It’s been twenty years since Jebediah first hit our ear drums with their contagious riffs and those one of a kind vocals of Kevin Mitchell (aka Bob Evans). Headlining FOSTUN this December, drummer Brett Mitchell caught up with FOCUS to reflect on some of the band’s achievements …
We are super excited to have you on the bill at FOTSUN in your 20th year of doing Jedediah! What are you guys looking forward to about this gig?
Well, it’s been an interesting year for us. We celebrated our birthday, which is quite a big one, and we’ve just been kind of quite blown away really, by the response from the show we’ve been playing. It’s been a little bit humbling; we have those little reflective moments where you’re sort of thinking back on things and how you can kind of fit into the whole scene, and you don’t really have the answers to the questions. We’ve played only just a handful of bigger shows over the past five to eight years. Shows like this are a rarity for us now; so it’s always a little bit special.
With countless hits and singles to boot, what can we expect from your onstage vibe at FOTSUN?
We’ll try to please as many people as we can; it’s always a little bit hard to know. Normally for a festival type show we try to include a good range of singles and songs that we feel like people might want to hear, and then we’ll chuck in a few other ones from over the years that are slightly more obscure. Normally a festival slot is 45 – 55 minutes, so with 20 years of material it’s a little bit difficult to work out what to play. We normally play it pretty safe for those shows, because we know it’s a broader audience and we want people to hear at least a few songs that they came to see.
Not only is it your twenty year anniversary, you’ve also released an album to celebrate, titled Twenty. Tell us about the process behind that and how you came up with the song compilation …
I suppose, probably a similar mentality to what I was speaking of before. We operate as a pretty democratic unit; we basically get together, will throw around ideas and it will go back and forth until it gets finalised. Twenty songs seemed to be a good number; it sounds like quite a lot, but once you put in most of the singles and some favourite B sides, there is really no room left after that. It came together relatively quickly – probably for that reason.
Looking at the tracklist of this album, when writing songs such as Harpoon or Leaving Home, did you ever think it would take off like it did?
Who at 21 can look 20 years ahead? Nobody … And even less so when you’re talking about something like the idea of a career in the music industry; it’s pretty absurd in a lot of ways. In the early days I think we were really just hanging on for dear life and trying to keep up with the momentum of it all – as for whether we thought we’d be able to have a 20 year celebration and particularly have it received so well and so warmly, it all seems pretty unreal to me.
Over the years between the band there’s been solo gigs, alter egos, collaborations and more. How did it come about to join together and do this tour and album?
In more recent times where we’ve not played as regularly, its been a bit of a part-time endeavour, only doing a handful of shows a year. It really doesn’t take that much for us to get together – we still enjoy each other’s company a lot and it’s all a very familiar feeling. That aspect hasn’t changed, so it’s something we do treasure. You couldn’t ask for much of a better excuse than that to have a birthday party.
You’ve played with some incredible big name bands and toured extensively throughout your career. What have be some of the most memorable moments?
I’ll be frank – some of it’s just a bit of a blur over the years. I don’t know how much I can really trust my memories of a lot of things. I certainly look back on it all with great fondness, but I think that’s just human nature to block out some of the s**tier bits! I will probably always remember, we did the Big Day Out tour a couple of times, and one of them was in 2000 – Channel V were taking footage of the show. We had these crazy tracksuits on. At the time you do it, its a bit crazy and it’s a bit rushed, and you’re just kind of glad to have done a reasonable job. I remember seeing some of the video footage from that summer, and we were just really struck by the scale of what we were involved with. You do have little moments where your perspective gets shifted, or you get a bit of a shake up; I’m sure this is the case for most of us, regardless of what we do in our lives. It’s often the little things, little moments, with people that stick in your mind; it wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else …
What advice would you give to a band who’s fresh on the scene and trying to find their feet?
It’s fun how much of a perception there is that you’ll be able to give all this advice or experience. In the end, it’s not really about rules or formulas; it’s indefinable really. It’s not about tangible things – there are only a few reasons to play music, and the main one is because it feels good! You try to just hang on to that feeling and experience as much as you can as it goes along, because it’s irreplaceable.
I suppose in terms of practical advice, particularly for longevity and it sounds a little bit grim – but I’ll say, don’t stop.
Thanks so much Brett.
Catch Jebediah at FOTSUN. 11th – 12th December.
For full line up, head to www.fotsun.com
For enquiries, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Matt Saville