Stuff (NZ)

The Vines Are Happy to Be Back

Source: Stuff (NZ)

Text: Bridget Jones

Published: June 7th, 2011

They were the soundtrack to a shift in music.

Bursting onto the scene in 2002, alongside the White Stripes and The Strokes, The Vines helped create a generation of "The" bands and a renaissance of good old-fashioned guitar music.

They sold more than two million albums. They were top 10 in the US, UK, Japan and Australia. They were the poster boys for almost every music magazine around the world - they can even claim to be the first Australian band to score the cover of the US edition of Rolling Stone magazine since Men at Work, 21 years before.

Press and fans alike loved their cavalier, rock and roll attitude and unorthodox, unhinged live shows.

But The Vines imploded as spectacularly as they exploded.

In 2004, front man Craig Nicholls called a home-town audience "sheep", kicked a photographer in the face and the bass player walked off stage. All before the first song had finished.

From there it all slowed to an emotional halt. A few years later, Nicholls was diagnosed as autistic and as a result gave up his diet of fast food, marijuana and unhealthy living.

And now after some much needed time away from the spotlight, the Aussie sons have returned with their fifth album Future Primitive- a record Nicholls describes as "up-beat" and "catchy".

And he is happy to be back.

The album was produced by Chris Colonna - the man behind electronic outfit Bumblebeez. It's a different sound for the rockers, but Nicholls says it was a decision that added life to the album.

"We got along well with him and he made some cool sounds," he told Stuff.co.nz.

"And we thought, working with Chris, he could bring some different sounds to it - he usually likes things [to sound] kind of crazy."

The result? An album that Nicholls says harks back to the 1960s and, well, space. But above all, he says it is unashamedly pop music.

"They are kind of up-beat and hopefully catchy. But we didn't think, 'Oh this song should be for radio", we just ended up doing some more pop music kind of stuff."

And Nicholls' pick of the tracks - All That You Do­ - is a real step away from the raw sounds he was once known for.

"I think it's just a really nice, epic ballad. It's kind of serious-sounding. And I love the three-part harmony," he says proudly.

With the prospect of touring a new album on the cards, is Nicholls worried about falling back into a lifestyle he once said made him not want to play music anymore?

"Not too much. I think we'll be able to keep an eye on things and not let them get too crazy. Since we've started we've had a lot of time off as well as doing a lot of things so I feel okay about it.

"I usually try not to worry about anything, especially about music. All you can do is your best.

"And it's going to be good playing new songs live. It will be good just to be playing again."

* The Vines' new album, Future Primitive, is out now.