The Screaming Jets proudly announce a national tour, ROCK RADIO RIOT, with rock contemporaries and special guests, Boom Crash Opera. These two Australian radio favourites team up to deliver a powerhouse of high rotation hits in what is sure to be one of the rock events of the year!
The ROCK RADIO RIOT tour will be the only chance to see The Screaming Jets and Boom Crash Opera sharing the stage in the great pub rock venues of Australia. They will be playing all their greatest hits from the late 1980’s and early 1990’s as well as new material and some other Aussie classic rock staples revitalised by the Jets. I had the privilege to speak face to face with Dave Gleeson from The Screaming Jets and Andrew De Silva from Boom Crash Opera.
Has a tour with Boom Crash Opera literally been waiting to happen?
Dave: We did a co-headline tour with The Baby Animals last year which worked really well because people are there to hear a bunch of songs they know and love and between two bands you have enough to cover the whole night. We found out that Boom Crash were available, meeting up backstage at Red Hot Summers, A Day On The Greens and stuff, hanging out and getting to know the guys was pretty easy to choose.
How have you found stepping up in to Boom Crash Opera?
Andrew: It has been one of those things, I got the call Maz who plays drums with Boom Crash. He said mate we’re looking for a singer and we’re looking at you at the moment, would you be interested. I said, I don’t know, we got together in rehearsal room and gave it a bash. It felt really natural, it was great.
Were you ever worried about stepping in to big shoes left by Dale Ryder?
Andrew: It’s great because I didn’t know much, it is from a different scene for me and I just bring my own thing and do what I do but at the same time the songs just sing themselves.
Have the songs changed much since you have been singing them?
Andrew: I think it has, I guess they have, the audiences seem to be getting in to it. I can only do what I can do. That is the one thing that I realise is that the songs are so well written, the band is awesome, I just do my thing, we just realised that it felt natural and I have a lot of respect for the band, they have a lot of respect for me as well and I have a lot of respect for the audiences as well. I know they have been listening to this band for years, at the same time I treat it with a lot of respect but also at the same time I just have to do what I do. I can’t be Dale, I’ve known him for fifteen years myself, so I know what he does and I have sung with him for eight years in another band. There’s a connection there with the band as well even though it still feels relatively new to me, there’s a sense of familiar about the whole thing.
Does it surprise you now that the level of interest is stronger than ever before with both bands?
Dave: I think it is a testament to the fact that there was a great touring scene, there was still that hang over from the seventies and eighties still with plenty of venues to play. There was a touring circuit all around the country and you were able to build up the loyalty with fans who came to the shows, making a connection all those years ago. For us in the Jets back in 2001 when we went off the road there might have been a cooling off with the crowds but I put that down to a lot of the people who got in to the band started having kids, buying their houses and stuff like that. So you come up to now and all those things are done, kids have moved on, house is paid for, people are getting out there to see a band they have a great connection with. It’s up to us, it’s our job description to recreate that connection we had in the first place with them. It’s not that difficult because we’ve continued on even when they were off having kids and stuff.
It must be really cool seeing that generational shift?
Dave: Absolutely, that has made me temper my language a bit as well! If parents are bringing their kids along, you don’t want them thinking this guy is terrible! It certainly inspires you for sure and you don’t want to look like old blokes going through the motions. You want to be up there putting on a show, which is true for both bands, stepping up and bringing something new and a little bit of a different vibe. Crowds are coming along and you notice cross over crowds with what you’re doing now, what you did before and all that. It is a testament to the songs and if you have crap throw away songs, like Rat Cat trying to sing Don’t Go Now… who cares!
Is there a friendly rivalry of sorts on this tour?
Dave: There was a rivalry in the beginning because back in 1987 or 1988 my first band supported Boom Crash at The Zoo on the Central Coast, New South Wales. I walked upstairs and there’s my missus engaging in conversation with the guys in the band, it’s like hang on a minute! There’s a bit of what are you doing but over the last six or seven years we all have been hanging out back stage at A Day On The Greens and those big put together concerts having a good ‘ole time.
Will you arm wrestle or flip a coin to work out who goes on first?
Dave: Ha! Ha! You do get over that ego, in the beginning of anyone’s career it is is very insular like a gang and everyone else is a side show to what you are doing. If you continue on with that attitude to long you end up not doing it any more.
Is it hard getting that balance with the commitments with The Screaming Jets and The Angels?
Dave: Both band’s have the same agent so they never clash to much. Having said that I have a different manager for The Jets and he gets a bit pissed off when I’m off doing stuff for The Angels. Neither band can be on the road the whole time, for me especially, it works perfectly because I record with both bands and there is a different dynamic. With The Jets I’m the boss and with The Angels I’m a subby.
Do you ever forget which band you are in?
Dave: Once or twice! I get pulled up very quickly though, not so much for forgetting the songs, the last thing you want is The Screaming Jets attitude on stage with The Angels.
Are Boom Crash Opera working on new songs?
Andrew: I have put down some vocals on some new tracks so hopefully we’ll get that out just in time for the tour.
Is frustrating the whole nature of recording and releasing music now?
Andrew: It’s really now for the art of making music. I still write and produce songs for people and we always say if you don’t love what you are doing don’t. There’s always live music and this new generation play live but it is a different feel.
Dave: I was reading an article about a bloke who had written a song for Katy Perry or someone like that getting seven to ten million streams and he only made five thousand six hundred dollars for that. When we were starting out in our first bands radio couldn’t wait to get a new song off you to play, they wanted to hear new stuff from local bands but somewhere in the mid nineties that died off and all became very much about record companies were giving them from overseas artists. Through the seventies and eighties they didn’t have to say they needed a twenty percent quota, there would have been seventy percent Australian music getting played on Triple M and stations like that because they were nurturing bands and encouraging bands to bring stuff out. Now it is a different playing field.
Gotcha Covered is really cool, was that a tough job to get to the final eleven or twelve songs?
Dave: We had a long list, at first, next year is going to be our thirtieth anniversary and we’re gearing up for that with a new album coming out for that but I wanted to do a bit of a stop gap thing. What about we cobble together all the covers we have done over the years, that was derided as a terrible idea then we came up with a list of Australian songs. The sky is the limit for that thing for the next five or six years and it is good for live, giving people something a little bit different. Obviously we’ll still play The Jets songs we know and love, it is a tip of the band to those who have influenced us.
Jamming Guitar Band must have been great?
Dave: We got some great players in, Stewy Fraser from Noiseworks who is recovering from cancer, had a lung removed and to have him come in to the studio, he’s still got it. Dave Leslie was involved, Rick Brewster played on it as well and when our producer Steve Jones sent it to us it was fourteen minutes long. . I said to him is that you I can hear screaming in the background make it stop, make it stop. There’s like eight middle bars all the way through just looped and a new guitarist every eight bars, Timmy Henwood is on it, a whole cast of thousands. It is great fun doing stuff like that.
Is CDB still chugging away in the background?
Andrew: We’re signed to Warners and we did an album last year of nineties R&B covers, all our heroes R. Kelly, Bobby Brown, Boyz II Men. That’s another thing to on the R&B side there’s a whole resurgence of nineties R&B. Who would have thought? I think what happens to music from that era is that it’s attached to heart strings because you realise time has passed and you’re not going to get that back. After Prince had passed people start thinking whether there will be another Prince, probably not. That’s why heart strings are attached to music.
Dave: As we were talking before there is a positivity to the hip-hop of those times and now it’s just scary and dark. None of it is about enjoying life so much, just having lots of stuff. It’s a bit of a golden time for hip-hop as well.
Andrew: You can’t take away what bands like us do, it is what it is. We’re used to performing, just entertain. It wasn’t about having a screen behind us, now it is so much about the production, which is great and I love it but that’s certainly something we’ve had to learn to do.
Thirty years of The Screaming Jets is hard to believe?
Dave: Yeah! Yeah! It’s more good luck than good management!
Interview by Rob Lyon
Be sure to catch The Screaming Jets and Boom Crash Opera at The Gov if you can still nab a ticket or one of the remaining dates on the tour…