David Bowie

Knives come out for one-night stand of sex rock

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 May, 2007, 12:00am


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The highlight of Gabe Andre's music career, he says, was telling Avril Lavigne to f*** off.

The soon-to-be-megastar had interrupted a recording session by calling the band's producer and didn't seem in a hurry to get off the phone. Andre, getting impatient, took the phone from the producer, who was a friend, and told Lavigne they were trying to record an album.

'She said, 'We were just talking',' Andre says. 'And I said, 'Well, f*** off'.'

His mate wasn't impressed. 'He said, 'You shouldn't have done that - she's going to be huge,' and I said, 'Her diet problems are none of my concern'.'

Andre, 27, is the drummer for the Davie Bowie Knives, one of four bands playing the Underground at Galaxy tomorrow night. The band is a three-piece, but the way they speak, they'd probably insist on calling it a threesome.

Bass player Brendan Harrington, 22, singer-guitarist Shaun Martin, 28, and Andre can all talk. And, fuelled by the beers they go through at a Lan Kwai Fong bar during the course of the interview, the conversation sometimes takes a lurid turn.

But then, that's probably appropriate for a band that claims to play something it calls sex rock. Apparently, it's music delivered from the hips.

'Sex rock is like glam rock, but dirty,' says Andre , adding that it's hard and relatively effects-free. It's also a very visceral live experience. Consider this quick-fire exchange:

Andre: 'We run ourselves into the ground when we play a show, and we're kind of proud of it.'

Martin: 'We tend to get stripped off at the end of the show.'

Harrington: 'We tend to end shirtless, with a couple of buttons on our pants undone.'

Martin: 'It's all for the ladies.'

Galaxy, which will be hosting its first Underground, is a bar-disco known more for the easy virtue of its ladies than much else. The boys are looking forward to what promises to be a novel experience.

Last time Martin was at the venue it was called Strawberry's. It was a short-lived visit. As he describes it, he was 'throwing' his mate around playfully, when security intervened. 'The bouncers thought I was doing him in and chucked me out.'

According to Underground organiser Chris Bowers, the Knives have a reputation for a bit of rough and tumble. 'They've got attitude,' she says. 'And they swear a lot.'

It's not something they deny. They even seem to revel in the reputation - but it's all in good fun. 'We abuse the crowd, but only because they love it and they deserve it,' Andre says.

As for the songs, well, it's pretty much the same formula. 'Most of it's tongue-in-cheek,' says Martin, who's writes most of the lyrics. 'They tend to revolve around alcohol and drugs, sex and how silly it all is sometimes.'

The band, which has been together since August - although they played together with an extra member as the Doublethinks for a couple of years before that - draws on influences as diverse as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Oasis, Pulp, Turbo Negro and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They like David Bowie, but it wasn't a sign of reverence that they borrowed his name. It was more a case of liking how it sounds. Other names they considered included Cake Tin Puke, Electric Badger, Suicidal Razor Blades and the Shellfish Genes.

They're happy with what they play. 'We like our own sound and that's the only measure of success, right?' says Andre. They thrive on the adrenaline of performing live.

It wasn't always the case, especially for Martin who, until recently, would get so nervous before going on stage he'd vomit. It was either that or get very drunk. They now seem to have struck a balance. The others have managed to calm Martin down and limit him to just two beers before going on stage. It's working.

'When you come to see us play, we're relaxed,' Harrington says, before pointing at Martin, and adding: 'I mean, he's not puking any more.'

The Underground, featuring the David Bowie Knives, Innisfallen, Nothing None and Zane. Tomorrow, 8.30pm, Galaxy, Basement, 48 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai, HK$50. Inquiries: 9486 4648