Here is part two of the group interviews from the Green Day’s American Idiot media call with Phil Jamieson from Grinspoon, Adalita from Magic Dirt and Sarah McLeod from The Superjesus.
What: Green Day’s American Idiot – the Musical
Where: Comedy Theatre, Melbourne
Performances run until 11 March, 2018
For more information, please visit americanidiotlive.com.au
PHIL Jamieson from Grinspoon, ADALITA from Magic Dirt and SARAH MCLEOD from The Superjesus all share the role of St Jimmy.
How different are each of your performances and do you get audiences coming back to see different versions?
Adalita: I think the St Jimmys are quite different to each other and we all have our own take on St Jimmy. And yes there have been punters that have come back him and seen different St Jimmys and loved them all. Sarah, of course is having her debut in Melbourne, so I can’t wait to see her.
Sarah: So we’re yet to determine how successful my St Jimmy is.
Atalina: I know it’s going to be like as a unique take, like we all have on St Jimmy.
Sarah: We certainly look different. We’ve all got our own variation on how we do our hair and makeup. That’s a good start. You know some whether you like it or not. [Phil] hates my makeup – he keeps calling me Panda Bear.
Given that they are quite different, how to describe your interpretation?
Adalita: I reckon mine’s just nasty!
Sarah: Mine’s bad ass.
Phil: I’m pretty fairly charming but also devilish in some ways.
You guys are all rock legends so you’re not scared of the stage. How do you feel that translates to playing a different character on stage rather than playing yourself?
Phil: That’s terrifying. The short answer is when we sing our own songs on the stage we’re representing ourselves. This is acting. This is not us. I found, the first time I did it, to be very nerve-wracking and because there’s so many other people dependent on you in this production, there’s fifteen other incredible cast members, that if we don’t hit a spot at the right time and that messes up their show so we all want to work as a team and row as a boat. That was the real pressure because they’re all incredible, the people we work with.
Adalita: And there’s so much to remember, like what spots you have to hit and certain points in songs. It’s really particular.
Sarah: Like 5 centimetres that way could change everything!
Phil: It’s terrifying but also incredibly rewarding and it’s a different type of euphoria at the end of the show than a rock-and-roll show because there’s this ultimate thing where the audience comes with us on this incredible, quite emotional ride and when it ends, it’s really quite a euphoric feeling when the crowd are with us, so it’s really lovely.
Adalita: I was absolutely shitting myself the first time I did it. Terrified! Because you’re playing a role, you’re not playing yourself, which is what we essentially do when we’re playing shows our rock shows or our own whatever. You’re playing a character and you have to get into that role and it’s a whole other world, the theatre world. We’ve thrown ourselves into this completely, like 110% and that’s what you have to do. You have to go for it. The sense of accomplishment is far beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before so it’s helped me on so many levels as a performer so I’m taking away a lot. I love this cast. I love this production and everything about it.
Sarah: Everyone in the cast is really good. And they’re really good every night. It’s not like they slack off here and there.
Phil: They’re doing nine shows a week … and we don’t do that.
Adalita: The show is so high energy, like it’s physically demanding.
Sarah: I remember seeing one of the first emails, like, “If you need Panadol just go and ask the blah blah” – I can’t remember who it was and I was like, “I wonder what they’re doing in there” and then I started seeing what they were doing, like no wonder they need copious amounts of Panadol. Everyone’s at it constantly head-banging all the time, so it’s really taxing on your body.
How familiar were you with Green Day’s music? How familiar were you with the musical?
Phil: I just said yes and didn’t think about anything. Then the consequences came later. I was a massive fan of Green Day. It was [their 1994 third studio album] Dookie. Dookie killed grunge in a way, because it was really short songs and it kind of was the end. I was really a huge fan of Dookie, and then [their 2004 seventh studio album] American Idiot rolled around and I was a massive fan of Boulevard [Of Broken Dreams] and those songs that really stuck out to me.
I hadn’t listened to the record for a few years when I got this. Went and listened to the record religiously and I then got to the production like, “No, it’s the Broadway version, mate. You’ve totally fucked up!” So I was like, “Oh My God, there’s a Broadway version.” Know Your Enemy is completely different in this production than it is on Broadway, so it was a bit of relearning. But, I’m a massive fan and also more so now. I’ll never hear Letterbomb or Extraordinary Girl the same as it now it’s part of the characters of the show. It’s really taken a life of its own for me.
Sarah: I really like the way they’ve adapted it for the Broadway side of it. They’ve made it like this 50s thing. It’s like the Beach Boys meets punk, with all the background vocals and the way it orchestrated, it’s really clever. The arrangements are really clever. It’s right up my alley. I like it.
Adalita: For me, if I was going to do a musical ever, which I never thought I’d be doing, it was like, “Fuck yeah, this is the one you wanna do!” I’ve always loved Green Day and Billie Joe, he’s awesome. I’ve always loved the cut of his jib. I’m glad to be doing this.