Post-grunge Aussie rockers, Grinspoon have today announced a 20th Anniversary deluxe edition of the album that kickstarted their long-standing music career, Guide To Better Living, alongside an epic 27-date national tour of Australia, playing the album cover to cover for fans throughout June, July, August and September.
It’s 1995. A band from Lismore named Grinspoon (named after Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr Lester Grinspoon who supported the medicinal use of marijuana) submitted the track, Sickfest to triple j’s Unearthed national band comp in its inaugural year. To everyone’s amazement, they won – and for the next two months the song was the station’s number one request. Fast forward to September 1997, signed to Universal Music’s Grudge imprint, Grinspoon released their debut album, Guide To Better Living.
Going on to boast double-platinum accrediation on the back of five singles; Pedestrian, DC×3, Repeat, Just Ace and Don’t Go Away – Guide To Better Living (GTBL) spent 36 weeks in the ARIA Top 50. The album stands now as a similar coming of age as The Angels’ Face to Face, Cold Chisel’s East and Midnight Oil’s 10, 9, 8… were at the time. Since then, it’s been a rolling success and yeah, occasionally, excess story with certified sales of well over half a million, seven albums all very familiar with the Top Ten, ARIA Awards, 13 ARIA nominations, more than 1,000 gigs, tens of thousands of international frequent flyer miles, 7 appearances at the Big Day Out as well as slots at Homebake, Falls Festival, Splendour in the Grass, an NRL Grand Final and a Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony in Melbourne.
Twenty years later – with the album chalking up a double decade of acclaim – Grinspoon are emerging from hiatus to celebrate their debut album with the Guide To Better Living tour. Supported nationally by Hockey Dad, they’ll beplaying the album cover to cover across June-September 2017, alongside a selection of later favourites from their albums that followed. The tour takes in 27 dates across the nation – the first tour of such scale since the band went on hiatus in 2013, broken only for a support slot on Cold Chisel’s Perfect Crime tour of Australia in 2015.
Grinspoon is Phil Jamieson on vocals, Pat Davern on guitar, Joe Hansen on bass and Kristian Hopes on drums.
It was my pleasure to interview Joe from Grinspoon. There is something sweet about interviewing a band whose music has made a difference in my life. I fear I met my match in extreme sarcasm in Joe!
My first question was something I wondered about when bands celebrate long term anniversaries.
Joe, was this 20th anniversary a thing that was on your bucket list or was it a light bulb moment to decide to celebrate this with a tour?
When we wrote the album 20 years ago we said let’s do a reunion tour in 20 years, NO, we did not do that. We had done a run with Cold Chisel and we then we had a break and got talking about what we’re going to do next. I don’t know who came up with it but with the 20th anniversary we decided to puta tour together for that. It just seemed like the right thing to do. We didn’t want to go back into writing songs like the album cycle, we didn’t think we were ready for that. Individually, and then it’s good to have a break but the urge to get on stage and feel that energy and connect with the audience, we have that in our system after we’ve been doing it for so long. I feel a bit hollow without it especially when you see really awesome band’s onstage and see the fun that they are having, We though yeah let’s do it! So I guess it just felt like an good idea and we said yeah let’s do that.
I will be heading to the Village Green to catch you guys, where I must say with be nostalgic for me saw way too many bands to say back when I was meant to be studying at Uni. (both laughing) I remember seeing you guys at Festival Hall in the late 90’s, hope you bring as much enjoyment this time that I had back then. I have so many fond memories.
Well, it is going to be good because we are playing these songs, I mean I have not started rehearsing yet but I have been familiarising myself with the material again and just listening to the songs, there are few with a bit of teenage angst in Phil, at the time and the energy on stage, and I want to get up there and harness a bit of that. Phil was 19 when we were doing this record and there is a bit of difference between him back in those days and him now, I’m not sure if this is a good difference! (both laughing) He was a teenager, he was on fire! I am really looking forward to seeing him harness a bit of that is teenage self and just go for it. Some of the songs are pretty intense so it will be good! We are not going to stand up there just going through the motions, this has our full commitment for sure.
Did you have a tiny bit of doubt in your mind that people had forgotten you? (Joe laughing)
To be honest we know that we have a pretty good fan base but yeah you don’t know how people are going to respond necessarily and we were reasonably confident that it wouldn’t go terrible, it properly has exceeded expectations the ticket sales at the moment.
You guys went on a 4 year hiatus to do some “Adult Stuff” can you tell us if you feeling more mature now? (Joe laughing again)
Much more mature, I’ve been drinking Earl Grey and play rumikub for the last four years. (both laughing) I’m feeling very mature and learned.
What adult stuff did you get up too?
In all seriousness we just need to get our lives in order a little bit, we stabilised what was going on at home as well. We got a point when we needed to get out of the bubble of touring all the time. I guess it was just boring stuff that we did. Getting our lives away from music to get more stable I guess.
You did pretty well to get that all done in four years!
(both laughing) Yeah I would not say that we’d finished! I guess we just wanted to get re -acquainted with the wife and kids and see where we lived ha ha.
You mentioned before that you are reacquainting yourself with the material, I was wondering are you in training right now to improve your fitness levels to perform or have you always kept super fit?
(Joe laughs) Yeah! I am super fit so I don’t need to do that ( tongue in cheek ) I think the only training that I need to do is to do more drinking and stay up later! Chris, our drummer has got himself into drum camp and has his studio setup to do heaps and heaps of drumming and stuff like that. He has not played a lot of drums in the break so he is going to the gym and practising for hours and hours and hours on end.
So 20 years ago things were way different than they are now, esp with the explosion of social media. Does the band personally run your social media?
Yes, it is different people for different platforms. I think Phil does our Facebook, he won’t give us the password for it. (laughing)
It does seem very Phil orientated.
I am not surprised. Everything in this band is Phil orientated! We are happy for him to do that and Pat does our instagram.
I see that you reply a lot, is there one person who concentrates on social media or is that a whole group thing?
I read some of your facebook comments and many people commented that Grinspoon was their first ever concert back when they were younger. Do you think the crowd will be the same age as us, in our 40’s?
I think will be mixed, I think there are a lot of young people that got into a Grinspoon in the 2000’s. It is going to be interesting really. I guess we will see.
OK, let’s wrap this interview up one more question. Is there one thing about touring that you’re nervous about?
Yes, sharing a room with Phil!
No I am not really, I’m not nervous more excited really.
Thanks Joe, this has been a very enjoyable interview. I look forward into seeing you live.
No worries! Thank you Jen for the laughs!
GUIDE TO BETTER LIVING NATIONAL TOUR DATESPresented by TEG LIVE and Triple MFRI 23 JUN | KAY ST ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX, TRARALGON VIC | 18+FRI 30 JUN | MARGARET COURT ARENA, MELBOURNE, VIC | LIC AASAT 1 JUL | VILLAGE GREEN HOTEL, MULGRAVE, VIC | 18+FRI 7 JUL | ENMORE THEATRE, SYDNEY, NSW | LIC AASAT 8 JUL | THE TIVOLI THEATRE, BRISBANE, QLD | 18+SAT 29 JUL | ONE TROPICAL DAY @ DARWIN SKI CLUB, DARWIN, NT | LIC AA **THU 3 AUG | THE WOOL EXCHANGE, GEELONG, VIC | 18+FRI 4 AUG | PIER BANDROOM, FRANKSTON, VIC | 18+SAT 5 AUG | GRANADA TAVERN, HOBART, TAS | 18+THU 10 AUG | THE JACK, CAIRNS, QLD | 18+FRI 11 AUG | DALRYMPLE HOTEL, TOWNSVILLE, QLD | 18+SAT 12 AUG | MAGNUMS, AIRLIE BEACH, QLD | 18+THU 17 AUG | VILLA NOOSA, NOOSAVILLE, QLD | 18+FRI 18 AUG | REDLAND BAY HOTEL, REDLAND BAY, QLD | 18+SAT 19 AUG | SHAKA FEST – MIAMI TAVERN, GOLD COAST, QLD | 18+ **THU 24 AUG | DUNSBOROUGH TAVERN, DUNSBOROUGH, WA | 18+FRI 25 AUG | METRO CITY, PERTH, WA | 18+SAT 26 AUG | ADELAIDE ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE, ADELAIDE, SA | AATHU 31 AUG | THE CAMBRIDGE HOTEL, NEWCASTLE, NSW | 18+FRI 1 SEP | LISMORE CITY HALL , LISMORE, NSW | 18+SAT 2 SEP | RACEHORSE HOTEL, IPSWICH, QLD | 18+THU 14 SEP | THE ENTRANCE LEAGUES CLUB, BATEAU BAY, NSW | 18+FRI 15 SEP | WAVES, WOLLONGONG, NSW | 18+SAT 16 SEP | UC REFECTORY, CANBERRA, ACT | 18+WED 20 SEP | CSU, WAGGA WAGGA, NSW | 18+FRI 22 SEP | BEER DELUXE, ALBURY, NSW | 18+SUN 24 SEP | BATEMANS BAY SOLDIERS CLUB, BATEMANS BAY, NSW | 18+**Hockey Dad not appearingTICKETING INFORMATIONFor further information, head to www.grinspoon.com.au.