For those of you whoâ€™ve heard Augie Marchâ€™s lyrics you would know they read like the most splendid of academic footnotes. I had the time to study them as my interview with bassist Edmondo Amendola was pushed back from two oâ€™clock to three oâ€™clock.
I also had time to have a shave (which doesnâ€™t take long because my hair grows only in patches sporadically across my face), and make a sandwich. It was indeed One Crowded Hour. (I also had time to craft that amazing joke!).
But things go from crowded to packed when he appears, jumping straight on in with all the enthusiasm of a newborn child to the milky teat of their mother.
â€śWeâ€™re just in the middle of the On the Quiet tour. Iâ€™m really enjoying it. Itâ€™s kind of halfway between a bunch of blokes standing around with some guitars and the full-blown band experience, so I like that. There is a little bit of strange stuff; some spooky stuff and the backing vocals are pretty prominent. Itâ€™s kind of like a hybrid between two styles.â€ť
He is puffing as he speaks, perhaps because he has been running away from Joe Chicarelli, the producer of the bandâ€™s latest record Watch Me Disappear. They didnâ€™t see eye to eye on everything, and the band has been vocal in their criticism of him.
â€śIt was a shit experienceâ€ť Ed sighs. â€śThe press is littered about so many bad stories about our experience with Joe, and look the only thing I can say is that if we didnâ€™t learn from it weâ€™re dumber than I thought.â€ť
Perhaps the sour experience recording brought the band closer. Unity in a time of struggle?
â€śNo actually it tore us to bits, it worked the other way. It was really really shit, weâ€™re slowly patching up now.â€ť No dice there either.
I can tell Ed is getting antsy, heâ€™s spoken about Joe more times than he probably cares to, and here he goes again. But I gotta know, whatâ€™s so bad about Joe?
â€śWe just had different ideas,â€ť says Ed, but I can tell he isnâ€™t done.
â€śI mean there was a lot of personal shit going on with the band when we were making that record too, so it was a combination of a whole lot of factors that ended up making it so shit.â€ť
We talk some more about the prominence of Edâ€™s bass on the record, and how Joe ripped out guitars but itâ€™s time to move on both for the band and the interview.
So what is the final verdict on Watch Me Disappear? Is it kind of like having an ugly baby? Itâ€™s not what you expected but you love it anyway?
â€śItâ€™s a strange one, I donâ€™t know, it is still Augie March, I mean there is still some dogged messiness about it but itâ€™s a new direction and Iâ€™ve welcomed that new direction, whatever form it might take. Like with Lupus, that song rocks hard live, thatâ€™s how we wanted it to be on the record.â€ť
The musical marriage of Augie March has been a rocky one indeed. The tension during Watch Me Disappear wasnâ€™t the first time the band had experienced trouble. But like passionate lovers they managed to make it work. But what is the secret to this longevity?
â€śOh fuck dude I have no idea,â€ť he replies, tired laugh behind his words. Damn it Ed.
â€śNo matter how much we try to hate each other weâ€™re still around but itâ€™s just a whole mixture of things. People are fearful of change, people are fearful of getting out of their comfort zone, scared of starting new musical relationships. Although for Glenn that would be exciting and he is going to do that, he is going to do a solo record.â€ť
I smile, knowing Glennâ€™s solo work will be like an audio version of War & Peace, filled with musical prose good enough to make you explode. Ed continues, comparing music to stationery.
â€śBut when it comes down to it the music is the glue. The problem is when the music becomes unstuck then so do we. It sounds a bit hippy, but it is true, itâ€™s the common goal.â€ť
I can sense the fear in Edâ€™s voice throughout the interview, something is freaking him out. Is it the pressure to match the heights of Moo, You Bloody Choir? â€śNot at all mate.â€ť So what is it, this hidden concern I can detect?
â€ś Well Glenn brought this beautiful thing to the table and I still donâ€™t know if weâ€™ve fucked it up for him. Itâ€™s hard to tell, you listen to some songs, you read the lyrics and you think sorry dude, we fucked it up.â€ť
Itâ€™s Ed’s job to be plagued by unnecessary guilt (anyone who listened to Watch Me Disappear knows the band didnâ€™t fuck it up), but it is my job to report the facts! And the facts are that despite their tumultuous history Augie March are still able to waltz into Sydney and play a few tunes for our appreciative ears.
â€śWeâ€™re playing The Basement, which Iâ€™ve never played at before, but I hear it is quite intimate, which is pretty much why weâ€™re playing there, People will have a chance to hear the songs in a very different way. One Crowded Hour sounds nothing like it normally does, its shocking people and we start playing it and we just see these blank stares. Eventually they cotton on, but at the start theyâ€™re tricked.â€ť
It seems Augie March are happy to trick people. Their greatest trick will be convincing people they can make the transition from good band to great, where so many people, including us here at Music Feeds, believe they belong. Hereâ€™s hoping.
Catch the band at The Basement on 3rd and 4th April
Watch Me Disappear is out now!
- Bluesfest Adds 11 New Acts To 2015 Lineup
- Augie March 2015 National Tour Announced
- Augie March Announce Melbourne Recital Centre Show
- Augie March Announce Sydney Opera House Debut
- Inaugural Double J Artist Of The Year Nominees Announced
- John Butler Trio, Augie March Make Coopers AMP 2014 Longlist