It’s time to get busy again for The Smith Street Band. Their next batch of shows get underway on Monday 10th March as they play two all ages shows. A free one at Moomba Festival in Melbourne on The Push Pop Up Stage which replaces the recently cancelled Push Over Fest. They’ll also team up with a handful of other acts who were due to play the festival as they play Push On at Phoenix Youth Centre that night. Then it is straight on the road for their headline tour with guests The Menzingers and Grim Fandango. That begins on the 13th in Brisbane. This week in The Hotseat we catch up with Fitzy from the band. Expand this post to take a read of his answers and remind yourself of all the tour dates.
Name : Fitzy
Band : The Smith Street Band
Job In Band : Bass
Website Address : www.thesmithstreetband.com
Hometown : Melbourne
Hometown is best known for : Good coffee and bad weather
Best venue in your hometown : The Reverence Hotel
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown : Maybe Hot Snakes at the Corner
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown : All the shows we’ve done at the Rev
How did the band first come to exist? I had recorded Wil’s first album (Wil Wagner & Friends) at the Arthouse studio while he was still in high school, so that’s how I first met Wil. A year or so later Wil and Chris started jamming and formed The Smith Street Band with Lawson on guitar and Jimmy on bass. Wil broke his collarbone playing pub footy (sport and music can be a dangerous cocktail) just before the Poison City Weekender one year so Lee joined in on guitar as Wil was unable to play. I recorded the Southeast Facing Wall 7″ and the NOGLA album at the Arty and various houses / apartments / backyards and ended up joining the band soon after on bass.
How long has the band been going? About 3 1/2 years all up.
Any particular story behind the name? Wil used to live above the Birmy on Smith Street, Collingwood, and the name is a piss take on the E Street Band.
What’s your most recent release? Tell us a little about it… Our EP ‘Don’t Fuck With Our Dreams’ was released last year. We were playing so many shows that we only had time to record an EP rather than a full album. The line ‘Driving around singing songs about driving around singing songs’ from the title track pretty much sums it up. Is that META?!? Personally I find the whole EP really interesting because it’s basically a snap shot of all our lives for the few months preceding the recording.
Got a personal stand out achievement of your band to date? Playing Meredith last December was a bit of a milestone for me, having been so many times and seen some amazing shows there. It’s also been really cool having the opportunity to play in so many different new countries and meet a bunch of amazing new friends from around the world.
OFF THE STAGE
What was your first introduction to music that made you think seriously about playing it? My folks got a Casio keyboard for me when I was about 6 and I started playing trumpet a couple of years later. When my parents used to complain about me not getting a real job I could remind them it was all their fault.
Any particular band / album or song that you personally credit as a major influence? Dinosaur Jr was a big influence for me when I first picked up a guitar, and definitely still is today. We saw J Mascis eating dinner with his family in a Thai restaurant in Northamption, MA. I should’ve asked if I could get his left overs to take away.
Your first band name, and what style did you play? Heathmont East Primary School Band. We probably played mostly The Lion King soundtrack.
Most prized music related item you own? Years ago some truck ran into my first car while it was parked on the street. They wrote it off and drove away. I swapped the wreck to some guy for a Roland Juno 60 (80’s analog synth) so I reckon that would be it.
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? Drinking coffee doing crosswords/sudoku or drinking beer watching someone else’s band. Sometimes I eat and record other bands.
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is… Jumping off shit into water.
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… Waking up early. We have really tried to organise our next tour to avoid any early morning flights. I think we’ve done ok… but it depends what time you get to sleep right?
ON THE STAGE
When on offer, what’s your one must have item on the rider? Is this a trick question? 1 x pallet of non-CUB beer of course.
Favourite place you’ve toured… and why? Germany was great. When you rock up to the venue they’ll have a platter of vegetarian meats and vegan cheese laid out, THEN they make you a hot dinner. And you basically get endless beers.
Most memorable show you’ve played? and why? Lee and I used to play in a band called The Hawaiian Islands. We played the last ever show at the Arthouse, then I think Smith Street played the first show in the band room at The Reverence Hotel. Both shows were an incredible honour to be involved in.
Got a favourite song to play live? I always love playing Post Codes, but there’s a few new ones that I can’t wait to play.
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? A lot. I tripped on a mic stand in Manchester and face planted into the wall. I’ve slipped off a lot of fold back speakers. When you don’t realise your tuner has accidentally been set to E flat. Falling over into amps can be a bit embarrassing.
Any pre-show rituals? Not really. Hang out in a hot sauna, drink some icy cold beers, the usual.
What do you find is the hardest aspect of touring in a band today? Not having any money. It’s hard to balance touring and playing as much as we do with any kind of ‘normal’ life. Not that I would change anything, but it does involve sacrifices in other areas.
Last song you listened to? ‘I’m not a part of me’ – new track from upcoming Cloud Nothings album.
Last album you picked up? I just won a Hendrix live bootleg LP at trivia at the Rev called ‘High, Live ‘n’ Dirty’. The cover says it’s X RATED.
Which band or album is currently on high rotation? I’ve been listening to Hop Along’s album ‘Get Disowned’ pretty much everyday since I saw them at Fest last year. Also been listening to Violent Soho a lot, just like everyone else.
Tell us an up and coming band or artist you think we should go and listen to right now? Hannah Band from Sydney. I just saw them for the first time on the weekend and they are playing our U18 show in Sydney at the Lair. They are awesome. Get their album ‘Honey, I’m a bad singer’ here.
What’s on the cards for the next few months for the band? We are recording demos for a new album right now, then we are off on tour around Australia with The Menzingers from Philadelphia, after which we are going to Byron Bay for Craig from the Bennies wedding (Instead of a bridal waltz he is going to shred the fastest and most romantic bass solo ever). Then we are straight off to Europe / UK to tour with our bros Restorations from Philly and Astpai from Austria. Then we pretty much start recording the new album as soon as we get home.
You can pick any one album for your band to cover in full, what would it be and why? Dinosaur Jr ‘You’re Living All Over Me’. I guess it’s my favourite DJr album and I’d get to play the ‘In a jar’ bassline. I’d probably have to play through a Marshall as well as a bass rig too. Plus Wil’s already got the J Mascis signature jazzmaster, it’s about time he used it for its intended purpose: Solos that are too loud.
You can pick any one band / artist to cover one of your albums in full, what would it be, and why? Eric Bachmann from Crooked Fingers / Archers of Loaf. He does great covers. Check out Crooked Fingers ‘Reservoir Songs’ EP. His version of Prince’s ‘When you were mine’ is perfect.
One band you wish you were able to see live but never had the chance? I wish I could be one of the people who tells you about how good Fugazi were, instead of having to hear it from others.
One venue you have yet to play that you would love to? The You Am I show at the Vic on the Park on new years day looked awesome. I’d love to play exclusively outdoor shows in beer gardens with basketball courts.
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? I guess filling in for Dave from Restorations on guitar would be awesome. Lots of sweet bends, and It’s been so long since I’ve played with a delay pedal. I think he uses about 8 of them.
A headline tour overseas comes up, tell us two bands you’d take along to support your band. I’d take The Bennies, Grim Fandango, Great Cynics, Restorations, Apologies I Have None, Cheap Girls, Signals Midwest and Jeff Rosenstock. They could all sort out how they’re going to fit into two supergroups on their own.
Got any final words? We are touring Australia in March with The Menzingers. Tix are selling pretty quick!! Then we are off to Europe / UK with Restorations and Astpai if you’re going on a European Vacation. Check out www.thesmithstreetband.com for tickets and dates.
THE PUSH POP UP STAGE at MOOMBA FESTIVAL
WHO: The Smith Street Band, Allday, Chance Waters, Remi, and FReeZA Push Start finalists Alkali Fly (Croydon), Baking Blind (Dingley), Residual (Geelong), Darcy Fox (Moe), Listerdale (Wodonga), The Rims (Alphington), Bel Air (Ballarat), Worship The Fallen (Mildura) and Great John Himself (Airport West). Playing times are available at www.thepush.com.au
WHAT: The FReeZA Push Start Band Comp Grand Final is an all ages, drug, alcohol and smoke-free, fully supervised event.
WHEN: 1pm – 9.30pm, Labour Day Public Holiday, Monday 10th March 2014
WHERE: Speakers Corner, Birrarung Marr
MORE INFO: thepush.com.au (03) 9380 1277
See all the Moomba Festival information [Here].
Poison City Records, Jackknife Music and Bombshellzine present…
THE SMITH STREET BAND
With Guests THE MENZINGERS and GRIM FANDANGO
13th – Crowbar, Brisbane [18+] w/ Seahorse Divorce
14th – The Zoo, Brisbane [18+] SOLD OUT w/ Army Of Champions
15th – Corner Hotel, Melbourne [18+] SOLD OUT w/ Freak Wave
16th – Corner Hotel, Melbourne [18+] w/ Regrets *Selling Fast*
19th – Prince Of Wales, Bunbury [18+]
20th – YMCA HQ, Leederville [AA] w/ Monuments
21st – Rosemount Hotel, Perth [18+] w/ The Leap Year *Selling Fast*
22nd – Uni Bar, Adelaide [18+] w/ The Hard Aches
23rd – Karova Lounge, Ballarat [18+] w/ Ceres
26th – Brisbane Hotel, Hobart [18+] w/ Speech Patterns
27th – The Pav, Launceston [18+] w/ Speech Patterns
28th – The Small Ballroom, Newcastle [18+] w/ Jen Buxton Band
29th – The Lair, Sydney [AA - 1pm] w/ Hannahband
29th – The Lair, Sydney [18+ Night] SOLD OUT w/ Oslow
30th – Transit Bar, Canberra [18+] *Selling Fast*
—> Tickets available now.
—> For more information, visit [Here].