Local rock/punk outfit Goatzilla beat off the best of the best recently to claim number one position in the annual 4ZZZ Hot 100 with last year’s single ‘Drop Bear’. Open to professional and aspiring bands of all genres, the 4ZZZ incarnation of the yearly countdown is rapidly approaching that of Triple J’s Hottest 100 as one of the most sought after spots in Aussie music.
“Basically if your song is played more than twice in the year you are automatically eligible,” explained Goatzilla bassist and frontman Ben Zilla, “but people can put your name down and recommend you as well. Entries are open to music and musicians from small, local unsigned acts like us right through to A list acts in Australia and internationally. We were up against bands like The Chats who I think got in at number 14, Amyl & The Sniffers, The Bennies, Clowns and bigger acts like that which makes it all the more rewarding.”
Ben, who had been listening to the countdown on the radio, stopped tuning in as it drew closer to its conclusion, thinking they were no chance of featuring in the business end.
“We got to about number 20 and I thought there was no way we would make it,” he laughed. “I was working on a promo video and kept flicking back and forth and when it said number one Goatzilla and I was stunned! I refreshed the screen a few times and still thought there was something funny going on so I called my wife around and asked her to look and she said yeah, you just won it and I just went oh, wow (laughs).”
Although not bringing any financial reward, Ben says the exposure Goatzilla will receive combined with the fact that the general public has obviously made a connection with the band are reward in itself.
“The big thing for us is it indicates the amount of support we have out there,” he affirmed. “Not only in the Brisbane scene but also in general and it is proof how many people like what we do and support and enjoy what we do. For a band – especially a local band – music is so much more than just a hobby. We do it for love and you go out and record an album which costs a bomb and then you’ll go out and play gigs and that costs money and you might get $50 to show up, but that’s not the whole point. It’s about connecting with people and getting your music out there and meeting people and making music and getting to play with other bands.”
The single that brought the accolades is a catchy, infectious tune that has been made even more topical with the public reaction to our Prime Minister’s perceived apathy towards the recent fires that have ravaged the nation.
“Drop Bear started off when John had this mad riff,” he recalled, “I was trying to work out what lyrics would work with it and for whatever reason I came up with ‘drop bear, drop bear’. I’ve always had this mad story from years ago about drop bears being created by the nuclear tests from Maralinga so I just kind of expanded on that. We were playing it in John’s bedroom and his son Max was in the living room and when we came out he was cacking himself laughing so we instantly knew we had to do it. We worked it up to a live performance and I decided that was the song I wanted to put a video to and that’s when it got political.
“The plight of koalas and native animals has always been something pretty close to my heart, especially around the Gold Coast area because there’s a lot of property development that’s just destroying habitat.
“They’ll go in with the bulldozers and areas that were once koala and native animal habitats are just destroyed overnight. There are pictures from the locals that keep popping up of koala carcasses on the end of DM 6’s and other land clearing equipment and that whole thing just made me sick.
“I made the video and was using the drop bear as a bit of an allegory for a man-made destructive force that got out of control and has completely decimated the environment. There’s a little bit of alien in there and something that we have made ourselves which is scary and unstoppable. Hence there are quite a few well-known political figures coming a cropper thanks to the drop bear who has got it in for them.”
Rather than just make a song with political connotations, Ben says ‘Drop Bear’ is also a song with a message to listeners.
“Absolutely,” he nodded. “We’ve got a country and we’ve got something beautiful and very precious here that we need to look after and we need to protect and if we don’t it’s going to turn against us as we have seen with the recent bushfires. It’s down to us. We’ve got to look after it we have to be smart about it and we haven’t been.
People have got to stand up and take notice and that’s the bottom line.
“It’s not offering any solutions – I’m sorry I don’t have any – but we’ve got a lot of very smart people out there who are getting paid a lot of money to work it out. We’ve got people who we vote in whose job it is to identify the solutions but they’re not bloody doing it and we need people to stand up and do that.”
With a couple of new members in the band and now a number one song to their credit, Goatzilla are planning to assault 2020 with renewed optimism and vigour.
“We’ve got Pete Beardsley and Pete Janssen who have joined us on guitar so we have effectively got two lead guitarists now,” Ben said. “They share duties with each other and the stuff that those guys come up with is absolutely amazing. We’ve also got Mick Davies on drums who is an absolute powerhouse. We have been writing a bunch of new stuff and we’re getting ready for a new album this year and take it on the road and get out to the rest of Australia where we have been wanting to tour for a long time but now we have our stuff together and are ready to do it. There are five songs ready to record and we’re working on another five or six at the moment and hoping to get the album together and hit the road as soon as we can.”
You can catch Goatzilla at the Rompa Room in support of headliners Black Whiskey, along with Tokyo Beef and Seven Enemies on 28 February. Follow Goatzilla on their socials for more updates.
Check out the video for ‘Drop Bear’ below: