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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."

Hallelujah! Nick Jonas is no longer a virgin MusicFIX Blog by Adam Bub Nov 20 2014 1:02PM

Holy moly, make sure you're sitting down for this one.

Pop star Nick Jonas has officially given away his V-card and he's gone on TV to talk about it. Hallelujah! Watch the 22-year-old admit to being "an adult in all ways" on the Wendy Williams Show above. Is it getting hot in here or is it just us?

Nick has been dating former Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo for more than a year, but his exes include Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and our very own Delta Goodrem.

So why the big deal? Nick is the last of the Jonas Brothers to have his cherry popped. Joe, 25, also ditched the band's vow of chastity and moved over to the dark side (cue scary music here).

"I lost my virginity when I was 20," Joe confessed in a New York Times column last year.

Kevin, 27, is the only one to have kept his promise, waiting to do the deed with wife Danielle on their wedding night in 2009.

"After we did it, I was kind of like, that's it?" Kevin said at a press conference. The couple now have a nine-month-old daughter, Alena Rose.

But our Jonas fave has to be Nick, partly due to his, erm, distracting underwear shoot for Flaunt magazine.


Hottie alert! Nick's controversial crotch-grab shoot. Image: Flaunt.

Check out Nick and girlfriend Olivia in the sexy music video for his new hit 'Jealous':

View slideshow: Hollywood's hottest new celebrity couples

Author: Adam Bub. Follow on Twitter. Approved by Amy Nelmes.

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Drugs, absent Zayn and awkward answers: Is this the worst One Direction interview ever? MusicFIX Blog by Adam Bub Nov 18 2014 12:28PM

We'll file this one under "too awkward for words".

One Direction went on the US Today show as a foursome, claiming bandmate Zayn Malik was too sick to fly to the US for their new album promo tour.

Host Matt Lauer shot straight from the hip and asked if Zayn's absence had anything to do with those persistent drug abuse rumours doing the rounds.

Watch as Liam Payne gives the most unconvincing answer ever while the rest of the boys squirm in their seats. It's a car-crash moment if there ever was one.

Zayn has since told The Sun: "I'm really angry and upset by what was said. I was really ill at the weekend, that's why I couldn't fly to America."

The 21-year-old said he will join the boys to promote their new album Four when he's "fit enough". Yikes! We hope fans aren't left waiting forever...

Back in May, Zayn and bandmate Louis Tomlinson were caught on video allegedly rolling and smoking a joint in a car during their 2014 stadium tour.

Just so you know, the Twitter hashtag "#GetWellSoonZayn" is trending worldwide, if you want to share your wishes (or conspiracy theories).


Harry and Liam stick up for their sickly mate Zayn. Images: Getty.

View slideshow: Washed up and wasted... The boy band curse

Author: Adam Bub. . Approved by Amy Nelmes.

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