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Bigger Than Jesus have resurrected to celebrate the life of their late band member

Chugging along, busier than ever, Steve Lucas has been making wild preparations for the launch of Bigger Than Jesus’ new album One For The Road.

The new LP is a bigger sound than anything we’ve heard from the much-loved ‘90s rock band, and features a few major differences in their approach to writing it. “The main thing for me, when I came into Bigger Than Jesus, I was trying to do the right thing by everybody,” Lucas explains. “But when we came around to doing this stuff, I’m much more used to the band.”

Indeed, if you listen to One For The Road Lucas is singing off the drum rolls as much as he is the riffs. Lucas resonated with the work drummer Craig Whitelock was doing during production, before he sadly passed away in September. “It was a very different approach – drum rolls, counter melodics, so many different things happening to the songs, stitching them altogether was a challenge, a welcome one,” Lucas says.

“Sonically, I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever been party to and the guys – they’re just brilliant – guitars, bass, drums, absolutely faultless.”

On Whitelock’s passing – which isn’t an easy thing for him to discuss – Lucas says it was a brutally hard time for the band.  “He was the youngest member of the band, ironically, our little brother. We all loved him.

“I wouldn’t say luckily,” he continues after a rocky pause, “But providence would have it that Craig’s understudy, his student Paul [Foenander], Craig had mentored him and he had bought Craig’s kit off him, so we got him in for an audition – poor bastard was terrified. He did well – when you replace someone it’s never exactly the same but certainly we haven’t lost anything sound-wise, if you know what I mean. He’s dedicated to reproducing what Craig did, beat for beat.”

Bigger Than Jesus’ LP launch at The Espy next weekend will be a bittersweet experience for all its remaining members – they’ll be celebrating the life and work of Whitelock as much as they’ll be celebrating the launch of the band’s new material. “I’m getting shivers thinking about it,” says Lucas. “To have the band is great – we all knew Chris was fighting a losing battle with pancreatic cancer. So having his sons open for us is again is a way of passing the baton, supporting and welcoming the young people.

“We’ll be dedicating a song to him [Whitelock],” says Lucas, “As a farewell to Craig – it wasn’t intended like that but it’s worked out like that.”

It all speaks volumes of not only the longevity of Bigger Than Jesus, but the friendship and brotherhood that they possess. That despite the tumultuous events of this year alone, they have still been able to produce music that is as vibrant as ever. “I think in a lot of ways it’s necessary,” says Lucas. “We couldn’t have planned to do what we’re doing, we just decided to do it.

“But now, looking back over the years, to have a new release, it feels like, ‘Oh man, we can’t replace what was lost but we can put some Band-Aids on the wounds we’re all feeling’, you know?

“Resurrecting the band is our way of saying, we’re back, we’re rocking, and we’ll keep doing this as long as we can.”

Bigger than Jesus will launch their album One For The Road at The Hotel Esplanade on Saturday December 15. Tickets via Moshtix.