Link Meanie, lead singer of the iconic Aussie punks, The Meanies, shares with Punktuation’s Tracey Moyle the band’s excitement about FINALLY being able to tour their 2020 album.
With the country finally getting back into a more social lifestyle, Australia’s festival lovers are chomping at the bit to get out of the gate and into the mosh pits. The Australian festival circuit will kick off in a mammoth way early in the new year when Silverback Touring debut’s Uncaged Festival, where a plethora of rock, metal and punk bands will take to the stage over three weekends across Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
One band injecting a hefty dose of Aussie punk energy to the line-up are the classic punk rockers The Meanies. Riling up the crowds and delivering their traditional brand of raw punk to fans since their inception in 1988, the band have been on the same rollercoaster ride the music industry has endured since lockdown began over 18 months ago.
However, things are looking up. The band has locked in a packed schedule of headlining shows and festivals, setting up their first part of 2022 and getting back into the swing of touring life.
In its virgin run, Uncaged Festival will hit three of the country’s capital cities with enough variety to appeal to heavy music lovers of all ages and all genres. The punk element is represented with old school favourites – The Meanies and Bodyjar, alongside next-generation punk bands including Dregg and Molly and the Krells, with the festival teasing – ‘more to be announced’.
Each band has their own sound, embodying different variations and evolutions of the genre, from traditional punk and skate punk to hardcore and pop-punk.
This is the first of several festivals set for The Meanies in the first half of the year, and with over three decades in the industry, they are no strangers to the festival circuit.
“We do often play the shows with the old bands – what they call a nostalgia festival. It’s great fun, but there’s less variety of age groups there,” says Meanies frontman and guitarist Link Meanie (a.k.a. Link McLennan). Uncaged gives fans a big hit of nostalgia.
“There are a few of those bands we’ve been touring with since the early ’90s like Tumbleweed, Magic Dirt and Bodyjar, so it’s always fun to catch up with the old heads. Compared to doing a stock standard show, these things are like Christmas.”
Music festivals will always draw crowds with ‘old school’ fan favourites, but discovering the next generations of rockers make it a music lovers paradise, even for the bands themselves.
Uncaged Festival covers all music tastes and supports younger rock and punk bands slogging it out on the live circuit.
“With so many new bands rising through the ranks, it can be overwhelming trying to find new music,” Link reveals. “That’s why I love these kinds of festivals. I’ll get to check out some new stuff. I just get kind of swamped by the search for stuff. There’s so much saturation. You watch Rage, (an iconic Australian Music TV show) for instance, and there is a whole new rotation of bands that weren’t on the previous week. So, I think these kinds of shows are important.”
Uncaged kicks off a busy year for the band, especially Link. With rescheduling in 2020/21 just a part of life, The Meanies are no strangers to cancelled shows due to Covid 19 restrictions.
Releasing their latest album, Desperate Measures, in 2020 meant their album launch has been delayed several times. “It would have been ideal to sit on the album and not release it until we could tour,” says Link. “But we didn’t want to do that and feel like we want to put out another album in a month.”
The ‘Better Late Than Never Desperate Measures Tour’ is finally happening in 2022. “It starts in January, the whole run of shows, into February, March and April,” confirms Link. “Then I head overseas, hopefully, to see my wife in Spain. The Meanies are doing a European tour in October, so the whole year is spoken for, really. It’s probably the most ‘spoken for’ year I can remember in a long time.”
Better Late Than Never Desperate Measures Tour Dates
Despite the decades that have flown by, The Meanies have kept their core punk roots. Their music has matured but so has the band. Their distinct sound may have slowed in pace a little, but it’s still authentically The Meanies.
“I think it still has that sound; it’s just a little more refined. Better lyrics, more intelligent structures and better playing,” Link agrees.
“In the early 2000s we released some stuff that was not The Meanies,” recalls Link. “I don’t know what I was thinking. But you can see that in other bands like Bad Religion Into The Unknown – one of those ’80s records they did with synthesisers – which I kind of like, but I think they disowned it. That’s like our version of that. I really do like these songs; they just didn’t sound like The Meanies,” admits Link.
Link’s creative outlet still gets a workout with other projects. His latest music project is Bagful of Beez.
“I don’t want to change The Meanies. I do other things like Bagful Of Beez or bands in the past like Sun God Replica or Bakelite Age. That’s how I get my fulfilment, expanding and doing different stuff.”
The pandemic spawned the evolution of this next venture. “It was something I started up over in Spain out of frustration of not having a musical outlet. I’ve always needed that.
“I like to have the ability to throw shit at the wall and experiment and do different things and do poppy stuff, and that’s what Bagful of Beez was.”
Bagful of Beez debut Album Do Androids Dream of Electric Beatles is out now on Cheersquad Records & Tapes. The album is a brilliant and eclectic mix of classic pop styles. Link recorded singlehandedly, playing all instruments. He played solo with a drum machine as Bagful of Beez a couple of times earlier in the year but has just enlisted Even drummer Matt Cotter to ensure a more substantial live presence.
Bagful of Beez have two shows coming up: Thu 25 Nov – Nighthawks, Collingwood with Maggie Alley, and Sat 27 Nov – River Rocks, Geelong w/ Tumbleweed and heaps more. You can order Do Androids Dream of Electric Beatles Here.
So what is in the pipeline for The Meanies with life heading back to normal?
“I think if you’re in a band and you’re releasing an album every year for 20 years, you’re either evolving in that 20 years as something that’s unrecognisable from what the band was at the start, or you’re doing the same thing. How do you justify doing 20 albums of the same thing? I don’t want The Meanies to change, but I also don’t want to be releasing an album every six months,” says Link.
“There might be one or two more albums that we put out, and then I reckon I’ll have a great bunch of songs to have a setlist I’ll be 100% happy with.”
Alongside Uncaged Festival and their Better Late Than Never Desperate Measures Tour, you can see The Meanies at the following upcoming festivals touring the country in 2022.
The Meanies Festival Tour Dates 2022
Uncaged will unleash its Festival of Punk, Metal and Rock in 2022.
Get Your Tickets Here.
Follow The Meanies on socials for more…
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Everyone should have a soundtrack playing loudly in the background of their life. I was born moshing to my own beat and have never swayed from my love of music. Spreading my passion through the written word is my soul’s purpose. My punk heart beats loudly with the rhythm of my rock soul. I plan to continue to mosh like no one gives a shit.
Click on Tracey’s photo for more of her articles!