One of Australia’s most cherished bands, The Badloves, will hit The Gov on Sunday for their vinyl release tour. The local lads will also be performing at venues across the country and at one of Melbourne’s much-loved live music institutions.
The Badloves became a household name in the ’90s with their debut album Get On Board. It spent a massive 69 weeks in the charts, peaked at No. 5, and went on to achieved double-platinum sales. The critically acclaimed album delivered four hit singles: Lost, Memphis, I Remember, and Green Limousine. The band then went on to be nominated for five ARIA Awards – Album of The Year, Single of The Year (Lost), Breakthrough Artist – Album, Breakthrough Artist – Single (Lost), and Best New Talent. The band secured two awards for Breakthrough Artist – Album and Breakthrough Artist – Single. Michael Spiby talks to Hi Fi Way about how Warner Music will be releasing Get On Board on vinyl and as a digital deluxe that will include unreleased tracks from their 1993 Triple J Live At The Wireless session.
must be great to be back out on tour?
It is quite a novel concept for us because like everyone else it is a little bit nervy as the border gates keep popping up and down all the time. We are hoping to squeeze under them and not get caught somewhere. We’ve forged ahead with these dates all around the country thinking let’s just do it and see how we fare.
Was the last twelve months pretty much pack up and go fishing considering the life blood of the band is touring?
It is, to be honest we made up a lot of ground studio wise, song writing especially. Like so many people having to stay in confines you do a lot of soul searching, stock taking and all those sorts of things. Apart from the obvious fact that it is quite tragic for a lot of people, it was quite valuable for us to get things in order.
Have you ever had that luxury of time to just be able to write songs?
So often you are under the pump and do these things on the fly, that seems to be the way it is because there is not a lot of time. I think our second album way back when, that happened from conception through to release was something crazy like six weeks. We had no songs, we had six weeks off tour and went to write some songs. Then we recorded them straight away and released with that turnaround of six weeks which was phenomenal as we were in good form as well. This time I was scratching my head thinking how the hell do I do this with no timeframes, open ended and just indulged getting in to a routine of writing certain hours of the day everyday.
Were you happy with the songs that you were writing?
To me I feel like we are pushing our boundaries a bit, exploring to anyone else because the basic idea of it is people in a room playing and recording it. It probably still sounds like us even though some of the players have been through a revolving door over the years. The baton has been passed fairly smoothly from player to player and the same concept and same recipe is still there. From an audience point of view it may not sound all that different, for us we think we are on brave new ground but probably not.
Does anything in particular influence influence your song writing?
I find that I’m a lot fussier as a writer than I used to be, I would go at anything and see what happens. I have the same process where in the morning or whenever ideas come to me I just take dictation and then decide if I like it later on. I just write everything and anything that comes along in my head and then peg it to a project when I have a sane mind later in the day. That works for me, the ideas flow much more quickly these days and it isn’t a logical or conscious process. It’s just make way and let the ideas come and they come at the most inappropriate times quite often. I feel like I’m pursued by ideas and it is up to me to deal with them or bat them off or whatever the hell is going to happen to them. I don’t question it any more.
Do the songs naturally gravitate to The Badloves or another project?
Not at all, I just consider it as ideas present themselves and then jump on the spark of something exciting and going in a different direction than what you were before. You’re just making mud pies, I taught song writing for a short spell there and it was a hard process because I had to stop and look at my own process. So much of it is out of your conscious, it is not a tool kit or a craft, I don’t know what it is. The only thing I know is stay out of the way and run with whatever it is then later on, a day or two later go that could be a Badloves song. I’m much happier in that space of not making decisions when the ideas come, just deal with the ideas.
It must be a great feeling as well to see Get Onboard released on vinyl and continuing to find new fans all the time?
Who would have thought? I had given up on vinyl a long time ago, even trying to find the masters for a while was really tricky. I thought the masters would be degrading and never thought we would be able to press that to vinyl and sure enough Warner Music Australia took the catalogue over from Mushroom Records thinking along the same lines with a reinvigorated line up with the label they thought it should come out on vinyl which is absolutely fantastic.
Was there an unboxing moment when you got your copy?
There was, a bit of a lonely moment, I have a beautiful old 60s record player and I got the test pressing and I put it on and heard the album like I had never heard it before. I’d imagine most people don’t listen to the records and quite often you’re glad to see the back of them. I put it on and had a quiet moment going wow! I can’t believe what I am hearing and it seemed that we knew what we were doing back then. The other funny thing was that I heard the songs we think we are playing true to the original and we are playing nothing like those things. They had just morphed and evolved over the years and we thought we were true to the original. We are miles away from it and we had to learn the songs again.
Do you reflect on how important an album that was to a lot of people?
To be honest never, but I am always surprised to hear that and it is wonderful because we worked really hard on that album. We were left to our own devices and I loved the record label Mushroom because they were amazing and let us do what we wanted which was foolish but low budget, we really had to work hard at that record. Still, I’m surprised about the impact that it had and the fact it is meaningful for anyone is amazing. That is an exotic concept to me even to this day and I’m surprised to hear that these songs meant something to them. This time round we are more aware of the fact that we have some very loyal supporters and that carries some responsibility. First time round we were just raging and pillaging being completely selfish and not aware of people paying attention. This time around it is a different feeling, we get to meet some people that have been listening to the music for many years, that is a bizarre thing, like an extended school reunion.
Will we see more of The Badloves as things start to open up?
Yeah I reckon so, we have always been a hard working band. We are pushing ahead anyway, live at Festival Hall will be released on vinyl and we have a whole new album sitting in the pipe waiting for the finishing touches and should be released in Spring as well. We don’t have a choice, there is so much stuff backed up waiting for releases, we’re obliged to play live to keep it fresh.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch The Badloves at The Gov on Sunday 18 April. Tickets from The Gov…