Last week Newcastle’s Run Squirrel made their ‘Sex Musk‘ album available as a free download in the lead up to their appearance on the Weekender Fest in Melbourne this coming weekend. If you have tickets for the Sunday 16th show at The Reverence Hotel, you’ll be able to catch the band with The Smith Street Band, Jamie Hay & Jen Buxton, Paper Arms, Let Me Down Jungleman, The Outsiders, Milhouse and Lincoln Le Fevre. This week we catch up with Thomas from the band to answer our Hotseat questions. Expand this post to check out his answers while listening to the album, and if you are going to The Reverence show head along early to check these guys out.
Name : Thomas Gill
Band : Run Squirrel
Job In Band : Rhythm Guitar / Shouting
Website Address : www.facebook.com/runsquirrelnc
Hometown : Newcastle
Hometown is best known for : Coal, boats on beaches, fat rich dudes, penis shaped towers, pissed fishermen, coal.
Best venue in your hometown : In my humble opinion, the Lass O’Gowrie at Wickham is the best venue – a trouble free night can be hard to find these days & shows here are always a fun night with the bonus of everyone ending up home safely.
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown : Against Me! in 2004 at the Cambridge Hotel with Conation supporting. It was our first year out of highschool for everyone except Sam (drums).
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown : With the Smith Street Band at the start of 2012 at the Great Northern Hotel. Just when you think you know all the faces in this town, a hundred new ones appear – Smith Street are great at drawing a crowd and bringing a good vibe, and there was scarcely room to move let alone breathe at this show for all the people singing along.
How did the band first come to exist? Since Like…Alaska parted ways I found myself with left over songs and the timing was right for Shane to move back from Melbourne and into my house temporarily. We were lucky enough to live five minutes from the human metronome Sam, pushing a modest 17 years of age at the time. We started acoustic jams in the town of Raymond Terrace where we all spent our childhood growing up. The missing piece of course was an extra guitarist – after a few weeks of searching we realised our old high school friend Jason was plugging his guitar into weird things that made awesome sounds and within one jam we knew it was what we were missing.
How long has the band been going? Approaching 3 years or so, I think.
Any particular story behind the name? I was watching heaps of Back to The Future at the time – if you pay close enough attention you’ll find it.
What’s your most recent release? Tell us a little about it… – ‘Sex Musk’ is our debut album recorded at RTN Studios by Geoff Mullard. We were kicking around some of the songs for a while and after gathering enough coinage we decided to make a decent re-recording of the demo tracks (which were done live) plus a few that we had written along the way.
Got a personal stand out achievement of your band to date? Being offered a spot at the Poison City Weekender this month – PCW has always been the kind of thing you wish you weren’t a 12 hour drive from so it’s awesome to be attending let alone rocking the stage. After spending time on new songs I’m exciting to test the waters at the Weekender.
OFF THE STAGE
What was your first introduction to music that made you think seriously about playing it? Realising in high school that you could get away with more things if you were a musician as it was ‘creative’.
Any particular band / album or song that you personally credit as a major influence? At The Drive In were what I always wanted to play, but I thought Bright Eyes was an easier place to start.
Your first band name, and what style did you play? Paladin, because every other name we wanted was taken. We played heaps of Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Incubus covers.
Most prized music related item you own? All of my records, or my Strat.
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? Chasing my four year old girl, playing baseball with the best border collie x kelpie in the world, working any job that won’t crush my soul.
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is… Heaaaaaps of dick jokes, breakfast booze, and making new friends.
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… Batteries, leads, new strings, freaking out about Jason’s pedalboard, wondering if Shane has bought new strings, excess baggage at the airport.
ON THE STAGE
When on offer, what’s your one must have item on the rider? Jack Daniels, ice and coke.
Favourite place you’ve toured… and why? Probably Melbourne with Easy Tiger about a year ago, we shared a tour van and I used to play guitar for them so it was like being in two bands at once. It’s always good to travel to a town where people always come to shows – even if the locals claim it’s a quiet night, it’s still more than you’re used to back at home.
Most memorable show you’ve played? and why? Branches Festival in Healsville, the rain moved it inside at the last minute and I just remember looking up at one moment to see what appeared to be fairies dancing in circles in the lounge room with glow sticks. Everyone had to camp outside in the rain but no-one seemed to care, and the way everyone treated each other was a good reminder of how nice people can be.
Got a favourite song to play live? D-Force. It’s a song about my sister’s marriage that took a few years to finish because I didn’t actually finish it until they were divorced, so it’s a bit angsty. It also doesn’t really stop from Sam’s first tom roll and everyone had a key influence in making it complete.
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? Jason in underpants at the previously mentioned Smith Street show, Jason falling off the stage, Jason breaking his guitar in half. Forgetting to stay sober.
Any pre-show rituals? Lately, a pub dinner together beforehand seems to work.
What do you find is the hardest aspect of touring in a band today? One thing I’ve noticed in Newcastle is that it’s becoming harder to join with another band, go on a decent run of shows and accommodate eight working people who have jobs and kids to work around.
Last song you listened to? Something off Heartbreaker by Ryan Adams.
Last album you acquired? Phantom of the Opera, Bob Dylan Live in Japan and The Pogues.
Which band or album is currently on high rotation? See above.
Tell us an up and coming band or artist you think we should go and listen to right now? I would, but I don’t think I have to tell anyone about the Smith Street Band. If you keep your ear to the ground, there might be a new awesome outfit from Newcastle called Summer Policy.
What’s on the cards for the next few months for the band? We have the Poison City Weekender next weekend, planning a trip to Brisbane/Melbourne, and come Christmas time hopefully writing and recording half a dozen new songs at RTN again.
You can pick any one album for your band to cover in full, what would it be and why? At The Drive In – Relationship of Command because I know Jason could do it and it would be a damn waste not to show it off. I think it would be a good educational process for Sam who has heavier modern tastes, and I’d love an excuse to be Cedric for a day on stage.
You can pick any one band / artist to cover one of your albums in full, what would it be, and why? Nobody.
One band you wish you were able to see live but never had the chance? James Brown at the Apollo in 64.
One venue you have yet to play that you would love to? The Newcastle Entertainment Centre, maybe then my mum and dad would come.
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? The Rolling Stones, it would be awesome to play shows of their proportion and watching Mick Jagger own the stage night after night.
A headline tour overseas comes up, tell us two bands you’d take along to support your band – Jen Buxton, Fear Like Us.
Got any final words? Poison City Weekender, see you there. ‘Sex Musk’ is now for sale on our bigcartel with shirts, tour to be announced soon.