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Look forward to 'Winning Days'

Photo courtesy of Capitol records
The Vines went to the country, grew beards and recorded an album. Now, they're back to the rock lifestyle, full of drinking, girls and more drinking. Catch them in Phoenix on Saturday; hopefully they'll be coherent enough to play.
By Kevin Smith
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 1, 2004
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If you know Australia's The Vines, it is probably because of the ubiquitous 2002 hit single "Get Free," which roared everywhere from "Charlie's Angels" trailers to MTV award ceremonies.

What you may not know is that the Arizona-bound band almost imploded around the end of that year, resulting in fisticuffs during a live show in Boston between singer/guitarist Craig Nicholls and bassist Patrick Matthews. Rolling off the stage and into the crowd during the battle, bassist Matthews reportedly chased Nicholls outside the venue, attempting to knock him out.

"That was probably the low point," Vines drummer Hamish Rosser said.

At the time, the band was touring constantly behind its debut album, Highly Evolved, and had already been booked on another winter U.S. tour.

"Then we started doing radio shows, which is like an arena show where they give you a 25-minute spot in between Boxcar Racer and Creed or something. That was pretty rough," Rosser said.

The band ended up canceling shows immediately after the Boston bust-up and took some time off before hitting the road again for tours of the United States and UK in early 2003.

Immediately following its world-tour-ending show in London, the band hopped on a plane - the same night - to spend three months in a remote upstate New York location recording its sophomore album, Winning Days.

"It was really perfect. I was totally burnt out," Rosser said. "I stopped drinking for a month when I got there."

If you go ...
The Vines, Jet and the Living End at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets $18.

The peaceful studio used near Woodstock, N.Y., called Bearsville, is where REM recorded Automatic For The People.

The Vines resided in a small house near the studio where they walked barefoot to recording sessions, lounged around, indulged in Playstation and built campfires.

"I grew a beard, yeah," Rosser said.

When they got antsy, they drove their rental car 100 miles into New York City.

Rosser said that the quiet comforts of country life helped the band members clear their heads and focus. He said had they recorded in New York City or Los Angeles, there would have been too much time spent in bars and not enough in the studio.

It also allowed the band to keep the pressure of the music industry at a distance.

"Being that all our record company guys are from L.A. and we're a hundred miles out of New York City, we didn't get too much hassle from them," he said.

Rosser said he's excited to be hitting the road with brand new material, even if it means a few bumps and scratches along the way. See, the string section in the Vines has a tendency to demolish instruments, particularly drum kits, at the close of gigs.

"Occasionally, we have lighting guys that like to use strobes (lights) at that moment in time. That's when I get really scared because I can't see shit," Rosser said.

"The strobe's like 'flash, flash, flash,' and then suddenly it's 'guitar, guitar, oomph!'"

The Vines, Jet and the Living End bring the "Aussie Invasion Tour" to the Marquee Theatre in Tempe Saturday night at 8 for $18, and to lucky KFMA "VIP Room" winners in Tucson Monday night.

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