Chisel’s still got ev­ery­thing we want

It takes more than a fam­ily pet and all that Mother Na­ture can muster to stop old stagers Cold Chisel, writes Kathy McCabe

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

AVI­CIOUS fam­ily cat and a fi erce storm seemed de­ter­mined to prove Cold Chisel were hu­man af­ter all. Aus­tralia’s great­est rock band had lofty am­bi­tions for their Hordern Pavil­ion con­cert to cel­e­brate the re­lease of their

No Plans record in April 2012. This wasn’t just a con­cert at one of their favourite stamp­ing grounds. It was also go­ing to be an ex­per­i­ment to see if their fans might want to see them per­form while sit­ting in semi-com­fort­able cin­ema seats.

The show was to be beamed live to 150 cine­mas in an Aus­tralian fi rst. But Ian Moss’s cat al­most de­railed the whole thing a week out from the show.

The fam­ily pet re­acted vi­o­lently when the Chisel gui­tarist, one of the health­i­est be­ings on the planet, tried to shove a pill down its throat.

Cat 1, Mossy 0. While the band and me­dia had a fi eld day with cat jokes, the mu­si­cian ended up in hos­pi­tal with his hand swollen to three times its nor­mal size and doc­tors were doubt­ful he would re­cover in time for the gig.

“A cat fi ght is one of the dirt­i­est fi ghts you can get into,’’ front­man Jimmy Barnes says.

“The night be­fore, he was still in hos­pi­tal, his hand re­ally swollen and he was on a drip get­ting some se­ri­ous an­tibi­otics. No one was sure he was go­ing to be able to play.’’

On show day, as Mossy noo­dled on a gui­tar to test his dex­ter­ity, Ar­maged­don ap­peared to rage out­side.

It was Mother Na­ture’s turn to rain on Cold Chisel’s pa­rade, with fans strug­gling to make it through the wa­ter­logged streets to the venue and ev­ery­thing tech­ni­cal run­ning late as the in­clement weather played havoc with sound­checks and the ca­bles.

“Then the bloody weather de­cided to try to kick our butts,’’ Barnes re­calls.

“The rain was go­ing side­ways, ev­ery­thing was blacked out. “It was a very for­tu­nate gig to hap­pen.’’ While the con­cert was beamed into cine­mas, there was no defi nite plan to re­lease it as a live record­ing.

Barnes says he wasn’t sure it was one of their best gigs and if the Chisel band mem­bers, in­clud­ing Don Walker, Phil Small and Mossy didn’t think it sounded up to their en­vi­able stan­dards, it would stay in the mas­ter tape vault.

“I re­mem­ber we all said we would just go out there and see what hap­pens,’’ he says.

Af­ter four decades of play­ing to­gether with only drum­mer Charley Dray­ton not a lifer in the band there is a pri­vate lan­guage at work in Chisel.

Barnes oc­ca­sion­ally talks about his de­sire to watch the band, in ac­tion even as he is fronting them, and you will of­ten see him wan­der­ing around the stage and check­ing them out dur­ing the show.

“All of a sud­den, the magic of rock’n’roll hap­pens, some­thing con­nects be­tween you and the au­di­ence and that nag­ging voice in your head is telling you to push your­self harder.

“I have felt it a mil­lion times on stage and I still don’t know where it comes from.

“I’ll get up there and play with Cold Chisel and still fi nd out things about th­ese play­ers that make me smile.’’ Fans may be won­der­ing if the re­lease of

The Live Tapes Vol 1 Live At The Hordern is their offi cial celebration of the band’s 40th an­niver­sary.

Barnes says it’s not and if they had thought of some­thing worth do­ing to mark the oc­ca­sion, then they would have done it al­ready.

“We have started writ­ing and record­ing some stuff at my house for a new al­bum, which we’ll prob­a­bly record be­fore the end of next year,’’ Barnes says.

“Maybe some club shows. You know us, we just want to play. We’re not try­ing to re­cap­ture some hey­day, we just want to keep go­ing.’’


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