Beady Eye

Beady EyeWith their second album, BE, out now, Beady Eye will play the Big Day Out on Sunday, February 3, at Arena Joondalup. PETER HODGSON reports.

One of the key slots on the Big Day Out is now occupied by Messrs. Liam Gallagher, Gem Archer, Andy Bell and Chris Sharrock – all former members of Oasis – along with former Kasabian guitarist, Jay Mehler.

Sharrock’s mellifluous voice booms down the line from the other side of the world and under the shadow of the polar vortex to tell us he’s looking forward to the Big Day Out – his first time playing the festival.

“I’ve heard a lot about it and it’s another one to cross off the list, I suppose,” the drummer says. “I can’t wait to get out there to a bit of warm weather. That’s the main thing. It’s the coldest of the cold here!”

The band is, of course, aware of the swell of calls for them to be added to the line-up in place of Blur, and the poetic justice thereof. “Yeah! The response was amazing. It’ll be great to bring it to the Aussies because we didn’t get out there last time. It’ll be nice to see everyone.”

Beady Eye’s latest album, BE, is a finely crafted mix of true band vibe and studio experimentation. In amongst the organic instruments and band chemistry you’ll hear samples, answering machine messages, music apps – the whole shebang. In a live setting the band tries to capture a little of the technicolour washes of the recording without losing sight of their roots as a true band.

“It’s a bit of both, really. We try to make it sound like the album a bit but there are a few things. We don’t even call it experimental, to tell you the truth. It’s just music. But I think our poor keyboard player’s probably a bit overworked. But it kinda rocks more live, as most things do. CD players don’t really make you jump up and down like a live band will.”

While Sharrock is primarily known as a drummer, he’s an avid guitar fan – especially of AC/DC’s Angus Young. “I saw AC/DC with Bon Scott on vocals at the Liverpool Empire and it blew me away,” he says. “That was cool. I think it was a few weeks before he died. It was at the height of the mod revival here and I was a mod who happened to like AC/DC, y’know? It’s not like now where everyone can like pretty much everything. I had to keep it quiet! There was a big chant of ‘We hate the mods! We hate the mods!’ just before they came on!”

Sharrock is also considering a bit of a second-hand store scrounge on the look-out for cheap vintage guitars – not the nice, $250,000 Gibson Les Paul kind of vintage guitars, but the junked-up, quirky, probably-made-from-kitchen-countertop-material guitars that were pedalled to students back in the ‘50s and early ‘60s.

“Just sort of cheap West German, European ‘60s things that are covered in dust, really,” Sharrock explains. “I’m not really into your Gretsch or Les Paul brigade – mainly because I can’t afford it but I don’t really like those guitars either. Give me a Futurama or a Framus!”

This obsession with slightly off-beat early electrics goes back to when he was 14. “I got a Hofner violin and that sort of started me off. They’re all funny, quirky guitars. Hey, I’m not bad for a drummer, y’know what I mean? Drums don’t turn me on as much. I mean, I’ve got some nice kits that I love, but guitars are easier to bring home from Europe or Australia. Do you think I’ll get any bargains in Australia?”

Well, that’ll be tricky because all the secondhand stores have smartphones now but there are still bargains to be had. Britpop fans are in for a monster set of Beady Eye tracks (and a few choice Oasis cuts, with Morning Glory and Rock ‘N’ Roll Star performed last weekend at the Auckland BDO); Melbourne’s famed AC/DC landmarks (like Swanston Street and AC/DC Lane) might just be host to a famous tourist, and the second-hand guitar dealers of Australia might want to dust off those busted-ass old pawnshop prizes.