"I saw rock and roll future, and while its name may not be Ute Root, it bloody well should be*."
Music journo and editor Jon Landau didn't write that exactly, but he could have.
The chance offspring of a meeting in a New York bar between two musicians, one Australian making largely folk-tinged tracks on an eight-track at home, the other a Texan country music fan, Ute Root didn't so much burst onto the Melbourne music scene as muscle their way in with a brutal, sweat-stained, riff-laden physical performance that refuses to take itself too seriously.
With a love story thrown in.
Loud, relentless and referencing everything from the joy of travelling to Deniliquin's ute muster to the dangers of a cat planet, Ute Root are not a folk - or country - band in any way, shape, form or philosophy.
Born out of a suburb famous previously for having a huge cemetery, Ute Root was conceived in Melbourne's sprawling northern suburbs.
"We were living in a great house in Fawkner with a bloke called Gary who had a ute and that's where we had our gear," says the band's Matty Barker.
"There was just no-one else out there. We were the only f**kin band. It was great."
"We were kicking around the name Ute Root for a couple of years. Kate and I were like, 'Imagine that. Wouldn't it be hilarious?' And every six months we'd say 'F**k we should do that.'"
Ute Root are Barker on guitar, his wife Beth, better known as Bootsy, on bass; and long-time collaborator Kate Alexander on drums.
Ute Root's first rehearsal lasted three days, fuelled by tequila and beer. Barker says they wrote most of their set at that time, and realised the joyous physicality (which is a phrase they'd never use) of their music.
"Even then, we were standing on chairs, we were so excited. We were like 'F**k! How cathartic is this?' It's definitely not a thought-out thing."
Playing their first gig live to air on RRR radio ("We had four songs," says Barker. "They let us play three. It was the name did most of the work.") the band has risen inexorably, like a cigarette butt in a beer, playing numerous gigs at The Tote in Collingwood and other Melbourne venues that are now somewhat legendary.
This will be their third gig in Ballarat at The Eastern Hotel.
Their first single, Ketamine Queen, is a sublime slice of heavy, dark, riff-infused gloriousness. With a video directed by Better Call Saul and Walking Dead director Larysa Kondracki which references the infamous Marie-Hélène de Rothschild's 1972 ball Illuminati Ball - but much, much darker - Ketamine Queen references music from metal to the Blue Oyster Cult, drawing comparisons to everything good in rock, from the Pixies to PJ Harvey.
How you get an international film director to make a video for you can remain a secret, but it doesn't hurt to have an attitude that essentially says 'just have fun'.
"We're just enjoying making a whole bunch of new friends," Matty Barker says.
"We never really played music in this scene before. We're just generally loving playing, and the three of us just like hanging out and playing, and maybe that's contagious? I don't know.
"We're just into into it. We'll stop doing it the minute it's not fun. We're a husband and wife with our best mate having a blast."
That's the love story, by the way. The husband and wife bit. That bar in New York? That's Matty, the folk musician in the bar. He overhears a woman near him talking about wanting to tour Australia with her guitar.
"I was like, 'Gidday, how are you?'" Matty says. It was Bootsy.
"She flew over to Australia; six weeks later we were married."
Eight years on, they're just having a great time.
"I had 10 or 11 albums, and everyone knew me as this melancholic guy, you know? And now we walk down the street and it's nothing but 'You're Ute Root!'.
"It's f**king awesome to chrysalis out like that."
Ute Root are supporting Horace Bones who are releasing their album Terra, with Dewey and the Panel Beaters and The Gurdies at The Eastern Hotel, Ballarat on Saturday, July 6. Tickets are $12 at damagedmusic.com.au
*Landau wrote "I saw rock and roll future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen" in the Daily Paper. Ute Root are not Bruce Springsteen.