28 Days Damien Gardiner

1 August 2012 | 5:23 pm | Nic Toupee

“Writing the record is now getting into its third year. We’re taking it slow and steady,”

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Back at the turn of the last century (millennium?) — and yes, it seems like it was ages ago, because it actually was — I'd put bets on the likelihood that suburban punks 28 Days were the only noteworthy band in Baccus Marsh. These days, thanks to the power of Google, we can confirm that very little has changed: give or take a cover band or two 28 Days are still pretty much the only notable band from Baccus Marsh. And the term 'notable' is arguably selling 28 Days at the height of their popularity — smashing the ARIA charts with a #1 for their zeitgeist-hugging millennial album, Upstyledown — short. Being family men now with jobs and mortgages, the band are no longer hoping to top the charts, and instead are happy to keep just playing for the kicks.

Having been 'hard' at work (ie. not very much) on their current album for a couple of years now, 28 Days are about to return to the stage, but are probably not going to share the new songs — instead, they'll probably stick with their punk classics. Bassist Damien Gardiner explains: “We'll probably save [the new songs] and wait until we've got them out before we play them live. With this show, we'll play for a fair while and play our popular songs — it's our 'greatest hits', really.'

It's a strategy they employ to give themselves and the fans both maximum enjoyment of proceedings. “We know what works, and we try to keep people happy. But if we like to play a track live, it comes across better anyway, so we also have to be happy ourselves.” What seems to keep Gardiner and the band happiest is delving into the back catalogue highlights. Some bands hate having to wheel out their old songs for the fans' benefit, but for 28 Days, that couldn't be further from the truth. “I love our older songs,” he admits. “I love playing Rip It Up, live, even though we've played it a thousand times. We play it last every show and get everyone up on stage, it's total chaos! It's definitely a favourite one to play live because of that huge amount of energy.”

Unfortunately for Gardiner, he's not going to escape this interview without a bit of shtick for the tardiness on the new album — I feel it needs to be done, for the fans' sake. “Writing the record is now getting into its third year. We're taking it slow and steady,” he explains. “I mean, it has to be better than rushing it out, doesn't it?” Now, there's 'taking it steady' and 'making no progress', and it seems to the casual eye that 28 Days may be prime exhibits for the latter. “Definitely, by the end of the year this album will be out,” he admits after some further pressing. “We used to play the Big Day Out a lot, and they say we have to have an album to do another one. So if we do get the album out, we might be lucky and get on the Big Day Out next year,” he laughs. “At the very least, at the beginning of next year we'll do a little tour — we haven't done that in ages. It's ninety per cent finished, so it's just about us getting off our arses and getting it done.”

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Their deliberately relaxed attitude is partially a reaction to past pressure from their 'hit machine' days. “Ten years ago, it was all so hectic and that was the bad part of being in a band, and a bad part of the whole industry. After being pushed around then, we're now very anti-that attitude, and totally relaxed. Basically, if the album took another two years to write, we don't really care. We rushed so much stuff in our career, and now it's about us having a great time. Actually, we have more fun now than we've ever had.”