The Screaming Jets’ re-loaded thirtieth anniversary All For One tour is proving to be a huge hit with fans. This July to October, The Screaming Jets will celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of their ground breaking rock album, All For One with a take-no-prisoners, massive rock tour as they perform it live in its entirety for the very first time! The tour will kicks off this Thursday at The Gov in Adelaide, travelling across the country. Hi Fi Way speaks to Dave Gleeson about the album that started it all and the tour.
Can you believe it’s thirty years of All for One?
No, I can’t. Well, you know, part of me can. My body probably can. It’s certainly something that you never anticipate when you’re twenty-two or whatever and you think, “I’ll be doing this thirty years from now.” So yeah, it’s unreal.
Do you remember the excitement and the build up to that release back in the day?
Oh yeah, I do. It was everything we did. Everything was focused on. We were doing supports with bands like The Choirboys, the Divinyls and The Radiators. When we recorded the album, we were actually doing gigs in between. So we did a couple days in the studio and then we did a few gigs. It took us eleven days, and I remember it. It was all just go, go, go, and everything was geared up to get the album out. There were a few fights between the record company and the band and stuff, but it was good.
What were some of the highlights particularly around the release? Do you remember any sort of particular gigs or any moments that still stick with you, even today?
The thing I most vividly remember is the day that the record came out. It sold really well very quickly, and I think it went into the charts in the top ten or something like that. We had a car called The Pig, which was parked out in front of our apartment, and we were up on the second floor. Then for some reason, we just started destroying The Pig. So pretty well wrote off the car in the street in the front of our place, throwing weights, like twenty-kilo weights through the windows and our manager was smashing the front windscreen with his briefcase.
Anyway, the boys all went to the pub, and I was waiting on a phone call, and next thing the police came along and said, “Mate, is that your car out the front?” I go, “Oh yeah, that’s our car, mate.” He goes, “What’s going on?” I go, “Oh, we just got into the charts.” And he said, “Well, you can’t do that.” And I go, “Oh, we weren’t driving it,” and he goes, “Yeah, but you can’t just wreck a car in the street.” Then about two minutes later he looked at me and he said, “Are you Anthony Gleeson’s brother?” Anthony was my brother who was a policeman at the time, and we kind of got off. Got told we had to move the car, but!
Must have been so cool to have a bit of extra change in your pocket at that time as well, with your first big release?
Obviously, the crowds started getting bigger, we were playing really big crowds. We did a huge draw on our own, and then pretty soon after that tour finished, we went straight overseas and started on the trail over there.
In terms of re-recording the album, did you talk as a group about what you were going to do with it and how you would go about it?
Well, there’s a bunch of songs that we play obviously in the set to this day and we’ve played them for thirty years, Better and Shine On and No Point and Stop the World we still play. So most of the songs we were pretty true to the original recording. We were reinventing the wheel and we knew that the people loved the album the way it was. But there’s a couple of songs like Come On that didn’t have a lead break in it at the start, which when we first recorded it, but it’s kind of grown to have one over the years playing it live. Shine On as well, has grown into this monster. Most of the others, we tried to stay pretty true to the original recording.
Do you think the most die-hard of fans will notice much difference when they play it?
I think people are going to listen with intent and obviously people get better at playing their instruments over the years. I mean, we were all twenty-two and twenty when we recorded that album, so obviously playing is going to be a little different. Look, I don’t think people think we’re trying to supersede the original album. I think we’re just paying homage to it.
Do you think you feel more satisfied with making those kind of adjustments to the songs you mentioned listening to it back now?
It’s just kind of how it feels after doing it live for so long. The songs obviously have to grow over time, not even through forcing it, they get their own little quirks. I think of vocals differently now. I go, oh, wow, it means a different thing to me now sometimes, some of the stuff I sing. It was always an exercise in just putting this band, we’re a great unit, we play unreal together. Well, I hope we do. I just think it’s a nice kind of thing to have in your collection to round it out.
Was it important to reconnect and have the original producer involved as part of this process as well?
Yeah, Steve has been an integral part. Obviously he was the producer on the first two albums, which are my favourite albums of that period, and then he came back for the fourth album. We were going through membership changes, so it’s a very funny dynamic, as I’m sure you’ve spoken a lot to bands, and things go awry, relationships sour and stuff like that. To have Steve back on board is amazing. He’s the person that’s given our music kind of the little quirks and twists that I love about it. So yeah, it’s great to work with him.
It must be cool to have coloured vinyl out as well?
I’ve been jealous for about two years going into JB and seeing the vinyl collection just getting bigger and bigger, and I’m like, “I want to see a Jets album,” because when All for One came out on, it wasn’t a massive vinyl run even in the beginning. Because CD’s had taken over everything. I’ve got vinyl singles and stuff like that, but yeah, to be able to walk into JB and see The Jets in the vinyl rack is very gratifying. I think all the fans will be stoked about it. It’s not like, as I said, we’re not reinventing the wheel, but I think the fans are going to be as happy as I am to know that they can go and there’ll be a Jets album in there. Hopefully we’ll be doing a next version of Tear of Thought in a couple years. That’ll be after our next studio album comes out.
With the tour coming up, obviously there will be a lot of excitement building up. Are you looking to play the album start to end, or are you it up a little bit?
Yeah, we were just talking about that. I reckon start to finish is the way to go. I mean, it’s obviously not a new thing. Bands have started doing it probably five or ten years ago, but I just think it’s the best way to go is get out there and play the album start to finish, because it kind of clicks that thing in people’s minds. You know what song’s coming up on your favourite album, you know what’s next. You know that We Will Rock You is going to get straight into We Are the Champions. I think that’s the way we’re going to do it and then we’ll play a big set of all the other songs that aren’t on the album.
Having not played or tour much does the band feel rejuvenated and ready to go again?
I think there’s not many of us in the industry now who will go looking a gift horse in the mouth or taking anything for granted. My wife said to me the other day, “You’ve got this gap in the dates. They want you to do this.” And I’ll go, “Well, I’ll do it.” I’m like, “I’m never turning a gig down again.”
You mentioned a little bit earlier, a new album at some stage. That sounds exciting?
We’ve got a few songs in the can. Well, one song fully in the can. We’ve got about five that Cam, our drummer, put tracks down to while we were doing this re-record. That’s what we’re working towards next year will be the new album and just keep rolling on. I mean, obviously hitting milestones is good, but we’ve still got mountains to conquer. We’ve still got people to prove to that we are the best rock band in the world.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch The Screaming Jets on the following dates…