Jet drummer Chris Sester is on the phone outside of a Ramones museum in Berlin. In a few hours the band will play there, but unfortunately they’re not covering a song by the legendary punk band. “That would have been great,” says Sester, “but we had no time. We’re probably the busiest right now than we’ve ever been.”
That’s saying a lot, considering the Australian rock foursome dominated the world’s music scene in 2003, after they released their huge hit single Are You Gonna Be My Girl. However, Sester isn't actually sure if the band really is busier now than they were back then.
“I don’t know if that’s right because I can’t remember,” he says. “For three years it was just one long after party.”
Sester sounds like he’s joking, but he’s not. After Get Born soared up the charts six years ago the group started living the rock ’n’ roll high life. They abused drugs, alcohol and partied almost every night.
The band still managed to release Shine On in 2006, but it was a critical and commercial failure (at least compared to their multi-platinum debut). Soon enough the non-stop excess took its toll on the group and Jet, which includes Sester’s brother Nic on vocals, parted ways.
“There was a period there where I didn’t know what was happening,” the drummer recalls. “I wasn’t speaking to my brother. I didn’t even know if he would answer the phone if I called.”
About six months after the group split up Sester received a call from guitarist Cam Muncey. “He’s like, ‘what are you doing? I’m bored out of my brain. Are we going to do this?’” And just like that the band members convened in New York and showed each other all the songs they had been working on during their downtime.
Eventually the band entered the studio and recorded their third disc Shaka Rock. It’s another high-energy rock record, though it’s far more infectious and engaging than Shine On.
Even though this doesn’t sound like a new band, in a way it is. Sester points out that in order to keep Jet alive, the band had to ditch their label and all the hangers on that enabled their out-of-control lifestyle.
“One of our provisions was that we had to do everything differently,” he explains. “We fired everyone that worked for us. We just decided we needed to start again. We produced the record ourselves, didn’t record in L.A. and we didn’t spend a ton of money.”
It’s clear, just from listening to Sester speak, how excited the band is to be back on the road. And he says they’re all getting a long really well — though it’s still going to take some time before the friendships are fully repaired.
“I told my brother recently that everyone is getting a long so great, we should move back into the same city instead of living in four different countries,” Sester reveals. “He responded, ‘Don’t push your luck. Let’s just take it slow.’”
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