Furious Dragon Love harbour ambitions of becoming the greatest rock band the universe has ever known but will anybody ever know who they are?
Saturday afternoon and I sit in the Tote public bar with a pot of post-mix raspberry lemonade. Nursing a vicious hangover I wait to interview Ben ‘Cuz’ Cowsens and Jims Ingrams of Melbourne band Furious Dragon Love who just twelve hours before made an innocuous debut in the adStream Battle of the Bands competition held on the Greswin Room stage of St Kilda’s Esplanade Hotel. As the interview had been arranged at the gig a level of trepidation accompanies the wait: there was every chance that any memory of it had been erased from the memory of both boys by some substance or another.
Losing hope I am about to leave when the two wander in like two lost souls in search of a hug. I wave and they stumble over. “Busy day”, sighs Cowsens. Asked if they would like a drink Cowsens requests a glass of iced water with a pink umbrella and a squeeze of fresh lime juice and Ingrams demands a shot of tequila with lemon and salt. I note the disappointment on Cowsen’s face upon my return. There is neither lime nor an umbrella in his drink, “Sorry mate, you know the Tote,” I mutter sheepishly. At this point Ingrams looks me in the eye and says, “Jims Ingrams will now demonstrate his skill”. Pouring a large portion of salt onto the back of his hand he takes the tequila in the other. Tequila lick-sip-suck I assume, it’s early in the day but by hey. Much to my surprise, he proceeds to snort the salt, gulp the shot down, squirt the lemon in his eye and at the top of his lungs shouts, “STUNTMAN!” I must say I am impressed, now that’s rock and roll. However, it isn’t long before Ingrams begins to look a little queasy. Making a desperate grab for Cowsens glass of water he merely manages to knock it over onto the table. “Jims Ingrams will be back in a minute,” he stutters as he stumbles towards the toilet. “Always, trying to show-off” Cowsens says with a shake of his head, “Shall we begin?”
The band (or at least some members) seems intent on emulating the stereotypical rock’n’roll lifestyle propagated throughout the 1980’s and 90’s by bands such as Kiss and Motley Crue. Upon his sheepish return from the a substantial stay in the toilet Ingrams declares, “Basically all Jims Ingrams and Furious Dragon Love want to do is rock out every night and fuck as many chicks as we can.” This womanising hard living approach is definitely a strong feature of the band’s promotional material. One poster advertising their debut gig contained the tag line, ‘Fire Spittin. Ear splittin. Head kickin. Fight pickin. Whore stickin. Furious Dragon Love.’ Another featured a cropped image of a woman’s bare torso, breasts covered in mud accompanied by the tag line ‘Furious Dragon Love. Tit splittin rock n roll.’
Amidst today’s politically correct landscape many within the industry believe this approach is more likely to prompt disgust and resentment than attract the adulation of the gig-going music buying public. Prominent Australian music producer and staunch feminist Jenna Jameson stated as much, “The rock industry is full of infantile misogynists harbouring unrealistic aspirations for celebrity but I think the tastes of today’s record buying public have matured. Those types of bands (read Furious Dragon Love) don’t have a hope.” Cowsens seems unperturbed by such sentiments, “A comment like could only have come from a tight arsed bitch who hasn’t got on the good foot for a while, if you know what I mean. Give her half an hour of Furious Dragon Love and we’ll sure as hell change her tune. We’ll be the greatest band this universe has seen.” Pressed on whether that is a realistic goal for a band that only plays covers his reply is frank, “Only time will tell. You see, there are all these geezers out there, Franz Ferdinand, the White Stripes and Kings of Leon, and sure they put on a good show and their records have had multinational success but at the end of the day they’re all fuckwits. They aren’t trying to be the biggest act in the universe and that’s where we’re different.”
This lack of modesty is echoed by Ingrams. Invited to assess the previous nights gig he says, “Jims Ingrams reckons Furious Dragon Love headlined and rocked out. Other than that the whole night was a complete fucking balls up.” I ask him to clarify the last comment but it is Cowsens who chimes in, “The boys have pretty regimented pre-gig routines. Jims and our long-time roadie Scott ‘Scooter’ Holland usually drink a couple of Red Bulls each, do some Charlie and then get stuck into the nude bocce. Columbian Dave and Capital Jay are right into their Connect Four and the Doctor is adamant that he is on the cusp of developing a viable perpetual motion machine. Me, I read, Proust or Tolstoy. Needless to say, we need a fair whack of gear to cater for all of that. We put in a rider request with the adStream organisers but the stupid twats fucked it up. Sent us a carpet bowls set rather than bocce. Jims had a massive freak out, locked himself in the toilet and started eating those yellow urinal cakes from the bottom of the pisser. Luckily Scotty managed to lure him out with a bag of chocolate covered teddy-bear biscuits.”
Despite the hiccup there is no denying that the boys from Furious did treat a sweat-soaked, boozed up Espy crowd to a lesson in rock. They teed off with Led Zeppelin’s Rock’n’Roll, followed by Black Sabbath’s Paranoid and an explosive performance of AC/DC’s TNT. A journey into the first file of the punk/pop catalogue the Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop delivered a welcome change of vibe. The pace was again quickened by the angry rock optimism of Rose Tattoo’s We can’t be beaten. A fitting end to the show was a classic belting of the Angels’ Am I ever gonna see your face again? The rock world waits with baited breath.
Furious Dragon Love have no concrete plans for forthcoming gigs.
Furious Dragon Love played in the Adstream Bonza Bash at The Espy, Melbourne on 24 November 2006. This is a piece I wrote afterwards.