Michael Tramonte, otherwise known as Monte is one of eight owners of the Cambus Wallace, but he doesn’t spend much time there. He’s based in Sydney where he works in a creative agency doing “experiential weird brand activations”. He’s also the bassist for The Delta Riggs.
All four members of The Delta Riggs are from the Gold Coast but now live elsewhere, and one of them – Elliott Hammond – studied the Bachelor of Popular Music at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus.
They left the Gold Coast for Peats Ridge where they lived in a farm house for six months and “got silly” and now two of them are in Melbourne and two are in Sydney.
“We’re kind of like a mishmash Gypsy band,” Monte said.
2015 has been a big year for The Delta Riggs. When last we spoke they were on the longest road-trip supporting Kasabian through southern states, and just about to return to the Gold Coast for the Yellowood music festival. Since then they’ve sold out their own headlining album tour and supported both You Am I and Foo Fighters. Yes, Foo Fighters.
Scoring that gig came as a surprise to them as much as anyone else.
“We were in LA last October. We played CMJ in New York and then came back to LA to play one show on a Monday night. It was a ripper show – one of those club nights that was just full all the time,” Monte said.
“Then we flew home the next night. When we landed back in the country it was a Thursday and I turned my phone on and got all these notifications. People saying how great it was that we got the Foo Fighters support slot.”
But it wasn’t something they applied for or sought out. Someone from Foo Fighters’ management team happened to be at the show, saw them play, dialed it in, called up the promoter, said we want to take these guys on tour.
“That’s it. Just one of those random strokes of luck,” Monte said.
“We’re still kind of DIY,” Monte added. “We don’t have a record label or like big management companies or anything like that. And this whole last year’s been insane. It’s a testament to us being a hard working band. And it pays off.”
But of course 2015 was about much more than just the Foo Fighters. Monte said the band has had three or four overseas trips and recorded Dipz Zebazios. And adds that a new album will be recorded next month.
“We’ve been persistent and we’ve persevered. It’s a cool story but we still have a long way to go. It feels like it’s a good trajectory,” he said.
While we’re talking I explain that any silence at my end is due to me catching up on typing his answers to my questions and I let Monte know I was the schoolgirl typing champion at one of the Gold Coast typing competitions in the late 1980s. In response he tells me he was the Nintendo Australian champion in 1993.
“I still have a trophy,” he said. “I was like the wizard.”
“I’m not much of a gamer any more.”
The Delta Riggs produce a no-nonsense kind of rock and roll and, as Monte mentions above, will soon go into the studio to record album number three. I ask him if he thinks the recording process will be any different to Dipz Zebazios or their first long player Hex.Lover.Killer.
“No,” he answered quickly. “We’re at our biggest strength playing live. It’s just business as usual.”
He tells me the sound itself has evolved a little but he doesn’t “want to give too much away.”
“We’ll still have that Delta Riggs swagger, but another evolution from the last two. We’ve got a bunch of time too. I’m just psyched to get in there.”
The album is scheduled to be out mid year and Monte said that 2016 will be much of the same as previous years.
“We’ll probably go over to the States in late February / March but we have nothing too much planned. All the focus is on this record and getting that out over the course of the next six months or so.”
The Delta Riggs return to the Gold Coast for a January show at the Southport RSL, which is a venue they’ve never played. In fact for a Gold Coast band, they’ve only played a few venues here. Not surprising given their rock sound.
“The Cooly, elsewhere, Shark Bar,” Monte lists them. “We really need a new venue on the Gold Coast.”
“The worst thing the Gold Coast ever did was get rid of the Playroom,” he said. “It was in a good location, it had so much going for it. A dive bar, I used to see all the punk bands come through there and they just decided to mow it down. This one bit of culture we had and they just leave cars parked there.”
Few of their contemporaries could compete with the year The Delta Riggs have had. They’ve filled stadiums, supported one of the biggest bands in the world and now roll out their own Australian summer tour. It’s the final live hoorah before they hide away to record their third album.
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The Summer in Space tour will include a run of regional shows with The Belligerents, Wild Honey. The Delta Riggs will hit Southport RSL on 9 January. Tickets are $25 on the door. More at rslclubsouthport.com.au.