Rats ride the Gravy train

Edward ScownGeraldton Guardian
2020 WAM award winners Erica Trotter, Jaz McCartney and Ken McCartney of Geraldton punk trio RatSalad.
Camera Icon2020 WAM award winners Erica Trotter, Jaz McCartney and Ken McCartney of Geraldton punk trio RatSalad. Credit: Geraldton Guardian

Geraldton rockers RATSALAD are up for two WAM awards, and they’ve celebrated by dropping a new homegrown track.

That fresh release, 50km, is not so much a departure from their trademark thrashy garage punk sound, rather a careful detour around the radio-unfriendly potholes of their previous work.

It’s lead singer Jaz McCartney’s ode to the road connecting Geraldton and her hometown Northampton. As one lyric reads, “North or south, it doesn’t matter, home is at the end.”

“I was pretty frustrated when I wrote it... peak harvest, behind all the road trains,” she said.

The new tune was recorded at Strathalbyn’s Liquid Rock Studio. Local music stalwart Aaron Maunder initially ran the studio as a hobby, but recently he’s thrown himself into the project, meaning bands like RATSALAD don’t have to travel to Perth to record.

“He’d give you the back of his shirt (sic) if you needed it,” guitarist Ken McCartney said.

“Town’s spoilt for talent like that... it’s prime for a good original music scene to cut through.”

Husband and wife duo Ken and Jaz started the band after a chance encounter with primary school friend, and drummer, Erica Trotter. The band took out the heavy/metal category at the 2020 WAM Awards with their debut single, Dead Rat.

“We were so shocked it was even nominated,” Jaz said.

This year they’re gunning for two categories. Bloke, sung by Ken, is up against Perth heavyweights Sly Withers in the punk/hardcore category, while late 2020 release Gravy has been put up for another stab at the heavy/metal award.

“(Gravy has) just got silly, angry, fun energy... it’s definitely one of our favourites to play live,” said Ken.

“It’s pretty heavy music, but any metal band would be like, ‘why are they winning? That’s not metal’.”

RATSALAD are playing at the Freemasons Hotel on September 18, before heading to Perth for the awards night on September 22. They’re taking off on their first interstate tour, to South Australia, in October.

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