While persisting in our course of life, we often seek the authenticity of who we strive to become; we either discover it or continue to search till we can no longer see the race. Peter Bibby, self-proclaimed Aussie rock n’ roller, easily found this trait with little difficulty. Fostering his unique authenticity into one that is equal parts comical and honest—blending the perfect brew for a cult classic record and one beyond the Australian hemisphere.
Peter Bibby, based in Melbourne, is the well known Australian musical project of Peter Bibby himself. While signed to the prominent Los Angeles based management and label Spinning Top Records, home to Tame Impala, Bibby transcends his new album Marge into one that showcases his knack as a wordsmith. Marge ties up Bibby’s past Australian tales and life experiences into one that has indulged fans all across the land down under. The record is a sincere love letter for the great land of Australia, only while contemplating the unfavorable moments at the same time. It’s tinged with heartfelt psychedelia, but only for a bit, as the tempo sweeps into a ferocious punky-rock buzz. Marge is intended to hit the Aussie waves with force, and one we're ready to ride.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Peter Bibby on his entrance into the local Australian music scene, his psychedelic roots, and playing more shows than anyone possibly should (or could).
Can you walk with me through the birth of Peter Bibby & how the band became such a staple in the Australian music scene?
It was a breezy winter's afternoon in Subiaco, Western Australia in the late ’80s. From down the hall of the hospital, a woman could be heard screaming, gasping for air, struggling. “Just keep pushing! You’re nearly there!” Someone said. Meanwhile, a man could be heard saying “You know, I think we should call him Peter instead of Daniel.” The woman is believed to have said “I DON’T GIVE A SHIT I JUST WANT HIM OUT OF ME!” These were my parents, and it was my very first birthday, and I have to say that if my name was Daniel Bibby, we would not be having this conversation. Thanks for that, Dad.
14 or 15 years later I became fairly obsessed with playing guitar and writing silly songs, generally about offensive things I can’t mention in this day and age. My dear friend, Macka, and I formed my first band, Frozen Ocean, and played a shit load of gigs around WA and a few around Melbourne. Then I made another band, and we played a shit load of gigs around WA and Melbourne. Then I moved from WA to Melbourne and played a shitload of gigs all over the country under my birth name, Peter Bibby. I guess after playing that many shitloads of gigs people start to notice that you’re there whether they like you or not.
The newest record Marge just dropped as of this month & each track seems to travel through different timelines of life regarding mental-health, certain parts of Australia, and of course, you touch on the ocean. Are these stories relevant to your own life?
Tracks like “I’m On Fire” and “Oceans” are from the perspective of made-up characters, one a greedy gangster, the other a scurvy ridden madman lost at sea. The car mentioned in “Batteries” is the same one I drove through Whyalla in. The tins of Tuna I mention in “Tin Tuna” are the very ones I consumed whilst driving the car mention in “Batteries” across Australia to help the woman mentioned in “Your Mum” move back to the other side of the country. So, I guess they’re all relevant to my life, whether I lived them or made them up whilst being alive.
The cover chosen for Marge reveals an older Aussie lady smoking a cigarette while basking in the sun & ocean. How was that concept created & what’s the backstory behind it? The woman on the cover is our drummer Dave Taylor’s grandma Margaret. She loved a smoke, and Dave loved to photograph her sucking them back. As soon as I saw these photos there was no other image we could possibly use for the cover of this album, it was just too perfect.
That being said, with the new album releasing during a global pandemic, did it affect the creative process of building a record?
The record was recorded 3 years before it was released, so the global pandemic didn’t exist at the time. It has completely affected the release process however, not being able to tour, doing performances online, that kind of thing. That being said it has been so well received I really can’t complain. The overall tone of Marge shapes into classic Australian garage-rock with tinges of psych-folk, was that something you guys generated from the start of the band’s journey? I had been playing much more laid-back music while over in Melbourne and I missed the rockier elements of my earlier bands so I definitely wanted to bring a bit of the sonic filth back to the party. We were quite a loud little trio right from the get-go and had every intention of being just that.
Is there anyone that you pull influence from in terms of sound? On this record, mostly Sleep, Dead Moon, Brainbombs, Kylie Minogue, and Paul Kelly.
I also know the latest project was just released via Spinning Top Records which is also home for heavy hitters such as Tame Impala. How has it been working with the label so far? Spinning Top are a bunch of absolute legends and I love them to death. They have helped me so much over the years and I am forever in their debt, in more ways than one.
Peter Bibby has been able to play some solid festivals such as Laneway, Falls & SXSW, but you hit the local gigs as well, so what’s been by far your favorite show to date? As I mentioned before, I have played a serious SHITLOAD of gigs, there is no possible way I could pick one particular one. However, a few standouts have been open mic night at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneer Town, CA with my Bottles of Confidence, Open Mic night at the Davilak Tavern in South Fremantle with Frozen Ocean, a solo gig standing on a bench in the beer garden at the Laneway gig at SXSW with no mic or amplification, and a Dog Act show in Sydney where the bouncers tried to stop our show due to some ridiculous reason and we had the entire crowd chanting “CUNTS! CUNTS! CUNTS!” at them. It was beautiful.
Anything else we should know of that’s happening for fans to check out?
Check out the new record by Dennis Cometti, it’s good fun!