“I love your answering machine, that’s hilarious,” I said to Kram, best known as the front man of Spiderbait, upon him returning my call.
I love the art form and I love my friends and I include the audience in that.Kram, Spiderbait
I’d tried his number a few times and received quite the shock when I first heard a roaring “whoooo” down the phone line, followed by a beep to leave a message.
“Oh thanks,” he chuckled.
“I thought that was just how you answered the phone,” I admitted.
“It kinda is sometimes but yeah, it’s been working overtime today so hopefully it didn’t scare you off,” he said, explaining he’d had a few interviews back to back.
While it was definitely startling, it wasn’t enough to deter me. I shouldn’t have been surprised that an Aussie rock legend would have such a fierce answering machine recording.
When asked about how his morning had been, Kram shared that he was getting ready for Splendour In The Grass, as a festival-goer this year instead of a performer, and gave me a glimpse into his Byron Bay lifestyle.
“My house is on the beach over here so I’m just chilling on the beach, really, just talking to you – so yeah, life’s good.”
Spiderbait have fostered a name for themselves as one of the greatest Australian rock bands throughout their career over the past 25 years. As impressive as that is, the three-piece from NSW have also somehow managed to remain close friends along the way.
“I do think the fact we all come from the same town and the same humble beginning is a big part of our friendship and existence. We all look at each other and we can all see each other in high school in this tiny little town in the middle of nowhere,” said Kram.
During their lengthy career, Spiderbait have smashed out seven studio albums and sold over a million records. They have also achieved a number one single with their 2004 cover of Leadbelly’s ‘Black Betty’, along with a spot in the 1996 Hottest 100 with their song ‘Buy Me a Pony’. Not to mention the bunch of nominations and the two ARIA awards they have under their belt.
“We’ve all been able to share this crazy journey and mad ride to success and rock stardom and all that bullshit – because that’s what it’s kinda been like for us,” said Kram.
“I don’t think anyone ever expects when they’re 18, which is how old I was when I wrote the first single, that they’ll have a whole life of writing their songs and playing shows. I mean, it’s second nature to me now. I just love living the creative existence”.
Spiderbait are still going strong with no hint of an end in sight, with their stand-alone ‘The Singles’ Melbourne show scheduled for November selling out in a day. This led to the announcement of three more shows across New South Wales and Victoria.
“It’s not just a strange thing that we’re still doing it [touring], it’s a strange thing that the longer we seem to go, the bigger we seem to get. It makes us feel like what we’re doing has meaning, not just for us but for everyone else as well,” said Kram.
The band will be playing a retrospective set of their singles in the order of their release, along with launching a limited edition seven-inch vinyl box set.
“It’s going to be a really interesting space. I keep saying it’s going to be like a diary of our whole life, looking back at these songs on the set list,” said Kram.
When asked if he had anything he would have done differently during his music career, Kram seemed very at peace with it all.
“One of the things about us that I think has sometimes held us back is also the thing that has kept us together – whenever we’ve had a really big success over the course of our career, we just tend to take a breather. And a lot of people in the business will tell you that’s the wrong thing to do.”
Kram shared that through pacing themselves, it meant the band has always felt fresh and full of spirit. He mused that Spiderbait may not be around today if they’d followed the usual formula of cramming in tours and record releases at the first sign of success.
“I really believe if we had done those things early in our career, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you now. Something about our band’s destiny was to go as long as possible,” said Kram.
So what is Spiderbait’s secret to a long and prosperous music career? Kram claimed it was as simple as the friendships the band was built upon.
“A grown band at it’s best is a really beautiful group of friends and that group can take on the world and change things for themselves and change things for others,” said Kram.
“I love the art form and I love my friends and I include the audience in that. It’s a really big, positive experience that we all get to share together and I think we’ll probably keep doing that forever.”