When I spoke to Alex Markwell he’d just completed some crazy-arse travel. The day before he’d flown in and out of Perth from Melbourne, where he lives. That in itself is a crazy flight. But then, he and the rest of The Delta Riggs got in a car and drove to Adelaide. Straight from the Melbourne Airport.
“It could be worse,” he laughed. “It could be the Melbourne to Brisbane trip. We’ve done that before.”
The band is on the road supporting Kasabian and their support slot was only announced a week or two out from the tour.
“We tried to theorise why,” he said, of such short notice. “Maybe negotiations. I leave that sort of stuff up to the management side of things.”
It’s not the first time the lads have interacted with the Leicester rock outfit. Alex tells me that their bassist Monte (Michael Tramonte) took the Kasabian bass player and tour manager for a little road trip along Great Ocean Road last time they were in the country. He doesn’t really know how the support slot came to be, but he speaks very highly of Kasabian and their crew.
“Thus far, it’s been great. The crew are really nice. We pulled the van up and we were like – where do we put all the stuff – and by the time we got back their crew had taken all our guitars and stuff,” he said.
“They have a whole semi-trailer full of gear and we have a 12-seater hi-ace. They’re running semis, Sam,” he laughs.
But Kasabian have very kindly offered to transport The Delta Riggs gear with their own, so while the lads were flying and drive from Perth to Adelaide via Melbourne, their guitars were coming by road.
Alex laughs readily as we speak about the band meeting Jimmy Page in the UK (“I kept it short and classy”) about air hostesses turning the volume up to drown out the noisy band during safety presentations (“nothing to do with the rider”), about the hectic touring schedule they’re in the middle of (“next week is the last gig in Brisbane”).
But Alex is most effusive when it comes to a certain mechanical bull that he’ll meet shortly.
“I’m quite accident prone,” he said. “If someone’s going to get turfed off a really low-to-the-ground mechanical bull going like one kilometer an hour, it’s probably me.”
Of course, he’s talking about the bull which featured at Yellowood Festival last year. 2014 will be the second year running The Delta Riggs have played the festival, and as well as the bull, Alex raves about the event itself.
“DJ and co who put on the festival are all legends. A nice bunch of people who turn up, good music. It’s just a great festival, a really good vibe.”
And then there’s the bull!
Before we wrap up we talk quickly about the band’s new release The Record’s Flawed. It’s the second single off the upcoming album Dipz Zebazios.
“It’s always nice when you make music that you like and then other people like it, and it’s like YES! It’s not the end game, of course, but it’s always nice.”
“National radio play does help in certain areas to spread the word and the name,” he said, speaking of Triple J picking up both this song and its predecessor Supersonic Casualties for radio play.
And the rest of the album? “It’s a pretty eclectic sort of mix. It all ties together in our approach to instrumentation and the groove and stuff,” Alex said.
“Lots of groove-based tunes and some slower tempo darker ones and some upbeat party ones.”
It truly sounds like something for everyone. But Alex needs to leave me to do what he calls “some guitar prep” for the show tomorrow. I’ve caught him on a night off between shows. I ask about the guitar prep though.
“I broke a string last night in the third song – on pretty much new strings. So I have to restring that guy and break it in. Yeah, new strings on the same day as a show – there’s just something about playing them in a bit that I like.”
“There’s nothing ritualistic,” he laughed. “Although I was thinking of maybe sacrificing a sheep as well.”
LOL. See you at the mechanical bull, Alex
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You can catch The Delta Riggs when they support Kasabian on Tuesday 12 August at Eaton’s Hill Hotel and then again at Yellowood on 30 August.