Bigger Than Jesus (and legendary punks, X) frontman Steve Lucas knows how to have fun. The vocalist for the hard rocking outfit puts the band’s longevity down to having as much fun as you can in as many ways as you can.
Albeit having a rather drawl, stoic way of telling it how it is, his responses to questions around the band’s appearance at the 31st birthday of Outlaw Hard ’n’ Fast at Chasers, are punctuated with dry humour and hearty laughter.
It’s important to keep things interesting when you’re this far down the track. “It’s interesting how different we are,” says Lucas, musing on the band’s beginnings. “I hate the phrase, ‘It’s been a journey’, but it’s been a good 20 years of personal friendship evolution.
“In a lot of ways, we’re more seasoned, and we’re not as angry and as full of piss and vinegar as we used to be.”
Musically, Lucas says instrumentation has been a distinct element that sets this band apart. “With Bigger Than Jesus, it was like going back to the beginning. I could stand there and sing or scream. I could be as percussive with the phrasing of words as I could be as tuneful.
“I do feel a bit naked without a guitar these days, I was never one for dancing around, and there’s nothing changed in that regard.”
Even though Lucas’ antics of days gone by aren’t quite less likely to happen, he’s still out to put on a good show. “Bigger Than Jesus was very theatrical,” reasons Lucas. “We were a stadium band in a pub venue, a very odd juxtaposition.
“We had the neon cross, the monk guy, the chainsaw, magicians coming in during extended guitar solos. That was all really exciting. But over the years, you think, ‘That was fun, but in a way, it was a distraction from the music’.
“We’re not gonna go up there and be boring to look at visually, but the days of me wearing a mummy suit, I think I’m a bit old for that. I wouldn’t look anything other than pathetic!”
Indeed, let’s all remember Lucas is a man of a certain age performing music of a certain ilk – we can’t all be Bruce Dickinson and all have that kind of energy. “We’ve all seen those cringeworthy YouTube things of bands in their 50s and 60s trying to act like they’re 20.
“Age is inevitable – why not embrace it?”
Being older, lacking in members, playing music that is largely at home in a particular era – how does Lucas retain the magic? “It’s just life,” he says. “It’s about the music. And the relationships.
“We always used to get together for lunch and would whirl each other around in shopping trollies because one of us would be too drunk to walk.
“One morning, a very early start, I was particularly legless that day and the one in the shopping trolley, and we thought it would be fun to do the band again, but only worth doing if it was actually fun. And it is fun, and that helps with everything else.”
After the show at Chasers, the future of Bigger Than Jesus remains uncertain. “When Brett [Kingman, guitarist] leaves, we’ll have a pow-wow and see,” says Lucas. “It’s very hard to replace people, so in a way, you’ve gotta shelve it until you run into someone perfect. Then it’s a bit more natural and likely to have legs.”
With the future of the band hanging in the balance, Lucas says it’s hard to look at doing anything else unless it’s going to be fun. “The whole conversation of doing the band again was that it had to be enjoyable – if it was gonna be a pain in the arse, no thank you. We’ve got wives and children for that!”
Bigger Than Jesus come to Chasers in South Yarra for the 31st anniversary of Outlaw Hard’n’Fast on Friday November 29. Grab your tickets via Eventbrite.