Live ’n’ loud: Spi­der­bait find a whole new au­di­ence ...............

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY CONTENTS - – KATHY McCABE

OLDER, wiser and back to­gether af­ter eight years. Ac­tu­ally, only two of those de­scrip­tions are true of the re­booted Spi­der­bait, as ev­i­denced by singing drum­mer Kram’s dash into the ocean mid-set at the re­cent V8s race car­ni­val on the Gold Coast.

The ir­rev­er­ent rock trio re­lease their self-ti­tled come­back al­bum to­mor­row af­ter a painstak­ing three years mak­ing it. Dur­ing its sneak live pre­view at the V8s event, Kram de­cided it was time to show the pun­ters he was as rock star as ever.

‘‘When I saw the stage was on the beach, I de­cided I was go­ing in the ocean. As soon as you ar­rive at a gig like that, all the in­tri­cate cre­ativ­ity goes out the win­dow and it’s just about run­ning into the surf fully clothed,’’ he says.

‘‘Halfway through Black Betty, I got off the kit and ran out into the ocean and dove in and then the crowd all ran to­wards the ocean and the se­cu­rity are yelling: ‘What are you do­ing?’ I had guys hug­ging me, girls hug­ging me. You can’t just sit there and play your songs any more and I love that part of big rock shows. It’s theatre.’’

Spi­der­bait, with You Am I, The Liv­ing End, Tum­ble­weed and Re­gur­gi­ta­tor, are the sur­vivors of that hal­cyon ’90s era when al­ter­na­tive rock be­came the main­stream in Aus­tralia. As their 25th an­niver­sary looms next year, the ’Bait have be­come one of those rite-of­pas­sage bands that par­ents and older sib­lings rev­er­ently pass on to the next gen­er­a­tion of fans.

Kram and his band mates Janet English and Whitt have no­ticed the change in their au­di­ence when play­ing the oc­ca­sional gig af­ter tak­ing time out for life and solo projects fol­low­ing the Tonight Al­right al­bum tour in 2004.

‘‘For some rea­son, there re­ally is such a broad range of ages now. I look down at the front rows and it’s all these teen girls in the front row,’’ he says. ‘‘That’s awe­some.

‘‘A rite of pas­sage is a good way to de­scribe it. It’s like we have be­come part of the fab­ric of Aus­tralian mu­sic cul­ture and we are as much caught up in that as the kid who is hear­ing us for the first time.’’

Many of those kids may have fallen in love with the ’Bait cour­tesy of their barn­storm­ing No. 1 cover of Black Betty.

Fans may re­new their af­fec­tions of the trio via the new al­bum’s first tasters, the quirky pop of It’s Beau­ti­ful and foot-to-the-floor hard rock of Straight Through the Sun.

Their sixth al­bum was pro­duced by Franc Te­taz, who Kram says helped the trio cap­ture their dual per­son­al­i­ties.

‘‘Franc said some­thing funny about how the power in pop mu­sic now is with the girl singers and the men have gone soft,’’ Kram says, laugh­ing. ‘‘ It’s Beau­ti­ful was so ob­vi­ously go­ing to be a sin­gle.’’ Kram says the im­pe­tus for get­ting back in the studio was the in­fec­tious joy of play­ing to­gether again a few years ago.

‘‘We had done Splen­dour and had such a mas­sive show and a good show is what we need to fuel the creative fire for the fu­ture. It reignites the be­lief in you ev­ery time.’’

They took their time writ­ing songs with Te­taz – on what was his first ma­jor project af­ter the world-con­quer­ing Go­tye – help­ing to sort out the ideas along the way.

‘‘He was a fan and un­der­stood us, which was im­por­tant to us,’’ Kram says. ‘‘I see Spi­der­bait as three in­di­vid­u­als, three duos and one trio. That’s what it is.

‘‘Whitt and me had to re­learn how to write to­gether be­cause it’s been so long so we just jammed – play for eight to 10 min­utes and then go back and cre­ate the parts out of the jam. We’re the jam­mers. Janet and I are the writ­ers who sit down and write mu­sic and rarely jam. It’s a lot more con­struc­tivist, re­ally re­ward­ing but re­ally dif­fer­ent.

‘‘And those two reignited their thing and they are very com­ple­men­tary to each other, fairly or­ganic.

‘‘Franc wel­comed and em­braced all of those com­bi­na­tions,’’ he says.

Spi­der­bait (Uni­ver­sal) is re­leased to­mor­row

Spi­der­bait (from left): Kram, Janet English and Whitt

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