Music

A rock ‘n’roll bromance: Phil Jamieson and Scott Russo

Grinspoon’s Phil Jamieson and Unwritten Law’s Scott Russo have been friends for over 15 years cementing one of music’s enduring bromances with their fair share of partying and by writing a couple of songs together. This December the pair are teaming up for a Christmas Double Header tour that kicks off on the Sunshine Coast tonight. Ahead of the tour Phil and Scott talked to FL about what they really thought of one another when they first met on the Vans Warped tour way back in the ‘90s.

Scott Russo on meeting Phil Jamieson

The first time I met him was at the Falls Festival. At the time The Living End and Grinspoon weren’t getting along. We were friends with The Living End’s manager who encouraged us to be friends with The Living End and just ignore all the boys from Grinspoon.

The next day we ended up having to fly to New Zealand for the Warped tour with Grinspoon, Pennywise and a few other bands. During the three hour flight me and the tour manager ended up getting pretty buzzed. We then jumped on a bus with some other bands. I passed out in between two chairs and woke up halfway through the trip – like an hour in – and I saw this kid in the back wearing sunglasses screaming out “Who wants a White Russian?” And I’m thinking “Who the fuck is this guy? But actually I want one of those White Russians!” So I went back and had a drink with him. I found out that he’s the lead singer of Grinspoon, the band we were told to hate. We immediately hit it off.

“We’re the same person – except I’m way better looking”

Three days later we all flew back to Australia to do the Noosa leg of the Warped tour. I remember it was raining really heavy, all my shit got ruined, my clothes, my CD walkman (that’s how long a go this was) – everything was fucked. Phil and Grinspoon had written into their contract that they’d stay in dope hotel rooms every night. The minute Phil had heard what happened he said “That’s it, you’re staying with me from now on”. So basically I ended up rooming with Phil for the rest of the Warped tour. Through the course of that time we ended up writing songs, getting to know each other, and basically finding out we’re the same person – except I’m way better looking.

As for other tour stories, we tend to go pretty hard when we’re together. Obviously we’re a lot older now, but I guess what I’m trying to say is everyday we wake up it’s a gamble.

Russo & I. Los Angeles 1999? Maybe 2000? Not sure exactly. I'm obviously a picture of health!

A photo posted by philjamieson (@philjamieson) on

Phil Jamieson on meeting Scott Russo

At the Manly Warp tour in 1998 Grinspoon played before Unwritten Law – and we were excellent as per usual, because we were excellent in 1998. And to upstage us, Scott thought it would be a good idea for the audience to throw bottles onto the stage while they were playing, which I believe is some strange punk tradition that’s meant to be all in the glory of playing. So there were bottles raining onto the stage, glass everywhere. I think they got thrown off the Warped tour after that show. That’s one of the many instances where Scott tried to pull out all stops in trying to follow us, which proved difficult back in the ‘90s.

After that they invited us over to do shows with them in North America. So we did some touring up and down the east and west coasts; we played Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles and some other places and we were hated. American crowds absolutely hated us, which was kind of par for the course because we were so antagonistic back then, a little like now; some things never change. I don’t remember anything specific about that tour but that was a lot of fun and we appreciated Unwritten Law taking us over there. They had quite a large following so it was really generous of them to take us over there and let us play with them, which was a real experience.

Fast forward to 2004, or maybe 2003. I was in Los Angeles and I was recording our to-be ARIA Award winning album, Thrills, Kills and Sunday Pills, and Unwritten Law were recording their third alum called Here’s to the Mourning. I was staying at the Oakwood, which is a horrific place in Los Angeles, and Scott was staying there was well for some reason and we ended up collaborating a lot on those two records. He co-wrote ‘Better Off Alone’ with me and I co-wrote a bunch of songs on Here’s to the Mourning so I guess that’s kind of the reason why we tour together because we’re familiar with each other’s material and it kind of works in that respect because I already know the songs because I wrote them!

FL presents Scott Russo and Phil Jamieson “A Christmas Double Header” tour

Friday, December 12 – Sol Bar, Sunshine Coast

Saturday, December 13 – Brightside, Brisbane

Wednesday, December 17 – The Gov, Adelaide

Thursday, December 18 – Republic Bar, Hobart

Friday, December 19 – The Corner, Melbourne

Saturday, December 20 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

Sunday, December 21 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle

Monday, December 22 – Leagues Club, Entrance

Tuesday, December 23 – Waves, Wollongong