............................................................................................................................... ...... 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

Townsville Bulletin - - Lettersextra -

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

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