Jake Stone does not want his band Bluejuice to break up.
But he has no choice.
The singer and songwriter formed the Sydney-based live wire pop group with friend Stav Yiannoukas 13 years ago.
They’ve played the cream of Australia’s major festivals, released three well-received records and their breakthrough single, Vitriol, has been played on Triple J more times than any other song.
Stone does not hide his disappointment when asked about the announcement of Bluejuice’s farewell tour.
“It wasn’t really my decision, as such,” Stone says.
“I don’t think Stav was sick of being in the band, but I think he had his life sorted out in other areas.
“He had kids and a partner and a house, so he’s probably comfortable now.
“He would never say it but I feel like he thinks he has himself sorted out and just doesn’t need to [be in Bluejuice] anymore, which I think is quite selfish.
“But it has coincided with an appropriate moment for us in the sense that, career-wise, it isn’t necessarily going to get easier to shop singles and [push] this band, until a point at which people think this band is relevant again.”
Bluejuice’s departure from the music scene coincides with the release of their single I’ll Go Crazy and a best-of collection called Retrospectable.
Their legacy is one of high-energy live shows, insanely catchy tunes like Broken Leg and Act Yr Age, and an innate pop sensibility delivered with a self-deprecating tongue-in-cheek humour.
Stone is not just coming to terms with the end of Bluejuice, but also the end of a past relationship.
“I doubt that I will be at peace with it at all,” Stone says of his band’s end.
“In my mind, this is the start of a major downswing in my life.
“There may never be a good thing again.
“Even though I’ve got music to do, once my ex [girlfriend] left I had a fairly strong feeling that everything in my life was going to be f***ed.
“I’m working really hard so that it isn’t, but that may not make any difference.
“That’s what I’m scared of.
“Perhaps I didn’t behave well enough in that relationship or maybe I haven’t set up my life in a way for it to possibly be a happy life.
“But it freaks me out that I’m working really hard and want to do something amazing but maybe that will never happen.”
When asked if there is any excitement to be found in a fresh start, Stone concedes there is but he is at the mercy of Australia’s often fickle listening audience.
“I’m excited by the [new] music, as I always am and I know there’s good music in [me], so that doesn’t concern me in that sense,” Stone says.
“It’s just challenging to imagine that it can be successful.
“And you have to not say this stuff because if you say it nobody gives a shit.
“They think you’re whinging when you’re trying to be honest about what’s going on.
“Because all the bands that are coming in to replace you, they have never had to go through this so they just look at you like they’re excited to kill you off.
“And so is all the media because the media doesn’t know how hard it is to stay around for 13 years, nor do they understand that as little as five years ago everyone was really excited you were there.”
Stone suggests fans of Australian pop music have a short attention span that sees bands quickly embraced and then cast aside.
“In 2009 we had just put out Broken Leg and we were really hot property in the Australian music industry at that point,” Stone says.
“It’s quite challenging to go through this process and see how quickly people’s opinions ... not change, because the [farewell] tour wouldn’t be selling out if we weren’t a band that people like, but just the way people react [to new music].
“Broken Leg doesn’t sound as good as I’ll Go Crazy.
“[Broken Leg] is not as well produced and doesn’t have the modernity.
“But that doesn’t matter.
“What matters is the general energy and idea around the band.
“When that goes or changes, if we’re perceived as old hat, then it doesn’t matter what you put out.
“Whether it’s the best shit ever, in this country, with this small demographic, the audience eats and moves on very fast.”
Stone believes Bluejuice’s fortunes would have been different if they were based in a different country.
“In America it’s different, in the UK it’s different,” he says.
“You can have a big audience there because there’s so many people.
“If we were the type of band we are over there, then there would be no talk of breaking up because we would be making a lot of money.
“And that would keep Stav in the band, I know it.
“Pragmatically, that amount of money would keep anyone in anything.
“Here [in Australia], it’s not like that.
“You can have a Platinum record and still not be rich.”
Bluejuice, who also include bassist Jamie Cibej, imbued their memorable music videos with a sense of humour.
Whether they were cult members, Ghostbuster-types exterminating “douche bags”, a competitive jump rope team or pashing elderly women, the group were never afraid to show their personalities on screen or stage.
The always honest Stone, himself a former Rolling Stone journalist who once kindly leaked Bluejuice’s inclusion on the Groovin The Moo line-up to this newspaper, while smoking a joint, hopes that ultimately his band’s fans took his music seriously.
“I think we have to be perceived as one of the best local acts that Australia fielded in the early 2000s, because we are,” he asserts.
“It would be a great shame if people looked back on us and thought we were a novelty band.
“I think the novelty thing is how we sold ourselves.
“You need to have something to sell yourself with otherwise people just ignore it.
“People don’t know what a good song is a lot of the time until they hear it three times, so we had to get into people’s minds.
“The way we did that was by writing catchy film clips that were funny, and the nature of the live band which was energetic.
“I like bands like Mental As Anything, those kinds of bands from the ‘80s, and I think that’s the kind of band we are.
“Both in terms of how our career progressed and what you expected from this band, which was surprisingly good songs.
“If people aren’t looking at us like that kind of band then they’re missing the point.”
Stone believes that I’ll Go Crazy, the band’s final musical statement, is modern pop and demonstrates that Bluejuice are saying goodbye with their best work.
“I’ll Go Crazy is not an old-sounding song,” Stone says.
“It’s got a retro vibe in the guitars, but it’s as good a single as anything we’ve ever done.
“I don’t think we’re behind the times, I just think that we’ve been around for so long that, as is the usual with bands, people want to see us killed off.
“That’s the nature of being in a band in Australia, [people] actually do want to see you killed off a little bit once they’ve loved you for a while.
“It’s just a nasty part of being in a pop band – they do want you to die, and I think that’s really shit but that’s just what people are like.”
Bluejuice play the Bar on the Hill, Newcastle on Thursday, October 23.
Tickets available through Bigtix.
Alive has two double passes to giveaway to the show.
For your chance to win simply fill out the attached coupon in Thursday's Mercury and return it to our office by noon on Wednesday.