If we were to award a Band Most Likely To Go Off at the Gum Ball at Dashville – Rocket Science would take out the prize. Easy.
We chatted to singer, organist and theremin player Roman Tucker.
It’s rare to find a band with as many superlative reviews of their live shows as Rocket Science, but when you see the band onstage you understand why. They’ve got that certain something that propels the performance into something else – it’s a visual and audial spectacular.
Formed in Melbourne in 1998 the band quickly gathered acclaim for their live shows and their explosive musical releases.
Rocket Science gathered the international acclaim they deserved after they supported Supergrass on their Australian tour in 2002. Supergrass loved playing with the band so much, they asked them along on their international tour. “That’s how we came to relocate to the UK for around three years, and got an international record deal – all because Supergrass took us under their wing,” Roman says. “They were just wonderful people to be around and just to learn from.”
When Roman experienced an horrific brain injury after a fall in 2004 the band went on a six year hiatus while he recovered.
“There was a huge journey coming out of that,” Roman says. “And it’s been building momentum since then. I’ve learned from and have sat with what was a huge development for my life, it’s created a person who believes that life is very, very fragile.”
The band got back to together for a benefit gig in 2010 for Mick Blood of the Lime Spiders and slowly got back on their musical track. They’re now garnering the momentum they were set for when they first launched.
Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, the band are hitting to road to promote their new album – with a single due for release in late March 2018. The single’s called Lipstick Red and Roman tells me it’s classic Rocket Science.
Their recent national tour with The Stems was the band’s first real experience of having a national presence after their hiatus. “It feels like it’s starting to have momentum again and taking off from where we left off after my accident. It’s starting to really feel right again. I’m really excited about coming back to Newcastle and playing to people at The Gum Ball.”
The Gum Ball is a unique location in secluded bushland at Belford, and Roman can’t wait to see the stage set amidst the gumtrees. “I love being on stage with the sky above your head – it’s pretty overwhelming and particularly having people in that space – I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to express myself.”
Rocket Science takes everything up a whole new level live; sound, performance and atmosphere. And you can tell it’s something that the band gets off on. “I just really love the connection between the band and the audience – the interplay with connecting people is really what inspires me,” he says.
In their recent shows, the band are debuting songs off the new album. “We’re playing a lot of new material, but there’s always those classic songs that Rocket Science are known for,” Roman says. “When you’re playing and people start singing the words – the music has a life of it’s own. Rocket Science has moved beyond me and has a life of its own.”
With a distinctive sound that’s part noise/part sonic experimentation for me, it’s the theremin that attracted me to the band – so I had to ask about it. “I was introduced to the theremin by a dear friend and mentor, Simon Grounds (producer and former Shower Scene From Psycho member) – I also took up the organ because of his influence,” Roman said.
“I started playing the theremin because they’re a bit otherworldly, but it’s such an enigmatic performance instrument that sits perfectly on top of the organ. I just love theremin…”
What’s a punter to expect from Rocket Science at The Gum Ball? With 20 years under their belt and the original line-up, “fans can expect all the characteristics that the band are known for – with just a touch of maturity in the instrumentation and the way we play it,” Roman says. “Expect a very loud, very intense rock and roll show: expect some falling over, some jumping into the crowd, a few classic rock moves… some cartwheels of the arms, and there’ll be a fair bit of crawling going on. Yep, expect a lot of crawling.”
Intrigued? Get your tickets and find out who’s on the bill here.