THE LAST WORD... ‘ I p----d my recording career up the wall. fun’ I was having too much
WITH STEFAN DENNIS,
“I’VE been playing Paul for about 19 years. There was a gap – I did just under eight years at first. Then I left for 12, and I’ve been back for 11. I can’t believe it. I was only supposed to be back for two weeks!
It’s because of [ex- Neighbours co-star, now Hollywood star] Alan Dale. He’s still a very dear friend of mine. He was the one who advised me to do it again. I remember him saying, ‘ Neighbours is such a great gig – are you mad?’ And I thought, ‘Yes, why am I umming and ahhing?’
As far as longevity, I’m the only original left on the show now. Which was brought to my attention last year when we were doing the show’s 30th birthday celebrations – that I’m actually the longest-serving character on Australian television.
Because even though I was out for 12 years, Paul didn’t die. He wasn’t killed off or anything. So when I came back, it picked up from where I left off.
Those early days on Neighbours were just crazy. I released a record. Kylie [Minogue] and Jason [Donovan] had done theirs, and Craig [McLachlan] had gone off and done one, and I thought, ‘Oh yeah, why not?’ So we made a record, with Don’t It Make You Feel Good (the song went to No.16 on the UK charts). The irony is, I hated the song. There are two pressings of it, and if you can get hold of the Australian version, it’s a very rare thing. It’s probably worth a few bob now!
I’m happy to admit it these days, but I pissed my recording career up the wall. I was having too much fun. I was being wined and dined. I was in my early 30s, and I got caught up in this hysterical whirlwind.
I remember one night I was doing a gig and I don’t even think I sang, it was just an appearance, and I had four security guards around me, and the crowd still managed to rip the shirt from my back! Tore it to pieces!
I was a silly boy. I was young and stupid. I was stupid enough to look at it the wrong way, and not treat it as a business. But I don’t regret it.
I am like every other actor – I want a nice secure job for a while. I have small children, but it’s also that silly pull of, ‘Why would I leave this? I have great security and a good wage. Why would I throw that away to go and start again?’”