Monday, 5 September 2011

Soldiering On

Glenn Richards

To be honest, I’m not a great fan of Augie March.  Although I wholly appreciate the importance and the strength of their work, it’s never really hit a chord with me and whenever their music comes on the radio or whatnot, I’m wont to switch stations, or indeed, turn the damn thing off.  Having said that however, I am an admirer of Augie frontman and songwriter, Glenn Richards, a man who has proven beyond a doubt that he’s worthy of consideration for inclusion in the canon of Fine Australian Songwriters.

 Of course, perhaps this is a contradiction – how can one like a man and his musical nous, but not the band he’s used, mainly, to convey such?  Indeed, but it goes a bit deeper than that; what I admire most about Richards, is his ability to convey a story through song, and this is no easy task.  A good songwriter, a great one, is able to do this seemingly effortlessly, and no matter how they do it – whether it be singing opera, thrashing some metal or writing children’s music, it doesn’t matter – it’s still a great song, and Richards is a dab hand at this to be sure.

Late last year, he proved this – outside of the ‘safe’ confines of Augie March – by releasing Glimjack, his debut ‘solo’ release, and one which whilst it didn’t set the charts alight, proved that this was a man who was, at his core, a songwriter, and not just the frontman for a long-serving Australian indie/rock band.  By all accounts, Glimjack was a learning curve for Richards as you’d expect, and now that it’s been out and about for almost a year, he’s philosophical about its impact, about the process in general.

“Yeah, we weren’t really able to get any of the songs out there, to really build a tour around even,” Richards muses.  “But I can only be honest about it, and it’s not something that greatly worries me now… it was just an unfortunate situation, and was almost a carbon copy of the experience we had with the last Augie March record (Watch Me Disappear, 2008) where everyone working on the record [at the record company] was fired or quit within the first couple of months.

“When that happens at a label, generally that means the death of an album,” he goes on.  “So it got to the point [with Glimjack] that it was impossible to get a single out… radio weren’t just gonna play your songs – you’d hope they would, but they won’t – so it kinda died a pretty swift death.”  It seems it did, in all but a few diehard’s collections, destined to become a cult record, the first ‘solo’ release from Augie March frontman, Glenn Richards.

Samuel J. Fell

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