The members of Palms – Al Grigg, Tom Wallace, Dion Ford and Brendan Walsh – grew up north of the bridge and now currently live between Darlington, Forest Lodge, Alexandria and Petersham. It’s a Sydney band through and through. But its high-energy, raucous appeal (even on the slow numbers) would sound just as good in any band room, anywhere. Its latest EP, Crazy Rack, is full of “belters” and “ballads”, as described by frontman Grigg. We caught up with Grigg halfway through the band’s national tour.
Broadsheet: Where do you hang out in Sydney?
Al Grigg: My dad owns The Shortlist on Abercrombie Street in Darlington, so pretty much every weekend when I wake up to an empty fridge I go up there to scab a coffee and some breakfast and say hi to Dad. It's got a really nice chill and simple atmosphere. Bar wise we all love Arcadia on Regent Street. Tom loves going on Tinder dates to Love Tilly Devine ‘cos they have an amazing wine selection, apparently. I had a really awesome dinner at Cho Cho San a couple months back. Pub wise we're usually at The Lord Gladstone or The Courty [Courthouse] or The Vic [on the Park].
BS: What can you tell us about Crazy Rack? About the tracks on it, but also the title … is it inspired by the “crazy rack” on the album cover? Where is this crazy rack?
AG: It's sort of a crazy rack itself, really. The songs were written over the span of a few years. Some before our last album, some a day before we recorded this one. There's a mix of songs, too. Some belters, some ballads, some emotional cry-baby numbers.
The crazy rack on the cover is a photo Tom took in his hometown of Mona Vale (sadly the shop's long gone now). I just thought it weirdly summed up the band. I mean, when you hear the words “crazy rack” you kind of conjure this rock‘n’roll myth of sex and drugs, but in reality it's a rack of second-hand clothes, and I work at Cream(link), a second-hand clothes shop.
Working a retail job to get by has more to do with rock‘n’roll in 2016 than sex and drugs.
BS: Acknowledging the beating that Sydney’s nightlife has been getting lately, what’s the best thing about being in a band in Sydney right now?
AG: Man, I went to that Keep Sydney Open rally(link) a couple weeks back and that was the best thing that has happened in Sydney in ages. It was so inspiring to see so many punters, business owners and creatives out on the street demanding that we have a say in the life of our city, and showing that we are so sick and tired of our city being controlled by the interests of the wealthy.
BS: Fantasy support slot – any act, any era, anywhere?
AG: The Replacements in some crappy dive bar in Minnesota in 1984, or something. Back when they were probably the greatest band on earth.
BS: What are your karaoke songs of choice?
AG: It's always Destiny's Child’s Say My Name or TLC’s No Scrubs. Tom does a mean Livin’ La Vida Loca. Dion would probably do Shania Twain’s That Don't Impress Me Much. Brendan would slay Tutti Frutti.
BS: What can we expect from your live shows on the Crazy Rack national tour?
AG: A bunch of guys playing rock music as though it still really matters. And some high kicks.
Crazy Rack is out now. Palms play the Oxford Art Factory on Saturday March 19.