MISSPENT youth is part and parcel for North Fremantle’s Mojos, a reputation dating back to its days as the Stoned Crow.
”I remember going to listen to The Fish John West Rejects and drinking Kirup syrup for 50 cents,” Fremantle council’s arts and culture manager Pete Stone recalls.
Now 18 and legally old enough to drink, Mojos hasn’t lost its edge despite an element of respectability creeping in, owner Andrew Ryan says.
“It’s always been a site of counter culture,” Mr Ryan says.
“A near-mystical site for sub-cultures to feel comfortable with each other.”
Original music is in the brickwork: “I don’t know anywhere else in Australia that has original music seven nights a week,” Mr Ryan says.
Atmospheric even in daylight, a round table interview led to speculation on how many acts had performed on the trademark red velvet-backed stage.
“Thirty acts a week…that would more or less be 15,000, at a modest estimate, under my time,” Mr Ryan says.
He took over from previous owner Phil Stevens 10 years ago.
Stevens, who now manages John Butler, The Waifs and San Cisco says Mojos was purpose built in 1998 as a live music bar.
“The stage was the engine room. That’s why it got the red velvet treatment.
“It’s great to see…it continues the tradition of live original music…[And] even better to see it is more popular than ever.
“It’s all about the stage and who stands upon it sharing their art and passion.”
Fremantle has nurtured a number of world class musos, many honing their talent at Mojos, Mr Ryan says.
Under the banner Patrons Saints of Pop, a swag of them will rock the walls as part of the opening of Fremantle’s heritage festival on May 27.
Datura 4, featuring Dom Mariamni (The Stems) Greg Hitchcock (You Am I) as well as Warren Hall and Stu Loasby will combine a mix of pop sensibility and psych-rock.
Waifs’ Donna Simpson is in the lineup, along with The Painkillers.
The following day (Saturday May 28, at 3.30pm) Mojos is holding Talks Through History with guest speakers discussing the past, present and future of Fremantle music.
Speakers include Pete Barr, Jim Fisher, Bob Gordon and Harris Waters.
“And hopefully the guy who ran the Stoned Crow,” Mr Ryan says.
by JENNY D’ANGER