My dumb band is playing with Wheatus. Who wants to kiss me?
September 19th 2012
Nobody? Cool. Just thought I’d ask. I really hope these two tickets to Iron Maiden, baby are redeemable for cash.
Hello. My name’s Max. My dumb band is opening for Wheatus at the Hi-Fi on Friday night and I couldn’t be happier with my life choices thank you very much. It’s a long story that begins with a crippling fear of you losing interest in my writing and SHOOSH I’M STILL TALKING THAT’S RUDE.
We got the call a few weeks ago and I accepted immediately on an are-you-serious-okay-yes-you-appear-to-be-very-serious-I-guess-that-this-would-be-an-enjoyable-pastime basis. I’m pretty sure my band/best mates Nick and Angus still think I’m taking the piss. Also, let’s be honest guys, this is going to be your crowning achievement as musicians so you better suck it up and deal with it like men who are very nice to me and play my bad songs almost in time most of the time. Love you!
The point is that there wasn’t much pretence of artistic integrity from our end. I mean, you can’t really jump onstage with a band like Wheatus and remain a self-loathing, Inner-West dwelling hipster with an inexplicably similar superiority complex to the narcissistic jags from high school who made your life a misery because you were bad at sport, can you?
It turns out you can. And it’s not just because everybody knows that those narcissistic jags from high school have already graduated from their apprenticeships and are now living very happy lives working jobs catered to their exact skill set, that will earn them a shitload more money that you’re likely to ever see. Do they even know who does the best job at overcharging you for a soy-mocha-whatever in Surry Hills? You can do this because Wheatus are amazing.
Let me say that one more time.
Wheatus are amazing.
Don’t get confused. I’m not narrowing the playing field. I don’t mean that Teenage Dirtbag is an amazing song (it is), or that Wheatus are the best of the flash-in-the-pan bands from the early naughts (they’re up there). Broaden your horizons, muffin.
Wheatus are an amazing band. They have a metric fuckton of catchy pop songs and a career trajectory like no other group in what I like to call the ‘post-dirtbag’ era.
Here’s the skinny:
Teenage Dirtbag is released in the year 2000. Shit hits the fan so quickly that you don’t realise a guy in a bucket hat is responsible. Wheatus’ self-titled debut goes five times platinum in the US and Dirtbag hits the four-times-platinum mark over here. That success continues to this day – Teenage Dirtbag has broken back into the UK Top 40 twice in the past twelve months.
In 2002, they set to work on their sophomore release, Hand Over Your Loved Ones. Their record label, Sony, reckons it’s horseshit. It isn’t – we’ll get to this a bit later. There’s a lengthy legal dispute that essentially renders Wheatus inactive until 2005. They emerge from court with the rights to their album, and they re-release it independently as Suck Fony. It is at this point that they win the prestigious Quinnsy award for Best Album Title, Ever.
Wheatus have been self-managed ever since. Over than span they’ve released two albums and two EPs and there are some total gems in amongst them. Look up ‘Lemonade’ and tell me it doesn’t have a wonderful chorus. Listen to ‘The Story Of The Eggs’ and tell me it’s not a sweeping, grandiose pop-hit-that-never-had-the-chance. All of these songs are available for free, along with everything else Wheatus have ever released, on the band’s website. It’s a pretty great business model for a supposed flash-in-the-pan. They let their music do the talking and they’ve stayed upright.
I’m not saying that they’re the perfect band. I’m not going to go all My Sweetheart The Drunk on your ass and mourn what could have been if only Jeff Buckley didn’t go swimming in his shoes in the middle of a giant fucking river, YOU IDIOT. All I’m saying is that twelve years later, Wheatus are still alive and kicking. They’re doing something right.
They’re still making flat-out good pop songs. Sometimes with some pretty cheesy lyrics – (I don’t always want to “Freak Out Loud With The Wheatus”, as we’re asked to in ‘Freak On’) – but since when did that ever stop pop music from being good music? Given the choice, I will take a freak out loud to the Wheatus over anything on The King Of Limbs every day of the week and twice on Sunday. I freak out loud so hard on Sundays.
And now they’re coming to Sydney. I’m hoping for a big turnout. I’ve turned out eight hundred words mostly about Wheatus and personally I like the way they have turned out. On a completely different note you can now purchase The Max Quinntet’s Turning Out EP from Bandcamp for the nominal fee of $4.99.
(You can’t, we don’t even have an EP, SUCKED IN DINGUS.)
Also, full disclosure: I don’t live in the Inner West or drink coffee and high school was pretty okay for me. If you do live in the Inner West, throw out your copy of The King Of Limbs and come make out with me and Mena Suvari (she’s officially a ‘maybe’ – it was established a long time ago that she doesn’t know what she’s missing) at the Hi-Fi this Friday night. Don’t act like you don’t know all the words off by heart. Aren’t we all just a teenage dirtbag, baby, like you? Ooo-oo-wooo-ooooo.
WHO: Wheatus + The Max Quinntets
WHERE: The Hi-Fi, Sydney
WHEN: Friday 21st September
HOW MUCH: $39.50
WHAT TIME: 8pm