The key thing to know about the Med Heads

NEWCASTLE act The Med Heads deliver a unique punk rock’n’roll show that reaches back to the ’60s and ’70s for its inspiration.

The likes of MC5 and The Stooges have influenced their sound. 

“We despise love songs,” guitarist, vocalist, and saxophonist Mark-Anthony “Simba” Sumner said. “We despise run of the mill stuff.”

The band formed about three years ago and have been recording and performing ever since. 

The line-up often expands, but the back-bone of the act sees Sumner joined by  Dhare Labbe, Cale Labbe, Jordan Owen, Eddy Wacher, Riley Pascoe and Kyle Rhoades to share and swap an array of instruments and vocal duties during a live performance. 

There is much more going on behind the scenes of The Med Heads’ music than the average punter might realise, and it all comes down to the musical keys. 

ROCK'N'ROLL: The Med Heads will record seven EPs over the next 12 months with plans to release the lot on vinyl. Picture: Joshua Nash

ROCK'N'ROLL: The Med Heads will record seven EPs over the next 12 months with plans to release the lot on vinyl. Picture: Joshua Nash

The band has been working on a recording project which will see them deliver seven recordings, one in each of the keys A, B, C, D,E, F and G. 

The band has already made an EP in the key of C – titled Adam Gilligan’s How to Make DMT DVD on VHS in the Key of C – within 12 months they expect to have completed recordings in the keys of B, E and F. 

“When we play [live] in a key, we have specially made instruments just for that key,” Sumner said. “All the songs are strung together.

“Once we finish that key, we swap instruments and move on to the next key, with purposely made instruments for that key. 

“We build some of them [the instruments], we have chosen some of them and modified some of them.”

The band also likes to play with time signatures, often slipping into 5/4, rather than standard rock’n’roll 4/4. 

“Our last recording had a bit of jazz in it, different time signatures,” Sumner said. “My guitar would be tuned up a semitone to F standard, and Dhare’s would be in drop-C, with three strings. 

“So, he would use it like a bass guitar, but with the same scale length as a normal guitar, and it just changes the sound.

“It changes the way that sound resonates through an amplifier. And we chose [a specific] amplifier for that pitch as well.

“So it’s about appropriating the sound with the instrument and the amplifier.” 

The band plans to release the seven EPs on vinyl. 

“You will be able to start at A and there will be no stop until G,” Sumner said. “We hope it will be a really fluid collection of EPs.”

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Next gig: The Stag and Hunter, September 22, where The Med Heads will perform with The Craw and The Dark Clouds. Entry is free.