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Music - Powderfinger interview

Tuesday, November 2, 2004



Keeping it together: Powderfinger eye a decade of living the music

By Juan-Carlo Tomas

What keeps a band together for 10 years? Living in Brisbane, says Powderfinger lead singer Bernard Fanning. That, and a good family life.

Excuse me? So much for a hard rock 'n' roll diet of beer, drugs and one night stands. As Powderfinger took to the stage at last month's ARIA Music Awards in Sydney, they looked as fresh as when they released their first LP, Parables for Wooden Ears, in 1994. There, surrounded by the industry's who's who, the band were described as an institution, a tag Fanning takes issue with.

"It's weird," he says, down the line from his Brisbane home. "We're still 21 in our minds, so to be institutionalised when you're 21 is kind of weird, but it's great. We get a lot of respect from people in Australia and it's awesome."

That's hardly surprising. From their follow-up album Double Allergic in 1996 to the smash-hit Internationalist two-years later, Powderfinger have always had a double-edged quality, tugging at heartstrings while downloading pure rock energy by the bucketful. Their current release, Vulture Street, takes this reinvention even further, adding a hard-nosed rock edge to their poignant lyrics.

"We kind of tapped more into that energetic rock thing and made it really different from our other albums," Fanning says. "We're pretty serious about writing songs, which I guess is more about the way we've matured as musicians."

Powderfinger found its roots in the early 1990s at Queensland University, where bass player John Collins, vocalist (now guitarist) Ian Haug and drummer Steve Bishop formed a band named after the Neil Young song 'Powderfinger'.

Haug met Fanning in an economics class in 1992, where they also met current drummer Jon Coghill. Guitarist Darren Middleton also joined that year and a year later they were signed to Polydor Records.

"We've kind of never been a band that's followed trends and fashions," Fanning says. "For us, it's the process of writing that keeps us going."

Their first EP, the self-titled Powderfinger, got a lukewarm reception, but their second, Transfusion, rocked to the top of the alternative charts, knocking off Nirvana's Heart Shaped Box. It was a sign of things to come.

"There'll always be people who just want to hear all the hits, while others are open to our new stuff," Fanning says of touring. "We try not to just rehash things."

Performing on and off over 10 years can suck a band dry. Fanning says balancing work and life and nourishing creativity have been their secrets.

"Whenever we perform in Australia, we kind of go on a national tour," he says. "We keep it fresh by doing a fair bit of rehearsal and try to change our songs around, structure our show in different ways, try to keep things different each time, not just for the fans, but ourselves. But we still kind of wing it a lot, it depends on the situation and what we're trying to do."

Which is one reason the Big Day Out, which Fanning dubs the Big Day Off, remains a highlight in his musical year.

"There's very little work to do," he reveals. "There's lots of people around and you hook with other bands you know and catch up."

They're also focusing on solo projects, with releases planned for next year as the band takes a break.

"Darren has a band called Drag and they're putting an album out next year," he says. "I'm also looking to release an album next year." But he's tight-lipped on the matter. "As a band we're thinking the public need a bit of a break from us!"

But the future looks bright, Fanning adds reassuringly. As seen at last month's ARIA Music Awards, the local scene is experiencing a rebirth among singer/songwriters, while bands like the John Butler Trio continue to push boundaries.

"Bands are becoming more willing to take a bit of a leap," Fanning says. "So ultimately we'd just like to keep going, keep building as a band and keep exploring where our music can go. We're not interested in any other aspect of the industry."

But will there be any room for a hard rock lifestyle? Band bonding?

Fanning laughs. "This may sound stupid, but there's a lot more to this industry than the celebrity crap that goes on now. We try to keep it real."

Too rude! Adam Levine has gross sex with model wife Behati Prinsloo in Maroon 5's 'Animals' clip MusicFIX Blog by Adam Bub Sep 30 2014 10:55AM

What you're about to witness is totally NSFW. Make sure your boss isn't looking over your shoulder!

Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine gets jiggy in the most graphic way with new wife, Victoria's Secret model Behati Prinsloo, in the just-released video for the band's new single 'Animals'.

Forget the tame antics of Kim and Kanye's 'Bound 2' — Adam and Behati go much further than we probably need to see. Watch above and just try to get the image of Adam and Behati's blood-covered hanky-panky out of your head afterwards.

It's all for the sake of art, apparently. There's a creepy plot with Adam playing a butcher obsessed with dead animals… and beautiful Behati. Yep, it's like an episode of Dexter.

He stalks his model babe until they finally get naughty together, dripping in blood like horror movie Carrie. JUST. GROSS.

The pair, who married in Mexico in July, hopefully won't end up like these ill-fated music vid love-flaunters...

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EXCLUSIVE: Cody Simpson's model sister Alli reveals he's 'really protective' of her dating his friends MusicFIX Blog by Claire Knight Sep 29 2014 4:21PM Having an overprotective big brother is pretty standard, but when he's a mega pop star that rolls with the likes of Justin Bieber and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, all bets are off.

That's exactly what Alli Simpson is dealing with when it comes to dating. Speaking to TheFIX at Nickelodeon Slimefest, the model/pop star-in-training let us in on what life is like with Cody Simpson as a big bro.

"He's very protective when it comes to boys, especially when I'm hanging out with him and his friends… 'cause his friends are really cute so I don't know what to do, " laughed the 16-year-old.

"It was funny because he got really protective when I had a little thing with his friend… Cody wasn't that happy about it when he found out, but then he thought, 'You know, if we're both happy'.

"He had to get over the fact that it was his friend and his little sister. But now the age gap is closing, I'm 16 and he's 17 and we've been friends with each other's friends and obviously he's going to start dating some of my friends in the future."

Cody made headlines recently after splitting with Sports Illustrated model Gigi Hadid, but Alli says that Gigi and her family are still a big part of their lives.

"They've had their ups and downs but they're still tight, Gigi is like a big sister to me," she said.

"Her mum Yo (Yolanda from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) is incredible, they're a beautiful family. When Cody was spending time over there we'd go over for dinner and they'd have the film crews there and stuff like that, it was interesting to see the TV side because it's different to what we do."

Alli tells us there's no plans for a reality TV show for her and brother Cody just yet, with both focusing on music (uh, like Cody's upcoming duet album with Justin Bieber!).

The siblings took to the stage over the weekend at Nickelodeon's Slimefest in Sydney and Melbourne.

"This performance just now was my first time ever on stage," Alli said. "Before I went on stage, [Cody] spoke to me for a good hour… without him I would be a mess."

Check out Alli and Cody in action at Sydney's Slimefest in the video below!

A one-hour Slimefest special featuring highlights from the Sydney show will air on Nickelodeon today at 5pm.

View slideshow: Ricki-Lee, Michelle Bridges, Commando, Cody Simpson and more celebs at Nickelodeon's Slimefest 2014…

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The Flaming LipsHarvest FestivalAustralia adds another music and arts event to its inordinate list:Harvest - A Civilised Gathering.
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