There’s a buzz in the air. Following the release of their sold out 7″ singles boxset and run of five nights of hometown celebrations at La La La’s in Wollongong just before Xmas, Tumbleweed are back in Adelaide to celebrate their thirtieth anniversary. building on the first ever vinyl releases of two of their classic albums – 1996’s Top 10 effort Galactaphonic and their most recent album, 2013’s Sounds From The Other Side – and for the first time ever, the complete digital availability of their entire catalogue. Hi Fi Way speaks to Richie Lewis about Tumbleweed’s thirtieth anniversary.
Can you believe it is the thirtieth anniversary for Tumbleweed?
Yeah, it has gone quick in some respect, like life does when you look back and think far out it is thirty years, it seems like yesterday but other bits seem like it has been forever. It is good that we have gotten to a place after much ups and downs and riding that roller coaster of life, we’ve learnt how to respect each others individuality and differences and allow that to have happened within a group. It takes a while for that to happen, personally it is the best place we have ever been where we all get a long and enjoy playing music together. It seems like our escape from reality these days as opposed to being our reality.
As far as lows has the last couple of years navigating your way through Covid been challenging?
It has been a weird couple of years with the Covid thing, it has changed and re-prioritised what is important in their lives. There is a silver lining to that in a way where we are in a different place to most bands new territories, for us we all have our day jobs and our families, it has been nice spending time at home. It has been nice having the quiet time to write and rediscover being creative. I think we have all enjoyed that aspect of it. We had to cancel our thirty year tour. There has been issues where you put a lot of work in to something then at then at the last minute you have to pull the plug on it. That is frustrating but a lot of other people have been in worse positions than us so I’m grateful that we have been in that position to whether that storm.
Celebrating a milestone such as this do you get nostalgic especially looking back at those Big Day Outs in the nineties?
It was a wonderful time, I do get a bit nostalgic. Tumbleweed is guilty of living in the past and we have been guilty Spring Loaded tours with a whole big bunch of nineties bands. As well as doing it, it is wonderful catching up with a lot of old friends who were riding that wave of bands with us in the nineties. Part of it was that we were young and standing precipe of our lives with a million infinite possibilities in front of us which is exciting and you also have this energy that you’re making your life, you’re manifesting it as you go, you make it up as you go. That part of youthfulness is amazing. There’s that and it was a time of change and there was this waking up youth at the same time. It was an exciting thing to be a part of and drawn in to it. We felt like we were the centre of the universe and we had a thought, a dream or an aspiration and you just made it happen. It was a wonderful time and that’s a part of the longevity of being in it for thirty years later is the fact that when you are on the stage performing you go right back to that time again. It’s like that timeless moment that exists in the present and it is hard to give up, that’s the thing that is so addictive about it and what’s contributed to us making it to thirty. It is a hard thing to give up.
Is that the secret to longevity that you are all close mates and have lives outside of the band?
We are great mates but we have had our ups and downs. I think we started this journey with a unified vision and put a lot of energy in to it like a twenty four seven thing. We lived it and dreamed it and I think when you put that effort in to something as a collective you always have this connection with those people. Even in out ten year hiatus we were all doing our separate things and not really seeing eye to eye, when we first got back together after that ten years and got back in that jam room, as soon as we started playing again we were enveloped by this familiar feeling. Something that when we did it on our own that we never really achieved no matter who we had playing even in the later the later versions of Tumbleweed.
The ingredients of those five people had something special and Jay is no longer with us but Jamie is in his place, Jamie was one of Jay’s best mates, they did a lot of bass playing together since very early nineties. So Jamie has allowed us to continue on and we were just about broken up. When had broken up when Jay died and it took six months after Kram from Spiderbait rang asking us to play their fifteen year anniversary show at The Corner. I said nah, we’re not really a band anymore as we don’t have a bass player. He said come on it will be really special. He twisted my arm and Jamie was the most obvious guy to ask to be in the band because of his relationship with Jay and he had been playing with Lenny as well. When he came in to the band his personality was so humble and respectful of Jay and his contribution to the band he had this healing affect on us. It made us rediscover ourselves again. We have been enjoying that and enjoy creating with Jamie as well. It has been a trippy road but here we are.
You must be really be happy with the strong interest in all the vinyl reissues literally all sold out now particularly with a younger fan base getting on to this and discovering Tumbleweed?
I’ve a lot of younger fans and we did five shows just before Christmas in Wollongong at La La La’s and lots of younger folk came along to that. It was really cool meeting them and getting an understanding of what they think about music. I suppose music, production and fashion is cyclical and we are in that cycle where people can relate to it again. I was in to sixties music in the nineties, that is really cool. Vinyl, collectors and music fans have always liked, myself included, the idea of this tactile thing you can hold to and look at the artwork, its yours, it’s this physical thing. It makes sense because the world is becoming this fabricated digital mirage and to have something you can hold on to is yours and is a physical thing is awesome. Galactaphonic and Sounds From The Other Side entered the vinyl chart was surprising and cool. Now that we have got our catalogue back it does open up lots of possibilist for re-packing and re-purposing lots of the old stuff in different formats is really exciting.
Will there be another album at some stage?
We are working on it and we have a new single coming out after the tour. We have been working on it on and off over the last couple of years around Covid. When we have a few singles we go up and record them. Eventually that will be a collection of more than ten songs and will be compiled as an album. So I see it as a very real possibility.
Are you looking forward to tonight’s show at The Gov?
Love The Gov! It will be greatest hits and memories, we having been rehearsing and tried to put in some other songs from the early albums we don’t often do just to break things up a little bit. It is a best of right up to Shadowland, our last single, so it is a bit of everything. A mixed bag! The world needs to break free and have some fun again after the last couple of years, we’re so caught up in negativity and are magnetised to it. It would be nice to have a little more focus on positivity, fun and reckless abandon. Who cares! We’re all going to die one day, that’s not a secret, I don’t why we just don’t get out there and have some fun.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Tumbleweed at The Gov on Sunday 12 June. Tickets from at The Gov…