Monday, February 6, 2012
FLANNELETTE frontman MATT CAMPBELL talks to RACHEL BARNESabout an emotional return to the stage after surviving a car crash that crippled his band.
Just hours after winning the Loudfest competition at Beenleigh Tavern in May last year, Brisbane band Flannelette succumbed to a tragic car crash that decimated the four-piece. Bandmates Tyler Gunn and Mark Fisher and a female friend were lost in the accident when a truck hit their tour van as Matt Campbell pulled into the stopping lane because of engine difficulties. Along with the tragic loss of life, all of the band’s equipment was destroyed in the crash, leaving Campbell and Gordon Paterson (the band’s drummer – who wasn’t in the van at the time of the crash) devastated. With another two close friends passing away within a fortnight of the crash, Campbell attended five funerals in just a few weeks, and despite trying to push on, the depression hit him hard. After trying to return to normal life back at university, he knew there was only one thing that would help him. “I used the music to get me back on track,” Campbell says. “As soon as it happened, Gordo and I just said to each other ‘there’s no way we can just let this go just because of that’. There’s even more reason to play now.”
The boys’ passion for music stayed strong as they fought to get their band back on its feet. After pushing for donations of musical equipment and fundraising to replace all the gear they had lost, they were then left with the extremely difficult task of rebuilding their band. Campbell and Paterson went to work and held extensive auditions to try to fill the huge holes that their mates had left. They soon found two new members, Dave Hardy (bass) and Shaun Balcher (guitar), who instantly connected with the band and had the exact chemistry that the boys were hoping for. With no time to waste, the new recruits were thrown straight into the mix and given just six weeks to learn the all of the band’s songs before they hit the stage for Flannelette’s anticipated comeback concert.
The emotional return is set to take place at The Hi-Fi, which Campbell says is very fitting as the band played there a few times with their old members. The boys are excited to be headlining the night and are planning on playing a long set so they can squeeze in as many songs as possible. The early Flannelette live shows were always high energy and Campbell intends their comeback to be no exception. Crowd interaction and a vigorous performance are key elements for the band, as they want to be more than just the music. “It’s full-fledged entertainment. It’s not just watching a band,” Campbell says. “We’ve got that old school rock sound from the ‘90s, but it’s just got this whole fresh new approach to it.”
Campbell is well and truly on the road to recovery, and though he’s still got a long way to go, he says he is more passionate about music than ever. “There’s not one percent of music that has left my body since the accident.”
FLANNELETTE play The Hi-Fi on Saturday Feb 11, supported by Black Mustang, Chasing Sun and The Drive.www.myspace.com/flannelette