Go You Good Thing

11 April 2012 | 10:09 am | Chris Yates

“I sound like such a wanker when I say this, but we’re going back to Europe for like 30 days straight, and I’m sort of like, ‘Ugh, again?’”

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“I sound like such a wanker when I say this, but we're going back to Europe for like 30 days straight, and I'm sort of like, 'Ugh, again?'”

Keenan laughs as he plays down the limitless fun he and his band mates are likely to have on their next jaunt through Europe, but he says these days there's a lot less sex and drugs for The Go Set, but thankfully, still just as much rock'n'roll. It's not that they've gone straight edge or lost any of their mojo, it's just that after a good decade of playing shows around Australia and the world, the priorities for the group are less about the partying and more about playing the best show that they possibly can.

“If you said to any other musician, you're going to Europe for a month, you're playing every night, you're playing eight different countries, you're playing at five festivals where you're gonna be playing to thousands of people, dudes would be climbing over each other to get on that flight!” he says without exaggeration.  “I'm really aware not to take it for granted because I know it won't last forever. We're trying to just grab a hold of it all with both hands while we still can, try and make great music and try and enjoy every single day.”

At The Go Set's current rate, it really seems like it could last forever. After ten years of very regular gigging and a swag of albums, their name is a fixture on what passes for the modern pub rock circuit. The group's blend of punk, folk and Celtic elements has seen them slot into just about any sort of rock gig you can find in Australia, but even with such a loyal following in their home country it's hard to sustain a band for too long. It's shows in Europe, and in particular Germany, that are making a more viable future possible.

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“Bands that do a lot of work, and show that they're willing to come back – European audiences really respond to that,” he explains. “I think Australia is spoiled for great live bands. The Go Set are a great live band, but there's thousands of equally good bands in Australia.

“Germany's got a big antifascist, left wing, environmental movement,” he continues. “There's a real following beginning for the social and political context of our music. It's not to say that the majority of people in Germany listen to protest music, but there's certainly enough to accommodate that kind of genre of music.”

While their upcoming tour of Australia will give the band an opportunity to give Australian fans a chance to hear tracks from their self-titled fifth album live, Keenan is already thinking about his next project. While it may seem like a departure from The Go Set, a lot of the material for his forthcoming solo album was born out of songwriting sessions for the band's record.

“I went to Mick Thomas [Weddings, Parties, Anything – producer of The Go Set's 2007 album A Journey For A Nation] with a whole bunch of songs. I didn't know if they were gonna be for the band or what they would be for, and we decided that it would be good to do a solo album. I've done about half of it with Mick and Wally [Mark Wallace, also from WPA, and now a member of The Go Set's live band]. I want to get it out around September and do another tour for that!”