It’s been a long time coming, but the new album DO YA by The Screaming Jets was certainly worth the wait. Eight years on from the band’s last studio album ‘Scam’, DO YA is the epitome of the style of Oz rock the band has become known for. This is the Jets smashing back onto the music scene in true rockin’ fashion. Although they’ve been no strangers to the Australian public across the years, touring the breadth of the country to keep the love of Oz rock alive, the release of DO YA will make the listening public sit up and pay attention. The first single from the album, the title track DO YA, is certain to spark up the airwaves of radio and wake everyone the f**k up!
It’s been an interesting and busy few years for the Jets. After taking an extended hiatus after their last studio album ‘Scam’ in 2000, the Newcastle band released an EP, ‘Heart of the Matter’ in 2004 as a heads-up to fans that they were back and rockin’. But pulling together a full length album wasn’t going to be a quick process, it needed to feature the best songs the Jets could write, and a few hiccups, such as change of management and band members across the ensuing years meant it was a four-year process to record and finish DO YA. Lead singer Dave Gleeson says now is the right time for the album to be out in the marketplace. “There were three or four times over the last few years for the album that looked like it was all about to come out, but at the 11th hour something went wrong or something had to be changed,” he says. “You just never know in the heady world of rock. Being philosophical about it, it is coming out in the perfect time, rock wasn’t even on the radar even 12 or 15 months ago as far as radio is concerned. Although we have had these delays, we can sort of foresee it is coming out just at the right time when rock is getting right back to where it should be.”
The departure of original member Grant Walmsley from the band was also a turning point. The album was still recorded with Grant’s input and since his departure former Horsehead guitarist Scotty Kingman has taken over the reigns. Interestingly enough, Scotty also worked on the album as an engineer. Dave says making such a break was never going to be an easy decision for either parties to make, but the band ethos is still strong. “Obviously Grant is a foundation member of the band so the decision wasn’t made light heartedly, it took quite a lot of soul searching from all” he says. “Grant has got his other stuff happening now and we’ve got this happening and obviously he is still on the record, it is just one of those things. The Screaming Jets as a band has lasted longer than about 95 per cent of marriages, it’s just one of those things people come and go and as long as the people who remain in the Jets have the vision and the focus to achieve together, then The Screaming Jets shall remain.”
The key behind the record is that The Screaming Jets are back, they’re strong and they’re not going anywhere, unless it means on stage to rock the socks off the Australian public. Drummer Mickl Sayers says the album is different to previous Jets’ releases, but still with an underlying theme of rock. “This album says The Screaming Jets aren’t over yet,” he says. “The band still has a lot to give the industry, and of course, the fans that have been waiting patiently for a new album. The new songs have versatility and they cover a range of genres. Some songs are quite different for the band. We see the song DO YA as a ‘traditional’ Jets’ song, being that it is good Aussie rock and in your face, we hope it will grab people’s attention straight away.” Founding member and bassist Paul Woseen believes the future for the band is nothing but bright. “This album will show that we are back,” he says. “Actually, it will show that we’ve never left. We’ve got a great sounding band – the band is really vibing at the moment. We’re excited at the prospect of releasing and touring this new record. Of the recent live shows, the band’s playing really f**king well. I feel like the band is in a good place.” And he adds that whatever the future holds, it is certain that the band will keep striving, rockin’ and recording.
Dave is in agreement and says the first single is a real ballsy guitar heavy song, and an apt representation of The Screaming Jets. “We thought, let’s not second guess anything, The Screaming Jets are a rock band, and this is a f***’n rock song, so lets go with that,” he says. Let’s give people an indication of what the band is all about and what the album is all about.” And throughout the entire recording process, everything was focused around the need for ‘rock’ in the album. “When we went into the studio to record this album, we said ‘no matter what style we tackle, let’s remember that we are a rock band doing different styles,” Dave says. “If we are doing jazz, we are doing jazz but we are doing it from a rock band’s perspective. And I think, coming out and listening to all the songs, which have different influences and different flavours, at the end, it is still a rock album done by a rock band.”
The album is also one of the truest representations of The Screaming Jets because the decision making on the album was done by the band. Dave says this independent stance creatively by the band in the recording process has made this an album to be proud of. “Hopefully it is one of our best to date because of the amount of work the band ourselves put into it,” he says. “We’ve been led around by the nose a bit on other recordings, and with this one we’ve found our own way and hopefully it shows a side of the band that maybe hasn’t been brought out before because of the different directions of producers, etc.”
Guitarist Izzy Osmanovic believes the album represents a finer angle to the band’s songwriting and shows a maturity which he thinks will see it highlighted as a trademark release for the Jets. “I think this album sounds quite fresh,” he says. “When we went to record this album, I remember saying to the boys, ‘lets do this album for us’, and it is a case of as long as it takes us. Lets not rush it and just turn it into another record, we need to do something a little bit different and take our time with it. Even if it takes a couple of years in the making when we walk out of the studio and we know that we’ve finished it, and we get goosebumps and we know that it is the best thing that we could possibly do.” And this thought process has run true with DO YA.
For newest band member Scotty Kingman, it was a pretty exciting venture to transgress from recording the album with the band to being a permanent member. Ultimately, he says he believes in the band and the record. “I love the album,” he says. “I’m really enjoying playing the tunes live, I’m lucky in that respect, not many engineers get to play and tour an album after they have made it. I get to see from both sides of the fence and that’s very cool. This record really is in the hands of the Gods now but I know I will do everything within my powers to make the next few years really productive and successful. Music is timeless and so is this band I believe. It’s in there blood, they just have to do it, it’s that simple.”
From an engineer’s perspective, Scotty says there isn’t one weak moment on the album and the first single DO YA is a killer riff that grabs the listener by the collar and shakes the living s**t out of them until they react. “This record goes from four on the floor rock, to some more laid back richly textured classic rock moments, all of which are complimented by some incredible vocal performances from Dave which in turn bring out some magical performances from the rest of the band,” he says. “Aggressive, mature, intelligent, well crafted songs from a band that have really done it all but are still really hungry to grow, experiment and develop. It sounds big but slick just how I envisaged it to be.” The album was also mixed in the States by reputable multi-award winning producer Stevie Salas (Daughtry, Jordin Sparks, Mick Jagger) and Grammy nominated Juno award winning engineer Brandon Frieson. Even Grammy nominated MTV award winner Matt Sorum (Guns ‘n’ Roses, The Cult, Velvet Revolver) played guest percussion on the record. All such involvement is certain proof that this is one special record.
“When I heard The Screaming Jets new rough tracks I heard honest rock muscle that reminded me of early AC/DC and Guns and Roses…..how could I say no to that?” – Stevie Salas