words: Jade Kennedy
There seems to be something about Aussie hip hop and breakfast – The Waitress Song made Seth Sentry a household name and, long before that, Brisbane independent debut album Breakfast at Fatboys landed Butterfingers on the ARIA charts, triple j’s Hottest 100 and scored them an ARIA nomination.
This year marks the “accidental classic’s” 15thanniversary – an event being celebrated by a vinyl debut and a national tour with the current Butterfingers lineup.
Vocalist Eddie Jacobson explained who had joined himself and fellow founding member Olly Thomas, and why:
“So Dave (Crane) was our original bass player,” he said.
“When we reformed we reformed with Brad (Cochrane), who’s our new bass player. None of us in the band had any – well, no decent – contact with Dave, so it just wasn’t really on the cards, I guess.
“But we did reform with Damien (Green), our original drummer, who has since been replaced by Tony ‘T-Bone’ McCall… that’s due to an unfortunate incident last Christmas where Damien bought a skateboard for his son for Christmas and fell off in the driveway trying to show him how to do a trick, I think, and he actually smashed the ball of his elbow into something crazy like 23 pieces.
“So he was out for the last tour, and he’s been on the mend but they weren’t sure if he would ever be able to drum again. I’m not sure if he has the capability but on top of that he’s studying his teaching masters, and yeah, looking at the run of dates that we have coming up – it’s 21 shows and a lot of them are four days a week – Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. He’s got a family, he works full time and he’s doing his masters, so I think he just looked at the run and was like, there’s no way I can do this. So yeah, he’s taken a step back and T-Bone is our guy.”
All of the guys are now dads, which Jacobson admitted probably made things harder for their partners when they go on the road.
“I mean, it does create more stress at home because the mums are doing the solo parenting bit at home while we’re away on the weekends,” he said.
“Having kids is hard work, everyone who has kids knows that. I’m not going to pretend that it’s not. But tour is a lot of fun, and the saving grace is that sometimes we can make money. And if we do go away but come home with some money it softens the blow a little bit. I don’t know how it works for the other guys, but when I’m back I sort of have to do extra, family wise I do extra.”
Not only are there impressionable young ears at home these days – they’re also appearing in the crowd. Butterfingers fans of old are bringing their kids to shows, with several videos of the band’s appearance at Woodford Folk Festival last year showing young fans singing along to the tracks we all know and love.
“I did put a fairly large disclaimer on the start of that,” Jacobson said.
“I said something like, ‘These words are only to be said in the next few minutes; you don’t say them at school, you don’t say them to your parents, you don’t say them to your friends.’
“I don’t disagree with the sentiment of anything I’ve said, but… I don’t know, it’s just more graphic than I probably would be if I did it now. Yeah, the imagery and the language is a bit hard core.”
One of the band’s more explicit tracks comes from the Breakfast at Fatboys album, which they will be performing in full on this tour… with a few surprises.
“A track off Breakfast at Fatboys that we’re bringing back from the dead – obviously we’re playing the whole record start to finish – so this song we haven’t played for a long time, it’s called Piss On Ya, and we’ve actually mashed it up with a Black Keys song,” Jacobson laughed.
“So it’s gonna be interesting… It works! It’s drum and bass mixed with blues rock but yeah it works.”
The original track also contains a female vocalist – which Jacobson said they would bring support MC Fresh Violet up for.
“It’s pretty brutal, like it’s brutal lyrically, and I actually called Violet a couple of days ago and said, ‘You know how you’re supposed to do that verse in Piss On Ya? You know, if you don’t feel comfortable saying that stuff you can write your own piece for it because it doesn’t have to be exact…’ and she was like, ‘No no no, I think the crowd will really appreciate staying true to the original,’ so I was like, ‘Okay, wicked!’”
Violet is an up and coming female rapper whom Jacobson said ticked all the boxes for the touring support slot.
“I can’t remember exactly where I saw her first,” he said.
“I saw one of her tracks and the last time we toured she opened for us in Melbourne, because that’s where she’s from, and I just really thought that she had a lot of potential and she’s got skills, like she’s a really good rapper, but on top of that she’s just got a really good attitude and that plays such a massive part, especially when we’re looking for someone to support us on the entire tour – you want to know for sure it’s someone you can get along with. She’s legendary. So yeah, up and coming, really good at what she does, nice person – that ticks all the boxes.”
Although he now manages the band and runs their label, Bewilderbeats, Jacobson recalled being very green when Butterfingers first entered the studio to record Fatboys.
“I remember being super hard work when it came to recording, for Magoo, who produced the record and mixed it and recorded it, I was very pedantic about things that in hindsight may or may not really matter,” he laughed.
“But I’m happy with the result. I was very anal about drum sounds and picking the right loops and stuff like that. That’s what I remember about recording it… I remember a huge sense of pride and excitement when we were recording it, and the celebratory events that followed the release were… a bit of a blur… but I remember the overall feeling!”
He does, however, lament not paying more attention whilst working with legendary producer Magoo, who is now teaching more than he records or produces.
“I could’ve learned more,” he said.
“I wish I’d paid more attention to what he was doing with all of the equipment and stuff, because I’m mixing and sort of doing that stuff myself now, and there’s probably quite a lot of tips and tricks he probably wouldn’t be able to just recall off the top of his head, but when he’s in the moment doing it, if I had paid attention and written it all down I’d have more tips and tricks of my own now. Yeah… I kind of hated the whole mixing part of it back then, so I never really foresaw that I would pursue it as part of my own career.”
The band is currently working on a new album, which Jacobson said he had been recording some demos for and wouldn’t rule out taking more of a production role for.
“I’ve been doing some of the demos, which I’m happy with, but I still think there’s a little bit of work to go, some fine-tuning of my ears to be done, but I have a feeling that I am going to be able to by that time have the skills that I need to do it myself, yes,” he said.
The first single of the new album should be released mid-year – but Jacobson said not to expect most recent singles Big Night Out or Bullet to the Head to appear on it.
“The record itself is actually a concept album, it’s more like a story start to finish – like a movie kind of thing – so those tracks that we’ve already released don’t fit into the story, so they’re not making it onto the record unfortunately,” he said.
“I really like Bullet to the Head and we just got nominated for an award (Queensland Music Award) for the video but unfortunately it’s going to remain a single alone.”
Although this is the official vinyl launch tour, all of the Breakfast at Fatboys limited edition orange vinyls had sold out long before the tour would begin. But Jacobson said the vinyl pressing had come before the anniversary tour.
“It was just like, ‘oh, we’ve got some money so we should print some of our stuff so we can finally put it out on vinyl,’ it was just something to do,” he laughed.
“But so many people collect vinyl these days, and we’ve always wanted to press vinyl – especially being a hip hop act, vinyl’s always been a staple of hip hop releases since forever. But yeah, we got all pressed then went, ‘okay, let’s release it – you know – tomorrow!’ Then we went, ‘oh you know what, next year is the 15thanniversary of it coming out so maybe we should hold off.’
“So we decided to hold off, so that’s why it’s coming out now. And – little known fact – I’ve actually pressed the Evil Eddie record as well and the second Butterfingers record as well, but since having the realisation about the anniversaries those records will not actually be released until their relative anniversaries. So they’re just sitting here in my house, ageing like fine wine. And the Breakfast at Fatboys vinyl sold out so there’s not gonna be any vinyl at the merch stand this time either.”
Butterfingers Breakfast at Fatboys 15thAnniversary Tour Dates
FRI 01 MAR | THE VILLA, NOOSA QLD | 18+
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95439
SAT 02 MAR | MIAMI MARKETTA, GOLD COAST QLD | 18+
Tickets available from https://tickets.oztix.com.au/outlet/event/c09d8c30-e619-4aa1-ace8-0118bdf59832
SAT 09 MAR | THE ZOO, BRISBANE QLD | 18+
Tickets available from https://tickets.oztix.com.au/outlet/event/57f6f97d-e85d-4e15-91bc-564191523ffc
THU 14 MAR | UNI BAR, WOLLONGONG NSW | 18+
Tickets available from https://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/butterfingers-special-guests/108156?offercode=BUTTER
FRI 15 MAR | CAMBRIDGE HOTEL, NEWCASTLE NSW | 18+
Tickets available from: https://events.ticketbooth.com.au/event/butterfingers-15-years-of-breakfast-at-fatboys-tour/pre-sale
SAT 16 MAR | MANNING BAR, SYD NSW | 18+
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95499
THU 21 MAR | THE GOVERNOR HINDMARSH, ADELAIDE SA | 18+
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95551
FRI 22 MAR | PELLY BAR, FRANKSTON VIC | 18+
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95449
SAT 23 MAR | GEELONG HOTEL, GEELONG VIC | 18+
Tickets available from https://www.eventbrite.com/e/butterfingers-15-years-of-breakfast-at-fatboys-tour-tickets-52043827489
SUN 24 MAR | SOOKI LOUNGE, BELGRAVE VIC | 18+
Tickets available from https://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95453
THU 28 MAR | DUNSBOROUGH TAVERN, DUNSBOROUGH WA | 18+
Tickets available from https://tickets.oztix.com.au/outlet/event/bddb42c8-42da-44ff-80d5-7ffab03963f4
FRI 29 MAR | BADLANDS BAR, PERTH WA | 18+
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95456
SAT 30 MAR | BAR1 NIGHTCLUB, HILLARYS WA | 18+
Tickets available from https://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/butterfingers-15-years-of-breakfast-at-fatboys/108114
FRI 05 APR | THE CORNER, RICHMOND VIC | 18+
Tickets available from https://www.eventbrite.com/e/butterfingers-15-years-of-breakfast-at-fatboys-tickets-51995296331?discount=FIGJAM
SAT 06 APR | GRANADA TAVERN, HOBART TAS | 18+
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95460
FRI 12 APR | DALRYMPLE HOTEL, TOWNSVILLE QLD | 18+
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95462
SAT 13 APR | MAGNUMS, AIRLIE BEACH QLD | 18+
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95463
THU 18 APR | SPOTTED COW, TOOWOOMBA QLD | 18+
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95464
SAT 20 APR | RACEHORSE HOTEL, IPSWICH QLD | 18+
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95465
FRI 26 APR | THE NORTHERN, BYRON BAY NSW | 18+
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95466