You Am I Get 'Started'

Sydney trio stir the 70s influences into their own brew.

"While we haven't written any great songs yet, hopefully they're to come. A lot of stuff that's come beforehand has been similar, so it's a bit ludicrous for me to say we're particularly vast in our playing styles." These are the words of You Am I guitarist and vocalist Tim Rogers prompted by a polite compliment. Suggest that their songs have a melodic complexity unusual in grunge and he'll tell you; "That's sort of withheld by the fact that I don't really have a voice."

Not that he thinks the grunge tag is a compliment. "Grunge is something we're always kind of something we're always repelled by, you know," he says. "I'm sorry for getting all uppity, but it weighs a bit unusually on our all-too-narrow shoulders."

This ferocious modesty is all the more comical in the light of the excitement the band has generated. Their live rep led to an intense bidding war between record companies last year. After many free dinners and more than a few laughs they signed with rooArt, who put their third release, the Can't Get Started EP.

It all happened too quickly for them to take it all too seriously. Having been together since early 1990, the played live everywhere they could, cut a single and an EP, and then... "I don't know what happened," says Rogers. "We must have played a really good show, because within a week we were getting phone calls from all over the place. It was kind of embarrassing because it just felt undeserved."

The original line up for the band was Rogers alongside his brother and his best friend. Drummer Mark Tunaley was a friend of a friend and Rogers "got a little bit horny over the way he played." Then, in a hotel one night, Rogers discovered that Andy Kent "was a shit hot guitarist, better than I ever was. When a position came up for playing bass he joined." The original two members left, thankfully with no hard feelings.

The band went into the studio last month to work on another EP with Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo producing, and in April they'll be back in there to work on an album. Rogers likes the idea of calling the album "Breast, or something like that. Album names can just sound so pretentious at times.