The hills will come alive with the sound of music when the celebration that is A Day On The Green comes to Geelong’s Mt Duneed Estate in March next year. We caught up with rock superstar and genuine nice guy Mark Maher, also known as Kram from Spiderbait, to get the lowdown on why ADOTG is a must-do for any music lover, why Kram is Forte Magazine’s number one fan, and what life is like for the trio still riding high after over 25 years in the industry.
“I’ll always talk to Forte, I’ve been chatting with Forte Magazine for many, many years,” Kram says calling from his home on the NSW north coast. “I’m so happy it’s still going strong.”
The same can be said for the band he founded in the late ’80s, when he was fresh out of high school.
“It’s weird for us because we don’t play that much, but we have kind of maintained our level or status, or whatever the fuck you call it, over a long period of time,” he says.
Spiderbaby (as they were known at the time) first burst onto the Melbourne club circuit in 1990 when Kram, his second cousin Damian Whitty and high school friend Janet English, moved from their hometown of Finlay in southern NSW. “The simplicity in our band comes from our friendship and our common background. We are all small town kids that have been lucky enough to become rockstars or whatever,” he laughs.
“It’s kind of bizarre for us, but we still feel very much like we’re those people that we were when we started in the Melbourne punk scene 25 years ago, which was and still is such a great scene.”
They released their debut, Shashavaglava, in 1993 and have gone on to record seven albums including their smash hit Ivy and the Big Apples. “We did a national tour earlier this year and we played just that album every night, and it was a huge surprise that these shows were actually heaps bigger than the original Ivy tour 24 years ago! I think we broke our own record when we sold out six shows at the Corner in Melbourne. We were just really blown away by the response, not just in Melbourne but all over the country.”
As in demand as ever, Spiderbait were the obvious choice to round out the killer line-up at next year’s A Day On the Green, and according to Kram, it can’t come fast enough. “I was talking to the guys from Something For Kate and You Am I about our first time playing A Day On the Green and they were saying it was the first time the crowd had gone absolutely fucking bonkers! It was out of control.
“I remember it was kind of funny because Jebidiah played before us and You Am I after us, and it was beautiful and sunny for both of them but it pelted down rain on us!” Kram smiles. “At the time I just walked out on stage and said ‘Right, let’s get into this! This is going to be fun,’ and the crowd was so awesome. We got a real feeling of a relationship between us and our crowd, and it’s just such a pleasure to play music and enjoy it all together. We fed off the energy from the audience and we’re hoping and expecting that’s going to be the same for this next one.
“It’s probably going to be even bigger because we get to play with The Living End and whenever we play with them it’s really on fire,” Kram continues. “They really inspire us to play really great shows, and we’re such good friends.
“Also, I think there’s a lot to reminisce about with the bands this year. Some of the bands that are chosen for the A Day On the Green line up you wouldn’t normally see at the other festivals in Australia. This is what I think makes A Day on the Green special.”
Until then, Spiderbait will appear as the handpicked supports at selected shows for Australian rock royalty, Cold Chisel and Midnight Oil. “We love playing with Cold Chisel. Jimmy’s a true gentleman and a beautiful guy,” Kram says. “And Midnight Oil to me are up there with AC/DC. We draw a lot of inspiration from Midnight Oil. For a long time it was uncool to be Australian, in terms of if you wanna be an international success or if you wanna really stand out. I’m glad that has disappeared now. No one ever sang, danced or was like Peter Garrett. I know Peter really well and he’s a one of a kind.
“I’m just so happy to be able to continue to make music,” Kram adds. “I never thought we’d be playing with those bands, let alone be around as long as some of them. It’s a wonderful surprise.”
When & Where: Mt Duneed Estate, Geelong – March 11 (Labour Day Long Weekend).
Tickets available Monday September 25, 10am via ticketmaster.
Full Monster Line-up:
The Living End
Written by Natalie Rogers