Texas bandwagon happy to be rollin’
Scottish rockers are heading Down Under and are happy to give their audiences something old and new, writes Kathy McCabe
SHARLEEN Spiteri was over hearing the same spiel, that bringing her band Texas back to Australia just wouldn’t work.
The Scottish band has enjoyed more than decent chart success in Australia since taking the world by storm with their debut single
I Don’t Want a Lover in 1989.
It reached top 5 here and they nudged the top 10 again eight years later with Say What You Want.
And she knew from plenty of her friends living in Australia and fellow musicians of her era who have toured here successfully in the past decade that there was plenty of love for Texas.
“So I passed everybody who kept telling me the same bulls--- that financially a tour wouldn’t work and asked the Australian promoters if they wanted us to come. They said ‘Hell yeah!’” Spiteri says.
The truth is that touring is a risky business and if shows don’t sell out quickly, promoters and bands are likely to cut their losses and cancel. Spiteri says they were prepared to roll the dice and back themselves to tour here, armed with the hits from albums such as the 1989 debut
Southside, the 1997 commercially successful
White On Blonde and new songs to play from this year’s
Jump On Board.
Having sold more than 40 million albums over nine studio releases and the ubiquitous greatest hits compilation, there was no doubting a considerable fanbase remains for the Scottish band that took its name from the 1984 Wim Wenders movie Paris, Texas.
“I think the truth is a lot of older bands and successful bands are able to go ‘F--- it, we decide what’s best.’ It’s changing days and you have to push for the things you want,” Spiteri says.
Reviews of the band’s shows this year since they released Jump
On Board have been almost overwhelmingly positive.
Spiteri knows their fan base will indulge them the luxury of injecting a few new songs into a set and there will be curious younger folk in the audience who have grown up with their songs, courtesy of their parents.
She finds it tough to reconcile her band as a “nostalgia” act, until she has to explain to her teenage daughter Misty that many of the top 40 songs she loves are cover versions.
“You never imagine turning to your kid and saying ‘The original of this song was so much better’,” she says, laughing.
“I was having to insist to my daughter that a song she loved was originally by Chaka Khan.
“I think rather than nostalgia, what we are starting to see is a resurgence of the band, the excitement and adrenaline of watching a band perform, the sound and attitude of a band.
“Everything has become so polished but you can feel it coming back, the DIY nature of it, because of what young bands have to go through now to be heard. It’s almost punk rock again.
“I know my daughter and her friends, the stuff they are listening to, they want them to be able to play instruments and write their own songs that have meaning and substance. That means something to them.” Backstage for their UK shows have been family reunions as Spiteri and her bandmates share the experience with their children.
While you think they might be on their best behaviour, older and wiser perhaps, the frontwoman laughs heartily as she reveals how their children have judged their rocker parents on tour. Without naming names, she says the teenagers had insisted one member of the band not be allowed to drink gin any more because he became a “menace”.
“It’s got to the point if the children are around, they are the grown-ups and we are back with all our craziness,” she says.
“I THINK RATHER THAN NOSTALGIA, WHAT WE ARE STARTING TO SEE IS A RESURGENCE OF THE BAND”
SHARLEEN SPITERI SAYS THE BAND WILL TEST NEW MATERIAL ON THE TOUR. SEE Texas, 170 Russell, tonight. Oztix