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.’’