By MITCH RODD
PHIL Jamieson is more than just an Aussie rock legend.
The Grinspoon front man is also an accomplished solo artist, a musical star and an ambassador for youth.
The 42-year-old is the headline act for Friday’s Acoustic Vibes Spring Music Festival on the Lock 11 lawns.
Phil will play alongside front women of rock Ella Hooper (of Killing Heidi) and Sarah McLeod (of Superjesus), as well Melbourne blues duo Walkers Road.
Also on the bill are local trio Woodville Creatures and solo artist Lyndsie Storer.
Jamieson is best known for his work with rock group Grinspoon, who were the inaugural winners of the triple j Unearthed competition back in 1995.
The Lismore quartet have been staples on the Australian rock and alternative scene since that point in time, with tracks such as ‘Chemical Heart’, ‘Hard Act to Follow’, ‘Better Off Alone’ and ‘Passerby’ amongst an extended discography.
Following the release of their seventh studio album ‘Black Rabbits’ in 2013, the band now only tours sporadically, allowing Jamieson to take his vocal talents around the country for solo performances, such as Friday’s Mildura set.
“Funnily enough my set won’t be acoustic as such, but I’ll definitely be playing my guitar,” Jamieson told Mildura Weekly.
“I haven’t been to Mildura in about 15 years, when I played with Grinspoon after our third or fourth album.
“We were playing in a basketball stadium and the kids under 18 were in one section and the adults who could drink were in another but I remember thinking ‘why are they (adults) closer to front? I want to play to kids, they are future’. It was a fun night anyway.
“I love the fact that Friday is a public holiday, and I get to be on stage with Sarah McLeod and Ella Hooper, who are both amazing singers in their own right.
“I worked with Sarah last year on a theatre production, and she and Ella are both amazing. I’m looking forward to reminiscing with them.
“All of our bands were in the same sort of era of late ’90’s rock music that you couldn’t specifically place into a particular genre. We had that Australian sound, you couldn’t pigeon-hole us into a particular category, bands like ours plus Regurgitator, The Living End, Jebadiah, Gyroscope as examples. There was a bit of a renaissance for those bands a few years ago, the ones that produced a broad palate of songs.”
While incessant touring is no longer on the cards for Grinspoon, earlier this year the band announced they would hit the road for the ‘Chemical Hearts’ Tour, which begins next month. Friday’s Mildura gig is Jamieson’s last solo show before heading back into the band mentality.
The frontman admitted it takes some readjusting from driving and flying himself to gigs with just his guitar, to travelling with the band and their ‘army’ of a support cast.
“I’ve been in this band longer than I’ve done anything else in my life,” he said.
“I started when I was 17 so I’ve been with them for longer than I haven’t been. It’s been the same four members from the start.
“With time and hindsight I can say I’m really grateful and it’s been a real privilege to do what we have for so long.
“We’ve toured so much together but when we’ve gotten back we have all gone our own ways and done our thing.
“It’s hard to put your finger (what has made the band a success), but it’s the sum of all parts, everyone brings something important, and they’re all great guys, which make it much easier.
“Basically touring solo is my thing now. The band will only get back together and on the road every two or three years or so.
“The solo thing has been great, you just need yourself and a guitar, where as the Grinspoon thing takes an army to put together.”
In 2018, Jamieson starred as St Jimmy in the Australian premiere of the award-winning Broadway musical ‘American Idiot’, based on the Green Day album of the same name.
With over 80 shows under his belt and numerous sold out shows, Jamieson charmed critics and audiences alike with his performances.
Outside of studios and music venues, Jamieson co-founded the Rock N Ride tour for
headspace, the National Youth and Mental Health Foundation, in 2013.
The initiative is aimed at engaging local communities to raise awareness about mental health issues faced by young people.
“Rock N Ride was in between Big Day Out and around that time headspace was starting to open more centres, so it was really an awareness campaign,” Jamieson said.
“I’m still an ambassador for headspace locally and my wife works in the Port Macquarie centre, but with Big Day Out no longer in existence and more people aware of headspace nationally, it’s been put on the back burners,
“I’d love to do it again, all I need is a touring festival that I can ride my bike in between. Come on Australia, make this happen!”
Acoustic Vibes runs from 3pm to 11pm at the Lock 11 lawns, is a licensed event and there will be no BYO by law.
Follow the below link to book tickets.