It’s a setting we are not used to seeing him in, but Frenzal Rhomb frontman Jason Whalley will be taking the stage solo over the coming months armed with little more than an acoustic guitar and his famous wit.
“It’s fucking terrifying, but it’s one of those divingboard moments where you go ‘Oh god, I’m going to do it, I’m doing it! JUMP!’ explains Whalley. “I’ve always relied on having very talented people around me to do all the hard bits, so this is a very stripped-back version of it and it’s scary. I’ve done one show and it was kind of cool, so I’m going to do more – even if I have to go upstairs afterwards to the hotel room and cry myself to sleep after the shows, so be it.”
When you’re accustomed to taking the stage with a whole band, the thought of having to go up there alone can be a nerve-racking thought for even the most confident musicians, especially when it comes to the fear of stuffing up.
“Normally if there is a fuck up you always have someone to blame, but with this if you fuck up then you fuck up. You’ve got no one else,” says Whalley. “I guess it’s like public speaking. I suffer from nerves anyway with the band, even though we’ve done thousands of shows, so this is a bit of a personal challenge.”
With new Frenzal Rhomb material still a little while away, Whalley reveals there are a few reasons behind wanting to get out there and take on the challenge of playing these shows.
“I just want to make heaps and heaps of money,” jokes Whalley. “It’s going to take a while before we record the next Frenzal record, so I feel like I need to give these songs another life in a way, just to keep them fresh for me and interesting, and I can work out the different ways of playing them and see what works and what doesn’t.”
This string of solo shows is going to be somewhat of an interactive experience for the audience, with Whalley planning to tell a few jokes and take some questions from the audience in his own version of a Q&A.
“There will be plenty of Q’s but no A’s. You can ask as many questions as you want, but whether or not I’m going to answer them is a whole other thing,” laughs Whalley. “I have done shows a couple of times with my wife as a duo and it’s pretty interactive.
“All the rooms I’m playing are really small and it’s just me and a few people, so I have to deal with hecklers on my own.”
For those fans hanging out for the next Frenzal Rhomb album the wait is growing shorter, with Whalley declaring the band will be recording within the next year, while also revealing an exciting upcoming show.
“I’m not sure if it’s been announced yet, but we are doing a show with NOFX when they come out – and that’s in Darwin,” says Whalley. “But we are just trying to concentrate on finishing the record. I think we have been pencilled in for May of next year to go and record, so it always feels like a long way off. But we have more writing to do, and it will happen.”
When&Where: The Karova, Ballarat – August 22 & The Old Bar, Melbourne – August 23
By Zach Broadhurst