Baseball - Leaving on a Jet Plane

While I'm writing this (11.51am Tuesday the 19th of July) 4 Melbourne boys and girls have packed their bags and are on their way to Taiwan.


Baseball, which began as a solo project for front man Thick Passage (Cameron Potts from ninetynine) has grown into a four strong, and hopefully stable line up now, after the departure of bassist Yoshi Araki early this year.


It's not the first time Baseball, in some form, has toured the country, with three Japanese, two European and one Taiwanese tour already under their belt, but this time is different


This time around the band are playing the 6th Hohaiyan Rock Festival, a music festival set up and run by the Taiwanese government, in a break that Thick Passage says is "my biggest break in all my15 years of playing in bands. Nothing compares to this."


While Lou Reed can't make it (something about no connecting flight), the line up including; Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Vincent Gallo, Auf der Maur and Boom Boom Satallites has them excited.


What are they most looking forward to?


"Peaches!" says Thick Passage.


But let's take it back a few years, to where it all began for Thick Passage.


"It began as a solo thing. I was a drummer for everyone else, but I had songs in my head. When my father died, I put a record out of sad songs on a piano," he says, "and in 2003, I fulfilled a dream of doing violin electro rock...but the drum machine drove me crazy!"


So the solo project grew into the 4 strong line-up it is now; evolving from sad piano tunes to rollicking good noisy electro rock complete with amped-up violin.


You can practically feel the lash of the broken strings at a live performance.


It's never easy for a solo artist to share their baby with anyone else, but Thick Passage says he is happy with the way the collaboration is working.


"I was surprised at how well Ben (Butcher, guitar) and Ev (Morris, drums/bass) worked, how it changed my ideas for the better, and placed confidence where I had little. Finally, I could relax and focus on my lyrics and phrasing," he says.


The latest release is a tour EP for Taiwan and Japan which we'll be unlikely to hear in Australia until the album due out later this year. "[It's] five new tunes, recorded in Australia," explains Thick Passage, "everyone bar Monika has had a stab at the artwork. It's a nice little collective thing."


And what about those rumours of a publishing deal? Thick Passage remains tight-lipped but the chances of the band being used in Coke commercials are a little shaky.


"Ha! They can try! I can't think of a more un-suitable bunch of trouble-makers to be selling coca cola!"


The band will arrive back in Australia in 2 weeks; audiences can expect a full album release by the end of the year before the band globe-trot their way to Europe in November.

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