Somehow, someway, Craig Nicholls and The Vines are still kicking.
Three band members — Ryan Griffiths, Brad Heald and Hamish Rosser — have departed since their breakout 2004 album, Winning Days, and Nicholls has been tackling new music with the help of Lachlan West and Tim John.
Diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in '04 while on trial for assault and malicious damage charges, Nicholls has a rocky social history that has now been bolded by the recent mass exodus.
"It's not the most comfortable thing [to talk about]... there's obviously some problem there," Nicholls told DIY. "I don't really want to say specific reasons, but yeah. It's just a shame that it didn't work out."
Nicholls produced the band's new double album, Wicked Nature (due Sept. 2), in roughly two weeks. The sound is guitar-heavy and very consistent with how The Vines have always developed their songs.
"I'm just happy to be a guitar band," Nicholls said. "I don't like the kind of modern way. I love song writing and that's what it's about, the melodies. Too much attention goes into production these days and not enough into song writing, but most people know that..."
He also produced an unsurprising fun fact.
"I'm really against technology, like, I don't have a mobile phone, I don't drive a car, I don't use computers or iPhones or anything like that... I wouldn't know how to," he said.
Asperger's has made life tough, especially given the mysterious nature of the illness.
"I cope with it alright," he said. "It's a strange thing because it's really hard to know what [Aspergers] means and what it does and what it's doing and what it's done... so, yeah... I cope with it just by being a loner.
"I hardly ever see anyone, ever..." he says, with an almost audible shrug. "I've never really been social... so yeah, I'm pretty much out of it and I feel like kind of a freak. But deep down I know, you know, I'm just following my instincts so... that's alright."
In the meantime, there's music to be made and shows to be played.
"It's so much [a therapy for me]," Nicholls said. "If I didn't have the band or if I didn't have music I don't know what I'd do... it's really been the thing that's saved me."
Check out the July trailer for the new double album, Wicked Nature, due out on Sept. 2: