Keep­ing the en­ergy alive

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - LIVE 'N' LOUD -

HEE Oh Sees suf­fer from a mu­si­cal form of ADHD. The San Fran­cisco psy­che­delic rock­ers are renowned for their night-af­ternight, raw, pul­sat­ing live per­for­mances and their abil­ity to pump out more al­bums than their own bassist, Petey Dam­mit, can keep track of.

A band that can­not stop mov­ing and will not stop push­ing cre­ative bound­aries, the quar­tet’s grunge-in­fused live shows are an ad­dic­tive and dis­turbingly sat­is­fy­ing mu­si­cal ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘I don’t know where the en­ergy comes from. We just do it,’’ Dam­mit says.

‘‘Peo­ple al­ways ask what our pre-show rit­ual is. We have non-rit­u­als. I am a ner­vous and fid­gety per­son so I just sit in a chair and smoke for a few hours. Af­ter the show I try and find a towel – and do some magic tricks.’’

Thee Oh Sees are three­quar­ters of the way through their 13-date Aus­tralian tour. Af­ter a show in By­ron Bay last night, they play Bris­bane tonight and the Gold Coast to­mor­row night.

Gear­ing up for the April re­lease of al­bum No. 15, Float­ing Cof­fin, Dam­mit says even he has lost track of Thee Oh Sees’ discog­ra­phy.

‘‘Some­times (front­man) John (Dwyer) will yell some­thing out on stage for us to play and I will s--my­self that I might not re­mem­ber the chords,’’ he says.

‘‘I am not sure why we write so much stuff. Maybe bore­dom? What else are we go­ing to do.’’

Thee Oh Sees record all of their ma­te­rial live, a feat Dam­mit de­scribes as chal­leng­ing but re­ward­ing.

‘‘You have to force your­self to do the best take, but you will never be sat­is­fied. It’s nerve-rack­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘You have to pay at­ten­tion and you can’t make a mis­take that will ruin the song – that’s the fun that keeps you on your toes. If it’s a six-minute song and four min­utes in I stuff up, then I am the a--hole.’’

Dam­mit says some of Thee Oh Sees’ older songs are com­pletely dif­fer­ent af­ter five years of live shows.

‘‘For us the songs are never com­plete, they are al­ways grow­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant not to run out of cre­ative juice. It keeps you on your toes.

‘‘I can’t imag­ine how some­one like Jimmy Buf­fett plays Mar­gar­i­taville a mil­lion times the same way.’’

Dam­mit says be­ing based in San Fran­sisco keeps the in­spi­ra­tion flow­ing.

‘‘There’s a free­dom to do what you want to do. As long as you’re not be­ing vi­o­lent, you can get away with any­thing,’’ he says.

‘‘The at­ti­tude and lib­er­al­ism of this city al­lows you to be more cre­ative.’’

play The Zoo, in Bris­bane, tonight with Per Pur­pose and Else­where Bar, in Surfers Par­adise, to­mor­row night with The Ot­tomans.

Dy­namic San Fran­cisco psy­che­delic rock­ers Thee Oh Sees.

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