CULTURE
Aussie Punks The Chats Dish on Weed Culture Down Under
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The Chats, a wild young trio from Queensland, just released their debut LP, "High-Risk Behavior." MERRY JANE caught up with the band to discuss Australian weed, the country's "shit" Prime Minister, and beer preferences.
Published on March 27, 2020

Lead photo by Luke Henry

Ever since the term “punk” was first used to describe bands like MC5 and the Sex Pistols in the 1970s, the sound and ethos of the music style has been in a state of constant flux. These days, “punk” is more of an ideology or attitude than a subgenre, and the term envelops, debatably, a disparate swath of artists from the electrifying and innovative, to the epically lame

The Chats, a wild young trio who grew up together in Queensland, Australia, hit the high water mark for “punk music” in 2020, and embody a return to its DIY roots and original three-chord brashness (although they prefer the term “shed rock”). Fully lacking in pretense, theirs is the sound of being young, broke, and ready to party. After all, as a certain proto-punk stated over fifty years ago, when you ain’t got nothin’, you ain’t got nothin’ to lose.

Coming on the heels of two homemade EPs and the viral hit “Smoko,” which has racked up close to 10 million views on Youtube, the band just released its debut LP, High-Risk Behavior, via their own Bargain Bin Records. Blasting through fourteen tracks in under thirty minutes, the record presents a polished, hi-fi version of the group’s raucous sound that also succeeds in keeping their frantic energy fully intact. 

Throughout the record, the trio’s endearing low-brow hedonism is on full display. Against a backdrop of Eamon Sandwith’s taut bass lines, Josh Price’s jagged guitar riffs and Matt Boggis’ pummeling drums, HRB finds the band doing what they want and nothing else: Sandwith snarls and yelps his way through tales of dining and dashing, being drunk and disorderly, ordering drugs on the internet, and even contracting STIs

While the band’s brand of partying is often fueled by booze (their website is fittingly named  www.thechatslovebeer.com), they don’t shy away from Aussie weed. We caught up with the singularly-mulleted Sandwith to talk weed culture Down Under, the country’s nightmare of a Prime Minister, and a questionable party drug known as pingers.

For more on The Chats, including where to listen to “High-Risk Behavior,” visit the band’s website here

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Max Savage Levenson
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Max Savage Levenson writes about pot and music. His work has appeared in Pitchfork, Bandcamp, Leafly, and NPR. He co-hosts Leafly's pop culture podcast "The Hash" with David Downs. His dream interview is Tyler the Creator.
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