiencing something exciting and new. The Bitter Sweet Kicks certainly have a big future ahead of them.
The Bitter Sweet Kicks launch their new EP "Linea De Fuego" at the Prince Band Room in St Kilda Friday 13th July with special guests King Of The North, Valentiine and Merri Creek Pickers. Show starts at 8pm, ($10 pre sale or $15 at the door). Ticket Link http://goo.gl/7Du5X
August the band board the big silver bird bound for Europe for a series of shows.
ROCK N ROLL IS NOT DEAD - Hey Ho, Let's go


"Bitter Sweet Kicks"

Bitter Sweet Kicks vocalist Jack Davies has mixed feelings about the band’s St Kilda background. On one hand, St Kilda is arguably the most important suburb in Melbourne’s punk rock heritage, home to the Seaview Ballroom in the late '70s and early '80s, and the Esplanade Hotel in the 1980s and 1990s. On the other hand, St Kilda of the modern era is a shadow of its former punk rock glory, its once-feral streets largely sanitised in the name of gentrification and ne’er a decent punk rock venue to be found. “St Kilda’s dead now – it died with The Greyhound,” Davies says. “But I’m definitely proud to be wearing that St Kilda badge. We’re trying to grasp whatever’s left.”
Bitter Sweet Kicks formed about six years ago, the by-product of the usual motley assortment of teenage punk rock bands. “We all played in trashy punk bands when we were underage,” Davies says. “Eventually we all merged. It’s been a long time, and the music’s got a lot better since we started out.” Bitter Sweet Kicks played its first gig at the Esplanade Hotel basement in 2006, the first in many gigs “slogging it out” in a quest to generate some interest. “We all had the same interests when we started out – classic punk, mixed with some new school stuff, like Rancid,” Davies says. “And then we started delving into the more rock’n’roll side, away from the punk stuff we’d started out with.”

Despite the dearth of venues south of the river, Bitter Sweet Kicks were lucky enough to find enough sympathetic patrons to champion the band’s blues-punk-rock sound. “If you go to the right place at the right time in St Kilda, it still has the right people, and the right vibe,” Davies says. “There’s places like the Lyrebird in Ripponlea – you can go there and hang out with good people, the old St Kilda rock dinosaurs that are still around.”

It was on the other side of the river that Bitter Sweet Kicks encountered another long-time St Kilda resident, and soon to be strong supporter of Bitter Sweet Kicks, Spencer P Jones. Bitter Sweet Kicks had long indulged the swamp-rock edge of the Beasts; serendipitously, Jones was an immediate convert to the Bitter Sweet Kicks cause. “We had a gig at the Spanish Club on Johnston Street, when they were still having gigs there,” Davies says. “We were there during soundcheck, just playing some blues stuff, and we thought there wasn’t anyone else in the room. Little did we know but Spencer was there having dinner in the corner with his wife at the time, and he came up to us and said he liked what he’d heard,” he says.

Within a few months, Jones had hooked up Bitter Sweet Kicks for a tour, exposing the young band to a wider audience. “Spencer is such a big supporter of young bands, he’s always looking to help out, even when he doesn’t need to,” Davies says. “And we absolutely idolise the Beasts Of Bourbon – a lot of our songs sound just like them!” he laughs.

As well as featuring on a number of the Day By The Green bills organised by fellow St Kilda band Cold Harbour, Bitter Sweet Kicks played its first Cherry Rock festival in 2010, on the same bill as the legendary Rose Tattoo. “I don’t remember too much about that festival, but I know we had fun,” Davies laughs. “There was such a great vibe, and everyone was really good to each other. I ran into Angry [Anderson] back stage, but I also spent time hanging out with Jesse Hughes, which was pretty cool.”

Earlier this year Bitter Sweet Kicks were invited up to Andrew McGee’s Empty Room studio in Nagambie to record what will eventually become Bitter Sweet Kicks’ debut album. McGee, a co-founder of Shock Records and long-time benevolent patron of the Melbourne independent music scene had seen Bitter Sweet Kicks play in Melbourne and decided the band was worth a punt. “That place is the most laid back, perfect setting,” Davies says. “We’d only met him a couple of times, and he invited us up there. They fed us, gave us food and wine, there’s a pool there, a trampoline – it’s so relaxed. You’d wake up in the morning, have brekky and then go straight into the studio. You couldn’t ask for better preparation!” Davies gushes.

The fruits of the band’s recording labour are due for release in about July, in time for the Bitter Sweet Kicks’ first European tour. Having made the acquaintance of Spanish garage band Los Chicos at last week’s Boogie Festival, Bitter Sweet Kicks has also managed to line up both gigs and accommodation in Madrid. “We just became supergreat friends with those guys – it was a really good connection to make,” Davies says.

As for broader career aspirations, Davies isn’t setting his sights any higher than living in the moment. “This is it!” he laughs. “None of us have anything really to fall back on – we all have throwaway jobs. I can’t imagine doing anything else. We’ve all made this commitment, and we just want to give it a red hot go. can think of plenty of worse things to do with my life!”

BY PATRICK EMERY
- Beat Magazine


Discography

Bitter Sweet Kicks (2009)

Linea De Fuego (2011) - available to stream at

Photos

Bio

Bitter Sweet Kicks are a band spawned from the dirty sunshine gutter of St. Kilda in 2006 and have been working hard around Australia's most well known pubs and venues ever since. The Kick's energetic live shows are renowned for leaving the stage covered in blood, sweat and broken glass after they bash their way through a solid set of chaotic rock n' roll. Raw, splintering riffs, catchy bass lines, belting drums and howling vocals come together in a mixture of proto-punk and primitive delta blues to create a uniquely powerful sound that can only be described as real. This has seen them tour Australia's east cost multiple times and and share the stage with International and local acts The Reverend Horton Heat, Marky Ramone, Brant Bjork, Monotonix, Airborne, The Grates, Snowdroppers, Kim Salmon & Bob Log 3 as well as appearances at Cherry Rock 2010, St Kilda Festival 2008, Glen Eira Festival and River Rocks 2011. After a long journey through Melbourne's underground the band emerged in August 2011 with their highly anticipated debut EP, launched to a sold out Cherry Bar.. A record which will attest to the fact they are more than an exciting live show.