Pilot are an alternative band from Melbourne, Australia who originally played britpop-inspired music, but have expanded to also play prog music, heavily inspired by The Mars Volta, with their Allodynia trilogy of albums.
Current Band Members Edit
Nick Edmondson (vocals, guitars)
Clint Walkingshaw (guitars, vocals)
Murray Catalano (guitars, keyboards)
Andrew Blackwell (bass)
Stephen Holland (drums, vocals)
Past Band Members Edit
Jay Brent (guitars, keyboards) Bullets & Broken Glass, Love Is For Fools, Six Inches Under Denver
Tristan Adler (bass) Bullets & Broken Glass, Love Is For Fools, Six Inches Under Denver
Liam Duke (bass) Allodynia, The Leed Balloon
Early History - Pre-Bullets & Broken Glass Edit
Pilot's original lineup (Nick, Clint, Jay, Tristan & Stephen) formed when all members were in year 12 at the same high school in suburban Melbourne. Clint had written the song Can't Sit Still, which has been played at every gig Pilot have performed, and had recruited his friends to form a band to play the song in a local Battle of the Bands competition. After winning the competition the band thought they had a shot at a successful music career and within a few weeks had decided to drop out of school to concentrate on improving their music.
Within two years the band had a good following on the East coast of Australia and had received good reception on small, self-funded trips to New Zealand, USA, Canada and the UK.
The Satellite EP was the first release the band made, featuring the title track, Gonna Take A Ride, and Push Me Down The Stairs and it sold just under 500,000 copies across the countries they had toured.
On the back of this EP release the band went in search of a record contract and secured one with the Justice branch of Vengeance/Justice Records. However a communication breakdown led to the band briefly believing Justice had left them dangling without actually signing them, inspiring the songs No Justice and Sitting, Waiting, Wanking to be written in anger at Justice. These two songs would then appear on the band's debut album.
Bullets & Broken Glass - The Glorious Debut Edit
The band released their debut album, Bullets & Broken Glass, shortly after finalising their deal with Justice. The album was released in Australia, NZ, USA, Canada and the UK. The album featured four singles and had a tongue-in-cheek humour reminiscent of indie British bands of the '00s such as Arctic Monkeys, The Pigeon Detectives and The Fratellis. However songs such as Never Navigate (On Your Own) and Caveman displayed more prog influences which would develop further later in their career.
Love Is For Fools - The Difficult Second Album Edit
Satisfied with the success of their debut, the band took some time off after they had finished promoting Bullets & Broken Glass. This came to a sudden halt when Justice management, nervous at not having heard from Pilot for over a year, sent them a message telling them to start work on a second album or lose their contract. Love Is For Fools is the result, a critically acclaimed album but one which both the band and the fans agree, doesn't sound like Pilot. With the exception of the album's lead single, Goodness Gracious, and You, Sugar, Are Dynamite the cocky humour of their debut was gone, replaced instead with a solemn, earnestness in songs mostly about drugs, loneliness and depression, interesting themes for a band that were just beginning to enjoy the excesses and privileges of rock n roll lifestyle.
Love Is For Fools was released worldwide and enjoyed limited success sales-wise, selling 3.3million copies.
Six Inches Under Denver - Onwards and Upwards Edit
Having learnt their lessons from Love Is For Fools, Pilot released their third album, Six Inches Under Denver within a year of their second. It was their first release to sell over 4 million copies, and also cracked the top 10 in their home region, peaking at #7.
Musically SIUD lies somewhere between the jocularness of B&BG and the seriousness of LIFF. Album closer Lightyears is held in such high regard by the band and fans alike that it is still used as the set closer for the majority of their live shows.
The album's title is taken from a Simpson's quote, which Walkingshaw's sister had used as a suggestion for her boyfriend's band's name.
After the band had finished supporting SIUD, the three songwriters (Nick, Clint and Stephen) kicked Jay and Tristan out of the band, citing "vast personality differences." Murray Catalano and Liam Duke (both of whom were in their extended circle of friends in Melbourne) were their replacements.
Allodynia - The Experimental Album That Nearly Killed Them Edit
Following SIUD, the band decided to take a leap sideways by making an experimental album, so heavily influenced by The Mars Volta that the band have conceded it is "a complete Mars Volta rip-off."
After reading an article in Zoo Weekly Magazine about the many theories for why the world will end in 2012, Nick Edmondson came up with a story for the album in which the central character reads of the impending apocalypse, tries to convince people it will happen but to no avail. Then when the apocalypse does occur, he leads a small band of people left below to start civilisation anew.
As the band were making music that didn't come naturally to them, the album took a very long time to make and was very draining on the band. To keep their fans and record label happy they released a live album, Six Inches Tour (Vol. I) between SIUD and Allodynia.
Surprisingly, Allodynia was their most commercially successful album at the time, reaching the top 10 in all regions, with a #2 chart position in the World chart and earning them a new legion of fans.
Wise Action Sessions - Where'd Pilot Go? Edit
After touring in support of Allodynia Pilot went straight back to the studio to record another britpop-influenced album to be called Wise Action. The band found themselves exhausted and frustrated at the lack of quality songs. Giving up on recording one night Clint went to a local liquor store and returned to the studio with a large bottle of bourbon. On his return he saw his bandmates huddled over a large mound of cocaine. So began a 4 day drug and alcohol binge that ended with a drunken pact to all go to different corners of the World and disappear.
With a cryptic phone message from Nick to the band's manager "Weve gone. Cya mayb" their only trace, the band had disappeared, with the exception of Liam who had returned to Australia and married girlfriend Kate.
They returned over a year later to find their label had disbanded. Clint had gone to live in remote Asia, Murray had gone to stay with family in Italy, Nick had gone to chill out in the Carribean and Stephen had explored South America.
They released the five songs they had finished recording from the Wise Action sessions along with some b-sides from earlier in their career and Can't Sit Still on the compilation The Pied Piper, their first release under their new label Eventual Records.
Unfinished tracks from the Wise Action sessions have been denounced by the band as "completely rubbish". Titles of these songs include Hairdos And Don'ts and Happy Saturday.