Sex, drugs, rock’n’roll? If only it were that simple. Despite the influence of ’70s and ’80s bands like The Clash, The 101ers and Primal Scream on the look and feel of Melbourne rockers The Delta Riggs, there’s much more to them, according to bassist Michael ‘Monty’ Tramonte.
“Although we do have sex, take drugs and play rock’n’roll, we’re pretty tame,” he says. “We’re not actually very wild – we’re not one of those kind of bands.”
In general, The Delta Riggs try not to take themselves too seriously – at the end of the day, they’re all just mates hanging out, and that’s what they find most exciting about creating music together. But don’t be fooled – though they are certainly laid-back and humble, the Riggs have had some amazing opportunities thrust upon them. They’ve joined forces on tour with Kasabian, Foo Fighters, and even met Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page by chance backstage at one of their shows.
Tramonte is still in awe of touring with a band like the Foo Fighters, as the Riggs did in February and March this year, and can hardly believe they were given the opportunity. “The touring on that level was just ridiculous,” he recalls. “It was so well-oiled, there were so many crew involved, it was just amazing. You can do that forever, that kind of style of touring – you wouldn’t get sick of it.”
But Tramonte also holds memories of the 2014 tour with Kasabian very dear, listing it as one of his favourites so far because of how at ease the headliners made their counterparts feel.
“They kind of reminded us of us, in a way! They were just a bunch of really great mates, and got all personal. They were silly – like they carry on with a bunch of really silly stuff.”
Indeed, The Delta Riggs can be pretty silly too. Though the name of their second album, Dipz Zebazios, was intended to be left open for interpretation, Tramonte admits there is a bit of a story behind it.
“Dipz Zebazios is a person that’s like the god of celebrities. He’s pulling all the puppet strings and he’s up in the clouds, and the name just came from our artist friend who had a piece of artwork that had a title that was similar. Then there was a pile of dips next to it, like Jatz and dips, so we were like, ‘Dipz Zebazios’! It’s kind of silly – we’re a silly band. People think we’re really serious, but we’re not!”
It’s this quirkiness that gives the band its spark. Though there’s a wide spread of musical interests in the group, like hip hop, punk and alternative, different sounds get meshed together in the writing process and it all comes together to form a united sound.
“It obviously has to end up sounding cohesive, like we are the same band, which I think we do quite well in the end,” says Tramonte. “We’ve got those punk songs, and rock’n’roll songs, and just kind of groovy songs and stuff, but it all sounds like the same band.”
For Record Store Day in April, the band put out a new collection, Dipz From The Zong. Again, the Riggs made the name of the mini-album an in-joke – they were listening to Cyprus Hill’s Hits From The Bong on tour and figured they should pay tribute. Despite the fact Dipz Zebazios was still fresh on the scene, the choice to follow it up so quickly was inspired by the likes of Kurt Vile and The War On Drugs, who’ve similarly released extra tracks after an album and given a platform to songs that didn’t quite make the initial cut.
“There was a couple [of songs] that were looming but didn’t really fit, but were still kind of cool and weird,” Tramonte explains. “There’s this fucking turbo song on there – ‘3D Jetfighter’ – it’s this crazy song! And there’s a song on there called ‘Hey Victor’ that just didn’t fit on that record at that time, and it was just a good excuse.”
The Delta Riggs will be playing at Wollongong’s Yours & Owls Festival in October alongside the likes of The Rubens, Gang Of Youths and more Aussie rock acts. After appearances at Groovin The Moo and Splendour In The Grass earlier this year, the Riggs have made their way all around the festival circuit, and are sure to bring their best once again.
“Groovin The Moo was just an amazing festival – we saw all our friends, like the DMA’s and The Preatures, and we became really good friends with Sticky Fingers,” says Tramonte. “That was a great family vibe festival.”
But as much as they love hanging out, The Delta Riggs really are all about transporting people through their music.
“I just hope that we can kind of take people away from the mundane, their everyday lives,” Tramonte says. “Like you’re with us for an hour, and that’s all that matters right now.”
The Delta Riggs appear at Yours & Owls Festival, with the likes of The Preatures, Cloud Control, The Rubens and Gang Of Youths, at Stuart Park, North Wollongong, Friday October 2 – Sunday October 4. Dipz From The Zong is out now through Inertia.