Ahead of their first ever Australian tour Beady Eye drummer Chris Sharrock reflects on the band’s topsy-turvy year with MICHAEL HARTT.
2013 was the best of times and worst of times for Beady Eye. Having spent the first part of the year recording their second studio album, BE, with producer Dave Sitek, the band and their new material received a much warmer reception than they did for their debut Different Gear, Still Speeding. Then, a few shows into the start of their album tour, guitarist Gem Archer was hospitalised with severe head trauma after falling down stairs at his home, leading to months of forced inaction and loss of momentum.
With Archer now fully recovered, the band ended the year with an extensive UK tour and as a last minute addition to the Big Day Out line-up as one of the replacements for Liam Gallagher’s former Brit Pop rivals Blur. Ahead of Beady Eye’s debut Australian tour drummer Chris Sharrock (ex-The La’s, ex-World Party and Oasis’ drummer for their last world tour) reflected on the year that was with FL’s Michael Hartt.
It’s just over a month since you were added to the Big Day Out line-up. Was it a nice surprise to get the call-up?
Yeah it was. We didn’t think we were doing anything in January, actually. This came in at the last minute. It was a surprise, “Yeah, we’re going to Australia!” It’ll be good to get some heat and some sun. We’ve always wanted to play Big Day Out. I’ve never played it. I don’t know if the lads have ever played it.
Given the history that’s there, did you have a bit of a chuckle when you found out that you were replacing Blur?
Yeah, yeah. [laughs]. No, not really. That would be in bad taste. It was more like “Oh wow. That’s funny.” We got the irony of it. It’s no big deal, really. That was all a hundred years ago, wasn’t it? We’re just glad to be out, glad to be going somewhere. Especially Australia.
From an outsider’s perspective, 2013 seemed to be a year of mixed results for Beady Eye. The album got good reviews but then Gem got injured. How was it within the band?
It was our annus horribilis [latin for horrible year]. I mean, we put BE out, we did about eight gigs and then Gem had that accident. That put us out of the game for three months. I think that’s why it’s been a bit quiet. You’ve got to keep it in perspective though. It’s only music. As long as our mate’s alive and back to full health, that’s all that matters, really. It was a shit thing to happen at a shit time as well, but we’re back on form now.
After the lay-off, how were the shows you did in the UK at the end of the year?
It was great to be back. We had these 10 or 11 UK gigs booked in. We were kind of racing to make sure Gem was better. His timing was pretty good. Although when the accident first happened, we had to cancel a few things in Europe and Japan, it’s great that he was alright for that UK tour. Those gigs have been the best gigs we’ve ever done or so people were saying anyway. It was a positive end to the year.
In the downtime, were you working on new music?
We were probably all working on music individually. There’s probably a few songs going to come out of it. It was mainly just time off. Cooking, washing and cleaning [laughs].
You had an extended line-up of the band when you were first touring BE. Are you bringing that line-up, with the horns section, here?
No, we’re not bringing the horns. The last time I saw the horns was just before Gem’s accident. We didn’t use the horns on this last tour we did. It’s good when we have them. They’ll be there on a keyboard sample so it’ll sound like they’re there [laughs].
In terms of the set list, what can we expect? A mix of both the albums? Other stuff?
I think it’ll be a mix. I don’t exactly know what the set is for this is. It’ll probably be the same as what we’ve been doing at our Brit gigs. It’s a bit of both – heavy on the new album, I’d say. I’d say it’s 60 per cent new, 30 per cent old stuff and 10 per cent some really old stuff.
Including Oasis songs?
Yeah, I think we’ll be probably sticking a couple of them in there. Keep the punters happy.
You toured with Oasis in support of their last album but didn’t get to record with them. Are you disappointed you didn’t get to play on an Oasis album?
Yeah, kind of. It would’ve been nice to do but at the end of the day you think “Well, I did the gigs.” It wasn’t meant to be, I guess. I’ll live with it.
After your visit here, will the rest of 2014 be a touring or writing/recording year for Beady Eye?
A bit of both, I hope. I know that as soon as we finish in Australia we fly home, we’ve got about three days at home then we’re straight off to Europe. It’ll just be a quick change of clothes [laughs]. Then we’re off to Japan as well. I think that takes us up to early March and after that, I don’t know if we’re coming off the road or we’re going to do something or if we’re going to have time off.
You just got announced for Coachella after that too [playing the Sunday night along with Arcade Fire, Beck and Neutral Milk Hotel].
Oh really? We’re going to California? You’ve made my day! I didn’t know we were doing that. News travels slow around these parts.They don’t tell me anything. I’m just the drummer! [laughs].
Beady Eye sideshow
Monday, January 27 – The Enmore, Sydney
Big Day Out dates:
Friday, January 17 – Western Springs, Auckland
Sunday, January 19 – Metricon Stadium & Carrara Parklands, Gold Coast
Friday, January 24 – Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
Sunday, January 26 – Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney
Friday, January 31 – Bonython Park, Adelaide
Sunday, February 2 – Claremont Showgrounds, Perth
Check out the current collection from Pretty Green's AW13 collection here.