Glam Adelaide’s sit down with Dave Gleeson Part 2. If you want to read Part 1 first, then head here!
So what was it like coming on board with the Angels?
It was a huge position to fill. I was in awe of Doc’s stage presence. I don’t try to be him, because obviously I can’t be, but I do my best every night, and I just hope people enjoy watching me as much as I enjoyed watching him. But at the end of the day, it’s all about how much the songs mean to people.
Exactly, that’s a great attitude to have. Does it get tiring playing “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” every night over and over?
Not really (laughs). It’s always a bit different, you’re a couple thousand k’s away from the place you played last night, it’s new people and a new excitement each night. The songs you get the biggest cheer for is the songs people know and love the best, and to shy away from them would be kind of self-defeating. For example, if you go to see the Rolling Stones, there gonna play Satisfaction, and people are gonna love it. There’s just something about that energy, and people yelling and screaming and going nuts.
Do you ever give the crowd the songs they want last or make them beg for them?
(laughs) People are always impatient to hear the songs they love. With such a big back catalogue people will scream out just as much for “Mr. Damage” as “Never Gonna See Your Face Again”. We’ve also been playing one called “Dawn is Breaking”, a slow funeral song off the Face to Face album. It’s kind of keyboard driven and not often performed live. The Angels have a very vast catalogue.
Well after fourty years, you’d certainly think so! How has the new music you’ve been working on been received by the crowd?
It’s hard, there’s not the kind of support for album releases and stuff like that, and there’s a lot of new bands out there now. I mean, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard or whatever they’re called bought out five fucking albums last year, and that’s just one band. I don’t think John and Rick have released stuff they think is substandard. You need to take it for what it is, it keeps us feeling like were moving upward and moving forward. You know how it is, when you’re in a band you want to keep on creating. Your old stuff is your bread and butter when it comes to performing.
Exactly, you’ve gotta keep it fresh. You guys have plans to keep on rocking for quite a while? Not slowing down?
Absolutely. I think No Exit came out fourty years ago next year, so maybe you’ll see an anniversary tour for that. Next year I’ll be a bit more focused on the Jets with our 30th anniversary. I’ve been part of the Angels phenomenon for a quarter of the time they’ve been around, so to know we’re still relevant and still pulling crowds is pretty good.
That’s great. So with the Screaming Jets, you said you’re going to be doing a 30th anniversary tour next year?
We’ll see what happens (laughs). Australian rock was at the fore front of every Australian radio playlist but that’s kind of not how it is at the moment. We just stick to our guns. You never know what next year holds. You can tart it up as much as you like but it’s all about hanging out with the boys, it’s just good fun hanging out with the boys and running a bit of a mock.
Exactly man, it’s one of the best parts of being in a band! The radio’s pretty diverse these days for sure, there’s all sorts of stations that play both your old and new music.
Yeah absolutely. We work with a lot of young bands, and Europe is the place. The states is one thing, but Europe, if you check out the classic rock magazines you’ll find most of those bands from around the UK and Europe absolutely thriving, where rock is still king. It’s just a matter of getting it out there and letting people know it’s available.
Yeah, it’d be great to go over to Europe for a tour. Do you guys have any plans to tour Europe?
We kind of just play that stuff by ear, back in the day we’d get over there on tour supports from the record company where they would pay for your travel and accommodation, the other thing you have to do is pay money to get on the tours with big bands, which can be hard sometimes. When you’re younger, before you’ve got a family or whatever, if you don’t have any money it doesn’t matter as long as you’ve got somewhere to stay. Now it’s a little different. I don’t think my wife would be too happy if I said I was going on a six week tour and hopefully come back with some money. These days we have to think about what you’re going to be able to achieve, and go from there.
You’ve got to put a bit of thought into that stuff. Do you have any plans to do a live DVD with all the current touring going on?
We’ve done lots of footage over the last two years, It’ll be a matter of time til John and Rick get together ,those two generally call the shots, when they say it’s time it’s time. There’s even talk of the angels playing with a symphony orchestra sometime this year, which I think will be amazing. Their songs are so geared towards being able to add big string arrangements, a 72 piece orchestra and all of that, so I’m really excited about that, and I’m sure if that goes ahead we will release those tracks.
Wow that sounds really cool, I’ll keep an ear out for that. What’s your favourite Angels song to play yourself?
My favourite Angels song to play is “Be With You”, it’s got a bit of a different style and it’s a bit mellower, the crowd just really love it, I make reference to members that are no longer with us, Doc and Chris Bailey and everyone has a moment, we have a moment with the crowd which is really good.
And your favourite song to play of the Screaming Jets?
“Helping Hand”, and “Shine On”, it’s a bit of an homage to leaving Newcastle and getting out into the big bad world trying to make our mark.
Awesome stuff. What’s your favourite state in Australia to play?
Pissed (laughs) nah just kidding, maybe back in the old days though… but seriously, we’ve really done well in making it a universal love of the Jets, and the Angels already had that love long before I was in the band. But I’m a New South Wales Man myself, so it’s always good to be around the hometown. Playing here at the Gov is another great one to do, because the Angels started off in Adelaide, so I really have two hometown gigs which really are my favourites.
So, In terms of the most fired up crowd, who stands out the most?
I’m not sure, Australia is a pretty uniform place. Having said that, Western Australia because they kind of get missed out a lot and appreciate that bands make the effort to get over there. That said, Adelaide miss a lot, which I don’t understand at all. Why would you fly all the way to Perth and no stop in at Adelaide for a show, it’s on the way (laughs). But Perth is good, it’s frontier land. Which is good coz it’s a hell of a place to get to.
Yeah I’ve heard that about Perth from a lot of people. Have you played any Screaming Jets covers with the Angels?
Nah, we keep them apart. We talked about that at the start, but we decided that wasn’t a good idea. But the Screaming Jets are about to release an album of Australian covers, and there might even be an Angels cover on there. It’s just to kind of tip our hats to the bands that we love, and have a really fun set.
That sounds really cool, can’t wait to hear it. What Angels album means the most to you?
For me it’s the Dark Room album, that was kind when I was coming of age and I felt like I kind of discovered it on my own. I was about thirteen when Dark Room came out, so it was a big part of growing up for me. So I suppose that one means the most to me, that and Beyond Salvation.
So before we finish up, do you have any messages for your fans?
Just get along and rock on and scream out your favourite song, and well probably play it!
Awesome, I look forward to seeing you guys play! Cheers for the Interview, it’s been great talking to you.
With a new album on the way and 2 big anniversary tours for both of his respective bands, it seems the sky’s the limit for Gleeso & heaven is but a place on earth.
The Angels are taking Face The Face on the road in 2018, paying homage to the album that made an indelible imprint on the Aussie music scene four decades ago. The two-hour show features two sets, the complete album Face To Face and all The Angels classics.
By Jonathan Matthews
The Angels will be rocking out The Gov on 16 and 17 November 2018 (Dates moved from June).