Nothing Ryhmes With Purple Or Orange

Have a listen to Tim Rogers' work with the Twin Set, titled What Rhymes With Cars and Girls, and you'll see that it's not You Am I's #5 Record. It has a bit of country flavour to it, and is not as straight up rock 'n' roll as You Am I's efforts. It's more of an acoustic based album, with Tim packing away the distortion pedal and electric guitar. Not that Tim will be taking it easier playing live with the less raucous Twin Set material. "Nope. No way. If people pay their money to see some rangy young kid give it his all they're gonna get it," Rogers proclaims.

How Rogers came to be doing a solo record was a mixture of things.

"I had some time alone and I found myself writing some songs and then I just thought, well it looks like You Am I's not going to be recording for a while, while we're waiting for albums to come out overseas, so I wanna make a record," Rogers recalls. "So I really started writing gung ho and then about the same time Jen's (Anderson) studio was available so I went in and did it with the idea of just having it as a tape or CD to sell at shows. But then a lot of really good musicians came in and helped out, we had a good time, so it's got a little bit more serious."

One of the protagonists in the Twin Set is Jen Anderson, late of Weddings Parties Anything. It turns out that around the same time as Rogers was looking at doing solo material, WPA were on the verge of calling it a day. Anderson has a big influence on the record, not only by playing (listen to how much her work adds to the songs), but also getting heavily involved in other parts of the project, sometimes with even more vigour than Rogers himeself.

"She pressed a lot of buttons," Rogers says of Anderson's involvement. "We talked a little about the songs. I think she was just more enthusiastic, and getting me in contact with a bunch of other musicians. I don't really feel like pursuing people and Jen was very good in getting people and making sure they were available. Just putting out the initial word."

Anderson made a very good choice because the Twin Set came together comfortably. "I guess I just started with the general flavour of the songs I had and I knew what sort of a feel I wanted, and then when I bought the other musicians in they could kind of pick up the sense of what I was after or what I was heading towards. I just give them a general idea and see where it goes from there but it's definitely been pushed into a certain area by the time they come in. I think just with Stuey the bassplayer in particular, he definitely pushed it further in the directions we wanted," Rogers says, making reference to bassplayer Stuart Speed, who's currently with Paul Kelly.

The album does have a bit of a country feel, but is not a country album as such. "It's not really a country style of songwriting, I don't think. It ain't bluegrass. It ain't Western swing. It's a kind of pretty pallid country music really which is just folk pop chords. I think people are being a bit... thinking it's got a G-chord in it, it's got a country feel. Where as rock bands posing as country rock bands are just like Bread, the band Bread that is, kind of pop music with instruments that give it an extra bit of flavouring, makes it a bit more exotic. I think real country music tends to have a bit of melodrama and melancholy. You know, suicide, death, bestiality, and I don't hear that," Rogers admits.

Musically, the record doesn't quite fit the You Am I mould, but then Rogers thinks that You Am I doesn't necessarily have a mould. "I think with You Am I, I feel like we could do anything at this stage," he explains. "I mean the pressure's off as far as delivering a certain type of song goes. There's a couple of other songs that were going to be on this record that are now You Am I songs in different ways, but not much in a different way. I think Russ and Andy would like to get their claws into a softer track and work with it. But I think this record in a way is pretty much them anyway. It's definitely different people playing on it, but we're pretty sentimental guys when we get together and they could have played all over these songs and it was just timing and circumstace that they didn't."

And the reason that this album is Tim Rogers and the Twin Set and not You Am I is simple. "They're about 800 miles away and we'd done alot of touring and we just needed a break from each other," Rogers says. "I think they needed a break from me more than I needed a break from them. I'm interested by other people's playing, just because they play different instruments. The three of us together have a limited instrumentige and I just wanted to hear different instruments. I was interested in the way my voice would work with them and the way the songs would work with them."

Going for a more acoustic-based album was founded on Rogers' predilection for its simplicity, which can also come across live. "I like the troubadouring spirit really, that you don't need to carry along lots of equipment and I just find acoustic intsruments verey appealing because of that. You don't need a lot of time to set up and a lot od space to pack up amplifiers and the like. I just want to chuck the guitar in the back and go," he says.

When they do venture to our parts to play live, you'll find the live band is the same merry bunch that appears on the album. It might be a different bunch of people with him, but you can still expect the same level of showmanship you have always encountered from Mr Rogers. "Well I really have set a standard haven't I? I hope so. There's a few more people on stage and we've got to make up for a lot of volume," he remarks.

There's two launches for the album in Drum land, at the Basement and Goldmans. The former is not the type of venue you'd expect to find Rogers performing in, especially as part of You Am I. "I've seen a lot of really good shows there just thought it might be appropriate to give people the opportunity if they want to go to a venue like that or somewhere that's more like a pub to give me the opportunity to do that really," Rogers says of the Basement. There's also a weird kind of symmetry about the gig at Goldmans. He's officially opening it only a couple of weeks after he closed the Annandale with You Am I. "Who'd have thought it, huh? Anyone who saw that band in 1990 wouldn't see that," Rogers muses.

Mark Neilsen