Interview: Bek Grealy
Photo by Matt Palmer
Geoff Corbett (GC) talks SixFtHick with our Bek Grealy
LMM: You guys formed in 1995 in the name of SixFtHick, where did the name originate?
GC: We had on the back of my song book probably about 50 names and unfortunately SixFtHick was chosen from these names to be the band name. I am sure there are better names out there, but I think other bands have them, so that’s where the problem is, you know?
LMM: 14 years on from the beginning of SixFtHick, which is a mighty fine effort, when you first started in playing, did you just get out there and you were taken on board and loved by the viewers, or did you have to work hard for your fan base?
GC: In Brisbane when we first started, we were pretty much hated, and that was actually expected because we pretty much sucked. I don’t think we were any good until probably 2 years when we found our feet. But I mean that can be said for a lot of bands starting out.
LMM: I think Brisbane is also a very conservative place, Melbourne and Sydney are a little more diverse and open minded with their music , whereas Brisbane didn’t sort of embrace this somewhat unique music at first. What actually turned the wheels in Brisbane to gain that fan base in the City?
GC: I think Brisbane started to come around when we first started touring Melbourne and we were very successful, then all of a sudden the people of Brisbane started to go, ah, okay…. it was then that Brisbane began to just accept our music and basically keep up with the times. I think that, and also the fact that we started to get a lot better as the continued playing, and we also wrote some songs that were listenable, which certainly helped.
LMM: SixFtHick have toured Australia, and you have also toured the world, you’ve done a lot with your music and you have travelled as much as you can, what is SixFtHicks’ favourite venue out of the ones you have toured and played at?
GC: My favourite one is in a little town in Brittany in France, it’s like the Queensland of France, and it’s a sea side town.
LMM: Did you have many followers there?
GC: The first time SixFtHick ever played there, we were the first band to play at the venue in about 20 years, and the guy that ran the place took a bit of a risk putting a band on there. But now it is a band venue. It’s on the tour circuit now, and every year we tour, we go back there and play. It’s like massive now.
LMM: I have had a look at some feedback and online discussions from fans about SixFtHick, and it almost appears that you have more of a following overseas than what you do in Australia. Is that a fair call in saying that?
GC: Yeh it almost appears that way. We sell more records in Europe than we do in Australia and we sell more vinyl over there also.
LMM: You guys have released a few albums along the way, have you got some new material that we can expect to hit the shelves soon? Or are you happy with what you are dealing with at the moment?
GC: We are supposed to be compiling some new music now, as we are travelling back to Europe in the middle of next year, so we have another record to write hopefully before then. We are going a little slow.
LMM: Who writes the lyrics for SixFtHick?
GC: Ben and I, and then we just hang out with Dan to put it together. We generally do the vocal melodies first then we fit the music to it.
LMM: Ben and Dan are also a part of the band Gentle Ben and his Sensitive Side. They have gone out on their own with this band to perform on a different level than SixFtHick. There’s no talk of scrapping SixFtHick for the guys to focus on that. Although in saying that, they have been out for a number of years haven’t they?
GC: They have been doing that for 6 years now, so no I don’t think that is on the cards.
LMM: It’s very contrast watching Gentle Ben then pumping to SixFtHick, where all the guys in the hick just let loose and pretty much allow their music to take over their minds.
LMM: I’ve heard a little about you guys touring overseas with a film crew that followed you around for an entire tour, has that hit the television yet, or is it about to screen soon?
GC: It’s meant to come out early next year.
LMM: Tell me how the screening came about, did they confront you, and say, “Hey SixFtHick, lets hit the road and we’ll follow and film you”, or do one of you guys know them and you hooked it up that way?
GC: They wrote a proposal to the ABC, and got a shit load of money from them to continue with the proposal. The proposal was that they follow us on tour and film and get all archival stuff.
LMM: And how did that feel, having them following you around, obviously there are going to be censored parts, as I know what you boys are worthy of getting up to while on tour.
GC: Yeh we had a gentleman’s agreement. Just in case the parents and family look on, they don’t really get the entire footage. However, it is still pretty ugly. I can tell you right now.
LMM: Ben has made the stage presence a little unique compared to that of other bands, incorporating Yoga into the performance. He puts on a fantastic performance, however, he is getting a little older now, and I’m not saying he is ancient, but do you think your music will keep the hard core stage presence, or would you like to take another avenue?
GC: I hope we can, we are quite happy for that to continue, and I think if that is taken out people won’t come and watch us. It completes SixFtHick.
LMM: On a more personal note, both you and your brother Ben, work in the Detox, withdrawal and Drug and Alcohol clinic, it’s almost as though, and I am not saying this in an offensive way, that the character you portray on stage is a completely different character to what people are typically used to everyday. And it would appear rather contrast to be working in such an industry and work with people who have drug inflicted problems. Do your patients look up to Ben and yourself and think, wow, look at these guys they are rocking out on stage, having a great time, and they do not need to be on drugs to do that.
GC: Absolutely, I think some of them do think like that, and it’s great to set an example for them.
LMM: You mentioned that you are going to be focusing on creating a new album that you will be potentially working on the end of this year, start of next. When you do actually expect for it to hit the shelves?
GC: Well it has kinda started now, we have a few songs there, we just need to get them down and nut them out with Dan, and it will get done. We plan on doing a tour to promote the Album, first in Australia, then head to Europe middle of next year.
LMM: Where is your next gig for the year?
GC: We have a performance for Spooky Records 10th birthday in Melbourne at the Tote in Collingwood, on the 28th of November. All the bands on Spooky Records will be playing that night also, so it will be an interesting night.
LMM: Thanks Geoff for taking the time out to talk to me, and I look forward to attending the Melbourne gig for Spooky Records.
Photo Gallery: Six Ft Hick @ Valley Fiesta 2009