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Recently Melbourne’s 90s-era alt rock fans rejoiced at the news that the original members of dynamic post-punk pop trio, Moler, are celebrating 25 years since they first formed with a special one-off reunion show in Melbourne. Gracing the stage of The Curtin Hotel in Carlton on Friday November 23 will be founding members Helen Cattanach (Helcat) on bass guitar/lead vocals, Julien Poulson on lead guitar with David Peacock and Steven Boyle sharing the drums.

Ahead of the reunion gig, bassist/vocalist Helen Cattanach sat down to ponder over a Q&A for us

What was your first bass?
My first bass was an electric Suzuki (Precision style).  It was cheap as I was only just learning.  Its neck was like a surfboard and the strings sat a mile high from the neck but I liked the colour and shape.  Colour is important!  When I got my ‘real’ bass after that, it was a dream to play in comparison.

What’s your main bass now?
I have a 1972 Fender Precision.  It’s my baby.  Just a beautiful sound and super light.  I bought it off the bassplayer from Zoot.  He had retired from music and became a hairdresser.  It’s original paint job was stripped back to the natural wood, then I covered it with stickers. I have just bought a Japanese Precision (80’s) for touring overseas (yes it did nearly get lost through an airline but I got it back).  It looks awesome in Cherry red but the neck, bridge and pick-ups need a bit more adjusting, you don’t notice though with a distortion pedal on.

Through what amp and why?
I have a Gallien-Krueger 1001 RB Bass Amp.  It is light weight to carry, inexpensive and it sounds amazing.  Warm and punchy. My speaker box is a beaten up well worn Ashton 4 x 10 inch.  It does the job plenty well on the small stage. I really love Ampeg amps and Fender Bassmans too.  One day I’d like all those to choose from.

Do you use effects at all? If so what?
I used to use a MXR pedal for Moler shows.  These days I use a Russian ‘Big Muff’ pedal which is left on constantly.  For other music I play without using pedals.

What’s your latest recording and when will you be back in the studio?
I just completed an album for Los Dominados, which just came out a month ago.  Maybe tonight I might try recording vocals for Cambodian Space Project.  I have lots of projects on the go in my home studio.  I can barely keep up.

What gigs have you been playing lately?
Had a great Album launch at ‘The Vineyard’ in St.Kilda recently.  I play at ‘Swamplands’ in Thornbury quite often.  The Tote Hotel is also a regular.  I just played under the St.Kilda Junction, a kind of pirate gig which was awesome oh, and I did a ‘Hard n Fast’ reunion at Chasers nightclub.  Did I mention played on ‘Spicks and Specks Reunion Special’.  It is a reunion type of year.  I also played some intensely emotional shows to farewell my friend, bandmate and mentor Mr. Spencer P. Jones.

Most memorable gig?
Can’t remember.  No.. Playing the Falls festival in 1999 and meeting the members of Blondie….my heroes.

Worst stage nightmare? 
Some PA systems give me electric shocks through the microphone when I sing.  My mouth touches the microphone and it hurts….and everything in your head lights up…not in a good way.  Some stages have so little room that I might take a step back and fall backwards because something has tripped me.  Done that a couple of times, how I didn’t hurt my back I don’t know.

Album that changed your life?
‘Dolittle’ by the Pixies. I just love everything about it.

What gigs are coming up in the next few months?
Moler’s 25th Anniversary gig at the ‘Curtin’.  Los Dominados at the Last Chance Rock n Roll Bar.  After that, it’s back to writing new material and finishing some other recording projects.

A bass tip for the kids?
Play along to your favourite tunes.  Learn the blues.  Find a drummer and guitarist.


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