The Vines

The Vines

Infobox musical artist
Name = The Vines

Img_capt = The Vines live on stage 19 February 2004.
Background = group_or_band
Also_known_as = Joe Dirt
Forgone Conclusion
Origin = Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Genre = Alternative rock
Garage rock revival
Indie rockcite web|url=|title=(Read) The Vines' MySpace music style descrption|author=MySpace|accessdate=2008-06-28]
Neo-psychedeliacite web|url=
title=Live: The Vines|work=Live at the Tequila Lounge|date=May 17, 2002|accessdate=2008-04-14|author=Keene, Darrin| 'Your Canadian Music Source'
Years_active = 1999 - present
Label = flagicon|Australia Ivy League (2007 - Present)
flagicon|Japan BMG (2008 - Present)
flagicon|UKCooking Vinyl (2008 - Present)
flagicon|WorldCapitol Records (2001 - 2006)
flagicon|UK Heavenly Records (2001 - 2006)
URL = [ The Vines Official Website]
Current_members = Craig Nicholls
Ryan Griffiths
Hamish Rosser
Brad Heald
Past_members = David Oliffe
Patrick Matthews

The Vines are an Australian garage rock band notable for producing a musical hybrid of '60s rock and '90s alternative music. Since 2006 their line-up has consisted of vocalist and lead guitarist Craig Nicholls, rhythm guitarist Ryan Griffiths, bassist Brad Heald and drummer Hamish Rosser.

They appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in October 2002 (the first Australian band to do so since Men At Work in 1983) with the words "Rock is Back: meet the Vines" boldly emblazed underneath.cite web|url=|title=The Vines|work=Craig Nicholls has all the makings of a rock star|date=August 6, 2002|accessdate=2008-04-13|author=Sheffield, Rob|publisher=Rolling Stone Magazine] Often referred to as the 'The' bands, The Strokes, The Hives, The White Stripes and The Vines combined old fashioned punk and adrenaline fuelled riffs to be ushered in at the beginning of 2002 as the saviours of rock.cite web|url=|title=Retro rock rules airwaves|work=Bands like The Hives and The Strokes are proclaimed rock saviors|date=February 13, 2003|accessdate=2008-04-13|author=Schlauch, Jeff|publisher=The Equinox]

The Vines have been moderately successful in the Australian recording industry, winning an ARIA in 2002 for Breakthrough Artist and receiving nominations for six other awards in as many years.cite web|url=|title=ARIA Awards 2002|date=June 06, 2002|publisher=Australian Recording Industry Association|accessdate=2008-04-14] In 2003, their debut album "Highly Evolved" went double platinum in their home country of Australia,cite web|url=|title=ARIA Charts Accreditations 2003|date=January 20, 2004|publisher=Australian Recording Industry Association|accessdate=2008-04-14] and since then the band has released three albums and a "Best-Of" compilation from their time at Capitol Records. They finished working on the new album "Melodia" in March 2008 which was released on July 12 2008 in Australia.cite web|url=|title=The Vines Go WIth He's A Rocker|date=April 03, 2008||accessdate=2008-04-14|author=O'Gorman, Ross|] , in the UK on July 14, and in the USA on July 22.


Formation and early years (1994 - 2000)

The original line-up of the Vines came together in urban Sydney in 1994 when Craig Nicholls and Patrick Matthews met whilst working at their local McDonald's. They began playing together, with Nicholls on guitar and vocals and Matthews on bass. They were soon joined by Matthews' school friend David Oliffe on drums.cite web|url=|title=The Vines - guest program||accessdate=2008-04-13] The band was originally named by Nicholls as Rishikeshcite web|url=|title=Brief Article - Interview|work=Matt Diehl speaks to Craig Nicholls and Patrick Matthews|date=September 23, 2002|accessdate=2008-04-13|author=Diehl, Matt|publisher=Brant Publications, Inc] , pertaining to a place in India where his favourite band The Beatles had visited. The local newspapers always misprinted the name as 'Rishi Chasms', so he decided to rename the band The Vines. This was a reference to Nicholls' father's frontman lead in a local Elvis cover-band called The Vynes. They started performing Nirvana covers at backyard parties while developing a sound of their own with Nicholls' four-track recorder.

During the next few years, The Vines gigged infrequently and remained relatively unknown in their hometown, yet by the beginning of 2001 they had amassed a repertoire of over thirty songs. When their demo landed at XL Recordings (U.K. home to artists such as The White Stripes, Basement Jaxx and The Prodigy), XL was quick to put out what was to be their first single, Factory, as a limited seven-inch EP and it soon became NME's Single of the Week in November 2001.cite web|url=|title=Singles of the Week from 2001|publisher=NME|accessdate=2008-04-14]

"Highly Evolved," fame and critical acclaim (2001 - 2003)

In July 2001 the band flew to Los Angeles to start recording their debut album, "Highly Evolved", with Rob Schnapf who had worked with the Foo Fighters, Beck and Elliott Smith. Recording was put on hold soon after, as funds ran low. David Oliffe decided to leave Los Angeles and return to Australia, due to the fast pace of events and pressure of recording. Recording continued a few months later as a result of increasing record company interest, and band had session drummers fill in including Joey Waronker of R.E.M.. Once back in Australia, they started advertising for a new drummer in late 2001. Soon after, they recruited Hamish Rosser on drums and Nicholls' best friend Ryan Griffiths on acoustic guitar.

Their first single "Factory", released in November 2001, attracted little interest in Australia. It got a good response in the United Kingdom, with the NME hyping the first outing from the Vines as garage rock "of the oldest school."cite web|url=|title=|work=NME article about the Vines' first single.|date=October 30, 2001|accessdate=2008-04-17|author=Robinson, John|publisher=New Musical Express] Record companies were still only considering the release of another EP, however Nicholls was adamant about making a full-length album, and went seeking record companies overseas. The Vines were eventually signed to Heavenly Records in the UK in December 2001 and EMI in Australia in April 2002. The single "Highly Evolved" earned them more critical hype as "NME" made it a single of the week in March 2002 [cite web|url=| title=2002 NME Single of the Week Chart|publisher=NME Magazine|accessdate=2008-04-14] . That single also charted in the UK at #32 on the singles chart and also in Australia's ARIAnet top 100 singles chart.

The release of the album saw more critical success with the band appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone and NME. The album debuted at #3 in the UK's albums chart, #5 in Australia's ARIAnet albums chart, and #11 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 albums chart. The band played high-profile slots on The Late Show with David Letterman [cite web|url=|title=Vines in a tangle|publisher=Sydney Morning Herald|accessdate=2008-04-14] and the MTV Video Music Awards. A few more singles were released from the album, including "Get Free" and "Outtathaway!". A fourth single, "Homesick", was released in Australia only. The band went on to win an ARIA Award for "Breakthrough Artist" for their single Get Free in 2003, and were also nominated for "Best Group," "Best Rock Album," "Best Cover Art" and "Breakthrough Artist - Album." "Highly Evolved" sold 1.5 million copies throughout the world with distribution through Capitol Records.cite web|url=|title=Whither the Vines|publisher=The Age|accessdate=2008-04-14]

sample box endIn May 2003, the band went into a studio in Woodstock, New York with Rob Schnapf again on production. While Craig Nicholls had talked of having a highly produced album, he told the Australian edition of Rolling Stone in March 2004 that they decided to stick to a less-is-more philosophy. "I wanted it to be - in my head - something grand, with big ideas and that vision sort of thing. But at the same time, that doesn't mean that something can't be special if it's just simple. Because I think that the songs are the main thing". [cite news|title=Winning Days|publisher="Rolling Stone Magazine (Australian Edition)"|date=March 2004]

"Winning Days" (2004 - 2005)

Their second album, "Winning Days", was released on March 29, 2004 and debuted at #7 in Australia, #23 in the US and #29 in the UK. The Vines had recently finished their "Australian Invasion" tour with Jet and The Living End, which started on March 11, 2004 in Houston, Texas. "Ride" was the first single off the album, and a second single off the album, the title track "Winning Days" was released in Australia (where it did not chart) and the UK. There was speculation that "Animal Machine" would have been the next American single, and early American promotional flats for the album note this. However, there was no American follow-up to "Ride". "Ride" was featured on a Nissan Cars commercial and an iPod commercial in the US in 2005.cite web|url=|title=Songs from the iPod Commercials||accessdate=2008-04-13] . "Ride" was also featured on season one of the hit FOX show The O.C. The Vines were also featured in The WB television network's image campaign for the 2004-2005 ratings season.

After the conclusion of the "Winning Days" tour, the band found itself in harder times. "Winning Days" had not lived up to the success of "Highly Evolved", and had gotten a lukewarm reception from both critics and audiences outside their diehard group of fans. Lead singer Craig Nicholls was becoming increasingly erratic, and had to be barred from doing media interviews after several bad experiences on the American tour.

This came to a head in late May 2004, when bassist Patrick Matthews walked off stage, after Craig shouted at the crowd, calling them sheep, in frustration after repeatedly asking the crowd to stop talking during the first song of a radio promotion performance for national station Triple M at the Annandale Hotel in Sydney. In the aftermath, Nicholls assaulted a photographer, and charges were pressed. Triple M also permanently banned The Vines from airplay on their network (ironically they hardly ever played music by The Vines and the following week the song "Ride" appeared on the "Planet Rock" countdown aired through the Triple M network). After the incident the band's management stated that the Vines would cease touring in support of "Winning Days", but would record another album.

"Vision Valley" and a return to the stage (2006 - 2007)

In mid 2005, the group announced they were working on their third album with producer Wayne Connolly. Andy Kent of fellow Australians You Am I filled in on bass playing duties.In November, the band's management announced they had finished recording all the songs that would appear on the album. Mixing and mastering of the tracks commenced January 2006. In mid December 2005, it was discovered that one of the songs from the album had been leaked. Although the song was as-of-yet untitled and unfinished, it contained guide vocals and instruments. The band's manager asked for the song to be taken down from the blog it was found on, and drummer Hamish Rosser also issued a statement on the band's fan club forum asking fans not to post or distribute the song on the internet.

"Don't Listen to the Radio" was released as the album's first single and was made available for digital download on March 7th on iTunes. The song was also used on the soundtrack for the video game, FlatOut 2. "Gross Out" was made available for digital download on March 18th, and was the first song leaked from the album. "Vision Valley" was released on April 1, 2006 in Australia, April 3 in Europe and April 4 in the United States.

"Vision Valley" was packed full of short, immediate songs; the album running little over 30 minutes in length. "Anysound" was the second official single from the album, and an animated music video was released exclusively through YouTube. "Dope Train" was released as a third single, with a music video composed of candid and live footage of the band from Big Day Out in 2007.

On July 19, 2006 The Vines played a gig at the Annandale Hotel under the name "Joe Dirt" with a new bassist, Brad Heald. Former bassist Patrick Matthews now plays for Australian alternative band Youth Group. They announced to their official fan club website, Dreamin The Insane, that they are ready to perform again and are going to schedule shows "any day now."

On the 23rd of July the band appeared as a mystery guest at the Splendour in the Grass festival, Byron Bay. September 2006 saw The Vines perform at their own shows for the first time in two years. The Vines played in two venues in Sydney and Melbourne. All shows at both venues sold out.

The Vines played in the Big Top as part of the Homebake festival in December 2006. In early February 2007, the band completed their Big Day Out performances to strong and positive press reviews. As part of their set for the Big Day Out tour, The Vines performed a cover of an OutKast song, "So Fresh, So Clean". Frontman Craig Nicholls praised the audience and fans throughout the festival tour, thanking them for "sticking with the band" during the tough times the band had faced preceding the incident at the Annandale Hotel on May 14, 2004.

The Vines were headlining a small series of gigs at the Metro Theatre in November. These were celebrating the 10th anniversary of Ivy League Records, and played also see a number of the company's new and upcoming talents such as Josh Pyke, The Red Riders and Hoolahan.

"Melodia" (2008 - present)

After signing with Ivy League Records and leaving Capitol Records, The Vines returned to the studio in mid-November 2007, with Highly Evolved and Winning Days producer Rob Schnapf in Los Angeles to begin recording of their fourth studio album, "Melodia".

Bass and Drum track recording for 15 songs that may see inclusion on the fourth album were completed in December 2007 during a 5 day recording stint. In March 2008 the NME reported that The Vines fourth studio album had been completed during the week beginning 3 March 2008, with a tentative release date in June, 2008 for Australia. Front man, Craig Nicholls states five major labels from the United States have gone into their recording studio to have a listen to the album. He followed his statement up by saying they liked what they heard. He did not say what the labels in question were.fact|date=September 2008

In an interview on the 25 March 2008, Craig Nicholls told Guitar World magazine that The Vines will be doing a small European tour before returning to the studio to finish mixing the upcoming 2008 release. He mentioned that the tour will be called the "Braindead 08 Tour". In Australia the first single will be "He's a Rocker.", which will possibly be released in the last week of June.

In an interview at the MTV Australia Awards red carpet, Nicholls said that their next album would be probably released on 12 July.cite web|url=|title=MTV AA 2008 Red Carpet|author=MTV Australia|accessdate=2008-04-26]

On 23 May 2008, it was announced that The Vines' new album was to be released on 12 July and be titled 'Melodia'. The first single, 'He's A Rocker', was released on itunes on 3 June along with two bonus tracks.Considering their recent US appearances in relatively small venues and at the South By South West new music festival and quotes from Craig Nicholls in recent interviews, The Vines are expected to play a small European tour around the time of the album release, a larger one probably to follow sometime after the album release when it has had time to build up some momentum.fact|date=September 2008

Musical style

The Vines' musical style can generally be categorised as alternative/garage rock, yet they are band which often defies classification. On their debut album alone, the eclectic talents of the band can be seen from the punk ska of "Factory" to the neo-psychedelic Beatles-eqsue "1969." Much of the band's early grunge sound can be attributed to their humble beginnings as a Nirvana cover band. Nicholls' high energy punk riffs and the bands’ raw sound also draw influence from American lo-fi rockers Pavement and Beck. Additionally influenced by 60s psych and 70s punk, Nicholls and the band create a sound that they can call their own.

The Vines' second album, "Winning Days" presented a different side of the band. No sooner had they finished their lengthy tour, they wearily boarded a plane to record their sophomore album. On "Winning Days", ex-bassist Matthews believed that it was a step in a different direction for the band. "The themes are more introspective and less wild rock'n'roll." Nicholls’ continues to push the limits of his vocal ability; his distinct "vocal wail" contrasting his "seductive melodic curls"cite web|url= |title=Winning Days|work=Winning Days – A review of the album|date=April 01, 2004|accessdate=2008-04-16|author=Fricke, David|publisher=Rolling Stone Magazine.] that shows he has matured in the two years since ‘Highly Evolved.’

"Vision Valley" shows a "back to basics" approach, with independence inside and outside the recording studio. No longer bound to strict contracts, the band was able to cope with Nicholls' condition and record a record with the utmost freedom.


Upon the release of their debut album, The Vines were hailed as “the second coming of Nirvana" by the British press; their post-grunge/garage sound was reminiscent of the Seattle scene circa ’91, and Nicholls' erratic on stage behaviour, heavy drug use and raw vocals drew comparisons between him and Kurt Cobain.cite web|url=|title=Highly Evolved: Track Reviews|work=Our single of the week is a record you must own...|date=April 15, 2004|accessdate=2008-04-16|author=Oldham, James|publisher=New Musical Express] cite web|url= |title=Vines Show Growth|work=Craig The Prolific Australian Bad Boys Move Beyond Rawk With Their Second Recording, Winning Days|date=April 15, 2004|accessdate=2008-04-16|author=Usinger, Mike|, Vancouver’s source for music.] cite web|url= |title=Fruit of the Vines|work=From the party and pub scene of Sydney, Peter Holmes tracks our climbing Vines. |date=July 30, 2002|accessdate=2008-04-16|author=Holmes, Peter|publisher= The Sun-Herald] "Highly Evolved", became a huge success and their accompanying live shows in the early years were praised as "electrifying" and "sensational".cite web|url=|title=The Vines: Brighton Freebutt|work=Without question, The Vines are going to be this year's Strokes...|date=July 30, 2002|accessdate=2008-04-17|author=Oldham, James|publisher=New Musical Express]

Yet it was as if they peaked a little too soon. Critical reactions to 2004's "Winning Days" were varied at best. Described as being "nothing more than boring and harmlessly vapid" yet showing "only mild promise" by "Pitchfork Record Review's" Chris Ott,cite web|url=|title=Winning Days|work=A review of the album|date=April 14, 2004|accessdate=2008-04-17|author=Ott, Chris|publisher=Pitchfork Media] yet "Rolling Stone's" Fricke said "it was a leap forward in style and frenzy."


Studio albums

* 2002: "Highly Evolved"
* 2004: "Winning Days"
* 2006: "Vision Valley"
* 2008: "Melodia"


* 2001: "Hot Leather/Sunchild"
* 2001: "Factory"
* 2002: "Highly Evolved"
* 2002: "Get Free"
* 2002: "Outtathaway!"
* 2003: "Homesick"
* 2003: "Fuck the World"
* 2004: "Ride"
* 2004: "Winning Days"
* 2006: "Gross Out (Radio Promo Only)"
* 2006: "Don't Listen to the Radio"
* 2006: "Anysound"
* 2007: "Dope Train (Video Promo Only)"
* 2008: "He's a Rocker"
* 2008: "Get Out"

Live recordings, compilations and demos

* 2001: "Five Track Demo / Six Track Demo"
* 2001: "Mixes"
* 2002: "This is Not the Vines Album"
* 2002: "College EP"
* 2008: "The Best of the Vines"


External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Myspace page]
* [ Official Fan Club]

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