Come­back Jack

Twenty- five years af­ter Whis­per­ing Jack, John Farn­ham is go­ing back to the fu­ture, writes Cameron Adams

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music -

Q: You’re 62 next month. Any plans to cel­e­brate? A: No, I’m 63. I was born in 1949. 63. That’s scary. I might have a lie down. Q: Born in 1949 makes you 62. You’re age­ing your­self a year. . .

A: Oh. I thought I was 63 al­ready. I don’t even know my own age. I’ll prob­a­bly cel­e­brate at a restau­rant in Mel­bourne with my boys and my mis­sus and some mates and drink some red wine. Q: Your son Rob has Play­ing to Win tat­tooed on his chest. Did you know about that in ad­vance?

A: He told me he was go­ing to get it done. He loves the song [ Farn­ham co-wrote and sang with Lit­tle River Band] and the sen­ti­ment. I said, ‘ What are you get­ting a tat­too for, you silly bug­ger?’ but it looks fan­tas­tic. But what do you do, he’s his own man. That’s what kids do. He’s also got ‘‘ my brother’’ on his arm, and his brother’s got ‘‘ my brother’’ on his arm. They’re re­ally close. Q: You dis­ap­pear off the radar be­tween al­bums and tours. What do you get up to?

A: Well, [ wife] Jilly and I went to Africa for a month on sa­fari in Botswana and Kenya. What an ex­pe­ri­ence, amaz­ing. It was to cel­e­brate our 38th wed­ding an­niver­sary. Jilly has wanted to go there since she was a lit­tle girl. Q: But you do en­joy hav­ing a low pub­lic pro­file . . .

A: Ab­so­lutely. I’m not a red-car­pet chappy. I haven’t got a Twit­ter ac­count. I don’t think any­body’s in­ter­ested in the minu­tiae of my day. ’ Just had a cof­fee put two sug­ars in’ ooh wow. I don’t hit the hip restau­rants or bars. I’m at home with my wife or fam­ily do­ing the things I love. If I can walk

around the gar­den or play with my horses, I’m happy. I’m a lucky man. I’ve got a good life. I don’t need to be on the radar all the time. The most im­por­tant thing in my life is my fam­ily and the sec­ond is when I get to play with the band. I love mak­ing mu­sic. Q: Where do fish­ing and horses fit in there?

A: Well, as soon as I fin­ish this [ Whis­per­ing Jack 25 Years On] tour, I want to go fish­ing. I haven’t been fish­ing for a year and it’s driv­ing me nuts. Then I’ll get stuck into my [ cut­ting horse] rid­ing again. It’s like rid­ing buck­ing horses side­ways. They can re­ally move, they’re very ath­letic. Q: Any plans to fol­low up last year’s Jack?

A: No plans, but I’m al­ways keen to make mu­sic with my band if the songs are there. I’m still look­ing for an­other You’re the Voice . It ain’t gonna hap­pen, but if it does I’ll be in there like a rocket. Q: Did you read ( man­ager) Glenn Wheat­ley’s re­cent au­to­bi­og­ra­phy cov­er­ing his stint in jail ( for tax crimes)?

A. No. I haven’t read any of Glenn’s books. I haven’t even read the one they wrote about me. I was there, I know the story. We worked to­gether for a long time, but the work did drop off there for about 15 months. He’s done the time, he’s paid his dues, that was then, this is now. We’re good friends. We trust each other. I have no qualms in say­ing I love the man like a brother. We ar­gue like brothers, but we get on re­ally well. Q: This Whis­per­ing Jack tour is some­thing new for you.

A: It’s a show in two halves. The first half is an un­plugged thing, an acous­tic set of songs peo­ple will ex­pect and

oth­ers they won’t. The fan club have told us songs they’d like to hear me sing, maybe some preWhis­per­ing Jack things, some apres Whis­per­ing Jack things. I’ll prob­a­bly put [ 1970 hit] Comic Con­ver­sa­tion in the set, that’s a beau­ti­ful song I love singing.

Q: Any cov­ers?

A: Yeah, maybe. When I had the Farn­ham band back in the day we did Hold the Line, Hol­ly­wood Nights, Ride Like the Wind . . .

Q: You did Cold­play’s Lost on tour, which no one ex­pected.

A: It wasn’t an ob­vi­ous choice. It had a lot of mean­ing for me. It af­fected me. I Googled the boys and went look­ing for some­thing peo­ple wouldn’t ex­pect and that jumped out. Q: If you’re play­ing the songs in

or­der, You’re the Voice is sec­ond. When was the last time you didn’t play that song at the end of a show?

A: Not for a long time. It will be weird, I’ll be think­ing, ‘ What am I gonna fin­ish with now?’ We’ll work out some­thing where I’ll leave with a bang. Or I might leave with a whis­per.

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