INTERVIEW: 20 Years Of Better Living with Grinspoon’s Kris Hopes

Grinspoon’s Guide to better living was released 20 years ago and for many of us, was the soundtrack to our youth. Currently on the 20 years of better living tour, Grinspoon are back and their sell out shows are proof that we love them as much now as we did then. Shannon-Lee Sloane of GC Live caught up with Kris to chat about how the tour is going and what the future holds for Grinspoon.

So the 20 years of better living tour is currently happening! I remember buying Guide to Better Living on CD when it first came out; I have such great memories associated with the album. What memories do you have of that time, when Grinspoon’s first album was released?

We were just in the thick of it, when we released that album, we were just touring constantly and there were a lot of things going on for us. We started to travel overseas and all that kind of thing so it was just really full on I think yeah, that’s my memories of it. Exciting times for us, we really enjoyed those days.

How is the tour going? It must be great to see so many long term dedicated fans that you guys have?

Yeah absolutely, I think we’ve done 8 shows now, have done a few of the bigger ones on the tour and you know we have had people bringing their kids along and that sort of thing, so yeah awesome. Good to see and you know all the ticket sales are just going berserk. So yeah, it is just bloody awesome, we’re stoked.

Yeah, it’s phenomenal, the gig I went to was the Brisbane gig at the Tivoli on the 8th and I was online really early because I knew it would sell out, I think it was like 30 minutes that the tickets sold out in, so that was amazing.

Wow! Yeah, for us, we are just stoked that people are keen to come and check it out. We’ve been sort of off the road now for kind of 3 years and you know getting back on the road is just awesome.

And how does it feel to be doing the whole Guide to better living album?

Yeah it’s interesting, when we came up with the concept of it, like the track listing of that album I don’t think was ever meant to be played in a row and I wasn’t sure how we would pull it off, but after a few rehearsals it started to gel together and now I kind of like playing it in a row. So yeah, it’s been fun. It’s been a challenge because we did write it 20 years ago, we were a lot younger and yeah it has actually turned out pretty good.

It is great to see a mix of ages at the gigs, like a lot of fans who have loved you guys since they were 14 or 15 and then a lot of younger fans that are right into Grinspoon and loving the music.

Yeah we have had a few comments on social media from people who have brought their kids along and you know the kids have got into it, the parents showing their kids what they used to be into and that kind of thing. It’s been interesting for us and hopefully we can teach another generation *laughs*


Do you have a favourite song from the album that you really love to play live?

Probably Railrider is a great one, we played it live a little bit back in the day but I think there are a fair few tracks that we didn’t play live very often, so yeah Railrider is probably one of my favourites to play live.

Yes, great song, definitely. ..I often go to Crowbar in Brisbane, have you been there?

I have yes, great place.

So when’ More then you are’  comes on there, which is a song a lot of Grinspoon fans adore, the whole place will stop and sing it at the top of their voices…It is amazing *laughing*

*laughs* that’s awesome *more laughs* Oh that’s really cool, I need to get along there and have a sing.

Yeah for sure!  It is a lot of fun.

Back in the day you guys played a lot of big music festivals, like Big Day Out’s and Livid’s etc, And you have the Shakafest coming up on this tour with DZ Deathrays and a lot of other awesome bands,  do you prefer to play big festivals or gigs with just one or two support bands?

Well, we’re doing a little bit of both on this tour, and playing festivals is you know, it is a bit of a different kind of deal, those intimate pub gigs we do really like, and you know they have got a good feel to them and we have done a few of those lately. The festival kind of gigs, you get to play to a lot of people and the sound is a lot different and the feel is a lot different .They have both got there good points and bad points, obviously with a festival you get to play to a shitload more people in one hit and that is pretty good. Playing guide to better living from start to finish at a festival was never kind of in my thoughts, but yeah after doing the last 8 shows, it is not going to be a problem, so you know I just never thought that doing that at a festival would be the best idea but so far so good!

Yeah, well it certainly seems to be being received really well that’s for sure! Everyone I know who has seen any of this tour so far is just blown away.

Yeah well, we’re blown away, the sing a long’s that have been happening at these gigs are just like, deafening. *laughs* It is really cool to hear.20428511_10155015375764164_912168994_n

So something else I am really passionate about is supporting local music and local bands and I get out as much as I can to see local live gigs, especially a lot of the smaller bands that are great and need the fan support, are there any local bands you really love and try to get out and support?

I don’t really get out to see a lot of local bands lately, pretty busy with other things, but you know there are a lot of really good bands coming through like having Hockey Dad on our tour has been really great. Bands like Tired Lion are coming through so I think rock and roll is pretty safe in all their hands, and you know, supporting local music is definitely the go. I remember playing gigs in Brisbane when we had like a handful of people come along and you know they were stoked to see us and we were stoked to have them there, so you know, you don’t start off being a massive band; you’ve got to start off small. So obviously supporting local and live is the go. Hopefully people continue to do it.

Yeah for sure! And you guys are doing your part by having bands like Good Boy and Hockey Dad tour with you…which must be good for them.

Yeah it is good for them, They get to play maybe slightly bigger shows than they are used to and they can see how we tour and see how the older guys do it and whatever *laughs* interesting for them I guess, but yeah it is fun checking out the new stuff, Hockey Dad is a great band and hopefully if people come early enough they can get along to come see them.

Yeah, for sure, I like to get to gigs early to see the support bands, I am going to see Frenzal Rhomb tonight…

Ahh excellent, where’s that at?

They are playing at the Triffid tonight and they have got a local Brisbane band, the Flangipanis who are amazing, supporting them for this gig, so really exciting to see!

Yeah Frenzal Rhomb are a great band, they are really good people and yeah they are always looking out for new bands to tour with. I am sure it will be an awesome show!

Yeah, can’t wait, has been a great year for live music and especially a lot of bands that were big in the 90’s that have started touring again…

Yeah I know. We have jumped on that bandwagon! There are a lot of bands that were around when we were around that are coming back this year, think we are playing with a few of them here and there so yeah. Bit interesting that everyone is kind of doing it around the same time.

Something I am very excited about is Guide to better living being released on vinyl. Was that something the band decided to do together or was it someone’s idea in particular?

Yeah we all wanted to release it on vinyl, we recorded that album on tape back in the day and everything is so digital these days so we thought you know, it’s a cool thing and plus we just wanted a copy of it each on vinyl *laughs* So thought we would release it and get a free copy each *laughs again* But yeah everyone seems pretty keen on it, we released the limited edition red vinyl, and I think that’s all sold out, yeah so it is all traveling well and people are giving good reviews back on the sound of the record, so yeah it is all going good.

So over the years, Grinspoon has released, if I am correct, 4 EPs and 8 albums?

It would be something like that yeah. *laughs* I have never actually counted them but it would be something like that.

So there is talk that Pat and Phil are going to be hanging out at Pat’s recording studio in Byron, does this mean we may see a new Grinspoon album in the future?

Well you never know, we have chatted about things and you know we are just going to take this tour to the end and see how it goes from there. There is nothing set in stone, if we are all happy at the end of this tour, they will probably get together and do a couple of things in Pat’s studio. Pat’s already written a couple of tracks that we have heard bits and pieces of so you know; you never know what might happen. There is no need for us to do anything, but if we really want to and it all feels good, you never know we might get something happening next year.

Very exciting!  I am sure you will have a lot of fans excited if there is a new album.

Yeah, absolutely, yeah you know if we decided to do it, we will be doing it for ourselves first and hopefully if we’re excited about it that should cross over to the fans.

Grinspoon’s next Brisbane gig for this tour is at the Redland Bay Hotel on the 18th of August and then they hit the Gold Coast for Shakafest on August 19th with both shows sold out. The tour finishes up on October 2nd at the Caloundra music festival.



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