All aboard the Graveyard Train

"The concept for Graveyard Train came from the old Creedence Clearwater Revival song (of the same name)," Josh said. "Our lead singer Nick Finch met me (in 2008) and wanted to start a country band. We were both Creedence fans. And that song sorta set the tone."

The song is about a highway accident where 30 people die and then the graveyard train comes along to take away the dead. Soon after Josh and Nick got together, the band formed.

"We all drank at the same bar in North Melbourne and my house was two doors down from it," Josh said.

Graveyard Train has six members - all male, all singing. The songs are about tombstones and mummies and dark, moonless nights. It's an interesting marriage of country music and horror themes. In 2010 their album The Drink, The Devil & The Dance was released,which saw the band stereotyped in this genre.

"I think that the media took it a bit too far, the whole horror country thing," Josh said. "Not all the songs are horror country. They got carried away with the labelling of the band. We're working on a new album at the moment and there hasn't been a zombie or a mummy mentioned so far. I mean, we like the horror country concept - it's a lot of fun - and we still like to write about it when we can, but..."

The as yet un-named new album ("We're still fighting about the title") will be released in May with a national tour starting in Brisbane in early June.

One of the distinctive attributes of the band is the strong male vocals. With Nick doing the lead singing, the other five voices chime in on choruses, not so much as harmonies but in unison, giving a distinctive sound to Graveyard Train.

Another eye-catching aspect of the band is Adam's chain-hitting percussion. He has a heavy gauge chain slung over his shoulder and belts it with a hammer.

"I can remember the day he just walked in with this chain and a hammer,"Josh said. "The idea was completely his. We had no drummer then and his percussion was welcomed. The main reason he was there was because he's a harp player but the chain and hammer thing took off.

"He knows a lot about chains and hammers. It's pretty funny when he goes to Bunnings. But it's dangerous. He's broken his fingers playing the chain and hammer."

The band has done a lot of touring in its three years.

"The six of us went to Europe. We talked to other musos and bands about places to play. We did Edinburgh Fringe and then toured over to Germany. It was great, we made lots of fans."

Then the Australian touring started, followed by a tour of the US.

"We're gonna focus there," Josh said. "It's too expensive to tour both Europe and the US. So we decided on the US. Dark country is popular there. We met a lot of other country folk artists. We even got to play on the same stage as Gillian Welch. We're going back there this year.

"The touring is pretty tough though. A lot of us lost our jobs. I was a barman, like the majority of the band, and it's tough to find jobs between gigs."

And the rock and roll life is tough on relationships too.

"That's why I lost my relationship. Just recently. No time or money," Josh said.

But he's looking forward to returning to the North Coast.

"Last time we were there we played the Beach Hotel. A naked guy ran through our set! All he wanted was a cigarette," Josh laughed. "I don't think he got one."

Graveyard Train and Daniel Champagne will play the Brewery in Byron this Saturday, January 28, from 8pm.

Tickets are $17 pre-sale from www.kupromotions. or $20 at the door.

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