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| 3 May 2017 | 1 Reply

By Shane Pinnegar

It’s been a few years since former Kings Of The Sun frontman and guitarist Jeffrey Hoad released any new music, but with three new singles and a swag of other new songs up his sleeve, he tells us that it feels great to be back in the saddle again.

“It feels absolutely awesome mate, it really does. We’re very creative in the studio. We’ve written a whole lot of songs, then we decided we’ll do an EP, and we just launched into it. We ended up with five songs.”

Explosive lead single Take Us To Your Leader is all about reptilian aliens invading Earth. Had Hoad been watching a few late-night B-movies to get inspiration for that one?


“We love good conspiracy theories, don’t we?” he laughs. “I think what actually happened one night, I think I might have been abducted. I may have been probed. I’m not sure, because I woke up one morning, and [the song was] all in my head. So, I could have been probed, I’m not sure. It’s been erased through therapy – the therapy is actually working it out, in the studio. That’s my therapy.”

All three new tracks are incendiary, with huge riffs blowing out of your speakers and getting heads nodding and feet tapping instantly – read our review here. There’s no substitute when talent and experience meet head on with the exciting spark of creation! Working completely independently, Hoad is enjoying the freedom of not having to tow a record company line or follow an A&R suit’s directions musically.

“Yeah, it’s really good actually. Going in and jamming, and a lot of the time I’ll get a lot of ideas on the way to rehearsal. You wonder where things come from and you never really know. Then all of a sudden you get in there and what you’ve been thinking about for the past week or whatever, you don’t really know where it’s going to go, but you just go with it. Instead of just sitting there and saying, ‘I’m going to write a song about this.’ We just go in there and play. It’s really working for us, it’s great.”

After three albums as The Rich & Famous – the last of which, Stand Back, Prepare To Be Amazed, was released in 2007 – Hoad took time out to raise a family, rarely being inspired to bash out even rough ideas for some years.

“I wasn’t writing that whole time,” he explains, “I’d pick up the guitar all the time [but] there’s nothing [new] coming out of me. I have to be there, almost like putting myself in a pressure cooker: going into a studio, even the rehearsal studio. The travelling there, everyone unloading their gear, setting up in the rehearsal space: okay, here’s the pressure cooker. NOW something’s got to come out of me.

“It actually got to that point where I’d start going clankity clank and I’d actually go, ‘can I still write songs?’ I put it to the test, and a lot of stuff was written – a shit load of songs! We got 15 really good ones, I reckon.”

In addition to Hoad, The Rich & Famous: 2017 edition features bass player Dean Turner – a former member of Kings Of The Sun and The Rich & Famous, who Hoad has worked with for years off and on – and drummer Dean Reeson, a long-time friend.

“Those guys actually got me back into playing,” admits Hoad, “they said, ‘do you want to play a gig for a birthday party? We’ll do some Kings Of The Sun songs, we’ll do some Rich & Famous songs, we’ll do whatever we want to do.’ I was like, ‘okay, let’s do it.’ And then we went to the studio and started playing and playing, and I’m like, ‘these guys are in a really relaxed vibe, and we’re actually coming up with some really good stuff.’ So instead of going over and practising for this birthday party, this fun thing – instead, we started writing songs immediately! That was the best thing that came out of it, and we haven’t stopped since.

“We got ourselves a rehearsal space and a place where everything is at – a designated spot where our gear is all set up, so we don’t have to worry about loading and unloading and all that crap. So we’re always ready to go whenever we want to meet.”

After many years as a four-piece with Kings Of The Sun – which, let’s be honest, allowed Hoad the luxury to prance around a bit (a role he always took to with glee) – it must be very different to be the apex of a power trio, handling not only the vocals but all the guitar. Does he miss the freedom of having a second guitarist to take a load off him?

“No, I totally do not,” he says adamantly. “Actually, my sister said something to me a couple of years ago. It’s very funny you brought this up – she said, ‘you remind me of Chuck Berry, because you can go wherever you want to go, you take the music with the guitar. Like, you feel the vibe and you take the music where it goes, because you’ve got the guitar around your neck, you change the vibe, and go with the vibe.’ And I find I feel more comfortable being a guitar player/vocalist, rather than primarily a vocalist.”

The new music prompted a new online presence – cue one very enigmatic website reflecting Hoad’s eccentricities and tying in nicely to the new songs.

“A high powered merger of rock, glamour, satire and mind control in its purest form.”

That’s a powerful manifesto, right there. How is Hoad going to live up to that?

“It is, isn’t it!!,” he laughs. “Well you know what? The irony of that is that I think of myself as, I’m changing my outlook on the world, my view of the world – and everyone does that in some way or another. They take everything in and they go, ‘positives, negatives, whatever.’ I’m changing my view on the world one song at a time.

“Things that bug me, or things that intrigue me, or whatever – I write a song about. And that’s where I’m at with it right now. And that’s the powerful part of talking about it – if you really want to know me, or my brain, or the bands manifesto, that’s what we’re doing. We’re going, ‘okay, this is how were viewing it.’”

The new tracks are set to remain as a digital-only release for the time being – hardly unique in this digital age – but the possibility exists that should demand manifest, The Rich & Famous will record a full-length album.

“Yeah, I’d love to,” Hoad says. “We worked with Govinda Doyle – he’s a fantastic producer, he’s won an ARIA, recorded a lot of new young bands, Triple J number ones, and so on. I said, ‘what do you think, because I’ve got a shit load of songs.’ He said, ‘you don’t need to give it everything – to put it out there just do 4 or 5 songs, do an EP.’ So we followed his lead on that one and I think he did the right thing because you’ve got to know where you stand, and know how you’re being received. Any artist can sit in their room and go, ‘no, I don’t care what anyone thinks,’ but if you want to get out there more, you need a little bit of feedback – so if there’s good feedback on it, we’ll go further.

“We’re just getting started. We’re well rehearsed. We’re sending music overseas, and it’s getting played on stations… we’re just trying to get a bit of a revival going, and get a bit of feedback on it. That’s where we’re at.”

With age comes maturity, with families comes responsibility. Packing an overnight bag and crashing on couches on tour for no money isn’t as easy in your forties or fifties as it is as a carefree teen, and Hoad is far wiser after hi considerable experiences touring the world with Kings Of The Sun.

“I’m ready to play live at any point,” Hoad declares. “But I’m not ready to drive 800 kilometres in a Tarago van, set myself up on stage, and then drive back for next to nothing! My ego is not that small! I have more sense of self worth than that.”

He is, admirably, trying to negotiate the unknown waters of the new music industry – a landscape where what works for one act will resolutely not work for another. It’ all about being aware of your options and finding your place in the digital world.

“We did all those things (in our early days), and there’s no need. This is the time of the digital age – most music, the way it’s received these days is so different. Everyone’s time-poor, time has sped up so much in the time-space continuum, the flux capacitor is overloaded out there, you know. You hear snippets of music – (most kids) don’t sit there and put an album. What captures their attention is so sped up now, some people don’t want to download a whole album – they just want this track or that track, so they just digitally download those three tracks, and they don’t even hear the rest of the album.

“There’s this whole different genre where I’m not going down the road of classic rock in any way. I’m going down the road of forward-thinking new music. That’s where my head’s at. And that’s why I don’t want to go down that road and go, ‘yeah, we’re going out on the road and we’re gonna [play for] a rider and we’re going to drive a Tarago van and were going to nearly kill ourselves to play one gig. It’s just not happening, you know?”

Category: Interviews

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