Chase The Sun
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Chase The Sun

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By the time Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones became the rock super-duper stars they were in the ‘70s, they already had a solid back-catalogue behind them, says Chase The Sun drummer Jon Howell

By the time Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones became the rock super-duper stars they were in the ‘70s, they already had a solid back-catalogue behind them, says Chase The Sun drummer Jon Howell. No rush for this hard rocking blues trio then – making the most amazing album of their career is something they’re going to take their sweet time doing, even if it’s over the next 12 months or so.

“There are so many great bands of the ‘60s and ‘70s who put out something like four or five albums well before they ever even had a hit,” claims Howell. “And that’s really the era and sound where we get our inspiration from. By the time these bands had big hits they already knew what their ‘thing’ was – which meant they knew what they had to do to continue making more great records and even more hits.

“What happens these days is that bands get signed straight away and have a hit record with their first album. There is that joke about how you’ve get a lifetime to make your first record, but you’ve got a deadline to make your second. There aren’t many bands turning out great records one after the other – Kings Of Leon are possibly the exception. They’ve churned out five albums in the space of time that most bands would have only managed two or three.”

In that respect, Chase The Sun aren’t doing too bad either then… In just three years, the trio – also comprising of Jan Rynsaardt (guitar) and Ryan Van Gennip (bass) – have managed to release two full-length albums, with their third currently in its infant stages. Surely, but slowly, Howell says they’re getting ‘there’ – and by ‘there’ he really means ‘here’.

“Jan had already had some exposure in the ‘States with his old band Freeway, they toured a bit over there and played some festivals and whatnot. Chase The sun have also had a lot of interest in the ‘States – there were a few labels that had their eye on us, we had a publicist over there too, we got quite a bit of airplay, we made it on the Billboard charts (all the way to #13)… But they wanted us to move over there for six months, and we didn’t want to do that. They were like, ‘we need you to be here for this to actually work’ but the way that we saw it was that we’d already spent three years in a van to get where we were in Australia.

“We were smashing it up for ages up and down the coast just to get to this point and to start making some sort of a difference, and we couldn’t imagine doing it all over again. And we didn’t really want to because we all own houses and have children and families.”

Speaking of families, Howell mentions Chase The Sun are currently in the middle of their appropriately-titled Annual Family Vacation tour with fellow management siblings Cass Eager and Claude Hay. Under the Rhythm Section Mgmt banner, the three acts have been spreading the blues and roots joy across the east coast since early January – and so far, as Howell chuckles, there’s been plenty of tomfoolery.

“The tour is called the Family Vacation and the main thing of it was to actually get to have a bit of a vacation as well. So I sort of took my time to get up the coast this time, sort of rocked up a week earlier and just hang out… By the time the van arrived with the rest of them, there was already new folklore! I was like, ‘I don’t even wanna know…’ but I found out anyway, because when I was going to bed last night I found a dead cane toad lying on my pillow! Apparently, I’d been ‘frogged’. Turns out they all found a dead frog out on the road and it’s been making appearances in people’s beds ever since.

“This is also probably very stupid,” he relates, “but it’s a game that we’ve been playing. It’s called ‘how much can you drink and still be able to play a show?’ We’re pretty good drunks so thankfully we’ve managed to pull it off, no-one’s actually fallen off the stage yet… Oh no, wait, Cass did the other night!” he laughs.

And they’re soaking it up at the moment because after the Australian festival season, Chase The Sun are planning to do a bit of a disappearing act for a little while in order to create their third rock ’n’ roll totem.

“We took about three months at the end of last year to just rehearse and start writing,” says Howell. “We’ve never really done anything like that before, to be honest. Usually we’ve always just turned up, and it’s like ‘what have you got? Okay cool, we’ll do that’. This time we’re working as a real band, we’re getting stuff down right and writing actual songs. We’ve worked out that the slower we work the better the results.

“Chase The Sun walks to the beat of our own drum. We’re quite happy to keep doing this for the next 20 years, so we figure we’re free to take our time.”

CHASE THE SUN’s Family Vacation tour hits Melbourne at The Thursday on February 3, and Cherry Bar on Saturday February 5.