The Spindrift Saga are the south coast swashbucklers armed with a cocktail of alternative, surfie rock. Based in Batemans Bay, the three piece have torn their way through the local scene from day one, ripping up stages wherever they tread.
They’re about to embark on their Musical Theme tour, a far-reaching run of dates with a healthy regional focus as well as your favourite bigger bookings. Before they kick it off, we caught up with Danny Freeman for the latest.
Is there a band who embodies the sleepy south coast of NSW better than The Spindrift Saga? We pull up a chair for Danny Freeman before their biggest tour yet.
HAPPY: Where does your name come from?
DANNY: When we first started jamming together, Chris (our singer) would regularly leave the rehearsals and say “catch ya’s later, the saga continues…”. That’s where the ‘saga’ part came from. The ‘spindrift’ part was me wanting to somehow include our coastal roots in the band name. Basically, I liked the idea of the image of the spindrift blowing back in a surfer’s face on those really epic arvos when the surf’s blowing offshore and everyone is getting stung in the face from the spindrift. Anyway, we put the two together and that’s where The Spindrift Saga came from.
HAPPY: You take a lot of inspiration from the South Coast of NSW, what is it about this part of the world speaks to you?
DANNY: It’s home for all of us. Mick and Chris have been in Moruya since they were babies and Tweedie (our new bass player) and I moved to Malua Bay in the early 90s and spent the best part of our lives surfing, jamming, diving, fishing, skiing and just soaking up the beauty of this area together. The far south coast, in my opinion, is like an uncrowded version of the Sydney coast. What’s not to love about that?
HAPPY: Are there any other places in Australia or abroad that have the same effect?
DANNY: I guess we all have a slight connection to the north coast also. We all spent four or five years up that way studying our degrees. Never felt like home though like the far south does.
HAPPY: So many musicians these days are self-taught, but each of you had a proper education in music. How important do you still think that is?
DANNY: Hey great question! To be honest, I think we are all definitely proud of our music degrees but they don’t really mean that much in the original scene. The end game is how much work you do really. That’s what’s important! The best thing about studying a degree is that you get to practice properly for four years and that’s your actual job. It’s pretty bloody cool in that regard.
HAPPY: Where did you receive your Bachelors?
DANNY: Southern Cross University in Lismore NSW.
HAPPY: You’ve been likened to alt-rock legends like the Chili Peppers or Incubus, but are there any more modern bands from which you take influence?
DANNY: Another good question! Cough cough! Now I feel like I need to mention our age (laughs). To be honest, we listen to a massive range of music between us. One thing our degrees really thrashed into us I guess is the whole notion of being a ‘musical sponge’. Listen broadly to all styles and learn to soak them all up, understand them, and ultimately they will somehow be of use. In saying that, we are definitely not ‘modern’ in our approach and that’s kinda something we are proud of to be honest. We try to stay as authentic to our roots and our age as we can and if people like it, then we’re stoked. If they don’t like it, we at least feel ‘authentic’ still. Can’t see us releasing any Bieber influenced tracks anytime soon, put it that way. Actually, we love the new Chili Peppers stuff and they’re still modern right? Right?
HAPPY: Your upcoming tour really has a regional focus. What do you like most about playing these off-piste venues?
DANNY: I think we are realistic about our profile in this regard. Ya try and tackle the big city venues and you can fail miserably because you don’t fit the formula until ya fit the formula. Hear what I’m saying? The smaller regional shows and venues seem to be the right place for us at the moment. We really love playing live and there’s something awesome about the engagement of the regional punters and our music.
HAPPY: Any special surprises in store for these shows?
DANNY: The biggest surprise for this tour is unleashing our new bass player to our fans. Big Tweedie (as he is known) is a genuine freak musically. We grew up together in Malua Bay and started playing together when I was in Year 9 and he was in Yr 8. Dave and I studied a year apart in our music degrees and I moved back south when I finished but the big fella stayed in Lismore and pursued what is a pretty highly decorated music career. He has toured extensively on bass (and also acoustic guitar) with Pete Murray and Toni Childs to name a few and is a renowned producer, teacher and session god on the north coast scene. We have been hopeful for years that he’d return to the coast and we could get him on board. It’s worth coming to a show just to check him out.
Other surprises include grey hairs appearing in our beards in real time, Chris wearing T-shirts containing his favourite 90s cartoon characters and my knees hurting badly after every gig. We’re genuinely surprised with the line up on this tour, we are sharing the stage with the likes of Thirsty Merc, The Living End, The Bennies, Caravana Sun and heaps more legendary acts. That’s a massive surprise after the last seven years of struggling away in pub corners getting heckled by drunk concreters who “promise to book the band in the morning”.
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HAPPY: How has the reaction to Musical Theme been?
DANNY: When we released the Badnormous album, we all really liked this track. So naturally, we thought ‘if the band loves it, the punter will hate it’. That’s usually how it works right? Anyway, once we started touring the album, we got a heap of great feedback about this track. It’s kinda one of those tracks which has all the elements we like rolled into one. It’s got a catchy chorus, a ripping guitar part, some cool riffs and a RHCP inspired instrumental bridge bit. It’s definitely been a popular track with the blokes in the audience as I think they can relate to the message. Sorry girls, our next single Smile is a real tear jerker, we promise.
HAPPY: And when can we expect the next fresh cut from The Spindrift Saga?
DANNY: We hit Japan for our first international tour this July and we will hopefully have a single ready to run for that tour. But the broad plan is to have another full release out by the end of 2017. Chris (our singer) is a prolific writer. He usually has a swagger of ideas always on the go.
Spindrift Saga’s Musical Theme tour kicks off next Friday in Moruya, NSW. Catch the full run of dates below, and follow this link for more details.
Friday 24th March – Moruya Waterfront Hotel Motel
Saturday 25th March – The Bearded Lady Brisbane
Friday 31st March – The Commercial Hotel Bega
Saturday 1st April – The Bayview-Hotel Batemans Bay
Friday 7th April – The Marlin Hotel Ulladulla
Saturday 8th April – The Sussex Inlet Tavern
Thursday 13th April – Hamilton Station Hotel Newcastle
Saturday 6th May – The Downward Dog Co Cafe Bodalla
Saturday 13th May – The Brunswick Hotel Melbourne
with Ablaze, Shewolf, The Dead Amigos and Matt Borg Trio
Saturday 20th May – Batlow Ciderfest
Saturday 27th May – LazyBones Lounge Marrickville Sydney
Saturday 10th June – The Bayview Hotel Batemans Bay