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WHEN Fergus Linacre logs onto our Zoom interview he’s only been back home in Melbourne for two days after his band Kingswood played 30 shows in 10 weeks across Europe.
He’s naturally tired. And you’d be forgiven for thinking he’d be more focused on sleep or grabbing a catch-up coffee with friends.
But he and his bandmates are already planning several secret shows in Melbourne this week to keep the wheels greased, before what can only be described as a mammoth Australian tour in the new year.
“We got home midnight on Sunday and in the morning our What’s Up chat was, “where are we going today? How long is the drive?’ We were all ready to go,” Linacre says.
“We’re not all sick and tired of each other yet. We’re excited.”
The Hometowns Tour to support fourth studio album, Home, includes 61 shows in regional towns and cities like Taree, South West Rocks, Ulladulla and Bowral, which rarely see major rock bands.
More dates are to be added to the Tasmanian and Northern Territory legs of the tour.
“Playing a major city, arguably the show’s going to be bigger, but when you go to a town that doesn’t get much music there’s a great enthusiasm for it,” Linacre says.
“If you live in Melbourne there’s bands playing every night of the week, but if you’re where no band usually goes it could be the big event of that month.
“We’e not in-and-out kind of people. You’ll find us at the local pub after a gig at 2am chatting to people. We love to get amongst it.”
Kingswood are also turning back the clock to one of rock’s great myth-makers, the tour bus.
Tour buses are still common in the US and Europe, where distances between shows are small, while traditionally Aussie bands travel by plane or car.
“There will be a few after parties on the bus, I’m sure,” Linacre says.
Two weeks ago Kingswood released their first taste from Home, the acoustic-driven rootsy track Burning Holes.
Much of the album was written during Melbourne’s various lockdowns. On the eve of one lockdown, the band fled to Queensland where they hunkered down in a studio on a cattle ranch in the Gold Coast hinterland town of Tambourine Mountain.
During that lengthy stay Linacre and his bandmates Alex Laska (guitar), Braiden Michetti (bass) and Josh Koop (drums) listened to the likes of Neil Young, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Lynyrd Skynyrd in the band room.
The southern rock influences naturally seeped onto Home. But Linacre is quick to stress that Kingswood haven’t gone country or quietened down.
“It’s a good-time record,” he says. “It’s a good driving record.
“If you get your mates around and have some beers before you hit the town, it would be a good record to put on. It’s not your Norah Jones cafe record.”
Kingswood’s third album Juveniles was widely considered a rollicking return to form, backed by the popularity of lead single Bittersweet, which was Triple M’s most played song in 2020 across its network.
However, as Juveniles was released on the eve of the pandemic, the album’s momentum was stalled.
Almost three years later, after the most disruptive of periods, Linacre says Kingswood are more comfortable than ever.
“It feels like we’ve found ourselves finally, which is an interesting thing to say,” he says. “It’s not like we didn’t find ourselves earlier, but we were still searching and experimenting.
“This stuff feels like we’re enough in our comfort zone to use extra energy to perform. We’re not thinking too much or worried too much, you’re completely embodied in the music.”
Linacre says the days of pleasing third parties is over, too. Home is the music Kingswood want to make.
They’re not writing what they think triple j taste-masters, commercial radio or Spotify playlist curators will find cool.
We're extremely committed. This is our life, not a side thing. It's the whole shebang. The real deal.
“We always thought we didn’t try to play those games, but it’s kind of impossible not to unconsciously in the back of your head,” he says.
“Subconsciously you’re worrying will this get on radio? Will people like this?
“Certainly now there’s a realisation that there’s none of that. We’ll get whatever support we get and we just want to play in front of people and play around Australia.
“It’s a nice feeling. There’s no pressure anymore for us.”
That’s not to say Kingswood aren’t ambitious. Linacre says the Hometowns Tour is proof they’re more committed than ever.
“This is our life, not a side thing,” he says. “It’s the whole shebang. The real deal.
“We want to grow and grow and play in bigger venues.”
Kingswood’s Hometowns Tour visits:
Jetty Beach Hotel, Coffs Harbour (Dec 10)
Longyard Hotel, Tamworth (Jan 18)
Kingscliff Beach Hotel, Kingscliff (Jan 22)
The Vic, Bathurst (Jan 27)
Jan Agrestic Grocer, Orange (Jan 28)
The Baroque Room, Katoomba (Jan 29)
Tumut River Brewing Co, Tumut (Feb 2)
Que Bar, Wagga Wagga (Feb 3)
The Basement, Canberra (Feb 4)
Albury SS & A, Albury (Feb 5)
York On Lilydale, Mt Evelyn (Feb 10)
Chelsea Heights Hotel, Chelsea Heights (Feb 11)
Theatre Royal, Castlemaine (Feb 12)
Barwon Club, Geelong (Feb 18)
Sooki Lounge, Belgrave (Feb 19)
Volta Arts, Ballarat (Feb 24)
Haba, Rye (Feb 26)
Longstockings Brewery Brewery, Pambula (Mar 3)
Tilba Valley Wines, Coruna (Mar 4)
Smokey Dans, Tomakin (Mar 5)
The Marlin Hotel, Ulladulla (Mar 10)
Bowral Bowling Club, Bowral (Mar 11)
The Beer Shed, Leumeah (Mar 12)
Heritage Hotel, Bulli (Mar 16)
Avalon RSL, Avalon (Mar 18)
Ocean View Beach Club, Central Coast (Mar 24)
Stag & Hunter Hotel, Newcastle (Mar 25)
Pacific Recreation Club, Taree (Mar 26)
Laurieton Ex-Services, Laurieton (Mar 30)
South West Rocks Country Club, South West Rocks (Mar 31)
Moonee Beach Hotel, Coffs Harbour (Apr 1)
Mullumbimby Ex-Services, Mullumbimby (Apr 2)
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