The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - UPFRONT -

By mid-1978, Elvis Costello and his band were road-test­ing ma­te­rial for their third al­bum. One of the new songs was Ac­ci­dents Will Hap­pen, which would prove prophetic in more ways than one. First, bass player Bruce Thomas cut his hand on a bro­ken bot­tle and had to be re­placed by the band’s pro­ducer, Nick Lowe. But it was when they hit the US for their fourth Amer­i­can tour in a year that the go­ing got weird. By the time the road­show rolled into Columbus, Ohio in March 1979, col­lec­tive psy­chosis had kicked in. It peaked when Costello got into a drunken ar­gu­ment with Stephen Stills, also tour­ing with his band, and stupidly vil­i­fied black Amer­i­can icons Ray Charles and James Brown as “ig­no­rant nig­gers”. To add in­jury to in­sult Costello dis­lo­cated his shoul­der when things got phys­i­cal, and the tour ended in dis­as­ter. Two weeks later, Ac­ci­dents Will Hap­pen was re­leased as a sin­gle. Its key line? “Your mouth is made up but your mind is un­done …” Elvis Costello plays By­ron Bay Blues­fest, April 21.


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