The Screaming Jets

The Screaming Jets – Rock N Roll Rampage

Australian rock legends The Screaming Jets are heading out on a massive run of shows starting this September. Dubbed the Rock N Roll Rampage Tour, the fellas head out on the road for 30 plus dates and the far north has not been forgotten with shows in Cairns and Townsville announced. I spoke to the Screaming Jets iconic frontman Dave Gleeson at his home in the Adelaide Hills, a few days before the tour began.

Hi Dave, so the Adelaide Hills mate.. what made you move out there?

“Well my wife is from down this way, so when we had our first child we decided to move out of the hustle and bustle of Sydney.

Have you turned into a wino, any recommendations?

[Laughs] We’ve got a rural property out here and it’s great, plus it’s not far to the city… I’ve actually met a bloke up here who makes wine with Maynard from Tool… the winery is called Ochota Barrels.. the wine is called ‘A Sense of Compression’… they do a ‘Fugazi’ Grenache as well which I’ve had a few of.”

Red Medicine… [Laughs].  During my research I found a clip of the Jets covering ‘Too Drunk To Fuck’ by the Dead Kennedys, was punk an influence on you as a kid?

“One of the best things about being just the singer in a band is that… y’know i can’t figure out half this stuff on guitar and every now and then the boys will rip something out and y’know I’m like shit yeah I know this one! We used to love doing that one but we thought having that and ‘F.R.C.’ in the set would be a bit [laughs] abusive. I had older brothers who were right into the punk stuff so it was putting me to sleep most nights, that and AC/DC and The Angels obviously.”

So when you joined The Angels for shows was it actually really easy?
You would’ve known all the songs already…

“I had to fix up a few mondegreens but yeah I mean that stuff was almost more in my DNA than the Jets stuff, because i’d been listening to them from such a young age.”

Being from Newcastle, do you still have a soft spot for the Novocastrians?

“Oh yeah absolutely mate, I love it and we don’t get back there enough. I’ve still got family there and my best mate is there, we’re finishing off the tour at The Cambridge Hotel… so it’ll be great to catch up with everyone and have a drink before Chrissy.”

I’ve heard you are a big Rugby League fan, What was it like being in Newcastle in 1997 after the Knights won their first premiership?

“I’m a massive league fan mate, but I’m not a Knights man! The Knights weren’t in the comp until ’88 so i grew up as a Dragons fan and I still love ’em…. we played to about 50,000 people that night in town and it was just crazy.. The players got on stage and Finbar Furey rocked up with his fiddle and everything..being up there it was like WE won the Grand Final.”

Did you ever play any league?

“I did when I was a kid but I suffered a neck injury when i was about 11, so my parents thought it’d be a great idea to stay involved and I became a referee… Now the referees back then were sponsored by Howard Smith’s so we were all known as ‘Howie’… So it’d be ‘fuck off Howie, you’re an idiot Howie ‘ y’know from the parents and the kids and stuff [laughs] so yeah, it kind of taught me how to deal with the slings and arrows onstage and how to take an insult…. but the boys used to rile me up for years calling me that…”

So, The Screaming Jets are heading out on tour again soon for the Rock N Roll Rampage tour, now you guys have played everywhere right, Is there anywhere you haven’t?

“Nah yeah, we’ve pretty much been everywhere… Alice.. Broome… Derby… Hell’s Crack [laughs]… I mean Hall’s Creek… we don’t get down to Tasmania as much as we’d like but it’s like 2 to 1 down there! It’s such a great country and we’ve been lucky to see most of it.”

Do you have fond memories of Cairns?

“We first got up there for the World Mountain Bike Championships in the early 90’s and we used to play a place called The Nest or The Playpen or something I think, we had some great time up there… There’s been news that the whole North Queensland run has opened up again which is awesome… I mean you can play the whole way down now like we used to do a lot more regularly, it’s a lot of driving but you’ve just gotta suck it up!”

A new album in the can as well, working with producer Steve James.. What can you tell us about it?

“Oh yeah thats all ready to go, it’s called ‘Chrome’ and it comes out the first week of october.. we’ll have them for sale at the show as well – we’re stoked with it. Paul Woseen (bass) wrote most of the songs and then we all collaborated and got them all up and rocking, we’re really excited about it. Steve James worked on our first two albums and our forth and he’s a really great guy.  We did it at Byron Bay’s 301 studios, it came together really well. It’s hard for us these days to get any traction with radio play, so we’ve gotta get out on the road and do it the old fashioned way.”

Steve James has an impressive discography, working with Sid Vicious, Shirley Bassey, Ginger Baker, Cold Chisel, Mental as Anything, and personal favourites H-Block 101 just to name a few, Did you know that he has a UK #1 to his name for his work with The Teletubbies??

“[Laughs.. quite a bit] Yeah he’s got a thing hanging up in his house and everything man… up on his wall seriously… Producer Steve James #1 – The Teletubbies hahahahaha!… nah look he’s got a great C.V. and he’s just a magic bloke to have in the studio as well, we really should’ve used him on our third album but there was pressure to bring in an ‘international producer’… instead we ended up with some engineer that worked on like a U2 album once…a lot of people can engineer an album but Steve is great at drawing out performances from people.”

So what can we expect from the Screaming Jets shows in the Far North?

“We’ll be busting out plenty of new tracks and they have been really well received everywhere we’ve been, so we;re excited about that and y’know there’s songs we have to play… it’s great having such a big discography to choose from, we’ll shuffle them around and pull out some tracks you haven’t heard in awhile like ‘Sick and Tired’… ‘Stop The World’ is making a comeback as well… we just can’t wait to get up there!”

The Screaming Jets play Brothers Leagues Club, Friday 16th of October and The Venue for you Townsvillians, Saturday 17th of October as part of their marathon ‘Rock N Roll Rampage Tour’ – The Screaming Jets  Tickets on sale now!

Peter Mellor

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