Grinspoon are one of Australia’s most loved rock bands. They won Triple J’s Unearthed competition in 1995 with Sickfest and the rest as they say is history.
Seventh album Black Rabbits is a different direction musically for the rockers, with softer lyrics that give listeners a narrative.
Frontman Phil Jamieson says, “It was more because the guys in the band were complaining about my lyrics being a bit obtuse.”
He continues, “I don’t like the obvious in lyrics, so for the people out there that really want to get some sort of meaning out of the song or understand what the hell I am talking about, we’ve made it a bit easier to follow.”
Although, being obtuse certainly hasn’t hurt Grinspoon’s popularity over the years.
“We’re incredibly fortunate that still people come and watch us and clap and dance. That’s a really nice feeling,” says Jamieson.
After six successful albums – “Six sounds kind of crazy, right?” – The recording of Black Rabbits was a more sedate affair for the once Lismore-locals.
“We weren’t allowed to do anything essentially. Except turn up to the studio on time and have our voices warmed up and that in turn ended up being quite a disciplined record, [we’re] pretty proud of it,” explains Jamieson.
“This time we had less fun but the product if you want to call it a product – fuck – is really, really good.”
After almost two decades in the business some might say they’ve earned the right to grow up and change direction, but they haven’t lost their rock’n’roll edge.
“I find that kind of funny when people say to me ‘that’s not very rock’n’roll!’ I’m like ‘how would you know – because I’m in the band!’ laughs Jamieson.
“What I say goes, right? I think I can dictate that now after 18 years surely?”
With Black Rabbits, the four-piece are simply expanding their skillset and making sure “we can ride a bit of pop-rock if we want to,” the response has been “mixed but positive here and there,” says Jamieson.
“The thing about doing seven records is that you can’t actually make memories for people. Guide To Good Living will live in people’s hearts because it was a certain time and because of a certain age they were and you can’t try to replicate that. You just have to try to do your best.”
Modestly Jamieson concludes, “Burt Bacharach just said recently, ‘making music, art or anything is particularly selfish’ and we’re not curing cancer here – we are just writing tunes for our own entertainment and the fact that people like them is a real bonus.” (LL)
Aug 10, Enmore Theatre, 118-132 Enmore Rd, Newtown, $44.80, (02) 9550 3666, enmoretheatre.com.au