The band’s success began when their third album Internationalist won them chart success and ARIA awards in the late 90s. Even before that, second album Double Allergic had garnered them a big fanbase, but there’s probably not a lot of people out there who have been fans since debut Parables For Wooden Ears (and from all reports, the band like it that way).
Since Internationalist, it’s been success after success – back to back wins of the JJJ Hottest 100, ARIA awards by the bucketful, platinum-selling records, sold out national tours and headlining festival spots. Their farewell tour sees all this come to a close in November.
Late last year, Powderfinger had to cancel a European tour due to a giant ash cloud blocking all flights. In 2010, they managed to get back here in what turned out to be their swansong international tours. “We went through the UK for two weeks,” says drummer Jon Coghill. “Then we got over to South Africa to play some shows over there, which was great because it was during the World Cup, so we got to see Australia play Germany.”
And how did international audiences like one of Australia’s favourite bands? “We were received pretty well usually. Although, it’s usually 80% Australians in the audience, so it’s a bit like a gig back home, but a bit crazier. But that’s okay, because on tour, sometimes you can get a bit homesick, but because you’re feeling it with the audience, that helps, and it can get really sentimental.”
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Powderfinger have been around for nearly two decades, and Coghill says that it wasn’t an easy ride. “We started out in 1991, and it took five years of being on the road to start making any money. If it had gone on a bit longer, where we weren’t getting anywhere, it probably would have ended. It’s not good for your lifestyle, or your relationships, that kind of thing… I think my parents and my girlfriend would have eventually tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Get a real job’”.
The band’s farewell tour will make its way around Australia from now until November, playing all capitals and a bunch of regional centres. There will no doubt be some emotional moments as the band say goodbye to the fans that have kept them at the top of Australian music for over a decade. “I think it’s going to be great fun, but it’s also going to be sad.”
And are there any plans for starting up a new band, or embarking on a solo project? “Actually, I’m going back to study and try to finish my degree,” says Coghill. “Once I’m done with that, I might put the feelers out and see what’s happening. I don’t think I’d be doing anything solo, but I might look to join other bands, just to have a chance to keep playing. I’m just not keen to be off touring the world anymore.”
Finally, I ask if he has any regrets from his 20 year (so far) career in music? “No, none at all. I’m not one of the people who thinks like that, I just take it as it comes. For me, the journey has been as good as the results – it’s all been fun.”
Interview courtesy of Fasterlouder.com.au