It’s a cliche that bands are like marriages. But for irrepressible Brisbane three-piece the Grates, it was a cliche they embraced, right up until drummer Alana Skyring left the band to become a chef in New York in 2010.
At that point, singer Patience Hodgson and guitarist John Patterson, who are married with two young daughters, took the next step: sought counselling.
“I guess we were all family, and it was like a break-up,” Patterson says.
Hodgson counters, “it’s like a different kind of divorce,” as Soda (aged three) and Fade (11 months) squawk and chirp in the background.
Patterson adds: “I guess we were kind of lost.”
He and Skyring, in particular, had been close friends since their early high school days. The psychologist’s advice was firm: after eight years in the hothouse of a touring band, it was time for a long break.
“He said, do not do anything together, be totally separate, give it a good amount of time and then come back together, and you will be different people,” Hodgson says.
“So that was it. We just sort of didn’t do anything. Alana knew that side of it, we told her, and then she was like ‘all right, I get it, sure thing, let’s just give that a crack.’