Bluebottle Kiss
Bluebottle Kiss | Credit: Jared Harrison

Bluebottle Kiss: Where Have They Been For the Last 15 Years?

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Sydney alt-rock outfit Bluebottle Kiss released six albums, including their 1995 debut, Higher Up The Firetrails, and their most recent effort, 2006’s Doubt Seeds. Band leader Jamie Hutchings has since released a handful of solo records and fronted the band Infinity Broke, but Bluebottle Kiss haven’t performed live since 2007.

The band’s long absence will end this month, with the lineup of Hutchings, Ben Fletcher, Richard Coneliano and Ben Grounds reconvening for four shows across four states. The upcoming gigs are the first to feature the classic Bluebottle Kiss lineup since Coneliano left the band in 2002 to focus on his business career. Ahead of their anticipated return, the members of Bluebottle Kiss fill us in on what they’ve been up to for the last 15 years.

Bluebottle Kiss – ‘Farewell the Sleeping Trucks’

Jamie Hutchings

I went solo. Sting style, y’know? When Bluebottle dissolved in 2007 I musically walked away from the bombast for a while. I didn’t play electric guitar for a few years and enjoyed taking a more minimalist approach. Singing lower, forcing people to lean in a bit more. I’ve released four solo albums now: The Golden Coach, His Imaginary Choir, Avalon Cassettes, Bedsit and a live album called King Hits and Goldfish Memories.

jamie hutchings

Infinity Broke. With the solo recordings and shows, I found myself surrounded by the same people. My brother Scott on drums and guitar, Reuben Wills on bass and Jared Harrison on drums and percussion, who had played in the last Bluebottle Kiss lineup.

The urge to make a racket again slowly kicked in. So, with this group of people we formed Infinity Broke. We’re driven by a more experimental, industrial-strengthened counter-rhythmic approach. We’ve released three albums: River Mirrors, Before Before and Your Dream My Jail.

infinity broke

Collaborating. I started producing other bands quite a bit. I’ve worked with Peabody, The Maladies and more recently Restless Leg. I also produced and collaborated on two of Mark Moldre’s records and played guitar on a few tracks for Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil’s debut solo album.

I recorded an album as The Tall Grass with Peter Fenton of Crow in 2017. It’s the only full album I’ve been involved with where all the songs were co-written. I loved the process of writing songs with another person out of thin air, and we had a great chemistry.

the tall grass

I travelled. Playing solo afforded me a lot more mobility in terms of shows. I’d always felt that Bluebottle’s music would have gained a bit more traction if we’d found a way to get overseas more. From 2009 onwards I started playing solo through Europe quite a bit. At first on my own, then as a duo, then as a trio and then with Infinity Broke.

I’ve played the Binic Folk Blues Festival in France five times now, either solo or with Infinity Broke, which has been an incredible pleasure. I’ve also toured through Italy, Germany, Denmark, the UK and China. Away from music I got into trekking for a while there. I did a trek through the beautiful snow covered mountains of Nepal in 2015 and in 2016 got lost in the wilds of South America for three months.

Ben Fletcher

Moved to London. I played lots of music with friends in UK/Europe, recorded a solo album called Upon Ayr, grew a big ginger beard when Game of Thrones was really popular and co-wrote a couple of albums with Sarah Blasko and Marina and the Diamonds.

Moved to LA. I grew my hair long and started wearing linen pants and tie dye. Produced/wrote music for friends, toured the US a bunch, drove an old truck with wood panelling on the sides and went to Echo Park lots and drank lemonade while feeding the turtles. I moved back to Sydney after being away for 11 years, back to a house a street away from where I left in 2010. Life’s funny like that.

Richard Coneliano

I helped my family build a large Australian company. Corporate life is a team sport just like playing in a band. Business requires some creativity and many of the same lessons apply, like how to deal with rock stars. Watching The Mark of Cain play Adelaide Uni circa-1999, I came to realise the best bands are those that don’t tolerate mistakes. The same is mostly true in business sadly.

I made two clones of myself. I taught them guitar and bass. When you can’t join a band, why not beget one? We do AC/DC and Pixies covers mostly, a pretty decent ‘Where is My Mind?’ Watching them fumble awkwardly through the teens making all the same mistakes has been a beautiful thing.

Ben Grounds

I started farming. Raising, producing and selling duck and veal meat using the most regenerative land practices and ethical production. Growing food to feed others is a very meaningful activity.

Started cycling. I cycled around numerous countries. Cycling is a perfect speed to imbibe the culture, sights and smells of a country but still be able to cover some ground. You also get to meet a lot of people on the way.

Bluebottle Kiss – ‘Tapdancing on the Titanic’

Further Reading

Bluebottle Kiss Announce First Live Dates Since 2007

Katie Noonan on ‘Polyserena’ Anniversary: “We Were a Bunch of Hippies From Brisbane”

“I Still Have A Lot Of Respect For It” – The Jezabels’ Hayley Mary On Ten Years Of ‘Prisoner’

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