If Melbourne, Australia’s Jet are trying to shake comparisons to countrymates AC/DC, releasing “Cold Hard Bitch” as their next single might not be such a good move.
The track, which will go to radio early next year, features abrupt stabs of guitar and lines like “Cold hard bitch, just a kiss on the lips/ And I was on my knees/ I’m waiting.”
Clearly it’s far from a political rally song, summing up Jet’s motivations and musical direction in one mindless breath. “It’s not meant to be lyrically inspiring,” singer/guitarist Cameron Muncey said. “It’s just a fun, stupid rock song.”
“Cold Hard Bitch” was the first song Jet ever wrote, surfacing from a jam session more than seven years ago. At the time, the group wasn’t really even a group, and the primitive arrangement and spontaneity of the musicians gives the song a fresh, spirited vibe. “Someone just had a riff, so we based the whole song around it,” guitarist Nic Cester said.
Back then, the band was on the verge of starvation. Muncey was so poor that when he wanted to hear music he would steal CDs at parties, then go to a record store to swipe the jewel cases (in Australia, most stores display only the cases and keep the discs behind the counter to prevent theft).
These days, Jet are starting to take off. Their debut album, Get Born, is selling well; their first single, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” has been embraced by rock radio and Apple Computer (it appears in an iPod commercial); and the band recently played on “Saturday Night Live.” But Jet aren’t striving for world domination. They’re in it for the music … and the frogs.
“I just want to have enough money to get a tank to get tadpoles and produce quality frogs,” joked Cester. “There’s a real lack of quality frogs at the moment.”
The guys aren’t so jovial about everything. They’re especially sour about being compared to the Strokes — especially since the New York hipsters have made some disparaging remarks about them in the press, including the comment to Rolling Stone: “Jet makes me not want to make music.”
“They have lost any credibility from me,” drummer Chris Cester said. “I think they made a pretty good record, but I can’t listen to it anymore because I don’t really dig ‘em anymore [as people].”
None of the songs on Get Born are new. Not only do they sound like they were written in the ’60s or ’70s, they were recorded and re-recorded by Jet on various demos over the past five years. The band just never had the cash to create a high-quality recording.
“We were very unhappy and frustrated because we had the material but we couldn’t really do anything about it,” Muncey said. “So when we got signed, we realized that this was a chance to really do it right, so we took our time to make sure we didn’t f— this one up as well.”
Jet worked on Get Born with producer Dave Sardy (Helmet, Orange 9mm), who helped them create a sound that combined the styles and tones of the Strokes, AC/DC, Oasis and the Rolling Stones. But in the process of recording, Jet sometimes found it hard to maintain enthusiasm.
“When you’re playing your songs onstage, you’ve got the energy of the crowd, so you can play everything with feeling,” Muncey said. “You’ve played the songs for years and it’s sometimes hard to get into it.”
“There were several times where it was late and we’d been in the studio all day, and were just trying to get one more take finished, and Sardy said to us, ‘It sounds like you’ve played it 20,000 times,’ ” Nic Cester recalled. “And I said, ‘Yeah, I have.’ And he said, ‘I know, but you can’t let everyone else know that.’ ”
That’s why Jet are looking forward to working on the follow-up. Cester has riffs for five new songs, but the band will likely wait until it hits the studio to put the tunes together. “It’s gonna be so much fun because all the songs are gonna be totally new,” Cester said. “Maybe we’ll make this one more of a spontaneous studio album — just get in there and see what happens.”