Highly evolved

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - CAMERON ADAMS

AT 33, Craig Ni­cholls, of Syd­ney rock band The Vines, hopes he’s reached a new level of ma­tu­rity.

Once upon a time an an­grier Vines re­leased a song called FTW ( F---The World). It didn’t get too much ra­dio at­ten­tion back in 2003.

Eight years later, Ni­cholls has re­vis­ited the song’s theme for the band’s fifth al­bum, Fu­ture Prim­i­tive. This time it’s called Screw The World.

‘‘ We’re try­ing to be more ma­ture,’’ Ni­cholls says. ‘‘ We’re try­ing to say we still don’t care about any­thing, but maybe we’re not go­ing to swear about it now. This one we’re hop­ing to get played on the ra­dio. There’s too many bleeps in FTW, so many F words.

‘‘ There’s no swearing at all on this al­bum, I think. Al­though those lan­guage warn­ing stick­ers look re­ally cool.’’

The al­bum is the fourth se­quel in the Au­tumn Shade se­ries, AS4. ‘‘ Af­ter the last one I said that’d be it. It’s get­ting out of con­trol now, for the third and fourth ones I just thought it’d be cool to use the same ti­tle,’’ Ni­cholls says.

There is one ma­jor change on the band’s fifth al­bum, which is The Vines’ first on a world­wide deal with Sony.

Hip-hop head Chris Colonna of the Bum­ble­beez is in the pro­ducer’s seat, of­fer­ing some sonic up­dates.

‘‘ We messed around with the songs more,’’ gui­tarist Brad Heald says. ‘‘ There was more post pro­duc­tion than usual. Chris had the synth knowl­edge to make some crazy noises.’’

‘‘ It’s nice to add some strange things,’’ Ni­cholls adds, ‘‘ but you can still hear the songs.’’

Ni­cholls is no stranger to strange­ness. For a while The Vines were more fa­mous for not play­ing – aborted gigs, can­celled shows – than play­ing.

Af­ter Ni­cholls was di­ag­nosed with Asperger’s syn­drome, ail­ing health meant tour­ing be­come spo­radic. But af­ter a Big Day Out jaunt this year, Ni­cholls in­sists he’s ready to tour.

‘‘ I feel great, re­ally pos­i­tive,’’ he says. ‘‘ When we did the first two al­bums [ Highly Evolved and Win­ning Days], we were play­ing so much – when you’re do­ing so many shows they can’t all be great and at times it didn’t feel right.

‘‘ You en­ter­tain your­self, you end up crawled up in the cor­ner of the stage scream­ing when you’re meant to be do­ing a bal­lad. For me as the singer, I’m get­ting bet­ter at get­ting the words across.’’

The car-crash fac­tor at gigs is also ab­sent. ‘‘ Most peo­ple are there for the right rea­sons,’’ Heald says.

Ni­cholls adds: ‘‘ I hope they don’t want to see some­thing bad. But you can’t prom­ise to be per­fect.’’

With the band back in form, they’re keen to re­claim the suc­cess they had in the UK and US.

‘‘ I have been boast­ing about that,’’ Ni­cholls says. ‘‘ We played the MTV Awards in Amer­ica. That was a crazy night. We did the [ US] Rolling Stone cover, I was brag­ging that I don’t think there’s been an Aus­tralian band on there since us. We feel like we opened some doors.’’

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