Sydney rock group that has hit the big time with their debut album Highly Evolved. The Vines are brash, loud and in your face from the start. Lead guitarist and singer Craig Nicholls has attained a liking to smashing guitars and jumping on the drum kit while it is still being played. Other band members include bassist Patrick Matthews (who met Craig while working at a Macca's store) and drummer Hamish Rosser. Hamish originally played in a Kinks tribute band in Nevada but in late 2001 decided he wanted a change of direction and responded to an ad placed in Sydney's street press, which amongst other things asked for "An experienced live drummer. Think Nirvana, The Kinks, Stone Roses". Craig's mate Ryan Griffiths also plays with the band on acoustic guitar on occasion.
The name The Vines is named after Craig's father's old band from the sixties, The Vynes. And unlike it's namesake, The Vines have already made it big overseas. Starting out like most bands do, Craig and Patrick were jamming in the garage and demoing some of their songs. After some exposure on local independant radio stations and Triple J, The Vines began to do the Sydney pub circuit with drummer David Olliffe. In late 2000, in a show with Aussie rock legends You Am I, Craig tears off his shirt and nearly smashes his guitar into an amplifier stack, pulling out at the last second as it is rented and very expensive.
In early 2001, The Vines begin working on their debut album and head off to Los Angeles to complete it. They also spend some time in the UK gaining exposure and many fans. The debut album Highly Evolved is released at the same time as Oasis and the Red Hot Chili Peppers new releases in most countries so it debuts at number 3 in the UK, number 11 in US and 5 in Australia.
However, the incident that has gained the most recognition for The Vines thus far is their appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman. After an extrodinary version of Get Free, which included Craig knocking the microphone stand over twice mid song, the fearless lead singer leapt into the drum kit just when Hamish was about to complete his final fill. An astounded David Letterman quoted, "How about that! Is he alright?". A similar incident occured on Rove in Australia last night, however this time Craig let Hamish finish first.
The Vines have had many comparisons placed upon them. At different times they have been dubbed "the new": Strokes, White Stripes, Nirvana, Hives and to a lesser extent Silverchair. Nirvana is always going to be a comparison because the guys have always said they were obsessed with Kurt and his crew from a young age along with The Beatles. The Vines sound, however, is probably most comparable to Nirvana's Nevermind rather than any of their older work. Either way, if Craig Nicolls keeps jumping into drumkits the way he is doing The Vines are going to continue their reputation of one of the best live bands playing the circuit today.
- Highly Evolved LP - July 2002
- Get Free Single - June 2002
- Highly Evolved Single - April 2002 (UK only)
- Sun Child & Hot Leather 7" - February 2002 (Aust. only)
- I Am Sam - January 2002 - Soundtrack to film "I Am Sam" The Vines cover of "I'm Only Sleeping" (track 9).
- Factory 7" - October 2001 (UK only)