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The Meanies: From Barcelona with misery

Legendary punk rockers The Meanies only need 27 minutes on their latest LP Desperate Measures to remind you that it’s not for nothing that they’re upheld as some of the best in the business.

However, when frontman Link Meanie moved to Spain at the end of last decade, it looked like things might have been winding up on a glittering (and sweaty) 30-year career.

“I didn’t do anything for a good part of two years, and that was really hard because I’m so used to having a routine and a creative outlet. I love being here with my wife and kids, but I miss that routine in Australia, as well as the family and friends,” says Link Meanie, phoning in from the outskirts of Barcelona where he now lives with his family (picture this – boardie-clad Aussie punk rocker sipping espressos in the cobbled streets of Spain).

“I just really needed the musical outlet, so I decided to write an album. I did it more to kill time if I’m honest.

“Before this I’d been doing a solo project. That hasn’t really happened though; but that was different music. Sometimes things just go full circle – sometimes I’ll just get on a big heavy metal kick and really get my teenage angst out.”

“I’ve always been a miserable bastard – I’m an emo without the haircut!”

Whatever it was that motivated Link Meanie to start writing, it resulted in a tightly written, incredibly catchy collection of classic Melbournian punk rock, awash with angst and pessimism about the future.

“I’ve always been a miserable bastard – I’m an emo without the haircut! The older you get the more you tend to have a bit of a sense of existentialism,” laughs Link.

“A lot of this album – take ‘Monsters’ for example – is very much influenced by the current worldwide trend towards the right wing…it’s a scary time to be around, and I’m a bit of a nihilist, so it made sense to write a record.”

And what desperate measures does he think people should resort to in order to get by in the modern, increasingly polarised day?

“I might get arrested if I comment on that! I don’t believe in violence…it’s more of a question,” he laughs.

Of course, the lack of live music as a result of the pandemic situation is something that’s frustrated thousands of music fans around the world. Those on The Meanies bandwagon have it particularly rough, given how renowned their shows are for all things stage diving, crowd-surfing and general chaos.

However, once things clear up in the way of live punk rock, Link Meanie is adamant that living in Europe isn’t going to stop him getting back into the bars of Fitzroy.

“I’m thinking of coming back to Australia to be honest”, he comments. “My wife and I love it here, but I might come back over on a semi-permanent basis. You never know! I’d love to be out playing shows again when we can though, and that desire won’t go away anytime soon.”

We might be in lockdown for sometime yet, but if there’s one thing to motivate us to stay in shape it’s the prospect of making it through another Meanies gig this decade.