............................................................................................................................... ...... Plenty left in the tank
One of the quiet achievers of the Australian music scene, You Am I, will rock audiences on the Gold Coast for the Big Day Out. JOSH ALSTON reports
YOU don’t have to be American to be a big rock star — and Australian alt rockers You Am I have been proving that for 17 years.
After 10 albums, three ARIA awards, a number of different record labels, an Australian tour with The Rolling Stones and a punch-up with Australian Idol’s Mark Holden, the boys still have plenty left in the tank.
After a year of relentless touring on the back of their latest release Convicts, You Am I are now set to hit one of Australia’s biggest stages — the main stage of Big Day Out.
‘‘We’ve sort of been touring for the last 12 weeks or so,’’ bassist Andy Kent said.
‘‘It’s kind of a big chunk of the year really . . . now we’re into the festival period.’’
So after so many years in the industry without truly making it as a commercial success, what inspires the boys to keep on keeping on?
‘‘I think You am I songs do, the records do, the performances do, they all do in different ways,’’ Kent said.
‘‘You Am I has always been about sticking to its guns and doing its own thing to achieve some kind of quality. Our band’s pretty dedicated.’’
And Kent is adamant their new single It Aint Funny How We Don’t Talk Anymore is not a reflection of the relationships between the band members.
‘‘(Is it about us?) No, nuh, nah,’’ he said.
But Kent does agree that the band’s various side projects do help alleviate any tension.
Singer Tim Rogers has been busy with his solo work, TV appearances and collaborations with The Cruel Sea’s Tex Perkins, Kent works as a tour manager and was a one time member of The Vines, guitarist Davey Lane has toured with The Pictures, Jimmy Barnes as well as supergroup The Wrights, and drummer Rusty Hopkinson has his own record distribution business and has become a member of seminal punk rockers Radio Birdman.
‘‘We’re all involved in music outside of You Am I, we don’t go off and work in a law firm or a real estate agency or anything,’’ Kent said.
‘‘We’re around music constantly and deal with other musicians but we only do the sh*t that we like.
‘‘It’s nice to have a little break from You Am I at times.’’
Convicts has taken four years to appear on record store shelves, and Kent admits that sometimes doubt crept into the You Am I camp as to whether there would be another album.
‘‘We try to run our band like a business because that’s what it is but you can’t write down on a piece of paper a 10-year plan because you just don’t know what’s going to happen,’’ he said.
‘‘Obviously we’d like to put out a record every couple years but this time it just didn’t happen.
‘‘It was worth the wait though, I think the record we’ve made has a lot of energy in it and a lot of passion.’’
You Am I will be sharing a stage with some huge names at this summer’s Big Day Out festival, including Tool, Muse, Jet, My Chemical Romance and The Killers.
But don’t expect them to be overawed by the experience.
They have already shared a stage with arguably the world’s biggest act — The Rolling Stones.
‘‘I’ve got a picture of me and Keith Richards and he’s got his arm around me,’’ Kent said.
‘‘It’s hilarious, people walk into my office and say, ‘hold on minute’. They think it’s been digitally enhanced.
‘‘They’re great, I couldn’t believe how good they were, they put young bands to shame.’’
You Am I