Formation and Dirty Sweet (2001–2002)
Brothers Nic Cester and Chris Cester grew up in Dingley Village, a suburb just out of Melbourne, Victoria, and attended St Bedes College Mentone, listening to their father’s classic rock records from the 1960s and 1970s, such as The Who, AC/DC, The Easybeats, Faces, The Loved Ones, and particularly The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and John Lennon.
However, according to Nic, it was Australian band You Am I who had the biggest influence on Jet’s developing musical tastes:
“Hi Fi Way was the most important album of my generation … I think everyone our age, who played guitar, played You Am I songs for the first time in front of their school assembly … That was the record that made you realise you could be in an Australian band, you didn’t have to be a grunge band and you didn’t have to be influenced by American bands. It changed everything.”
The brothers decided to form a band with Cameron Muncey, Nic’s friend from school and with whom he had previously been in a band, and with bassist Doug Armstrong whom Nic and Chris met while working together at their father’s spice factory. During 2001 an old high school friend of Chris’ joined the band on keyboard, and it was at this time that the band took their current name. They wanted a short name so when it showed up on festival advertisements, it would be large and bold in print.[original research?] “Radio Song”, from their album Get Born, was written about the troubles that the band had getting recognition at this time. Jet got their big break when seminal Melbourne Punk rock band The Specimens took Jet under their wing and put them on as an opening act at The Duke of Windsor. This is where Dave Powell first saw the band perform and went on to sign them to his management firm Majorbox.
The new band met Mark Wilson one night in 2002 at a concert and, despite already having a bass player, asked him to play with them. Wilson was then the bassist in a band called The CA$inos, so he initially declined. However, a few days later he called the band and said he would like to join them instead.
In 2002 the band, consisting of its current members,[who?] released the Dirty Sweet EP, which drew its name from the T.Rex song “Bang a Gong (Get It On)”. While the band only pressed 1,000 copies, there was such a demand that they pressed 1,000 more. The timing of this record coincided with the breakthrough of The Vines, meaning that international interest in Australian rock bands was high.[original research?] NME obtained a copy of the single from Dirty Sweet, “Take It or Leave It”, and praised it.[vague] Elektra Records offered the band a contract[when?] and re-released Dirty Sweet in 2003.
Get Born (2003–2004)
Jet entered the Sunset Sound Studios in Los Angeles with Dave Sardy to produce their debut album Get Born. Sardy had previously produced records for Marilyn Manson and The Dandy Warhols. They also enlisted the services of keyboard maestro Billy Preston for two of the songs. The album derived its name from the blockbuster action movie, The Bourne Identity, starring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. Halfway through recording, the band received a call from The Rolling Stones offering them a support slot on the Australian leg of their 2003 tour. Jet played more than 200 shows in 2003.
Their singles “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” and “Rollover DJ” were voted number one and number nineteen respectively on the 2003 Triple J Hottest 100. “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” appeared on the soundtracks for the video games Madden NFL 2004, Guitar Hero: On Tour and Rock Band, on Strictly Come Dancing and the 2006 animated film Flushed Away, and the 2008 film What Happens in Vegas. It was also part of two major worldwide advertising campaigns for Apple’s iPod and iMac and for Vodafone. “Rollover DJ” features on the soundtrack to PlayStation 2 game Gran Turismo 4. Get Born also includes the song “Timothy”, dedicated to deceased brother of vocalist/guitarist Cameron Muncey, who died before Cameron was born. Due to the sensitive nature of the song, the band rarely plays “Timothy” live.
In early 2004, Jet teamed up with The Vines and The Living End on “the Aussie invasion” tour of US cities. A new Jet song not included on Get Born, called “Hold On”, was featured on the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack that year. TV/film producer J. J. Abrams – whose credits include Lost and Felicity – contacted Jet to record a song for the Season 4 premiere to his show Alias. “Cold Hard Bitch” from Get Born was used, and became the soundtrack to a frenetic scene of two CIA agents sprinting down a Hong Kong street, giving Jet further US exposure.
Later the same year, Jet received nominations for the annual Radio Music Awards, including ‘Artist of the Year: Rock Radio’, ‘Artist of the Year: Rock Alternative Radio’, and ‘Song of the Year: Rock Radio’ (for “Cold Hard Bitch”). Still in the U.S. Jet received the 32nd Annual American Music Awards nomination as ‘Favorite Artist – Alternative Music’, as well as three nominations for the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, held in Miami in August. “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” was nominationed for Best Rock Video, Best New Artist and Best Editing in a video. Jet performed “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” live at the ceremony and picked up the award for Best Rock Video, dedicating the award to Chris and Nic’s late father John Cester. Following their success in Miami, back home in Australia the band was nominated in seven categories at the 2004 ARIA (Australian Record Industry Association) Music Awards, receiving nominations in a stunning seven categories; ‘Album of the Year’, ‘Single of the Year’ (for “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”), ‘Best Group’, ‘Best Rock Album’, ‘Breakthrough Artist – Album’, ‘Breakthrough Artist – Single’ (for “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”), and ‘Highest Selling Album’. At the awards ceremony on 17 October 2004, Jet dominated the ceremony receiving six awards out of the seven nominations. Nic Cester also performed as part of supergroup The Wrights, featuring members of other Australian rock bands Spiderbait (Kram, drums), The Living End (Chris Cheney, guitar), Dallas Crane (Pat Bourke, bass) and You Am I/The Pictures (Davey Lane, guitar).
Shine On (2005–2007)
The debut single from the band’s second album Shine On, titled “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is“, was released to radio on 7 August 2006. Shine On was released on 30 September 2006 (2 October in the UK, 3 October in the US) with a final track listing of 15 songs. It debuted at No. 3 on the Australian charts. Critical reaction to the album was mixed; British music magazine NME called the record “another joyfully old-fashioned rock’n’roll album immersed in the classics,” while the American review site Pitchfork Media posted a totally anomalous review containing only a video clip of a chimpanzee urinating in its own mouth. The song also appeared on NME’s compilation CD, NME: The Essential Bands – Festival Edition.
Jet played at the MTV Europe Awards in Copenhagen.[when?] It was their first live performance since Nic Cester’s laryngitis halted their World Tour. In November 2006 Jet flew back to Australia to perform at the Make Poverty History Concert in Melbourne at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl; upon their return they also held a secret show on a barge floating on the Yarra River. The second singles from the album, “Bring It on Back” (in the UK) and “Rip It Up” (in Australia) were released in November 2006. The album also spawned an EP, the Shine On EP released December 2006.
The title track, “Shine On“, was released on various dates in March 2007 around the world as the third single (second single in some countries). The song is a tribute to Nic and Chris Cester’s father, who died from cancer in 2004. It was written by Nic Cester from the perspective of his father encouraging those who survive him to “shine on” Many songs on the album (“Come On Come On”, “Bring It on Back”, “Stand Up”, “Holiday”, “All You Have to Do”) are primarily about overcoming adversity and challenge.
Jet co-headlined a series of shows during the 2007 Big Day Out festival in Australia and New Zealand, with acts Tool, Muse, The Killers, and My Chemical Romance. The band played their Rip It Up Oz tour in late May and June 2007, which was supported by Channel V. Also in 2007, they released a new song for the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack titled “Falling Star”. In addition, their song “Rip It Up” appeared on the TMNT soundtrack. It also became the official theme for the wrestling show WWE Summerslam. In August, the band was again asked to support The Rolling Stones on the European leg of their World Tour. Jet played multiple support slots for the Stones in both Spain and London’s O2 Arena.
In October 2007, the band returned to Australia to perform at the AFL Grand Final and to finish the rest of their world tour. They announced on their website that they would begin production on their third studio album, due for a 2008 release. However in November, the band announced they would take “some time off”. They stated that after touring for Shine On they needed some “down time”. On 24 October Chris and Mark produced a song, under the name “The Vice Lords” for the Japanese former duo Superfly titled “I Spy I Spy“.
Shaka Rock and break-up (2008–2012)
In a new video on their website, the band talks about writing and recording songs at Atlantic Sound Studios in New York City. Chris Cester cheated: “We’ve got to stop writing; we got too many songs.” They have also collaborated with Iggy Pop to release a cover of the Johnny O’Keefe single “Wild One“. Jet returned to Australia to play a secret show in Melbourne on 17 December to debut new material, including new songs titled “Goodbye Hollywood”, “Walk”, “Start The Show”, “Black Hearts”, “She’s a Genius”, “Seventeen”, and “Beat On Repeat”. Guitarist Cameron Muncey has particularly expressed that he “really, really loves the song ‘Seventeen’.” Says Cameron of the song, “I think is sort of a step forward for us songwriting-wise. It’s sorta got everything wrapped into one, a storyline, and sad to say melancholy. It’s rock and roll, it’s rocking, it’s got all these other albums to it, you know, so I find it really interesting.”
Jet played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Sydney Cricket Ground on 14 March 2009 for Sound Relief, which was a multi-venue rock music concert in support of relief for the Victorian Bushfire Crisis. The event was held simultaneously with a concert at the Sydney Cricket Ground. All the proceeds from the Melbourne Concert went to the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire relief. Half the proceeds from the Sydney concert went to the Victorian Bushfire relief and the other half for Queensland Flood relief. Appearing with Jet at the Sydney concert were Coldplay, Eskimo Joe, Hoodoo Gurus, Icehouse, Josh Pyke, Little Birdy, The Presets, Wolfmother, You Am I and additional artists. Jet and Wolfmother were the only bands to perform at both venues.
Jet’s song, “She’s a Genius” from this album, appeared on a NCISepisode; Season 7 Episode 2 – “Reunion”. In April 2009, a song titled “K.I.A (Killed in Action)” was made available to listen to on the bands official website. “Killed in Action” was the 5th most added song to radio in Australia. “She’s a Genius” was the first single released from the album on 19 June 2009. The new album is titled Shaka Rock and was released in Australia on 21 August 2009:it has been certified gold in Australia in 2009.
“Black Hearts (On Fire)” was released as the second single from the album on 2 November 2009 with a music video filmed for the single. On 8 November 2009 She’s a Genius was certified Gold by the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) for selling more than 35,000 shipments.
“Seventeen” was released as the third single from Shaka Rock in April 2010, climbing up to No. 31 on the Australian Singles Chart in its 5th week on the chart. In October 2010 it was certified Gold in Australia with shipments of over 35 000 copies.
Nic Cester and Cameron Muncey are currently vacating the band, forming a hiatus, whilst Wilson and Chris Cester have formed a ‘doom-disco’ band named the DAMNDOGS, who released their debut EP “Strange Behaviour” on 9 August 2011 via iTunes.
On 26 March 2012, Jet announced their ‘discontinuation as a group,’ via the band’s website and Facebook:
“A Message To Our Fans: After many successful years of writing, recording and touring we wish to announce our discontinuation as a group. From the many pubs, theatres, stadiums and festivals all across the world it was the fans that made our amazing story possible and we wish to thank them all. Thank you, and goodnight.