FOR a while there last year, Graveyard Train looked like they were dead and buried as a band.
“We went on a bit of a hiatus for a year after the last album and we didn’t know if we were going to play again,” member Nick Finch explained.
“The wheels came off a bit. We were drinking too much, our personal lives were smashed up.
“We were sick of the road and each other.”
As the band members enjoyed life away from the pressures and mayhem of touring, “something was bubbling away in the Czech Republic”, Finch said.
Merchandise and CD orders kept being filled for Czech addresses and suddenly Graveyard Train were in demand in a place they’d never even been.
“We got these calls from festivals in the Czech Republic, so I sent an email around to everyone and said ‘do you want to go and see what happens in the Czech Republic?’,” Finch said.
To his surprise, everyone said, ‘yes’.
Suddenly Graveyard Train were in a recording studio, with a national and European tour lined up in front of them.
“We hadn’t been in the same room all together for a year till we got in the studio and recorded this record,” he said.
As a result, the new album, Takes One To Know One, is “fresh and spontaneous” and showcases the multiple songwriters in the band, Finch explained.
“In the years before, we had industry people and agents saying ‘you’ve got to do this’ and pushing us in different directions,” he said.
“So what was different with this record was we didn’t care what it was. We just got in there to see what we can do.
“I definitely don’t think we’re a country band any more — they won’t have us at Tamworth any more and we did that for three years.
“I don’t know what we are these days — just some weird stupid band that somehow does what it does.
“But the songwriting has grown up a bit. I think the songs are better.”
The rest, it seems, has done the band good.
So has getting rid of the “industry folk” circling the band, he said.
“(Like) heaps of bands, we were kind of naive.
“We were just a bunch of barman playing in a band, and then industry people got involved and they tell you you’ve got to play this gig and you’ve got to play this gig and they pushed us into the machine, and for a while it was great. We were playing some amazing shows.
“But you look at yourself after a while and you feel like you’re being pimped.
“There’s these other people making money off your band but we weren’t making any money.
“So we ditched the industry folk, and ditched the record label. We’re a lot more in control and it helped everybody feel more positive.
“This is our third or fourth week on the current tour and we’re having a great time. Instead of bickering and panic attacks, we’re actually hanging out and playing Uno.”
The current tour finishes on Sunday in Warrnambool, which Graveyard Train are looking forward to.
“The Loft is a really fantastic venue,” Finch said.
“I remember being really pleasantly surprised when we first played at The Loft, and I hope that doesn’t sound condescending, but we’d never been there ... and it felt really comfortable and nice and the crowd’s great fun.
“We love coming down there.”
Graveyard Train play at The Loft on Sunday. Doors open at 2pm, music from 7pm.