Australia’s premier pub-punk kingpins Private Function have just released their second full length, Whose Line Is It Anyway? via Damaged / Caroline Australia – and now, they’re bringing the album to the live circuit.
Private Function make music for everyone – from skate punks to truckers, rock-dogs to glamour girls, bar flies and beyond. Over their three-year career, the band has amassed legions of devoted fans, hooked on their livewire intensity, belter songs, explosive live shows, outrageous stage presence and outlandish comedic flair. Yet all jokes aside, Private Function are a band that should be taken very seriously.
Whose Line Is It Anyway? was always destined to be a success in the Australian market. Private Function had already gained attention amongst punk-rock circles after signing a record deal with Australia’s formidable punk outfit Clowns’ new label Damaged, and coupled with Private Function’s status as one of the country’s most chaotic and unpredictable live acts, news of a second album less than 12 months after the release of their widely celebrated debut LP St Anger was causing serious buzz long before it hit the shelves.
Private Function are notorious shit-stirrers, the type of band who persistently make a joke out of music culture as a whole, playing up all of rock’n’roll’s mythologies, clichés, and tropes we all know so well. And their fans are 100% there for it. So when Private Function kicked off the campaign for Whose Line Is It Anyway?, their fans were waiting with anticipation to see what tricks the band would pull out for the new release. They weren’t disappointed.
Ahead of the release of Whose Line Is It Anyway? the band put a limited edition ‘mystery vinyl’ on sale, which featured nothing more than a puzzling question mark and a higher price tag. The records sold out in 15 minutes. The vinyl, the band would later reveal, contained bags of an eyebrow-raising white powder sandwiched inside the record – the first of its kind in Australia, which just added more buzz to the band’s impending record release (no pun intended).
The album singles, ‘I Don’t Wanna Make Out With You’, the border uniting anthem, ‘Albury Wodonga’, and the heavy-hitter ‘Sleep Paralysis’ proved to fans and beyond Private Function’s ability to write timeless, hook-laden, pub-punk tunes, while never losing the tumultuous looseness and tongue-in-cheek attitude the band are famous for.
Along the campaign, the band sold out a further two limited edition runs of vinyl weeks before album release, forcing another order to ensure there was enough stock for stores across the country. When the record finally arrived, Whose Line Is It Anyway? stormed the Australian ARIA charts, hitting #1 on the ARIA Vinyl charts, landing at #2 on the Australian Album charts and making its top ten debut in the ARIA Album Charts, snagging #9 position. Not bad for an irreverent DIY punk act.
The recording process for Whose Line Is It Anyway? was unconventional at best for Private Function, who had grown accustomed to recording their previous EPs and LP live and in a single take.
With Private Function’s American guitarist PJ Russo (Nightbirds) due to return home in March 2020, the band hurried into the studio with esteemed engineer Matt Duffy (Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Bench Press, Moody Beaches), keen to have their American comrade feature on the record. The band spent an afternoon in the studio recording the album instrumentals with PJ, with plans to come back to the studio and finalise the record once he’d left the country. Then COVID hit.
With severe Government restrictions in place, the band found themselves in a predicament, unable to be in the same place to finish the album and complete the vocals for the record. Private Function faced a difficult choice. They could either delay the album’s release until restrictions lifted, or work out a way to plough through, navigate around restrictions and release the album this year. So, adhering to social distancing measures, they smashed out the recording in just three days, with each band member venturing into the studio to record their vocal parts solo, which Duffy then mixed together to form the record.
PJ ended up stranded in Australia anyway.