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Died Pretty - Died Pretty All Over Again

Author: Sarah Booth
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
Since Died Pretty tore apart the embryonic ’80s inner city rock scene the band have long appreciated a wide underground following spanning their impressive 20-year career. After disbanding in 2002 they have been coerced into reforming and revisiting their classic ’91 release Doughboy Hollow as part of the ATP Don’t Look Back series of shows for the festival. Currently involved with The Scientists’ Kim Salmon on their new project the darling downs, Sarah Booth talks to a reflective Ron Peno, fittingly, on the importance of letting some things die pretty.

Obviously there is still an appreciation for your work if you’ve been asked to come back and perform an album in its entirety. It’s a huge compliment.
It’s great – it’s something we’ve never done. I mean we split up for good in 2001 – was it 2001- I think it was about six years ago. Well Brett [Myers] didn’t ever really want to reform that band; you move on and you do other things. I like to try different things all the time, other musical pursuits. Died Pretty had a pretty good run of 20 years I don’t think to go on and on and on and reform all the time is a good progression.

I think that’s where Don’t Look Back comes in – there is a grace in it, where it’s not about making a comeback, it’s more about an appreciation of work that you have done.
Well it’s certainly not a financial thing! I think the thing that appealed to myself and Brett was that the whole concept was coming together and reforming to do a single album. I don’t think that we could have done it for any other of our albums – it had to be Doughboy Hollow because it is a fairly loved album.

Well, that was my next question. I mean Doughboy Hollow was the obvious choice.
I don’t know if we could have done it for another album – maybe the first one [1986’s Free Dirt], but I doubt it. This one was such a loved album. I mean the whole process of writing the songs and recording the album and bringing in Hugh Jones from London was just a beautiful experience from start to finish.

I can imagine playing with Died Pretty at somewhere like the Prince in St Kilda in the ’80s and hitting it now with Darling Downs is a very different experience for you.

Yeah! More people for a start! There were much more people coming to see Died Pretty than for the Darling Downs! Actually, God yeah, Darling Downs are lucky to scrape together a hundred people. I mean we have maybe – maybe – been offered the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds support for a European tour later in the year, starting off in Oslo and ending in Paris taking in Greece and Italy, Berlin…it will be nice, I think.

So for the festival you will be playing alongside Ed Kuepper – how did that come about-

Because we love Ed Kuepper and we thought it would be something special, basically. Brett and I both loved Ed Kuepper and we loved that album [the 1991 classic, Honey Steel’s Gold] – he’s very talented and I mean, he’s a legend isn’t he- He’s a very talented, wonderful person. We did a cover of one of Ed’s songs, Eternally Yours, I believe, and recorded that for one of our albums, way back when.

WHO: Died Pretty
WHAT: Play Doughboy Hollow at Enmore Theatre
WHEN: Friday 8 February