There’s no denying that Jimmy Barnes is a legendary figure in Australian music. After fifteen solo albums and ten with Cold Chisel, he has returned with “Rage and Ruin,” his first original rock album in ten years. BBM’s BEN HARLUM got the opportunity to chat to the man himself about the album.
You launched the album at Paddington Town Hall last week, how did it go?
It was awesome! We got to play the whole album with the full lineup, all my friends and family were there and it was a really good party.
This is your 16th solo album, is there still pressure on you when you are putting it together, or have you learnt to block it out and roll with the punches?
You know, there’s always pressure that you put on yourself. The pressure is while you’re making the record, because you want to make the best record possible. If you’ve made a record and you’re happy with it, it’s already a success.
Most of the lyrics on the album came from a book where you’d collected lyrics, phrases and notes. Was it was hard to look back at some of the darker bits of writing that were there?
I’ve got dozens of books, I’ve been doing it for 20-odd years. The particular songbook I wrote this album with was from around 2000 when I was in a particularly dark place – drinking a lot and doing a lot of drugs. Some of it was pretty difficult to read, but then some you have to laugh at because it’s so pathetic. [laughs]. But I think it’s good to look back at your mistakes, and then look forward to making some new problems!
Is it a relief when you hear reviews that say that there isn’t a dud song on the album?
Yeah! I think every song should be special, and when I buy records that’s what I like too. It doesn’t mean every song has to be a single, but it has to be a good song. And I intentionally kept this album down to twelve songs, because when you bought vinyl albums they were constructed to keep your attention for only that long. In this modern age when you can put eighteen songs on there, it’s a lot of pressure on the songwriter and I don’t think many artists can do eighteen songs in a row – maybe the Beatles. So I intentionally focused the album down to twelve songs.
Do you have an iPod or MP3 player and if so, do you have some of your own songs on there?
Once I’ve finished an album I don’t really listen to it at all, except if it’s on the radio and I’m stuck in the car. But if I want to revise the shows or look for new material, I have the tracks all on my computer. I have three iPods I carry, with all different stuff on it. Rock, Soul, you name it – it depends what mood I’m in.
You’ve just been announced as the headliner of A Day on the Green and you’re also doing a few shows around the country, do you still get nervous?
Yeah, I get nervous before shows. I think it’s a healthy sort of nervous thing, it gives you a lot of energy and it means you care about what you do. It’s always there, you want the show to be great, the band to be great, to sing great, you want people to turn up!
Rage and Ruin hits music stores on August 27th.
Rage And Ruin Tour Dates
Saturday October 16
Derwent Entertainment Centre, Hobart
Sunday October 24
Werribee Park, VIC
Sunday November 7
A Day On The Green
McLaren Vale, SA
Saturday November 13
A Day on the Green
Hunter Valley, NSW
Sunday November 14
A Day on the Green
Mount Cotton, QLD
Sunday November 21
An Evening on the Green
Kings Park & Botanic Garden, Perth
Friday November 26
Royal Theatre, Canberra
Saturday November 27
Enmore Theatre, Sydney