Johnathan Devoy (Vocals)
Leeno Dee (Bass)
Charles Cilia (Guitar)
Lamar Lowder (Drums)
It's no great secret that the most definitive albums are so much more than just a collection of songs. Rather, they herald the ushering in of a new era, a dramatically realigned perspective of what is and must be from their release date onwards.
From Monday April 14, When Pure Is Defiled, the debut album by Jerk will be doing some redefining of its own.
If there's ever to be a remake of Stanley Kubrick's 1969 sociological cult classic, A Clockwork Orange which is still banned in the UK, Jerk have their bowler hats at the ready. The hell raising and hell bringing outfit have been increasing the size of their audience almost exponentially each week with a howling attack of well post future metal and the approach of centurians from a coming apocalypse.
A string of videos have been mandatory viewing during any of their countless screenings on Rage and their debut EP had punters and critics screaming the band's name in manic praise from the highest possible vantage point.
When Pure Is Defiled with its upper and outer limit seismic sized sonic wallop is however the main event, the ultimate call up for a mass army of the disaffected.
The anthemic single, I Hate People Like That was the first taster of the album with Just What You Need as the follow up single.
"We thought, OK, at what moment does shit really change?" said singer, Jonathan Devoy of the album's title, a line in Injection of You.
"When do you realise you're more than the things you were? When pure is defiled. When you take the evidence of your senses and you look at the world around you and you realise that everything is fucked but you're strong enough to get through it but it took that moment for you to realize. It's about becoming aware of the moment that you're strong and you can put your fist in the air and you can tell people to fuck off. You're strong and you can believe in what you want - when pure is defiled. It's the last barrier that breaks down. It's all about honesty and purity and those moments."
US born Lamar Lowder, Jerk's founder, drummer and When Pure Is Defiled's co-producer, produced acts such as Chainsuck and Engines Of Aggression and worked with several hip hop rooted artists in his homeland. In recognition of those skills and in an almost unprecedented act of faith he was allowed to produce When Pure Is Defiled in Sydney over a total of about a month of studio time in late 2002.
"We were really just trying to capture what we are which is a live band that plays with running loops and things like that. I do know there's an energy when we play and I love the sound and the depth of live drums in a room. I also like the feel of live guitars mic'd up and crankin' and getting us all playing together in the room just puts spirit on top of what can be a little bit cold for rock. When you're doing what we're doing and have a band that has a spirit you need to capture it and that was the idea of going into the studio and playing on top of it."
"We went through the EP tracks, we had a list of about 22 songs but we used the EP stuff as a place to start from." says Deevoy. "Pretty much as soon as we were in the studio it was like, Fuck! This is going to sound really damn good! We did it exactly the same way as we recorded the EP, we just had more time and better gear."
Before the recording could begin the studio was subjected to an aesthetic overhaul, Jerk style.
"We had my naked mannequin thing that I like and a couple of skulls, candles, my dolls, nice low lighting, a bit of mood." says Deevoy. "In the vocal booth I just got all those partitions and made a square in which I
put like this small corpse doll that I've got and I just hung it off the mic stand. We turned off the lights and no-one was allowed to be there when I was getting in the mood, only the band. On stage there's many, many people looking at you doing it but when you're recording it and you want to real and pure and I need to be by myself. In 'the zone' as it were."
All the while, co-producer, Sean Beaven who's services Lowder had previously enlisted while in LA and whose studio credits include Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and Guns n' Roses was giving sympathetic and fully
"I was in consultation with him from the beginning" says Lowder. "He had some things he wanted to do to change it up a bit so through my conversations with him I was able to implement those changes in the studio
and just play them back to him over the phone and he was like, yeah, that's what I was thinking! He had a lot of great ideas and we used practically all of them. He got what we were trying to do immediately."
"Sean is responsible for the music that we have loved and will continue to love so we met on that field." says Deevoy.
On completion, the results of the recordings in Sydney were dumped onto a 40 gigabite drive and a week later Deevoy and Lowder jetted off to LA to team up with Beavan face to face. They were joined in the third and final week of the process by guitarist, Charlie Cilia and bassist, Leeno Dee. By the time the latter pair arrived Beavan was still recovering from Deevoy's force of nature efforts in the studio and at his home.
"Sean was just insanely impressed with John's vocal ability." says Lowder. "I've got some on tape where John went and just nailed something in the first take."
Although they were working 16 hour days, seven days a week, the Jerk machine found time to be sociable. Their attendance at the Ozzfest aftershow party saw Dee knocking back beers with Pantera, long chats with Rob Zombie and Shavo from System who was knocked out by the band's name alone and enthusiastically requested an advance copy of When Pure Is Defiled. And there's a great story about a well fuelled Deevoy getting lost in darkest Hollywood and finding himself in a fetish bar. But we won't go into that here.
Taken as total experience, LA was the final blessing on one of the greatest subversive albums to ever come out of Australia.
"Lamar and I started this band four years ago in October." says Devoy. "We always wanted to create an entity, not a fucking band, not four dudes who play music, an entity, a thing that can walk on its own and does all the talking for us. We've set it up in such a way that you can't ignore us. You simply can't. You can't resist. Resistance really is futile. Even if you hate us, you hate our guts you'll still be there nodding your head at the end of this album."