Ash Grunwald tells SHANE PINNEGAR that after a busy year spent recording and touring with The Living End’s Scott Owen and Andy Strachan, he’s itching to get back out there as a solo performer. Grunwald hits the Indi Bar on Wednesday, February 5; the Prince Of Wales, Bunbury, on Thursday, February 6; Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, on Friday, February 7; the Fly By Night on Saturday, February 8, and the Ravenswood Hotel on Sunday, February 9.
Ash Grunwald says that after years of being pretty much a one-man band, the experience of being part of a rock power trio changed the way he looks at his solo work.
“Yeah it did,” says the accomplished roots rocker. “I did a couple of years of band stuff before my solo career, then I did The Living End thing,” he explains, “but with the old band stuff, I played like I was playing solo anyway and added percussion and other elements, so this was the first time I added elements that meant that I stopped playing a lot of what I normally play. So it was a big steep learning curve.
“It was fun because I went back to my teen years of dreaming of being a Hendrix styled guitar hero! I let myself go and just had fun with that and practiced playing the guitar so I could do a good solo again.”
Grunwald says he has some idea what he’ll be playing on the WA mini-tour.
“I’ll be definitely putting in The Last Stand,” he says thoughtfully, “which was the single from Gargantua because the last time I went around WA and all around Australia, I showed a little mini-film at the start of the gig about me interviewing people in Australia’s Coal Steam Gas fields, and I’m still very passionate about that.
“So, I would feel a little silly and superficial not to do that song and maybe a couple of other politically-motivated ones and then the rest is like, good-time party music, at this stage. The good thing about playing solo is that it is really up to your mood and the mood of the crowd so, I’ll just proooooooobably just play it by ear.
“There might be a few bluesier ones in there so that I can keep practicing my harp a little bit,” he adds.
Already a multi-instrumentalist, Grunwald has a new feather in his cap, having recently taught himself to play harmonica.
“I’ve avoided the harp for a long time because I almost feel, ‘Ah… it’s too predictable for a solo guy and the harmonica’ but I just wanted something that was new and organic because I haven’t done that for a very long time.
“Normally everything new is new technologically, so it’s been really interesting. But, that’s made me feel like when I was a teenager and I was learning to play guitar.
“You want things that inspire you and ignite things and not drain you and make you feel like it’s all too hard. Yes, I feel fired up and excited to be out there on the road. Originally, I was going to have a bit of a hiatus this year, but at the moment I’m thinking when I get back from overseas, you know later in the year, I will want to play as much as I can just to get that solo show really up and running and get that harp playing really good.”