Eamon Sandwith and Josh Price, two thirds of The Chats, come bounding down the stairs of the Northcote Social Club as Forté arrives. The Chats are about to start sound-check for the first leg of their first headline national tour. The show tonight is sold out. Their new song ‘Do What I Want’ has just been released. It’s already receiving good feedback, even though “it’s a bit different from Smoko”. The boys are wary of this. They’re frothing.
Nothing can equalize their rough-as-guts energy, even as they tune their bright-red guitars and toy with the sound tech. They pick up from the chorus of WOD’s ‘Top 5′ in a burst, as if someone has flicked a switch. And then they stop again.
“That ok with youse?”
The Chats are Eamon Sandwith (lead vocals/guitar), Josh Price (vocals/guitar) and Matt Bogis (drums). They met in high school, in a music class where they got away with murder. Luckily, not literally.
Bogis is an accomplished skater, Price isn’t too bad in the surf, and Sandwith is “too unco” for anything other than walking on flat ground. But what Sandwith can do is wrangle a microphone. The facial contortions he makes throughout their set put Jim Carrey to shame. The placid, albeit distracted Sandwith of hours earlier, turns into a tyrannosaurus on stage.
The Chats serve up that Cabana-stick kitsch that is an all-Aussie guilty pleasure. Songs like ‘Pub Feed’ are, well, pub rock at its finest happy hour. After all, this is a band that only lists on their triple j Unearthed profile under influences, “Beer”. They’ve even penned an ode to VB.
Though they insist their tastes are changing, as Sandwith quips “I walked in on him (Price) having a glass of Rosé last night”. But when pushed for more influences, they oblige.
Bogis tells us, “I’m into my blues; everything, anything, anything with real talent. Fuck the DJ’s”. This starts a rapid back and forth between the boys.
Sandwith: “See, I like music with the least talent involved”.
Bogis: “That takes talent though”.
They go on until they realise what’s probably most important for any band to have, even more so than talent: “we just learnt to put up with each other”, as Sandwith concedes.
One thing is for sure; The Chats have learnt a lot more than just getting along in the past six months. They’re not long home from touring with Aussie legends Cosmic Psycho’s, which was a real education.
“We had some ups and downs along the way, “me (Sandwith) and Pricey got real sick”- Sandwith with food poising and Price self-inflicted with Tequila.
“They taught us a few lessons on pushing on with a hangover.”
“We definitely grew a lot as a band on that tour.”
“Without even noticing it either,” they all concede.
The boys have come a mile from a shed-studio in Peregian beach, Noosa. After three consecutive national tours, The Chats are heading to Europe later this year.
“Even a year ago we were just getting small shows on the coast we were like fuck yeah we’re hyped.”
“You’d have like twenty people turn up and we’d be like YES, we’ve pulled a crowd boys.”
“I think we got paid a carton of beer for a year before we started getting real.”
During Forté’s chat, they mention they’re working on a full-length album and that we can expect new music on the tour. When the unavoidable Smoko question comes up, they’re not fazed. “What’s a band without a hit?”
When it’s time for the show, the boys begin their set with that same kick in the nuts, “We’re The Chats, get fucked.”
And when they treat us to a new song never played live before, CCTV, they tell us “count yaselves lucky”.
The Chats will be supporting Queens Of The Stone Age at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena on September 7 & 8.
Check out their website
Written by Darby-Perrin Larner