Jebediah celebrate 20 years

_27 04 2015 Jebs Fence Horizontal 1 Credit Matt Saville-001

From left to right: Vanessa Thornton, Brett Mitchell, Chris Daymond and Kevin Mitchell.

Jebediah are one of Perth’s most successful bands. While they’ve recently found themselves making it onto every online list of underrated Australian bands of the 1990s, for many, the fact that they’re celebrating twenty years of making music together is something of a reality check. For bass player Vanessa Thornton and lead guitarist Chris Daymond, the anniversary is as good an excuse as any to go on tour.

“It’s a convenient year to sort of put a spotlight on. A double decade, but it’s probably in lots of ways a good excuse to look back on the fact you’ve come this far. At the same time being together for 18 years was pretty special. Or 19, I think.” Daymond said.

To celebrate their double decade, Jebediah are releasing a compilation entitled ‘TWENTY’, compiling their most-loved tracks from their five albums. They’ll also be touring around the country, where as well as playing recent favourites like ‘She’s Like a Comet’, they’ll also be playing their explosive debut album ‘Slightly Odway’ in its entirety.

Thornton explained the decision. “It is referenced as being part of the popular soundtrack to the alternative ‘90s or whatever. Factual wise it’s our biggest selling album, and it’s the one that gave us the opportunity to be a band that continued. Not that we wouldn’t have done it otherwise if we had never had made that record, but you know, the fact is that it’s there and we’re not ashamed of it.”

According to Thornton, it allows the set to have a bit more breathing room. “If we can just get the Odway thing in one set and do the whole thing then in the first set we’ve just got a bit more scope to give a bit more airtime to other songs.”

“You can play a set without people yelling out ‘Leaving Home!’ from go to woah. Even after you’ve played ‘Leaving Home’. “Play leaving home!” “We played it.” “Play it again!” she laughed.

The band have made their way onto a number of pop culture list articles and retrospectives about Australian ‘90s music. While the band are aware that ‘Slightly Odway’ has a place in the hearts of many, it’s not something they’re used to. “It seemed kind of like a new phenomenon to me, I don’t think we’re a critical darling in any way. Previously we haven’t made lists… This year has been a change in that, it seems.” Daymond said.

Thornton said that ‘Slightly Odway”s popularity years after its release has come as a surprise to the band. “We never would’ve forseen what was going to happen with that record. I mean obviously we were hoping that some people would buy it and we’d be able to play shows and people would come to the shows but  I mean it far exceeded what I thought would’ve happened with the album.”

Jebediah’s longevity is unsurprising when Daymond explains their laid back group dynamic. “I think when we get together as a group it seems very natural, the way we interact. And the result of that interaction musically is what our music is, so nobody tells anyone else what to play or what to do, and I don’t think that’ll change.”

Both Daymond and Thornton are still Perth-based, which is uncommon for those in the creative industry who’ve tasted success. When asked if they think the city is supportive of musicians, they are enthusiastic. “I definitely think so. I feel like it always has been.” Thornton said. Daymond concurred: “I feel it as well. I think anyone that labels Perth as dullsville or whatever is just a reflection of themselves. More than anything, so. It’s as simple as that to me. There’s plenty going on and if you want to be involved you just make that decision and get into it.”

The suggestion of a forty year anniversary tour is met with laughter. “That’d be hilarious.” Daymond said. Thornton chimed in; “I think that’s how much we would have laughed if twenty years ago someone would’ve said twenty years. I would’ve said ‘you’re crazy’.”

Jebediah will be playing at the Astor Theatre from June 26th-28th. Tickets available from Ticketek.

Sophie Joske

Tags: , , , , , , ,