Re-Doing the Damage Done with Danny Whitten’s Veins

Influenced by Venom P Stinger and Flipper these Adelaide punks inflict major damage.

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Jun 12 2014, 4:58am

Taking their name from one of the great rock and roll junkie myth/stories of the 70s, Adelaide’s Danny Whitten’s Veins play a demented and bruising take on outsider punk.

The story goes that by 1972 Danny Whitten’s heroin habit had gotten to the point that he’d become unworkable as drummer in Neil Young’s backing band Crazy Horse. Young gave him $50 and a plane ticket back to LA to get sorted out. Only Whitten used the money on drugs and died that night from a combination of Valium and booze and become immortalized by Young’s song “The Needle and the Damage Done” and distorted Adelaide punk bands.

The four-piece have a new tape out on Major Crimes and before launces in Adelaide and Melbourne this weekend we chatted to Tim Richardson from the band and label.

NOISEY: Of all the veins why Danny Whitten’s?

Tim Richardson: The Veins was a working title but it didn’t seem weird enough so we thought we’d introduce a celebrity. Danny Whitten seemed like a good choice, as the chances of litigation were minimal. Also, it sounded a lot better than Danny DeVito’s Veins.

What would you do if Neil gave you fifty bucks?

I would put it towards a Pono player or maybe some new sneakers.

Have you heard Danny’s song “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” that Crazy Horse and later Rod Stewart recorded?

Rod ‘The Mod’s version unfortunately lacks the slide guitar work of Ry Cooder and is a substantial omission. My personal favourite is Everything But The Girl’s 1988 cover . Tracey Thorn has an uncanny resemblance to Rod Stewart. Weird.

You also seem to have a thing for Harold Holt, he features on the tape cover and you wrote a song about him.

The story of Harold Holt is underrated, particularly in song titles and imagery. Maybe it was his very short term as Prime Minister? Maybe it was his questionable foreign policy? One thing is certain though; Mr. Holt should have devoted more time to perfecting his backstroke. The song/lyrics are reflection of the man: ‘Swim Harry, swim. Prime Minister in a tuna can’.

The tape seems to be a mix between short spazzed out hardcore ‘Harold Holt’ and ‘Suffocate City’ and longer spazzed out jams.

It was a conscious decision to toggle between short, fast punk numbers and longer jams. Not that we were trying to completely emulate them but Flipper and Venom P Stinger came to mind when writing the songs. We thought it would be interesting to separate full-blown attack with longer jams. The inclusion of “Tick the Boxes” a six-minute space jam certainly tests the listener. Overall, our main objective is to be weird and abrasive, I think we’ve achieved this.

Spend the last of your money to see Danny Whitten’s Veins;

June 13 in Adelaide at Ancient World

June 14 in Melbourne at the Tote

June 15 in Melbourne at the Grace Darling

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