GRINSPOON frontman Phil Jamieson famously sung "you're a hard act to follow" on the band's rollicking lead single from the 2004 ARIA Award-winning album Thrills, Kills & Sunday Pills.
It's a statement the post-grunge rockers would have been asking themselves after their triumphant return in 2017 to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of their seminal debut album Guide To Better Living.
After a four-year hiatus, fans lapped up the Grinners' classics like Just Ace, DCx3 and Champion, packing out venues like Newcastle's Cambridge Hotel and Wests NEX.
It didn't hurt that the four-piece from Northern NSW sounded tighter than ever. Their sometimes shambolic live performances a distant memory.
"That [the Guide To Better Living tour] was a gamble, and we thought let's give it a go," Grinspoon guitarist Pat Davern tells Weekender from his Byron Bay studio. "Man, we were blown away by the response.
"That was the biggest tour we've ever done in Australia and bigger than the original Guide To A Better Living tour.
"We couldn't believe there was so much love out there for the band. We were riding on the coattails of nostalgia, more than anything else, and we couldn't believe how much people still thought we were relevant in that sphere."
Yet how do you top it? After some urging from Grinspoon's management and record label the band decided to release a new greatest hits collection, Chemical Hearts, on vinyl backed by a national tour.
While some of their '90s and early 2000s contemporaries like You Am I and Jebediah have relegated themselves to playing the suburban pub circuit, Grinspoon are going large.
The Chemical Hearts tour will feature Grinspoon's biggest Hunter show at the 7500-capacity Newcastle Entertainment Centre.
"I think the gamble was really last time," Davern says. "We feel a little more confident that people care, whereas before we weren't sure if they did or not.
"Going to the Entertainment Centre in Newcastle, fingers crossed. We're going to put on a big show."
Davern's confidence that Grinspoon can get Broadmeadow's big tin shed rocking stems from their greater maturity and tamer lifestyle.
"It's funny, Grinspoon used to be bit of a two-out-of-three or sometimes a one-out-of-three band, where you'd come and see us for three shows and two would be great and one of them could be bit of a train wreck, or even two out of three," Davern says.
"Obviously back then we were younger and probably inebriated, but this time we're older and wiser."
Davern met The Gooch Palms' Leroy Macqueen and Kat Friend at the King Street Hotel following their Wests NEX show in 2017 and instantly hit it off.
"We took out Hockey Dad on the last tour and look they've grown leaps and bounds since. We'll happily take the credit for their success," Davern laughs.
"We thought - because it's bit of a retrospective one - to take out a band from the '90s, but you know what, we're the band from the '90s. So let's get people introduced to music they mightn't have heard before."
Fans might even hear Grinspoon songs they haven't heard before. Jamieson recently joined Davern in his Byron Bay studio to thrash out ideas for new songs.
"Maybe if we think, 'Wow we'd like to play one of these songs', we might play new stuff," he says. "We haven't decided. We'll decide when we get into the rehearsal room."
The fact that Davern and Jamieson are writing together again doesn't necessarily mean Grinspoon will release their first new album since 2012's Black Rabbits.
"I don't think there's a huge appetite for a new Grinspoon record, but if we did one it would have to be an absolute ball tearer," Davern says. "Like the comeback album of all comeback albums.
"We'll see how we go. If we can come up with the material and it gives us no choice, then we'll do it."
- Grinspoon bring their Chemical Hearts tour to the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on November 1.
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