Live music is back! and ahead Full Tilt Festival, we had the chance to chat with Frenzal Rhomb‘s frontman Jay Whalley in order to find out more about the tour, surviving the pandemic and hiding from “Slipknot”.
SR. SR. You guys are set to play at Full Tilt across Australia, which will be probably the biggest rock tour to date during the pandemic. How are you guys are getting ready for it?
JW. It is so exciting, we actually just played in Geelong over the weekend in Melbourne, and that was our first show in over 14 months…it was surreal if you think about what is happening in another places of the world.
It was a fun show, the crowd really full on. It was also great to see the rest of the band, because we live in different cities, so we haven’t seen each other face to face in a while, so was cool to grab a beer and have a chat.
SR. Really? That means you barely have time for a proper rehearsal?
JW. I think, after all these years playing like shit, we got to a level of mediocrity were we dont need to practice at all. (Laughs)
Honestly, we played the first song maybe a bit before, and we told ourselves…”ahhh that’s how we used to do it”…and then all the other songs on stage came out natural. It’s like riding a very messed up bike.
SR. How much the pandemic impacted you as a musician?
JW. Well, I finally got my motorbike license (laughs) and I’ve been snorkeling more.
I’ve also found out that I really suck at writing songs by myself (laughs). Seriously, 9 of 10 songs I wrote have been quickly dismissed by the band, they politely told me they sucked (laughs), but I’m cool with that.
SR. One of the best shows I’ve seen you play was at Download 2019. What are your most fond memories of that tour?
JW. That was when Ozzy cancelled because he was “sick”, so we decided to play “Crazy Train” and “War Pigs”, and it felt so awesome. The crowd really enjoyed.
Also, you know seen other bands and get to hang for a few minutes back stage is always cool. But to be honest for me is always about the people out there, we try generate good will in the music community and we f**k around the stage a lot, we don;t take ourselves too serious, we have fun, so our crowd has fun.
SR. Frenzal Rhomb is a band full of energy and at times very political, and that’s what make it different. What comes for you first, the music or the lyrics?
JW. The better songs are the ones where the lyrics are first, because anyone can put fast sounds, and nowadays many just let f**k auto-tunes to do the job. A good song must be always backed up by good lyrics.
SR. Are you releasing a new album any time soon?
JW. We are dying to. The problem is, we did our last album in a studio in Colorado, and we loved the whole process there, so we want to do the same for this one, but because of COVID and the vaccine, we have to put all on hold.
SR. Just to start wrapping up mate. With over 30 years in the punk music scene. What do you think has been the biggest change so far?
JW. I work in a recording studio in Marrickville, and honestly I’ve seen so many bands come and go, trying to make it happen, and to be super honest I really don’t think anything has changed at all, because the vibe and the energy is still the same, and I think if you ask this same question to newer bands in 20 more years, they will probably tell you the same.
SR. Before we go, can you share with us any funny tour story?
JW. So many, but the first one coming to my mind was back in the day for Big Day Out, when Slipknot was playing there, and we decided for some stupid reason to release some shirts with cartoons of us wearing paper bags as masks with the word “shitnot”.
Obviously the Slipknot guys saw them and they were not very happy about it, and we found out some of them were looking for us to “have a word”, so we did what every honorable man would do…we hide in our van (laughs).
Sadly, our bass player at the time, who was actually a massive Slipknot fan, and was wearing a proper Slipknot shirt was alone when the band decided to crash our dressing room and got cornered and had to explain and apologise in our behalf, claiming that he was a die-hard fan, and all was a joke from. Poor guy, imagine meeting some of the musicians you admire under those circumstances.
I think, he still managed to get pictures or autographs from some of them (laughs).
SR. Any final words for your fans ahead of Full Tilt?
SR. Dear fans, if you come to see us at Full Tilt, let me tell you that’s a bloody expensive way to see the band (Laughs), but don’t worry because there will be other better bands there you will probably enjoy more than us.
Have fun, check all the bands, and keep supporting live music!
Tour Dates & Line Up: