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