The Vines (band)

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The Vines
CraigNicholls Chicago04.jpg
Craig Nicholls in 2004
Background information
Also known as Rishikesh, Joe Dirt, Foregone Conclusion, The Crimes
Origin Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Genres Alternative rock, garage rock, indie rock, neo-psychedelia, garage punk, post-grunge
Years active 1994–present
Labels Wicked Nature Music, Capitol, Heavenly, Ivy League, BMG, Cooking Vinyl, Sony Music
Members Craig Nicholls
Lachlan West
Tim John
Past members David Oliffe
Patrick Matthews
Ryan Griffiths
Brad Heald
Hamish Rosser

The Vines are an Australian rock band formed in 1994 in Sydney. Their sound has been described as a musical hybrid of 1960s garage rock and 1990s alternative rock. The band's current line-up consists of vocalist and guitarist Craig Nicholls, bass guitarist Tim John and drummer Lachlan West.

The Vines' success in the Australian recording industry resulted in winning an ARIA Award in 2002, 'Breakthrough Artist – Single', for "Get Free" and receiving five other nominations for their debut album Highly Evolved, plus two further nominations in subsequent years. In 2003, the album went platinum in Australia,[1] and since then the band has released four albums and a best-of compilation from their time at Capitol Records. The Vines have released six studio albums to date.


Formation and early years (1994–2000)[edit]

The original line-up of Rishikesh formed in Sydney in 1994 when vocalist and lead guitarist Craig Nicholls and bass guitarist Patrick Matthews met whilst working at their local McDonald's in the suburb of South Hurstville, New South Wales. They were soon joined by Matthews' school friend David Olliffe on drums.[2] The name "Rishikesh", suggested by Olliffe, refers to the Indian city where The Beatles visited an ashram in 1968.[3] The local newspapers regularly misprinted the name as "Rishi Chasms", so Nicholls suggested a new name, "The Vines", as a homage to his father, who fronted a local band called The Vynes. The group started performing Nirvana and You Am I covers at backyard parties while developing their sound on Nicholls' four-track recorder.[3]

Over the next few years, The Vines gigged infrequently and remained relatively unknown, even in their hometown, yet by the beginning of 2001 they had amassed a repertoire of over thirty songs.[2] On the strength of their demo, Rex Records put out what was to be their first single, "Factory", as a limited seven-inch single. The release became NME's Single of the Week in November 2001.[4]

Highly Evolved, fame, and critical acclaim (2001–2003)[edit]

Main article: Highly Evolved

In July 2001, the band flew to Los Angeles to start recording their debut album, Highly Evolved, with Rob Schnapf. Recording was put on hold soon after, as funds ran low.[citation needed] David Olliffe decided to leave Los Angeles and return to Australia, due to the fast pace of events and pressure of recording.[citation needed] Recording continued a few months later as a result of increasing record company interest, and the 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.[citation needed] Soon after, they recruited Hamish Rosser on drums and Nicholls' friend Ryan Griffiths on acoustic guitar.[citation needed]

Their debut single, "Factory" was released in November 2001 in the UK and gained a good response in the press, with the NME describing their garage rock sound as "of the oldest school".[5] The band then 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 acclaim as NME made it a single of the week in March 2002.[6] The single charted in the UK at number 32 on the singles chart and on Australia's ARIAnet top 100 singles chart.

The band 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 emblazoned underneath.[7] 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 "saviors of rock".[8]

The release of the album saw more critical success, with the band appearing on the cover of NME. The album debuted at number 3 in the UK's albums chart,[citation needed] number 5 in Australia's ARIAnet albums chart,[citation needed] and number 11 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 albums chart.[9][10] The band played high-profile slots on the Late Show with David Letterman[11] and the MTV Video Music Awards. Several 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, 'Breakthrough Artist – Single', for "Get Free" in 2002, and were nominated for "Best Group", "Best Rock Album", "Best Cover Art", and "Breakthrough Artist – Album".[12] Highly Evolved sold 1.5 million copies throughout the world with distribution through Capitol Records.[13] By end of 2003, the album went platinum in Australia.[1]

"Get Free" from The Vines' debut album Highly Evolved.

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In 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".[14]

Winning Days (2004–2005)[edit]

Main article: Winning Days
The Vines, Camden Electric Ballroom, 19 February 2004

Their second album, Winning Days, was released on 29 March 2004 and debuted at number 7 in Australia,[citation needed] number 23 in the US,[9][10] and number 29 in the UK.[citation needed] The Vines had recently finished their "Australian Invasion" tour with Jet and The Living End, which started on 11 March 2004 in Houston, Texas.[citation needed] "Ride" and "Winning Days" were released as singles in Australia (where they 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.[citation needed] However, there was no American follow-up to "Ride". The song was featured on a Nissan car commercial and an iPod commercial in the US in 2005, and was featured on season one of the FOX show The O.C..[citation needed] The Vines were featured in the Warner Bros. television network's image campaign for the 2004–2005 season.[citation needed]

After the conclusion of the Winning Days tour, the band found itself in difficulty. Winning Days had not lived up to the success of Highly Evolved, and had received a generally lukewarm reception from both critics and audiences. Lead singer Nicholls was becoming increasingly erratic, and had to be barred from doing media interviews after several bad experiences on the American tour.[citation needed]

Things came to a head in late May 2004 during a performance for national station Triple M at the Annandale Hotel in Sydney, 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.[citation needed] In the aftermath, Nicholls assaulted a photographer, and charges were pressed.[citation needed] Matthews subsequently left the band.[citation needed] After the incident the band's management stated that The Vines would cease touring in support of Winning Days and would record another studio album.[citation needed]

Vision Valley and a return to the stage (2006–2007)[edit]

Main article: Vision Valley

In mid-2005, the group announced they were working on their third album, with producer Wayne Connolly. Andy Kent of fellow Australian band You Am I filled in on bass playing duties. In November of that year, 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 in January 2006.[citation needed] In mid-December 2005, the song "Gross Out" was leaked onto the internet. Although the song was as yet untitled and unfinished, it contained guide vocals and instruments.[citation needed] The band's manager asked for the song to be taken down from the blog it was found on, and drummer Hamish Rosser issued a statement on the band's fan club forum asking fans not to post or distribute the song on the internet.[citation needed]

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

Vision Valley consisted 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 live footage of the band from Big Day Out in 2007.

On 19 July 2006, The Vines played a gig at the Annandale Hotel under the name "Joe Dirt", with a new bassist, Brad Heald, after former bassist Patrick Matthews departed the group. They announced to their official fan club website, Dreamin the Insane, that they were ready to perform again and were going to schedule shows "any day now".[citation needed]

On 23 July, the band appeared as a mystery guest at the Splendour in the Grass festival, Byron Bay.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

The Vines played in the Big Top as part of the Homebake festival in December 2006.[citation needed] In early February 2007, the band completed their Big Day Out performances to strong and positive press reviews.[citation needed] 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 14 May 2004.[citation needed]

Melodia (2008)[edit]

Main article: Melodia (album)

After the limited commercial success of Vision Valley, The Vines were subsequently dropped by their record labels Capitol Records, EMI, and Heavenly Records in mid-2007. All of the labels are owned by EMI, which was bought out by Terra Firma Capital Partners in mid-2007. The new owners restructured the label and dropped bands from their roster that they considered to be underperforming in the album sales department.[citation needed] Shortly after, however, the band was picked up by Ivy League Records, run by Winterman & Goldstein, for an Australian record deal.[citation needed]

Once a budget was finalised by Ivy League Records for their forthcoming album, The Vines returned to the recording studio in mid-November 2007 with Highly Evolved and Winning Days producer Rob Schnapf in Los Angeles to begin recording their upcoming album.[citation needed]

Bass and drum track recordings for 15 songs that were considered for inclusion on the forthcoming album were completed in December 2007 during a 5-day recording stint.[citation needed] In March 2008, NME reported that The Vines' fourth studio album had been completed during the week of 3 March 2008 to 10 March 2008, with a tentative release date of June 2008.[citation needed]

After completing Melodia in early March, The Vines played the South By South West festival in Austin, Texas, showcasing new material.[citation needed] They played small venues during this time.

On 23 May 2008, it was announced officially that The Vines' new album was to be released on 12 July and would be titled "Melodia".[citation needed] The first single preceding the release was to be "He's a Rocker", which was released through iTunes on 3 June 2008 along with two bonus tracks. "MerryGoRound" was released as a follow-up single for radio airplay in Australia during August 2008. "MerryGoRound" only received support and backing from Triple J radio. "Get Out" was released as the third single from Melodia in September 2008 for radio airplay, and a music video was released to coincide with the release of "Get Out" as a single by Ivy League Records on YouTube. "Get Out" was featured on the in-game soundtrack of Midnight Club: Los Angeles released in late October 2008 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 gaming platforms.[citation needed]

In October 2008, The Vines commenced a national Australian tour in support of Melodia, playing small venues across major cities throughout Australia, including The Metro Theatre (Sydney), ANU Bar (Canberra), The HiFi Bar (Melbourne), The Great Northern Bar (Byron Bay), The Tivoli (Brisbane), The Governor Hindmarsh (Adelaide), and The Rosemount Hotel (Perth).[citation needed]

In November 2008, The Vines were announced as being part of the line-up for the 2009 Australian Big Day Out, but on 14 November the band cancelled all forthcoming live appearances, including Homebake 2008 and their Japanese tour, citing the deterioration of Nicholls' mental health during the course of their October tour in Australia as the reason.[citation needed]

Future Primitive and Departure of Griffiths and Rosser (2009–2012)[edit]

In early 2009, photos surfaced on The Vines' official forum showing Nicholls "recording demos for the new album". The photos, posted by Nicholls' sister, show Craig with an acoustic guitar and what appears to be a 4-track cassette recorder.[15]

On 14 November 2009, The Vines played at the Annandale Hotel, under the alias of The Crimes. They had a support slot with You Am I, playing their back catalogue and a new song from an album due in 2011.[16]

The Vines officially stepped out of pre-production and started to record their fifth studio album in February 2010. The album recording was completely finished in mid-March, with mixing taking place in Sydney at the end of March and mastering taking place in early April.[citation needed]

The band played a number of gigs during 2010, including a set at the Annandale Hotel on 23 June where they debuted new songs "Future Primitive", "Gimme Love", and "Black Dragon". They also played Splendour in the Grass on 1 August and Singfest, a Singapore music festival on 5 August. At the start of September, they supported Powderfinger at the first four shows of their farewell tour.

A music video for "Gimme Love" wrapped filming on 1 March 2011, with the completed video surfacing online through YouTube on 27 March. The music video pays homage to the 2010 film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

It's cool that we're still together and that we got through it all, all the hard times and all the ups and downs. I know a lot of other bands have split, but I guess I just don't know what else I would do if I wasn't doing this.
Craig Nicholls May 2011.[17]

Over a year after its completion, Future Primitive received an official release date through The Daily Telegraph on 3 June 2011. Because The Vines did not have a label at the time of recording, the band members funded the album's recording themselves. Upon the album's completion, the band approached various record labels to see if any were interested in signing the band for its release, explaining the year-long delay between recording and release.

In May 2011, The Vines played on-stage with The Dandy Warhols at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney for the song "It's a Fast-Driving Rave-Up with The Dandy Warhols".[18] The two bands had previously had dinner at the Warhols' studio The Odditorium in 2004, along with the bands Jet and The Strokes.[19]

In an interview with Music Feeds at Splendour in the Grass 2011, Nicholls talked about a late 2011 or early 2012 release date for their still unnamed sixth album.[20] On 26 November 2011, rumours on the band's Facebook page suggested that the band had "pushed out" two of its members. At the 2011 Homebake music festival, The Vines emerged on the main-stage as a three piece, consisting of Nicholls, Heald and drummer Murray Sheridan. The departure of both Griffiths and Rosser was confirmed by Channel V presenter Jane Gazzo, who wrote that the two had been "sacked" in a Twitter post.[21]

Craig's sister, Jess Nicholls, also confirmed their departure via the band's official forum.[22] "If any of you were at Homebake yesterday, I'm sure you can agree the set was amazing and sounded better than ever," she wrote. "The band has made a creative decision to revert back to a three piece, as they originally started. I know you will probably have a lot of questions but just wanted to say don't fear, this is in no way the end of The Vines!!" Nicholls, Heald and Sheridan performed again at Southbound music festival in Perth on 8 January 2012.

On 16 March 2012, Rosser announced that he had joined Australian rock band Wolfmother, as their new drummer, on the Faster Louder website. He also claimed that the band had "broken up," although "Craig [Nicholls] will always write great music in the future and he may choose to carry on under The Vines’ name."[23]

Wicked Nature (2012–present)[edit]

On 30 March 2012, The Vines' Facebook page changed its profile picture to a single previously unseen promotional photo of Nicholls, implying that he was the only remaining member of the band.[24] Heald confirmed his departure from the band in 2012. A new line-up, consisting of Nicholls, drummer Lachlan West and bassist Tim John, entered the studio to record their sixth album on 20 August 2012 in Sydney's 301 Studio and completed the mixing of the album at the end of 2012.[25][26]

On 18 April 2013, the band's management, Parker & Mr French, announced via their Tumblr page that "the new record from The Vines is definitely on the way".[27] Additionally, "2013 has The Vines sixth album in the incubator and an announcement coming about a new and the first collaborative side project from Craig Nicholls." was written on the band's own section of the Parker & Mr French Tumblr page.[28]

West revealed in a June 2013 interview with his other band, Something With Numbers, that two producers have worked on the forthcoming Vines release. Paul McKercher produced the first half of the record and Lachlan Mitchell, who also produced the latest Something With Numbers record, worked on the second half based upon West's recommendation to Nicholls. The article also stated that the new Vines album was "due for release in the latter half of this year (2013)".[29] However, the year passed with no new material from the band or news as to when the album would be released.

On 3 June 2014, a new press shot featuring the new line-up was uploaded to the band's official Facebook page, as well as a new cover photo containing an updated version of the band's original logo.[30] According to a June 2014 Faster Louder article, in addition to the anticipated sixth album, a seventh album was recorded with the new line-up. The article also mentioned that Nicholls' collaborative side project, announced by the band's management in 2013, remains unreleased.[25]

At the beginning of July 2014, The Vines created a PledgeMusic page for their sixth record Wicked Nature, a double album which was released on 2 September 2014.[31] The lead single "Metal Zone" was released on July 14.[32] It's music video premiered on Noisy on July 11.

Musical style[edit]

"Factory", from 2002's Highly Evolved, demonstrates their ability to fuse unusual genres into a garage rock song.

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"Spaceship", from 2006's Vision Valley, highlights a matured sound and psychedelic riffs.

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The Vines' musical style can generally be categorised as a fusion of alternative rock and garage rock. Much of the band's early grunge sound can be attributed to their beginnings as a Nirvana cover band.[33][34]

Ex-bassist Matthews believed that Winning Days was a step in a different direction for the band. "The themes are more introspective and less wild rock'n'roll".[13] Their music also includes elements of neo-psychedelia.[36]


Upon the release of their debut album, The Vines were hailed as "the second coming of Nirvana" by the British press; their grungy sound was considered reminiscent of the Seattle scene circa 1991 and Nicholls' erratic on-stage behaviour and raw vocals drew comparisons between him and Kurt Cobain.[37][38][39] Highly Evolved became a huge success and their accompanying live shows in the early years were praised as "electrifying" and "sensational".[40]

Critical reactions to 2004's Winning Days were mixed. Pitchfork's Chris Ott described it as being "nothing more than boring and harmlessly vapid" and showing "only mild promise".[40] Conversely, Rolling Stone' David Fricke said it was "a leap forward in style and frenzy".[41]


In 2006, The Vines created a decorated heart card to benefit PETA.[42] In 2007, the group joined the organisation in calling for an end to Canada's seal hunt.[43]

Band members[edit]

Current members
  • Craig Nicholls – lead vocals, guitar (1994–present)
  • Lachlan West – drums (2012–present)
  • Tim John – bass (2012–present)
Former members
  • David Oliffe – drums (1994–2002)
  • Patrick Matthews – bass, backing vocals (1994–2004)
  • Hamish Rosser – drums, backing vocals (2002–2011)
  • Ryan Griffiths – guitar, backing vocals (2002–2011)
  • Brad Heald – bass, backing vocals (2006–2012)

Supporting Member:

  • Andy Kent - bass on "Vision Valley" album (2006)



Main article: The Vines discography

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2003 Albums". ARIA Charts. 20 January 2004. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "The Vines – Guest Program". 5 October 2002. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "The Vines – Guests and Specials – Rage – ABC Television". 30 July 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "NME 2001 lists". Archived from the original on 27 March 2008. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Robinson, John (30 October 2001). "The Vines : Factory". NME. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "2002 NME Single of the Week Chart". NME. Archived from the original on 25 March 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Sheffield, Rob (6 August 2002). "The Vines". Craig Nicholls has all the makings of a rock star. Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 13 April 2008. [dead link][dead link]
  8. ^ Schlauch, Jeff (13 February 2003). "Retro rock rules airwaves". Bands like The Hives and The Strokes are proclaimed rock saviors. The Equinox. Retrieved 13 April 2008. [dead link][dead link]
  9. ^ a b "The Vines Song Chart History". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "The Vines Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Vines in a tangle". Sydney Morning Herald. 5 June 2004. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  12. ^ "Artist: Vines The". ARIA Charts. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  13. ^ a b "Whither the Vines?". The Age (Melbourne). 22 May 2004. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  14. ^ "Winning Days". Rolling Stone (Australian Edition). March 2004. 
  15. ^ "Some new photos ...". 2 May 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "The Vines stage a comeback". 16 November 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "FUTURE PRIMITIVE". 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  18. ^ "The Dandy Warhols + The Vines – It's a Fast Driving Rave-Up". YouTube. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  19. ^ Sean Gothman (16 April 2004). "DIG! SF". Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  20. ^ Brayden Darke (3 August 2011). "The Vines New Album – Late This Year or Early Next Year Release?". Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  21. ^!/JaneGazzo/status/142810303825055745
  22. ^ "New members? – Page 2". Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  23. ^ "Vines drummer joins Wolfmother; claims The Vines have "broken up"". 16 March 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  24. ^ "Profile Pictures". Facebook. Retrieved 2012-09-17. 
  25. ^ a b tom mann (5 June 2014). "The Vines prepare for comeback, have two albums recorded". Faster Louder. Faster Louder Pty Ltd. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  26. ^ "Lachlan West Webstagram". Lachlan West. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  27. ^ "Parker & Mr French Tumblr". Parker & Mr French. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  28. ^ "Parker & Mr French Tumblr - The Vines". Parker & Mr French. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  29. ^ "Counting In the New". Michael Smith. 15 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  30. ^ "The Vines Official Facebook". The Vines. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  31. ^ "The Vines: Wicked Nature". PledgeMusic. 2 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  32. ^ "The Vines announce new double album". NME. 2 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  33. ^ Leahey, Andrew. "The Vines – Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  34. ^ "The Vines : Rhapsody". Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  35. ^ Phares, Heather. "Highly Evolved – The Vines : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  36. ^ Keene, Darrin (21 May 2002). "LIVE: The Vines". Archived from the original on 29 April 2003. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  37. ^ James Oldham (26 March 2002). "Vines: Highly Evolved". NME. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  38. ^ Mike Usinger (15 April 2004). "Vines Show Growth". Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  39. ^ "Fruit of The Vines". The Sun-Herald. 30 July 2002. 
  40. ^ a b  
  41. ^  
  42. ^ "Get Valentine's Day cards from The Vines and Franz!". 9 February 2006. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  43. ^ "Jet and the Vines Join PETA Against Seal Slaughter -". 15 May 2007. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 

External links[edit]