GRINSPOON front man Phil Jamieson was so flattered when approached in January for the role of St Jimmy in the Brisbane production of Green Day’s American Idiot, he immediately said yes without considering the consequences.
“With the consequences of yes came a quite intimidating and new structure of how to work,” Jamieson said.
“The music theatre world is completely different to rock and roll, so I said yes, turned up to rehearsals three weeks later and then freaked out with Chris Cheney (The Living End) who I was sharing the role with at the time.
“It was a really quick learning curve but I learnt a lot and really appreciated my experience in Brisbane. I didn’t think we were touring it and now we are, with a slightly different cast, and I got the role again. It’s a really great musical and I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”
Jamieson, who lives in Port Macquarie, said he had been challenged by the role and, given it was so left of field for him, was thankful he did not have to dance.
“St Jimmy is a suave, hedonistic city dweller and I thought it sounded like a fun role to play,” he said.
“I thought I could just rock up and play me and that would be fine, but that doesn’t work. So I had to do a crash course in how to act-ish and I really enjoyed it, once I got better at it.”
Jamieson said the production was a fictionalised story about three young men living in small town USA who were not happy about living in small town USA.
Fed up with their lives, surroundings and dead-end jobs (or no job at all), they leave and head to Jingletown.
“I’m in Jingletown, meet the lead character and encourage him to experience life’s pleasures,” Jamieson said.
“It’s a coming of age musical and is set to the music of Green Day. A lot of people come to the musical thinking it’s going to be about Green Day but it’s definitely not.”
Jamieson said although Green Day’s 1994 album Dookie had been a big record for him, given its release came when he graduated from high school, life soon became all about Grinspoon and it was not until 10 years later when he heard American Idiot that the band caught his ear again, especially Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
And while Jamieson is not versed in traditional music theatre, his love of rock and roll is clear.
“This is a gateway musical for people who love rock and roll but also those who have gone to every theatre event in the world,” he said.
“It’s a beautiful, moving story with love at the heart of it and moments that will blow you away.”
What: Green Day’s American Idiot
Where: Crown Theatre Perth
When: February 2 to 11, 2018