In the ’90s and early ’00s, Australia experienced a Golden Age of Rock that was championed by the likes of Silverchair, Powderfinger, Something For Kate, Killing Heidi, You Am I, Magic Dirt Spiderbait and of course, Jebediah.

Of course, nothing lasts forever, and many of these outfits have since laid down their guitars or taken new musical direction, and after four LPs including the treasured Slightly Odway and Of Someday Shambles, as well as the killer Jebediah and Braxton Hicks, Jebediah members Kevin and Brett Mitchell, Chris Daymond and Vanessa Thornton decided to place the band on hiatus to pursue other ventures in 2005.

There was little Jebediah noise until 2011 when the band made their triumphant return with record number five, Kosciuszko, and earlier this year, it was revealed the four-piece would embark on an epic tour to celebrate the band’s 20th birthday.

Having kicked off just a week ago, the nostalgia-soaked Jebediah roadshow has already received the highest of accolades, fans revelling at the opportunity to raise a fist and belt out in unionism classics like ‘Harpoon’ and ‘Please Leave’ with the quartet.

We were lucky enough to sit down with guitarist Chris Daymond, piecing together a scrapbook of Jebediah’s nasally 20 years of killing it on Australia’s indie and garage rock scene.

Their Very First Gig

“Mate, I can remember every gig we’ve played, which one do you want?” Daymond says in his endearing dessert-dry wry, “Our first show was a school ball which was completely mismatched, obviously, but it was 1995, things were a little harder to discern back then, what was going to be quality entertainment at somebody’s graduation ball.”

Speaking of the importance of this moment, he straightened up,  “It was memorable because it was the very start of being the band Jebediah and not just friends trying to make it. It seemed to be at the time a very encompassing and rewarding thing that this was what I wanted to do with my life and this is something that I feel very happy doing, which I’m really grateful for.”

After performing a setlist comprising predominately alt-rock covers (i.e. Green Day, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and The Smashing Pumpkins) how does he think the monumental show went? “I can only speak from my point of view, but it was our first fuckin’ gig we ever did, and we’re still doing it 20 years later”, he said, pissing himself laughing.

The day of Jebediah’s first ever gig
(Image source: Jebediah Facebook)

What The Hell Is Kevin Singing About?

There’s no denying that Kevin Mitchell has one of the most distinct voices in Australian music history.

Pitched quite high behind the nose, the nasal sound emitting from the frontman is unforgettable (and fun as hell to imitate), but would you believe that both band and fans didn’t have a clue what words he was singing?!

“People used to write in to us and ask what the lyrics were and we used to get fan mail” the guitarist told us. “Only the keenness fans were the ones that first found the messages in the songs, because I had no idea what he [Kevin] was singing about either, until we recorded things it was a complete mystery to me as well” he revealed, chuckling, but one hundred percent serious.

Performing Still “Bent” On Recovery

Aside from rage, Recovery was certainly the go-to Aussie music TV show to check out each Sunday morning, and one of the most memorable guests were none other than Jebs.

Slapping this page of the scrapbook with a smiling yet definitely woozy memory, Daymond explained how the band would turn up having not slept from partying hard the night before, “You’re on tour, y’know, you’ve played a gig the night before, going to bed at 3am and getting up at 5am to get to Recovery to play.”

“It might seem ironic that it was named Recovery, but everyone there was pretty bent – the crew, the people making the show” he recounted.

“You’re about to launch into playing your song live on TV at 7am and the people that are watching it are the audience that are up because they’re excited. It’s filmed live, which made it an interesting experience to be part of, you didn’t know how it was going to go, if it works, you walk away from thinking ‘thank fuck for that’.”

Check out this oh-so ’90s interview with host Dylan Lewis, now knowing that the band probably hadn’t slept – it’s no wonder Kevin is pulling that beanie so far over his eyes as he speaks. Enjoy.

Big Day Out “Was The Equivalent Of A Religious Experience”

A Jebediah scrapbook would be incomplete without the mention of Australia’s once almighty travelling music circus, Big Day Out.

Renown for some of the most electrifying performances of their career and sharing the iconic stage alongside some of music’s biggest names including Foo Fighters, Jane’s Addiction, Hole, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and PJ Harvey, the band were very much a staple act for several years.

“We played at the Perth Big Day Out in ’97 on one of the small stages, so we popped our cherry there” Daymond cheekily remembers.

Highlighting just how special the event was, he continued,  “I’d been every year since ’94, it changed my life in ’94. I’d like to imagine that it was the equivalent of a religious experience.

“We’ve all indulged in that environment and that’s by being an equal part the punter and the performer. It couldn’t be nearly as rewarding just hanging around back stage as a performer, you’ve got to go out and experience the excitement of having other people entertain you, as well, it’s what you are there for, side of stage is a waste of time and do that.” 

Jebediah’s Favourite Big Day Out Performance

“I’ve been to like 35 Big Day Outs in my time, and I’d say one that sticks out in my memory as being a boiler room of energy was seeing Killing Heidi play for the first time” he confirmed.

Painting a sweaty, stinkin’ but incredible picture, he went on, “It was at the Melbourne Big Day Out and it must have been 1999, they were headlining an early evening slot on Stage 3 which was in this massive agriculture barn.

“It smelt like a pig house, but it was packed, bursting at the seams with fans of the band, people were climbing up the walls to go and sit in the rafters because to try and see the stage, it was packed with people, festering with energy.”

Still dumbfounded by the Ella Hooper lead outfit, he cemented, “Watching an experience like that is not something I think I’ll ever have again.”

Fondest Memory On The International Road

Just after the release of their seminal record, Of Someday Shambles, Jebediah made their way to North America, touring through both Canada and the US in the year 2000.

Speaking highly of their time abroad, Daymond noted that this was most certainly a different experience for the band, who went from playing the mainstage of Big Day Out, to “playing at the end of a bar to about 10 people in Canada.”

This change didn’t seem to bother the band at all, Daymond siphoning through a huge box of memories before he could settle on his favourite from the tour, “Playing at CBGBs in New York in America on our tour” he finally said.

“We’d been travelling around the States supporting Jimmy Eat World as they were trying to do their record, Bleed American, we supported them and Get Up Kids, I certainly had the time of my life touring around America at that age.”

The Friends They’ve Made Along The Way

Jebediah’s popularity is vast, not only with Aussie rock fans – but with their contemporaries, too. One need only look at the insane list of supports they’ve managed to sign up for their 20th Annivesary tour including Bodyjar, FUR, Front End Loader, Adalita, Screemfeeder, Red Jezebel, Turnstyle and Beaverloop.

Jebediah, Something For Kate and Bluebottle Kiss go-karting
(Image Source: Jebediah Facebook)

Daymond, still shocked at the huge performing support cast, spoke particularly high of FUR who have reformed just for these shows, “I think it’s been a long time since they’ve had this kind of approach in playing in a band, hopefully it will be a win-win for any fan of either band on the night, it’s a pleasure for me to be able to watch these other bands.”

Noting of some of the strong relationships with other Aussie acts in the past, he went on, “We’re very lucky to have been accepted that these people will do this for us, I fuckin’ can’t wait, to be able to interact with bands that we’ve done this with in the past.

“I think I’ve grown up a bit, I won’t be pegging ice from the side of the stage at Bodyjar anymore”, he said in infectious hysterics.


Live photo credit: Brett Schewitz www.brettschewitz.com

JEBEDIAH 20TH ANNIVERSARY 2015 TOUR DATES

Wednesday 17th June 2015
The Corner Hotel, Richmond,
w/Bodyjar

Thursday, 18th June 2015  SOLD OUT
The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
w/Adalita

Friday, 19th June 2015 – SOLD OUT
The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
w/Fur

Saturday, 20th June 2015 – SOLD OUT
The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
w/Fur

Thursday, 25th June 2015
HQ, Adelaide
w/ Red Jezabel

Friday 26 June 2015 – SOLD OUT
Astor Theatre, Perth, WA
w/ Turnstyle

Saturday 27 June – SOLD OUT
Astor Theatre, Perth, WA
w/ Red Jezebel                                   

Sun 28 June – FINAL PERTH SHOW ON SALE NOW
Astor Theatre, Perth, WA
w/ Beaverloop