Interview by Andrea Royston
You may have already seen the widespread advertisements, but it is official, Grinspoon are re-forming for their huge Chemical Hearts tour this year. With 13 shows announced and some selling out within days, this tour is sure to revive a large and much adored Grinspoon discography.
Grinspoon are no strangers to Australian Rock. Since making their first appearance on the scene in 1995 when they became the first band to win Triple J Unearthed competition, they went on to produce seven albums.
After countless tours and establishing themselves as Ambassadors to Australian Rock, the band announced that they would go on an indefinite hiatus in 2013. Unexpectedly in 2017, Grinspoon returned to play a string of shows in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Guide To Better Living. This was followed by jumping on the Groovin the Moo line up and playing a further six regional festival shows.
We had a chat with drummer, Kris Hopes, about the upcoming tour and what the band have been up to in the last year. The guys have taken some time off and have each been doing their own thing. Phil has been traveling and playing on his solo tour, while Joe has been spending time up in Byron Bay working in the productions of Splendour. Excitedly, Kris and Pat have been laying low and writing some new music.
Discussions about the Chemical Hearts tour started quite some time ago, Kris revealed. The idea stemmed from the band wanting to gather and carefully select their ‘best of’ tracks to release on vinyl. “We figured if we are going to do that then we may as well play some shows”, Kris reasoned. “Getting back together for GTBL tour was a shot in the arm; it was so fun to play together again”.
Grinspoon carry a strong wave of nostalgia. This is obvious from their sold out shows every time they announce a tour. We can be sure to expect a spectacular show from this tour and the band are genuinely excited for it. “Playing bigger shows in larger venues means a bigger production”, Kris explained. “We are excited to play at some old venues we haven’t played at for a while”.
Grinspoon will be touring with some other great musicians playing as their support act. These bands include The Hard Aches, The Gooch Palms and Bugs.
When one goes to a Grinspoon concert, one never leaves feeling disappointed. The amount of energy you witness and feel at their shows is staggering! This is no doubt that one of the many reasons people return to the ticket box every time Grinspoon comes to town.
“We can still draw a crowd because we are passionate in what we do and performing gives us that energy. We would have to call it a day if we lost that. We wouldn’t be able to continue if we weren’t able to get out there and enjoy it”.
What makes a gig that extra bit memorable is when the band plays your personal favourite selection. This can be an unrealistic expectation at a Grinspoon gig considering how extensive their discography is. Kris revealed that whilst the band has a blast playing all their ‘best of’ songs, they do have their personal favourites, such as ‘Railrider’.
There is no debate surrounding Grinspoon’s utmost success and establishment in Australian rock. When asked of the most memorable moment of the bands success or when it occurred to them that they had made it Kris said, “we don’t feel that we have ever made it really”. He then went on to recall their experience playing at Sydney’s Big Day Out in 2000. It was their first big festival and it was a moment of realisation for the band. “It was just packed in and people were taking us seriously, it was an awesome feeling to play”.
So, what has kept Grinspoon going? Having been in a band with the same people for 20+ years and experiencing many differences throughout their career, they are never apart for too long. Despite going on an indefinite hiatus, Grinspoon are living proof that distance does make the heart grow fonder.
“After spending that time apart, we kind of realised that we do actually like each other”, Kris jested. This comes after living more life apart and maturing as individuals which has allowed them to appreciate each other’s company when together. “We are like a band of brothers, without getting too Brady Bunch”.
Something exciting that is likely ahead for Grinspoon and their devoted fans is a new album! Kris revealed that he and fellow band member, Pat Davern, have been writing new music together and getting back into the studio. “It is still early days, baby steps, but we have a couple of new songs under our belts and want to see where it will take us”.
Grinspoon have consistently delivered an exciting and energetic performance. There never seems to be a dull moment in the crowd at a Grinspoon concert leaving fans energised for decades.
“Come on down for a fun show”, Kris encourages fans.
It isn’t too late to get your hands on a ticket but be quick because this tour will sell out! Visit http://www.grinspoon.com.au for more information.
Watch Grinspoon play to a packed house at Sydney’s Big Day Out Festival in 2000