Who were your influences when you started out? Bands like Black Sabbath, Helmet, and Nirvana. There was a lot of good Australian stuff coming out at that time too. Silverchair, You Am I, Spiderbait and Regurgitator were all just starting out, and they really influenced us.
So you were part of a new wave in the Australian music scene in the mid ’90s? Around the same time we started, was when Triple J radio went national and there was a lot more exposure for Australian bands around the country. It opened a lot of doors for a band like Jebediah from WA. All of a sudden they weren’t just being heard in Perth, but all over Australia. That enabled them to tour and become more successful. We were a band from Lismore (Northern NSW) and that allowed us to go out and tour. It was the same for Superjesus, from Adelaide. Triple J gave everyone a leg up.
You guys were the first band to be discovered in Triple J’s ‘Unearthed’ competition. Triple J really seems to be the lifeblood for the youth of country [Australia… Definitely. And it was also the time that the Big Day Out was becoming a phenomenon. They were getting lot of bands out here, like Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Smashing Pumpkins. People were seeing these bands and Aussie bands were there too. It was a good era and it promoted great live music.
How have you been received in the UK and the US? We’ve toured the US and the UK a couple of times. We’ve been to some of the regular haunts where Australians end up in London, like Shepherd’s Bush. It’s a really good experience going outside of Australia. We had a good time, there’s always a lot of Australians so if an Aussie band goes over you’re assured of some crowds.
You guys played the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony last year in Melbourne, but that wasn’t Pat playing guitar, was it? Can you explain what was going on there? I think it’s been well documented by now. We had a stunt guitarist perched on top of the MCG who came down via a flying fox thing. All of a sudden all these pyro-technics were coming out the end of his guitar. It was all supposed to be quite spectacular. Then when he hit the stage all these fireworks went off and Pat would jump out in exactly the same gear, and we’d start playing the song. It’s all pretty funny, but that’s show business. It was a very surreal moment in our career but it was great to be a part of it. You’ve got 80,000 people in the stadium with the cameras rolling and flicking off, it was a real buzz.
You toured the US with metal band Anthrax. What was that like? Yeah, we did a big tour with them. That was great. They’re a legendary metal act and we’re not in their realm in terms of metalness.
Did you gain any new fans from these metal heads? It went down pretty well. We were playing in some town in South Carolina, a pretty redneck town, and we had people yelling “Go home you kangaroo-fu…”. I can’t really repeat it, but they were taunting us.
You’ll be playing the Pyramid Rock Festival this year… We played there a couple of years ago and we did it on the New Year’s Eve night. This year we’re playing the night before. But it’s really cool – people have their tents set up and it’s just a really good vibe. This year we’re playing straight after You Am I. They’re a great band and good friends of ours and will definitely be putting on a great show, so it will be up to us to step up to the plate and play well ourselves.
You’ll also be at the Big Day Out. Can you describe what the atmosphere is like at the BDO? It’s one big party the whole time. There’s always those international bands that you look up to, you know “Look over there it’s the Beastie Boys”. This year I’m a big fan of Rage Against the Machine, so I’ll be catching them for sure. It only goes for a couple of weeks but afterwards you’re absolutely stuffed. Grinspoon play the sold out Pyramid Rock Festival on Phillip Island, Victoria, from 29 December-1 January.