Australia, 1997. John Howard was Prime Minister, unleaded petrol was less than 70 cents per litre and a band called Spiderbait unleashed their third studio album, 'Ivy & The Big Apples'.
You couldn't pass a radio without hearing the album's two singles – 'Buy Me A Pony' and 'Calypso' – blaring at full volume.
Twenty years on and Spiderbait are celebrating by hitting the road on a national tour, playing 'Ivy & The Big Apples' in full, from front to back.
“There's so many people I know, like big artists of today who are much younger than me who were all fans when they were 12 or 13, and we love hearing that stuff,” drummer and vocalist Kram says.
“It's great to hear the enthusiasm for the band, especially when someone gets a bit older and they get to relive it a bit. The weird thing about this tour as well is that it's probably twice as big as the original 'Ivy' tour was; it's gone nuts so we're really spun-out and excited.”
Excitement is mounting for both the band and its fans in the lead-up to the tour with most shows having already sold-out, due in no small part to the wave of '90s nostalgia that currently permeates popular culture. “The response has been epic,” Kram says.
“We kind of got an inkling when we played Day On The Green last year with a bit of a '90s flavour with us: You Am I, Jebediah, The Meanies and Something For Kate, and it was massive, just huge, the response to us, Brisbane included; and thanks to everyone who came out for that show in Brisbane; was just so epic. It was like playing at Homebake or Livid again.”
Of course, the notion of celebrating the 20th anniversary of one of their albums never factored into their thinking when recording 'Ivy & The Big Apples', let alone that of a band from a small town in rural New South Wales becoming one of the country's most-loved live acts.
“We wouldn't have foreseen the 20th anniversary of the band,” Kram says. “It's a weird one because our band is based on friendship and a mutual connection between the three of us.
"We all come from this tiny town in the middle of nowhere [Finley, NSW] and to become such a big, successful band, we're really proud of that.
“We also love the strange connection that we have. We have a very odd, common unity with our background and I reckon that's helped to keep us together for such a long time. Also that we always shared everything equally.”
Kram also attributes the popularity of their music to the fact that despite hiatuses and side projects along the way, they've always retained their original line-up. “When you get to that point, you do get a sort of validation that you have lasted and have had a lot of creative peaks in your time, particularly if you keep the original line-up,” he says.
“There's something really special about the same three people. When people look at old photographs and see the same three or four people, there's a real warm pride that comes over them and there's something really special about that.”
16-17 Mar - The Corner Hotel (Melbourne)Sat 18 Mar - Enmore Theatre (Sydney)Sat 25 Mar - Metro City (Perth)30-31 Mar - The Tivoli Theatre (Brisbane)Sat 1 Apr - Tanks Arts Centre (Cairns)20-21 Apr - The Gov (Adelaide)Sat 22 Apr - Granada Tavern (Hobart)28-29 Apr - The Corner Hotel (Melbourne)