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Meanies Bowl Over Pearl Jam

How did a young Melbourne band, signed to a small independent record company, get to go on the road with one of the biggest bands in the world?

By meeting - and beating - them at a tenpin bowling alley The Meanies were in Seattle in the US playing and recording, when they went to a rock 'n' roll bowling night, featuring members of Pearl Jam, Mudhoney and Supersuckers. "We were up against Eddie Vedder, who was there with his wife, Beth", Wally Meanie (real name Wally Kempton) recalls.

"We kicked his butt and he prmoised that if Pearl Jam ever toured Australia, we could support them."

Eighteen months later, Pearl Jam arrived and Eddie was true to his word - The Meanies played to more than 100,000 people across Australia. The two bands didn't go bowling again, but they did hang out at some drag queen clubs in Sydney, "places where they wouldn't be mobbed".

The Meanies' record label, Au-Go-Go, now expects that the single and album, 10% Weird, will make it into the mainstream charts. It means that The Meanies will now be taken seriously. "People haven't always understood that we are a serious entity", Wally says of the band, whose members all take the last name "Meanie" (a la the Ramones).

"Sure, the main ingredient is fun, but if we were a novelty band we wouldn't have been around for six years". The next cover is It's A Long Way To The Top, for the upcoming AC/DC tribute album.

"BMG gave us a huge budget to record the song, so with the money left over we want to recreate that film clip down Melbourne's Swanston Street." The Meanies will tour Europe later this year and the US, where Vedder says he will get the band a record deal.

- Jeff Jenkins, TV Week