By Arne Sjostedt
Following a sold-out 2017 tour, where fans of the otherwise in hiatus band were reunited with their musical heroes, alt-rock champions Grinspoon are setting out to do it bigger and better. Taking three support acts on the road with them, the “Chemical Hearts” tour is an opportunity for the band and fans alike to enjoy that special magic that happens whenever quality music gets played loud by musicians who care.
Bass player Joe Hansen says that it’s the energy of the audience that helps make this mojo ignite.
“For us, when you start playing a song and the roar of the crowd, it sends shivers up your spine,” Hansen says.
“It’s that massive transfer of energy from the crowd to the band, and back then to the crowd. It’s just this big circle of love.”
That is one of the special things about seeing a Grinspoon show. They know how to generate that love with gigantic impact. It’s in part due to enigmatic front man Phil Jamison’s prince like presence, but the rest of the band contributes in a massive way to the power of the Grinners.
“I get annoyed by bands that play well but don’t give anything to the crowd,” says Hansen. “They’re playing really well, but there’s no transference. Like, if you’re going to play a live show you want interactions and back and forth. That’s what we enjoy.”
But it takes a lot more than committed musicians to a happy crowd make. Good songs play a massive part. Which is lucky, given the string of hits in the Grinspoon arsenal.
“Our favourite thing is playing the most well known, favourite songs to everyone because they are their favourite songs too. And if they are having a good time, we are having a good time.”
Which is just what the Ready 1 hit makers plan to do for their Chemical Hearts tour, which has already sold out in numerous venues across the country.
Coinciding with a vinyl release that also collects the songs they love most, it’s lucky for Hansen that playing those numbers is something that never gets old.
“I could play those songs 1000 more times each. As long as there’s people having a good time, they feel fresh. There’s that thing where the crowd is excited, we’re excited. So that’s what it’s all about.”
“It’s crazy because we’ve done over 1000 gigs, and we’ve probably played ‘Champion’, since we wrote it, I think we’ve played it every show we’ve ever done.”
Since taking a hiatus from Grinspoon life, the band is happy to be getting back out on the road again, this time with The Hard Aches, Gooch Palms and Bugs.
“It is good. It’s nice to obviously come back and be able to tour and stuff,” Hansen says. Though he is also keen to let fans know the band has enjoyed branching out from just focusing on the group. “It’s also nice to establish ourselves in other areas of life,” he says.
“It’s interesting when you step away from it. And all of a sudden you’ve been stripped away from that general persona that you have, and that thing of ‘We’re Grinspoon, we’re playing most major festivals and we’re always out and about,’ to not doing that, I guess it’s a little adjustment. But I think it's a healthy thing to try to get a bit of balance in your life as well. And also not think, ‘Yeah, it’s cool, it’s part of our identity’. Especially back in the day a bit more, when it was much more of a part. Now it’s like, ‘That’s part of our life, but it’s not everything.’”
As far as getting out on the road was concerned, the band didn’t need much of an excuse.
“We like playing, and now that we don’t tour a lot it’s obviously more of an event I guess. So for us, it was kind of like, well let’s just put this together and hit the road.”
Grinspoon plays UC Refectory on Friday 18 October. Tickets at tickets.oztix.com.au.