Interview with Chris Rieger of Simply Bushed
Simply Bushed are a growing entity in country music. True to the core, they are shining a light on Australian spirit with their latest single, Raise Your Glass (featured on their new Military Issue EP).
Following on from bandmate Paul Grierson’s interview with Jackie Smith, co-lead vocalist, acoustic guitarist and banjo player, Chris Rieger shares his side of the story.
Congratulations on the release of your latest EP, Military Issue. What’s your fans’ reaction been like so far?
Overwhelming feeling of unity and respect in a physical show of respect by “Raising their Glass”.
The release comes in the lead up to ANZAC Day. What does ANZAC Day mean to you specifically, particularly given that your respective family members have a background in the military?
It is a time when I stop and I think about the sacrifice made by my family members. My grandfather was the only survivor in his group in Egypt and suffered PTSD up until he took his own life in 1980. His brother, Uncle Cecil was in Changi and was also very scarred by his experience. My brother still serving with numerous trips into conflict zones. ANZAC Day makes me stop and remember them and what they have done.
Your current single, Raise Your Glass, has such a powerful message. It’s taken out awards for ANZAC Song of the Year at the Tamworth Songwriters’ Association Awards in January and the film clip for the track was also a finalist for the Film Clip of the Year Golden Guitar. How does receiving such high accolades make you feel?
To receive such accolades fills me with a sense of pride and is evidence that people do listen to our songs and the messages we write into them.
What inspires you to write new music?
It is another form of expression that can happen at any time. Song ideas and inspirations come without warning and I only need to foster them or they pass as quick as they come. I am inspired by my family, people, time, certain rhythms and most importantly when it comes to Simply Bushed, “Australia”.
Why was it important to you to make Military Issue, and what do you want people to take away from listening to it?
I would love people to listen to our words and let the songs take them wherever they need to go through the lyrics and the music. As Paul said, “Remembrance”.
Can you describe what it’s like performing for troops over in the Sinai and Solomon Islands?
Humbling, and such an honour. It is easy to sit at home in Australia as an armchair critic, however until you meet these people, and see firsthand what they deal with every day it is only then you can really understand the sacrifice they make every day for the protection peace. Playing for them and seeing the troops laugh, dance and smile is rewarding. It feels like we are giving something back to them, and their appreciation comes back tenfold.
What does country music specifically mean to you, and where do you see the genre’s future?
Australian country music is the genre that best fits our music. There are many strong influences from country music worldwide that make country music in Australia such a broad church.
I believe it has a strong future and I look forward to any fresh changes that are necessary to allow for new talent to be brought forward and allowed to be seen and heard on a larger scale. There are some exceptional artists out there.
Generally speaking, what can fans expect from one of your live performances?
You started out as a “bush band”, and have now evolved into an “Australian music experience.” How have you grown as musicians since the release of your first album, Look At The Time (2010), until now?
Our band unit is now very polished and we have a strong sense of connection with each other. We never really play the same song the same way each time. However, our musical connection allows us to do this and it keeps the vibe alive in our shows.
What are some of the highlights and lowlights of your musical career so far? Are there any big dreams you still want to tick off, but haven’t had the chance yet?
Highlights are playing music with my mate Paul, John, Dave and Hugh. Love these guys. The low lights luckily are few.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the industry, who would it be and why?
I would love to collaborate with Kevin Bennett [and] Lyn Bowtell.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Play music for passion not for the ego and fame.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
Bon Jovi, Squirrel Nut Zippers and general rotation of many Australian artists.
What does the rest of 2017 hold for you?
New festivals and hopefully more songs to write and share.
To read Paul Grierson’s interview, click here.
Connect with Simply Bushed:
- Jackie Smith