Aussie Rock Legends Spiderbait and Jebediah Interview Each Other

Spiderbait and Jebediah play Summer Sounds Festival (Melbourne) 8 April. Spiderbait and Jebediah play Summer Sounds Festival (Melbourne) 8 April.

Two icons of Aussie rock, Spiderbait and Jebediah need little introduction to your average music fan.

Stalwarts of the scene for two-plus decades, each have a slew of hits ('Black Betty', 'F...ken Awesome', 'Leaving Home', 'Harpoon' are just the tip of the iceberg) – and as we fully embrace the third decade of the 21st century, both acts have never been more popular – who doesn't like a line of nostalgia!

Ahead of their co-headline performance at Summer Sounds Festival in Melbourne (where they'll be joined by punk veterans Bodyjar) we asked each band to fire off a set of questions for the other band to answer – and they obliged with Whitt and Brett Mitchell supplying the respective answers. Bless.

Spiderbait questions for Jebediah

Answered by Brett Mitchell

What was your first gig?
Mid 1995 – Leeming Senior High School ball. All of us were past students there with Kev and Chris having just graduated the previous year. I still don't really understand how such a reckless gamble on the live entertainment booking for this special night could have been authorised.

Somehow those two managed to blag their way into the job on the understanding that performing as a full band would be no big deal. FORMING a full band, on the other hand, was suddenly a matter of extreme urgency. Ness had been playing some guitar and was quickly roped in to learn bass instead.

I knew things were desperate when they approached me to play drums just a few months out from the show, so (against my advice) I was duly recruited and the race to prepare began in earnest.

The show itself was I think 2 sets of 40-odd minutes (or was it 3 of 30?); anyway, we mostly crashed our way through approximations of Green Day, Pearl Jam, I think some Smashing Pumpkins songs – that type of thing – interspersed with the few originals we had been able to knock together.

It's hard to quantify how bad it was or know, for example, how much credence to give reports from inside sources on the night that certain high level administrative figures were suggesting cancelling our payment.

All I can say for sure is that our contribution that night did affect people, some perhaps quite deeply. It was evocative. I certainly hope after all these years that there are no hard feelings left among any of the attendees – ultimately it really is best to laugh about these things.

Who takes most of the rider?
I'm going to be somewhat diplomatic here and say there probably isn't a clear and consistent winner over time – it depends a bit on the circumstances. Sometimes we have to ration which usually keeps things fair.

Let's put it this way, we are all willing drinkers and someone would have to dig in pretty hard to distinguish themselves on this front; and everyone is allowed to feel distinguished once in a while, aren't they ;)

What's the weirdest place you've played?
Yeah, probably nowhere to crazy to be honest – America and Canada can serve up some interesting situations for a low budget act like ourselves: lounge rooms, bowling alleys that kind of thing – discovering that an iconic venue actually has no cubicles separating the toilets. Random stuff of that nature.

But weirdness can arise almost anywhere I have decided. You know what else I just decided – we need to play more shows on boats. It's weird that we have hardly ever played on boats – like maybe once? I bet Kevin has played plenty of Bob Evans gigs on boats. Maybe we're just not a boat band.

Do you think about random, unrelated things when performing such as if you left the oven on or if you really should get that tooth looked at?
YES! I don't know how professional musicians deal with this sort of thing, but for me it feels risky. I try to rein it in quickly when I catch my mind wandering. I mean you can have passing thoughts about whatever, just not too detailed or prolonged.

There's an ideal mental sweet spot where you're on this sort of relaxed, confident autopilot mode – not really thinking about anything too specific, just kinda feeling your place among the noise; not worrying about anything being wrong, past or future. Doesn't happen often honestly, but it's great when you find it.

I am seriously overdue to get my teeth checked out though, now you mention it.

Jebediah questions for Spiderbait

Answered by Whitt

COVID has been particularly f...ed for the live music and events sectors among of course many others – how f...ed has the last year or so been for Spiderbait in this respect and were you able to find ways to mitigate its f...ed-ness to some degree?
I got through COVID by playing around on the computer a lot making tunes, watching films and Google Maps street viewing all the places I'd ever visited around the world. It was a lost year for me in many regards.

The Mars helicopter Ingenuity is due to make its first flight really soon - from 8 April though it wouldn't be surprising to see this blow out a little. Pretty cool don't you reckon? Do any of you guys find space stuff interesting?
I love anything space related. NASA, Carl Sagan, Apollo missions, science fiction, Jedi's, black holes, nebular and time. . . it never ceases to inspire and give me gratitude for being here at this moment. Coz you know, we're all just passing through.

I Googled Spiderbait as two separate words and discovered there are some freshwater fishing lures imitating spiders on the market – they look quite realistic to me (I'm not a fish but presumably they are similarly fooled). Would you consider endorsing a signature model if the opportunity presented? Do any of your members enjoy fishing? Of course, should you have ideological objections to it then please accept my respectful apologies for the question!
I used to fish when I was a kid, but I never caught anything. That's about where my fishing prowess ends, I'm afraid.

Cats or dogs?
Cats. Love them. Dogs are cool too. I grew up with cattle dogs, but cats are infinitely more interesting to me.

Spiderbait, Jebediah and Bodyjar play Summer Sounds Festival at Sidney Myer Music Bowl (Melbourne) 8 April.



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