The Smith Street Band

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The Smith Street Band

While it’s safe to say their new 7˝ ‘Wipe That Shit-Eating Grin Off Your Punchable Face’ has propelled the down-to-earth Melbourne four-piece into the national spotlight of late, frontman Wil Wagner says it’s business as usual in the Smithies camp in the lead up to their all-encompassing Get High, See Everyone tour that kicks off in Darwin in a few days’ time.
“I love doing it [touring] man. I love playing guitar; I’ve got guitars in every room of my house, so if I’m sitting watching telly I can just pick up an acoustic guitar. Yes, I’m the annoying guy that always has a guitar in his hands,” Wil laughed. “But I love the band. It’s fucking awesome, it’s my entire life. But also it’s my ENTIRE fucking life. I don’t really think about anything else.”
Wil’s devotion can be heard in his lyrics to ‘Something I Can Hold in My Hands’ [Throw Me in the River, 2014]. He sings lines like “Every inch of me is always itching unless I’m on a stage” with such conviction it’s hardly surprising he says his passion has caused some awkward social situations.
“Lately I’ve been talking to people who don’t really know or care about music and I don’t know what to say!” he admitted. “The other day I was chatting with my auntie and I realised I’d forgotten how to have a normal conversation. So this year I wanna do a course by correspondence. I wanna get my brain going again in a different way – you can’t just focus on one thing your entire life … My New Year’s resolutions are always kind of vague and easy not to follow through on – at least that’s what they should be!” Wil joked. “Although quitting smoking is one I have every year,” he conceded.
For years Wil kept a packet of cigarettes in his back pocket while playing a gig as a kind of lucky charm. Is that still the case? “Don’t have the pocket of cigarettes in my pocket anymore,” he paused, “… am currently smoking a cigarette!”
Another unwritten law the congenial lead singer is said to abide by is no booze before a show. “Yes, that true. Expect I played a solo show in Newcastle recently and broke that rule – let’s just say it was not a great idea. I try to take as good care of myself as I can, though I usually like partying harder at home than when I’m overseas surrounded by free alcohol which is probably stupid. But touring in Europe we do 36 shows in a row, you see. So if you get drunk after the fifth one, you’re sort of fucked ’til the end of the tour!” he chuckled.
With that in mind, TSSB band are planning to cement their reputation as Australia’s hardest working band with 20+ dates across the country in January and February – no mean feat by any standard, but they’ll get by with a little help from their friends.
“We’re bringing over PUP from Canada for the tour and they‘re fucking unreal! They’re on SideOneDummy Records, the same label we’re on in the States. We met them at a festival in Europe, got talking and they were nice dudes. Their record [self-titled, 2014] is fucking amazing! They’re one of those bands that I have no idea how to describe, just like The Bennies. Whenever I try to describe The Bennies to someone I can’t do it without making them sound shit!”Wil grinned. “PUP is one of those bands. Bombastic sounding, just incredible.”
“Also coming with us are the Great Cynics, a band from the UK. We did our first-ever run there with them years ago and I’ve fallen in love with them. The guy who takes for us on tour is dating Iona, who plays bass in the band. We talk to them all the time and see them every summer overseas. We can’t wait to play shows with them. They’re an awesome band similar to Lemonheads; a three-piece, poppy but cool.
“Oh, and Apart From This,” he added. How can I forget there our buddies from Melbourne? They’re a young four-piece playing stoner grungy stuff. They’ve put out a 7˝ recently – the single is called Spinning and it’s awesome. I couldn’t recommend Apart From This more – and I wouldn’t want to fuck up my good reputation!”
The Smith Street Band will also be playing a couple of special shows at The Reverence Hotel in Footscray and Corner Hotel Melbourne over the Australia Day weekend. Billed as ‘A Benefit for the Wider Community’, the guys will be joined by good buddies The Bennies, Joelistics, Curse Ov Dialect, Stockades and Fear Like Us in support of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and Oxfam. TSSB also plans to donate proceeds from their latest release to the important cause. Buy it here:
When&Where: The Corner, Melbourne – January 26; Music Man, Bendigo – January 28; The Barwon, Geelong – January 29; The Karova, Ballarat – January 30; The Hi-Fi, Melbourne – January 31; NSC – February 1 (U18)
By Natalie Rogers