A quick word with Ozzie Wright

By Rebecca Barry

Australian pro-surfer, musician, artist and film-maker, aka the "Wizard of Death". He and his punk band, the Goons of Doom, are in New Zealand this week for the Volcom Totally Crustaceous Tour.

Where are you right now?

In my bed in Sydney. It’s a million-miles-an-hour wind and it’s raining.

What have you been working on?

We’re making a surf movie so we’re collecting footage. We played Byron Bay and the Gold Coast last month, surfing all the way, then when we got back my friend had an art show in the city and the two of us played at that. I went to Barbados and Cuba on a surf trip a month ago.

Oh, so not much then.

We’re pretty busy. Sometimes we go a little bit crazy but you just do your best and whatever you feel like doing, you do it. I’ve got to the stage where I can almost do whatever I want. We’ll make up a project and go to America for an art show, have the band play and go surfing.

How did the Goons of Doom start?

We were making a surf movie about us being a band. So we bought all the instruments and stuff. We’d been playing our instruments for five days and we had a gig at a party.

We were ridiculously bad. We were really nervous and we sucked. And then we had another one the next week and just kept going. One tour, we did about 30 gigs in six weeks and after that we were like, I guess we’re getting pretty good. We’ve since played Tokyo, Hollywood and we’re hoping to go to New York this year. We take it seriously but in a fun way.

So that explains the names, then?

Yeah. There’s my wife, Bang Bang Bunny Fang, Cut-throat Cowboy on drums, Vaughan Dead on guitar and vocals, and Killa Whale on the other guitar and me, Fang Fight Right, the Wizard of Death. We’ve got, like, four lead singers.

And Bunny Fang is your muse?

Yeah. She was travelling and I met her in Raglan. She’s from Switzerland. She had a jumper on that had bunny ears sewn into the top of it. I started doing heaps of drawings of her and it sort of turned into a cartoon character. Then we had a song, where the chorus was just "Bang bang bang bang!"

How would you describe your art?  

Silly. Cartoony. Some of it’s quite pretty and some of it’s aggressive. I’ve got heaps of boards and I’ve been painting Batman on them. I’ve been riding the Batmoboard religiously. I’ve painted my guitar, some leather jackets, cars, skateboard ramps. I’ve got one in my backyard with some birds and motorbikes on it. We’ve just called our new EP, Bikie Zombie.

What are your gigs like?

They’re fun. They’re loose and raw and crazy.

* See the Goons of Doom free at Bluenote, Wellington, tonight; Scotty’s Bar and Grill, Gisborne, April 2; Raglan, (venue TBC) April 9 and 10. The Totally Crustaceous surf competition is free and finalists will compete in the New Zealand Championships in Raglan on April 10 and fly to California to compete in the World VQS Championships. To find out more see Ozzie’s art, go to the Volcom website.

 

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