Short Stack Biography
Shaun Diviney, guitar and lead vocals
Andy Clemmensen, bass and vocals
Bradie Webb, drums
2009 has been Short Stack’s year. A number one debut album, four hit singles and a headline tour that’ll take them up to Christmas – not bad for a bunch of teenagers from New South Wales’ Central Coast.
Add to that the millions of plays on MySpace and YouTube for both their music and their fly-on-the-wall series Short Stack TV and it’s clear: Stack really is the new black.
“Getting to number one was something we never expected,” Bradie says. “We really do have the best fans in the world – and they were with us way before the number one album.”
He’s not wrong. Those fans were the ones who helped Short Stack snare the title of Channel [V]’s Oz Artist Of The Year in 2008 purely on the strength of their debut single, Shimmy A Go Go. They’re also the fans who have logged on, SMSed, friend requested and downloaded everything the boys have produced – resulting in those impressive page views and chart positions.
And the decision to champion the cyber and digital worlds wasn’t some cynical marketing ploy, either. The band themselves have driven their online explosion with constant updates, ongoing interaction with their fans and a raw look at life in Short Stack in their reality series, Short Stack TV.
“The main idea with Short Stack TV is that we saw all these terrible reality TV shows and thought, ‘Hey, we can do that’” Andy explains. “So we got a camera and filmed ourselves dicking around and put it on YouTube and people started to enjoy it. It makes us more real to our fans.”
Then there’s the music itself, which mashes elements from punk, glam and electro, and is winning over more fans by the day. Since Shimmy A Go Go, the band have released three further singles, Princess (which reached number 11 on the ARIA singles chart), Sway, Sway Baby! (number two) and the current hit, Ladies And Gentleman. The number one album, Stack Is The New Black, explores an even wider range of styles – with epic ballads sitting alongside their trademark electro-tinged rock anthems.
The final ingredient that’s ensured Short Stack has become Australia’s most exciting new band? Everything they do is delivered with a cheeky, don’t give a fuck attitude.
It’s that attitude that brought the band together when they were just three high school students with a passion for causing mayhem on the train trip from their home town of Budgewoi to their high school in Broadmeadow, Newcastle. It’s that same attitude that, in 2005, prompted them to enter the Youthrock band comp in Sydney, despite not being that great.
“We thought we could do it,” Shaun recalls. “We thought we were the best band in the world… and we weren’t.”
It didn’t matter. The experience was enough to kick the guys up the ass and the following year they made the finals.
“We’d only ever mucked around with our instruments but after we got into this competition, which was a pretty big deal for us and our first live show, we thought, ‘Let’s try again next year’,” Andy says. “Ever since then we played non-stop shows every week and the year after we entered again and came third.”
A more accomplished, tighter band in 2006 than the year before, Short Stack weren’t perfect but their passion and energy were enough to impress Trevor Steel, and Chris Johns of indie label Sunday Morning Records who would go on to sign the band, with Trevor co-producing their debut album.
“They were looking around at interesting new bands because they were just starting up their label and they saw us at the final,” Andy says. “Shaun broke a string, I fell over my lead, Bradie dropped the drum stick - we pretty much played a terrible show but they thought we had potential and started working with us.”
In between HSC exams and gigs supporting the likes of Simple Plan and Good Charlotte, work began on Stack Is The New Black with all the songs written by Shaun. “We never thought we had any good songs until we got signed and people were like, ‘These are actually quite good’,” Shaun says. “For us, more than anything the album is a timeline because we have songs on there that were written when we first started out then songs we wrote a week before the album was recorded. It’s really cool to see how we’ve progressed as a band, and how we’ve grown up.”
Next on the agenda: the Stack Is The Black national tour which takes in every mainland state and sees the guys headlining their largest venues to date. Short Stack will also make their debut at this year’s Homebake festival.
”People who have been to a Short Stack concert know that we love to entertain,” Bradie says. “We always try and out-do the previous show or tour, so each show we put on is twice as much fun as the last.”
It’s a good thing the band enjoys being onstage – they’ll be spending a good part of 2010 touring the length and breadth of the country in an effort to reach every last one of their fans.
“We want to give a large majority of Australia a chance to have seen us live by the end of 2010, so playing shows is going to take up a big portion of the year,” Bradie says. “If you haven’t seen us yet, you can expect loud, loud music, fun and most importantly, the band of the future.”
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