uffalo were the quintessential Aussie rock band in the 70s. They busted their balls around the country for years playing school socials, RSLs and their own parties—basically anywhere they could find long haired dudes sticking their heads in the bass bins and a lot of ladies.
After slogging it out for a few years, playing radio-unfriendly proto stoner rock and slow, heavy, epic blues jams, Buffalo realised that it wasn’t quite paying off. Despite being the first Aussie band on the Vertigo label, they found the bills weren’t getting paid and that neither radio stations nor Countdown gave a shit. Their management put on the squeeze and the band gave in. They dropped the sludge and gloom and cranked out their next two albums: Mothers Choice and Average Rock ’n’ Roller. Rock purists have hung shit on these albums for years but recent reissues indicate the sellout wasn’t such a bad move and they exist as some of Australia’s finest boogie-woogie moments, replete with dueling guitars, twitching slides and vocals and channel the spirit of fat cunts in overalls drinkin’ whiskey in the deep South. I roused original singer Dave Tice from the tranquility of domesticity to ask why the fuck they dumbed it down and whether it in fact paid off.
Vice: How hard was it being on the road in the 70s?
Dave: We were on the road constantly. I remember coming to Melbourne one weekend and doing eight gigs in two days. Between 1972 and 1975 we were averaging 300 gigs a year. When we first started out, we had to put on our own shows, because the guys in pubs who were booking bands just thought we were just a bunch of long haired poofters.
So did getting signed to Vertigo help?
I think the reason we were taken on by the label was because they saw us as Australia’s answer to Sabbath. The radio stations were wary of us though and worried that we were going to offend their listeners.
Yeah. The whole satanic vibe of your album “Dead Forever” probably didn’t help!
Yeah the cover artwork was also pretty heavy because we were trying to make it stand out on the records shelves.
Is that why you took such a turn and started cranking out the boogie?
We had an eight tonne truck, a road crew and all our management and there was a certain amount of pressure to make an album that paid for it all. You know, as you get older you make sure you focus on getting food on the table and put a roof over your head.
Did you get there?
Lets just say that over the years we’ve sold a reasonable amount of records but have rarely seen any money from it. I guess it was unlikely that we were ever going to be a commercial success
Would you consider getting back together to play a revival show at our party?
Zero chance. People who buy our reissues are seeing and hearing a bunch of guys in their 20s and people can relate to that. If we confront them as 50 year old guys with balding grey hair, jumping around in tights, it just won’t be the same. Having said that, one thing you must understand, is that every man has a price.
Average Rock ’N’ Roller and Mother’s Choice are out now on Aztec.