Tumbleweed Chat New Album & Getting The Gang Back Together

With their new album Sounds From The Other Side now fresh from the print, Tumbleweed have loaded up the Tarago and are hitting the highways of Australia for a run of headlining performances. The first full-length album since 1995 to feature all their original members, Sounds From The Other Side marks the return of serious balls to Australian rock ‘n’ roll.

In light of this, Music Feeds caught up with main man and vocalist Richie Lewis to talk about the new album, how it feels to be back with the old gang and, of course, their infamously crazy live shows.

Music Feeds: Hey, Richie! So happy to be talking to you. So the old gang is back together for the first time in 15 years. Tell us what the climate’s like amongst the band right now.

Richie Lewis: Stormclouds have cleared and a distant thunder rumbles, yet overhead the sky is blue and it is warm and sunny.

MF: Your brand-new album Sounds From The Other Side has just been released! I’d imagine you’ve gone over the whole thing with a fine tooth comb. How has it all come together? Are you happy with the results?

RL: With this album we had time. We had the freedom to do whatever we wanted. We only had a vague idea of what we were going to do, but there were certain things that had to happen.

We wanted to record it to 2-inch tape, we wanted a decent analogue console, we wanted Paul McKercher to record it. We tried to minimise editing and tried to concentrate on performance and we wanted to capture the feel and looseness and energy of a band playing together. We wanted to have an outline, a rough sketch and then let it naturally form and organically grow. We didn’t want to overthink it – if we liked an idea we explored it. We’re very happy with the result. It’s the record we always wanted to make.

MF: The new album is a combination of new recordings of both new songs and also unreleased songs from back in the day. What was the selection process like in picking the older songs which were worthy enough to make the cut?

RL: There was an old song on a demo tape from the mid-’90s. It sounded like a [’60s rock band] Blue Cheer recording, I think because it was recorded in the jam room to cassette. We forgot about it but it had this amazing riff and Lenny had a great hook on the chorus. That ended up being Wildfire.

At practice we would just run through everything and certain songs stood out. They just locked in or left a positive feeling. We did a demo with Al Wright at 313 studio in Wollongong, 17 songs, and the songs that made it were the ones where vocal melodies, phrases, lyrics and other elements seemed to materialise quite naturally. The variation of the album was also a consideration.

MF: New single Like A Night Owl just got its own (very good looking) animated video clip. Tell us a little about how this came about.

RL: I work with a fine young animator and digital artist Shannon Reid. He offered to do the music video for me when the guy I originally asked to do it fell through due to work commitments. I let Shannon do whatever he wanted, we talked about ideas and we were pretty much on the same wavelength. We love the result! Shannon did a great job.

Watch: Tumbleweed – Like A Night Owl

MF: You worked with ARIA Award-winning producer Paul McKercher on Sounds…, who you worked with previously on 1995’s Galactaphonic. Was it a no-brainer to team up with him for the new record, considering he could bring that classic Tumbleweed sound?

RL: Pretty much, yeah. He was crucial. He was the only guy who ever came close to capturing our sound and he is great to work with.

MF: What was it like listening to these songs you wrote all those years ago in a new environment? Is is nice to dust off the cobwebs and give them an airing alongside new material?

RL: They were never really finished, just skeletons that needed work, so they sound and feel brand-new. It doesn’t feel like the songs span time, they are all fresh to us. All new.

MF: You just launched the album with a few dates, culminating in a show at the Annandale. How have the new jams gone down with punters?

RL: We are fortunate to have a loyal and passionate following, who not only like to come and hear their old favourites that were a part of the soundtrack to their youth but they are excited to hear the new stuff. They have really picked up on it and seem to be loving it and we are very grateful.

MF: You’re about to set off on your album tour proper. For those of us who didn’t have the luck to catch the previous gigs, what can we expect from a Tumbleweed live show these days?

RL: It’s loud! It’s tight but it’s shambolic and could go anywhere at any time. It’s a wild beast, a runaway train, it’s a heavy groove that makes you feel good and it is sounding better than ever.

Tumbleweed’s Live From The Other Side tour kicks off next month. Tickets are on sale now.

Tumbleweed: Live From The Other Side Australian Tour Dates 2013

Thursday, 21st November

The Rosemount, Perth

With special guests Kadavar, Blue Pills & The Devil Rides Out

Tix: http://heathenskulls.oztix.com.au

Friday, 22nd November

Mojo’s, Fremantle

With special guests Kadavar, Blue Pills & Legs Electric

Tix: http://www.trybooking.com/DOYM

Saturday, 23rd November

Adelaide Uni Bar, Adelaide

With special guests Kadavar, Blue Pills, Before The Aftermath & Hydromedusa

Tix: http://www.moshtix.com.au/

Friday, 29th November

Central Club Hotel, Richmond

Special guests to be announced

Tix: http://www.trybooking.com

Thursday, 5th December

Tempo, Brisbane

Special guests to be announced

Tix: http://tickets.oztix.com.au

Friday, 6th December

Metro, Sydney

Special guests to be announced

Tix: http://premier.ticketek.com.au

Saturday, 7th December

Waves, Wollongong

Special guests to be announced

Tix: http://www.moshtix.com.au

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