Like superheroes, every band needs their origin story. So, from which crucible did Melbourne's The Barebones burst forth? Why, from the remnants of much-missed guitar pop-rock combo The Suits, who had a pretty decent run indeed. "We were fairly successful," singer/guitarist Matt Simmons says.
"Then we split up and I went away for a few years. I just wrote and wrote and wrote. And then I met the keyboard player, Luke. We started timidly showing each other our songs, because it'd be a while since he'd played in a band as well, and then we started to connect and gradually grow this thing." Once the realisation dawned that a band was happening, the search began for a drummer. Matt decided he couldn't go past his brother Mike, who he played with in The Suits. "I had his drums in my head, and he was quite happy to be involved," Simmons says. The bass player slot has been a bit of a revolving door for the band, until now. "Our first bass player was Ben Gook from Deloris. Then it became Andy Nolan from The Suits, but then he got tinnitus."
Simmons says it took a lot longer than he would have hoped for the band to settle in to a comfortable lineup – but sadly they're about to be thrust into turmoil once again. "Our keyboard player is going to be going overseas, so the launch of the EP on March 3 will be his last gig with us. I won't say indefinitely but for some time anyway. He's going to Berlin to live, so we've got to find someone new!"
The tracks on the EP tell a bit of a story about the frailties of human relationships. Strangely Alone is about the amplifications and intensifications that happen within a relationship. "It was after some pretty intense talks with my girlfriend about different perspectives about how we see men and women – trying to empathise with her point of view while at the same time having my own point of view, and going, 'Hang on… how the heck is this thing supposed to work?' And I don't know if I reconciled because look at the title!" My Love is about a fight, but inspired musically by Ben Kweller. And finally Overcome bares a bit of a Rolling Stones influence, with some Everly Brothers and The Beatles thrown in. "I listened to a lot of pop rock and the time and that's how it came out," Simmons says. "I wanted a colourful song that would deal with heartache."
The EP will be launched on Friday March 3 at the Phoenix Public House with a few like-minded bands. "It will be pretty special. I was looking at our lineup as I was preparing for this interview, and I realised that if you put the lineup together you've kind of got a good sense of The Barebones. You've got gospel, country garage with Fraser A Gorman, then kind of Abbey Road, twisted, playful pop of Wilding, and then Leena And The Bones are more of your singer-songwriter thing, and then DJ Sean M Whelan is a very lively retro DJ. And when you get all of that together, you've kind of got The Barebones! I don't know what more I can tell you other than it's going to be awesome!"
BY PETER HODGSON
THE BAREBONES launch their self-titled EP on Saturday March 3 at the Phoenix Public House.