The ARIA Hall of Fame recognises songwriters, artists and producers whose body of recorded work has had a cultural impact within Australia or the international marketplace.

This year the Australian Music Vault is proud to honour Jet as the 2023 ARIA Hall of Fame inductee.

Brothers Nic and Chris Cester, together with Cameron Muncey and Mark Wilson first got together as Jet in 2000, but the beginnings of the band go back to St Bede’s College in Mentone in Melbourne’s south-east, attended by both Cameron and the Cester brothers.

Cameron and Nic were in the same year level, and connected over a mutual dislike for the dominating sporting culture at their school and their love for contemporary Australian music.

“I had ‘Led Zeppelin’ written on my school bag,” explains Nic, the elder of the Cester brothers, “And I noticed Cam also had ‘Led Zep’ written on his bag, so I’d clocked him and knew he had decent taste in music. We met properly in the music classroom which was located at the furthest end of the school, as far away as you can get from the sports fields and the rest of the school. Its location was a metaphor for how little the school thought of the Arts. ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ was one of the first songs we jammed on.”

It wasn’t just an appreciation for British rock that had both guitarists riffing out chords – they quickly discovered their mutual love of contemporary Australian music.

“It was the late 90s. We loved everything from You Am I to Snout, Custard, Ammonia, Regurgitator and we just wanted to play those kinds of songs,” recalls Nic.

Cameron Muncey and Nic Cester performing with Jet at Falls Music Festival, Lorne, Victoria (2002). Photo by Martin Philbey.

Cameron Muncey and Nic Cester performing with Jet at Falls Music Festival, Lorne, Victoria, 2002
Photograph by Martin Philbey

When they finished school, (and after performing at a series of school fetes and youth discos), Cameron and Nic knew they wanted to take their music seriously and began playing originals. Their line-up eventually evolved to feature Nic’s younger brother Chris on drums and friend Mark Wilson on bass.

They briefly trialled the names Duosonic, Mojo Filter and Hi-Fidelity, before settling on the name Jet as a nod to the Wings song.

Jet were given a Friday night residency at the Duke of Windsor Hotel in Prahran. Booker Dave Powell was impressed. They brought in lots of punters. “This band, as soon as they started, I realised the singer could actually sing. I was blown away. They had a lot of potential and I didn’t have a lot of bands coming through who were like that.”

Powell began managing the group and got them into Lindsay Gravina’s Birdland Studios to record their first EP Dirty Sweet. The reaction was instantaneous. It was 2002 and Sydney band The Vines had just exploded on to the Australian music scene. Rolling Stone declared ‘Rock is Back’. This had a massive impact for a band like Jet.

Soon their shows were filled with fans and industry folk, and the local street press featured weekly hype for the group. Overseas, British publication NME declared their single ‘Take It or Leave It’ a mixture of the “Rolling Stones and the balls-out stadium rock of AC/DC”.

“I remember all the hype before we even released an album,” says Nic. “A show we did at the Annandale, Sydney had almost all Australian A&R reps and US label blokes in the audience. I was thinking, ‘this is a bit ridiculous.”

Jet eventually signed with Elektra and recorded their debut album in LA with multiple Grammy winning producer Dave Sardy. Recording was interrupted, however, when they received an invitation to support The Rolling Stones in Australia.

“We couldn’t say no to the Stones,” says Muncey. “That tour taught us a lot about touring on a grand scale.”

Jet, Newport Rail Yards, Melbourne (2004). Photo by Martin Philbey.

Jet, Newport Rail Yards, Melbourne, 2004
Photograph by Martin Philbey

Their album Get Born was released in September 2003 and sold over 4 million copies worldwide. It won six ARIAs including Album of the Year, Best Rock Album and Best Group.

Lead single ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ also picked up an ARIA for Single of the Year and it won Triple J’s Hottest 100 for 2003, helped in part by its inclusion in an advertisement for the Apple iPod.

“We had many conversations about whether to let Apple use our song,” admits Nic. “We were worried we’d be seen as sellouts, but our friends The Dandy Warhol’s had just licensed one of their songs (‘Bohemian Like You’) to Vodafone. We thought if they could do it, why not us? Things really blew up after that.”

Guitarist Cameron Muncey reflects on the many US tours the band did around this time.

“Our first American tours were in a low-rent van with a trailer attached but a few tours later we were touring in a schmick bus playing with Kings of Leon or Oasis at Madison Square Garden and appearing on Letterman and Saturday Night Live.”

Jet - 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl' Music Video

Jet’s follow-up album Shine On, released in 2006, peaked at No. 3 on the ARIA charts but it wasn’t a good time for Jet personally.

Chris and Nic’s father John had passed away from throat cancer two years earlier. Nic put everything he could into the second album as a tribute to his dad, but it was a creative challenge.

“When I think of Shine On, I think just getting through that period was an achievement,” reflects Nic earnestly. “Just being able to push through the weight of it all. It was the first sign of the wheels falling off. Everyone was trying to get a piece of us. And it went from adulation and praise in the press to negativity.”

Cameron agrees with Nic, “I wasn’t at my best during that time. That second record was a real struggle.”

Three years later Jet’s third and final album Shaka Rock (2009) was released. It went platinum, selling 70,000 copies but signalled the end for the band for the time being.

Nic Cester of Jet performs on stage at the Forum, Melbourne (2023). Photo by Martin Philbey.

Nic Cester of Jet performs on stage at the Forum, Melbourne, 2023
Photograph by Martin Philbey

When Powderfinger announced they were saying farewell on their Sunsets tour in 2010 and taking Jet as support, Nic knew it was Jet’s farewell too. “We piggybacked our farewell on theirs, we just didn’t publicize it,” he says.

The members of Jet effectively went their separate ways. Nic has called Italy home for the past decade, Chris has been living in LA whilst Cameron and Mark still call Melbourne home. There’s been numerous side projects for each member as well as a number of reunions and reformations.

There’s also a new Jet album ready for release sometime in the New Year.

In a statement, ARIA CEO Annabelle Herd said the band had “changed the face of Australian rock music” with their 2003 debut album Get Born.

“Throughout their career, Jet has achieved numerous accolades and milestones including seven ARIA Awards, chart-topping albums, and sold-out tours around the world and have been a huge influence for other musicians over their career and that truly deserves our highest honour. We couldn’t be happier to welcome them to the ARIA Hall of Fame.”

Nic Cester says his late father John would have been super proud to see his boys being inducted. “He was proud of us anyway,” he confirms.

“It’s nice to be recognized in Australia by the industry because it’s not always been easy for us here. And it’s nice to sit alongside all these great artists who are part of the reason we got together all those years ago and why we exist in the first place.”

But Nic is keen to point out Jet has never been about the awards or the glory.

“Playing big festivals to an ocean of people feels like more of an achievement. Being united with your audience and sharing those moments. I look at those as milestones of our success.”


Jane Gazzo is a broadcaster, TV presenter, music journalist and published author who began her career in radio, aged 16. Since then, she has presented nationally on Triple M and Triple J as well as BBC Radio 6 in the UK and has hosted television shows such as Recovery on ABC TV. She spent eight years as a presenter on Foxtel's Channel V, where she reported from music festivals, red carpet events and hosted live TV shows, interviewing some of the biggest and best names in the music world.

In 2018 Jane became Chair of the Australian Music Vault Advisory Group and in 2020 she hosted ABC-TV's flagship music show THE SOUND and co-founded the popular Facebook site Sound As Ever (Australia Indie 90-99). She is the author of John Farnham: The Untold Story (Penguin) and Sound As Ever: A Celebration of the Greatest Decade in Australian Music (1990- 1999), and won the Music Journalist Award at the 2023 Australian Women In Music Awards.

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