JET is a Melbourne based rock band, whose debut album Get Born (released 2003), has so far sold over 3.5 million copies throughout the world.

The band is influenced by groups such as Queen, The Beatles, Oasis, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Easybeats, AC/DC, The Faces, and The Kinks.

Brothers Nic and Chris Cester grew up in Dingley Village, Victoria listening to classic rock from the 1960s and 1970s - these were their father's records.

    "It's always interpreted that our father had a great record collection, but that's not true. It was actually a really shit collection that Nic managed to find the gems in", Chris said in an interview for the documentary "Take It Or Leave It"that was also recorded on the band's Right! Right! Right! live DVD.

They decided to form a band with Cameron Muncey, Nic's mate from school. The band met Mark Wilson one night at a gig and asked him to play bass for them, and he declined. A few days later Wilson called the band up and said he would do it.

The band took their name from the song "Jet"on Wings' 1973 album Band on the Run. They started to play gigs around Melbourne. "Radio Song", from their album Get Born, was written about the troubles that the band had getting recognition during this time period.

In 2002, the band released the Dirty Sweet EP, which drew its name from the T. Rex song "Get It On". While the band only pressed 1,000 copies, there was such a demand that they pressed 1,000 more. NME obtained a copy of the single from Dirty Sweet, "Take It or Leave It", and praised it. Elektra Records offered the band a contract and re-released Dirty Sweet in 2003.

Jet have since gone from strength to strength, earning themselves an international reputation as one of the finest bands in the revival of rock, adding to the ever growing list of highly regarded bands from Australia, and indeed the Melbourne music scene.

2018 | Jet are taking off again

Jet are taking off again, albeit a little older and wiser, writes ROD YATES (TheAge).

Of all the surreal moments Jet experienced while recording their debut album Get Born in Los Angeles, watching legendary keyboardist Billy Preston play on the album was near the top of the list. But as they gazed in wonder as the former Rolling Stones and Beatles collaborator laid down perfect piano lines on songs he'd only just heard, frontman Nic Cester couldn't shake one nagging concern.

'' I was naively hoping that he would turn up in an orange skivvy like in the [classic] pictures, but instead he turned up in the worst tracksuit I'd ever seen in my life, which was disappointing,'' he says, chuckling, from the band's Melbourne rehearsal room, where Jet are finalising preparations for this month's tour to mark the 15th anniversary of Get Born.

More remarkable than Preston's abilities - and dress sense - was the fact that Jet were even in LA in 2003 making their debut.

A few years earlier, Nic and his drumming brother Chris were still working for the family business in a spice factory in Moorabbin, with Nic in the warehouse and Chris doing deliveries.

At night, Nic and his guitar-playing friend Cameron Muncey would hijack a small office in the factory where they'd '' write songs and rehearse and concoct plans"while trying to ward off the stench of cinnamon and paprika. '' I still remember that smell very vividly,'' Nic says.

'' We were always ambitious, but our ambitions were very realistic ... we need to get a gig at (then popular Fitzroy venue) The Empress, we need to blow people's minds with this next song we write.''

Nic and Muncey had played together in high school bands, but abandoned their fledgling expeditions into the Melbourne pub circuit upon realising they'd be better off working on their songwriting. By 2001 they'd penned the bones of Get Born and were ready to try playing live again, this time under the monicker Jet, and with Chris on drums; longtime bassist Mark Wilson would join in 2002.

A residency at Prahran's Duke Of Windsor saw crowds multiply each week, and when British music paper NME heaped praise upon their debut single Take It or Leave It (off 2002's Dirty Sweet EP) it helped fuel a record label feeding frenzy that saw representatives from almost every American major descend on the Annandale Hotel to watch Jet perform one of their first Sydney shows.

At a time when the Strokes, the Vines, the Hives and the White Stripes were being hailed as the future, Jet were about to get swept up in the slipstream.

'' It felt like we'd tapped into something, and it was exciting, but it all felt a little ridiculous at the same time,'' Nic recalls. '' Like it's not supposed to happen like this. I was very aware of it, I guess; wary of being a part of a fad and not being appreciated for having anything of substance.''

After signing with Elektra and decamping to LA's Sunset Sound studios to team up with producer Dave Sardy (the Dandy Warhols), they set about laying down the 13 tracks that would comprise Get Born, which took its name from a line in Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues.

With some of the material stretching back to Nic's teens, such as Faces-esque ballad Look What You've Done (inspired by the divorce of his parents), songs such as Cold Hard Bitch, Are You Gonna Be My Girl and Rollover DJ were largely fuelled by teenaged concerns, though there were some moments that hinted at a burgeoning lyrical maturity. Case in point was album closer Timothy, which Chris Cester wrote about Muncey's would-be brother, who died as an infant.

'' I remember when Chris and Cam showed Cam's mum that song, it was a pretty heavy moment,'' Nic says. '' But it's a beautiful song.''

The album arrived in a whirlwind of hype in September 2003, yet landed with a thud in the lower reaches of the Billboard Top 100 on debut.

'' There was such a big expectation,'' Nic recalls, '' and we just thought since we have this support of an enormous American record company who'd pumped all this money into it, they wouldn't allow it to do anything but go well. I remember everyone was a little surprised that it didn't take off as quick ... but it didn't take that long.''

The catalyst was Apple using Are You Gonna Be My Girl in an ad campaign for the iPod, which quite literally sent the album racing up the charts, engulfing the band in what Nic calls '' a hurricane of excitement'' .

Jet quickly found themselves thrust into the spotlight, with Get Born shifting more than 3.5 million copies worldwide, and appearances on American TV shows such as Saturday Night Live.

Not bad for four young twentysomethings who were still living with their parents when they flew to LA to record.

Now, as they prepare to celebrate the album's 15th birthday with a national tour and the live record Get Born: Live at the Forum, Nic remains proud of what they achieved.

'' It really galvanised us as brothers forever, 'cause we're the only ones who know what that experience was like. We lived it.''

This article is from the May 25, 2018 issue of The Age Digital Edition. To subscribe, visit


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