A Difficult Story

A Jaws era article about the eclectic Hunters.

Author: Ken Wark.

Date: 1985.


Article Text

If there is one band in Australia today who are a pain in the arse to write a story about, it’s Hunters and Collectors. It’s not because they are unpleasant people. Far from it. It’s not because they are not doing interesting things. As music the Hunter’s current set is even more interesting than their old ones. The problem, from a rock’n’roll writers point of view, is that the band lacks bullshit, and let’s face it, bullshit is what rock’n’roll writers thrive on.

So when the Hunter’s bass player, John Archer, asked me how I was going to write a Hunter’s story, it was the interviewer who was stuck for an answer. So let’s list all of the things Hunter’s don’t have going for them, which might make it a little clearer as to what exactly makes them tick.

Speaking generally, and compared to other Australian bands, Hunters and Collectors do not have: Big egos, grand ambitions, over inflated sense of importance, eloquent theories, lengthy and dubious anecdotes, fashionable haircuts, rock machoism, self destructive hedonism, weighty contracts, excessive obligations, truckloads of fancy equipment.

That is not to day that they are formless mass of nothing. The band does have a very definite direction. The trappings of funky, fashionable modernism are long gone, and the current set features a wider range of tempos and styles. As Mr. Archer explained it, the band are trying to increase the emotional range of their music. This much was evident when they played under the big top at Wentworth park for the “Working Without Nets” show. That particular set was not exactly their finest hour, and the venue did not exactly lend itself to an atmospheric evening of hypnotic music, but under better circumstances the new material should be even more effective than the old.

On the recording front the band have taken a fairly dramatic change of tack. Having recorded at Conny Plank’s studio’s in Germany, one might expect them to be chasing off other producers of repute and renown. Instead, the band seem to have decided to concentrate on taking control of the production process themselves, doing their own recordings ‘live’ onto two-track.

Similarly, Hunters’ videos will be in-house affairs, and they are currently documenting their live performances. No more Lowenstein extravaganzas, as on their debut single “Talking To A Stranger”. In each of these endeavours, Hunters and Collectors came across as a band who are not afraid to raise the stakes, take risks, introduce changes. Whether the results of those efforts are that the band progress of that they fall flat on their arse is up to the listening public to decide. At least you have to give them credit for trying.