It has been 20 years since 1927 first released their very popular ‘…ISH’ album. Tracks like ‘If I Could’, ‘That’s When I Think of You’ and ‘Compulsory Hero’ ensured the album’s huge success. Now, finally, a new, digitally remastered edition of the hit album is available, much to the delight of fans around the country, many of whom have been unable to get their hands on a copy of the LP for quite some time. As the band’s singer, Erik Weideman explains, “It had been deleted from the Warners catalogue and there’d been quite a few people looking for it and trying to buy it.” So, on the 20th anniversary of the album’s initial release, it seemed like the perfect time to get the record back out there on the shelves and make it accessible to fans once again.
Coinciding with the re release of ‘…ISH’, 1927 will be embarking on a tour, playing some pretty impressive venues including Sydney’s majestic State Theatre in November. “I’ve never been there so I’m looking forward to playing there.” Erik tells me. The larger venues make a refreshing change from playing in pubs. “Not everybody likes going to pubs.” he says. “Me included.”
Erik is the only remaining member of the original 1927. The current line-up has only been together since earlier this year. Performing with different line-ups is not exactly new for the singer, as he points out. “I’ve been out on the road a number of times over the last 10 or so years but with a whole bunch of different line-ups so it’s not something that I’m a stranger to. Pretty much since the days of ‘…ISH’, the band has been going through line-up changes.” He says that he adapts well to the constant change. “It’s very interesting, because some would say that playing with the same musicians is a cool thing and I’m sure it is but playing with different musicians all the time is also very cool because it can bring a different perspective to the whole thing. It keeps it fresh for me. You play ‘If I Could’ for 20 years and it can get a little stale.”
While the tour is primarily to promote the re release of ‘…ISH’, the band will also be playing some new material. “There will be new songs,” says Erik. “I’ve been trying to get some new stuff out there for years and I feel a little embarrassed sometimes because I do gigs throughout the country, all over the place and I’ve been telling people for years that I’ve been trying to get something new out there but the record company have promised me that it’s more of a possibility now than ever so…fingers crossed!” Does the new material still have the same sound that we know from 1927? “Well, they were written by the same person, being me, so…. I don’t know. You get a bit older and you get a bit wiser, I think (I hope). So the things that you write about are a little different, but the songs essentially are still songs from me. I mean a lot of the music that 1927 produced became that sound because of the producers involved in the studio so that can influence the sound of the song a lot. From where I’m sitting, it’s hard to say whether it’s 1927ISH or not. All I know is that it’s from me and it sounds OK to me.”
Prior to joining 1927, Erik played in some cover bands. His big break came when he was ‘discovered’ while performing on Hey! Hey! It’s Saturday’s now ‘infamous’ ‘Red Faces’. Guitarist Garry Frost saw the singer and was impressed enough to ask him to join the band he was forming. That band became 1927and the rest, as they say, is history. But Erik says that he has been playing music for as long as he can remember. “I picked up a guitar when I was 8 years old. Then, that whole Hey! Hey! thing… I’d been playing in a couple of cover bands – one was called ‘Mixed Feelings’ – around Melbourne and we were doing a couple of gigs a week, on the weekends and working the rest of the time so that was a bit of extra pocket money for a bunch of guys having a good time. Directly prior to the Hey! Hey! thing, I was doing a lot of solo work as well so it’s something I’ve always done but that was definitely my first journey into what people like to consider as the ‘professional’ business, although that can be questionable!”
With a national tour, the re release of a highly successful album and the possibility of a new album in the near future, it looks like things will be pretty busy for the singer for quite some time to come. “I’d like to think so.” He is philosophical about the future, though. “In this day and age, with the music industry the way it is, it’s tough. I mean, it’s tougher than it was when we hit the trail. There aren’t that many venues to play in anymore. Not like there was back in the late 80’s. There’s a hell of a lot more gambling in pubs these days and that has a major influence as well. I think the whole face of everything’s changed. Music has become so disposable now, with Australian Idol, and it doesn’t seem to have that same kind of ‘mystery’ to it that it used to. Especially when I was growing up, music was a mystery and the people that created it were mysterious but now, it’s just like a new brand of energy drink, really. So that makes it a little bit difficult. It’s a different industry and it’s a different world. I’d certainly love to keep playing music and to keep performing but, at what level, who knows? It’s just one of those unknown sort of areas.”
by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2009. All rights reserved