A Guide to Better Living: Grinspoon’s Joe Hansen on the band’s return to celebrate 20 years

Grinspoon‘s upcoming mega tour with their seminal record, Guide to Better Living, kicks off this weekend – a long awaited return that many fans weren’t sure would even eventuate. Certainly not in this format.

With a deluxe re-release of Guide to Better Living also on its way on Friday, Grinspoon have much to be celebrating, reflecting on and looking forward to. Recently, we were able to speak with Joe Hansen to find out more about the creation of this tour and how the timing of this tour has been crucial.

“It just seemed like a really good way for us to celebrate 20 years, which is a cool achievement.” Hansen admits early on. “It made sense for us; we didn’t want to go out there and do another record just like we’d always done and do that cycle of continuing on that way. We weren’t really into that, so we thought this was just a good opportunity to do this.”

While for some, the return of Grinspoon and the idea of ‘anniversary tours’ falls in line with similar tour cycles some beloved Australian and international bands have been embarking on over the last few years, but for Hansen and the band, the nostalgia label is water off their backs.

“For us, it’s going to be fresh and fun and exciting. If you want to be critical of bands doing this kind of album tour, it is happening a little bit; you could say it’s about the nostalgia, but it doesn’t really bother us. Who cares?”

“I just think that if you’re doing it in a cynical way, where you’re basically going, ‘Guess what boys, we’re all a bit tired and we’ve got nothing to offer. Let’s put a tour together and play that record that was successful back in the day,’ and you get on stage and just go through the motions, well that’s not a lot of fun.”

“The way we are approaching it is with a fair bit of enthusiasm and we’re really excited to get up there and look at those songs on the record too and thinking, ‘That’s going to be awesome to play now‘. Just the response we’ve gotten so far with what we’ve been reading on Facebook, from our friends, and looking at the ticket sales, I think people have been responding to it in a pretty positive way. We’re not too worried about any kind of nostalgia-type criticisms, that doesn’t really bother us.”

Since the band’s hiatus, break, whatever you’d like to call it, life as they know it has rolled on for Grinspoon – of course it has. While Phil Jamieson has remained on the road doing his solo thing and more recently, on stage in the American Idiot production, Hansen, Pat Davern and Kristian Hopes have all established other businesses elsewhere in the country and have been exploring their own paths.

Coming back together and committing to a tour as huge as this one that is so close on the horizon now was obviously not one to be taken lightly, but Hansen’s enthusiasm as we run through the dates in the regional areas is undeniable.

“In capital cities, people see everything all the time,” he says. “There’s a level of almost, I wouldn’t say ambivalence…but there’s a different energy and enthusiasm when you get out into these country areas. It’s their big night. They might not have another band coming through for months or in some cases, the rest of the year. They go off. They don’t hold back. It could be a Wednesday night, but they don’t hold back. It’s pretty good!”

“We’ve always done regional tours so for us, it’s nothing new. We are playing 33 shows or something but for us, we could do more. We’re not even playing shows in Phil’s hometown of Port Macquarie or my hometown of Coffs Harbour, we’re not playing Byron Bay or anything. We said to our manager, ‘Let’s put some more shows in,’ and he’s like, ‘Hang on a second, let’s just deal with this and see how we go!'”

“For us, doing that regional stuff is awesome; you get out to these towns and it’s always cool experience. There’s always something a bit different going on, the further out you go – that’s just the way we’ve always done it. You’ll find that a lot of people out there won’t get bands [touring] that often and when you rock up in their towns, they love it.”

As for how their on-stage dynamic stands to be different? Grinspoon aren’t under any qualms that they aren’t the angst-ridden kids they were when Guide to Better Living was first released, as Hansen laughs.

“It’s going to be a blast to get up there and punch out some songs and get that on stage energy back. Phil’s going to have to harness some of that teenage angst again as well! Some of those songs are pretty aggressive and when you get older, you mellow out a bit! He’s going to have the hardest one with that, just bring it along; he can’t just go on stage and go through it, he’s got to give it all.”

The album of course, stands out as an acclaimed and beloved Grinspoon release that undoubtedly was the soundtrack for many Australian rock music fan’s high school/uni/party times. For newer Grinspoon fans who missed the opportunity to see Guide To Better Living‘s original tour cycle, this is the perfect opportunity to see the original entry point many had to the band in the late 90’s.

“It’s pretty interesting in that way,” Hansen says. “Obviously, people are pretty familiar with the material; the hardcore Grinspoon fans, anyway. Hopefully people come along too who might have heard our later stuff and have thought, ‘I might check this out too’. I think the thing for us is, regardless of all that, there’s a lot of songs on this record that we haven’t played for a long time.”

“For us, it’s going to feel pretty fresh, even though it’s an old record. I think that playing a lot of these songs is going to almost feel like they are new to us. I think it’s cool because generally when you’re touring, you might be playing songs off your latest record plus your ‘greatest hits’ or whatever; this is mixing it up, where we’re playing all the songs we may not have played for almost 20 years. It’s going to be good and I think people will just get off on the energy.”

Grinspoon’s Guide to Better Living 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is out on June 23rd. For more details, visit www.grinspoon.com.au.

GRINSPOON TOUR DATES

June 23rd | Kay St Entertainment Complex, TRARALGON | 18+
June 30th | Margaret Court Arena, MELBOURNE | LIC/AA
July 1st | Village Green Hotel, MULGRAVE | 18+ & SOLD OUT
July 6th | Enmore Theatre, SYDNEY | LIC/AA & SOLD OUT
July 7th | Enmore Theatre, SYDNEY | LIC/AA & SOLD OUT
July 8th | The Tivoli Theatre, BRISBANE | 18+ & SOLD OUT
July 9th | The Tivoli Theatre, BRISBANE | 18+ & SOLD OUT
July 29th | One Tropical Day @ Darwin Ski Club, DARWIN | LIC/AA
August 3rd | The Wool Exchange, GEELONG | 18+
August 4th | Pier Bandroom, FRANKSTON | 18+
August 5th | Granada Tavern, HOBART | 18+ & SOLD OUT
August 6th | Granada Tavern, HOBART | 18+
August 10th | The Jack, CAIRNS | 18+
August 11th | Dalrymple Hotel, TOWNSVILLE | 18+
August 17th | Villa Noosa, NOOSA | 18+
August 18th | Redland Bay Hotel, REDLAND BAY | 18+ & SOLD OUT
August 19th | SHAKA FEST @ Miami Tavern, GOLD COAST | 18+
August 24th | Dunsborough Tavern, DUNSBOROUGH | 18+ & SOLD OUT
August 26th | Adelaide Entertainment Centre, ADELAIDE | AA
August 31st | The Cambridge Hotel, NEWCASTLE | 18+ & SOLD OUT
September 1st | Lismore City Hall, LISMORE | 18+
September 2nd | Racehorse Hotel, IPSWICH | 18+ & SOLD OUT
September 14th | The Entrance Leagues Club, BATEAU BAY | 18+ & SOLD OUT
September 15th | Waves, WOLLONGONG | 18+ & SOLD OUT
September 16th | UC Refectory, CANBERRA | 18+
September 20th | CSU @ WAGGA WAGGA | 18+
September 21st | Barooga Sports Club, BAROOGA | 18+
September 22nd | Beer Deluxe, ALBURY | 18+
September 23rd | NEX Newcastle, NEWCASTLE | 18+