HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

Sydney's hottest gig, Homebake, is ready to roll. Kathy McCabe talks to a
selection of top performers.

You Am I are the epitome of an Australian rock'n'roll band. Hip swinging, hard playing and equally hard partying, one of the country's most consistent acts are back to basics with their new album, Deliverance.

The release of Deliverance -- after frontman Tim Rogers' soundtrack to the Dirty Deeds film -- has also been marked by You Am I's admirable touring ethic which has taken them not only all over Australia but throughout the US with their good mates, The Strokes. And the return of the band (pictured above) to the Homebake stage at the Domain this Saturday. Frontman Rogers will also perform solo at the acoustic
stage earlier in the day. The impetus for You Am I's musical efforts these days, whether in the studio
or on stage, is a desire to entertain each other as much as their loyal fan base.

After butting heads with their US label over their previous studio album, Dress Me Slowly, the band eschewed the temptation of big budgets and trying to write the ubiquitous commercial hit single and
headed into the studio with plenty of wine and beer to make a quick, cheap but artistically sound album.

"If I can make these guys laugh or let out a 'yeah', then I'm doing my job,'' bassist Andy Kent said.

Tim Rogers, who declares Deliverance to be the band's most personal album to date, agreed that a sense of fun had reinvigorated their creative efforts.

"Making this record was so much fun. It was all about getting everything in one or two takes -- and drinking a lot,'' he laughed. "It's an extremely affectionate album. And I think it has also given us a shitload of
confidence back.''

Drummer Rusty Hopkinson said the band's renewed enthusiasm for their day job -- Deliverance is their sixth studio album -- has also come as they feel confident about how they have carved their own niche.
While other Australian acts may have to wait for major success at home before enticing international touring agents, You Am I have always developed relationships with other bands to allow them to tour with them at their convenience. You Am I introduced The Strokes to Australian audiences long before the New
York act generated an international following and The Strokes were happy to re-pay the favour by inviting them to join them on their October tour.

The short visit also gave You Am I the opportunity to perform their own showcase gigs in New York.
"It's a great position to be in a band that can exist in its own right and doesn't have to rely on other extraneous forces,'' drummer Rusty Hopkinson said.
"We are at the point where we just do what we want to do. We may not hit those dizzy heights we did in 1996 but we're a lot happier.''

It also reiterated the fact the band has a considerable following there after regular visits during the past decade.
"I remember being down in San Diego sitting in the corner of this bar and people kept going up and putting songs from Hourly Daily on the jukebox. It wasn't people I knew, I swear,'' Hopkinson laughed.

One thing that hasn't waxed or waned in the band's career is their ability to put on one of the best live shows an Australian rock fan is ever going to see.

You Am I perform at 7.30pm on Homebake's Main Stage.