You Am I’s Tim Rogers: “I was always writing – it was just that I wasn’t being a good friend or bandmate”

You Am I
(Image credit: Kane Hibberd)

With three consecutive #1 albums, a trophy case of accolades and more sold-out shows than you could wave a mic stand at, You Am I had one hell of a run in the ‘90s. But as the years went by and their stronghold on the Aussie alt-rock circuit waned, so too did frontman Tim Rogers’ adoration for it. By 2018, touring had become a chore, and Rogers seemed ready to pack up his pedalboard for good. He turned his songwriting efforts to folk tunes. He got a job at a bar. The dream, as it were, was over.

It was on a 2019 trip to the New South Wales south coast, where You Am I spent their seminal years practising, that Rogers first penned “The Waterboy”. There was no grand plan for the track, nor was his jaunt up north an attempt to rekindle his rock ’n’ roll spirit – he was staying in a cheap motel, fishing every morning and pouring his thoughts out into folk songs as nothing more than a mental exercise. But after a much needed pep talk from longtime friend and fellow rock dog Tex Perkins – who Rogers noted in a press release “is wonderful about cutting through my over-dramatic stuff” – the spark began to flicker once more.

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

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. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…