To anyone who complains about how hard it is to make it in this country, I offer the Aussie band Red Hot Poker Dots as an example of what you can make happen with a little initiative. They'd been around for a few years when, in 2003, they released their debut album, Thirty Mile Square. That same year they came in second in the Australian Country Music Busking Awards. But did they really have to play on the sidewalk?
"You sure do," says the band's pint-size bassist Lil O'Dette. "You lose 10 kilos of water a day out there!"
But this hardy rockabilly quartet are a resilient sort. They came over to the States two years ago with only a single gig planned: Heavy Rebel Weekend.
"We had a brand new album, and it was winter in Australia so there weren't many festival gigs. We just said to hell with it and decided to give it a go," reports O'Dette. "We only had phone numbers of three people in the States, and after we played the Heavy Rebel show we had absolutely nowhere to go. We didn't know anyone in North Carolina. So we were sitting in a coffee shop, and we read in the paper that Southern Culture on the Skids was from Chapel Hill, and we decided to go there... . We ended up booking 22 dates."
They're back with a new album, Jetlagged and Jittery, full of the band's rambunctious country rave-ups. O'Dette, who'd make Tom Cruise feel tall, plays her stand-up bass from on top of it, if you can imagine, just part of the joyous, back-porch hootenanny atmosphere of their shows. The new album was recorded in between dates of what has been an ongoing eighteen-month (and counting) tour.
"Jetlagged and jittery has been our constant state of mind the past 18 months. We've gotten so used to it, I thought everybody felt that way,"Aussie roca jokes O'Dette.
Red Hot Poker Dots and New Town Drunks play The Cave in Chapel Hill on Friday, July 29.