Dealing a blend of surf, punk, blues, garage, psych, rockabilly and reggae, The Grogans have been touring their heads off since border closures lifted with their killer live show winning over new fans every single time they hit the stage. Their ‘No Thanks (I’m Going To See The Grogans)’ tour is now underway and with a stunning new album – Which Way Is Out, the band’s third – ready to drop at the end of this month, it’s high time you familiarised yourself with these future stars.
Bryget Chrisfield caught up with one third of The Grogans, guitarist Angus Vasic, to discuss his band’s origins, career trajectory and highlights to date.
When did you first pick up guitar?
Angus Vasic: “I started during primary school and I always had a guitar lying around and loved having a strum. I just got interested in it – it was a hobby – and, yeah, that was it! I think Mum and Dad bought me my first little nylon acoustic guitar and then the first little electric as well – it was one of those package deal kind of things with an amp included. I just chucked drums and guitar in my room and so I think my parents were pretty patient with me. It was all a bit of fun, really; just playing with some mates and whatever.”
Who were your guitar heroes back then?
“Early on, I was always a big fan of B.B. King and Chuck Berry – obviously they’re amazing guitarists – but, yeah! I loved a lot of that bluesy stuff and couldn’t go past Angus Young from Acca Dacca, either.”
How did the three members of The Grogans meet?
“Well, Quin [Grunden: vocals, guitar and bass] and I played soccer together when we were younger – like, I dunno, under-10s or something like that – and, yeah, we kinda kept in touch after that. And then he just said to me one day, ‘Oh, this guy who’s moved to my school shreds on drums and we should hang out, and have a jam and whatnot,’ and, yeah! It just kind of went from there. And I met Jordie [Lewis, drums] at a party of Quin’s and that was that.
“We’re all the same age, but I went to a different school than Quin and Jordie. Jordie moved to Quin’s school when he was in about Year 11, so those two did Year 11 and Year 12 together. But I feel like if we were all in the same class, that would’ve been pretty chaotic [laughs].”
When and where was The Grogans’ first-ever gig?
“The first-ever live show we played in front of people was at my cousin’s 18th, out on the back deck and, yeah! That was just all my family and a bunch of my mates, so we were pretty nervous, but it was pretty loose and we just had a ball. So it felt good to see their reactions. We had about seven or eight songs that we just played a couple of times over, basically [laughs]. That was a real fun one.
“And I think our first [official] gig was at Ding Dong Lounge in Chinatown [Melbourne]. We played a few of our early shows there; it was good fun. It’s closed down now, but that place was a ripper – a good venue. But we’ve definitely played a couple of gigs with just our parents in the room. We always kind of just said yes to any gigs that we could when we were starting out, whether there was one person there or 100 or whatever. You’ve gotta do those real quiet shows, I guess, and they’re good to learn from – it’s good grounding, good experience.”
Are you all from out Mornington Peninsula way?
“Jordie’s from Frankston and Quin and I are both from south-eastern suburbs, like East Bentleigh and Highett kind of way. But we did spend a lot of time down in the Peninsula when we were kinda getting started, playing some gigs at Baha in Rye and Ninchfest, and, yeah! We met a lot of bands from down there that we did a lot of work with down that way. So I guess people have kind of seen us as a Peninsula band and we do love it down there… We love playing shows there with, like, Stiff Richards and Bleach and Zombeaches, and there were heaps of bands that we used to play with down there – it was so much fun.
“I think Baha might’ve changed owners and now it’s called Haba [laughs]. I haven’t actually been there since Baha kind of closed down, but we’ve got a gig coming up on the 28th [of October] at Baha [now Haba]. I think that’s the day the album comes out, so we’re looking forward to that and getting back into that venue.”
What would be your personal favourite Grogans gig to date?
“I think Yours & Owls festival in Wollongong last year. That was a really fun show, ‘cause that was during Covid and they split the festival up into four sections and did, like, a revolving main stage and then had all these other little stages. We were on in one of the tents and they had a bunch of tables there for people – they wanted people to sit and socially distance, but I dunno how they were gonna try and police that. So we started our set and everyone just stood up on the tables and were getting around it – and having a dance and stuff – and, yeah! Just went off. And it was kind of one of those unexpected things where we thought everyone would be sitting down and whatnot. But we didn’t try to egg ‘em on to get them up and get in trouble or anything like that, it kinda just happened. That was a pretty funny experience. That was a good one.”
Of all the bands The Grogans has supported thus far, which one did you bond with the most?
“Earlier this year we did a regional tour of Australia with Hockey Dad, which was heaps of fun. They were such nice guys and their crew were legends and, yeah! It was just heaps of fun hanging out and playing shows with them all around the country and we’d love to do that again.”
Are there any festivals The Grogans are itching to play?
“I think Meredith would be our dream festival to play, but there’s so many in Australia that would just be amazing to play at.”
What do you reckon it is about Lemon To My Lime that makes it your most-streamed song to date?
“I actually have no idea! We wrote that when we were about 18 and just out of school kind of thing and, yeah! It’s definitely one of the poppier tracks. It’s hard to say, like, our writing has kind of evolved since then… I guess some songs are a bit more mature, you could say [laughs]. But [Lemon To My Lime] is just a real cruisy, fun track. It’s a feelgood song, I think.”
Is the bit that goes “fa-fa-fa, fa-fa-fa-fa-fa…” in your ace song Le Fangz – from The Grogans’ upcoming new album, Which Way Is Out – a nod to Psycho Killer by Talking Heads?
“It just came out like that and we were like, ‘That’s kind of cool!’ But you could definitely look at it that way. I love ‘em [Talking Heads].”
Do you have a favourite track from Which Way Is Out at present?
“Probably Lucky Enough, the last track on it. I like that one lyrically and melodically, yeah. It’s not really about a particular event, we basically just wrote it about making sure you’re looking out for your friends and loved ones, making sure they’re alright and kind of just being there for them when times are getting tough. And keeping people company. The last couple of years we’ve all had struggles with the pandemic, obviously. It’s definitely very important to talk things through.”
No Thanks (I’m Going To See The Grogans) Tour
Friday, October 14
Magnums Hotel, Airlie Beach QLD