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:: Spotlight :: 78 Saab - A Welcome Return

By: Georgia O'Connell

Apparently they used to play very trashy, says Garth, the bass player for 78 Saab. They broke strings at every gig. Now, after seven years together, 78 Saab has spent a lot of time and energy in refining its sound, and the band feels proud of that. You can’t help but stand there listening, thinking to yourself - bit REM, bit U2, bit Oasis. However, these guys are sure as proud as punch that they have not jumped on any sort of rock comeback bandwagon.

Meet Ben Nash (vocals/guitar), Jake Andrews (guitar), Garth Tregillgas (bass) and Nicholai Danko (Drums). Inspired by Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young, these lads from Sydney offer a smooth, cool deep sound that certainly gives rock a different angle. Strong drum and bass, captivating lyrics, and electrifying and soulful guitar riffs that make you want to be no other place but listening where they stand.

Originally meeting in their hometown of Canberra the band realised that when it came to getting serious about their music, it would mean the shift to Sydney or Melbourne. So the decision point of a coin toss, lead them to Sydney, and admitting their relationship with the state is a love-hate one. They can note the differences that are found between the two. “Living in Sydney is hard. Its very fashion-orientated. Sometimes when I walk down the street, I feel like a bit of an alien. There is a gap between the haves, and the have nots, and the gap is getting wider and wider”, says Garth. That aside, 78 Saab, isn’t losing any sleep over their decision. They put in the hard yards, and established themselves in a difficult industry, in a tough city.

They also acknowledge that the Melbourne band scene sure is a hard crowd to crack, but understand that they have such a strong understanding and passion for good music. Melbourne people really respect their music. We love touring Melbourne, though. Although the crowd stood back in the comforts and casual surrounds of the Ding Dong Lounge, there were heads bopping and grooving to 78 Saab.

And fitting into a city isn’t the only concern. There have definitely been lots of bands that have taken a piece of the rock ‘n’ roll cake. So I asked them, “When it comes to rock ‘n’ roll, where do you think you fit in, or do you think you have to at all?" Garth said it had nothing to do with fitting in, "It never has been. Peter Garrett (Midnight Oil) once said that he always knew he would be successful. It was just a matter of how long it would take”.

And that‘s what it has been all about for 78 Saab; a matter of time. Seven years after they got together, their second album, 'Crossed Lines’, has proved to be one of the finest albums in Australia for 2004. With the help of producer Tim Whitten (Powderfinger, Hoodoo Gurus, Art of Fighting), they have created a number of great rock tracks including ‘No Illusions’, ‘Beat of Your Drum’, ‘Cops’, and the first radio single 'Come On’.

Keep your ears listening for these guys. They are worth checking out.
‘Crossed Lines’ is out now through Ivy League/Liberation.

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