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

Herald Sun - Hit - - COVER STORY -

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.



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