TEX PERKINS

The hon­ey­moon is far from over as one of Aus­tralia’s best- known rock­ers takes his lat­est show on the road, writes James Wigney

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

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

Out now

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