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Touring in support of their debut LP, Bombs Away, Sheppard perform at the Astor Theatre on Thursday, October 16. BOB GORDON chats to vocalist, George Sheppard.

I saw you close the AFL Footy Show last week, that must have been fun?

Yeah, yeah it was cool. We haven’t actually got to see it yet but apparently there were flames and stuff, the production was really cool. It’s always fun to do that kind of stuff.


What’s it like doing those sort of TV appearances? You gear up for those kind of things and in three minutes you’re done.

Well, I mean, last week it was funny because we got to the place at 8 o’clock and then we didn’t play ‘til 11.15, so you’re kind of waiting around for a while and then you’ve got three minutes of intense performance. It’s fun anyway. We really enjoyed it, playing to that amount of people. We’ve done Rod Laver Arena with Keith Urban and it is just such a great venue and everyone gets straight into the song. It’s all good fun.


News has just emerged that Sheppard are going to play on Ellen. What’s your feeling about that?

Man, it’s an honour. Ellen’s such a big deal not just in the US, but here in Australia. I think she’s got an audience of 60 million people. So the biggest show we’ve played in Australia was The Voice Finale and that was I think 1,800,000 so it’s unbelievably great exposure so we’re just super thrilled to be given the opportunity to be invited onto the show.


It will be kind of surreal to see Ellen dancing along to Sheppard. Sort of a pinch me moment?

Yeah, absolutely – we’ve had a few of those in the last few months, so the pinch me moments are becoming a bit more regular which is crazy.


The moment your debut album, Bombs Away, came out you were packing your bags and off overseas…

It’s a funny thing, you come from Australia where a lot of people know your music and you can sell out venues and then you go overseas and it’s like starting from square one again. It’s a bit of a reality check. We’re staying in poor hotels doing all of the hard yards once again. But it’s fine because you get to relive building fan by fan from the ground up. That’s what made it such a great experience for us in Australia, seeing the rise of that. Getting to do that again overseas is pretty cool.


How would you compare the last 12 months to the previous 12 months? 

I mean, it’s funny, two years ago we were over in the United States and had just released our first EP with Let Me Down Easy on it, and it took six months for it to sort of didn’t get any attention or recognition in Australia earlier but once it took off I think it was sometime March or April 2012 Let Me Down Easy commercial radio and it’s been gradually climbing ever since.

A lot of people thought Let Me Down Easy was our only song and we were one of those one hit wonders, but luckily we wrote Geronimo and it put all those haters to shame. Which is always a nice feeling, you try and not listen to the haters, but it’s nice to prove them wrong.


Haters used to hate in privacy of their own home but now that everyone’s got a voice through social media you kind of have to put up with the stuff you never really had to… 

I know, I know, it’s not like you would read it anyway like if you were AC/DC you’d get that much fan mail it wouldn’t even matter. But when you’re a new band starting out you do read this stuff and it does kind of discourage you but you learn to let it slide like water off a duck’s back.

But yeah, we’re having a great time. The last 12 months have been absolutely insane and the 12 months before that, we thought that was insane – the Let Me Down Easy stage –  but then Geronimo came and blew us out of the water. We’re having a good time.


They’re both quite upbeat songs. When you play and to see the audience react to that, it must be a very special thing. You write it on your couch and then it ends up belonging to everybody.

Yeah I think that’s the coolest part of the whole thing… you get to write the song and you have no idea what’s going to happen to it, it’s fun to write and you really enjoy singing it. I mean, we wrote that in two hours around our kitchen table and then to see it’s resonated with so many people and to see that it’s affected so many people all around the world, it’s really quite astounding. You look back and you think, ‘how the hell did this happen? All of these people like this song so much, it’s crazy’.

“It’s a really nice feeling, man. Then when you get to play the shows and you see these people singing the songs back to you there’s a part in Let Me Down Easy where there’s an a cappella chorus after the bridge and I just throw the mic out to the audience and every single time they sing that chorus full pelt back to us on stage. It’s a magic moment and as a songwriter it’s a dream come true.

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