Many proclaim that rock is dead – but only those who don’t look for signs of life, because for those in the know, Peter Bibby is keeping the flame of dirty, riff-centric stoner rock burning.
The Perth musician, hailing from the same stick that have gifted us Tame Impala, Pond, Mink Mussel Creek and more, has always kept things in-your-face, loves pushing the boundaries of the extreme and, on his new LP Marge, dropping some god-almighty riffage.
“Playing with my backing band The Dog Acts – they’re a lot more capable of the riff than band’s I’ve played with in the past – so we utilise their skill and their hunger, and their respect for the riff. Sometimes you just have to obey the riff, in the words of Sleep”, he tells us over a phone call to chat all things Marge.
“I’ve always loved some riffage, but I haven’t always had a band that’s for the riffage. This time we were really sold on the riff.”
Marge is a departure from Bibby’s previous work. The quirks and sarcastic drawl is still present, but the song-writing is more layered, more psychedelic and, ultimately, heavier.
However, Bibby reveals that rather than capturing where he’s at currently, it’s simply a photo of another time in his musical journey.
“It was recorded three years ago and written four to six years ago. There’s one song on there that I was working on when I was about 16.”
“It doesn’t represent where I’m at at all. I think it’s a cracker of an album, I’m really proud of it, but the subject matters don’t apply anymore. I was at a very different place in my life when I wrote all that stuff.
“If I released an album about where I’m at now, the subject matter would be different. The stuff that inspires me visually is kind of on the same track, with life’s normal ups and downs, but for sure it wouldn’t really reflect where I’m at right now.”
Despite this separation from past and present, Bibby is still adamant that it’s a great record, calling it the best he’s ever done.
“We recorded it, we were happy with it, but it just took a long time to come out. We recorded it before the last record came out – it’s just the nature of the business, it takes a lot longer than you think.
“We weren’t just going to let it go. I love this album, it’s the best one that I’ve ever made. I don’t mind if it doesn’t represent where I’m at now; it’s a sonic photograph in time.”
It might be three years old, but this collection of music sounds and feels like the Peter Bibby that gets up on stage right now.
Even that, according to Bibby, can sometimes be a character that he’s playing, made even more complicated by the success he’s experienced as a result.
“You’re bringing your thoughts and feelings to the table. That’s where the product is, but sometimes you start to feel like a bit of a caricature of yourself. When you do it day in and day out it all begins feeling like a bit of a joke,” he reveals.
“It’s a hard balance to feel happy with yourself all the time. Some people find it a lot easier than others, some people find it harder….It’s a strange world to be a part of, the music industry. I’ll say that much.”
As with anything, Peter Bibby is much more complicated when you scratch beneath the surface – and though his new album might be sounds from the past, the same can be said about his musical arrangements.
Thanks to Bibby rock is alive and well; it’s just a different beast in the modern day.