Jebediah’s songs still connect

Sunday, 15. September 2019

IT might be close to two decades since Perth indie rockers Jebediah burst on to the scene, but their bond – and thirst for playing music – remains as strong as ever.

The four-piece group, who took out the Australian National Campus Band Competition in 1995, were among the much-hyped emergence of the Perth indie music scene in the ’90s. Over the years, the WA capital has produced the likes of The Hoodoo Gurus, The Panics, Little Birdy, The Waifs, The Sleepy Jackson, End of Fashion and Eskimo Joe.

Affectionately dubbed the Jebs by fans, the band released their debut album Slightly Odway in 1997, spawning singles such as Leaving Home, Jerks of Attention and Harpoon.

The release launched the band into notable support stints for The Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Everclear, The Presidents of the United States of America, Silverchair and You Am I.

They released three more albums, 1999’s Of Someday Shambles, 2002’s self-titled effort and 2004’s Branxton Hicks before a five-year hiatus from 2006. Frontman Kevin Mitchell’s solo project, Bob Evans, took flight before the band returned to the studio for their 2011 effort Kosciuszko.

A few more years down the track, Jebediah are hoping to release more music next year, with a brief run of shows next month including at The Small Ballroom.

LIVE caught up with guitarist Chris Daymond ahead of the January 2 show. Taking a break from his day job at iconic Perth record store 78 Records, Daymond reflected on the two decades since the four-piece played their first gig at a high school formal.

‘‘Honestly, no it doesn’t feel like two decades, but when you reflect on it, you know how long it is. You can’t discount the years, it has been a long time in relative terms but it is the same beast it ever was, I think. We’ve changed a lot as a band and as people, probably more so,’’ Daymond said. ‘‘Our music is a common denominator and because we are a band which will quite willingly play songs we put out 20 years or so ago, that music in some ways makes gigs we play together a little bit timeless because it’s not rooted in now. But we have all certainly changed as people and that relationship is the bond that makes us want to get together and have a little bit of fun now and again. It seems a bit far apart these days for my liking, though.’’

It’s clear the bond between the friends is as strong as ever, despite the stretches between gigs getting longer and the ‘‘tyranny of distance’’ (singer and frontman Kevin Mitchell is based in Victoria). So much so, that Daymond is at a loss to explain why the band are back on the road next month, beyond it being another chance for the mates to hang out.

‘‘I don’t know, maybe we need to make some more friends or something,’’ he laughed. ‘‘It starts with the people. It’s hard to say, a lot of it is us wanting to spend more time together as a band.’’

Jebediah will have just a few days together before hitting the road, but with so many hits up their sleeves and a couple of decades of gigging under their belts, Daymond is confident muscle memory will kick in when they take to the stage.

‘‘It is [there], no matter how much you try to kill off those memories,’’ he laughed. ‘‘We always end up jumping around to something. I think we do try and think more about the music [than in the early days of the band]. One of the ways we’ve changed as people is we try and focus a little bit more on what we do as a headlining act that people have paid to see us. In the earlier days with the shows, because we were playing so many we were a bit selfish and would have our own fun and just get caught up in it.’’

These days the Jebs’ set list calls on songs from all their albums, with the popular singalongs making an appearance along with the more obscure Slightly Odway, and non-singles Invaders and La Di Da Da.

‘‘We’ve played a lot of [our songs] a lot and anything different that comes into the set is kind of exciting. Some work and some don’t work nearly as well as you’d imagine,’’ Daymond said. ‘‘I’ve been getting into playing a lot more vinyl lately and for the first time in years I put the Odway vinyl on and I thought it was remarkable how different it sounds. I think the one which stands on its own two feet the best production-wise is La Di Da Da and I think we’ll revisit that.’’

The guitarist is also hoping the band will have some new material to show off on the next tour, with a writing stint planned for the new year.

‘‘I’m looking forward to doing some writing during the summer. We’ll try and bunker down for a week once we get to Victoria, around Kev’s home, and just start jamming some ideas and things like that. We’ve spoken about that and everyone is keen. It’ll be a bit of summer holidays band camp.’’

Jebediah play at The Small Ballroom on January 2. Tickets are available at Oztix. See Freebies on page 41 for your chance to win a double pass.


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