28 days have seen it all – ultimate highs (through a host of national and global tours and a solid level of notoriety in the Australian punk/nu-metal scene), coupled with devastating lows (the death of their drummer, Scott Murray, in 2001) and now the band have settled into what bassist Damian Gardiner describes as a “well-paid hobby.” While audiences were led to believe the band broke-up in the mid ‘00s, it was simply an extended hiatus that ended in 2009 via a tour with fellow grit rock stalwarts Bodyjar. Since then, 28 Days have chosen to do things at a temperate pace with no real desire to return to the hedonistic heights of days gone by.
“We all work normal day jobs and have lenient bosses who give us time off and the odd long weekend,” Gardiner laughs as he explains the new era of 28 Days. “You know, we probably make more out of it now than what we ever did. At the moment it’s really cool. We had the explosion and a couple of years of total madness, which I would never give back; it was awesome fun, but you can’t maintain that sort of lifestyle and touring schedule. We’re lucky because we’ve got some really die-hard fans who’ve stuck with us through everything and we get a lot out of that. It’s like playing to a bunch of old friends now.”
Gardiner talks of the old days and the new journey of the band with fondness and an almost self-deprecating attitude. There are a few small regrets but all in all it appears that the band are more than happy with the path they’ve taken. “There are a few things that we still stew over, a few managerial mistakes,” he admits. “Like, we should’ve played Europe instead of going to America. At the time it meant a lot more and there’s still a little frustration. Things were going really well in Europe but our manager decided for some reason that we needed to play the Vans Warped tour in the States and we had to cancel the European tour. At the time we were a bit pissed off but looking back the Vans tour was so much fun – we had the absolute best time. But seriously, I guess even if it had’ve panned out in Europe we were never gonna be the biggest band or anything. We could’ve maybe lived off the band for another year or so but that’s probably it.”
In a musical landscape where the lifecycle of a band seems to be but a few years, up-and-comers are still citing 28 Days as a massive musical influence. They arrived at a time that the morphing of the punk revival with the nu-metal genre appeared to be a strictly American affair and it’s no exaggeration that 28 Days paved the way for many bands. When presented with this idea Gardiner returns to his humble and humorous self. “I don’t know if we paved the way ‘cause we ripped off a lot of bands that we liked and just blended them all together,” he says with a laugh. “If there’s one legacy, not so much paving the way, but we gave Gyroscope their first tour, and After The Fall when they were around, so we helped out a lot of young bands. We still try and do it now. People are always saying, ‘Oh you should do a tour with Frenzal Rhomb,’ which would be great, but we’d just like to help out younger bands. With all of the venues closing it’s impossible for some young bands to get a show, let alone a fairly good show.”
The steady decline of the creative economy is something that 28 Days, and Gardiner, are in a perfect position to comment on. “It’s fucking sad,” he says. “When we’re gone, all of the bands, people will realise it. I mean, it probably won’t happen that [badly] but it’s pretty scary right now. You spend all of this money on recording an album and then you basically have to give it away. We’ll have to basically give ours away but we’ve planned for that. We’ve seen a lot of change from the days when you had to go to Sing Sing Studio for weeks and spend over $100,000. A lot of heart has been taken out of the recording process with everyone choosing to record at home. Nothing beats going into these old studios like Sing Sing and 301 in Sydney. Being able to record in a place of history inspires you more than just tracking drums at a friend’s house. That’s the sad part of it all, but the good thing is that these studios are dropping their prices so smaller bands are able to access them.”
With the mention of studios and albums it’s obvious 28 Days have something in the pipeline, but the timing is up in the air. “Hopefully, well it’s basically done, but hopefully by the end of the year if not next year we’ll have it out,” he says. “We’re trying to get back on the Big Day Out because that’s awesome fun and we had so many cool Big Day Out tours over the years but they’re a funny lot, they want you to have something out before they’ll let you on. But if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen,” he finishes with a cackle of acceptance.
BY KRISSI WEISS
28 Days will play at The Evelyn, Saturday August 4 with And Burn and The Union Pacific.