On The Road Again

25 April 2012 | 4:47 pm | Daniel Cribb

“There are points when you are on the road when just want to fucking quit and you just do not want to be there, and you want to kill every single person that you see.”

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As we picture The Getaway Plan frontman Matthew Wright sipping on ice cold beer at a resort in the Gold Coast, mid-tour on the band's day off, it makes you wonder why they retreated into hiatus during 2009 and '10. One of their main justifications during that period was touring became too much. Touring can't be that bad, can it? From a punter's point of view it seems like a dream job, and for the most part, it is. But what fans of The Getaway Plan can't really comprehend are the sleepless nights and ridiculously long drives; they only see the band the one night they're in town, then crawl into their beds at home and their lives as usual. The Getaway Plan cherish their days off so much and soak up every last second before they have to pile back into a smelly van and drive for ten hours.

“A friend owns the resort up here, so we're just chilling by the pool,” Wright begins. “[On days off] we usually drink a lot,” he laughs, explaining the balance between work, play and partying. “We usually kind of ruin ourselves for the next run of shows,” he admits. “We're doing this current tour DIY. We don't have a tech as we usually do and we don't really have a tour manager, so we're kind of just driving ourselves around in a van, which is something that we haven't done for years. We're kind of waiting for something to fuck up, but nothing yet,” he laughs. “Fingers crossed, we may get through.

“We just felt like stripping things back for a run and getting down to work again, instead of rocking up to shows at sound check and not having to touch your gear when you leave – you kind of feel like a piece of shit after a while of doing that. We wanted to do it ourselves this time round. It suited the regional run we're doing. I really like the hands-on side of things – being able to set up my own gear and pack it up, knowing where everything is going is quite beneficial. It does take it out of you though. We have to get to the venues at midday, every day, and we're there until 2am, so that's pretty brutal,” he says.

With Melbourne pals Gatherer on tour with them for a second time, it makes days off by the pool more enjoyable and long days on the road more bearable. “I just love them – their record is incredible. It's not out yet, but I've had it for quite some time and it honestly hasn't left my stereo for eight months,” he says. The Getaway Plan's latest studio album Requiem also works as a slow burner, still on high rotation around the country. It's been a year since they were in Canada putting the final touches on the record and it's only recently that a lot of people have come to terms with its differences from their first studio album Other Voices, Other Rooms. “We put everything on the line and into this record – it's our fucking everything,” Wright emphasises. “A lot people didn't get it at first. Even a lot of my friends were kind of like 'Errr, I like it, but I think I'm going to need some more time'. Eventually pretty much every single person came around and said that they understood what we were trying to do. To me, that's awesome. I love that. All my favourite records are ones that take some time to get to know.”

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Now that they've had some time to settle back into their old lives on the road, taking Requiem around the country numerous times and performing at Groovin' The Moo this May, Wright is sure that history won't repeat itself and things won't come crashing down a second time. “Before we were just way too 100% dedicated to the band. Not that we aren't now, but we just have a good balance between this and our lives back home, and we do manage to find the time between tours and whilst on tour to stay in contact with loved ones and family. I think with age you get used to it. We were so young and we just didn't really know how to deal with it at the time, but I think now that we have all matured quite a bit we can cope a lot better than we used to,” Wright explains.

“There are points when you are on the road when just want to fucking quit and you just do not want to be there, and you want to kill every single person that you see,” he laughs. “But there are times when you could not be more grateful. Even driving here in the van I was taken back by how beautiful it was – how beautiful Australia is. I've driven that road hundreds of times and most of the time I would just die to get to the next destination, but you just get different perspectives over time,” he says.

Broadened perspectives and maturity come through a lot in Requiem, through its lyrics and subject matter, particularly in latest single Move Along and its accompanying music video. The track deals with the loss of a loved one and dealing with grief. Wright is the only member who appears in the video, which had a few people question the dynamics of the band, thinking that maybe he was in control of everything. “One of our members got stuck in Thailand and we were just kind of concerned about putting us all in the clip and one person being missing. It ended up just working out better that I was the only one in it. There's no intention of it being Matt and The Getaways, it was just problem with crew being missing,” he explains. “Dave was stuck [in Thailand],“ he tells. “I think he got drunk and forgot about the clip – that's most likely,” he admits, laughing.

Dealing with life on the road and small technical glitches is nothing out of the ordinary, but when The Getaway Plan's former tour manager John Zimmerman was arrested on sexual assault charges and sent to jail at the end of last year, the band was confronted with some fairly heavy assumptions on behalf of the public and wasted no time in assuring everyone knew they had nothing to do with it. “We dealt with it in our own way. We kind of detached ourselves from the situation as much as we could because we just want to play music and that's all that matters to us, and we don't want anything to get in the way of that. We had no association with any of it – as I'm sure the public know. You'd have to be stupid to try and pin something on us,” he explains. “People like to spin things and it can get kind of hard, but we have not been affected by it – we're too focused on [Requiem] and we care too much about music.”

Putting that behind them The Getaway Plan are on a mission to take over the world. “We're going to the UK in July, which is the first time we've ever been to play outside of Australia. We've made records overseas, but we've never actually toured anywhere outside of here, so that's really exciting for us. Hopefully that opens some doors so we can go back later on in the year. We're going to hold off on the US for a bit because it's a bit tougher over there. We feel like the UK definitely has a place for us.”