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Project Mayhem is a band based in Perth, Western Australiamarker, consisting of Benny Mayhem (vocals), Jozef Grech (guitar), Jes Fitzgerald (bass), and James "Bangers" McKay (drums). In 2008 they were announced as winners of the state-wide Next Big Thing band competition. They have also received industry nominations for Best Punk/Hardcore Band at the West Australian Music Industry Association awards 2008, and for the WAM Song of the Year (Rock Category) in 2007 for the lead track off their No Rest For The Wicked EP, entitled "Fuck Yeah!". In 2009 Project Mayhem were again nominated for Best Punk/Hardcore Band, and were asked to perform at the award ceremony at Metropolis Nightclub.


The band can trace their early history back to 2001 when the seminal members were studying at Central TAFE's Leedervillemarker based Music Industry Skills programme. Early lineups featured current singer Benny Mayhem on rhythm guitar, with a revolving lineup that had settled to Andrew Bardwell (lead guitar), Lance Cockman (bass), and Nathan Reeves (drums) by the time of their first pub gig on 9 May 2002 at the Grosvenor Frontroom. The lineup continued to evolve through early gigging experiences, often centred around the notorious Western Australian underground punk venue, the Hyde Park Hotel.

By 2003 the lineup had incorporated Standard Deviants bass player Jes Fitzgerald into the band, and Benny Mayhem had settled as the group's frontman/vocalist with Andrew Bardwell handling sole guitar duties and his brother Peter Bardwell on drums. The band toured the South West of the state (including Margaret Rivermarker and Bunburymarker). Upon their return Andrew left the band and was replaced by Standard Deviants guitarist Jozef Grech on a temporary basis.

Project Mayhem released their cassette Pop Tunes From Hell in February 2004 on Blazing Strumpet Records. The band continued through the first half of the year until Grech was replaced again by Andrew Bardwell. This reunion was unsuccessful, and Andrew was fired on-stage by Mayhem & Fitzgerald in a spectacular fashion, on stage at a gig at Headquarters Youth Facility.

Re-hiring Grech, and recruiting James McKay from the recently-disbanded Mickey Flash on drums, Project Mayhem re-formed in mid-2005 to release the Pass The Coopers / Pass The Goon split EP with zxspecky, again on Blazing Strumpet Records. Although the reformation was intended to be temporary, the band gigged sporadically and by mid-2006 were again a regular feature on the local pub circuit, culminating in their support for The Mexicans and an appearance on the Devil's Kitchen stoner punk rock festival.

The end result of these tempestuous beginnings was the release in May 2007 of No Rest For The Wicked, which is regarded by the band as their debut. In October the lead track "Fuck Yeah!" was nominated for WAM Rock Song of the Year by the prestigious West Australian Music Industry Association. Project Mayhem left their mark on proceedings by hiring a limousine and drinking a significant amount of alcohol, resulting in a police warning and a significant number of interruptions to what Mayhem described as "a school assembly" .

In February the band were nominated for Best Punk Band 2008 by the same organisation. This time they behaved themselves, although were asked to leave the backstage area of Beck's Music Box by festival staff after leaping over the guard rails congratulate the winners.

Project Mayhem had entered the Next Big Thing originally in 2006 but were beaten in the first round, which was won by Streetlight. Trying again in 2008, the band were successful and took out the award.

On 6 September 2008, the band hired an authentic 19th century Paddle Steamer and launched their new CD ...Go Gonzo on the waters of Western Australia's iconic Swan Rivermarker. A capacity audience of 200 people drank the $5000 bar card that night in less than one hour .

Since then the band has performed at HyperFest, the Perth leg of the Big Day Out, RTRFM's In The Pines festival, and the WAMI Festival; as well as making return appearance at the Devil's Kitchen festival.

April 2009 saw the release of the Next Big Thing compilation CD, which contained an exclusive track called Ronald Andrew Taylor (24) in both audio and video formats. The video clip has received national airplay on ABC TV's Rage prgramme . In May 2009 the band received a grant from the Western Australian government to record their debut album, due in October 2009 .

In July 2009 the band used their final Next Big Thing prize to create a compilation called WA Gold, which featured an exclusive track from the band as well as contributions from such bands as the Novocaines, The Devil Rides Out, Will Stoker & The Embers, Tomas Ford, and more. The compilation was described by one local media pundit as "the best West Australian music compilation in living memory".

Project Mayhem's debut self-titled album is due for release on 31 October 2009 on vinyl and CD, and will be nationally distributed through Firestarter Distribution.

Essential Discography

Year Title
2004 Pop Tunes From Hell (cassette)
2005 Pass The Coopers / Pass The Goon (split EP with zxspecky)
2007 No Rest For The Wicked (EP)
2008 ...Go Gonzo! (EP)
2009 Next Big Thing WA 2008: Volume 12 (compilation)
2009 WA Gold (compilation)
Forthcoming Project Mayhem (LP)


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