From backstage at their ANZ Stadium show in Sydney, frontman Elliott Hammond reveals how they wound up supporting the Foo Fighters. "Someone from their management saw us at this show in LA, and we got on plane, and the next morning when we got back to Australia, the tour had already been announced."
The Delta Riggs have built their career on a reputation for electric - and somewhat intimate - live performances. They even took our Rolling Stone's Live Act of the Year award last night. Yet an arena tour is a bit of a learning curve for the band. "It’s a completely different show, because the stages are so big," Elliott explains. "The audience is quite far away from you, so it’s not like a small club show where people are right up in your face and you can see everyone. It’s a different beast, and it’s got to be attacked differently. I’ve found less is more on the bigger stages as far as gaining people’s attention and maintaining it."
Not only have they been rubbing shoulders with one of the biggest rock bands in the world, they were surprised to run into Johnny Depp backstage in Brisbane. "Yeah, he was at the show on Tuesday. He just turned up in the hallway," Elliott laughs. "He was just hanging out. I guess he’s mates with some of the guys from the Fooies, he was just hanging out at the show. It’s pretty cool."
This is hardly the first massive international act The Delta Riggs have toured with - yet Elliott still isn't quite sure how it keeps falling into place. "I don’t know actually how that happens. That’s funny that you mention that, I was hanging out with The Kooks and they were saying the same thing, they’re like, 'How the fuck do you guys tour with Primal Scream and Kasabian?' and I’m like, 'I know, I don’t know.' Even they couldn’t figure it out. We’re not egotistical and we’re not fucking rock stars, but we’re really serious about playing solid shows. If anything, it’s probably that."
All the hard work touring is playing off. The band sold out The Triffid in Brisbane recently, giving fans what Elliott calls one of the best shows in the past 12 months. "I think it’s word of mouth, and just having that reputation of putting on a really solid live show. I remember when I went and saw At The Drive-In, and I was like 14, and Cedric Bixler came out and I thought he was menacing, like he was dangerous, he was going to fucking kick someone’s teeth in. I remember thinking, this is punk rock. I want to do shows like that, that make people get outside of their comfort zone a little bit."
The Delta Riggs have built their career on a reputation for electric - and somewhat intimate - live performances.
As they say, there's no rest for the wicked - and in just a few weeks, The Delta Riggs will be heading over to Austin for the annual SXSW festival. Each year, more Australian bands are making the trip, and on the whole coming home with plenty of kudos from the experience. "There’s something like 3,000 bands over there. It’s pretty hard to make a mark but it is important," Elliott explains. "Australia, as you know, isn’t a big enough market to support yourself if you’re in a band. You need to have other territories. It’s a good sign that Australian music is being acknowledged overseas, if so many Australian artists are trying to go over there."
Then it's back home for Groovin The Moo, a festival that Elliott is definitely looking forward to. "We never tour rurally. Ever. So I think it’s probably about time we did it. That festival’s going to be awesome, because it’s all our friends... You’ve got Sticky Fingers, DMA's, The Preatures, Wolfmother... so a lot of the bands that are on the tour, we’re all really good friends with, so it’s going to be the perfect storm."
With tour after tour, you'd think that Elliott and the band might start to get on each other's nerves - but Elliott promises that's the furtherest thing from the case. "We’re very, very respectful towards one another. Only because that’s the kind of stuff that gets bands in trouble with in-fighting and arguments and stuff. You’ve just got to have that level of respect towards one another to make it all smooth sailing. You hang around your family for long enough, you want to fucking get out of there. I’ve been in many more malicious and violent bands than this. This is a good one. This is a band of gentlemen."
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