Recently I found myself working at The Spiegeltent, which was in town as part of Brisbane Festival, a cultural and arts festival that takes over the city for the month of September. The act that was billed to play that night was The Basics, a three piece, harmony driven, 60’s pop sounding band. Sounds innocent enough right?
Except for the fact that this was Wally De Backer’s, AKA the incredible Gotye’s original band before a particular monster hit blew him out of all obscurity and into the realm of international stardom – complete with Grammys, sell-out solo tours and hysterical teen girl ‘diehard fans’.
So naturally, all manner of hipster, in-the-know types started descending on The Spiegeltent to have a drink in the garden bar before the show. It was actually quite an incredible sight to see them all standing around trying to out cool each other, craft beers in hand, moustaches trimmed and shaped as neatly as their slicked back hair.
One had a few stern looks for the onsite security guard who had the audacity to tell him he couldn’t smoke in the venue. Another one almost had a meltdown when the same security guard told him he couldn’t take his beer with him out of the licensed venue.
“It’s a fucking joke around here man,” he muttered under his breath as he walked away, not game enough to say it to the security guards face.
Seriously? The dude looked about 25! Surely he’s come across Australia’s nazi smoking and liquor licensing rules before? Is this guy retarded?
Me on the other hand, I’ve figured out a thing or two from my wanderings in life. One of these things, one that I use as a general rule of thumb when judging guys, is: “the tighter the pants, the cockier the motherfucker.” I will live and die by this rule. Seriously, test it out sometime - it’s accurate 95% of the time. And these two surly hipsters looked like their jeans had been painted on.
But you know who wasn’t a cocky motherfucker? Gotye. I had the privilege of meeting him over the course of the night and he couldn’t have been more friendly and humble. And it wasn’t just me being star struck. All the Spiegeltent stage managers I spoke to were so surprised to find him to be such a down to earth, normal person. I mean, here’s a guy who’s travelled the world with his music, won awards and made millions off his talents. If anybody had a reason to be a pretentious wank, it’s Gotye. Instead, he’s just hanging out, playing tunes with his two mates, in a band they started before he became famous.
I just find it so ironic that the punters were the ones with the pretentious, undeserved rock star attitudes, while the true talent was comfortable enough within himself to check his ego at the door.
And in case you’re wondering, Wally was just wearing bootleg jeans, not skinnies.