“Edinburgh, Galway, Nashville, Ulladulla / Breakin’ my heart / In four places”
The lines are from The Waterboy, released today via Caroline Australia, the first taste of new music from You Am I’s forthcoming 11th studio album. You Am I fans know how many great songs Tim Rogers has written since the band released their debut album Sound As Ever in 1993. This one is right up there with them.
The Waterboy is a song about inspiration, being lifted up by a song, wondering if and how there was still a way to find a way forward in music. The conclusion is there for all to hear in the song – “Ventricle, aorta, muscle and blood / Building a heart in four places”.
Rogers says: “On the Waterboys album Modern Blues I found a Mike Scott song called I Can See Elvis. It just killed me, I couldn’t stop listening to it. Mike is a big-hearted person, he really puts it all out there and I like that. I was on the New South Wales south coast listening to a Scottish guy living in Ireland singing about Elvis and that led to the four places line.”
Rogers sent the song to You Am I guitarist Davey Lane, who says: “The first time I heard the song it hit me right in the guts. It packs such an emotional punch.”
The band was separated by the pandemic, with Lane and Rogers in Melbourne and bassist Andy Kent and drummer Russell Hopkinson in Sydney. They couldn’t meet so they moved things forward the only way they could. Rogers and Lane recorded a demo of The Waterboy in Melbourne to send to their bandmates.
Kent and Hopkinson recorded parts in a Sydney studio and what they sent back was like a shot of adrenaline. Rogers says: “What they did was very different to what I had imagined for the song and made it so much better.”
He continues, “The Waterboy began as a folk tune set to fingerpicking but when peak “pining” for our band hit I imagined being in a room together and changed the whole feel of the toon. Typically, what Russ, Davey and AK came back with eviscerated all my daydreamin’s and replaced them with jumpin round the room enthusiasms.”
With their Enmore Theatre, Sydney show confirmed for Thursday April 15, the band is understandably excited about playing live again, after a Covid induced layoff of some 18 months or more. As Rogers says, “Who wants solo fingerpickin when you have thunderous friends? Not this ol’ showgirl. I felt my heart being replaced. In all four places. 3000 plus shows and there’s a lotta memories but the reason you wake up is for the NEXT one. I’ve day dreamt and night tussled thinking about this show in ways that have ruined three sets of linen. We wanna be together. Come join the band.”
Andy Kent concurs: “The Enmore Theatre stage holds some very special memories for us as a band. So to be able to put 2020 well behind us all and step back out there to share a night of loud rock and roll with our strong, faithful and beautiful audience is something we are very much looking forward to. GBTFLoU!”
And with the prospect of their new album dropping later this year, Hopkinson says: “There is a reason why this band has been together for a long time and it’s not just because we are really good friends. We’re resilient to the things that go on outside the band, for better or worse.
“There was an idea that we would be able to be together at some point to finish the record. Fate had a way of making sure that didn’t happen. Yet we’ve made an album since the last time we were all together in a room, made the best of the situation to create this piece of art.
“It has been a cathartic experience which is what we all needed after a year when those have been few and far between if you are a touring musician.”
You Am I live at Enmore Theatre, Sydney – Thursday April 15