Dave McCormack interview

Time Off, June 2005

In the mid-90s, Brisbane music enjoyed one of its healthiest periods as a slew of acts garnered national recognition and dominated Australian airwaves. Eccentric uber-indie outfit Custard were at the forefront of the resurgence, first making an impact in Brisbane before exploding around the country.

Frontman David McCormack relocated to Sydney when Custard split in 2000 so it’s somehow fitting that he returns with current outfit The Polaroids to take his place near the top of the bill at this year’s annual Valley Fiesta extravaganza.

“We’re really looking forward to the Valley Fiesta. This will be my first one,” McCormack says. “I’ve never been before. I’m like the prodigal son. I don’t know whether I can call myself that, but yes, I am.

“I imagine Valley Fiesta is quite a big deal: the streets blocked off, big lines for the cabs, fights while you’re waiting for cabs… I noticed when I was up there a couple of weeks ago for a family wedding that there was security on the cab line. What’s going on?/p>

“No, we’re really looking forward to it,” McCormack says. “It’s sort of a mid-period for me because I don’t have a new album out; I’ve just got an old album [2004’s The Truth About Love].

“We’ve got two Ric’s shows leading up to Fiesta so I think those will be more of the ‘trying out new material’ thing and then on Saturday we’ll succumb to peer-group pressure and play what everybody wants to hear.”

Despite his bluster and obvious misgivings about the changes to the Fortitude Valley landscape since his departure, it’s obvious McCormack still holds Brisbane in high esteem.

“I love it! I love it up there! When I was up there for the wedding a couple of weeks back I realised everybody remembers who Custard were. It’s great! Unlike down here in God-forsaken Sydney where no-one knows anything… unless it’s Def FX or Caligula or Ratcat or something like that. Brisbane’s a great place – it’s a good hometown to have.”

And despite The Polaroids’ ongoing success, it seems there may be life left in the Custard machine.

“We’ve got a new Custard DVD coming out that I’ve just done the commentary on and there’s even flirtation with a major label,” McCormack discloses. “It’s good for my parents to have all the videos on one thing. There’s a few live tracks and some footage of us in the studio recording the first album. Loads of stuff.

“DVDs are great because you can put so much stuff on it. We all got together and it made me start to think that we should play a gig or something. I don’t know… we’ll see. One things for sure though: if we do a gig I’d like to do it in Brisbane. A Custard reunion gig would definitely be best in Brisbane.”

Dave McCormack & The Polaroids play Ric’s Thursday Jul 7 and Friday Jul 8, and Valley Fiesta in the Brunswick St Mall Saturday Jul 9.

STEVE BELL