The Delta Riggs
Despite not playing in the rhythm section, timing is paramount to Elliott Hammond. "You have actually caught me at the perfect moment," the frontman of Melbourne's The Delta Riggs explains. "I've just dropped my mustard three-piece suit in to the drycleaner, so I'm standing on the street waiting for something to do."
Hammond hardly needs direction. 'The Riggs', as they're affectionately known to fans, have just come off a massive East Coast tour with fellow Victorians Stonefield, barely pausing for breath/drycleaning before they spend June on the road again in support of their new EP, Talupo Mountain Music Vol. II. According to Hammond, the Stonefield co-tour was a lot of fun. "We were filling up venues, which is probably due to the support we've been getting from triple j," he says. "When you're getting a lot of love from the room it really brings out your confidence – by the end of the tour we were all sitting around drinking Jamesons whisky and discussing how it feels like such a long time ago that we were a psychedelic jam band."
The band has clearly progressed since the release of the Talupo Mountain Music Vol. I in June last year, and Vol. II enjoyed a feverish reception in its first two weeks. Both were the result of an extended recording session in the bush near Peat's Ridge, which apparently took the band on one heck of a ride. "Shit got pretty weird out there," Hammond says. "We were trying to rebel against all the radio play and exposure we'd been getting, so we'd jam for hours and nothing would be achieved... I remember all of us crawling around this field of orange trees on acid when we decided to go back to the house. We got stuck into this dark blues tune and this kid from a nearby farm rocked around with some avocados for us. We nodded hello and then just kept driving this tune. Meanwhile, another ute-load of locals showed up to hear these weird punks from the city, drank a bunch of beers and then left after a couple of hours. At one point we caught ourselves laughing hysterically, but we couldn't stop because we just felt like we had to drive this track into the dirt."
When he isn't busy with The Riggs, Hammond plays keys in a little band called Wolfmother. "I've been trying to juggle both [bands], and for some reason it's working at the moment. We just finished a tour supporting Lenny Kravitz, which was crazy because he's actually a huge music encyclopedia. One morning we're talking about Betty Davis when he noticed I was wearing this Black Flag shirt that has a pocket on the front. So he starts jumping around, trying to rip the pocket off because he realised it was an original from when he grew up listening to the band!"
Backstage is one thing; on stage is quite the other. And the audience can certainly make or break the show. "It's amazing what crowds will let you say," Hammond says. "Sometimes we feel like we're the only people keeping that punk energy alive, because all these other bands are smiling way too much. But you can't get too negative: we played on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and were just getting assaulted by these cavemen. So I gave them a spray, basically told them we wouldn't have bothered driving three hours to get there if we'd known it'd be a room full of such boring shits..."
BY BENJAMIN COOPER
THE DELTA RIGGS play The Workers Club on Saturday June 9. Talupo Mountain Music Vol. II EP is out now through Inertia.