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Ushering In A New Era With PAT DAVERN From GRINSPOON

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“In a lot of ways, the album is a look back at our old material. Not trying to emulate it, but trying to regain that identity that people really connected with.”

Pat Davern

Grinspoon have flown the flag for Australian rock since bursting onto the scene after winning the Triple J Unearthed contest with the song Sickfest in 1995. They released their debut, self-titled EP that same year which included that song plus More Than You Are before unleashing their second EP Licker Bottle Cozy the following year, featuring Champion.

In September 1997 Grinspoon released their debut album Guide To Better Living which became the staple sonic diet for disenfranchised youth everywhere with its punchy, aggressive punk/rock hybrid that was catchy as fuck and even more addictive.

The band went from strength to strength from there, releasing a succession of successful albums such as Easy, New Detention and Thrills Kills & Sunday Pills, but it was on the live circuit that Grinspoon basked in glory. Their wild, unpredictable and entertaining live shows helped Grinspoon become a regular on pretty much every Australian music festival since 1995, with demand continuing to this day despite the fact their last album called Black Rabbits was released over a decade ago.

But 2024 is set to become the Year Of Grinspoon following the release of their first new single in twelve years, Unknown Pretenders. The song is a direct throw back to the band’s earlier stuff and has fans both old and new salivating at the prospect of their new album Whatever, Whatever which is slated for an August 9 release.

But that’s not all.

Grinspoon have also announced an extensive 45-date national tour starting in September and finishing in December that will see the band hit capital cities and regional venues, including more than 20 all-ages shows.

Guitarist Pat Davern joined HEAVY to talk about the exciting new developments in the Grinspoon camp, starting with the reception for Unknown Pretenders.

“I think it’s been pretty good. Well, my Mum and Dad love it,” he joked. “To be honest with you, things seem to be going really well. The tour went on sale and tickets are selling really fast, and in this climate, with the amount of bands out there that are touring, we’re very happy about that. It was the first cab off the rank. We’ve probably got a couple more singles to go before we release the album, and I think it’s been a great… return to form is a good way to describe Unknown Pretenders.

Unknown Pretenders saw a relatively low-key release with little advance promotion. It was a simple, yet effective way of releasing the new single, but we question Davern as to why the band chose to release the track without a massive social media campaign.

“You’re right. We didn’t do any social media or any big build up to it,” he agreed. “I think when we recorded the album, we weren’t sure how it was all gonna play out. We wanted to do something that we’re really proud of, and it had been twelve years since we recorded an album, and we didn’t want it to be shit. And if it was shit, then we weren’t gonna release it (laughs). So we thought it would be best to keep it on the quiet until we were really happy with the results. We got there, and we are really happy with the results. The fanfare starts now, on HEAVY mag!”

Unknown Pretenders is definitely a return to form for Grinspoon, more closely resembling their early material than anything that has come since. We ask if that song was chosen as the first single to make a statement of sorts.

“It definitely was,” Davern nodded. “It was kind of… for us to put out music after such a long time, we wanted it to be a statement. We wanted our old fans, and, I guess, our new fans – because we’re almost a generational band now. A lot of people’s kids are into it, where their parents were into the band when we first started. We wanted it to be something we could hang our hat on and say we’re back.”

In the full interview, Pat discusses Unknown Pretenders in more detail, how the single kicks off a new era for Grinspoon, the upcoming album whatever, whatever and what to expect sonically, the writing process and how the final tracks were selected, returning to their roots in a sense, public expectation with music and finding the happy medium, having the same line-up for the band’s whole career, how they have changed and become better musicians over the years, overcoming well-documented band frailties over the years, the upcoming tour and what to expect, playing regional and all ages shows, next year’s thirtieth anniversary of Grinspoon and more.

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