Spotlight: Max Jacobson of Grenade Jumper

Grenade Jumper
(Image credit: Press/Supplied)

MAX JACOBSON

HAILS FROM: Warrang/Sydney, NSW
PLAYS IN: Grenade Jumper
SOUNDS LIKE: Blissed-out Fueled By Ramenesque post-pop
LATEST DROP: ‘Did You Imagine’ (single out now independently)

What’s your current go-to guitar?
I’ve had my Fender Fat-Strat since my bar mitzvah. I remember seeing that Rivers Cuomo of Weezer played a Strat, but their records sounded so thick and heavy – then I learnt what a “Fat-Strat” was and I figured if it could sound like both Weezer and Hendrix, then what can’t it do? And that’s true. 

How did you initially fall in love with the instrument?
It started with Green Day, really. Seeing an eye-linered Billie Joe Armstrong on MTV, swearing and slinging his guitar around, struck some sort of nerve in me. I had never seen that before as an eight-year-old, I was being told not to swear, but here is an adult flipping me off on TV? Blew my mind! As a result I had to learn how to play guitar. Then my parents got me a mini Squire guitar, and I quickly plastered it with stickers so it could look like Billie Joe’s Strat. 

What inspires you as a player?
There’s so many, beyond just guitarists as well. I love everything from folk to jazz to film scores, and there’s always a kernel to be found in all those things that impact my own playing. A huge one for me would be George Harrison, he always knew the right thing to play at all times. He served the song, and he knew that was the most important thing because he was a great songwriter as well as a guitarist. He taught me the art of restraint.

I also love the film composer Alexandra Desplat, particularly his work with Wes Anderson. His soundtracks feel very quaint and ornamented, much like Anderson’s films. I hope our music has some of that in it. 

Are you much of a gear nerd?
Not really. My favourite piece of gear is my Fender Vox combo amp – it used to be Brae’s from Dear Seattle. It just does everything you need it to, and loudly. It’s also not too heavy. 

Do you have any ‘white whales’?
I’d really like a sunburst Les Paul Custom that looks like the one Ace Frehley played, that’s the pinnacle of cool-looking guitars to me. 

What would your signature model look like?
Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick’s five-neck guitar is definitely my main inspo, hopefully my version will be easier to play because he does look like he struggles with that thing. Why not go all-out if you get to design your own guitar? 

If you could jam with any guitarist, dead or alive...
Beabadoobee. Who I believe is probably the best rock artist out now. Top of the list for me. Jamming with Prince or David Bowie would be incredible as well. Although I’d have no business playing guitar in front of either of them, I’d be happy just to watch them do their thing. I’d add Madonna to this jam session too, she’s maybe the coolest person ever.

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Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Their bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (on which they also serve as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Their go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, they only picked up after they’d joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped them see the light…