Q & A with Vanessa (The Tommyhawks/Jebediah)


The Tommyhawks are finally returning to the Sunshine Coast as part of an epic line up for Solbar's 7th Birthday Party, no doubt. Bringing themselves over from the other side of the country is no mean feat so we are stoked Solbar is hosting them for this party event.

Hey Vanessa ( or can I call you Ness?) so happy to hear you are returning to the Sunshine Coast for a quick visit. I saw you all play at Solbar the last time you were here a few years ago ( bought a t-shirt too!) and loved the energy you all brought on stage. Have been eagerly waiting your return.  I suspect getting all the band members together for a tour is no easy feat considering you probably all have other projects on the go as well?

It’s pretty rare that any of the bands I play in would turn down a gig that we wanted to play. The Tommyhawks are actually playing Sol Bar because the only way Jebs could play the gig was for me to shuffle the existing Tommyhawks tour around so we headed to Maroochydore instead of Melbourne on that date.

I remember seeing footage of you touring in a van, is that how you are travelling this time and if so how do you find having the four of you in such close quarters travelling around Australia? Any awesome spots you have discovered on your travels by accident?

We recently spent 3 weeks in a camper van travelling up the east coast. I don’t think enough time has passed for us to do another tour in a van like that. This tour will be quite civilised with beds and showers and proper toilets and space. We feel like we deserve it!

Being in Jebediah for over 20 years and then forming Axe Girl with Addison before the Tommyhawks, do you feel you have lessons learnt that you bring to each band?

When Jebs first started touring we didn’t even have mobile phones, so a lot of the lessons I learned in that time are a bit irrelevant now. 

Do you find you bring a slightly different style or energy to each band?

Yeah, I think that every combination of band members has its own unique vibe. That’s one of things I love most about playing in three different bands. The different characters in each group bring out slightly different parts of each others personalities. 

Who ( or what ) inspired you to first start learning bass and was it your first choice of instrument?

I got roped into playing bass because Chris and Kev didn’t know any bass players. Chris and I had both been playing guitar in another band and anyone who plays guitar thinks that they can automatically play bass so I was in! 

I suspect you own a good number of band t-shirts from over the years, care to share which ones are your favourites you would never want to part with?

There was a Perth band called Effigy that we were playing with a lot in the 90’s and until recently I was still wearing a tee I got from them over 20 years ago. I’m about to retire a 4zzz one which has been my lucky tee for the last 8 years. Violent Soho gave me a tee when we toured with them about 7 years ago and if I wear it for another gig I think it will disintegrate. 

Do you remember your first heart break and the lesson you learnt from it?

My heart first broke when the last bar in Freo that had Tooheys Old on tap closed down. I learnt to enjoy it in bottles at the last bar in Freo that had them in their fridge. In case you were wondering, I experienced my second heartbreak the day that bar stopped stocking them.

Who is the most interesting person you have the phone number of in your phone and if you sent them a text message how would they reply?

Andrzej Jalowiecki. He would probably reply ‘i don’t remember giving you my number’

Whats the most memorable gig you have ever played and why?

Airey’s Inlet open mic festival with Axe Girl a few years ago. Memorable for so many hilarious reasons, none of which had anything to do with furthering the career of our band.

In three words how would you like the punters to feel after being at a Tommyhawks gig?

I hope they would feel like buying merchandise.

Thanks Vanessa, we look forward to catching you at  Solbar’s 7th Birthday party on Saturday the 31st of March!

Woo hoo, party!!!

The Tommyhawks join Jebediah, Polish Club and locals Fragile Animals for a massive Solbar Birthday celebration at Ocean St on March 31st.

Our interviewer was Cherie Harmony, who also blogs for Vague Hellion.