‘I Expected To Cringe’: Phil Jamieson On Revisiting Grinspoon Classics

9 November 2023 | 2:39 pm | Ellie RobinsonMary Varvaris

"I expected to fully, you know, go into a corner and cringe, and I was like, 'No, this is f*cking great!'”


Grinspoon (Source: Supplied)

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Grinspoon are currently on their Easy Detention tour – plugging their beloved Easy (1999) and New Detention (2002) – and even pressed the albums on vinyl for the first time.

We’re delighted to be hitting the road again later this year; I’m so enjoying putting together the set list for these shows,” vocalist Phil Jamieson said about the experience in a press release earlier this year. “We’ll be throwing in some songs we’ve never played live, believe it or not.”

To celebrate the tour, we caught up with Jamieson and spoke about the album reissues, success and longevity, and how the band felt upon the album’s original releases.

“I got the final test pressing a couple of weeks ago,” Jamieson tells The Music, “me and [guitarist] Pat [Davern] sat together and listened to them both – but that's the first time I've listened to them in... 20 years [probably], I don’t even know.

“I don’t know the last time I listened to them. But I did listen to it with Pat. And it was quite a nice moment, to be honest. It was like... I expected to fully, you know, go into a corner and cringe, and I was like, 'No, this is fucking great!'”

Jamieson continues to call the re-listen really enjoyable, all while pointing out “questionable production” and “some really long guitar solos – and some funny vocal histrionics by myself at 21 years of age, on Easy, but it was... It was a really nice moment.

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“The moment didn't escape me, that... I felt incredible gratitude. We get to not only release these [albums] but talk to people like yourself about doing a tour with it... Like, this is rare air, you know? These people have been in my life for 28 years – the same people. I joined this band when I was 17, you know, so I feel quite blessed,” he says. “I hate that word, but you know what I mean. Yeah, it's one of those things that strikes me that... I probably don't acknowledge very often, but I feel...

“Yeah, it's rare air; we don't get to... Not all bands get to do this, and talk about their second and third records, and celebrate them this way – get to do a tour with Private Function and Cupid And The Stupids and play these beautiful venues around Australia... And I remember when I was listening to it, looking at Pat and laughing at some of the arrangements, and you know, funny mistakes... Or not... It was just... Yeah, it reminded me of the immense amount of gratitude I have. I don't think I had that back when I was recording those records, and sometimes it takes 20 years to realise that.”

Jamieson had no idea that while Grinspoon were making the records we call classics, that they’d become timeless. He exclaims, “My God, if I can listen back to a record after I make it, it's a big deal for me after I make it. I didn't even think Chemical Heart was a single – my brain doesn't work in that way. I just... Usually, there's a fair amount of self-loathing directly after a record – which sometimes can last decades... Well, not self-loathing, but just being like, 'Ah, is it any good? I don't want to listen to it.'”

He continues, “You spend so much time in the studio, nitpicking over a hi-hat on the fourth chorus of the second bar, so I just think that... Yeah, for me, I never thought about the timelessness of it. I think that would be disingenuous to my whole ethos, to be honest – that's not what I make music for. But luckily, it seems to have aged okay. New Detention is now 21; they can legally buy alcohol in America. I'm happy for them. The short answer is no, I don't really think about timelessness. I just thought about the songs that were in front of me and how I could make them as best I could in the situation we were in.”

Since the release of Easy, which Jamieson fondly dubs “one of my favourite records”, the flaws have made it the masterpiece that it is. “We did a six-minute instrumental song; we would give Pat all of these guitar solos – there's not a guitar solo on Guide To Better Living – we were just doing whatever we fucking wanted,” he explains. “Some records are A&R'ed within an inch of their life, whereas Easy is the antithesis of that; we were just given free rein to do whatever we wanted. And that's why I love that record so much.

“It ebbs and flows in production quality, but there's some hilariously great moments to it, and I really love it,” Jamieson says. “We were all pretty burned out by America, so we weren't loving each other by any stretch of the imagination, but we found a way, and we ended up ended up coming out... Basically, when that was released in '99, that record, we finally ended up getting on the Big Day Out in 2000. I'd been covering the Big Day Out since '94 – since I went to the festival for the first time – so to actually play mainstage on that 2000 Big Day Out... I think Red Hot Chili Peppers were headlining... It was a 'pinch me' moment.”

Grinspoon are currently on their Easy Detention tour.





FRI 17 NOV | ENMORE THEATRE, SYDNEY | GADIGAL NSW | 18+ GA Floor, AA RES Balcony | 7-11:15pm *SOLD OUT

SAT 18 NOV | NEX, NEWCASTLE | MULUBINBA NSW | 18+ GA Floor | 7-11:15pm

THU 23 NOV | ASTOR THEATRE, PERTH | BOORLOO WA | 18+ GA Floor, AA Balcony | 7-11.15pm *NEW SHOW

FRI 24 NOV | ASTOR THEATRE, PERTH | BOORLOO WA | 18+ GA Floor, AA Balcony | 7-11:15pm *SOLD OUT

FRI 22 DEC | FORUM, MELBOURNE | NAARM VIC | 18+ GA Floor, RES Booths | 7-11pm *NEW SHOW


Tickets are available via the Grinspoon website.