Considering just how spoiled for choice we are right now for home-grown rock acts, it’d be a struggle to pinpoint a favourite. That said, it’s probably Grenadiers. For the past few years, the band have rightfully been a regular feature on airwaves, headphones and tour announcements.
With each release, the band demonstrate a newfound sense of what the hell they’re doing, and how the hell they do it. Earlier in the year, they dropped their brand new single Suburban Life, an ode to the sepia-toned, grainy footage that is our memories of growing up in suburban Australia. For its visual counterpart, the band hijacked a cornucopia of nostalgia, displaying it all within a local Adelaide speedway.
To learn more about this homage to the 80s/90s, and to check everything was in order for their upcoming tour, we caught up with frontman Jesse Coulter, moments after he caught Against Me! take to the stages of Groovin’ The Moo. So, first things first – how was Against Me!?
Jesse: Fantastic. I hadn’t seen them since pre-Transgender came out. They’re a very different band. It seems like Laura Jane is more comfortable as Laura Jane Grace in her own skin then as Tom Gable. You can see it on stage. I was great.
The Neversphere: Now it’s your turn to put on the show, I’m sure your stuck in the throes of doing laundry and folding socks but you must be itching to get out there…
Jesse: Being in a band is all trials and tribulations. You have your up times and down times, positives and negatives. You know, labouring away on a song that isn’t working is the negative time but when you finally put something together, and it works, and you put it out; That’s the time you’re frothing to be in a band. That’s what you want to do…That’s what bands live for so it’s good to be hitting the road again.
The Neversphere: You’re latest offering is the new single Suburban Life. You also dropped a clip which has the band hitting up the ol’ local speedway!
Jesse: We weren’t planning on doing a film clip but we decided about two or three weeks out from release, ‘We should do a clip for this…we’ve been quite for a while…it’ll look better with visuals’. We had no concepts and no idea what to do. Our drummer Jimmy suggested we do something at a speed way, which I thought was a fucking awesome idea. I rung around to the three or four speedways and Go Kart tracks there are in Adelaide, only one of them got back to me.
There was a guy there, Dave, who was very accommodating. He came in and turned the lights on for us, let us use the track and do some burnouts in Utes. It was awesome. It was probably one of the easiest clips I’ve ever done.
The Neversphere: I know clips can be painful to make. But was this one was much fun to make as it was to watch?
Jesse: Realistically, and I hate to be a downer, but no film clips are fun to make. They’re always a pain in the ass to make but this one was the most fun, and the least pain in the ass clip we’ve ever done. For some context, all the other video clips from Grenadiers; the first one we ever did I stood under a freezing cold rain machine in the middle of winter for about an hour getting fucking drenched take after take.
After that we did the Summer clip, the one you see on Youtube is actually the second attempt. During the first one, the gas bottle on the BBQ we were using blew up and burnt down half the house. Other film clips I’ve been a part of, we’ve had 50 extras and they get too pissed and you can’t control them…there’s all sorts of things that go into stuff like that it’s fucking hard at the best of times. But this one was just such a breeze.
We wanted it to look like an Angels or Rose Tattoo video clip.
The Neversphere: You nailed that…Now tell me about the song, Suburban Life, how much does the title reveal about the inner workings of the track?
Jesse: With this one, I intentionally went in to do something with a nostalgic theme without being a corny dickhead. I was basically trying to conquer imagery that we all experienced growing up in the late 80s and early 90s. You think of your childhood and it’s obviously big boxy televisions, speedos, lawnmowers, ice-cream melting in cars…I was just thinking of all these things and how I could put them into a song – so that was the mission statement.
It’s not meant to be a glowing endorsement or a stab at Australian culture, it’s just a bunch of imagery I thought was fun. I wouldn’t even call it a comment. Most comments have an intention – this is bad, or this is good – really, it was just stuff I saw when I was a kid becoming a teenager…. Repurposed Gatorade bottles…All of that.
I think a speedway is a pretty quintessential part of Australian suburbia.
The Neversphere: What’s the plan post-single, will Suburban Life find its way onto an album? Or are you just seeing what happens?
Jesse: Suburban Life will actually be the first single from the next album, it’s done! It’ll be out well before the end of the year, I don’t have an exact date yet but yeah, another full-length! We got the songs, we got the recording, it’s all done we just have to do all the other stuff that surrounds it. We’ll put it out in September or something like that.
The Neversphere: It feels like there’s a massive Aussie rock movement. Bands like you guys, Soho, The Bennies, The Dunnies have kind of knocked all the dance or hip hop acts off the airwaves…From your perspective are you seeing a new love for Aussie rock?
Jesse: Yes and no. There’s always good rock acts, but there’s always good dance and hip hop acts. So I think really it’s just a case of the cream rising and the best of those acts getting the recognition they deserve. At the moment, there just happens to be a lot of good rock bands. I don’t think it’s a cultural shift, per say, I think there’s just some very exceptionally good rock bands going around and they’re getting the recognition they deserve, which is awesome.
The Neversphere: Now, you guys are about to hit the road…have you taken any pointers from the Against Me! Show you’ve just watched?
Jesse: We’re far too sloppy and after-thoughtish and, you know, lazy, to think of anything conceptual for our live show. It’s part of what people like about us, that we just get up and play our instruments. We don’t have any preconceived structure of banter, we don’t have anything special lighting-wise. The best you’ll see out of us is a banner and a few guitar chords. Basically we just plug in and turn it up as loud as we can.
People don’t go to a show to see a singer talk politics, or social justice or ask everyone if they’re having a good time. No one gives a fuck…
Just play your songs, play them well and do what you do.
Grenadiers Australian Tour Dates
Tickets available now
Friday, May 5
Saturday, May 6
Gold Coast, Miami Shark Bar
Friday, May 12
Sydney, Chippo Hotel
Saturday, May 13
Wollongong, Rad Bar
Friday, May 19
Melbourne, Workers Club
Saturday, May 20
Adelaide, A Day of Clarity