Earlier this year, after a brief hiatus and a change in band personal, The Vendettas returned to the Australian music scene, bringing the epic new single, Slinging Mud, with them. On top of the new single, the band will be supporting Danko Jones at his Melbourne show in September.
If that’s not enough, The Vendettas are working towards the release of their next album, and if Slinging Mud is anything to go by – it’s going to be a belter!
Shayne recently had a chat to guitarist, Jared Mattern, about all things Vendettas – past, present and future…
Tell us in brief, the history of The Vendettas.
Collectively we have existed as a band for around 10 years now. We have had a a few line up changes to get to where we are today. Our style has always been in the Melbourne pub rock scene, just rock and roll you can tap your foot to and have a beer.
You list a pretty diverse range of rock n roll bands as your influences. How do you think that diversity informs your sound?
Rock and roll IS pretty diverse as it already has a lot of precursors from blues, punk, R&B and country. But once you listen to music for a while you seem to pick up that all musical styles are just a way of getting a message across – so it can be anything it wants really, so long it has energy.
After a handful of albums and an EP, you guys recently took a hiatus, and underwent some personnel shifts in the bands line up – What was Behind the break, and the line up changes?
Yeah we have had a few line up changes. The most recent one was getting a new drummer (Rick) and we downsized to a four piece (only one guitarist, as our lead guitarist left). There was nothing in the break that was personal just a few of the guys wanted to do different things and felt it (the timing) was easier as we were looking to write some new songs and hit the studio. It worked out pretty good as we could tailor the new songs to the new line up
Was there a point during all of this, that you might have thought the band was finished?
Really what is a band other than a few mates wanting to collaborate and write and play music together. There was no bitterness in our previous members moving on. To answer the question; not really.. there were still 3 of us that wanted to charge forward, our energy was still there so all we needed was a new drummer. Once we got Rick on board and we locked in our sound, it was easy.
So how has the hiatus and the changes refreshed The Vendettas?
We’re a bit more chilled out in our approach as a few of us have families now so we’re just happy to still be jamming and playing regularly. We dont put as much pressure on ourselves and just enjoy what we are doing and let the songs happen.
You recently dropped the Slinging Mud single. Give us the dirt on how that all came together.
Just another rocking riff for the verse. But the chorus is where we went a little different with going for a more sonic direction but using alot of ringing open strings that stay the same and moving the top bass chords around ( I think I was listening to alot of Sonic Youth at the time). I like how the bridge breaks down and kicks back into a rockier last verse.
How does it stand apart from your previous music?
Its not too different just simpler with the removal of an extra guitar, which allows the main melodies to be the only theme. We always struggled a little in the past by cramming too much in.
Is Slinging Mud a stand alone single, or the first taste of an album or EP to follow?
Its a taste of an upcoming album. We have been working on a deal for the release with a few different parties and its finally coming together. The only downside is it takes time, so the release is a little later than we envisioned.
The Song has received some excellent feedback. That must be reassuring for the band?
Yeah its always good to hear nice things, we have worked hard to overcome a few set backs
Tell us what to expect from the upcoming album/ep? Anything out of the ordinary?
You should always be progressing and trying new things. We have done that but not moved too far away from our previous work. Although it would be interesting to pull a few older songs back into the set list to see how it fits together, We haven’t done that yet just due to time.
How do you think your sound has grown or matured through the years?
I have some grey hair these days maybe I’m turning into a wizard? But really I think we know what works and what doesnt work for us anyway. If you cant do it live then why put it on a record?
I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing you live as yet, so fill me in on a Vendettas live show..
Its loud and fun. we try to make sure the record is represented well live.
I imagine it to be very loud and energetic..
Yeah the rock moves are still there.
You’re about to share the stage with Danko Jones – How did you guys land that gig?
We approached the booker about the show and threw our hat in. We were very pleasantly surprised that we got the gig, as you can imagine the competition – there are so many good rock bands in Melbourne that could have landed it. It’s great that The Credits are playing too.
It has to be an exciting opportunity for you?
We’re massive Danko fans. We would have gone to the gig anyway so now its a double win.
Do you have any special plans for your set list?
We will just belt out our new songs – we think that will be enough.
Who else have you supported over the years?
We have supported our mates in other bands in countless gigs and in turn been supported. The more national and international bands would be the likes of Child, Mammoth Mammoth, The Casanovas, Palace of the King and Thirsty Merc.
Are there any nervous moments when preparing to support a “larger band”?
I guess you get nervous. You want to do right by the Melbourne music scene and also your band mates.
What bands are on your bucket list to play with?
That’s too tough to really pin down and we’re not picky! Maybe if KISS could let us open for their farewell and we could borrow some of their pyro.
If you could re-record one album from any band in history, what album would you choose?
I wouldn’t re-record anything from my heroes as they’re all better than me. But if I could play on an album maybe Exile on Main Street.
So, if a fan of rock music expressed no interest in checking out The Vendettas, what would you do or say to change their mind?
Buy them a beer and get them to play tambourine with us.
After the Danko gig, what’s next for The Vendettas?
More gigs to promote the upcoming album. Would like to get out on the road to a few other cities.
Lastly, what’s your beverage of choice to prepare for a gig?
Just a strong coffee to wake me up and a few beers on stage….. Then a few more afterwards.
Interview by Shayne McGowan.