In Australia, a cultural ethos called Tall Poppy Syndrome says that any blossoming talent that outgrows the rest is promptly cut down to size by its peers. It explains why Melbourne native Amy Taylor, aka Amyl of the 1970s-retro punk metal combo Amyl and the Sniffers, playing Burger Boogaloo in Oakland this weekend, didn’t have grand designs for her life.
Content just punching the clock at her neighborhood supermarket, with no promotion in sight, Taylor says, “I was working in the deli, and I loved it. I’d come home covered in chicken and ham and think, ‘F—- yeah! I know that I really worked hard today!’ I was happy just doing something to get by.”
Taylor, 23, had a coterie of regulars that relied on her exceptional service, including a blind man and his guide dog. She’d walk around the shop and help the man get his groceries.
“His dog would always lick my meat-soaked shoes,” she recalls.
But her flatmates at home, led by guitarist Declan Martens, were forming a band, and they invited her to join as vocalist. With supermarket energy to spare, she immediately agreed.
“Like I said, I like working, so it just kind of happened that I ended up working on this group more and more,” she says.
After choosing its trashy moniker — a reference to party drug amyl nitrate, aka poppers— the group wrote, recorded and released its EP “Giddy Up” in 12 hours.
In 2016, it was an overnight hit Down Under, and Amyl/Amy was a photogenic, if initially unwilling, new rock star.
She dressed the way she wanted in track shorts or vinrage jeans, and always sported a Cherie Currie-chic mullet.
On its eponymous ATO debut issued in April, Amyl and the Sniffers solidified its sound, with sneering anthems such as “Punisha,” “Gacked on Anger” and “Some Mutts (Can’t be Muzzled).”
And Taylor giddily taps into her country’s rich rock history, echoing Rose Tattoo, The Angels and her favorite American outfit, The Plasmatics. The Sniffers also cover AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” in concert.
Yet Taylor is carefully monitoring her growth rate. When she was recently discovered by Gucci, and the band was flown to a tropical island for a glamorous photo shoot, she remained down to earth.
“They just kept putting clothes on us, all these wild outfits, and the one they chose for me was this huge gold dress,” she says, laughing. “It was crazy. I don’t wear long f——— skirts. I wear short shorts. I’m from the beach!”
IF YOU GO
with John Waters, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Amyl and the Sniffers
Where: Mosswood Park, 3612 Webster St., Oakland
When: Noon Saturday-Sunday
Tickets: $10 to $199