Primitive Calculators won't age gracefully, says Grant

 Primitive Calculators’ Stu Grant is refusing to grow old gracefully and he hopes his music shows it.
Primitive Calculators’ Stu Grant is refusing to grow old gracefully and he hopes his music shows it.

There’s no excuse to grow old gracefully in punk – no break from the political, and no room for rockstars, says Primitive Calculators’ Stu Grant. 

The Melbourne punk band’s frontman, who is now a senior lecturer at Monash University’s Centre for Theatre and Performance, says their music has a new “sonic subtlety” but the the same “gesture of refusal”.

Primitive Calculators’ hiatus lasted from the band’s dispersal in the eighties until 2009, when Nick Cave approached Grant to reform for his All Tomorrows Parties event series.

Even though interest in the band – which went under the early moniker of The Moths – had risen steadily since their track Pumping Ugly Muscle was featured in the 1986 film Dogs In Space, Grant says he “was not entirely enthusiastic” about Cave’s proposal. 

Even though we’re still basically a really savage punk, noise, techno-hop band essentially there is a great deal of sonic subtlety in it.

Primitive Calculators frontman Stu Grant

Primitive Calculators will play The Eastern this Saturday.

“We were just a bunch of suburban kids from Springvale, it was always half arsed and always failed but by the time we came back I’d been working as a musician all my life and I was much more mature,” Grant says.

“Even though we’re still basically a really savage punk, noise, techno-hop band essentially there is a great deal of sonic subtlety in it.”

Grants says their latest album On Drugs is even more political than their previous albums.

“There is no excuse for growing old gracefully in punk - punk should never be graceful and to the extent that we were a punk band, we were a punk band before the Primitive Calculators,” he says.

“As soon as we became the Primitive Calculators we became a noise band.

“We still had the punk ethos and if you look at our material, the punk rather than the style of music for us is an attitude, and it’s an attitude of refusal.

“We don’t sound anything like 1970s punk and we never did but in terms of the savagery of the sound and the gesture of refusal, that was the way punk was for us.”

Primitive Calculators will play at The Eastern on Saturday, May 20. Primitive Calculators will be supported by Spotting and Lime Lagoons.

The show starts at 8.30pm and runs until 11pm. Tickets are $10.