They were the two bloke band practically no one had heard of until they did a great thing for feminism: got drunk and did a revised cover of THAT Red Foo song. The Stiffys‘ spur of the moment phone video of “Literally” went viral on social media, and has since earned the boys a cult following which is steadily growing.
Bernie Burke caught up with both of them to chat about their upcoming “serious” art rock album, and their current nationwide tour with The Beards.
(Author’s note: Jason and Adam talked over the top of each other the whole way through, so it’s hard to know who said what in this interview.)
So how have the live shows been going?
Jason/Adam: We’ve been having a really great time playing with the Beards.
We had an incident at a gig recently where one person proposed to another person, and then the manager found out that someone had pooed into a schooner glass. So anything could happen! We’ve been getting the full range of people at our shows.
Since you’re supporting The Beards, are you finding there’s more guys/bearded people at the gigs?
Jason/Adam: We’re very cool and popular with the ladies, we’re practically a boy band. But a lot of guys do like our music too, so they’ve been coming to see us play as well. Someone suggested to us we should get a kissing booth, but we practically kiss girls full time, so getting a kissing booth would be in conflict with what we already do. But a lot of guys do come to our shows too.
You guys are from Melbourne, so I’d like to point out that Sydney is the gay capital of Australia. Would you consider doing a homosexual version of one of your songs at the Sydney show?
Jason/Adam: Well to be honest a lot of people feel like all our songs are homosexual. We just want everyone to have a great time and that’s what they do.
Would you be up for playing the lineup in next year’s Mardi Gras then?
Jason/Adam: If you could put a good word in for us we would appreciate that! We’re open to everything. I’m sure the people there would love it.
So how did you come to cover the Red Foo song? What’s the back story there?
Jason/Adam: Well we are an art rock band, and Red Foo is an artist too, and we think he did a great job on that song, but we felt that we improved on it. We still haven’t recived any royalties for it though. It took us 8 or 9 beers to write the new version and at least 2 minutes, and we’ve tried to invoice Red Foo for that, but he hasn’t written back. So if Red Foo is reading this, please contact us on Twitter.
Is the cover a reflection of your views on feminism?
Jason/Adam: Well the Stiffys aren’t as up with politics as we should be, we’re too busy having drinks and talking to ladies. But to be honest we thought that this song was stopping fifty percent of our audience from having a good time…and the Stiffys is all about having a great time. We really want everyone to enjoy themselves, so that’s why we decided to take it and improve on it.
You’ve mentioned recently that you want to become a more “serious art rock band”. Why is that?
Jason/Adam: We’re pushing thirty, we’ve gotta mature as a band at some point. To be honest when we were younger we thought that songs about penises were the best way to be cool, but in hindsight maybe it wasn’t the best way. So now fashion and art are the things we’re focusing on to make ourselves appear cool.
When you’re a rock band girls pay attention to you, they don’t ignore you on the street, say “do you know anything about nutrition, do you even have jobs?”…none of that happens any more…and people give you free drinks…and we have been enjoying that. So we’re following that dream. You could say we’re “chick magnets”. (Both burst out laughing)
So what’s the history with you two? When did you start playing together?
Jason/Adam: We’ve known each other for a long time but we started playing together about 3 years ago. We got a drum kit and accidentally started a band. We were meant to play a one off show in this warehouse near us for a magazine launch, but then we kept playing.
So how’s the new album going? Have you started recording yet?
Jason/Adam: A song we’re working on at the moment is gonna be called “Space Blog” and it’s about a blog in space. To my knowledge no other artist has written anything so forward thinking. It took at least 8 or 9 beers to come up with that song.
Also we’re toying with the idea of doing a full length album. You see when you have many drinks, you come up with a lot of songs, but sometimes you just need to listen to them with a sober ear. So we’ll be recording later this year.
Who are you guys’ favourite bands?
Jason/Adam: Well we’re touring with the Beards at the moment so they’re pretty good. We’re big fans of DZ Death Rays…Shaquille O’Neal, Rove McManus…whenever anyone asks us who our influences are we pretty much just list everything cool we can think of…Nintendo 64, Boogie boards, basketball cards….etc.
What’s next for the Stiffys?
Jason/Adam: We’re really excited that our new video clip for “Kissy Kissy” was just played on Rage, and we just found out it’s going to be played again. We’ve put it up on Triple J unearthed as well so….we’re pretty sure Richard Kingsmill is going to turn up on our doorstep with a record deal, I’m sure that’s how it works.
The Stiffys are currently touring nationwide with The Beards, check out their Facebook page for all the details.