With a stable nine-to-five and a quiet home by the beach, far removed from their drainpipes-and-hairspray rock days, why is the band hitting the road again now?
“We just miss it, man,” says Diviney. “We haven’t done it for years. And at the end of the day, it’s the best job in the world. We get to play music, hang out with our friends and just have a good time.”
It’s a perspective that Diviney and his bandmates, Andy Clemmensen and Bradie Webb, have had to circle back to. At the height of their own mid-’00s Beatlemania, Short Stack were the biggest thing in Australian pop: scoring two gold-selling albums, numerous chart-topping singles and a couple of Channel V Oz Artist of the Year nods. Appearances at JB Hi-Fi, your local Westfield and even breakfast TV sparked security risks, regularly crammed with hundreds, if not thousands, of swooning girls.
“It’s a bit of a blur,” Diviney says of the Stack-mania days. “It seemed like it happened overnight but at the same time we’d spent years playing crappy shows – and then one year we released our album and everything just took off. It was a bit of a trip out, really.”
In March 2013, just as they were preparing to release their third album, the trio suddenly called it quits.
“We just stopped having fun with it, and once that happened it kind of took the magic out of it,” says Diviney. “We’d all been doing it from so young and all we ever wanted was to be proud of the music we were making, and creatively we were just burnt out.
‘We just miss it, man … it’s the best job in the world. We get to play music, hang out with our friends and just have a good time.’
Shaun Diviney, Short Stack
“Plus you’re away from home, away from family and it did start to spiral a bit out of control; too much, too quick. The realities of touring full-time, it’s very challenging. When you’re young you’re not really thinking of that; you’re like ‘I really want to go surfing today and I can’t’.”
Does he ever regret not sticking it out a bit longer at their height of their success, seeing where it could’ve all gone – whether Short Stack might’ve become international juggernauts like local followers 5 Seconds of Summer?
“Yeah, occasionally. But it’s one of those things where the grass is always greener, you know?” says Diviney. “You look at it from the outside and go, well, that [level of success] would be so sick, but from the inside you just go, ‘Oh my God, they must have such a hectic schedule!’ They must be never home.”
At a time when MySpace-era kids are in adulthood and mid-’00s emo-rockers are having their nostalgia moment (My Chemical Romance are also headlining next month’s Download Festival), Diviney says he still had his doubts over the band’s reunion.
“We’ve had offers over the past little period but the timing never felt right, and that was the biggest concern – like, what if no one cares?” he laughs. “The fact we’ve had a positive response [to the tour announcement] has blown us away. Now we have to plan if we’re going to do anything after this. Honestly, I’ve got no idea.”
In the meantime, there are more pressing concerns than recalling rock star poses. For starters, they all have young boys to raise.
“Mine is 19 months old, Broede’s is 16 months and Andy’s is almost one,” says Diviney. “When we die they can just take over.”
Short Stack’s Australian tour, with special guests Between You & Me, hits Brisbane July 2, Melbourne July 3, Sydney July 4, Adelaide July 10 and Perth July 11. General public tickets go on sale on Thursday February 13.
Robert Moran is a culture reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age