P!NK’S QLD ROAD TRIP
The pop superstar on her Aussie love affair + Why she can’t get enough of us STELLAR
IT was the day Pink wanted to quit.
Not singing, not performing but touring Australia on a motorcycle with her motocross champion husband Carey Hart.
As Pink prepares to announce her Beautiful Trauma tour tonight, the What About Us pop superstar recalled the night she collapsed in a bawling, bug-smeared heap by the side of an Australian highway.
The pair had taken time out from her record-breaking Funhouse tour for a 1600km road trip from Cairns to Brisbane when they rode into a tropical storm and a plague of insects.
For the woman renowned for flying through the air with the greatest of ease during her concerts, the bug onslaught was “the worst day of my life.”
She can laugh heartily about it now – as her teasing husband does – but not so much back in July 2009, when the pair found themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere.
“Oh God, there were so many bugs that I was crying while I was riding. And there were all the signs which say watch out for wallabies and kangaroos everywhere, so I was just waiting to be taken out by a kangaroo while eating the most protein I have had in my life,” she said.
“Finally, I had enough and I pulled over. And (Carey) kept going because he doesn’t look behind him. I sat down by the side of the road by myself in the middle of nowhere for 15 minutes until he came back.”
Hart found his wife “rocking back and forth” on the gravel and dirt. He didn’t improve the mood of his exhausted partner when he grinned widely and declared their Australian road adventure “the best trip ever”.
“He had a bandana over his mouth and takes off his goggles and it is the only part of his body which is not covered in green slime from bugs. And I looked at him and started bawling,” she said.
“I told him ‘This is the worst day of my life, I’m not going any further.’ And he’s like ‘ you can’t stay here. It’s only 88km to the next gas station, we’ll call a hotel and get them come and get us.’
“I was like ‘I quit, I’m done, I would rather die.’ He keeps telling me it’s only 88km.
“And 88km later, we’re sitting on a park bench at a closed-down service station. There was nothing there.”
While that adventure may not have been the most romantic of road trips, Pink has hundreds of glorious memories of her love affair with Australia and her fans.
Since her first visit Down Under 17 years ago, the much loved performer has been an enthusiastic tourist here solo, with her husband and then on her The Truth About Love tour in 2013, with their daughter Willow.
Like all American andd European pop tourists, Pink has had her fair share of close encounters with Australia’s wildlife, and not just the ubiquitous photo with a koala or kangaroo.
Hart and his wife checked out cane toad racesces while on a romantic get-getaway to Port Douglas ini 2009 but she fled from a hotel lobby when two feathered guests which have form for attacking humans wandered in.
“Rove (McManus) gave me a book right before we took off on a break called The Seven Deadliest Creatures in Australia,” she said.
“I read the chapter on cassowaries as we are sitting in this open lobby of a hotel up north. And in walk two cassowaries into the lobby. My reaction was immediately ‘ I’m going to go now’.”
Pink’s hazy martini-soaked memory of her first visit to Australia in 2000 as she rose the charts with her debut album Can’t Take Me Home also has a wild kingdom theme.
“It’s the bats in the trees in Sydney. I remember standing under this tree, and we probably had been out drinking … remember those chocolate martinis we had? That was on my first promo tour,” she said.
“We drank chocolate martinis, fell off our stools and went to check out the fruit bats in the trees. I remember thinking ‘Oh my God, they are huge!’”
She admits she may have “pissed some people off” on her earliest visits when she overindulged her vices, particularly her love of Victoria Bitters, back then the rock beer of choice. Pink let out one of her infectious cackles when she recalled the stress of keeping tabs on a collection of disposable cameras she and her friends used on the promo tour of Sydney and Melbourne to launch her Missundaztood record in 2002. In the pre-selfie era, those cameras contained some pretty incriminating photos, including a snap of an inelegant emergency toilet stop in a Melbourne alley. “I do remember pissing a lot of people off. I don’t know how much people remember of me in Missundaztood days because I used to piss a lot of people off. Allegedly, because I remember none of it,” she said.
She did try to jokingly disguise her consumption of amber ale during one of her early club gigs in Sydney.
“I do remember at the Metro in Sydney I was pretending to drink tea from a white tea kettle from my friend Laura and it was beer. I had my red and black half stripe T-shirt on and my ‘f … you’ belt. I wished I had kept that for Willow,” she said, laughing.
“She could have worn it on the first day of first grade. Sometimes it’s important to let people know how you feel.
I DO REMEMBER PISSING A LOT OF PEOPLE OFF P!NK
There are so many times when I have to say to her ‘please don’t repeat this’.”
Before the arrival of their daughter and the latest addition to their “travelling gypsy family”, nine-monthold Jameson, Pink and Hart had ticked off several of the country’s renowned wine destinations.
Those forays to Australia’s renowned wine-growing districts inevitably proved to be invaluable research for the Harts, who now have their own secret vineyard near their farm in California, near Santa Barbara.
Pink said she began taking courses – she loves studying – to learn more about viticulture after The Truth About Love tour wound down in late 2013.
“We’ve stayed in the Hunter Valley and rode bikes all around. We’ve been to a bunch of vineyards in Australia, we went to McLaren Vale too, a bunch of different places. I love it, I love wine,” she said.
Her Australian tours here also turned her on to indigenous art, and she has collected several pieces over the years.
And she has also periodically added to her body art collection, visiting the Melbourne tattoo parlour Eternal Instinct for new ink during her stays.
But on her most recent three-month working holiday of Australia in 2013 the itinerary for days off was all about family.
When mum wasn’t doing a Bikram yoga class or Mr and Mrs Hart weren’t enjoying a date night at one of their favourite restaurants – Beppi’s in Sydney, The European and Caffe e Cucina in Melbourne – they scheduled their down time around their daughter.
Pink and Hart were determined to immerse their then two-year-old daughter, in a “normal” life, organising playdates with a mothers’ group in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and taking her on excursions to the zoo and theatres.
Their nine-month-old son Jameson, whose parents affectionately call Meatball, may not get quite the same Australian education when the family returns here next year.
“The cool thing about this now is we know what we’re doing,” Pink said. “I started promo for (The Truth About Love album) when she was 10 months old and we got home when she was three.
“I spent every waking moment taking her to children’s museums, parks, Disney on Ice, Baby Prom at the Sydney Opera House, everything, I ran myself ragged, trying to create this amazing childhood for her on the road.
“And when we got home, I was like ‘Do you remember anything from the tour?’ She says ‘I remember marshmallows in catering.’
“Guess who’s not doing anything? Jameson will be happy to get marshmallows. No children’s museum for you!”
Hart said he and his wife – known as Alecia Moore on her passport – value how fans respect their privacy on their days off.
He was coming down here to compete at motocross events long before his future wife became one of the country’s favourite pop stars.
Since his retirement from competition, Hart stages special bike exhibitions to coincide with her tour schedule and his dad duties.
“Australia is really good like that; it’s just the culture there is a lot different, a lot more laid-back. So we could just go out and take a motorcycle trip or take Willow to the beach or just kind of be normal,” he said.
“That is amazing considering how popular Alecia is or I am in my own right because of how popular motocross is down there.
“One of the great things about Australia is people have a better respect level of Pink versus Alecia and Carey the dad versus Carey the athlete.”
Beautiful Trauma is released on Friday. You can pre order it via http://smarturl.it/ PINK.BT
Pink’s love affair with Australia is set to deepen with the artist announcing her 2018 tour tonight.
CELEBRATI NGHERRECORD BREAKING CONCERTRUN LAVERARENA, ATROD MELBOURN E ATTHE SURFING CROWD ,SYDNEY THEATRE METRO INLEAGUE WITH GREGINGLIS FUNHOUSE: Taking in the rays with daughter Willow in Sydney (inset far left); mobbed by fans (centre) on arrival for 2008 ARIA Awards in Sydney; and (left) ahead of her 2018 Aussie tour.