The honeymoon is far from over as one of Australia’s best- known rockers takes his latest show on the road, writes James Wigney
Can’t wait to get on the road again.
TEX Perkins is perfectly upfront about the fact his last album can pretty much be summed up in two words: contractual obligation.
The tongue-in-cheek collection of crappy covers, with his band the Ladyboyz, was the final album due under his deal with giant record label Universal and as such he is happy to compare it to Metal Machine Music, Lou Reed’s infamous kiss-off to the RCA label in the 1970s.
‘‘ People have said ‘ f---you’ to their record companies in the past – but I think we had a lot more fun doing it rather than smashing up conference rooms or sending turds in the mail,’’ Perkins says with a laugh.
‘‘ I have been attached to a large record company for a while but I think the age of the dinosaur is over.’’
Perkins ( pictured) says he was relishing the chance to be a truly independent artist again but the record deal came with a slight hangover – the label would get a cut of anything he recorded for the next year. Then along came Johnny Cash.
In a surprising detour that Perkins says is becoming more and more common in his career, the one-time wildman out the front of rock bands The Beasts of Bourbon and The Cruel Sea was offered the chance to play The Man in Black in a stage show of the same name.
The biographical musical was a surprise hit, winning a Helpmann Award and touring the nation with 182 shows.
It heads to New Zealand for 16 dates later this month although Perkins is wary of taking it to the US, where he fears fans might not appreciate the irreverent attitude.
‘‘ The Yanks would never stand for that,’’ he says with a chuckle.
Perkins hopes the theatre shows have introduced him to a whole new audience.
As his career has progressed from indie darling to revered rocker, Perkins has noticed the traditional avenues of exposure, such as Triple J and commercial radio, are now closed to him.
He has two new albums – one with his sometime band The Dark Horses ( released last Friday) and a collection of country covers with his Man in Black backing band due in August.
But given his theory that albums nowadays ‘‘ are basically just ads for your live work’’, he is playing to his strengths by hitting the road in the same theatres in which The Man in Black played.
‘‘ The Man in Black showed me that people don’t stop listening to music just because they are over 30,’’ he says.
‘‘ There are a lot of people out there that aren’t being given the opportunity to see good music because they don’t want to go out and get in fights with 18-year-olds.
‘‘ The way I intend to promote this record and the next record I put out, is to go back to those same theatres and hopefully that same audience.
‘‘ Even just some of it – a lot of those people came because they love Johnny Cash, but a lot of them will come back because they saw a good show.
‘‘ And a lot of them went away going ‘ who was that fellow?’ ’’
Despite living in a rural retreat in northern NSW with partner Christine and their three children ( the youngest seven months old) and moving into voiceover and soundtrack work, Perkins doesn’t think he has mellowed too much.
But what would the snarling, gyrating 18-year-old Perkins of angry ’ 80s outfits Thug and the Dum-Dums think of the 2011 model, who part-owns a pub, sings jazz covers and has been spotted by reliable witnesses on Battle of the Choirs and Hey, Hey, It’s Saturday?
‘‘ I think he would be pleased,’’ Perkins muses. ‘‘ I don’t think I have straightened up all that much. I am still the scallywag that I essentially was when I was 18. I think I am just better at getting away with it.’’
TEX PERKINS and THE DARK HORSES