Things could have gone either way last year for Australia’s favourite reggae influenced rockers, Sticky Fingers. As they cancelled tours, went rounds with each other and came under the spotlight for questionable on and off-stage antics, it seemed to appear that the band’s big wave was crashing.

The Sydney 5-piece threw themselves a lifeline before the wash could swallow them whole, hitting Thailand at the start of 2016 to dry out and make up in a self-imposed detox/working holiday.

Last year was easily the hardest year we’ve had as a band. We went through a lot and we nearly broke up. But the entire year we didn’t stop writing music.
— Paddy Cornwall, Sticky’s bass player and co-lyricist

So it was, in the small village of Bangsaray, that the Sticky boys set to recording their third studio album with a renewed sense of love, brotherhood and sobriety…almost.

Despite best intentions, Cornwall was hospitalised in Thailand for “jumping off the train too quickly.”

“They let me out and gave me a bucket of valium,” he said, “And I would argue it’s worse than other addictions you can possibly get.”

He’s all good now though, album three is pretty much a wrap and the band want to do things differently this year.

“In many ways we’ve all grown up a bit,” he said, “We love to party, but maybe partying has been too much of a priority for the band in the past.”

Cornwall assures us Sticky Fingers will always be “the same old rotten bastards” you love and know, it’s just that now the focus is on the shows first. “All we really wanna do is deliver extremely hot and sexy shows for the year and not burn out,” he said.

However, if the show in Byron Bay on Wednesday night is any indication, the boys aren’t out of troubled waters just yet. More of a hot mess than hot and sexy. Lead singer, Frost, forgot lyrics and was barely able to sing at times, let alone play his guitar, while the band seemed subdued and struggling to simply hold it together.

There were moments of brilliance, of course, like Frost’s renowned crowd-diving and intimate moments with front-rowers, however, overall, the onstage banter and larrikinism between the lads was noticeably absent. They simply didn’t seem to be having fun.

Rounding out the Australian leg of the Outcast At Last tour, the audience sang along at the top of their lungs (until they realised Frost wasn’t), cheered when prompted but left somewhat confused as to how the show went. “It was great…wasn’t it?” said one fan with an uncertain inflection at the end.

The band have deservedly earned a cult following. Something Cornwall puts down to Stickies being the real thing – an old-school, independent band built on foundations of mateship. The kind who build their own stages on milk crates when there are none and aren’t afraid to get personal with fans.

Sticky Fingers is clearly still cutting it in the studio, with a strong response to the first track, Outcast At Last promising continued success to follow on from their critically acclaimed sophomore album,Land Of Pleasure (the album debuted at #3 on the ARIA charts, the AIR Independent Album Chart at #1 and three tracks made it into the 2015 Hottest 100).

Our best music is the stuff that hurts the most, or makes us cringe the most because it is gut-wrenchingly honest. We’re just the same as everyone else, so if you’re a person alive on this planet then maybe you’ve experienced some of the same kind of stuff we have.
— Cornwall said

By all reports, 2015 offered plenty of inspiration for the new album and will no doubt give Sticky fans insight, inspiration and that incredible gift of brilliant music and honest lyrics – knowing that you’re not alone.

What remains to be seen is whether Sticky Fingers can get their shit together, stay together and deliver the “hot and sexy” shows we’ve come to know and love.

The new yet-to-be-named album is due for release later this year.

By Kylie Cobb