The Ruiner rumbled to life fully-formed a few years back, originally a nameless collective appearing as a tribute to one of the most celebrated acts of the early 90s Melbourne underground, Christbait, or more specifically, to play that band’s posthumously released 1996 album Dirtypunkmutha.
“A couple of the guys wanted to do the Dirtypunkmutha record, and that’s where it started from,” explains guitarist Craig Westwood. “We have a couple of personnel from that band [namely himself and vocalist Jason V], and also Jason Fuller aka Jason PC from Blood Duster, who I was also in a band with called DernRutlidge, Adam and Ben [Stokes] out of a band called Pillow who as well as being siblings are from Legends of Motorsport, as well! It’s mutual friends and guys we’ve played shows together with over the years.”
During rehearsals for their first – and what was meant to be their only – show, the band found itself clicking so well on the Christbait songs they decided to move on and do their own stuff. Westwood, a tireless song writer but one who admits to being “one of those studio guys who likes to make recordings of songs and never playing them again” had more than a few ideas to contribute and work began on a crop of new tunes.
“I have different piles for the different sorts of genres and I had a pile of heavy stuff that I’d never really had a chance to use,” the guitarist says. “I brought those to the table, but it was fairly collaborative writing process. It was more like throwing dirty underwear against the wall and seeing if it sticks!”
All that dirty underwear has finally resulted in The Ruiner’s debut album, nine tracks of heavy, bottom-feeding sludge. Like apparently everything else about this band, making a full length album wasn’t something that was planned. It just turned out that way.
“It wasn’t intended to be an album,” Westwood says, “we were just going to release singles but in the end we had all these songs so we just put it out.”
Given they’ve just released an album, a launch was held earlier this month at the Tote in Collingwood, but gigging isn’t a priority for The Ruiner so don’t expect a run of further shows too soon. According to Westwood, there are too many more important things going on with each member of the band for them to play too often.
“We don’t intentionally only play once in a while, but there’s other things going on in our lives,” he says. ”We’ve been in situations where we haven’t been able to play because one of us has been overseas… three of us have had kids in the last twelve months. It’s like, if it works, we’ll do it. We don’t do a lot of shows. We’d rather do fewer, quality shows.”
Westwood admits he’d almost prefer to be at home watching TV, although he does enjoy the rush of live playing once he’s actually out on stage. They aren’t exactly fans of playing long sets though. The Ruiner is about getting onstage, doing what they have to do and then getting off it again as soon as they can.
“We’ve got nine songs, and we’ve never been into long sets anyway. We’re not the sort of band that’s into playing two hour sets or anything, and I’ve never like watching a band play for two hours. Exceptions would be something like Neil Young and Crazy Horse, because they’d have to play for two hours because they’ve got so much material to work through, but I wouldn’t be happy inflicting that on myself, let alone anyone else. And Fuller’s the same. He’s one for not dragging out sets for too long. He’d be happy if he could be onstage for five minutes!”