The Screaming Jets

The Screaming Jets - Permanent Silver
The Screaming Jets – Permanent Silver

Celebrating their 25th anniversary with a new album and tour, iconic Aussie rockers, The Screaming Jets, will descend upon Capitol on Thursday, November 6. Vocalist, Dave Gleeson, speaks with SHANE PINNEGAR.

With both the Screaming Jets’ forthcoming album and tour titled Atomic 47 – a 25th anniversary is traditionally termed as ‘silver’ and 47 is the metal’s atomic number – in celebration of the milestone, Dave Gleeson says the band are expecting the gigs to be suitably rambunctious affairs.

“Yeah, well especially because it’s only a one-off!” he affirms. “Over in Perth, mate, there will be a party because we don’t get over there very much. We’ll have to celebrate with a bottle of champagne every night – but just some Spumanti or something like that,” he jokes.

Gleeson promises a set chock full of classics, plus a few of the new tracks, and perhaps a couple of surprises from deeper down in their catalogue.

“Obviously, you do the songs everyone knows and loves. I guess over the years we’ve recorded, including our own and cover songs, over 100 songs. It’s nice to go back. I was going through my old vinyl and I found a copy of the single of Better, one of the first pressings of it, and on the b-side is Rocket Man.

“I get asked all the time, ‘mate, play Rocket Man!’ I’ll go, ‘what? Rocket Man? That Elton John song?’ They’ll say, ‘No, no – your song’. Alright, here it is. I put it on. I’m like, ‘I haven’t heard that song for 20 years’. There is a whole bunch of songs like that you can pull out and go, ‘yeah, we can maybe work it up in a different way, modernise it a little or whatever’. That’s a bit of fun for the band to get into.”

Gleeson, who is also fronting another iconic band in The Angels these days, admits he never thought The Screaming Jets would ever have lasted a quarter of a century.

No!” laughs the singer, “When we started off, we always wanted to be a band like The Stones or like those enduring bands, The Angels and so on. You set your sights on that, then to reach it 25 years later is pretty amazing. It’s just nice to know that not only can we still play, but people are still willing to come and see us play.”

In addition to original members Gleeson and bassist Paul Woseen, the line-up touring the country this year will feature guitarists Jimi Hocking and Scott Klingman and drummer, Mickl Sayers. Gleeson promises that the new album will be ready for the tour.

“We’re working feverishly on it at the moment,” Gleeson laughs. “I just came off a 40-day tour with The Angels about two weeks ago, so we’ve just found some time, and I’ve locked all the boys in. Three of the guys live in Melbourne, so that’s where we’re going to base ourselves to do it and get something out and ready to go by the time we hit the road on October 17!”

Gleeson doesn’t seem pressured by the idea of recording, mastering and pressing an album in under six weeks in the slightest, attesting that “we’re really lucky in that Scotty Kingman, our guitarist, is an absolute recording and mixing and mastering wiz. He’s recorded the last four or five James Reyne albums and Mark Seymour’s album and other stuff in his own studio. We’re just going to camp in there and beat it out of ourselves!

Paul’s written a whole bunch of songs. Then myself and Jimi Hocking had a few offerings as well.”

Excitingly, Gleeson says to expect a classic Jets sound to the new material.

The thing is that it’s rock music and it’s not reinventing the wheel, but you want to say something when you’re doing it,” he says. “A couple of the old songs – Let Me Show You How To Do It and then Better – were really well lyrically thought out. The songs that I know and love from other bands and other artists, every word means something. We’re really trying to make sure that we get up front and don’t pussyfoot around. There’s one of the songs called Smack In The Mouth. It’s just… don’t mince words, get out there. It’s rock!”