Fremantle rockers Eskimo Joe are touring the country with Jimmy Barnes and their new album Live at the Perth Concert Hall.
Fremantle rockers Eskimo Joe are touring the country with Jimmy Barnes and their new album Live at the Perth Concert Hall. Jarrad Seng

The Eskies are ready to rock with Jimmy

ESKIMO Joe fans have something to toast a glass of red wine to, with the Aussie rock band back in full swing after an extended hiatus.

The Fremantle trio, known for their best-selling album Black Fingernails, Red Wine, hit pause after the release of their sixth studio album Wastelands in 2013.

Since reuniting for the band's 21st anniversary last year, lead singer and bassist Kav Temperley, guitarist Stuart MacLeod and drummer Joel Quartermain are happy to be hitting the road for their own shows and as well as a support act for Jimmy Barnes.

"Even before we made our last record we planned on taking some time off," Temperley says. "We'd been on this treadmill of recording an album and touring it - this two-year cycle going round and round. It got to the point before Wastelands where everyone needed some space.

Caloundra Music Festival 2011 (day 1, Friday): Eskimo Joe led by Kav Temperley rock Kings Beach. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily
Eskimo Joe playing the Caloundra Music Festival back in 2011.

"It felt like the 21st year was really the year to squeeze back into our Eskimo Joe pants. Now we've got these stadium shows with Jimmy, then we're hitting the suburbs and reminding people we're still a band, which is part of a bigger picture for 2020.

"It's not a bad thing to step away for a year or two and have people miss you. It feels like it's paid off. It wasn't a massive strategy, we just wanted people to miss us. It's also reminded us we have this fantastic friendship with each other. You forget when you do other things that you've got this huge fan base of people who love your music. People come up to me after shows and say 'I was five years old when Black Fingernails came out'... those stories blow my mind."

The band, lovingly known as The Eskies, have revisited their back catalogue for a new live album recorded with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. Due for release on Friday, Live at the Perth Concert Hall features 13 songs recorded over two orchestral shows performed in front of sold-out audiences in February last year.

"To hear the songs I'd started writing in my bedroom being re-imagined with a symphony orchestra behind it was absolutely mind-blowing," Temperley says.

"When you're playing with an orchestra you can't stop a song halfway through and say 'Oh I made a mistake, can we start again?' There are 75 people playing at the same time; like a machine it just gathers momentum and you just go for it.

"It just gave us this shot of electricity and reminded us of why we do this."

In contrast, the band promises a full rock set for their shows with Barnes on his Your Town Tour.

"He's grown into this legendary character in Australia," Temperley says. "He's just transcended everything and become Jimmy. We're excited to play the shows, which are pretty much sold-out.

"We're going to play to people who haven't seen us before so we'll get out there and play some greatest hits. We're honoured and lucky we've been able to maintain this thing with Eskimo Joe."

Eskimo Joe support Jimmy Barnes on his Your Town Tour at the Townsville Entertainment Centre on September 20, the Munro Martin Parklands in Cairns on September 21, the Brisbane Riverstage on October 19, Beach Park Reserve in Coffs Harbour on October 26. They also play a solo show at the Kingscliff Beach Tavern on October 27.