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
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.’’
THE LIVE TAPES VOL. 1 OUT NOW