The Rumjacks

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The Rumjacks

They kick off their Vic shows tonight, starting at Karova Lounge, so we thought we should catch up with punk-rockers Johnny and Frankie, from Sydney Celtic folk band, The Rumjacks.
G’day, thanks so much for chatting to Forte, where about’s are you at the moment and what are you up to?
Johnny – Hi! Right now we are in New Caledonia. We have a string of shows here around St Patrick’s Day. Never thought I would be spending St Patrick’s Day pool side, beer in hand and playing shows.
You’ve played a heap of shows all up the East Coast in the last month, how has the tour been going? What have been some memorable shows to date?
Johnny – It’s been great! Everyone at the shows seem to be enjoying the new songs, which is awesome!
For me personally, the Sydney show was a real stand out. It’s always good to play a hometown show and I love having the mix between familiar faces, family, friends and people we meet on the night. It’s a good energy to have in the room.
Your second album, Sober & Godless was released back on February 6th, what has the response been from fans and how have you enjoyed playing the new tracks on stage?
Frankie – People are really enjoying the album. Now that they’ve had time to really settle in with the songs and get down to the lyrics we’re starting to hear back from people with their favourite moments, or a story they feel compelled to share, maybe even just their favourite tune to turn the volume up on and introduce the neighbours or workmates to us. We love that with the opening few chords of a song you can tell right away that its favourite among the punters by their response, and you just know you’re in for a rowdy time over the next three minutes or so.
Was it different this time around compared to the 2010 release, Gangs of New Holland?
I think there’s been a lot more expected of us, to see if we could back up & do it again. This time around for us it was a clear statement of intent, to let people know that we can and will continue to give our absolute best in the studio and especially live.
The title is pretty heavy, ‘Sober & Godless’ what were some of the influences behind the songwriting of this one?
Frankie – Its a very introspective song, in so much as the character at the centre of the story is left to question everything he thought he knew and all he thought he was, but the real inspiration is a lot simpler than you might imagine. I was pacing about having a wee rant about the run-of-the-mill lyrical rubbish that too often accompanies music like ours with its ‘whisky-fightin’-whisky’-lovin’-whisky-feckin’-jaysus-whisky..’ and so on, when I thought its not like you’ll hear anyone singing about being sober in any hurry, and ‘snap’.. like the turn of a key, the whole story laid itself out before me. It virtually wrote itself from that point on.
The album was released through your own label, Black Matilda Music and produced by the notable Steve James, where did you do the recordings and how did you find it?
Frankie – We recorded with Steve at both the ABC’s studio227 and at Alchemy Studio’s with the help of Sammy Kannis. The results of having these guys behind us speak for themselves, but for us personally it made for a phenomenal experience. We really did muck-in together and help wrangle and wring every last note out of these songs, as opposed to just showing up on the day to play your part then go home to wait & hear what came of it. It really gave us a sense of ownership & personal expression.
No stranger to regional gigs, how do you find the regional crowds compare to the bigger cities?
Johnny – I think the most noticeable thing at regional shows is the crowd. They are genuinely thankful that you come to play on their town. I’m not sure, maybe for some places they don’t have loads of shows on each week to choose from, so when you do play they get right into it and have a ball.
Your music has heavy celtic roots and you are often compared to the likes of The Pogues and Dropkick Murphy’s, will you be celebrating St Pat’s day in a large way this year?
Johnny – This year it’s beers in a tropical paradise…oh and we might play a show too.
Thanks again for taking the time to chat to us? Who would you recommend getting along to your shows and what can people expect?
Johnny – Not a problem, thank you. Everyone! It’s always fun at the shows so just come along with a good time on your mind and we will help out with the rest.