Dear Chester, I only realised a few days ago that it’s nearly been a year …
GRENADIERS TOUR DIARY
Written for Hysteria by Jesse Coulter (vox)
Callum Preston is a well-known (and well-liked) chap for good reason—the dude can do everything. Whether it’s playing drums in bands like Miles Away, doing album covers and shirts for the likes of Violent Soho or Parkway Drive, opening a world famous restaurant like Smith & Daughters, or headlining his own art exhibitions, he’s pretty damn adaptable. We have worked with him ourselves—he’s done all the conceptual art for our last few singles and shirts, as well as our amazing album cover for Find Something You Love And Let It Kill You.
I stopped by his workspace in Melbourne to record an instalment of his awesome Youtube series The Shack Sessions (which has also featured people like Paul Dempsey, Ben David from The Hard Aches and heaps of others). It was easy and fun, despite the fact that I hadn’t rehearsed the song and was hung over as hell. Everything with Callum seems to be that way—he’s a great dude and someone I’m proud to call a mate.
We all make the odd boo-boo, and I would say breaking your hand a few dates into your national album tour would be at the higher end of the boo-boo spectrum. Had a little “incident” at the Sydney show about 10 minutes before we had to go on stage, and this was the result. I’ll tell you all something for free—playing a 45 minute set in a loud rock band with a freshly broken right hand is not an ideal scenario in anyone’s playbook. Anyone at that show can confirm that I sang with extra, um, “pathos”. Anyway after the show it was off to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital emergency room, where I spent the next 10 hours or so surrounded by puking babies, bleeding drunks and kids on bad pingers. It’s even less fun than it sounds.
Let’s face it, rock and roll is a bloodsport. If you’re doing it properly, you’ll be VERY lucky to get out of it relatively unscathed and financially solvent. I mean, this tour is called the Find Something You Love And Let It Kill You Tour… we may be idiots at the best of times but at least we’re living by the album’s titular advice. Even if your band is doing well touring can be hard, but when you’re slogging it out in the trenches of pub rock, it’s fucking brutal at times—eating whatever shit you can get your hands on, sleeping in rough places for a few hours at a time, flying at arsehole o’clock to get the cheapest fares, and forever hungover. Unless you’re drunk. The best rockers die young… we’re far from the best so we’ll have to settle for living miserably.
Whilst we were in the fine state of Queensland we popped by an excellent little record store called Sonic Sherpa to chuck an instore. We’d never done one of these before so it was a really fun experience. Cool Sunday afternoon vibes, a few beers and a fun, small crowd that felt more like playing a few songs in your backyard than a bona fide show. This little guy was up the front in the arms of our good friend Emmy—bear in mind we weren’t taking it easy just cos this was a Sunday arvo—this was a loud rock show. I had to stop to take a photo—I mean our music isn’t necessarily for everyone but I feel like catching a few Z’s mid-set is a fairly scathing critique. We’ll try harder next time.
Always nice to rock up to the venue to find a massive poster they’ve done up for you in the window. Mojo’s in Fremantle—what a bunch of people! We had our good mate Tom fill in for us on the tubs for these couple of shows as Jimmy couldn’t make it—this was also the lineup that toured the country with US So-Cal legends Unwritten Law a couple of years back. We all became pretty tight with those guys, they were a pleasure to hang out with every night and now gives us the occasional extra street cred of having Scott Russo comment on our Instagram posts.
We have been accused of ripping the album title off from Charles Bukowski—I have definitely ripped several things off from him, but the title ain’t one of them. There’s actually conjecture as to whether he ever said it—but that’s a story for another time. Anyway it’s something someone said, at some point, somewhere…. Where we picked it up from was a doco Jimmy was watching about drug dealers. They were using it in reference to their trade, and realistically what we do has a fair bit in common- hanging out with unsavoury characters, never knowing whether you’re going to get paid or kneecapped, and the general feeling that this is all going to come crashing down on you at some point. Playing in a travelling pub rock band is a lot like smoking a pack a day… it’s fun and enjoyable and stops you from wanting to murder everyone all the time, but it costs a shitload of money and will probably kill you one day.
This tour has been a blast so far and we’ll be ending it on the best possible note—the headline show in our home town. We’re playing at our spiritual home the Crown & Anchor with a couple of other rad Adelaide bands Burnside Mums and Goonbomb.
For all my talk of rock and roll being a fools’ errand (it is) and the way it can utterly destroy you (it can), there’s a good reason lots of people play in bands, and this is it. Finishing our album launch tour on a high note, in front of a (hopefully) full house at our home venue, in a drunken celebratory mood- that’s a good time. For all the lows, there are highs that can only be given to you by taking hold of that fiery rock and running with it. You can’t enjoy the warmth without suffering the occasional burn.