INTERVIEW: Steve Poltz

Published on 10.06.14



Standing on the edge of the world, Steve Poltz lets his mind run free. Daniel Cribb prepares a straight jacket.

The sun’s setting on a San Diego beach when singer-songwriter Steve Poltz picks up his phone. “I’m at the end of the world here – in San Diego at the border of Mexico, staring into the Pacific Ocean – you’re probably on the other side,” the affable rocker begins. “How does this work? Is there a string between us? Is there a string between our phones that’s connecting us? I’m just fucking with you,” he laughs.

Finding the quirky in almost anything, he has an eye for detail and can twist any information into a tale. A photo of his shoes was uploaded to his website a couple of weeks earlier and captioned with a conversation that occurred between himself and his Converse. Perhaps staring at his shoes, he took the brand name as an invitation to incite a conversation. “I lose touch with reality; I think I need meds.”

His back catalogue encompasses such attributes, and 2014’s The Accident is no exception. Poltz’s new record sees a return to a heavier format – an unexpected direction as its title suggests. Originally going in to record a folk record, a grunge-rock throwback was born.

“Some people hate it, and other people really hate it,” he laughs. “Some of the songs are too foul and crass to play for everyone; some of the songs are too offensive. If you’re playing to a conservative crowd or little kids, you can’t be singing, ‘I want my fuckin’ house back’ over and over.”

Although he tours solo, The Accident features a full band, and he’ll often recruit musicians last-minute for shows. Perth’s own Malcolm Clark and others often join Poltz as he crosses the country. It was the spontaneous nature of his travels that was the conception of The Accident. Having recorded a few mellow tunes with Swedish producer Lars Goransson, the pair invited a drummer and bassist into the studio for a heavier number, and that soon became the direction of the record. “I don’t know what it is about people from Sweden, but they make good-sounding records; probably because they’re so anal. And they have a weird sense of humour. I think we should bomb their country; we should bomb Sweden.

“In the world today, there’s 70 trillion records made, and out of all those records The Accident is number one. It’s better than anything Led Zeppelin or The Rolling Stones or The Beatles have done. It’s probably the best record ever made,” he laughs. A conversation with Poltz quickly manifests into a series of grade A pull-quotes. In fact, it’d almost be possible to simply run a picture of Poltz surrounded by thought bubbles. “It should be a picture of me in a straight jacket in a looney bin, or pushing a shopping cart down the street with dirty feet and nothing but a shopping cart full of luggage.”