Despite their music’s inherent ability to get asses moving, you probably won’t find the members of Jet shaking their own bottoms on the dance floor, especially if the tunes are the result of a DJ simply spinning records.
So abhorrent was the DJ-culture craze of a few years back — far more prevalent in the U.K. and the band’s native Australia than it was Stateside — that it became the basis of “Rollover D.J.,” Jet’s latest single off their debut, Get Born.
“DJ superstars just turn records,” complained singer/guitarist Cameron Muncey. “They don’t even mix or scratch like hip-hop DJs.”
“Exactly, and they get paid thousands and thousands of dollars to do it,” chimed in drummer Chris Cester.
Thus Cester came up with the lines “I know you think you’re a star/ A pill-poppin’ jukebox is all that you are” and “I wanna move but I don’t feel right/ ‘Cause you’ve been playing other people’s songs all night.”
“It’s kind of irrelevant now because the whole dance-culture thing has kind of died since I wrote it, but ['Rollover D.J.'] is definitely an anti kind of statement towards all that music. And club music, too. Duhm-duhm-duhm-duhm — it sounds more like a construction site than music.”
While “Rollover D.J.” is just beginning to get spins at radio, Jet’s two other singles continue to be rock radio staples. The prominence of the iPod TV spots may have deflated the novelty of the band’s first single, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” but “Cold Hard B****” is still going strong. Most would therefore assume that the band would be forever indebted to the tune, which helped propel the group through its current headlining trek that ends July 27. Instead, the guys call it “lyrically retarded.”
“Lyrically, it’s the low point on the album,” singer/guitarist Nic Cester said. “And we did that on purpose. It’s a big, dumb rock song. If you want something insightful, read a poem. Don’t put that on.”
“It’s definitely not representative of the whole album,” added Muncey. “It’s hard to pick any one of our songs as representative. [The Coldplay-like ballad] ‘Look What You’ve Done’ doesn’t sound like anything else. All the songs sound so different. It’s only representative in that we wanted to play a big, dumb rock song, and we did.”
The eclecticism of Get Born notwithstanding, Jet were corralled into last year’s neo-garage movement, likely due to their crunchy, Iggy Pop-inspired first single and sloppy-chic appearance. The band views such pigeonholing as a double-edged sword — giving them exposure while ignoring the distinction between themselves and the Strokes, Hives and Vines — though they aren’t too worried about nametags.
“We never cared about all of that because we knew we were doing more than just that anyway,” Nic Cester said.
“The only way a band can define itself is by releasing music,” Muncey explained. “We’ll let other people define us with words. We’ll define ourselves with our music.”