By Brad Lopez
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
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Less than two years after the takeoff of Get Born, Jet's debut album, guitarist/vocalist Cameron Muncey is still flying high, and why not? Consider, for example, the impromptu songwriting session the group staged over New Year's on the Caribbean island of Barbados.
"We were there for a photo shoot for GQ, and we thought we might as well play," Muncey says. "We were staying in this mansion on the beach, and we got all our girlfriends to come, and we set up all our musical equipment in this sort of outdoor room. It was open, and we could see the beach, the waves on the shore."
This scenario sounds like a recipe for accomplishing absolutely nothing, but Muncey insists otherwise. "Funnily enough, the mood and the girls lounging about, being so beautiful, lent itself to music, and we came out with a couple of country ballads and quite an up-tempo little rock song in about three days. So it was just a great experience. I'd never been to a place like that before. It's paradise over there."
Of course, everywhere's better when the kudos and the cash are rolling in. For this Aussie quartet, which also includes bassist Mark Wilson, drummer Chris Cester and his brother Nic on guitar, the reviews have mostly been positive, although plenty of scribes have griped that their breakthrough hit, "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?," nicks Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life." (Muncey denies this charge, sort of: "It really sounds like a Motown song," he insists.) Profit-wise, the band's been doing well ever since selling Apple the right to use "Girl" in an omnipresent commercial for the iPod. Not that the boys are envelope-pushing technophiles: Their debut EP, 2002's Dirty Sweet, was released exclusively on vinyl. "There's some irony in that," Muncey allows.
In contrast, the invitation Jet received to open for the Rolling Stones during an Australian tour a couple of years back makes perfect musical sense. Muncey thinks the sixty-ish Stones are holding together pretty well. "They don't look like your uncle," he notes. "I know that all the women in our parties still thought Mick Jagger was attractive. Say what you will about them being scary or whatever, but you don't look at them and want to run away. You want to have a drink with them."
The men of Jet seldom need prompting to booze. To Muncey, imbibing is "a way of surviving on the road and making long hours of waiting go past quicker, with a hint of celebration," and he speaks in loving terms about whiskey, which he calls "the dark-brown mistress." Yet he and his fellows have cut back on guzzling while assembling the material for their forthcoming CD, expected in early 2006: "We're definitely geared toward the next album -- writing songs and being in a sort of space that requires a bit more thought and not so much hangover."
Barbados was an exception: "Each jam descended into a rum-soaked evening," he admits.
That's the kind of final descent Jet doesn't mind.