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Still Flyin' - Stop, Hammjammer Time

Author: Scott Henderson
Monday, 2 February 2009

Still Flyin’ know how to party and their fans love them for it. 3D’s Scott Henderson caught up with lead singer Sean Rawls, discovered a new found respect for Swedish people and learned a new word: hammjamm…

“You’re going to high-five a stranger because you’re just overcome with good vibes. You’re gonna order some pizza ’cause you’re gonna have a pizza party, lay on some brews and basically jamm it to the bone.” Welcome to the world through the eyes of Sean Rawls, frontman for Still Flyin’, purveyor of the term ‘hammjamm’ and all-round dude. “That’s what it’s all about; the highest vibe you can get and loving life.”

Still Flyin’ were never supposed to be the band that made Rawls’ journeyman career. Nor for the original 15 members of the collective who showed up for the first practice back in 2004. And certainly no one would have guessed that just a couple of years later the band would consist of some 25 ‘spiritual members’ around the world.

What had started as a joke reggae song Rawls’ wrote for his old band Je Suis France to play at the end of their shows in Athens, Georgia, became the genesis for a joke reggae band in San Francisco. It’s not much of a joke anymore, but the fun is definitely still there. This year Still Flyin’ released their first album Never Gonna Touch the Ground and are back for their second tour of Australia following another European flyby.

“I wanted to start this band just to play that song that everybody thought was funny,” says Rawls with an intonation that suggests he still can’t quite believe five years later the band has released its first album and toured the world a couple of times over. Still Flyin’ aren’t really a reggae band, more like indie kids having a really good time playing music that bares a passing resemblance of reggae. “From that one song we were tagged a reggae band which is kinda like bad news, it’s not really fashionable for white people to be have a reggae band. We’re cool with it though, we think it’s funny and hope other people do too.”

Rawls’ idea caught the imagination of his friends and everyone they’ve played for since, including 8,000 Swedes who wandered over to the next stage after watching headline act the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at a festival Still Flyin’ had blagged their way into. They hadn’t even released an EP in Scandinavia at this point. “That was weird,” says Rawls, “I don’t really know what happened there… Our last song has this sing-a-long part to it and these thousands of people were there chatting the chorus as we go off the stage and they don’t stop for like 30 minutes. It was pretty wild.”

Gently self-deprecating through-out and with a skewed kaleidoscopic view of life, its easy to see where Still Flyin’ get their appeal. Live shows with Rawls leading a cacophony of chaotic hammjamming tunes from a 15-piece ensemble are the stuff of legend.

Still Flyin’ couldn’t bring everyone from the band to Australia this time round and so have a few local spiritual members joining them. “Maybe next year if we come back there will be 15 Americans ready to take over the country with awesomeness,” declares Rawls enthusiastically looking to the future. “So much awesomeness you won’t know what’s happened.”

WHO: Still Flyin’
WHAT:    Play St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Circular Quay / Annandale Hotel
WHEN: Sunday 8 February / Tuesday 10
MORE: myspace.com/stillflyin

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