Christopher Whitehall, musician, The Griswolds
High Times For Low Lives has a message and a learning curve and shows a growth and journey within us as the writers ...
Tall tales about life on the road is a part of the rock and roll experience. Wild parties, jumping off buildings into pools, legions of fans singing your songs back to you every nigh – it all sounds pretty glamorous. The Griswolds is a band that has experienced all of that and more ever since breaking onto the international scene with their extremely popular debut album Be Impressive. Since then it’s been full throttle for the band, touring overseas and around Australia extensively. While open about how amazing the touring lifestyle can be, The Griswolds has taken a more reflective approach for its new album High Times For Low Lives. This record takes in the highs and lows of life on the road, and boasts a more mature approach while still keeping the vibes loose and free. Ahead of The Griswolds’ upcoming tour of Australia, we spoke to frontman Christopher Whitehall about touring the world and to find out what are some of the gnarliest things he’s seen on tour.
Your last album High Times For Low Lives got quite a few spins in our office – how long was this album in the works?
This album has taken about a year to write and record!
I’d love to know what sort of experiences you were drawing on for this album. Can you give us any insight as to the themes you explored on this record?
All the experiences are really honest accounts of what life was for us back at that time – it’s kind of a story of what endless touring and life on the road is like. We released our first album and toured it for two years around the world, so I guess this album tells the tales of that journey and its highs and lows. It’s not all this ‘rockstar’ fantasy I guess, so we wanted to paint a picture for the fans that was more real and not all the parties and high times, but also the lows.
What would you say is the biggest change stylistically from 2014’s Be Impressive?
I’d say it was a maturity thing. We grew up a lot since making Be Impressive – we learned more about ourselves and the kind of music we wanted to make. We also learned that while this can be the funnest job in the world, it’s also not always a game. I love the first record a lot, but to me its can be a bit ‘fairy floss’ at times. It’s all about the upbeat good times and doesn’t really have a statement to make. High Times For Low Lives has a message and a learning curve and shows a growth and journey within us as the writers.
The latest single ‘Role Models’ really gets the album going! As far as music is concerned, who are some of your all-time role models?
I’ve always had a huge love for Dave Grohl – he has got to be one of the hardest-working musicians out there! The guy never stops and is always working on so many musical projects. He’s a dad and a family man and seems like he has his shit together, which is inspirational to me. He’s never really screwed up as far as the media is concerned and he’s never been in the press for being a total fuckwit. It’s all about the music for him and I love that.
You’ve just come home from a huge tour of the United States – how are international audiences reacting to your music?
This tour was one of my favourites – one of the best we’ve ever done. Most of the shows were sold out and it just seemed like there was this beautiful connection between us and the fans. It was also so much fun to finally be able to play some of new music in the set. That tour will be a hard one to top.
Give us the scoop – what were some of the wildest moments you guys experienced on the tour?
I saw dudes jump out of two-storey buildings for fun and another running and jumping head first in to a mirror. I became an honorary member of a frat in New York by doing ten body shots in one minute. I definitely wouldn’t say it’s one of smartest things I’ve done whilst on tour.
Punters are getting fired up for your upcoming Australian tour dates – what can we expect from your shows this time around?
Nothing but Smash Mouth covers!
You must be a seasoned touring unit at this stage of your careers – what are some pre-show rituals that help get you fired up for a show after hours in the tour van?
If drinking beer counts as a ritual, then thats it.
The Australian music scene seems to be going from strength to strength – especially when it comes to garnering international attention. In your opinion, what are some acts that you think will be making some waves in the coming year?
One only needs to check out triple J Unearthed to see all the amazing Australian talent. I’m hoping after SXSW this year to see a lot more Aussie bands taking a leap of faith and showing off their talents overseas. I feel like we have so much to offer – we just have to get off the island and take some risks. I’m personally loving Nicole Miller right now.
You can catch The Griswolds on their national tour when they swing into Brisbane to play at Woolly Mammoth on Friday May 5 with support from Lime Cordiale.