Oils keep burn­ing

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MUSIC -

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

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