Members: Maddog (v), Robbie (b), Rod (d), Carl (g)
Setup: Gibson SG, Mesa Mark III head, Mesa Quad, Mesa V Twin preamp
Sound Level left a great impression on me. It has a coke machine that dispensed VBs.
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Sound Level was typical of Sydney rehearsal rooms; a microcosm of the musicians world, a music shop in the front, pies and sausage rolls in the bain-marie, a caravan of instruments migrating between rooms, Hiaces and Toyota Crowns... But it was the double sealed doors that said it all - You chose your fate, now deal with it.
Sound Level was one of the more deluxe rehearsal spaces in town, I believe that there is a room with full length mirrors. Mercy.
Robbie chose Sound Level because it was where his rig was after his tour of Europe with the Died Pretty. We'd rattle through the cage to get his gear out.
Maddog, Robbie and I shared a house in Newtown, and there was all manner of itinerants there. We had great nights with the guys from Nunbait and Midget, who we knew vicariously from Brisbane. Here's a picture of Flak waiting for the Town Hall Hotel to open.
I recall a birthday party at our house for Ivan from Nunbait, where his girlfriend Liz facetiously asked
'How old are you Ivy?'
'30?!?...Jesus, how obscene... I won't be 30 for a thousand years!'
That still stands as the best sledge I've ever heard.
A common pattern at that time was to go and see a band at the Sandringham Hotel (free music seven nights a week), with any luck Lunacide, Midget, Harpoon, Daisycutters or Whopping Big Naughty, and wind things up with a drink at the Town Hall, The Oxford, The Bank and invariably a pide from Saray's.
Flak were a good rock band, but not that any of the individual ideals were aligned. In some ways it was transitional, Maddog was finally getting the US-indie beaten out of him, Robbie had discovered a new passion for Mondo Rock basslines, Rod was considering selling his second floatation tank and I came to the realization that my sixties guitar twang would not be discovered at the next Woodstock - that opportunity had expired 30 years previously.
We played once at the Annandale Hotel. Some originals, but a standout was a cover of Leadfoot by the Scientists...and that ain't no easy thing to pull off.
Flak disbanded, Rod disappeared from the scene, but not without introducing me to Starless by King Crimson. Red is still one of my favourite records today.
I've never been back to Sound Level. That might have something to do with the $50 we still owe them for forfeiting our last practice.