Whether you love them or hate them, over the last five year Stealing O’Neal have made a name for themselves, and found a home in, the Melbourne music scene. Known for their antics as much as their music, they have had an exciting career that has seen them go from playing in small Melbourne pubs to supporting the likes of The Used all around Australia. In the lead up to what will be the band’s finale show, vocalist Chris Scott had a chat with Kill Your Stereo that was filled with laughs, advice and reflections on the band’s somewhat short but exciting career.
Hello, Thanks for chatting with Kill Your Stereo
Oh man, that’s alright.
How have you been?
I’ve been really good. I had a day off today so I got to sleep in and eat fruit loops on the couch and just do nothing and I didn’t even change. I didn’t get out of my underwear until like, far out, really late, well later than usual.
For our readers could you introduce yourself and your role in Stealing O Neal?
I am Chris and I sing in the band Stealing O’Neal and we have got out last show coming up on Saturday night, on the 24th.
You just introduced my next question, thank you.
Aaawww SWEET! *laughs*
What has the build up been like for the band?
It’s been really, really good. It’s been exciting. It’s been really, really hard because we have done this whole show off our own backs, we have done all the organizing and all the running around and all the fucking about. You know, getting all the lighting and that kind of jazz and organizing bands and all that stuff we have done it all ourselves so it has actually been really exciting. It feels like we have just started out again.
What are the feelings and emotions like going into the show?
Pretty bummed out but im also really, really excited. We have been practicing really, really hard and we are going to try and fuck up the least amount of times that we can, we have really been practicing and I am so psyched to play this show. Plus it’s at The Espy, and that’s like the hub of Melbourne music and it’s in the Gershwin room which is like the best room in Melbourne. Unless you consider The Forum the best room, that would be really nice to play in but we didn’t think we could pull enough people so we had to settle for something a little smaller.
Still a really good venue though.
It’s a great venue. I like The Espy a lot. I like getting drunk at The Espy, it’s really fun.
Is that the plan for after the show?
Oh my gosh, it is going to be absurd. It’s going to be like, the show will be like a wedding, it will be all nice and pretty with lights, probably no priest or pastor, but then man after that it’s going to be so filthy and we are just going to have the biggest party ever. And plus our best friends are playing. ALL The Getaway Plan are playing now, it was only going to be Matt and Clint but then all the other boys got jealous and were like “Fuck, we want to play too” so now the whole Getaway Plan are playing. AND The Mission In Motion which I am probably the most excited about because I absolutely adore that band and I reckon they are fantastic. And Kevin. Kevin Orr, he is probably the best looking dude of the night, I reckon.
Stealing O Neal are as known for their antics as they are for their music, can fans expect something big for the finale? Anything planned?
*laughs* How do we top it? Far out, the only way we could really top it is if we play the whole set naked, and that would be brutal, that would be so disgusting. So I don’t think so, no. How can we top? I’m just trying to think how we can top nudity without going way too far and over the top. We definitely don’t want to have any sex on stage because that would be just gross but I don’t know. How can we do this? Maybe we will just have a shit load of smoke, make it really fucking mysterious. I have no idea *laughs*, but like I said we have been practicing a whole bunch so we shouldn’t sound half bad.
As you mentioned before, the supports for the show are quite strong and varied, what went into deciding who you guys would get to play?
Well we were like “Fuck this, it’s our last show, let’s just get our best friends” and that is exactly what we did. This show was actually kind of the brainchild of Clint from The Getaway Plan. Him and Tim were really drunk one night and Clint’s like “We should support you guys on your last show” because it has been something we’d been talking about for a llitttlllee bit, just mentioning it, not even thinking we were going to do it. And Clint’s like “Man, we should play, because we always seem to have the most fun shows together. Fuck we’ll support you” and then I was like “Far out, that’s pretty sweet. Maybe I will call The Mission In Motion and see if they want to come down as well” because we have played heaps of tours with them and I like them too, a lot, and yeah they were like “Hell yeah, we’ll definitely come down and get wasted and play a good rock show with you. And then I was like “Well there is going to be this full on assault of pop rock music, how about we get someone nice and mellow” and so we picked Kev because that guy is a legend. You should check his stuff out, it’s so good. You know Kevin, he used to play guitar in B.C.E (Behind Crimson Eyes). Now he does this sweet, sensual, sexy-ass music to make love to.
So there is going to be some love making going on at the show?
Oh my gosh, there could do. That’s what could tip it over the edge and make it completely unforgettable.
Well there you go, sounds like it is going to be intense.
*laughs* It is going to be wicked. I’m psyched, I’m really psyched.
Stealing O Neal has grown a lot throughout your career, going from playing small pubs 3 years ago to opening for massive bands like All Time Low, The Used and New Found Glory as well as headlining your own tours. What has been the highlight of your time in the band?
I can’t, you can’t give me that question. That one sucks *laughs*
What about three highlights?
It is so hard to answer. Man, I swear I must have already told this story before, but this is one that really sticks in my mind. This one time we were really, really drunk and we were all in Perth. It was Stealing O’Neal, The Getaway Plan and Elora Danan, the late, great Elora Danan from Perth, and we were at this place in Bunbury and we were all really drunk sitting on this balcony and everyone was talking over each other, everyone was yelling and trying to get their two sense in, just trying to be the coolest cat on tour and our bass player just stands up and he was really psyched and he goes “You know what this whole bloody tour is just a cry for attention” and then he jumped off the second story balcony into a bloody tree which was like ten foot tall, all the branches snapped, he fell like a whole story onto the concrete below. And man, we all thought he was dead, it was like holy shit, Tom just killed himself. And there is like three bands just peering over the edge real tentatively thinking “Oh my gosh, Tom’s dead” and he was kind of like moaning on the ground and then he got up, and he was fine. Well he looked like he’d been attacked by a tiger, but that’s cool, his t-shirt was completely fucked up and he had all these cuts and bruises and then this gypsy woman comes up to him and she’s like “Oh my god, are you okay?” and Tom’s like “Yeah, I’m fine” and she’s like “Come with me” and Tom’s like “Yes, okay.” So Tom went off with this gypsy lady, came back like ten minutes later, he was kind of all bandaged up and we were like what happened to him. And he was like “I don’t know man. I thought I was going to go with this lady and get raped but instead she just bandaged me up and tried to read my palms, and I was like fuck that I’m out of here” then he just ran away. And that’s my really funny tour story.
Is that a true story?
It’s a highlight. And of course playing good shows. When we played with The Used that was fucking awesome. We got to play at this place called The Tivoli in Brisbane and that was one of the best shows I’ve ever experienced. It was sweet, there were heaps of strobe lights and we looked really badass and that was really fun. We are thinking about trying to top it at this finally show. We are going to have smoke machines to make it real mysterious and strobes and lots of nice lights and stuff.
To a more serious question.
Yes, okay, let’s get serious.
What’s been the biggest struggle throughout Stealing O Neal’s career?
Our biggest struggle, I have no idea. Maybe trying not to get fired from my job. Every time I leave to tour, not telling them about that tour till the last minute and then you are like “Far out, I’m going to be going away for a week or like two weeks, can you please not fire me?” That’s a big struggle. What else? Trying to find a bed after every show. Because we are such slackers and we never organize a place to stay, but we are so fortunate that we’ve got suc lovely fans that want to give up their floor space for us. Running out of money. I don’t know, not enough beers on the rider, that’s a struggle. Forgetting to get beers before the show and then finishing the show and it’s 1am and nowhere is open and then you’ve got to spend another ten hours in the van with five sweaty dudes and no beer and that’s just not cool. See when you have sweaty dudes and beer, shit just changes, it’s awesome, you get really rowdy, but five sweaty dudes and no alcohol, that’s really gross.
How important was the local Melbourne pub scene, or local music scene, in Stealing O Neal’s career? And how important is it for bands starting out today?
It is really important, definitely. I think the most important thing about the scene is supporting the bands. Because we have such a small scene it’s really hard sometimes for young bands to come up, you are fighting through a scene of other bands who are sounding like you. I guess the biggest thing and the best thing you can do is support your local bands, support each other, support your fellow band mates.
What is the best venue you got to play at and why?
The Tivoli. The Tivoli is the best venue because it is beautiful, it’s traditional, it’s like an old theatre, they look after you so well. It’s fantastic, I really enjoy that venue a lot, aaaannnddddd, can I have two venues please?
I think we can go with two!
Awesome, sweet, because I really do want to give props to The Espy and the Gershwin Room. That’s another one of those really traditional venues. It is really, really pretty and really nice to play in.
What has been your best AND worst onstage experience?
I wish I had a better memory so I could give you some good experiences. We had a show today at a school and we were kind of recapping when we were growing up in the band we used to play at our high school that we all went to and we were recapping all the funny shit that has happened. Like this one time with our old bass player, like we’d obviously get stuff thrown at you when you were playing because we were these little punk kids and they were all these badass kids who used to throw food at us, which was really fucking hilarious. I always managed to dodge it, but our old bass player would cop like apples to the head and stuff, that was pretty cool. This didn’t happen to us, but fuck it I am going to say it anyway. There was a band playing one lunch time at our school and someone through a big, double ended dildo and it smacked the singer in the face.
I bet you are glad that didn’t happen to you?
I am so stoked that didn’t happen to me.
So, does that story make it into the best category, or the worst?
*laughs* Far out, that would have to be the best and the worst.
Thanks for the interesting story.
It has nothing to do with our band, but fuck it’s a good story. Why am I so dumb that I can remember other band’s stories but I can’t remember my own stories?
There has got to be something!
Well I guess one of our goals, well not me personally, but some of the other boys in the band was to support New Found Glory and that was like 5 years ago and that was incredible. We were just walking around backstage, and like our idols, our absolute pop punk idols are just wandering around and giving us “whats up?” and hi fives. That was such a good feeling. It is such a good feeling when your idols don’t have an ego about them and are just fantastic people. That was pretty cool. And playing with The Used. That was one of our most recent ones. That was insane because you think a band of that caliber would like “fuck these young dudes, I just want to go backstage and get drunk” but it was the complete opposite, they were the most fantastic people ever. That was really brilliant sharing the stage with them, it was really cool. And we got to play one time, when we were really, really young, we got to play this show for Coke Live N Local at Rod Laver Arena, that place is fucking huge and their were heaps and heaps of screaming kids and we felt like rock stars, it was brilliant.
I think it is something everyone wants to know, but what sparked the decision to end things? Was it something the band has been thinking about for a while?
It was something that had been discussed for a while, I guess something that we had mentioned, talked about, yeah and catalysts I guess for calling it a day, um, I don’t know, quite a few good opportunities popped up for some of the boys in the band. Ryan, our drummer, is playing for this fantastic band called Gold Fields now and he is absolutely killing it and if you can be an Aussie band and be making it, I say do it. So Ryan is really, really busy doing that which is sweet. And Tim our guitarist, well he has discovered that he has an incredible knack for taking photos and making videos so he has just spent the last 4 months with The Getaway Plan over in Canada. I don’t know if you have seen any of those video diaries they have been releasing well that is all Tim’s work which is really, really cool. Tom, our bass player, he is going to go over to Canada and snowboard which is pretty brilliant because he kicks serious ass on a snowboard, and Jack and I, we’ve got our own little project in the works which has been going for about 8 months now. That is something we are hopefully going to be releasing next year, once it’s all finished and all the songs have been recorded nicely and we have some nice videos. We have all got heaps of shit going on and it’s all been brewing for a long time now. It all came together nicely the way we finished, there was nothing brutal about us breaking up, we are such close friends and it has been the greatest experience being in this band because we are all best friends and we get along so well. It was a sad decision but it is a really easy decision.
Across all your releases, which song (or songs) have been your favourite to play live?
I love the song Saved By The Bell, it’s from years and years ago, but we are playing that, that’s for sure. Saved By The Bell is getting whipped out. For the first time we are playing a song that’s on our album that I wrote for my mum which is going to be really, really nice. My mum was quite sick a couple of years ago, like while we were recording the album so I wrote her a song and this will be the first time I get to perform it and actually show her. Personally that’s really exciting for me. We were going to play School’s Out but Tim didn’t want to.
What is the main thing you will miss about being in the band?
Hanging out with those boys, hanging out with Tim, Tom, Jack and Ryan. I am going to miss jumping in the van and spending like 10 hours driving to Sydney, 20 hours driving to Brisbane, and just the shit that we get up to, the shenanigans, and the stuff that they talk about, all the stupid topics we get stuck on like Tom being a vegetarian or all the other rubbish that you find yourself talking about when you have all this time to spare. I am just really going to miss that part of the experience, the whole friendship side. And obviously playing live shows, and getting the opportunity to play interstate because it isn’t something a lot of bands get to do and I am really going to miss all those opportunities. Hopefully with the new project, with Jack and I, we won’t be out of the music scene for too long.
Before we go, is there anything else you want to add? Any final words or advice to young bands starting out?
First and foremost I thank anybody that has ever come to one of our shows, anybody who has ever bought one of our cds, supported us in any way. There is no way that bands can work without constant support from fans, so I want to say thank you all. I really want to thank everyone for the constant support that we have had. Now advice, When you are a band, what kids have got to remember is to try your absolute, absolute hardest, don’t compromise your sound, don’t compromise your feelings and just remember that the half an hour that you get to play on stage that is your half an hour to shine and your time to do absolutely anything you want so take full advantage of it.
Well I think it is safe to say, that anyone from Melbourne would be proud to have had you guys representing our music scene. Thanks a lot for chatting and good luck in the future.
Thank you, thank you, thank you so so much. I appreciate you guys doing this interview, it is really, really awesome.