The Silver River

A memoir of family - lost, made and found - from the Midnight Oil founding member, for readers of Dave Grohl, Tim Rogers and Rick Rubin


A moving and inspiring memoir of families lost and rediscovered, by a founding member of legendary band Midnight Oil.

For fifty years, songwriter, guitarist and keyboard player Jim Moginie was a driving force behind one of Australia's most iconic rock bands, Midnight Oil. As they made their way through the nascent domestic punk scene and the uncharted musical territory of the Western Desert to the concert halls of Europe and America, the band members developed a feeling of 'five against the world'. For Jim, this de facto family was a bulwark against a nagging sense that something was missing from his life: he'd long known that his biological mother had given him up for adoption as a baby. While Midnight Oil grappled with the challenges of chart success, their political activism and global tours, Jim's quest to find his birth family increasingly led him in different directions, to the quiet suburbs of Canberra and the meandering rivers and verdant hills of rural Ireland - and emotional reunions with long-lost relatives.

Threaded with vivid recollections of childhood, behind-the-scenes stories of band life and fascinating insights into the creative processes that produced some of this country's most beloved songs, The Silver River is at once a lyrical coming-of-age story, a heart-warming family chronicle and a must-read for anyone interested in the history of Australian music.

About the author(s)

Jim Moginie was raised in Sydney's northern suburbs and attended high school in the city, where he befriended future Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst. Together with another friend, Andrew James, they formed the band Farm, before recruiting singer Peter Garrett and changing their name to Midnight Oil. Jim is best known as a songwriter, guitarist and keyboard player for the Oils, but his career has also spanned dozens of less well known creative adventures, from playing traditional Irish music with Shameless Seamus & the Tullamore Dews and creating soundscapes for eight guitars under the banner of Jim Moginie's Electric Guitar Orchestra, to playing with punk-edged cerebral rock band the Family Dog and surf instrumentalists The Break. Jim has also collaborated with prominent artists such as Silverchair, Sarah Blasko, the Warumpi Band, the Living End, Kasey Chambers, Neil Finn and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

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