Joe Hansen / Grinspoon

Kenneth Beaumont rides the pony with Joe Hansen
Raised on a healthy diet of Midnight Oil and Hunters & Collectors, bass player Joe Hansen of Grinspoon has just turned thirty-three and there’s no sign of the band, now ten years into its career, slowing down or slacking off. In fact, after their third album New Detention went double-platinum Joe says, “that once you have that happen, you want to keep on tasting it again and again.” Grinspoon are about to embark on The Show Pony Express Tour, a show that will travel the East Coast of Australia stopping at all the major cities to entertain masses of fans of all ages. Although the idea of entertaining audiences of all ages appears to be the easier gig, the truth is that “all ages audiences are tough, because they’re not a drunken crowd they’re a little more demanding for you to actually entertain them, but maybe that’s just our crowd, I don’t know. Often you’d think that they’re just young and they’ll put up with anything, but you’ve got to be on the ball with the all ages, so it’s actually just worse sometimes.”

What inspired naming the tour The Show Pony Express?

“Our single that is out at the moment is called Hold On Me and that originally was called Show Pony. When we recorded it in the States our producer was an American guy and he reckoned that he had never even heard of the expression ‘a show pony’. He reckons that no American has ever heard of it so he was just on us the whole time, ‘Are you going to change the name of that song? What the f*ck is this Show Pony? This is ridiculous.’ So Phil went ‘O.K. then, alright.’ And finally he changed it to Hold On Me instead of I’m Not Your Show Pony or something like that. So we then thought that we should revive the show pony.”

For ten years now Grinspoon have stayed true to their original line up which consists of vocalist Phil Jamieson, guitarist Pat Davern, drummer Kristian Hopes and of course bassist Joe Hansen. As for what the secret is in keeping a band together for that amount of time, Joe says “I think it’s that we have just pissed each other off so much now that you know when you’re about to get on someone’s nerves and you know when someone’s about to get on your nerves, so you just kind of like leave them alone for a while. It is good that we’ve been able to stay together, because there’s been many times I think when you could have gone ‘Fuck you guys, I’m over it’ and walked away, but I think that it’s a good thing for a band to stay together musically and stuff so, I don’t know what the secret is but we’ve managed to hang in there. I think that no one wants to leave, that’s all. We probably have tried to sack people over the years but they just wouldn’t leave. I’m sure that I’ve been sacked a few times and not been told.”

Although the band was originally conceived in Lismore, the members have all gone their separate ways when it comes to living locations, “I live up near Coffs Harbour, Phil and Pat live in Sydney and Kris lives in Brisbane so yeah, we’re a bit spread out.”

Does this make things difficult for the band?

“No not really, because what we generally do is, if we want to rehearse we’ll all get together a few days before the tour in Sydney or whatever, and as far as song writing goes we’ll kind of do the same thing. We’ll say ‘O.k. Let’s all meet at a certain place, down in Sydney or whatever and just jam out a bunch of songs’, so everyone just gets their stuff together before they start to head down. Everyone has just chosen where they want to go and what they want to do and it’s worked out well because at least then you get to go home to where you want to be, other than having to stay in Sydney or whatever.”

For Grinspoons latest studio endeavour Thrills, Kills + Sunday Pills, the band wrote almost fifty songs of which only twelve made the final cut. As for the rest of them, “About twelve of them are making it as b-sides for the singles. It’s frustrating because there’s a lot good songs that never really make it anywhere but you’ve got to be a bit ruthless with songs. Me and Pat and Phil all write songs so there’s always a lot of material. We don’t want to put twenty songs on the album either, you want to try and keep it concise so it’s just a matter of being ruthless and some of the songs unfortunately just disappear. Maybe one day we will go back to the vault and find a few hidden treasures.”

As for when Joe’s not fulfilling his obligations with Grinspoon, “I’ve taken up Lawn Bowls. I’m starting a little early; I’m trying to become a champion so when I retire I can walk into the bowling club already an experienced bowler.”

So how many schooners do you knock down at each end?

“Usually about one, just the one.” He chuckles, “It’s a great sport, it’s one of the few sports you can actually drink and play at the same time and no one frowns upon that. I live across the road from a bowling club so that’s great.”

Catch Grinspoon at The Newcastle Entertainment Centre with Shihad (the artists formerly known as Pacifier who were then formerly known as Shihad), The Cops and Grand Fatal. This is a General admission and all ages show so bring the whole family!