• It may go without saying, but please be aware there is strong language in this article.

They're considered one of the best free-thinking bands to emerge from the punk rock underground, but they defy easy classification. They once played with Foo Fighters and Tenacious D at Western Springs, and they're headed this way again next month for the first time in eight years. Is New Zealand ready for the onslaught that is Canada's F***ed Up? We catch up with the band's Jonah Falco to find out.


1) Describe the band and your sound in one sentence.

F***ed Up is a psychedelic punk band that has tried on every musical outfit, from raging hardcore to the gentlest lullaby.

2) Your band name is a versatile phrase that, in New Zealand at least, can mean a variety of things. What does it mean to you?

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It's kind of a vestigial grounding in the spark that started the band. At this point there isn't a literal essence to "F***ed Up" just the fact that it's been habituated and internalised by us and anyone who knows the band, as a name and not much else.

3) What are you most looking forward to when you visit New Zealand?

Clean air, megafauna, fresh fish, and the energy of dozens of jangly chords on dozens of Flying Nun classics.

4) What can fans expect from your live shows? Any new music?

These days we are playing a solid spread from our entire discography. The further away we get from our origins the harder it becomes to just let anything go, so expect the condensed version of our newest LP and an updated journey through time on the rest.

5) What is your favourite song to perform live and why?

Lately I've really been enjoying playing Normal People from Dose Your Dreams. Nearly every person in the band has a moment to use their voice, it's a great change of pace, and the push and pull of it makes it a good one to keep the set dynamic.


6) What does the term punk mean to you in this day and age?

I'm not sure how to moderate what the expectation of "punk" ought to be, but since I've only ever made music long after "punk" existed, it's always felt like a kind of collection point for certain creative energy.

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It's like an in-depth and forcefully thoughtful mobiliser for youth culture that can take you and your creativity and thinking well into adulthood on a single ride.

You can change around it knowing that the uniform blasts of energy that have been essentialised out of punk can be rewritten in your life and still motivate you in positivity, optimism, and consideration for your world.

7) Your last album was referred to as your Screamadelica. What classic album will your next record be compared to?

Our next one will probably be our "Bleaaaauuurrrggghhhh" compilation.

The band pictured in 2011. Photo / File
The band pictured in 2011. Photo / File

8) What message would you give any young person wanting to be a successful musician?

Success in music is measured in the value of your experience and your interaction with the material you're making. Dig as deeply, breathe as deeply, and love every inch of new ground you break. Learning is love, and love is success. Oh yeah, and like make sure you write some riffs eh.

9) You can only fit one album by another artist on your device — what is it?

Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow by Funkadelic.

10) You're curating a music festival. Who's on the bill, alive or dead?

The Number Ones, Crudes, Funkadelic, Lee Dorsey, Betty Harris, Tommy Tutone, Mental Abuse, The Chills, Blam Blam Blam, The Apartments, Hardfloor, Toru Takemitsu, Ryuichi Sakamoto as a jukebox that can play any and all YMO/solo/scores upon request, Agnostic Front (Victim in Pain line-up), F***ed Up but my arms and legs never cramp or get tired during a set, Cheap Trick, Nick Lowe but he can travel through time and transcend age to different eras of his career, Big in Japan.

• F***ed Up are playing Auckland's Whammy Bar on October 15 and Wellington's San Fran on October 16. Tickets from undertheradar.co.nz.