After years of making Burlington a regular stop on their tour itinerary, Aussie cock rockers Led LO/CO went on a lengthy hiatus following a 2009 incident at a Vermont nightclub that landed the entire quartet in jail. Now, the sort-of-legendary band is free on work release and set to play its first Queen City gig in years this Friday at Nectar’s, with the Dirty Blondes.
Recently, Seven Days dispatched unemployed rock journalist Chester Bangs — Lester Bangs’ red-haired second cousin — to interview Led LO/CO. Here’s what happened.
SEVEN DAYS: Take me back to the night the band was arrested. What happened?
IAN ROCK: Well, we were playing a show in Cocklester, or Winosty, or wherever it is around here, and this unappreciative, four-eyed, drunken collegiate bloke in the audience just, like, wouldn’t stop his yappin’. It was, like, in between and during the songs, just like, “Fuck you! You suck! ‘Freebird!’,” over and over again. You Yanks can be quite original sometimes. So, as I’m finishing off a bottle and about to throw it at the guy, Reg comes over and stops me. Like, he can be the voice of reason, you know? So we begin the next tune and this college douche just starts right up again, and halfway through Reg comes over to me and whispers, “The second the song is over, I’m gonna fucking deck that geezer.” Well, that’s just what he did. That little shit certainly learned something he can’t at VMU, or whatever. And we learned what drunken fratboy riots are.
NIGELTON ROCK: It was a true “decking.” I mean, he looked like a deck!
DRUM ROCK: It was worth it.
REGINALD ROCK: Yeah, but what I actually said was, I was gonna “dick” that geezer. You know, with me mid-stick on his greezy face, show him me freed bird and see who sucks now, right? But after I jumps down off stage I realizes I got me nether-protectors on, and he’s looking at me with his fuckin’ twisty face that only a mother could love, so I figure better him than me, and so I make his acquaintance with the floor … which is a kind of deck, when you think about it, so … yeah.
SD: You guys formed in 1971, meaning you’re all roughly 60. Yet you’re still rocking hard. What’s your secret?
IR: I dunno. You look like a poofter ginger journo who’s never heard of Strunk or White. What’s yours? Sunblock?
NR: Well, well, well. Looks like we got a regular math wizard at the helm, eh?
RR: Ya goddamned right I’m rocking hard. I’m hard and it ain’t a secret for no one. If you’re so interested in if I’m rock hard or not, you should come down to the show and stick around backstage afterward. I’m not sexist, and besides, I got a thing for gingers.
SD: The original lineup disbanded over 19 musical differences. What were they?
IR: Mainly we argue about food, really. And Franz Liszt. He could make women achieve orgasmic ecstasy with his piano playing. If I can do the same with a simple “Fuck you” to the audience, tell me: Who’s the better musician? I think Nigel thinks the former.
NR: Yeah, those guys practice and I don’t.
SD: You’re stranded on a desert island and can only have one of the following: sex, drugs or rock and roll. Which do you choose and why?
IR: That’s a stupid question. I thought they were all one thing. And what the hell makes you think we’d be stupid enough to get stranded on a bloody island? Piss off, mate.
SD: Def Leppard used to color code the front rows of their shows to make it easier for security to find women to bring backstage. Will LO/CO be employing any such measures at Nectar’s?
IR: Unfortunately, seeing Def Leppard perform “Pour Some Sugar on Me” when they opened for us in 1988 rendered me color-blind. Wankers!
DR: Any band that color codes anything are wankers.
RR: I like to wank blinds ’til they see colors. Wait … I take that back.
SD: You claim that several European metal bands ripped off your sound in the 1980s. Anyone in particular you’ve got a beef with?
IR: There were these Johnny-come-latelies calling themselves Bone Cobra back then. Wankers!
DR: None now. They’re all dead.
RR: No, but I can tell you who’s I’m gonna have beef in. Here’s a hint: you.
SD: Robert Christgau once wrote that Led LO/CO are “nothing more than a diseased homeless man’s version of Zep and AC/DC, with artistic integrity roughly as substantial as their feathered bangs. And they have bad teeth.” What do you say to those criticisms?
IR: Isn’t he the guy who gave Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea a shit review? Who needs ’im? Wanker!
NR: Isn’t that the guy who banned smoking on Chapel Street or somefin’?
DR: Christgau will be avenged.
RR: Me bangs ain’t feathered, so piss off.
SD: You’ve outlasted disco, grunge, the second coming of Duran Duran and numerous other trends in pop music. How do you account for your enduring semipopularity? Subquestion: Is it better to burn out or fade away?
IR: Well, it’s all about maintaining integrity and respect for your craft. That’s what it’s all about, really. As far as your High Infidelity-inspired subquestion, I’ll answer: Have you ever [had sex with] someone while they were burning out and/or fading away?”
NR: Never said I outlasted disco, man. And to prove it, I’m stayin’ alive! Did you answer Ian, tho?
DR: You should answer Ian’s question, mate.
RR: I feel sorry for whoever this Duran Duran guy is, having nosy goobs like you counting whether or not they came and then running a tally. For shame. And speaking of experience and doing jobs: It’s like you never heard of a question before. We’re all on the edge of our bloody seats.
Led LO/CO play Nectar’s in Burlington this Friday, January 20, with the Dirty Blondes, 9 p.m. $5.