The West

Big band on the run
Velociraptor. Picture: Supplied

Brisvegas band Velociraptor evolved from a three-piece formed in 2008 to an unwieldy posse of more than a dozen members. Captain Jeremy Neale has the unenviable task of herding these cats.

"I yell 'News team assemble', then whoever is sober and willing fronts up," the anchorman jokes from Brisbane during the "golden time" between finishing Velociraptor's eponymous debut and taking the album on a national tour.

Neale's role is complicated by most of his bandmates playing in other groups, sometimes several, including mighty alt-rock duo DZ Deathrays. There's even a member in London.

"It's out of control," the 28-year-old says. "As time goes on everyone's playing in less bands because they realise how ridiculous the schedule is. I've personally trimmed my roster from six active bands to three."

After drumming for Brissie bands then playing bass and singing backing vocals for a country outfit, Neale has graduated to frontman in Velociraptor.

He wrote nine of the 11 songs on the debut, including ear-bending garage pop opener Robocop - an offbeat story of unrequited love.

"They're keeping their options open but to you they're everything," Neale explains. "So you do everything you can to stay with them and that includes, in this instance, becoming a robot."

Monster Mash and Ramona are the real heartbreakers on the album. Neale penned the latter on the drive home from the movies where his date texted other guys.

The Ramones' 1989 album Brain Drain was a strong influence on Velociraptor's debut, which also displays hints of 60s pop, 70s punk-rock and 80s new wave.

Neale says that while they take a "wall of sound" approach live, the band strips back to a relatively sparse five-piece in the studio.

"I reckon live and recorded work should be completely different things," he explains.

"You should do what's best for the recording, so it's a timeless record, and I think live you should make it as entertaining and energetic as possible."

With this in mind, a nine-strong Velociraptor, including five guitarists, will attack WA stages next month. Neale, who booked the flights using his own credit card and is unlikely to recoup costs on the visit, is calling the tour "the bankrupter".

Velociraptor play the Causeway Hotel on September 6 and Newport Hotel on September 7. Their self-titled debut is out now.

The West Australian

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