After what was possibly the shortest breakup in the history of the recorded music industry, the boys from New South Wales outfit Short Stack announced they were back for more in the middle of last year.
They dropped a new single, they bagged the support role on The Vamps’ tour back in January (and were subsequently kicked off it), they released a single and then confirmed that an album and headline tour were also in the pipeline.
The project has seemingly been moving along at light speed, so to celebrate the recent release of their aptly titled album ‘Homecoming’ and the upcoming national tour, we hopped on the blower with drummer Bradie Webb to chat all things Stack, kicking off by discovering what prompted them to call it a day in the first place back in 2012.
“We were actually just talking about that and we normally respond with a really silly answer,” he reveals. “But because I’m feeling quite serious, I’ll give you a really serious answer. We felt creatively that we were thinking on different wavelengths.”
Given the short space of time between the break-up and the band’s reformation, we enquire as to whether the plan in the first instance were merely to take some time out.
“At the time, it was insane for me to think that we might one day get back together,” he says, “which is kind of weird, because now it’s a case of ‘of course we’re going to keep doing it’. I think we’ll keep doing it forever in some way.
“But at the time, we definitely wanted to call it a complete quits. We all just really needed a break from doing the whole band thing. I think it just took a year or two to realise that we actually all do want the same thing.”
During the hiatus, lead singer Shaun launched his eponymous solo project ‘Diviney’, bass player Andy Clemmensen popped up on soapie ‘Neighbours’ and Bradie did a bit of composing for TV commercials, something he tells us he’s keen to continue into the future. But it was a slight of hand from the band’s charismatic frontman that set the ball rolling on the resurrection of Short Stack.
“Shaun actually tricked me,” Bradie reveals. “He suggested that we should do some writing for another artist. He kept calling and kept calling until I finally said ‘yes’. We did that, but at the end, as the artist left, he said, ‘oh yeah, I’m thinking about Short Stack getting back together’.
“I wasn’t very enthusiastic at first and it took many months, but eventually I just thought that I’ll probably only get one more shot at it. I’m glad I said yes.
“I think Shaun had a couple of ideas soon after we broke up and he didn’t think they would turn into Short Stack songs. I also had a couple of ideas and then we just slowly realised that we had half an album. We started demoing well before we announced the comeback. So this album has been a long time coming.”
Naturally, given the break-up in 2012 and the reformation just two years later – potentially the shortest break-up in the history of recorded music – the band opened themselves up for ridicule.
“Yeah. I felt really silly at first. It was less than two years that we actually even brought up the idea of reforming, but it’s one of those things,” Bradie says. “It seemed like years and years and years apart, even though it was only a short amount of time. I don’t know. After a while we realized we were just delaying the inevitable, because we did want to do it again. So why keep people waiting?”
And their supporters, some of the most passionate in the business, responded.
“The latest instore run was the biggest turn out we’ve ever had,” he reveals. “Melbourne was by far the biggest. There were just hundreds and hundreds of people there. Obviously they’re a bit older now. The only thing that’s really changed is that they’re a little bit quieter now, which is weird, because they’re still so dedicated and I don’t know why.
“They’re so thankful and obviously so are we for having them. So I don’t know what it is about us, but we have such a good relationship with – I don’t like to say ‘fans’, I like to say people who really appreciate our music.”
And they certainly have appreciated the new Short Stack album ‘Homecoming’. Released last month, it premiered in the No.5 spot on the ARIA albums chart, indicating that Stack was most definitely back. Comprising ten new songs (along with two acoustic versions), the LP is the result of a more collaborative writing process between all bandmembers.
“That’s probably one of the main reasons I wasn’t enjoying it when the band broke up,” Bradie reveals. “I felt like I didn’t really have much of a say in a lot of things and now it’s the complete opposite. We’re all getting together and literally making most of the decisions ourselves. And I think that’s when the band is at its strongest.
“I think we’re just a lot more mature and a bit more sensible these days. And I think our music is a lot more honest, which hopefully a lot more people can relate to.”
He reveals that the band had been working on the new LP since getting back together last year and offered up close to 40 demos before deciding on the ten of which they were most proud that would make the final cut.
“We went to London for four weeks and we worked with Chris Kimsey, who’s worked with bands like INXS and Rolling Stones, so it was crazy. We knew exactly how the songs were going to sound before we went into the studio, so it was difficult to present the tracks to Chris and say ‘this is how we want them to be, but we also want your amazing input’.
“That was a really fine balance to try and find. But it was very organic. We didn’t really write anything with synths in mind. It was all guitar-based and drums and it all came together really naturally. We got back, finished mixing it all and we’re extremely proud of it.”
The one thing that’s consistently impressed us about Short Stack over the years is that they’ve refused to be pigeon-holed. Never heavily stylised to fit a commercial picture of what a punk/pop/rock band should be (lest we forget Shaun’s Russell Brand era), they’ve always remained true to themselves; organic.
“I really appreciate when people notice things like that because we are massive control freaks and we work really hard on keeping everything under our control,” Bradie admits. “I don’t know why… we get obsessive. So we find it really difficult to work with people who can’t really understand that. They’re used to working with artists who just get told what to do. So that’s something we definitely pride ourselves on.”
A new single from the album is due to arrive shortly (they’d been discussing fan-favourite ‘Bambi’ as a possibility), with a national tour to follow in December and January. Bradie tells us what to expect.
“Our April tour was like going back to basics. We wanted to do lots of small shows and that was incredibly fun,” he says. “But at the same time, we also miss playing these bigger venues. So it’s going to be bigger than ever, I can confidently say. We haven’t had a proper chance to play all the fan favourites from ‘Homecoming’.”
And, naturally, despite some “cringeworthy” outfit choices to accompany their releases across the years, the boys will be rolling out plenty of back-catalogue material for the fans who’ve been there since the beginning, now a staggering ten years ago.
“We love them all like our babies, you know? I think when you see how much it means to the fans that we’re playing old stuff like that, it doesn’t matter how old and cringeworthy it is, it’s all worth it.”
Short Stack’s album ‘Homecoming’ is out now.
Catch the boys on their national tour throughout December and January;
December 11 : Cairns (Brothers Leagues Club)
December 12 : Townsville (The Venue)
December 13 : Mackay (Entertainment Centre)
January 13 : Melbourne (Prince Bandroom)
January 14 : Adelaide (HQ)
January 30 : Sydney (Metro Theatre)
February 06 : Brisbane (The Tivoli)