A musician for two decades, releasing at least 20 albums and EPs, next week Adam Buckland returns to Wollongong for a gig where he'll run through a sample of his back catalogue, writes GLEN HUMPHRIES
If you were the organised type who sorts their CD collection in alphabetical order, Adam Buckland’s output would give you a few headaches.
The Wollongong-born musician has been performing in bands for more than 20 years. And while he's been a key songwriter in all those bands, his creations would be spread all over those collections large enough to make an A-Z sorting arrangement crucial if you want to find anything.
Up near the front you'd find the punky trio Boys on Bex. Well, you would if you happened to have downloaded and burned the live compilation Buckland posts to his Bandcamp page every now and again.
There would be a few CDs, singles and cassette EPs under F – for punk-pop stalwarts Fugg.
Quite a few CDs would be nestled in the Ds, for The Dodgy World of Adam Buckland (in A-Z sorting the word “The” can safely be ignored).
Over at the S section would live the two CDs from Sweet Sweet Bulbs.
Back up to the Bs you'd find a CD or two under the name of Adam Buckland.
In the Ws would be a short two-track disc from an alter ego named Walkman Ray
All-up he’s had a hand in more than 20 CDs, vinyl singles and cassette releases under no fewer than six different outfits.
So when he gets an itch to perform songs from all those eras, what’s the best way to bring them all together?
Well, you create yet another band – and so is born The Adam Buckland Ensemble.
“With Dodgy World, I’d been using that as a name since before 2000,” Buckland says.
“I ended that in 2013 after I’d brought out a couple of albums, because it nicely tied up that whole thing that I was doing with Dodgy World.
“Since then I’ve been looking for something else and that’s what I’m doing with The Adam Buckland Ensemble. It ties up everything rather than one style of thing I do.
“I’ve been looking for a band that ties up everything that I’ve done in the past and can do everything I do in the future too.”
Buckland started his musical career in the early 1990s with that punky trio Boys on Bex (kids, back in the old days, Bex was an over-the-counter headache drug than, umm, turned out to be highly addictive).
From there he became one of the founding members of Fugg, a punk-pop outfit with a penchant for dressing up onstage.
In the tail end of his time in Fugg, Buckland also formed the more introspective The Dodgy World of Adam Buckland, with the first CD under that name released on 2001.
Dodgy World was often experimental – featuring backwards vocals and albums that featured “songs” combined into one unbroken 34-minute stream – but highlighted Buckland’s fondness for both The Beatles and psychedelia.
As a side project in 2004 he created Sweet Sweet Bulbs, which features bassist Mal Wales and drummer Darren Ireland who are for the time being the rest of the “ensemble” in The Adam Buckland Ensemble.
Sweet Sweet Bulbs released two albums, including the curiously named Leben mit der harten hand, die vom weichen Kopf kommt (BTW it’s German for “Life with the hard hand that comes from the soft head”).
While pumping out albums under the Dodgy World name, in 2014 he put out a two-track EP under the name Walkman Ray.
Which brings us up to The Adam Buckland Ensemble, which has its Wollongong debut next Saturday.
It’s also the first Wollongong show Buckland has performed since he moved to Melbourne in 2010.
With Buckland in Melbourne and Wales and Ireland in Wollongong, preparing for next week’s gig has been slotted in whenever he came home for a visit.
“Each time I’ve come back, I’ve been back for a week and a half,” he says. “About a year ago we had our first couple of jams and then maybe four or five months ago we had another couple of jams.
“It came together really fast because both Mal and Darren have played with me in Dodgy World and Sweet Sweet Bulbs so they know 75 per cent or more of the songs to start with.”
Buckland has posted the setlist for next week’s gig as an album his Bandcamp page (nomasterstudios.bandcamp.com) where you can buy it to store in the A section of your CD collection.
“It started off for my benefit and the guys in the band’s benefit,” Buckland says.
“It gave us a starting point so we knew what we were doing.
“It worked as a basis for us as a band and then I thought I may as well share it. To give an idea for people who might want to come and see the show as well, see what angle we’re coming from with the new band.”
The songs chosen for the set are the “rocky and energetic stuff” Buckland says.
Some songs didn’t make the cut because they didn’t fit that mould, others because he was much younger when he wrote them and performing them now would just feel weird.
“There are some songs, like some Fugg songs, they were really funny at the time - well we thought they were funny,” he says.
“Songs like I’ve Got an Erection and Masturbate. They were really fun for their time but I could never do them now.”
But some of the old songs he will be playing still feel different now compared to when he first wrote them.
“A lot of my songs are really angry but now when I play them I don’t feel that way at all,” he says. “I don’t have to get emotionally connected to the song, I can actually stand back from it a bit now and just deliver it.”
The Adam Buckland Ensemble perform at Dicey Riley’s on September 24.