It has been a busy 12 months for small town born, Melbourne based band Sheriff. Tone Deaf caught up with Sheriff’s guitarist Thomas Watson as the guys (Sheriff is Watson, Jimi Coelli on bass/vocals and Callum Routledge on drums) gear up for their February residency at Revolver, and the April release of their self titled EP. Formed three and a half years ago, Sheriff have gigged relentlessly ever since and released their first single “What You Want” in late 2011. After a freezing photo shoot in a swamp Sheriff are set to kick off 2012 in a big way.
According to Tom, the only thing better than a Revolver residency is sharing it with their mates. “We’ve got a couple of mates in a band called Mistress Mondays and they are in the same position as us. They just released a single last year and they are putting their EP out in the next couple of months. We decided to team up with them to get our names out there as much as possible in the lead up to our EPs being released. It seemed like a fun way of doing it, teaming up for four shows during February.”
Recording of their EP began just over a year ago in January 2011 at Woodstock Studios in St Kilda but according to Watson it was far from arduous. “It was like a holiday. We had about a week straight at the studio. We have been playing the songs over the last few years and constantly gigging so it was good to kind of pull them apart and figure out the best way to document them.”
With possibly the most specific genre description in rock today – “southern horror psychedelic bluesrock” laughs Watson – where do Sheriff draw their inspiration from? “Good fun rock ‘n’ roll bands. Back when it was just about rock ‘n’ roll. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, a lot of 70s bands and more recent bands like Queens Of The Stoneage, just bands who played good time fun rock ‘n’ roll.” Not surprisingly the band they would most love to cover is Black Sabbath and when asked which song, he answers quickly “’Abracadabra’, which is a hugely fun, riff orientated song. I think we’re going to do it one day.”
Sheriff also promise to deliver a kicking live show.“It gets pretty hectic at times. We have always been more about the live shows than anything because we played for so long before we recorded so we have been developing the show for a while. Someone described it as like a wizard controlling a tempest. It gets a bit wild. We just make it as entertaining as we can with a lot of crowd interaction; we get out amongst the crowd quite a bit. No matter how many people are in the room, whether it be three or a couple of hundred we go as hard as we can and put on the most entertaining show we can. Usually it ends up in few bruises – mainly on me because I try to find things to climb and ride people’s shoulders in the crowd and climb tables – and the odd hangover.”
Despite their love for rock ‘n’ roll, they keep it pretty safe when it comes to backstage riders. “Nothing too extravagant, no toothless hookers! We’re happy with a slab of Melbourne and a bottle of whiskey. Revolver is pretty good with the Melbourne’s. If we had to go all out probably 2 slabs of Melbourne.”
When asked to describe his band in three words, Watson barely pauses for breath before laughing “rock ‘n’ roll”. Given that description, it seems appropriate that Sheriff are eyeing early April for their EP launch at Cherry and if the rest of their EP sounds as good as “What You Want”, they will be in for the long haul.