much by universal acclaim, You Am I are the best live
band of their generation, putting on shows that are
part revival meeting, part sweaty, noisy mass hugs.
Along the way, they've given a leg up to bands such
as Powderfinger, Silverchair, the Strokes, the Vines
and Jet by taking them on tour, sharing their wardrobe
and showing them how to drink. (The Silverchair boys
were drinking hot Milo, of course.)
As a visit to a rock'n'roll pub in any town or city
would confirm, they've inspired countless others to
take up a guitar and do the windmill-arm thing, pick
up a bass and look effortlessly cool or hit a set
of drums with little care for self-preservation.
Sociologically speaking, their significance could
lie in the fact that they may be single-handedly responsible
for the continued existence of the sideburn in rock.
Now, with the release of a best-of collection, The
Cream & The Crock, You Am I face the real music.
On the couch are lead singer, songwriter and Kangaroos
fan Tim Rogers; bass player and new manager Andy Kent;
drummer and record company mogul Russell "Rusty"
Hopkinson; and guitarist and fashion dandy Davey Lane.
"The Cave in Surry Hills in 1990," says
Rogers. "Sartorially challenged but enthusiastic."
"Cleveland, Ohio, 2002, to 20 people," says
Rogers. "Or Greenwich Tavern, Perth, 2001, to
a few more - both because of the right mix of great
sound, cheerful folk and a bar tab."
"Conveniently forgotten," says Kent.
Hopkinson: "That Crowded House farewell thing.
Rock'n'roll just doesn't work at 4pm in front of 100,000
people and a camera crew of a hundred. It sounded
lousy onstage and we'd just come off of a massive
tour that nearly drove us all insane. We needed a
Lane: "My first with the band: Powerstation,
Auckland, May 1999. By the end of the show I was so
ashamed of my guitar playing, the amp volume had crept
down to nothing."
Favourite You Am I song?
"Drumming-wise, Rumble, because I nicked the
drum beat from Kraftwerk's Showroom Dummies,"
says Hopkinson. "Or Minor Byrd, because it's
the sound of a very white-bread punk drummer trying
to be funky like a James Brown record and ending up
sounding like something else entirely."
Rogers prefers Deliverance, Kent, Damage, and Lane,
Guys, Girls, Guitars.
Favourite You Am I album?
"The next one's going to be wonderful,"
says Rogers, "but till now I really love Deliverance
, with Hourly, Daily still sounding great -
great engineering on that record."
Kent's fave is Dress Me Slowly (2001), while Hopkinson
and Lane like #4 Record (1998) - described by the
drummer as "a rugged little rock'n'roll nugget
released at a time when grand sweeping gestures and
lush Pro Tooled symphonic post-rock were all the rage".
Complete the following sentences:
You Am I could never have been a boy band
"I have a pathological aversion to hair products
and, let's face it, I can't sing for quids and had
a pizza face," says Rogers.
"We're a man band."
Kent: "The You Am I man is the natural enemy
of the metrosexual man and, as we know, all metrosexual
men secretly want to be in a boy band. It wouldn't
Lane: "We're a bit too scruffy, really."
Hopkinson: "And I dance like a drunken marionette."
Oasis were not complete nongs because ...
"they loved us," says Kent.
Hopkinson: "Well, apart from the obvious reasons
that they like drinking, fighting and swearing, they're
nice chaps, huge music fans, a brilliant band and
Rogers: "They were actually some of the most
charming, hilarious and subversive young men I've
Davey Lane is ... "a wonderful
room-mate," says Rogers. "Always has a can
of tuna nearby and once I saw him doing sit-ups with
a bottle of Stoli vodka in his hand."
Tim Rogers is ... "a true champion,"
says Hopkinson. "This kid's got a knack for pulling
things deep from within his soul that other songwriters
can only pay lip service to. A devoted father and
kicker of a frighteningly good torpedo punt."
Rusty Hopkinson is ... "an enigma,
a renaissance man and the best drummer in the world,"
according to Rogers.
Andy Kent is ... "my beloved
room-mate on tour, bearer of the brunt of my daily
badgering and a sweetheart who's as funky as all get-out
to go with it," says Hopkinson.
Big sideburns are a perfectly good fashion
statement because ... "they hide ears,"
says Kent. "Ugly filthy things."
Hopkinson: "Dennis Lillee had them, so did Slade,
so do Jet. 'Nuff said."