theMusic Sessions: Me First & The Gimme Gimmes

I caught up with Spike Slawson of Me First & The Gimme Gimmes a couple of weeks ago when I was in Brisbane and he played a couple of tunes for theMusic. Check them out at the link below!

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http://themusic.com.au/news/all/2013/10/31/exclusive-me-first-and-the-gimme-gimmes-spike-slawson-takes-on-bowie-tom-jones/

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Interview: Simple Plan

Published in The Music (WA) | 30.10.13

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THE DRAWING BOARD

Admitting Simple Plan aren’t the most relevant band anymore, guitarist Sebastian Lefebvre tellsDaniel Cribb they’re focusing their efforts behind the scenes and are far from done.

Maybe it’s to do with the geography of our countries or the fact we’re both still under the Commonwealth, but there’s an unspoken bond between Canada and Australia. Simple Plan are a staple of Canadian pop punk, and can relate to the painstaking long drives a lot of Australian bands have to endure, which is why they’re the perfect fit for the Australian Warped Tour’s ten-hour drives. “They say Warped Tour is a punk rock summer camp, right? It’s true,” Lefebvre says in the lead-up to the band’s Australian visit. “There’s definitely a lot of bands coming together and helping each other out. Maybe ten years ago it was about who the coolest band was, but I think Warped has evolved from that, and now it’s just about the music and having a good time and the kids coming to the shows and enjoying a million different bands playing. We did it a few years ago in the US and it was great; I think it’s going to be even better in Australia… [Australia] feels like Canada with a lot of beaches and beautiful weather,” he adds in a thick Canadian accent.

There’s something welcoming about the accent, and you needn’t look any further than Simple Plan for an example of generosity. In December of 2005 the band established the Simple Plan Foundation, and it’s since evolved into an unstoppable force, last year raising over one million dollars. $1 from every ticket sold to their only Warped sideshow in Perth goes towards the cause, which aims to assist young people struggling with physiological and physical illness.

“It’s crazy how simple it can be to make a difference in someone’s life, and when we saw that, there was no way around it for us, we had to get involved somehow and try to help out as much as we could. We never thought it would be that much work. I mean, it is simple to make a difference, but there is a lot of logistics involved.

“Whether it’s been locally or abroad, we’ve definitely met some people who we’ve had a positive impact on. We met some kids in Africa who were able to go to school because of our support, and we’ve met some people in our neighbourhood who have a hard time, whether it’s coming out or depression or general illness, and it’s huge. It’s very difficult to grow up nowadays and if we can be there to help, we will.”

The band’s fourth and most recent record, 2011’s Get You Heart On!, could have quite easily focused on such topics, but Lefebvre stresses the importance of keeping the music side of things light-hearted. “There’s part of Simple Plan that just wants to have a good time and not take things too seriously. We really, really enjoyed the philosophy of the last record, which was to just have a good time, and we’re going to carry on in that vein and write songs that are going to be fun to play and tour on, so that’s the general direction of our new album.”

It’s worked on every record  since their debut No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls hit the shelves in 2002.. Holding the same line-up since forming and returning to Australia regularly, Simple Plan are an interesting specimen of pop punk. Where a lot of their colleagues have fallen into the shadows as the genre’s popularity recedes, the Canadian five-piece have maintained a steady following.

“They say you’re only as hot as your current single, so if we have a flop, people will forget about us. We’ve always taken the approach that with every new album we start over, we’re a new band. We always try to make the right decisions and not base it on who we are and what we’ve done before.

“I think for us, as long as we’re relevant to our fans, that’s all that matters; as long as we’re connecting with them, and as long as we put out music they can identify with and can say, ‘Yes, Simple Plan is still my favourite band’, that’s being relevant to us. I mean, it’s very difficult to be a trendsetter or be the band that everybody looks to and all the critics say, ‘Oh my god, this is the greatest band in the world’ – that’s not what we try for. We just want that connection to the fans, and I think we’ve been pretty good at maintaining it so far and we’re happy to keep it going.”

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2013/10/30/simple-plan-sebastian-lefebvre/21002/

Interview: Eskimo Joe

Published in The Music (NSW) | 23.10.13

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BREAKING THE MOULD

Six albums in and Eskimo Joe have managed to reinvent themselves – much to the distaste of a long-term rival. Frontman Kav Temperley explains to Daniel Cribb how they injected new life into something they feared was becoming stale.

“We walked into our new record knowing we needed to do something completely different; we needed to do something a bit more dangerous, otherwise it would just get boring,” frontman Kav Temperley begins. “I think what happened, especially on Ghosts Of The Past, and I don’t discount that record at all, but all of us were really exhausted by the industry as a whole. You almost feel like you become a bit of a cliché of yourself; I felt like we started to make records according to what people expected us to make, and there’s no danger in that and no adventure.”

It’s the eve of the Wastelands album tour, and the studio Temperley is about to head to was the nest in which the band and producer Burke Reid spent months writing, recording and perfecting their new, electronic sound, which features strong drum grooves supported by solid bass lines and gentle vocals resting on a wealth of synth and drum samples. “Being able to go into a studio which sounds great and is our own space was really inspiring because what’s happened on every other record is, we’ll be in our jam room and the crazy mouldy, funky vibes build up and then you have to step out of that environment into this really sterile, state-of-the-art recording studio, and you can get a little bit of stage fright, like you walk up to the urinal to do a wee and nothing comes out,” he laughs.

Having left their label before entering the studio, they needed to somehow raise $40,000 to get the ball rolling, which is where their crowdfunding Pozible project came into effect. The campaign generated $60,737. “Smack, hookers, Ferraris…” Temperley jokes when asked what the funding went towards. “Basically the forty grand we asked for was pretty much just for Reid to come over. We had our own studio so we were just going to cover the costs of that… the crowdfunding thing was something we had all been following in the States and thought it was a really interesting idea, but was quite scary because it can blow up in your face. But I think that was part of the process; we wanted something a little more edgy because we felt we needed that injection.”

When they initially launched their Pozible campaign, some people seemed to find the project unnecessary for a band of Eskimo Joe’s status. Grinspoon’s Phil Jamieson was amongst those taking a dig. “Phil’s comments were pretty naïve,” says Temperley. “He was like, ‘Why don’t you just go do a gig and pay for it?’ It doesn’t work like that and he knows that. You do gigs to keep the business rolling and maybe pay yourself a wage, but as far as making quality records goes, you need an initial investment of cash, and that’s why people like Phil are still signed to a label and getting their money. A deal with a record company is like a really bad bank loan. To do something independently is tough and that’s why crowdfunding is so great in the creative world.

“We have had an ongoing war with Phil Jamieson since about 2000. He kind of wants to be our best friend and in the band in some strange way, but any point of weakness he can see to take us down he jumps in there in a heartbeat, it’s hilarious… Stu [MacLeod – guitar] and Joel [Quartermain – guitar] were on the Big Day Out in 2000 and were having this jokey banter stuff going on – basically Phil’s really good at giving shit, but really bad at taking it. So one night at an after party they gave him heaps of shit and he went really, really dark and that’s kind of where it started. But Phil calls Joel a couple times of year and chats to him and when a new record comes out always says, ‘Yeah, man, it sounds really good’, or rings him and gives him shit. But Phil loves banters; he loves giving it, but he’s terrible at taking it. It’s been on again, off again for years and years. It keeps us all entertained.”

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2013/10/23/eskimo-joe/20744/

Show Review: Rob Schneider 21.10.13

Published in The Music (WA) | 23.10.13

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ROB SCHNEIDER

ASTOR THEATRE

Dick jokes with a side order of philosophy were on offer when 49-year-old Rob Schneider fronted a sold-out Astor Theatre in Perth. He’d barely been in the country 12 hours and had already managed to nail the Aussie accent and make note of some country towns to poke fun at, “Bunburra” aka Bunbury getting an honourable mention on numerous occasions.

To avoid any awkward heckling, the first thing he did on approaching the mic was yell, “You can do it!”, and for the next hour didn’t go anywhere close to his acting career, which, surprisingly, he didn’t need to to keep the ball rolling. Sure, his set slumped somewhat towards the end – there’s only so long you can joke about sex and getting old before you start repeating yourself – but for the most part, Schneider’s onstage presence was engaging and often pushed boundaries.

It wasn’t until his encore did a select few finally shouted “you can do it” and “cut his fucking balls off”, which seemed an appropriate transition into Schneider explaining his absence from Grown Ups 2. Although he cited having a child as his reason, he also compared the film to a bowl of shit. Most of those in the diverse crowd would have purchased tickets purely on his film career, but during his time onstage, he showed he’s more than the man from the big screen.

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/reviews/comedy/2013/10/21/rob-schneider/