Oils keep burning
THEIR fellow travellers INXS may be touring the country with their umpteenth singer but Midnight Oil won’t follow in their footsteps.
Rob Hirst, the band’s cofounder and drummer and Jim Moginie, chief songwriter, say the beloved Aussie rock band ended when talismanic singer Peter Garrett ( pictured) left in 2002 to pursue a career in politics.
Barring the very occasional and very special charity gig, that’s the way it’s going to stay.
‘‘ Midnight Oil is made up of the five of us and that will always be so,’’ Hirst says.
That said, Hirst says the door is open to them all performing together again as they did for the Wave Aid and Sound Relief fundraisers in 2005 and 2009.
Hirst admits he misses playing the band’s catalogue of hits from a career spanning more than 25 years and, like the reformed Cold Chisel, says the Oils are as compelling live as they ever were.
‘‘ Playing those two Canberra [ warm- up] gigs and the two benefit shows we have done since 2002 was just thrilling,’’ he says.
‘‘ There was hardly any rehearsal but with some muscle memory and the fact we have played those songs time and time again, it just locked in.’’
For now, fans will have to content themselves with Essential Oils, an outstanding 36- track compilation taken from their 14 released albums. The collection spans the rock ’ n’ roll early days on Sydney’s northern beaches and their self- titled 1978 debut, through to their final release Capricornia , with at least one track from each album and EP.
But it’s the run of albums in the ’ 80s and ’ 90s Place Without A Postcard, 10- 1, Red Sails In The Sunset, Diesel And Dust and Blue SkyMining that make up more than half the tracks. That decade saw the band burst out of suburban beer barns and take their political messages on the environment, race relations and nuclear disarmament to the world.
But of all the band’s accolades, which also include induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame, playing the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympics and having Diesel And Dust named the best Australian album ever in a recent book, Hirst names the Oils’ longevity as their finest achievement. ‘‘ It’s the easiest thing to break up,’’ he says.
Listening back to the songs now Hirst says there are plenty that are as relevant as ever. ‘‘ There are issues right now that relate to Midnight Oil songs,’’ he says.
The band put out and toured Church Of The Open Sky two years ago and plans to release a second album next year. Don’t expect a comeback tour,
writes James Wigney