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Seas Of Change

17 November 2013 | 2:18 pm | Benny Doyle

“No, we’re fucking useless!”

Having done a two-night stretch earlier this year in the Brisbane Powerhouse's Visy Theatre, grand folk rockers The Good Ship return to the venue's main theatre for the official launch of their third long-player, The Seven Seas. A fluid piece of music broken up into ten songs, the record leaves linear ideals behind to offer a rounded story that talks of bravado, persuasion and the inner demons we all face, and with Sandro Colarelli onboard as the narrator, Andrew Meadows looking after lighting and Kat Henry directing, the music becomes a fully fledged theatrical piece where the mood ebbs and flows through each respective section.

“It's very different to a normal gig, which we can do with our eyes closed having toured so much,” admits John Meyer. “It's so [strange] doing a show where you've got to play quietly sometimes and take it easy. The album is a concept in the traditional sense and it works with the show – the album is the show.”

An extension of the song Seven Seas from their second record O Exquisite Corpse, Meyer – who sings, plays guitar and adds percussion in The Good Ship – says the band used a couple of older tracks to anchor the music's storyline and then built it up from there. “But it's not like an actual musical in the old Hollywood sense,” he clarifies, “it's just a cycle of songs that were tied together with the story. And so we thought, 'Well, we've already got a couple of songs that seem to tell a bit of that story, let's write some more songs that flesh out different parts.”

Once the basic plot was realised, it was just a case of deciding which parts would be acted out and which would be expressed through song. Meyer puts any thoughts of artistic crossover to bed. “No, we're fucking useless!” he remarks on The Good Ship's acting capabilities. “That's why we have an amazing actor, Sandro, that we've got involved to be the narrator; he really drives that [side]. And we've got a fantastic director in Kat, who has kinda drawn out some acting chops from us. But we wrote the story so we wouldn't have to pretend to be actors – we're not, we're musicians. But there's little elements that accentuate parts and help to tell the story.

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“One of the most interesting things though is combining our rough and tumble rock'n'roll gigging vibe with the actors. It's a completely different world; they don't really get us and we don't really get them. Secretly I think that they want to be in the band and secretly we want to be actors as well – you always want what you don't have. I think Kat in particular, she's desperate to be in the band; she's desperate to explore the rock'n'roll lifestyle now that she's had a taste. She wants groupies… little do they know it's just hours sitting in the touring van.”