MAYBE IT’S LUCK The WA punk rock film 20 years in the making

If you were around the Perth live music scene in the 1990s you probably know about the legendary local punk band Kerb. Led by frontman and local art identity, Steve Browne, the band imploded nearly 20 years ago, but Browne recently tried to get them back together to record an album and guitarist Chad Peacock recorded the experience for posterity, before realising that they had a movie in the making. NATALIE GILES sat down with Browne and Peacock to get the lowdown ahead of its premiere at Revelation Film Festival, and got an X-Press exclusive rumour in the meantime.

So for the uninitiated among our readers, can you guys tell me all about Kerb and its history?

Steve: Kerb were a late 90s embryo punk rock kind of band. We were just having some fun with it back in the day, and then some people started liking it and the crowd got bigger and we got bigger shows and it got some legs, then towards the 2000s we were having more fun with it and it was suddenly more of a punk rock crowd. Late 90s punk rock skateboarding vibes.

So how big did you get? What size shows did you do?

Chad: Ok, so I joined the band after they’d been going for a couple of years and they were one of my favourite bands, so for me I got to see it from the outside and the first time I played it was with (The) Living End and Jebediah, so it was kind of already happening. We sold out clubs and we were doing festivals and stuff, so yeah, they were decent crowds.

Steve: Mate, you just came on to drown me out because I couldn’t play guitar [laughs]

Chad: Yeah, I guess, but it’s important for the kids to note that when I got into Kerb, it was pre-pop punk or Blink 182, so we were never trying to emulate that. We were just making our music. And we were so isolated, so Steve was just making fast, fun music. He wasn’t even really listening to outside music. He was just making what sounded good to him. I think it helped us that there was a huge buzz generated around our live shows in terms of “what will Steve do?” because he was such an incredible live performer.

Steve: which is a pretty good lead-up to the film because, what’s Steve gonna do?

I think you missed out on a film title there. “What Will Steve Do” sounds pretty rad…

[laughs all round]

Steve: But yeah, there was no internet back then so it was all word of mouth. The bands we were hanging around with, like Eskimo Joe and Gyroscope, or Turnstyle, were really big friends of the band. It was an eclectic group, you know? There was no segregation there. For me, it was Spiderbait that really got me. It was fast and aggressive, so we started going faster and more aggressive. But yeah, there was a lot of “what’s going to happen at a Kerb show?”

Chad: Yeah, at the time there was a lot of “what are you going to get? Is it going to be a complete trainwreck or are you going to get a tight show?” I think that was part of our appeal. And the film follows that. It could be either.

So the premise of the movie is about you all getting back together. The question begs itself – why did you guys break up?

Chad: We never really broke up. Jay and I weren’t ready to break up, so we formed another band.

Steve: We didn’t break up. I mean, we just made a feature documentary together.

Chad: I guess we could call it a hiatus for the Kerb entity, but we’ve just evolved. And Steve is the spirit of the band, so as long as Steve lives, it exists.

Steve: Yeah, but it splits four ways. I might be the crazy face of it all, but without the rest of you, it doesn’t live anymore. And hey, something I’ve realised about myself is that when something becomes successful, I get really bored. I still do the same thing.

Chad: Mate, this is turning into a bit of a therapy session.

Steve: But mate, that’s what the film is about! There’s stuff we’ve never said to each other that’s caught on camera!

But are you doing it for the camera?

Chad: I think people will think that, watching the film, but Steve just has this energy and what you see is what you get. Of course there’s a bit of amplification with the magic of movie making, but you’re basically seeing the reality [Steve laughs nervously]. It’s like any film, it’s a construction. I would describe it as a hybrid documentary. It’s meant to entertain. I mean, the way this all happened is that Steve wanted to go to Cambodia to record an album and I said to my wife that I needed to record this so I took my camera in case the wheels fell off, and oh did they fall off. Worst case scenario, we get a documentary. It was insurance for me to take my camera. And it paid off. And when I say the wheels fell off, let’s just say that Steve went missing. A couple of times.

Steve: I took the wheels [laughs all round]

Anything else you guys want to cover?

Chad: One thing I will say about Steve is that he has this innate ability to verbalise things and then just make them happen. It’c crazy. I was putting this together and he went “yeah. we should probably get this into Rev sometime.” And he has this amazing skill at just speaking something into life.

Steve: We should really do a Kerb gig after the screening!

Chad: See, you’re witnessing it firsthand!

Let’s do it!

Spoiler alert: this is now happening. Buy your tickets to Maybe It’s Luck and get onboard the bus to the Rev afterparty/ secret Kerb gig!

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