Written by Mark Rabjohns
Photograph by Jared O'Sullivan
Peter Bibby's second album Grand Champion came out last Friday. If you haven't heard it yet, save yourself the bother of reading the rest of this paragraph and head straight to your favourite music streaming platform. After you have made yourself comfortable, hover your mouse over the "play" button and don't look back.
Hailed by many as Australia's favourite maverick poet, Bibby's lyrics have the rare ability to drive you to rock bottom and then proceed to offer you an EMU EXPORT and tell you it's all going to be okay. With a perfect mix of chaos and comedy, grand champion is no exception. Last week we caught up with Bibby over the phone to discuss all things Peter Bibby. You can catch one of his shows featuring his new band the dog acts on his Australian tour commencing October 4th.
How’s your morning been?
I’m a little bit dead. I was up all night writing and didn’t get to bed until about 5am.
What did you have for breakfast?
’m actually having breakfast right now (4pm) and it’s a delicious BLT sandwich.
You play in the UK with Nick Albrook the week before you start your Australian tour. How do the poms react to the very “Aussie” themes of your songs?
I think they get it hey. They pick up on the humour pretty well, the old poms.
Your Australian tour sees you playing at a wide range of venues, some large, some intimate. Which ones do you prefer?
I definitely prefer the smaller, more intimate shows. I’m trying to cut back and keep them from going for two long. There was one show at the Bearded Lady that we played that went for about 2 and a half hours. Definitely need to stop that.
Peoples attention spans aren’t big enough in this day and age…
Yeah, nah, I don’t think so. And you know, who the fuck wants to listen to me for two and a half hours?
I’m sure there would be a few out there. In relation to your writing, what’s the general ratio between fact and fiction in the stories you tell?
I never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn, but id say 75% is pretty true.
What helped you develop the ability to write in the way that you do?
I used to read a lot of Hunter S Thompson, Charles Bukowski and those sort of people. Peter Kerry is definitely at the top of my list these days, though.
Next Question: What happened to the girl in the Red XF Falcon?
She moved to London. We’re still good mates.
Speaking of cars, your Instagram account is a bit of a diary of your battles with early 90’s shitboxes. What are you currently driving?
Right now I’m driving the best car I’ve ever had. It’s a 2000 V6 Toyota Camry Conquest station wagon. It’s a bloody ripper. I’ve had it for about a year and its been nothing but a dream.
What are you going to be using to make your way up the East Coast?
I’m not too sure, I guess we’ll just have some kind of hire car. Might be the old Hyundai Imax or a Kia Karnival.
Do you ever spruce up your tour vans?
We try to keep it pretty stock. The hire companies don’t like it if we fuck with them too much. Maybe we’ll make up a little banner to stick to the side.
The two singles you’ve put out from grand champion are pretty shit.
Sorry about that mate.
All good. They seem to be a bit more fast paced than those on your last record. Is that the general direction you’re going in with this one?
Yeah, that’s kind of been the direction we’ve been going in lately, particularly with my current band the dog acts. There are a few slow burners on the new record but yeah, generally we are playing a bit harder and a bit faster. I’m sure we’ll get bored of that and slow down again, though.
Where did the name Grand Champion come from?
It was the name of a boat in Fremantle Harbour. We were in the middle of recording the album and there was a lot of bullshit going on that the time, so I thought it would be a kinda fitting, tongue in cheek name for the record because at the time I felt anything but a grand champion. But now, because it took so fucking long for the record to come out, it feels like a massive feat that we got here. I’m feeling like a grand champion now.
Congratulations. I must say, in the Long Baby video you look really good as a Cockatoo.
Whose Idea was it to portray a national treasure as a satanic psychopath?
Hahaha. It was my idea to begin with. Based on the theme of the song, which is my girlfriend sleeping more than me, I was thinking about how Cockatoos stay together for life. If one of them dies the other one will sit there next to its mate and just kind of wait. I was talking to the Director, Aaron McCann, and he was like “maybe we could bring it back to life with a satanic ritual”. I just said lets do it. Its nice and strange.
Finally, in relation to the song title, who’s the biggest asshole you’ve ever worked for?
Maurice. He was a Dutch man and I was working for him as a plastering apprentice and he was a deadest fucking cunt. He payed me $40 a day and worked me to the bone. It was just abuse all day. Send that answer directly to him.
Good luck with the tour.