Beginning in the South West Australian backwoods town of Albany, an old port town, coastal, big trees, big granite rocks, where your options were fishing, shearing, surfing or playing music, or occasionally all of the above, James started writing and performing locally in pubs at the age of 15 while still in high school and the writing was on the wall.
From Albany, James made his way north to Perth, again forming bands and performing around the city and in rural locations, recording a few demos. But the frustration of isolation encouraged James’s move to Sydney at age 22, where he formed, wrote and performed in bands such as Harpoon, Nunchukka Superfly, and Lowdorados, playing constantly in and around Sydney while also playing the Livid festival ’95, the Big Day Out ’96 and ’97, and a range of festivals taking James from Adelaide to Perth. Harpoon released the album Fork Tongued Pressed and Greasy on Black Hole/Shock.
On returning to Perth in 1998, James reunited with Gareth Liddiard and Rui Pereira on Christmas Eve after having crossed paths once before. They confessed that they had been looking for James and James for them. They formed the first incarnation of the Drones a week later. This line-up also played as the Gutterville Splendour Six, augmented with vocalist Maurice Flavel. The Gutterville released 500 copies of an EP that, after the band folded, ended up on the playlist of the late DJ John Peel. Henry Rollins and Tex Perkins are also cited as fans.
James headed back to Sydney as the Drones set out for Melbourne, keeping in contact up and down the coast. James gave Gareth Liddiard a song called This Time, which ended up as the closer on the Drones Australian Music Prize-winning album Wait Long By The River And The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By (Infidelity/Shock). James played two shows with Damo Suzuki from Can as part of the Damo Suzuki Network. Moving to Melbourne two years ago has proved an invaluable decision. Where Was I Then was picked up by Andrew McGee’s label Torn & Frayed and is now being distributed through Shock Records. The album was produced by Gareth Liddiard, Aaron Cupples (Dan Kelly & the Alpha Males) and James McCann. Torn & Frayed are soon to release the new Kill Devil Hills album The Drought and have released albums by Townes Van Zandt, Tom Waits, and The Dirty Three. This guy has taste.
Where Was I Then is raw, intimate, and intense. James wrote all the songs on the album and is currently recording demos for a new album with James McCann’s Dirty Skirt Band. This album is the culmination of years of hard rockin yakka and hundreds of hours of songwriting. Where Was I Then is distinctive in sound, with a mixture of country, blues and rock and roll, a sound that can travel from solo ballads to the full band rocking out. These songs capture a sense of space and vastness; a product of growing up in the Australian bush. Last Night I Met The Devil features new tracks including the extended psych out She’s Intermediate/Hoodoo Joe which has to be heard to be believed. James will be touring this album throughout Europe in 2007. Stay tuned for You Tube live gigs coming soon.
James McCann – Lyrics, Music, Guitar, Vocals
Johanna Brockman – Guitar, Vocals
Jeff Hooker Bass
Angus Boyle Drums