He may be one of Newcastle’s finest musical exports but Dave Gleeson has a special connection with the St George district.
“I’m a Dragons man. Huge fan since I was five-years-old I’m been entrenched in the Dragons.”
That love of the Red V has Gleeson even more excited about returning to the area when his band The Screaming Jets play Revesby Workers on Saturday night.
The Screaming Jets, made up of frontman Gleeson, bassist Paul Woseen, guitarists Scott Kingman and Jimi Hocking and drummer Mickl Sayers, are on their 14-date national Go Hard or Go Chrome tour to support their latest studio album, Chrome.
Known for hits including Better, Helping Hand and Eve of Destruction, the band’s first studio album in eight years stays close to their roots with a flurry of classic Australian rock sounds that have proved popular on the road.
Gleeson told the Leader playing the band’s classics was just as satisfying more than 25 years since they first hit the road.
“The reaction of the crowd, the crowd pumping to those songs that they love, there’s nothing like it. You could never get sick of it,” he said.
“We were touring with [Cold Chisel’s Ian Moss] once when he was doing solo stuff and we were talking backstage one night trying to get him to do Bow River.
“He was saying he didn’t know if people would like it. Finally we convinced him one night and he went out on his own and did an acoustic Bow River. The crowd just went mental.
“You think people might be sick of a song or bored but they’re not because they’re not at the shows every night. Those great songs mean so much to people.”
It was from people like Moss and The Angels that Gleeson received one of his most valued lessons – helping other young bands get their starts.
It was Gleeson’s band that gave Lismore rockers Grinspoon their break with their first national tour and it is something that the Screaming Jets – Australian rock royalty in their own right – have tried to continue today.
“You’d think [Australian rock] was dead watching Australia’s Got Talent and X Factor and that shit,” Gleeson said.
“But we’ve got some great young bands that have been on tour with us like Tracer and Palace of the King. Bands kind of have to go overseas because there’s no market for [rock] here.
“The great thing about Aussie rock that I see is that it’s so original. I hear some songs that have got that classic rock element in up and coming bands but there’s so much talent there.”
“We learnt long ago to take good young bands out on tour. Over the years there has been Johnny Diesel and Baby Animals and Grinspoon. Instead of being scared you’ve got to play really good after them every night.”
As for the new album, Gleeson is proud of the band’s latest work and is ready to show it off.
“We did a short tour in June, just a month we went around and did all the major centres,” he said.
“It’s great to get out and play the tracks off the album. I’m very proud of the way it came out. We want to show it off to people, especially the new songs.
“Songs like Automatic Cowboy, Smack in the Mouth and Razor were made to be played live. They’ve got a certain veracity to them.”