The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world






It's 29 years since The Mark of Cain was formed by brothers John and Kim Scott. Think of the world in 1984 and how much it has changed: mobile phones were the size of a brick, had 30 minute call times and took ten hours to charge; the internet as we know it was still a dream (or nightmare); and the music business was selling record numbers of new music format: CD's.


The Mark of Cain thankfully have stayed a constant, still agressive still forthright in their views and still making music that has made them one of the most striking and important Australian Rock Bands ever.


The Mark of Cain's latest album: 'Songs of the Third and Firth' is out now.




Mark; Hi, John, how are you?


John: I’m good thank you, very good.


Mark: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us this morning. Two pieces of good news to talk about, the first being the vinyl version of “Songs of the Third and Fifth”, are you a vinyl junky yourself?


John: Yeah, at the moment I don’t buy it, unless it’s something really important, but I have kept all my vinyl, and it’s good to see that it is coming out. Our manager suggested it about a year ago, and I thought “what the fuck! Why should we do vinyl?” I mean I love it, but, what’s the point? But, he pointed out it’s really making a comeback, and I’m glad it is, as it sounds better, looks better, and new technology is great for a little while, but maybe it will all move back to it, which would be fantastic!


Mark: Yeah, it always sounds “warmer” to me, and some people are saying let’s get around illegal downloads by going back to vinyl.


John: I guess that’s one way to look at it! Illegal downloads have never bothered us, but anyway!


John: Are you pleased with the album? I actually think it’s getting close to the best thing you’ve ever done, it’s been out nearly a year now.


John: Yeah, it’s a great album. But, if you aim for it, you don’t know if you’re going to get it, but it worked out. All the pain that I went through had to come out as something good, or cathartic, whatever you want to call it. It’s a fantastic album; “Battlesick” will always be a real favourite of mine, and “Ill at Ease”, but this is us dragged forward, but still embracing everything we are about.


Mark: Yes, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there. The recording process was probably a little bit different for you, with the late nights and trips around on the Vesper, was it a good period for you?


John: It was great, but then I had two years of shit, in my life, but it was a place for me to go and do a little work on it. Most of the vocals were done after the songs were written, there were only a couple of songs where the vocals pre-existed, and the rest had to be pounded out in the studio. It was a hard time, but I think you do get something good out of that.


Mark: I think the strange thing for me, is it does sound like an album, I know that sounds strange, but it’s not like these days when you get a collection of tracks, you can hear a few singles and stuff like that, there does seem to be a progression, is that something you envisaged?


John: No, not at all! We had the music worked out, I had some ideas for lyrics, we had melodies, and what was good was even though it took so long to mix and get out there, it was written all at the same time, so it had that impetus, and the good thing was, it had time to put roots down with what the lyrics were going to mean, and how they were going to get tangled in with the music. So, it just became a real cohesive whole.





Mark: The “Milosovic” video is great as well, when did you put that together?


John: We worked with a guy called Tom Molnar, from a mob called 2OC, and we’d worked with him many years ago, like 10 years ago, and he said he was coming to a show and he’d love to do a video clip. So we said let’s see what we can work out. We said let’s not do a video where we’re all dressed up as characters, let’s just play!! Straight ahead, it’s what the band is, the place we play in Adelaide has a pretty good sound so it worked, there were some lights hanging behind us which projected some images across us, so it was pretty cool, and it turned out, and for the money we spent we were surprised! We spent fuck all on it and it seems like it’s an expensive film clip!


Mark; Yeah, it looks fantastic, and of course you have two dates coming up in Adelaide. How are the sales going for that, will it be packed out?


John: Yeah, it’s weird for us, because if we played all the time we wouldn’t get anyone to see us!! I expect, those places we play are about 450 each or around that, and I reckon it’ll be close to capacity on each of the nights.


Fowlers, which is the second one, that’s an all ages, not that we get a lot of all ages! But, maybe we will because a lot of our fans are bringing their kids along!


Mark: Yeah, you have to teach the new generation!! All through your career, you’ve had a real love of Adelaide, and some of your descriptions of the place are great! I do like Adelaide, but what is it for you that make it such an interesting place?





John: I wanted to get out of here when I was younger, I hated it!! Then I did, I went overseas, but you can go rock climbing in the morning, and like thirty minutes later you can go sailing! Everything’s so easy to get to, it’s in a grid, and you can’t get lost. I like Melbourne and Sydney, Perth, would be my second favourite place, if I was going to go somewhere to work, but Adelaide’s good.


Mark: We had a guy over from the States recently, California, and we were sat by the beach, and he said it’s just like California, without the people!!


John: Yeah! You get spots in Adelaide where, like Perth, you could be in L.A.!!


Mark: You’ve been around as a band for a long time now, I remember hearing your first single, when I lived in the UK, did you ever think you’d still be around now, when you recorded “Lords of Summer”.


John: Fuck! I don’t know what I was thinking!! We just played the music that we liked, and that we wanted to play, for someone to say it’s not about the audience, it’s about the music, but if we hadn’t have had that bit of interest from people, we probably would have said what’s the point! Whatever we wrote, people liked, and those live performances spurred us on and kept us going.





Mark: What have been some of your personal highlights over the years?


John: Mine were, and there were three people that I really admired, guitar wise, and their live music, and I got to work with Rollins, got to work with Albini, and Andy Gill of Gang of Four. They were a huge influence on me, and working with them was the greatest thing I can think of, out of this whole musical endeavour.



Mark: Your lyrics have always been the thing that drew me most to Mark of Cain, where do you get your inspiration these days, is it things you see or read?


John: Honestly, I love, Joy Division, Ian Curtis type lyrics, I liked The Cure, lyrics, I liked anything a bit personal, but I think it’s also from reading a lot of books, the classic English literature. It all distils within you and I do tend to write from my guts, and what I feel, or what I’ve experienced, and I try to write like that, as something a little bit different. “Heart of Stone” was about the idea of not being able to help someone, when you’re so weak yourself, it could be an addiction, or you’re too wrapped up in your own world to help them. Those lyrics are personal to me. “Milosovic”, was more an experimental idea, life in another time, probably from all the war shit I read!


Mark: We are running out of time, so here are a quick couple of questions. If you could have been a fly on the wall for the recording of any album, at any point in time, what would it have been for you and why?


John: It would be “Electric Ladyland”. No one would know from my guitar playing that I am a huge Hendrix fan! I can’t get enough of Hendrix; I just think it would have been great!


Mark: A great album! Thanks once again for taking the time to talk to us, John, hope the gigs go well and hope we hear from you for many years to come.


John: Thank You, have a good day.







John spoke to Mark Diggins August 2013





Want to see a band you love interviewed? Looking to promote a tour of Australia? Contact