Pumped for Pumphrey

“We’re not trying to be famous, we all have full-time jobs,” said Jesse Pumphrey.


Jesse and two of his mates have been included on the bill for the official Gold Coast Music Awards after-party being hosted by elsewhere. When organisers talked to elsewhere about hosting the after-party, they were given full creative control of the lineup.

Only problem was, we’d never heard of Jesse. And it was my job to check him out.

So, first step, Facebook. OK, I can see he plays a bunch of gigs around northern NSW, but not much to go on there. Next, Soundcloud. Only a bunch of covers. Google? That didn’t help much. Who the hell is this guy? How the hell did he score this gig?

It’s the first question I ask Jesse Pumphrey, as we sit down with coffees at Chevron Renaissance.

In a nut shell, Jesse grew up playing in punk bands in southern NSW, moved to Melbourne and then overseas before eventually making his way to the Gold Coast and then northern NSW. He started playing around here, getting a few shows – a mix of solo and covers.

“Then I started writing folk, bluesy kind of stuff,” Jesse said. “And just started getting gigs out of nowhere, supporting bands that were touring and it sort of snowballed.”

When he plays elsewhere he’ll be bringing a band with him, but even they have only been playing together two months. Called Edward Thatch (he was a pirate), the band includes some familiar names in Sam Dunlop, the drummer (Dead Beat Band and Pirate’s Alive) and Luke Jones, otherwise known as Frog (Sludge, Midnight Ramblers).

“I got booked for a show and needed a band and got these guys to play some of my songs,” he said. “We jammed twice and then played The Northern and then played elsewhere and then we just keep getting booked.”

“And we’ve honestly only just got a set together,” he laughed. It’s crazy, we don’t know how it’s all happening for us.”

Jesse says he’s been lucky. He has no recordings, minimal social networking and hardly any online presence and he just keeps getting gigs. Still, he’s no stranger to the stage, having played guitar since the age of eight and just recently supporting Sticky Fingers

“We have roughly two live clips that we’re working on, one from elsewhere, one from a cross-dress themed thing, so we’re starting to actually pick it up. But the band that’s playing at the afterparty,” he laughs again, “we’re literally about two months old.”

“We’ve only got honestly about half hour to 45 (minutes of songs) and we just stretch it out because we just jam a lot. We make it up.”

“We originally wanted to be a blues band that wasn’t rocky, but the guitar sound I have is way more rockier than blues, so it’s blues riff with rock,” Jesse said.

“We all have this kind of hair,” he said, running his hand through messy long locks, “so everyone says we’re surf-blues.”

I ask if that’s what we can expect at the after party and again he laughs and tells me they don’t even rate themselves as being a very good band yet.

“ We think we’re messy, and scrappy and just have fun,” he said. “We’ve probably jammed as many times as we’ve played shows.”

The last time these guys played at elsewhere was supporting the Love Cannons, Pilot and Dead Books. This time they’ll be with Von Villains and GOVS doing a clubset. It’s esteemed Gold Coast musical company that these lads are keeping.

And I’m thinking they must geit a reasonable response from the crowd if elsewhere re-booked themn based on a single appearance.

“We opened that night and we had a crowd in there,” he said, adding that that opening set was at 8.30pm. “Everyone came in early, friends from other bands on the Goldie – a lot of them were just people curious about what it would sound like now that I have a drummer finally and a bass player and knowing all the rest of the band members were in other bands.”

OK, I’m feeling a little easier with some background knowledge as to who the hell Jesse Pumphrey is and what to expect on the night. It seems he likes flying under the radar as well.

“Yeah, I was saying to a friend, I kind of like it this way. We’re not pushing it, we don’t really need to, we don’t care, we just love playing and when we do record it’ll be great, but we’re just happy doing what we’re doing now. And if we keep getting shows we’ll just keep doing that.”

So, where we’d normally end a story telling you where you can listen / buy / download music, this time we can’t. All we can say is, come see for yourself when Jesse Pumphrey and his band Edward Thatch hit the elsewhere for the GC Music Awards after-party.

“Yeah, you’ll just have to come and watch us, I guess.”

Feature image courtesy Leisen Standen | Lamp Photography


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Wednesday 22 July | GC Music Awards after-party, presented by elsewhere, Rabbit Radio and Blank GC | Von Villains + Jesse Pumphrey + GOVS (clubset). Doors open 10.00pm. Tickets $10 (half-price for Rabbit Radio subscribers) and free for GCMA ticket-holders.

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