Charles Jenkins comes home to perform a stellar night of songs from every stage of his career: From The Mad Turks, to the Icecream Hands, The Zhivagos, Amateur Historians and much more. Brought to life alongside another of Adelaide’s finest Douglas Lee Robertson this promises to be one of the Fringe Festival’s best. The great man himself answers a few questions for Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles.
Do you enjoy coming back to Adelaide when Fringe is on?
I love being in Adelaide when Fringe is on. I’m about to find out what it’s like to be in Adelaide performing when Fringe is on.
Playing a show where you are covering all stages of your career do you find you get nostalgic?
Maybe I am, as thanks to this show I’m playing songs that I would never have considered a few years back. I’m very obsessed with writing new songs, and this show has given me the opportunity to realise, that in a songwriting sense, I’ve done OK over the years – if I do say so myself.
Is it hard remembering how to play some songs?
Some of the third verses have me scratching my head as to their lyrical whereabouts. I had to get onto YouTube to find a performance of a particularly obscure old song, and when I found it, I couldn’t understand what I was singing. So I’ll be mumbling my way through those couplets.
How do you think your music has evolved over time?
Less chords. I tend to use less chords nowadays, and more words. Perhaps it’s de-volved?
Do you have any new music in the works?
Yes a new solo record When I Was On The Moon will be out in a few months. And the Icecream Hands are recording a new album of chart toppers later this year.
Congratulations on the 20th anniversary of the Sweeter Than The Radio, how much are you looking forwards to these shows?
Thanks. I can’t wait to rehearse, play the shows, make another record. To be more precise I’m particularly looking forward to getting in the van and driving around aimlessly endeavouring to find a meal we can all agree on between soundcheck and the gig.
Has fan pressure been an important factor in seeing these shows happening?
There’s not enough fans to build up any significant pressure. We tried to do vinyl a few years back and things went pear shaped, so we figured we’d try again when it got to twenty years, and here we are.
Do you think this might be the start of something more for the Ice Cream Hands?
Yes, I hope so. It feels really good. I’ve played lots of solo gigs for a long time, so I’m looking forward to diving into a drum kit mid-solo, and other such group activities.
Will the rest of Australia get to see the Ice Cream Hands?
We go to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in March, and with any luck we’ll get to Adelaide later in the year. The rest of Australia might have to come to us.
What does the rest of 2019 look like for Charles Jenkins?
It looks good, great thanks. Lots of gigs, and I teach song writing for a living, so I have the best job in the world. I’d also like to learn how to do the Tango, failing that, perhaps the Macarena?
Interview by Rob Lyon
Be sure to catch Charles Jenkins show In Retrospect Glorious: A Charles Jenkins showcase of career highlights at Masonic – Phoenix Room at Gluttony – Masonic Lodge. Tickets from Fringe Tix