Tell us about Perfect Tripod…
It’s like a side project for us guys, because Tripod still have their career and I still have mine. We just take little bites out of the cherry. It’s great because it means none of us are stuck in a Tarago together for months on end. We wanted to write a show based around the collaboration we did back in 2007. We did this Paul Kelly tribute show, and I knew Tripod were on the bill. I’d been a fan of their music and their comedy - especially their music and the way they sing together - for a really long time.
There’s a Paul Kelly song that I really love called “Meet Me in the Middle of the Air”. I thought we could do an A Capella version of that song and they were really into the idea. So we premiered it at that concert then we did it again on ABC TV’s ‘The Sideshow’ then someone uploaded it to YouTube and it got a lot of love there. So we were asked to do it at the 2011 Logie Awards. It was just such an unusual collaboration and it’s unusual that it put our music first which is our first love – both Tripod’s and mine.
Does the show still incorporate the comedy element we’ve come to know from Tripod?
Yeah it does, even though we tried to not worry about it. When you’re doing comedy people take away the comedy before they take away the music. So the idea behind doing a whole show was to put our musicality front and centre. Not to have to worry about doing comedic songs. And that’s why we chose to cover great Australian songs and to pull them apart and put them back together, mostly A Capella, so it featured what we can do musically and especially what we do vocally.
It was really hard to find a tone for the show. Australia is not a flag waving, hand on the heart, earnest culture. We had to find the right balance of homage, irreverence and celebration, and we found the line where we can celebrate our culture without being too earnest.
Did you find it easy to fit in with a group that have been together for so long?
We’ve known each other for a really long time and they’re really lovely guys. With all collaborations the first bit is always the strangest. You’ve got a deadline to work to on a show, but you don’t have a road map. So it’s slow, but then when you find a language it’s like BOOM and it really takes off. When we first started I would sit at home and do an arrangement, bring in the sheet music and we’d sort of pour over it. That was really laborious, and in a way it restricted what we could do musically. So we started to jam songs around a dining table in their little clubhouse. We figured out we worked much better through ear, then we could just work on sections and change the arrangements and make them really interesting and weird and different much more fluidly and quickly if we weren’t tied to sheet music. So that became the new road map.
What's it like the second time around?
Now we’ve come back to do the show, and we’re doing a lot of cities for the second time. We didn’t want to do the same show so we’ve worked out four more songs and it was a real joy. We could be a lot more adventurous in what we did arrangement wise because we didn’t have the paranoia we had the first time around when we thought, ‘Is anyone going to actually enjoy four grown men singing harmonies of Australian songs?’ Because it has been so successful and it’s sold out everywhere we thought, ‘Let’s just go to town, let’s see how far we can push our arranging in interesting directions.
So are you still finding time for Offspring? And are we going to see more of you this Season?
Yeah everyone want’s to know that. I’m getting a lot of heat on the street. I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you! It’s all a big surprise, you’re going to have to watch and wait. It’s the funny thing about dramas, when things are going rocky between characters on Offspring I’ve always got people asking what’s going to happen. They want a bit of hope or something to look forward to, but they don’t really because it’s a massive spoiler. You think you want to know but you don’t want to know. You just want to watch and enjoy it!See the perfect group at QPAC on July 25. Get your tickets at www.qpac.com.au