Blog

JOE HANSEN – GRINSPOON 2019 ‘CHEMICAL HEARTS’ TOUR INTERVIEW

News of Grinspoon’s upcoming Chemical Hearts tour in October spread far, wide and quickly and consequently the band has already sold out The Forum in Melbourne, Waves in Wollongong and The Fortitude Music Hall in Brisbane, with a bunch of other shows on the run not far off selling out. Due to this high demand for tickets, second shows have been announced at The Forum on October 15, Waves on October 19 and The Fortitude Music Hall on November 9.

With seven albums, Top Ten ARIA chart spots, ARIA Awards, 13 ARIA nominations, more than 1,000 gigs, tens of thousands of frequent flyer miles, 7 appearances at the Big Day Out as well as slots at Homebake, Falls Festival, Splendour In The Grass, an NRL Grand Final and a Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony in Melbourne, there’s no denying that Grinspoon are Aussie rock royalty. The Chemical Hearts tour will be packed with hits and audience faves from the band’s festival performances over the years, but will also pay homage to their discography after the record that thrust them into the spotlight, Guide To Better Living.  It will kick off in Fremantle on October 11 at Metropolis, then move through Perth, Melbourne, Canberra, Hobart, Adelaide, Wollongong, Newcastle, Sydney, Gold Coast, and wrap up in Brisbane on November 8 at The Fortitude Music Hall. To celebrate the tour, a vinyl ‘Chemical Hearts’ record will be available on October 11 (see track listing below).

Ahead of the tour, Australian Musician’s Greg Phillips phoned up Grinspoon’s bass player Joe Hansen for a quick chat about tour preparations

Joe, what do you remember about the recording of the single Chemical Heart?
It was off the New Detention album that we did with Phil McKellar (Producer). I think we recorded that at a variety of different studios. From a bass player’s view, it’s fairly sparse. It wasn’t a hugely complex recording process for me. I do recall what was really cool was when Jackie Orzacksy brought the strings in. We hadn’t really had strings on anything in the past, so it was cool to be part of that.

Did you have a good feeling about the song at the time?
When Phil or Pat wrote the music, I wasn’t there. They had a bit of a jam session where Phil was playing bass and Pat playing guitar, so they did a really rough recording of it and played it to me. I immediately sensed that it was a pretty cool song. Especially because up to that point, most things we’d written had been … well we didn’t write ballads so to speak … so it definitely stood out as a moody, slow but cool song, even in that original form.

You’re playing pretty much a greatest hits set on this tour, will you play the songs as recorded or have they developed at all over the years?
A few of them have. You muck  around and change things. In general though we stick to our arrangements. We are not one of those bands that change things up a lot. Having said that we haven’t started rehearsals yet so if someone comes up with some ideas to do something, we may well throw a few curve balls in there. I mean we have probably played Champion a thousand times. In the past we have mucked around with that a little bit but we’ll see what happens when we rehearse.

Around how many songs will you rehearse up for this tour?
Probably around twenty and then we’re going to pick and choose a few more obscure ones and ones that are fun to play that we haven’t played for a while. So we’ll get a batch of those together with the intention of rotating them around into the sets, so we can play a few at one show, a few at the next and keep it more interesting for us and the fans if they come to multiple shows.

You are about to head out on the road with with The Hard Aches, The Gooch Palms and Bugs as supports. Which bands have been the most fun to tour with in the past?
Going right back our good mates in Shihad … that was a great tour in the late 90s. We loved that band already and they’re awesome dudes. The guys from Kingswood … that was really fun. There’s only been a couple of real duds and I’m not mentioning any names but mostly it’s a good time. The guys from Hockey Dad were awesome on the last tour as well but if I had to pick one I would say Shihad.

Any pre-gig rituals or superstitions?
Everyone has their own little thing. Krisso gets a little tourettes, stamps the ground and wanders around swearing to himself. I don’t know if that’s a ritual or a problem (laughs). Other than that there’s nothing really. We have our little bonding thing before we go on stage. It’s not like a big group hug or anything but we have our little thing going on just to focus everyone.

What’s going to be your stage rig for this tour?
I have the Eden set up I have used for ages, it’s a Traveler head with four quad boxes … that’s depending on the stage too. I’m using the Warwick Streamer basses that I have used for ages as well. I keep it pretty simple… four strings and the truth!

What about effects, do you use them at all?
I sort of went through a stage where I was using a few and then eased off. I like a bit of distortion on some songs, a Big Muff is my preferred pedal but I like to keep it simple. I just like a really strong sounding, powerful bass and I don’t want to over complicate it, I will leave it to guitar players … you know .. endless patch leads going from pedal to pedal and trying to figure out what’s wrong when the signal is not working properly.

Anything bad ever happened to you on stage?
Oh yeah! I had an Eden head, I think it was on the last tour that for some reason just kept on shitting itself and we’d be forever swapping heads and it seemed to be an endless problem. What do you do? Over the course of 20 years there have been things here and there but we have pretty good guitar techs. If you’re having foldback issues with in ear monitors or whatever, what are you going to do? You can either cause a fuss, kick stones and act surly or try to do the best you can.

Bass players you admire?
I guess when I was growing up, like everyone I went through a Chili Peppers phase but I was always into the Violent Femmes. It’s a completely different bass to what I play. He has that semi-acoustic bass he’s doing crazy solos on and also there’s The Pixies Kim Deal, Sonic Youth, that was what I was into. The more I think about it, I guess Timmy C from Rage Against The Machine. When I first heard that I thought that’s the kind of stuff I really dig. If I had to copy someone’s style or had to be in a band playing a style of bass I enjoy playing it would be that band.

What’s some of the bass work you are most proud of on Grinspoon records?
I consciously try to underplay so I don’t have bass lines where I am really ripping, I try not to do that … so I guess it is difficult to say. Something like Champion has some cool riffs in it.

You’ve sold out a lot of shows for the upcoming tour, do you fear that one day the bubble will burst?

Every day! You just don’t know. I don’t know if it will ever burst but one day it may get leaky and deflate into a smaller and smaller bubble. But we do have a bunch of really loyal fans. If we begin to announce a tour and play to half filled rooms, we’ll say ok that’s enough but that’s ok we’ve had a great run. By not touring as much we are keeping the bubble alive. The less is more attitude is working for us. When we do a tour it is more like an event than just Grinspoon on the circuit again, that’s our tactic for longevity and for enjoyment ourselves.

Tickets to all other shows are available now from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

GRINSPOON ‘CHEMICAL HEARTS’ VINYL TRACKLIST

Side A
1. Chemical Heart
2. DC X 3
3. Champion
4. Just Ace
5. Pedestrian
6. Black Friday
7. Ready 1
8. Lost Control

Side B
1. Hard Act To Follow
2. No Reason
3. Sickfest
4. More Than You Are
5. 1000 Miles
6. Better Off Alone
7. Post Enebriated Anxiety

GRINSPOON ‘CHEMICAL HEARTS’ NATIONAL TOUR

FRI 11 OCT | METROPOLIS, FREMANTLE WA | 18+
Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

SAT 12 OCT | METRO CITY, PERTH WA | 18+
Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

TUES 15 OCT | THE FORUM, MELBOURNE VIC | 18+ **NEW SHOW**
Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

WED 16 OCT | THE FORUM, MELBOURNE VIC  | 18+ **SOLD OUT**

FRI 18 OCT | UC REFECTORY, CANBERRA ACT | 18+
Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

SAT 19 OCT | WAVES, WOLLONGONG NSW | 18+  **NEW SHOW**
Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

WED 23 OCT | ODEON THEATRE, HOBART TAS | 18+ **SOLD OUT**

SAT 26 OCT | ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE THEATRE, ADELAIDE SA | AA
Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

THURS 31 OCT | WAVES, WOLLONGONG NSW | 18+  **SOLD OUT**

FRI 1 NOV | ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE, NEWCASTLE NSW | AA
Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

SAT 2 NOV | HORDERN PAVILION, SYDNEY NSW | AA
Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

THURS 7 NOV | THE STAR BROADBEACH, GOLD COAST QLD | 18+
Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

FRI 8 NOV | THE FORTITUDE MUSIC HALL, BRISBANE QLD | 18+ **SOLD OUT**

SAT 9 NOV | THE FORTITUDE MUSIC HALL, BRISBANE QLD | 18+ **NEW SHOW**
Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/