Byron gets its Phil
Grinspoon’s frontman heads up the next Summerstage in Byron.
With much of his work cancelled in 2020, Phil is excited to be returning to the area where his seminal band cut their teeth.
‘I moved to Lismore in 1995 to study, and found Pat and Joe and Kris. I was at SCU and I was just 17, and I went to a Monday night jam session at the Gollan that Kris’s dad was running. I met them there – playing uni-styled funk. We formed a little group and entered Unearthed. It was at the same time Triple J’s competition went national, so when we won Unearthed it meant we could go to Dubbo or Townsville or anywhere and they would have heard us.’
This was a game changer for the lads who weren’t really Lismore boys, they just converged there! ‘When we won Unearthed there were some Lismore bands that weren’t too happy!’
It was a win that was to catapult Grinspoon to national acclaim, making them one of the most loved bands on the circuit. Affection they have earned and maintained.
Phil now lives in Port Macquarie and, while he still fronts Grinspoon, he also plays the circuit as a solo musician.
‘I am playing completely on my own. I used to play with a drummer and a bass player and they would only come on for the last four songs as I struggled to get a crescendo solo, but I have figured out how to do it now without a band.’
‘I love being in solo mode – I drive myself to the gig, and since covid I’ve driven to every one. Even though some of the smaller venues had a cap on their numbers, I wanted to play for my own sanity. Playing online, and time at home, gave me a chance to hone a lot of what I do live. And so heading to Summerstage – it’s going to be like the largest event I’ve done in a while!’
Playing live is something Phil missed during the covid lockdowns that affected so many musicians. Even though he was playing online and streaming, it was the live gigs that still called him.
‘It’s something I feel I am relatively good at,’ he laughs humbly. ‘I am okay in the studio, but I am impatient. Playing live is where I can get my head around what I do.’
So what’s the trick for a solo act to catch a crowd?
‘There’s a trick I learnt from Tim Rogers; get quieter and quieter – you don’t want to come out like Robbie Williams blasting – on the solo journey it’s you and a guitar and a harmonica. You have to make the audience work and bring them back, no matter how they are – if they’re reverential or super party and want to heckle, I don’t mind. I never scold the crowd’.
Phil is pumped to be playing Summerstage.
‘I can’t wait to play. Sophie Ozard, who is supporting, did a massive tour with me recently and Andy is great as well. Can’t wait – I have been playing Byron since I started at The Northern in 1995 supporting Sidewinder!’
Catch Phil Jamieson with supporting acts Andy Jans Brown and Coz*mic, and Sophie Ozard, on Saturday 13 February at Summerstage Byron at Red Devils. Sunday 14 Feb sees the incredible Lisa Hunt’s Forever Soul, The Feramones and Byron Divas of Jazz.
To find out more and get tickets to this awesome outdoor socially distanced gig go to summerstagebyronbay.com.au
Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon)
Andy Jans Brown and Coz*mic
Byron Divas of Jazz (Sharny Russell, Leigh Carriage and Fiona Dell)
Lisa Hunt’s Forever Soul