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Drum Media – Michael Smith – 11th May, 2005

First published Drum Media, 11th May, 2005

It’s all there in his gritty, streetwise, bittersweet sings, all delivered with a voice Tom Waits could comfortably put a harmony to, simple songs of love, booze, rock ‘n’ roll and the bruises each of them leave behind, all wrapped up in the kind of angry, dislocated guitar sound that makes the White Stripes and Blues Explosion so exciting. The title of the new album from Ian Rilen and The Love Addicts says it all – Passion Boots and Bruises (Phantom/MGM).

“I think most of them are from my own experience, unfortunately!” Rilen wryly admits. “Paul Kelly’s the perfect storyteller, and I remember telling him once “Wish I could write you, tell all these wonderful stories’ and he said, ‘Oh f**k, I wish I could write songs like yo, and get it over with in four words!”

Rilen does manage to get one ‘story’ onto the new album Grey Street, though it’s a song he doesn’t play live much. What’s interesting though is the way songs get written.

“In Melbourne in the late ’90s, there was a spate of prostitute murders around St Kilda, and I was just walking to a gig at the Price of Wales one night, freezing winter, a horrible Melbourne night, and the song just came to me as I was walking along, my footsteps created the rhythm, and I was walking down Grey Street!”

Joining Rilen, who is back from living in Melbourne again, on the record is former ‘rebel’ Triple J announcer Tony Biggs on drums, who first worked with him in Hell To Pay. Sadly Biggs’ health has seen him drop out of gigging. Then there are guest guitarist Kim Volkman and bass player Sean Docherty.

“I first saw Kim busking on a dobro out the front of the supermarket in Ackland Street, and after about the third time I saw him, I asked him if he wanted to join my band. The bass player at the time was Cathy (Green, ex-X drummer_, but she was having a baby so Sean, who is Kim’s half brother, just jumped in straight away, and played with us eight months and did the album. But it was always Cathy’s spot, so as soon as she was up for it, she was back and playing like a million dollars.”

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