The Superloop Adelaide 500 kicks off this week and when the action isn’t on track side the focus will be on the after concerts with Friday night featuring Grinspoon with Sneaky Sound System and The Superjesus. Grinspoon had a massive year in 2019 with the Chemical Hearts tour and talking to Phil Jamieson there’s plenty in store this year to excite the fans.
It must be great for Grinspoon to be headlining the first night of the Superloop Adelaide 500?
It is, it is really cool with a great line up with Sneaky Sound System and The Superjesus as well. We’ve done it before, and I’m going to say Clipsal 500 but that was like a decade ago we did it. Last time we did it the production was massive and was one of the biggest stages of that time that we had ever played on. It was akin to Guns ‘n Roses that it reminded me of. The stage was so high and so wide, so we can’t wait to get back there.
Do you get nervous playing in front of big crowd potentially twenty thousand plus?
I don’t to sound disingenuous but I don’t get nervous. I probably should but I don’t really any more. Some people are more tightly wound like Chris Cheney from The Living End, he’s quite an anxious and nervous guy and by no means am I complacent about it or arrogant but I don’t get nervous. I just get on with it in a way. I know what I’m going to do and I really enjoy it. Sometimes nerves will happen when I’m playing a solo show in front of three people but if there’s lots of people there waving their hands in the air it is fun, we’ve got some good tunes and I feel people will be entertained by it. Short answer is that I don’t get nervous as much as I used to.
Will it be tough topping The Chemical Hearts tour which was epic?
Thank you number one, we did put a lot of work in to that. This will be a little pivot from Chemical Hearts in some ways. That Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre show was to our productions specs, it was our gig and we’re sharing a stage with a bunch of other amazing artists so there will be a little bit of a pivot to what we can achieve. The set will be shorter, the long answer is that it’s just different and it is apples and oranges playing these events as opposed to playing your own show. I don’t really want to think that we’re going to top anything it is just going to be different and I hope it is as entertaining. Now that we are an older band we want to make sure peoples memories staying in tact and are fond, just keeping on continually getting better. I don’t want to say it is going to top it but it will be different, the set will be different, the song choice will be different so it is apples and oranges in some ways.
Do you have a favourite thing to do in Adelaide or spot you like to go when you are here?
I’m actually in Adelaide for a week after I play so I’ll be checking the Fringe and the Festival. I spent quality time in Rads when I was on that theatre run of American Idiot a few years ago. I spent almost a month there and I remember it being really hot. I have a really good relationship with the Harley Davidson dealership there at Harley Heaven so I often get loaned a motorcycle and I go riding in this beautiful state. There’s a bunch of stuff I will be checking out while I’m there but there is always time to go to the Crown & Anchor for a, I think you call them pots or schooners, I forget what it is there, but maybe a cold glass of Coopers Sparkling.
The Chemical Hearts tour was a significant tour for the band. Did you spend much time after thinking about what was achieved for what was a massive rebirth for Grinspoon?
I don’t really reflect, so the answer is no. The long answer is that we’re perpetually trying to think about stuff we can do that makes us excited and reinvigorates us. The last thing that we ever want to do is phone stuff in and be disingenuous as a band. I’m already planning what’s next and 2020 has some really cool surprises in store. I’m excited about it and it is really nice to have that response around the country that people want to come and watch us play after all these years. For us in a way that is a little bit of self reflection but when I’m in gig mode I’m just head down bum up and I’m there, I don’t want to call it a job, to sing and do what I do. We’ve already planned some surprises for the second half of 2020. There’s stuff to hopefully reinvigorate us as performers and a band to go out there and really want it. The worst thing would be for us to go out there and not want to do it and it comes from the wrong place. We’re really conscious that we really want to do it first and foremost.
It must be really heartening that there’s still plenty of love for Grinspoon out there?
It is reassuring and we did take a lot of years off, at least four years and returning with that Guide To Better Living playing that album start to end, realising that we had Hockey Dad supporting us and we had fans that we ten to fifteen years younger than us who have got a lot out of our material which is really heartening which gives you warm fuzzy feels as well. It is great that people are still sticking around but the onus is also on us. I feel a great sense of responsibility to make things are going to get better. I don’t want to be the one letting the team down. I’ll be front and centre jumping around like an idiot at the age of forty two and hopefully people are still on board.
Has there much discussion about new music this year?
Well, the thing about is after recording seven albums you’re done right! You look and think it is a big body of work in some ways. The last record was 2012 some eight years ago. There’s talk and having three song writers in the band means everyone has different ideas about what the perfect album is which is good but also difficult as well. I’m not saying that it’s not going to happen but I am saying it is a bit of a process. I’ve got a bunch of tunes they’ll probably hate and they’ll have a bunch of tunes that I’ll probably hate so we’re pretty hard markers on each other. I guess that’s why we have taken so long. There’s always tunes around but it is a matter of getting the songs on the same page.
Will there ever be a Phil Jamieson solo album. I know Chris Cheney has been talking about it for a while?
I’ve heard Chris Cheney’s solo album, he recorded that ten years ago. I’ve recorded three songs but never have released them. Sometimes you make music for yourself as an artist process. I know I sound like a complete wanker saying that, I’m well aware about how bad that sounds. Sometimes you have to do it and it doesn’t need to be for anyone else’s consumption except your own to see where you are at with your writing. Chris has written some great tunes and I wish he would release them but he doesn’t have to and nor do I. I’m fairly sensitive about material and some of it is so deeply personal I worry about how it might be taken and that’s maybe why they haven’t been released as yet. Maybe I might need to spend more time on the production as I’m no Kevin Parker.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Be sure to catch Grinspoon at the Superloop Adelaide 500 on Friday 21 February with Sneaky Sound System and The Superjesus. Tickets from the Superloop Adelaide 500 website.