It's the year is 1985, Duran Duran had several hits, Phil Collins was as cool as ever (and still is) and Madonna made headlines with her unconventional wardrobe choices (and still does). At the same time a local high school drop out emerged with a drunken fueled light bulb of an idea in fronting a band, but not just any band. With his record player pumping out tunes with the likes of The Specials, Madness and Fishbone he was chasing something a little different. Fast forward two years to 1987 and slap that sweet porkling ass, THE PORKERS were born! Pearl Davies speaks with good friend and front man PETE (Cooper) PORKER on history, a potential comeback and what it takes to be a true Porker.
Nestling the musical talents of sweet fuck all Pete Porker had little experience in playing an actual instrument - yet this did not deter him nor his efforts. ''I made The Porkers. I had a stupid idea I wanted to front a band in about 1985, then by the end of '87 we did our first gig, and then kinda didn't stop for about 20 years..'' said Cooper.
With local potty mouth charm The Porkers started out as 'The Pork Hunts' that they were then forced to abandon for something a little less offensive as their local venue refused to present them under that name. This encouraged their first EP which reached number 6 on the Australian Independent Charts ''Tired of being Pork Hunts''.
Playing local gigs in their home town of Newcastle word soon got round of their distinct sound and party presence. They weren't your run of the mill party band. ''Well our roots are in Jamaican ska, but we play a bastardized white version with a fusion of punk rock, and a bit of everything else from the kitchen sink to beer! Some of it is so disconnected it could be it's own genre of 'Pork''.
With an impressive musician roll of porking honor Cooper gives a heads up on why the long list. ''Over the years it was hard keeping every member of a 7 to 8 piece band interested and focused, so there was a lot of turnover of members, but everytime we did it refreshed and rejuvenated the sound and it just kept mutating. Occasionally we would get someone to fill in and we'd get a friend of the band to do a show here and there, and sometimes we'd even welcome a famous or infamous guest. The Porkers were a big party and usually the more the merrier! And occasionally you get a few assholes in the mix.''. And don't we know it!
Nearly 25 years on and the question has been asked - what ever happened to The Porkers..? The answer is that the Porkers are still around but life just seemed to get in the way. With nine EP's, six albums and a DVD The Porkers were flat out right through to 2009 supporting the likes of No Doubt, Fishbone, and NOFX to name just a few - travelling the Summer Festivals such as Homebake and Falls Festival - the list goes on. ''Well updating our website and history was partially because I was slack. We were quite busy right through to 2009, but after our DVD release that year it was time to have a break away from it for a while, I was concentrating on other things in my life, but then some of them went to shit, I had a nervous breakdown, I started my own screen printing business, and all of that has kinda used up the last few years. There was never actually a split, we'd just been 'dormant', but there's definately some members no longer worthy of being a Porker..'' said Cooper.
Throughout the years The Porkers were confronted by a heard of bands and musicians wanting to add support to their shows, however no-one stood out more so then a young flock of youngsters, LOS CAPITANES. Forwarding a clip of themselves performing a Porkers song they were obviously the pick of the nose - but it didn't stop there. Cooper saw more to these young porkies so he tucked them under his wing to ''suck on that sweet pork flavoured teet'' - and so they did. Cooper mentored the lads and produced their first album 'No Fun Intended' then going on to release their follow up album'Rest for the Wicked' in 2009 with his label Sound System Records. Along the way they became quite good friends. Los Capitanes backed Pete Porker in Melbourne earlier this month and have come up to Newcastle for round two this Friday.
Being the heart of The Porkers Cooper still flirts with ideas for future gigs following a swoon of online requests for a National Tour: ''Well we'll just have to see, it's not as easy to do as it use to be! But November marks the 25th anniversary, so maybe in 2013 it will be time for a fresh new 25th line up, but who knows...''.
Pete Porker now owns and runs his own successful screen printing business Hardcore Logo in the Newcastle area covering bands, business and even local (and not so local) Roller Derby Teams.
Get on into The Great Northern Hotel this Friday night and get some Pork on your Fork! *PUNCHES FIST IN AIR*
Doors at 9pm
Los Capitanes - 9:00pm
The Porkers: 10:30pm