Jimmy Barnes – circa 1981
“You got nothing I want / You got nothing I need…You’ve got the money and I’ve got the time / Nothing better to do, so you might just change my mind” – ‘You Got Nothing I Want’ (Jimmy Barnes)
“I never saw ya!” bawls a furious Jimmy Barnes. The lead singer of Australian rock band Cold Chisel is spoiling for a fight. The date is 16 March 1981 and the location is the Regent Theatre in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The occasion is the TV Week / Countdown Music Awards for 1980. The awards ceremony is co-sponsored by the Australian television magazine ‘TV Week’ and ‘Countdown’, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s popular television rock music program. It’s been a successful night for Cold Chisel with the band being the winners of seven awards: (1) Best Album (for ‘East’); (2) Most Outstanding Achievement; (3) Best Recorded Songwriter (for Cold Chisel’s keyboardist and main composer, Don Walker); (4) Best Australian Producer (Mark Opitz, record producer for ‘East’); (5) Best Australian Record Cover Design (for ‘East’); (6) Most Popular Group; and (7) Most Popular Record (for ‘East’). The ceremony, which is broadcast almost a week later on 22 March 1981, concludes with Cold Chisel performing ‘My Turn To Cry’, the closing track from ‘East’. ‘My Turn To Cry’ is written by Jimmy Barnes. For most of the performance, Barnes wields a guitar without really playing it. As usual, the guitarwork is left to Ian Moss, the band’s nominal guitarist. In the midst of it all, Barnes starts shouting some new, possibly improvised, lyrics. “I never saw you at the Astra Hotel,” he yells. As far as can be discerned, he is castigating the sponsors for not being present when Cold Chisel was paying their dues in hundreds of raw, seedy gigs. “And now you’re trying to use my face to sell ‘TV Week’,” he fumes. “I never saw ya!” Barnes shouts repeatedly before concluding, “So eat this!” The singer throws down his guitar, Ian Moss smashes his own guitar into an amplifier, Barnes brandishes a bottle of vodka in salute and stalks offstage as the curtain is hastily brought down. Is this just a moment of childish petulance? Hadn’t British band The Who done all this auto-destruct stuff about fifteen years earlier? Or is it ‘Cold Chisel’s most confrontational and controversial public moment…If you didn’t get it, you didn’t get Cold Chisel’? Volatility is a key element in the story of Cold Chisel.
The members of Cold Chisel come from fairly diverse backgrounds. Although Jimmy Barnes, by virtue of being the bloke out front, is probably the best known, the true heart of the band may be Don Walker. So let’s start the story with him…
Donald Hugh Walker is born on 29 November 1951 in Ayr, Queensland, Australia. His father owns a sugar cane farm on Rita Island on the Burdekin River in Queensland. Walker Senior entertains his family with stories of his days on troopships in Palestine and his experiences in the jungles of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Don’s mother, Shirley Walker, is a school teacher who becomes a novelist. When Don is 4 years old, the family moves south to Grafton, New South Wales. The family expands with the addition of Don’s younger sister, Brenda (born in 1957). As an adult, Brenda Walker – like her mother, Shirley Walker – becomes a writer.
A local Grafton piano teacher instructs Don Walker. The boy learns, in Walker’s words, “a little bit of Chopin [classical music]…a lot of Fats Waller’s repertoire [jazz, often with a comedy element], and also Winifred Attwell [boogie-woogie, ragtime].” As the youthful Don Walker learns about music, he also takes in contemporary sounds. On the radio, he hears “a peculiar kind of faux-country music,” as he describes it. This is in the period between the heydays of Elvis Presley and The Beatles (i.e. roughly 1960 to 1964). “There were all these people I admired, like Elvis [Presley, the 1950s King of Rock ‘n’ Roll], Jerry Lee Lewis [a piano-playing 1950s rocker], Jim Morrison [vocalist for late 1960s psychedelic rock band The Doors], Ray Charles [blind pianist who masters rhythm and blues and country music]…Sitting in Australia, I thought that was what America was about,” says Don Walker. From piano, Don says he “got into organ and the main influences were Stevie Winwood’s 1960s stuff [The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic] and Ray Manzaerek [keyboardist for The Doors].”
Beyond music, Don Walker is highly literate and intelligent. During the formative period for Cold Chisel, he takes time out to complete a post graduate physics degree – with honours in quantum mechanics – in Armidale, New South Wales. At the time the band that would become Cold Chisel forms, Walker has been brought to a weapons research establishment in South Australia to model airflows for F-111 fighter jets. “Whatever modest skills I acquired in aerodynamic engineering, I can’t say I was very good at it,” Walker humbly offers. What distracts him a bit is an encounter with a guitar player named Ian Moss.
Ian Richard Moss is born on 20 March 1955 in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia. He is the son of Geoffrey Moss and Lorna Moss (nee Robinson). Geoffrey Moss survived the World War Two bombing of Darwin in the Northern Territory by Japanese forces. He enlisted in the army and worked for the Allied Works Council, a military construction business during the Second World War. Geoffrey’s future wife Lorna was a fellow employee of the Allied Works Council. They married in September 1945. Ian is the third of Geoffrey and Lorna Moss’ four children. Ian’s siblings are: Peter (born on 8 October 1948), Penny (born on 30 July 1951) and Andrew (born on 13 July 1961).
“I was always keen on music and singing,” says Ian Moss. “I used to do little vocal concerts for my parents.” Ian is 4 years old when he first performs for family and friends. “My older sister was learning classical piano and my older brother was a good rhythm [guitar] strummer and right into [folk rock legend] Bob Dylan,” recalls Ian. “I started off with classical piano aged about 7 or 8, but unfortunately I wasn’t into it enough.” Ian Moss sings in public for the first time when he performs ‘The Battle Of New Orleans’ at a school concert when he is 9. When he is 11, the youngster abandons his piano lessons and switches to guitar. In 1969, Ian Moss joins a local band called The Scene. The other members are two brothers, Robert and John Fortunaso, and Rod Martin (drums). Moss plays an acoustic guitar and is permitted to sing a couple of songs. “I was with them for about a year and by that time I was starting to get my own band together,” Moss says. By 1970, Ian Moss is playing electric guitar in a band called Hot Ice alongside Roger Harris (guitar), Paul Wiles (keyboards), Wayne Sanderson (bass) and David Michel (drums). Hot Ice play cover versions of songs such as those made famous by U.S. rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival. Hot Ice play gigs at Alice Springs High School and Alice Springs Youth Centre.
In 1972 Ian Moss moves from Alice Springs to Adelaide, South Australia. Technically, Alice Springs – the desert-fringed largest city in central Australia – is part of the Northern Territory, but it’s a long way from the tropics and the capital city of Darwin. For many, it is easier to travel from Alice Springs to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. By 1972, Ian Moss’ elder siblings Peter and Penny are already living in Adelaide. Ian had failed a year at high school in Alice Springs so he decides to repeat that year at Marion High School in Adelaide. In 1973 he moves on to Kilkenny Technical College – but only lasts for one term there before dropping out. Moss works various factory jobs for a while. He answers an advertisement in a shop window for a guitarist. This leads to him forming a rock band called Orange in September 1973. This is how Ian Moss meets Don Walker. The other member of the embryonic band is Leszek Kaczmarek (bass). In search of a drummer, the trio contacts a local musician named John Swan. He declines their invitation, but introduces the boys to his friend Steve Prestwich.
Steven William Prestwich (5 March 1954-16 January 2011) is born in Liverpool, England. Steve’s father, Bill Prestwich, is the drummer and vocalist for The Victors, a ‘beat’ group that plays at The Cavern. This is the venue synonymous with Liverpool’s most famous rock band, The Beatles. Steve recalls seeing in 1969 a rather drunken George Harrison (of The Beatles) and Eric Clapton (at the time, a member of Blind Faith) jamming onstage with The Victors at The Cavern. Steve is one of six brothers. His siblings include Simon. Steve begins taking drumming lessons from his father at the age of 9 and plays his first gig when he is 11. In 1970 Steve Prestwich joins a folk rock band called Sandy, whose guitarist was a high school friend of Steve’s. In 1971 Bill Prestwich decides to move to Australia with his family. At first, 17 year old Steve plans to remain in England. After all, he has a band of his own. Steve Prestwich changes his mind after a cousin in Adelaide sends him a selection of Australian pop and rock singles. Arriving in Australia, the Prestwich family settles in Elizabeth, a working-class suburb of Adelaide. Steve Prestwich forms a new band called Ice (1971-1973) (no relation to Ian Moss’ similarly named band, Hot Ice). The other two members of the trio are also British immigrants: John Fryer (guitar) (from Liverpool) and Michael Smith (bass) (from London). During his stint in Ice, Steve Prestwich meets local bassist Les Kaczmarek – and, presumably, drummer John Swan. John Fryer goes back to the U.K. and Ice falls apart. Steve Prestwich auditions for Orange and joins that group as their new drummer.
Orange still requires a lead vocalist to complete the group. Once again, John Swan is contacted, but this time is offered the job of vocalist rather than drummer. He refuses once again, but suggests his younger brother, Jimmy Barnes.
Jimmy Barnes is born James Dixon Swan on 28 April 1956 in Glasgow, Scotland. He is the son of Jim and Dorothy Swan. Jim Swan is a prize-fighter who wins the title of Scotland’s featherweight boxing champion in 1956, the same year in which his son Jimmy is born. Jim and Dorothy Swan have six children: John (born in 1952), Dorothy a.k.a. ‘Dot’ (born in 1953), Linda, Jimmy, Lisa and Alan. “We lived in these tenements, these slums…in Glasgow,” recalls Jimmy. “You couldn’t go out of your street without your family with you. Kids were just brutal and violent.”
When Jimmy Barnes is 5 years old, he and his family relocate from Scotland to Australia. They arrive in Adelaide, South Australia, on 7 December 1961. The family settles in Elizabeth, the same suburb where the family of Steve Prestwich reside. Life in Scotland had been difficult, but Australia proves difficult too. “My mum tried to make ends meet and battled with my alcoholic father who would drink away all the money,” Jimmy says. There is “a lot of domestic violence in the home…I…thought my mum was violent [but] she was just defending herself.” Jim Swan’s violent outbursts were, in the words of his son, “always fuelled by alcohol.” Eventually it becomes too much for Dorothy Swan. “I think I was about 8 years old when she left,” says Jimmy. “[My sister] Dot [looked after us]…She was 11 and she became the mother, because my dad was never there.” Jimmy sometimes stays with friends. On one occasion he is almost raped by the elder brother of one such friend, a sibling who had only recently been released from prison. Jim Swan abandons his children. “He left when I was 11,” Jimmy says. Jim and Dorothy Swan officially divorce in 1968.
In 1968, the same year in which she divorces Jim Swan, Dorothy Swan remarries. Her new husband is a clerk named Reg Barnes. She sends for her children and they come to live with her and her new spouse. The only exception is Dorothy’s eldest child, 16 year old John, who is already living independently. When some of the kids are teased at school about their domestic circumstances, a decision is made to have them all adopt their step-father’s surname of Barnes. This is how James Dixon Swan becomes Jimmy Barnes. The only child not to follow suit is Jimmy’s elder brother John Swan, who retains his birth name. Sometimes, in later years, this gives rise to the erroneous story that John Swan is Jimmy Barnes’ step-brother. In truth, they are full-blooded siblings. Jimmy Barnes gets along well with his step-father Reg Barnes and regards him as a calming influence on his troubled early years.
Reg Barnes helps his step-son Jimmy Barnes secure an apprenticeship in 1973 with a foundry associated with the South Australian Railways. Over the next two years, Jimmy Barnes fathers three children. He is not involved in raising any of them and their existence does not become known until many years later. The names of the mothers of these children never become public knowledge. David Campbell (born on 6 August 1973) is raised by his maternal grandmother, believing she is his mother and thinking his biological mother is his sister. It is not until the mid-1980s that David Campbell learns that Jimmy Barnes is his father, rather than a friend of his family. David Campbell becomes a singer, performing in musical theatre and working in the genres of swing, pop and rock. It is not until 2010 that Jimmy Barnes reveals he also has two adult daughters he had not previously met: Megan Torzyn (born in 1973) and Amanda Bennett (born in 1974).
In December 1973 Jimmy Barnes joins Orange. The line-up of the group is now: Jimmy Barnes (vocals), Ian Moss (vocals, guitar), Don Walker (keyboards), Les Kaczmarek (bass) and Steve Prestwich (drums). Their first gig is at an Italian workingmen’s club. The group’s early line-up is subject to change. Jimmy Barnes, Steve Prestwich and Ian Moss all leave and return. Don Walker takes time out to complete his physics degree. Jimmy Barnes and Steve Prestwich sometimes come to blows because of some rivalry between their respective birthplaces of Scotland and Liverpool. Barnes ‘leaves the band, returns, is sacked, and forgiven. Several times.’ Orange is the name the group first uses but the act ‘changes its name several times before settling on Cold Chisel in 1974.’ The name is borrowed from a Don Walker composition with the same title – though that song is never actually recorded by Cold Chisel. There is a tradesman’s tool called a cold chisel. It is a tool made of tempered steel that is used for cutting ‘cold’ metals, i.e. it is not used in conjunction with a forge, acetylene torch or other means of heating metals to make them malleable. Beyond that, ‘Cold Chisel’ is an evocative term. How can one know the temperature of a chisel without it being touched or laid upon human flesh in a manner that suggests danger and the possibility of physical damage?
In 1974 John Swan, Jimmy Barnes’ sibling, joins Cold Chisel for a few months. He provides backing vocals and percussion, briefly making Cold Chisel a six-piece band. However, ‘after several violent incidents he is fired.’
In 1975 Jimmy Barnes briefly leaves Cold Chisel for a stint as lead vocalist for another band, Fraternity. Probably the main reason for this move is that Barnes is replacing his elder brother, John Swan, who was the vocalist for Fraternity in 1974-1975. (Swan, in turn, replaced Bon Scott, best known as the lead singer for Australian hard rock act AC/DC, an outfit Scott joined after serving with Fraternity from 1971 to 1973.) During Barnes’ absence(s) Cold Chisel carries on regardless with guitarist Ian Moss assuming all vocal duties. In any case, the wandering Barnes is soon back in the Cold Chisel fold.
In 1975 Les Kaczmarek leaves Cold Chisel. (Kaczmarek dies on 5 December 2008.) Taking over as Cold Chisel’s new bassist is Phil Small.
Phillip James Small is born on 2 August 1954 in Adelaide, South Australia. Before joining Cold Chisel, Phil Small played in such earlier bands as Planet (1971) and Palladium (1972).
The addition of Phil Small in 1975 creates the definitive Cold Chisel line-up: Jimmy Barnes (vocals), Ian Moss (vocals, guitar), Don Walker (keyboards), Phil Small (bass) and Steve Prestwich (drums).
Cold Chisel plays cover versions of songs originally recorded by such acts as Free, Deep Purple, The Doors and Jimi Hendrix. What they have in common is that these recording artists all occupy the heavier end of the musical spectrum and could broadly be described as hard rock. Yet while the rest of the band is listening to Deep Purple’s ‘Machine Head’ yet again, Don Walker is tuned in to Bruce Springsteen’s story-songs.
In May 1976 Cold Chisel moves east from Adelaide, South Australia, to Melbourne, Victoria. They ‘find little success’ in their new environs. So, in November 1976, Cold Chisel moves north and bases themselves in Sydney, New South Wales. Don Walker, the band’s keyboardist and songwriter, makes his home in the area called Kings Cross, a seedy, red light district, where he will reside for the next three decades. Three months after moving to Sydney, Cold Chisel is still getting nowhere. They consider changing the name of the band to The Dogs, but ultimately decide against it. A four song demo tape is recorded, but it meets with rejection by the record companies. In May 1977 Jimmy Barnes plans to leave Cold Chisel and join his brother, John Swan, in the Australian hard rock band called Feather. However, his ‘farewell’ performance with Cold Chisel goes so well that he changes his mind and decides to stay with Chisel. (John Swan later becomes best known for his own group, Swanee. They are launched in November 1978.) Meantime, Cold Chisel’s demo tape is finally accepted by WEA (Warner Brothers / Elektra / Asylum). WEA is actually tricked into signing them, being led to believe the group is managed by Peter Rix, who handles pop acts like Hush and Marcia Hines. However it comes about, Cold Chisel is signed to WEA in May 1977. Around this time, the group also acquires a manager, Rod Willis.
The music of Cold Chisel is often described as pub rock, but this is a little misleading. Pub rock, as a genre, is largely a British style of music. In its comparatively brief heyday (1974-1976), pub rock discards many of the pretensions rock music has built up in the early 1970s in favour of a more earthy style chiefly based on rhythm and blues music. Pub rock is the forerunner of the more aggressive punk rock. The term pub rock arose because the British acts associated with this style tended to play in ale houses more often than concert halls. This is where the term connects with Cold Chisel, a band that works the Australian pub circuit. “It has been suggested that we developed in response to that sweaty, wild Australian pub audience that everyone likes to talk about these days,” begins keyboardist Don Walker. “It didn’t really exist when we started out. If anything, our generation of bands were guilty of creating that audience.” Yet, unlike their (slightly earlier) British pub rock counterparts, Cold Chisel is not so clearly based on rhythm and blues. Their sound is difficult to categorise because it encompasses a number of genres. If their basic mode is ‘meat and potatoes hard rock’ or ‘high-volume, high-energy music,’ it is also flexible enough to incorporate strains of country music, reggae, ‘rockabilly, metal and roughhouse soul and blues.’ It has been suggested that the ‘influences from blues and early rock ‘n’ roll’ come mainly from vocalist Jimmy Barnes, guitarist Ian Moss and keyboardist Don Walker while the counterbalancing ‘strong pop sensibilities’ are due to bassist Phil Small and drummer Steve Prestwich.
When thinking of Cold Chisel, the first image that comes to mind is that of vocalist Jimmy Barnes. ‘A dangerous, hard-drinking Scot,’ he is ‘crouched, sweating, as he roars his vocals into the microphone at the top of his lungs.’ Barnes confesses, “I’m not exactly diligent about my singing. When I’m recording I have the music up so loud I literally can’t think of anything else. That’s how I like to work on stage and how I like to work all the time, really. I just get right into the feel of the music and then the singing just happens.” Though his detractors say Barnes is a mere shouter, that ignores the emotion and nuance that comes through in slower songs or more non-standard pieces – as well as failing to appreciate the thrill of Barnesy powering through the hard rock stuff. Unless otherwise stated, all Cold Chisel songs referred to here feature Jimmy Barnes as lead vocalist. The alternate lead vocalist in Cold Chisel is guitarist Ian Moss. He has ‘a voice as smooth as honey and guitar playing that satisfies everyone from blues enthusiasts to the hardest of rockers.’ Even at maximum volume, there is a lilting, lyrical quality to Moss’ playing. He is described as ‘Chisel’s only real virtuoso.’ Jimmy Barnes points out that Moss is “a boy from the bush who didn’t wear shoes but played fantastic.” The guitarist himself notes that, “Don Walker…wanted [Cold Chisel] to be a guitar band. So he pretty much made sure there was a guitar solo in every song. He was pretty selfless and…would rarely allot himself a keyboard solo…so luckily I didn’t have to fight for it…With the powerhouse of personalities in Cold Chisel, I would never have got anywhere!” Keyboardist Don Walker attacks the piano in a style that would do credit to any 1950s rockabilly musician, though such forceful playing may just be a necessary measure to be heard while working amidst the din of Cold Chisel in full flight. Beyond this honky-tonk hammering, Walker can offer thoughtful and sensitive tones on ballads and impressive organ work on more colourful numbers. Bassist Phil Small is perhaps the most quiet and unassuming member of the ensemble. However, his effective bass work is often the glue that holds together the group’s arrangements which sometimes teeter at the edge of an abyss of chaos. Drummer Steve Prestwich keeps pace on Cold Chisel’s uptempo performances and offers tasty fills where the songs expand and breathe. The most noticeable characteristic of his sound is a peculiarly dry snare-drum crack. “Cold Chisel was a great band,” boasts Don Walker. “Most people who are musicians know this and the one who don’t acknowledge it are lying.”
The main songwriter in Cold Chisel is keyboardist Don Walker. Unless the contrary is stated, all Cold Chisel songs mentioned here are written by Walker. Although the band’s music may bear the imprint of foreign influences, it is channelled through a uniquely Australian perspective, a ‘larrikin ethic.’ “I think my love of words…comes…from…listening to regional speech in Australia, listening to the way people talk,” says Walker. “It’s never all about me…It’s about the songs and the story.” Guitarist Ian Moss confirms, “With Chisel, the song always came first. Don was fussy down to the last syllable of every word.” Vocalist Jimmy Barnes offers this testimony to Walker’s composing talents: “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have a career. He really nurtures and cares about music.” Bassist Phil Small claims, “It’s pretty hard to compete and get songs on [an album] as Don is so good.” Yet, as the career of Cold Chisel progresses, Don Walker urges his bandmates to provide songs of their own. Don Walker’s remains the lion’s share of the songwriting, but Cold Chisel benefits from the songwriting input of the other members. His generosity creates a richer and more diverse catalogue of material than would otherwise have been the case.
The group’s first release is the debut album ‘Cold Chisel’ (1978) (AUS no. 31), issued on 24 April. This is the first of many discs the band records for Elektra Records/WEA. The album is produced by Peter Walker (formerly a guitarist in a band called Bakery). When WEA scores Cold Chisel a support slot on an Australian tour by visiting overseas group Foreigner, the recording sessions for the album are hastily wrapped up so the album can be released in time to make the most of this exposure. The girl in the foreground of the high contrast photo on this album’s cover is Micki Braithwaite, the wife of Daryl Braithwaite (Daryl is the lead singer of Australian pop group Sherbet). The single released from this album is ‘Khe Sanh’ (AUS no. 41), the story of a veteran of the Vietnam War returning to Australia and finding it difficult to reacclimatise himself. The song is unusual in highlighting Australia’s ‘proximity to Asia as distinct from always looking to the old world of Europe and America.’ It is powered by Don Walker’s tinkling piano and guest musician Dave Blight’s harmonica. The song is ‘banned from radio’ because of this ‘lewd’ lyric: “She was like so many more from that time on / Their lives were all so empty until they found their chosen one / And their legs were often open / But their minds were always closed / And their hearts were held in fast suburban chains.” Vocalist Jimmy Barnes says, “They had to ban something once a week to keep the Catholic Church happy.” [Note: On their albums up to 1984, the band’s vocalist is credited as ‘Jim Barnes’, though commonly referred to as Jimmy Barnes. For the sake of consistency, he will be listed as Jimmy Barnes throughout here.] ‘Khe Sanh’ is played on Sydney’s Double J radio station as it is not subject to commercial restrictions since it is part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The legend of ‘Khe Sanh’ has seen the song’s importance swell far beyond its initial impact. It is one of the most requested pieces in the Cold Chisel songbook. “I’m very proud of it,” says Don Walker, the author of ‘Khe Sanh’. The next best song on this album is ‘Home And Broken-Hearted’. The humorous lyric runs, “I bought a second-hand Morris for a cheap two twenty and I drove it down to Adelaide / It boiled for an hour twenty miles out of Euston / I thought that heat would never end / But I knew I’d be home for Christmas with my Sandy / And a few extra dollars to spend.” Instead, the narrator finds the “Boxing Day break is wasted sittin’ here on my own / The beer we bought for Christmas ran dry this afternoon / On the radio it’s New Year’s Eve / What a low down time of the year to pack your luggage and leave.” This could have been a mournful dirge, but instead Cold Chisel packages it as a rollicking redneck number; the words are tongue-in-cheek, but still retain the (understandable) resentment. In a 1978 live performance of ‘Daskarzine’ for Double J’s ‘Live at the Wireless’ in St Leonard’s Park, Jimmy Barnes introduces it as a song about “the drug commonly known as smack” (i.e. heroin). Framed as a tribute to a woman, the smashing power of the song doesn’t disguise the truth of Barnes’ claim: “Her every move is a lesson in street ballet / And they speak her name in cheap hotels / From Turkey to Marseillaise.” The hard-rocking opening track, ‘Juliet’, is pierced by the splinters of Don Walker’s keyboard notes. ‘Juliet’ is co-written by Don Walker and Jimmy Barnes. It is the only track on this album on which Walker is not the sole author. ‘One Long Day’ is a loping blues on which Ian Moss is the main vocalist – though Jimmy Barnes is brought in for the final stages as the song mutates into something more complicated and grandiose. ‘Northbound’ is a steaming train song on which Cold Chisel is augmented by Dave Blight’s harmonica and the backing vocals of Janice Slater and Carol Stubbley. Don Walker says that most of the lyrics on this album are about a former lover, though the relationship is long over. This perhaps comes through most clearly on ‘Rosaline’, with Ian Moss on lead vocals, and the creeping rhythm of this song about a dying love being highlighted by a sultry saxophone solo by guest musician Wilbur Wilde (at the time a member of Jo Jo Zep And The Falcons). ‘Cold Chisel’ is the band’s most blues-oriented album and the closing track, ‘Just How Many Times’, is a red wine-soaked blues that winds the album down like a cigarette burning to ash. ‘Cold Chisel’ is issued ‘without setting the world on fire’ but it is an album that ages well.
On 20 November 1978 Cold Chisel release the EP ‘You’re Thirteen, You’re Beautiful And You’re Mine’. The provocative title is a parody of the lyrics from Johnny Burnette’s 1960 single ‘You’re Sixteen’. The cover photos for this disc are taken by Greg Noakes. There is some nudity on the back cover courtesy of a woman who was the flatmate of Jimmy Barnes’ girlfriend at the time. The EP contains five tracks recorded live at a concert sponsored by radio station 2JJ at Sydney’s Regent Theatre. One of the supporting acts on the night is Midnight Oil. Two of the songs on this disc – ‘One Long Day’ and ‘Home And Broken-Hearted’ – were first recorded on the debut album ‘Cold Chisel’. ‘Merry-Go-Round’ is rerecorded on Cold Chisel’s next album. ‘Mona And The Preacher’ is an obscure Don Walker original. The final song is a cover version of The Troggs’ 1966 hit ‘Wild Thing’.
In the late 1970s, Cold Chisel’s manager Rod Willis forms an alliance with John Woodruff (the manager of Cold Chisel’s greatest rivals, The Angels) and Ray Hearn. As ‘Dirty Pool’, they shake up the pub circuit through the dominance of their acts.
The second Cold Chisel album is ‘Breakfast At Sweethearts’ (1979) (AUS no. 4), released in February. The album is produced by Richard Batchens, but the band is ‘never happy with the recording, feeling it is too limp to represent their sound.’ “We were in a sh*t room with this bad tempered c*nt,” says vocalist Jimmy Barnes. Despite this, keyboardist and chief songwriter Don Walker says, “As a whole set of songs, it painted a picture of a certain time and place which is very close to my heart.” ‘Sweethearts’ is the name of a café on Darlinghurst Road in Kings Cross, Sydney, ‘cramped between strip clubs and sex shops, patronised by hookers, pimps and drug dealers and the lost and lonely debris of the night.’ The photo on the album cover, showing Cold Chisel gathered around a table, is not taken at ‘Sweethearts’ but across town at the Marble Bar in the Sydney Hilton. ‘Sweethearts’ closes down around 1990. The song ‘Breakfast At Sweethearts’ (AUS no. 63) portrays a seedy scenario with a brooding jazz/blues hybrid sound notable for Don Walker’s organ huffing along like a hangover. Jimmy Barnes co-authors ‘Goodbye (Astrid Goodbye)’ (AUS no. 65) with Don Walker, a brutally funny break-up song (“You can drown your tears in Valium and brandy”) executed at break-neck speed. ‘Shipping Steel’ is a truck-drivin’ song with Tony Faehse from Jo Jo Zep And The Falcons making a guest appearance on slide guitar. The thumping ‘Merry-Go-Round’ was first heard in a live version on the ‘You’re Thirteen, You’re Beautiful And You’re Mine’ EP. The song bemoans the hassles of the working week and notes, “When the weekend comes I’m gonna set fire to the town.” The ‘Set Fire to the Town’ phrase is used as the name of a Cold Chisel tour, an expedition that is publicised with the somewhat questionable image of the self-immolation of a monk. Ian Moss’ guitar solo is much more tasteful, if hardly less powerful. It is one of his best. Mossy co-writes the heavy-footed ‘Dresden’ with Don Walker, while Moss also provides lead vocals for ‘Plaza’, a piano ballad about Sydney’s Plaza Hotel where songwriter Don Walker is living at the time. The cynical desperation of ‘Showtime’ also sounds like a very personal song by Walker. He writes of watching “Townsville [Queensland] sugar sunsets back in 1959,” recalling his father’s sugar cane farm (though the family had moved to Grafton, New South Wales, by 1959). The remaining tracks on the album all tend towards being fast-paced hard rock, albeit well-arranged (‘Conversations’), funny (‘I’m Gonna Roll Ya’) or foaming at the mouth (‘The Door’).
Around this time, Cold Chisel’s bassist Phil Small marries. Phil and his wife Christine have one child, a son named Richard.
By 1979 Cold Chisel’s frontman Jimmy Barnes is ‘rumoured to have had sex with over one thousand women and is known to consume more than a bottle of vodka during performances’ on stage. That state of affairs changes later in the year…Well, maybe not the alcohol consumption, but Barnes’ romantic situation is due for a shake-up. In November 1979 Jimmy Barnes meets Jane Mahoney (born Jane Dejakasaya in 1958 in Bangkok, Thailand). She is the step-daughter of an Australian diplomat. Jimmy and Jane begin living together in March 1980. However, Jane becomes overwhelmed with the rock lifestyle her partner is practicing. She leaves him and goes to Tokyo, Japan, where her step-father’s diplomatic duties currently have him posted. Jimmy goes after Jane and the two of them manage to work things out. Jimmy Barnes and Jane Mahoney marry on 22 May 1981. They go on to have four children together: a daughter named Mahalia (born on 12 July 1982), a daughter named Eliza-Jane (born in 1984), a son named Jackie (born in 1986) and a daughter named Elly-May (born in 1989). Jane Barnes may also have something to do with her spouse describing himself as a Buddhist – though he was raised a Protestant. (The maternal grandmother of Jimmy Barnes was Jewish.)
On 12 April 1980, two Cold Chisel roadies (workers who transport and set up the instruments, lights and amplifiers for musicians), Alan Dallow and Billy Rowe, die in a car smash in the southern highlands of New South Wales. At the time, the duo was working for Swanee, the band created around John Swan, the elder brother of Jimmy Barnes.
‘East’ (1980) (AUS no. 2), released on 2 June, is Cold Chisel’s best album. It is co-produced by Mark Opitz and Cold Chisel. The photo on the album’s cover is based on the painting ‘Marat Assassinated’ (1793) by Jacques Louis David. The subject of David’s painting was a French revolutionary who made a habit of working in his bathtub. He was slain by a woman while in his watery workplace. On ‘East’, it is Cold Chisel vocalist Jimmy Barnes slumped over in the tub at the home of Roger Langford in Elizabeth Bay, New South Wales. The room is filled with knick-knacks and furnishings from the Orient and Barnesy is wearing a bandana emblazoned with Japanese characters. It is not until years later that the singer learns he was wearing the headband upside down. When work began on this album in 1979, principal songwriter and keyboardist Don Walker insisted that all the members of the band should contribute songs for this album. ‘East’ is the first album on which there are songs by all five members of Cold Chisel. ‘Choirgirl’ (AUS no. 14) is said to be a song ‘dealing with a young woman’s experience with abortion.’ While this may be true, there is nothing in the lyrics that makes that explicit. This plaintive piano ballad can be interpreted on face value simply as being about a girl “Crying like a refugee” while “All day the doctor / He handles his responsibility.” The video for ‘Cheap Wine’ (AUS no. 8) is filmed in the same apartment where the cover image of ‘East’ was shot. ‘Cheap Wine’ marries a catchy pop tune to the band’s unquestioned musical strength. “I don’t mind taking charity / From those that I despise,” sneers the lyric. The song refers to “Sittin’ on the beach drinkin’ rocket fuel.” Jimmy Barnes claims that ‘rocket fuel’ consists of three types of white spirits, probably Bacardi, vodka and tequila. However he warns, “I can’t remember much of those days now,” before adding, “but then I couldn’t remember much when I was drinking them.” Don Walker is also vague but says ‘rocket fuel’ had “No mixers, no colouring, no bullsh*t.” ‘Cheap Wine’ is Cold Chisel’s greatest song. Arguably, a track with a harder rock edge may be more representative but ‘Cheap Wine’ sacrifices none of the group’s trademark attitude or musical power while embracing a more accessible side to their work. ‘My Baby’ (AUS no. 40) is written by Cold Chisel’s bassist Phil Small. Guitarist Ian Moss provides the lead vocal and Cold Chisel neatly navigate the modern rhythm and blues groove of this charming song. Joe Camilleri, frontman of Jo Jo Zep And The Falcons, provides the saxophone solo on ‘My Baby’. “Everyone seems to think it’s written about Christine, my wife; maybe subconsciously it is,” says Phil Small. The requirement to provide a song for ‘East’ is particularly challenging for drummer Steve Prestwich since, at the time, he cannot play any instrument other than drums. In the end, he hums a melody for guitarist Ian Moss who provides the backing chords (and lead vocal) for Prestwich’s pop-reggae hybrid ‘Best Kept Lies’. Mossy himself pens and performs the smouldering and soulful ‘Never Before’. Vocalist Jimmy Barnes contributes two songs. ‘Rising Sun’ is an autobiographical account of his adventures in Japan pursuing his beloved Jane and is set to a rambunctious rockabilly beat (though Ian Moss has claimed that Chisel’s rockabilly phase was his idea). Barnes’ other piece is the album closer ‘My Turn To Cry’, a take-no-prisoners rocker. Three of Don Walker’s songs on ‘East’ have a jail theme, which may be related to the band performing a number of prison shows around this period. The album opener ‘Standing On The Outside’ contemplates committing a crime, the adrenalized ‘Tomorrow’ is written from the viewpoint of a fugitive and the piano ballad ‘Four Walls’ is a sad meditation from behind bars. Those in doubt about Jimmy Barnes’ vocal subtleties should check out his aching vibrato (“And I know…”) on ‘Standing On The Outside’. ‘Ita’ is a tribute to Ita Buttrose, the lisping lady editor of the magazine ‘The Australian Women’s Weekly’. Watching the television advertisements for her periodical, the narrator notes, “She’s got wholesome news for the family” before adding lasciviously that “Though the desktop hides her hips / My imagination’s strong.” ‘Star Hotel’ is a spooky reggae song about the closure of a pub in Newcastle, New South Wales, on 19 September 1979, an action that provoked a street riot of “Uncontrolled youth in Asia” (a pun on euthanasia, a term for a mercy killing or assisted suicide). The first ten thousand pressings of ‘East’ come with a bonus single of ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’ backed with ‘Party’s Over’. ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’ is a cover version of a 1973 Bob Dylan song. Chisel’s take on it is recorded live at the Bondi Lifesaver, a venue in New South Wales. The first verse is sung by Ian Moss, the second by Don Walker (in a rare vocal spotlight) and the third by Jimmy Barnes. ‘Party’s Over’ is a Walker original, sung by Moss; a blues as dark and rich as black coffee. On ‘East’, Mark Opitz’s recording captures Cold Chisel with amazing clarity. Jimmy Barnes’ diction is much improved and the whole thing just comes into focus. ‘East’ is ‘certainly the most “pop”’ album in the Cold Chisel catalogue but it also covers a wide breadth of music styles and does so with authority. ‘East’ is hailed as ‘a triumph’ and turns Cold Chisel into ‘the undisputed no. 1 rock band in Australia.’ “’East’ was a real shot in the arm for us,” acknowledges bassist Phil Small.
When ‘My Baby’ is released as a single in August 1980 it is backed with ‘Misfits’, a song not included on ‘East’. Don Walker wrote it for ‘Kids’, a documentary about homeless youths in the western suburbs of Sydney. Pam Scott’s documentary was made for a Health Commission but never screened because it ‘was apparently too tough.’ The song ‘Misfits’ is ‘an anthem for teenage Australians from the suburbs who have no place in the upwardly mobile late-1970s.’
In 1980 Cold Chisel tour Australia under the ‘Youth in Asia’ banner, borrowing from the lyric of ‘Star Hotel’, one of the tracks on ‘East’.
On 16 March 1981 Cold Chisel win seven awards at the TV Week / Countdown Music Awards – but the band smash up their instruments during their performance on the television broadcast in some kind of protest about the superficial nature of the awards’ sponsors.
‘Swingshift’ (1981) (AUS no. 1) is a live album released on 23 March. This is a double album with material from shows at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney and Festival Hall in Melbourne during the ‘Youth in Asia’ tour. As well as the expected Cold Chisel hits and favourites, ‘Swingshift’ includes cover versions of Bob Dylan’s ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’; ‘Don’t Let Go’, a song first recorded by Roy Hamilton in 1958 though the most successful version may the 1979 Isaac Hayes rendition; and the 1970 Creedence Clearwater Revival song ‘Long As I Can See The Light’.
In May 1981 Cold Chisel undertakes their only concert tour of the United States of America. A revised version of ‘East’ (US no. 171) is released in the U.S.A. It dumps ‘Ita’ and ‘Four Walls’ and inserts a new recording of ‘Khe Sanh’ in their place. The American experience proves ‘frustrating’ because ‘the band’s label, Elektra, refuses to take an interest in the band or in the release of “East”.’
While Cold Chisel’s keyboardist Don Walker is overseas, he receives some surprising news in a telephone call. He is advised that he has a daughter, Danielle (born in 1980). The child’s mother – whose identity is not public knowledge – abandons Danielle. The little girl is raised with her step-sister for a while but is then placed in foster care. It is not until two years later than Don Walker gets custody of Danielle.
‘Circus Animals’ (1982) (AUS no. 1), the next Cold Chisel album, is released in March. The album is produced by Mark Optiz. The sound on this album is different than its predecessor, ‘East’. Here, the end result is more rough-hewn and aggressive. “The whole band, particularly [chief songwriter] Don [Walker], decided to revolt against the pop formula when we made ‘Circus Animals’,” explains vocalist Jimmy Barnes. The working title for the album was ‘Tunnel C*nts’. Instead, it ended up as ‘Circus Animals’ – because, during their U.S. jaunt in particular, the band felt like wild creatures forced to perform for uncomprehending ‘masters’. Peter Levy’s cover photo of the band by a caravan in an expanse of sand and blue sky is taken at Lake Eyre in South Australia, an area that dries up into a salty expanse in summer. The first single is Jimmy Barnes’ ‘You Got Nothing I Want’ (AUS no. 12), a rebuke to their American record company’s representative (i.e. Marty Schwatz – though he is not named in the lyrics). Barnesy may not mind “just puttin’ you down”, but being on the receiving end of this (admittedly well-earned) tirade would be very uncomfortable. The band don’t spare the horses either, Ian Moss’ sandpapery guitar trading blows with the vocalist’s signature fiery howls. Perhaps the album’s biggest surprise is ‘Forever Now’ (AUS no. 4), a sweet semi-ballad that becomes the band’s most commercially successful single. It is written by Cold Chisel’s drummer Steve Prestwich. Following ‘East’, Prestwich was bitten by the song-writing bug and taught himself to play bass, guitar and keyboards to better realise his ambitions. The wistful camaraderie of ‘When The War Is Over’ (AUS no. 25), mostly sung by Ian Moss but with Jimmy Barnes stepping in for the final verse, confirms Prestwich’s talents as a composer. ‘Bow River’, written and sung by guitarist Ian Moss, is named for a small outpost between Kununurra and Hall’s Creek in Western Australia. Ian’s elder brother, Peter Moss, worked at a sheep station in Bow River for a while. After “Wasting my days on the factory floor,” it is the place to which the singer returns. This is after he manages to “P*ss all my money up against the damn wall” (this last sentiment is sung by Jimmy Barnes who provides the vocal for the final verse). Less elemental is Ian Moss’ other song for ‘Circus Animals’, ‘No Good For You’. It is a more pop-oriented song about a cheating woman and has Jimmy Barnes on lead vocals, though Moss delivers some harmonies. The rest of ‘Circus Animals’ is written by Don Walker. Two of these songs have familiar titles but ‘Houndog’ is not the Elvis Presley song and ‘Wild Colonial Boy’ is not the traditional Australian folk song. ‘Houndog’ is a song about being on the road amidst “Petrol heads and country hicks / Bible freaks and lunatics.” ‘Wild Colonial Boy’ rages against outside control: “My land is ruled by Anglophiles / And forces foreign to me / I do not curse your referees / In boardrooms far away / Yeah, who am I to question these / Who plan their final day?” Instead, the song’s narrator revels in “The dust where no man reigns.” A similarly defiantly Australian tone informs the tropical menace of ‘Taipan’, named for a venomous Australian snake. ‘Numbers Fall’ muses over high stakes gambling. The album closes with the deeply personal ‘Letter To Alan’. This is a song about the deaths of Cold Chisel roadies Alan Dallow and Billy Rowe in a car smash on 12 April 1980. Musically, the track swings between a heartfelt piano section and a furious rock section. Cold Chisel have played the blues before but, although this may not strictly be a blues song, it shares the goal of blues music in transforming something ugly and painful into a more transcendent musical expression. ‘Circus Animals’ may be less accessible than ‘East’, but is – arguably – a better representation of Cold Chisel. “All I know is that ‘East’ and ‘Circus Animals’ sounded good when we made them,” says Don Walker.
On the ‘Circus Animals’ tour to promote the album, Cold Chisel perform under a circus tent in Wentworth Park in Sydney. The group is displayed amidst lions and tigers and vocalist Jimmy Barnes rides as a pillion passenger with a motorcycle daredevil on a tightrope. In Darwin, Cold Chisel plays a show that attracts more than ten per cent of the population.
Around this time, Cold Chisel guitarist Ian Moss begins a romantic relationship with British-born Australian actress Megan Williams.
‘More international sojourns follow [for Cold Chisel], and more frustrating disappointments.’ ‘Success overseas continues to elude the band and cracks begin to appear.’ ‘Northbound: The Best Of Cold Chisel’ (1983) is a compilation of tracks from their first three albums. It is created for the German market. In early 1983 Cold Chisel tour Germany but the shows go badly. At one point, Don Walker overturns his keyboards and storms off stage. The ill will reaches a climax when drummer Steve Prestwich is fired.
Things don’t improve for Cold Chisel when they return to Australia. Vocalist Jimmy Barnes finds that ‘exorbitant spending has left him almost broke’ and he has a wife and child to support. Barnes asks the band’s management for a ten thousand dollar advance but is refused. A clause in Cold Chisel’s contract is the problem. If Barnes is given such a sum, it would mean that each member of the group would also have to be given the same amount. That’s just not feasible. At a meeting of the members of Cold Chisel on 17 August 1983 the decision is made to break-up the band. There will be a winding down process. A final studio album will be recorded and a final tour will be undertaken from October to December 1983. Drummer Steve Prestwich is recalled to participate in the farewell tour. Prestwich plays on some tracks for Cold Chisel’s final album with the balance of the recordings being completed with drummer Ray Arnott.
Raymond Walter Arnott had worked with some other notable Australian bands in earlier years. He played with Spectrum (1970-1973), Mighty Kong (1973) and The Dingoes (1974-1976).
Cold Chisel’s farewell tour hits an obstacle in its final stages. Just before the last shows in Sydney that will conclude the tour, vocalist Jimmy Barnes loses his voice. Bassist Phil Small says this is the worst thing that ever happened on tour with Cold Chisel. The shows are rescheduled. Cold Chisel’s final show – their ‘Last Stand’ – is at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on 12 December 1983, ten years after the band’s first live show.
‘Twentieth Century’ (1984) (AUS no. 1) is released in April. It is co-produced by Mark Opitz and Cold Chisel. The stylised cover image of trendy folks and a big city is by Chilean artist Eduardo Guelfenben – who also directs the videos for the album’s first single. ‘Twentieth Century’ is recorded in pieces during Cold Chisel’s final tour. The first single (released in 1983) from the album is the double A side ‘Hold Me Tight’ (AUS no. 14) b/w ‘No Sense’. ‘Hold Me Tight’ is a gibbering, flat-chat rockabilly scorcher. ‘No Sense’ is a stiff-legged reggae number written by vocalist Jimmy Barnes that lambasts fan mail: “Another letter from a girl that I don’t know / Another letter full of no news…She tries to say she’s gonna be my one and only / But I wouldn’t take no bets.” ‘Saturday Night’ (AUS no. 11) (released in March 1984) is a bruised duet vocal featuring guitarist Ian Moss with Jimmy Barnes. It is framed with ambient noise from Kings Cross, Sydney’s red light district, recorded by keyboardist Don Walker. Billy Rodgers provides the smoky saxophone solo. The lyrics refer to “L’Esclavage D’Amour, it will be ours forevermore.” The French words in that line roughly translate to ‘slavery of love.’ With weary resignation, the lyrics say, “My steps have shown / I can walk away from all I’ve known / Goodnight, my friend, goodbye.” The poignancy of these sentiments in light of Cold Chisel’s disintegration is unmistakable. Nostalgia pervades ‘Flame Trees’ (AUS no. 26) as well, a song that combines Don Walker’s pensive lyric with Steve Prestwich’s glistening melody. “We share some history / This town and I / And I can’t stop that long forgotten feeling of her,” it painfully accepts, while seeing parallels with, “There’s a girl / She’s falling in love near where the pianola stands / With a young local factory out-of-worker / Just holding hands / And I’m wondering if he’ll go or if he’ll stay.” The song is written about Walker’s old hometown of Grafton, New South Wales. Grafton is known as the Jacaranda City, but it did plant some flame trees after the screening of the 1981 British television series ‘The Flame Trees of Thika’, starring Hayley Mills. That series was based on Elspeth Huxley’s 1959 novel of the same name set in East Africa in 1913. (Thika is the central province of Kenya.) Ian Moss’ girlfriend Megan Williams adds backing vocals to Cold Chisel’s ‘Flame Trees’. The title track, ‘Twentieth Century’ (AUS no. 91), looks around in bewilderment, stuck on a traffic island. ‘The Game’ is an elaborate song co-written by bassist Phil Small and Don Walker. Jimmy Barnes is the author of the bullish ‘Only One’. Don Walker’s bluesy ‘Janelle’, sung by Ian Moss, started out as ‘Danielle’ – a song about Walker’s young daughter – but the name and the lyric’s direction changed. ‘Sing To Me’ is a fine blues. Walker’s remaining compositions – ‘’Build This Love’, ‘Ghost Town’, ‘Painted Doll’ and ‘Temptation’ (the closing track and best of the bunch) – all adopt a hasty approach yet turn out ragged-but-right. ‘Twentieth Century’ is ‘sometimes a bit thrashy-sounding.’ Steve Prestwich plays drums on only three tracks – ‘No Sense’, ‘Flame Trees’ and ‘The Game’ – with Ray Arnott appearing as drummer on the rest of the album. Reflecting on ‘Twentieth Century’, Don Walker says, “The album was a nightmare…At the time relations within the band were barely above speaking terms.” Jimmy Barnes concludes, “While there are some great songs on it, I don’t think it was one of our great records – it was fragmented and sounds like a dying band, but it marked the end of an era.”
Let’s now look at what happens to the individual members of Cold Chisel from 1984 to 1998.
Former Cold Chisel vocalist and frontman Jimmy Barnes enjoys the highest level of success with his solo recordings. His first six solo albums all go to no. 1 in Australia. Barnes starts out writing most of his own material, switches to recording mostly outside compositions and then settles into co-writing most of his stuff – with some digressions for albums of cover versions. He does not employ a regular band for the most part, favouring instead a shifting cast of musicians. Most Jimmy Barnes albums yield multiple hit singles so, in the following list, those singles are in brackets after the album titles [plus some notes like this regarding individual albums or singles]. From 1984 to 1998 Jimmy Barnes releases these recordings: ‘Bodyswerve’ (1984) (AUS no. 1) (‘No Second Prize’ (AUS no. 12) [a song offered to Cold Chisel for ‘Twentieth Century’ but rejected], ‘Promise Me You’ll Call’ (AUS no. 86) and ‘Daylight’ (AUS no. 12)); ‘For The Working Class Man’ (1985) (AUS no. 1) (‘I’d Die To Be With You Tonight’ (AUS no. 7), ‘Working Class Man’ (AUS no. 5) and ‘Ride The Night Away’ (AUS no. 39) [The U.S. version of this album is ‘Jimmy Barnes: A Week Away From Paradise’ (1985) (US no. 109)]; ‘Good Times’ (AUS no. 2, US no. 47) is a stand-alone 1987 single, a cover version of a 1968 Easybeats song, recorded as a duet by Jimmy Barnes and Aussie rock band INXS; ‘Freight Train Heart’ (1987) (AUS no. 1, US no. 104) (‘Too Much Ain’t Enough Love’ (AUS no. 1, US no. 91), ‘Driving Wheels’ (AUS no. 12), ‘I’m Still On Your Side’ (AUS no. 29) and ‘Waitin’ For The Heartache’ (AUS no. 33); ‘Barnestorming’ (1988) (AUS no. 1) [a live album] (‘When A Man Loves A Woman’ (AUS no. 3) [a cover version of the 1966 Percy Sledge hit] and ‘Last Frontier’ (AUS no. 31) [a song whose studio incarnation appeared on ‘Freight Train Heart’]); ‘Two Fires’ (1990) (AUS no. 1) (‘Lay Down Your Guns’ (AUS no. 4), ‘Let’s Make It Last All Night’ (AUS no. 12), ‘Little Darling’ (AUS no. 31), ‘When Your Love Is Gone’ (AUS no. 7) and ‘Love Is Enough’ (AUS no. 48)); ‘Good Times’ (UK no. 18) [charts as a single in the U.K. in 1990 after being included in the soundtrack for the movie ‘The Lost Boys’]; ‘Soul Deep’ (1991) (AUS no. 1) [cover versions of old soul music hits] (Joe Tex’s 1972 song ‘I Gotcha’ (AUS no. 6), Sam And Dave’s 1967 song ‘When Something Is Wrong With My Baby’ (AUS no. 3) recorded as a duet by Jimmy Barnes and John Farnham, and ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ (AUS no. 28), first recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell in 1967, perhaps more famously recorded by Diana Ross And The Supremes in 1970); ‘(Simply) The Best’ (AUS no. 14) is a 1992 duet with Tina Turner, a rerecording of the U.S. singer’s 1989 song, released as a single to publicise the New South Wales Rugby League football season; ‘Heat’ (26 March 1993) (AUS no. 2) (‘Sweat It Out’ (AUS no. 11), ‘Stand Up’ (AUS no. 41), ‘Stone Cold’ (AUS no. 4) [written by former Cold Chisel keyboardist Don Walker] and ‘Right By Your Side’ (AUS no. 43)); ‘Flesh And Wood’ (6 December 1993) (AUS no. 2) [a partly acoustic album] (The Band’s 1968 song ‘The Weight’ (AUS no. 6) recorded as duet by Jimmy Barnes and The Badloves, ‘You Can’t Make Love Without A Soul’ (AUS no. 84) and ‘Still Got A Long Way To Go’ (AUS no. 57) recorded as a duet by Jimmy Barnes and Diesel [Diesel is Barnes’ brother-in-law; he is married to Jane’s sister, Jep Mahoney]); ‘Psyclone’ (1995) (AUS no. 2, UK no. 125) (‘Change Of Heart’ (AUS no. 17, UK no. 154); ‘Barnes Hits Anthology’ (1996) (AUS no. 1) (a ‘greatest hits’ set that includes the new single ‘Lover Lover’ (AUS no. 6), written by the singer’s wife, Jane Barnes]; and the 1997 single ‘Never Give You Up’ (AUS no. 33).
The personal life of Jimmy Barnes is also quite eventful. When Cold Chisel went their separate ways at the end of 1983, Jimmy and his wife Jane had one child, their daughter Mahalia (born on 12 July 1982). They go on to have three more children: a daughter named Eliza-Jane (born in 1984), a son named Jackie (born in 1986) and a daughter named Elly-May (born in 1989). The quartet of youngsters goes on to record three children’s albums under the name of The Tin Lids (rhyming slang for kids): ‘Hey Rudolph’ (1991) (AUS no. 6) (which includes the single ‘Christmas Day’ (AUS no. 40), ‘Snakes And Ladders’ (1992) and ‘Dinosaur Dreaming’ (1993). In the mid-1990s Jimmy Barnes finds he has serious financial problems. He attributes the difficulties partly to banks extending him loans far beyond his ability to service. In any case, both his music publishing company – Dirty Sheet Music – and his wife’s children’s fashion label go broke. The ANZ Bank (Australia and New Zealand Bank) and the Australian Taxation Office pursue Barnes for amounts exceeding one point three million dollars (Australian). The family sells their property in Bowral, New South Wales, and for some time make their home in Aix-en-Provence, France. To make matters worse, “When I made ‘Psyclone’ (1995), I was at the height of my alcoholism and addiction,” Jimmy Barnes admits.
Former Cold Chisel guitarist and vocalist Ian Moss takes a break after the band dissolves before commencing a solo career in October 1986. A number of Ian Moss’ solo recordings are co-written by Moss and his fellow ex-Cold Chisel colleague Don Walker. Ian Moss releases the following recordings in the period 1986 to 1998: ‘Matchbook’ (1989) (AUS no. 1) (includes the hit singles ‘Tucker’s Daughter’ (AUS no. 2) [co-written by Moss and Walker], ‘Telephone Booth’ (AUS no. 7) [written by Don Walker], ‘Out Of The Fire’ (AUS no. 29) [co-written by Moss and Walker] and ‘Mr Rain’ (AUS no. 64) [co-written by Moss and Jon Tiven]); ‘Worlds Away’ (1991) (AUS no. 42) [an album in the soul/rhythm and blues vein which is largely co-written by Don Walker] (includes the singles ‘She’s A Star’ (AUS no. 74) and ‘Slip Away’ (AUS no. 56). These are the last charting singles from Ian Moss); ‘Petrolhead’ (1996) [a blues rock album produced by Don Walker]; ‘Ian Moss Box Set’ (1997) [‘Petrolhead’ and a live CD]; and ‘Ian Moss Live’ (1998).
Ian Moss is in a de facto relationship with Australian actress Megan Williams for eleven or twelve years (1983?-1995?) but they split up in the 1990s. According to one account, Moss and Williams were even engaged for a while. [Megan Williams dies on 17 April 2000 at the age of 43 due to breast cancer.]
Former Cold Chisel keyboardist Don Walker takes a three year hiatus from the recording industry after Cold Chisel breaks up and travels through Europe and Asia. When he returns to the recording studio, Walker releases two albums under the name of Catfish, though he seems to be the face of this act and its only full-time member. The albums credited to Catfish are: ‘Unlimited Address’ (1988) (AUS no. 50) and ‘Ruby’ (1991). In 1992 Don Walker moves on to the trio Tex, Don & Charlie with Tex Perkins (vocals) and Charlie Owen (guitar). Tex, Don & Charlie release ‘Sad But True’ (1993) and the live album ‘Monday Morning Coming Down’ (1994). Don Walker follows this with his first true solo album, ‘We’re All Gunna Die’ (1994). During these years, Don Walker also contributes songs to former Cold Chisel comrades Jimmy Barnes (e.g. ‘Stone Cold’) and Ian Moss (e.g. ‘Telephone Booth’).
In 1983 Don Walker obtains custody of his daughter, Danielle (born 1980). Following this, Walker marries (his spouse is not Danielle’s mother) and has a second daughter (born 1996). Don Walker prefers not to publicly name his wife or second daughter.
Former Cold Chisel bassist Phil Small goes on to work with Pound (1985), The Earls Of Duke (1985-1988), Hot Ice (1986) and The Outsiders (1989). Small then ‘virtually disappears from the scene for many years.’
Former Cold Chisel drummer Steve Prestwich joins fellow Australian group The Little River Band (LRB) from 1984 to 1986. Prestwich appears on the LRB albums ‘Playing To Win’ (1985) (AUS no. 38, US no. 75) and ‘No Reins’ (1986) (AUS no. 85). The latter album includes a cover version of Prestwich’s ‘When The War Is Over’, a song first recorded by Cold Chisel in 1982. Although Glenn Shorrock is perhaps the best remembered frontman of The Little River Band, during Steve Prestwich’s time with the group John Farnham is the lead singer of LRB. When Farnham elects to resume his solo career in 1986, Prestwich is (at least briefly) part of Farnham’s touring band.
In 1983 Steve Prestwich marries Jo-Anne Thompson. They have two children together: a daughter named Melody and a son named Vaughan. In 1993 Steve Prestwich undergoes surgery which results in the successful removal of a benign brain tumour. In 1995 Prestwich and his family move to the country to live.
During the years 1984 to 1998 the musical legacy of Cold Chisel is kept alive through a number of means including compilation albums, historic live recordings and more. ‘The Barking Spiders Live’ (1984) (AUS no. 14) is a Cold Chisel concert album. The group used the name of The Barking Spiders for occasional warm-up gigs prior to tours. A ‘barking spider’ is a mythical creature to which blame is apportioned for odorous flatulence. As well as the usual Cold Chisel fare, this disc includes cover versions of Conway Twitty’s 1958 country song ‘It’s Only Make Believe’ and ‘Georgia’, the 1930 Hoagy Carmichael tune perhaps most famously recorded by Ray Charles in 1960. With Ian Moss on vocals, ‘Georgia’ had long been a part of Cold Chisel’s live shows. In July of the same year comes the concert movie ‘The Last Stand’ (1984). It was filmed in December 1983 in Sydney. (The soundtrack to the movie is not released at the same time. It does not come out until 1992.) ‘Radio Songs: A Best Of Cold Chisel’ (1985) (AUS no. 3) brings together the band’s hits. Some may contend that ‘Razor Songs’ (1987) (AUS no. 11) is actually a better representation of the band if the view is taken that Cold Chisel’s more commercial efforts are not their truest reflection. Aiming for a more balanced picture is the compilation set ‘Chisel’ (1991) (AUS no. 3). From this, ‘Misfits’ (AUS no. 55) – the 1980 B side to ‘My Baby’ – is released as a single in its own right. In 1992 the soundtrack to ‘The Last Stand’ (1992) (AUS no. 8) is issued on CD. In 1993 Cold Chisel is inducted into the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall of Fame. ‘Teenage Love’ (1994) (AUS no. 6) is a collection not of Cold Chisel’s past hits, but of unused demo recordings by the band from 1976 to 1983. Three of these previously unknown songs are issued as singles: ‘Hands Out Of My Pocket’ (AUS no. 9) (written by Jimmy Barnes) is a frantic, crashing racket; ‘Nothing But You’ (AUS no. 16) (written by Steve Prestwich with Ian Moss on lead vocals) is more smooth and pop-oriented, the band meshing like a well-oiled machine; and ‘Yesterdays’ (AUS no. 23), while thoughtful and reflective, is hard-knuckled mid-range pop featuring a nice guitar solo from Moss. The comparative success of ‘Teenage Love’ and the continuing appetite for Cold Chisel sets the stage for a full-scale reunion.
Talk of a Cold Chisel reunion begins around Christmas 1995. During 1996 and 1997 the group sifts through songs for this project.
‘The Last Wave Of Summer’ (1998) (AUS no. 1) is the Cold Chisel reunion album. It is released in October in an unusual one-off arrangement with Mushroom Records. The cover photo taken by Adrienne Overall – a distant shot of the band in a petrol service station café in Wyong, New South Wales – is based on Edward Hopper’s painting ‘Nighthawks’ (1942). The first single from the album is ‘The Things I Love In You’ (AUS no. 10), a rough-edged pop song. The other two singles are both written by drummer Steve Prestwich. ‘Water Into Wine’ (AUS no. 46) has Ian Moss on acoustic guitar and is a plea for redemption. The almost-ballad ‘Way Down’ (AUS no. 63) has Moss on vocals (supported by Jimmy Barnes) and comes from the depths, trying to find a way back. Don Walker’s ‘Yakuza Girls’ is later rerecorded for his solo album ‘Cutting Back’ (2006).
A promotional tour for ‘The Last Wave Of Summer’ commences in November 1998. The reunion ‘turns sour following a volcanic eruption between drummer Steve Prestwich and vocalist Jimmy Barnes.’ There is a sense ‘that time doesn’t heal all wounds, and sometimes the weight of the past can be impossible to lift.’ Cold Chisel does not formally break-up again but, from this point, the group co-exists with solo activities by the various members.
Jimmy Barnes releases the solo album ‘Love And Fear’ (1999) (AUS no. 22) which includes the singles ‘Love And Hate’ (AUS no. 70) and ‘Thankful For The Rain’ (AUS no. 63). Bassist Phil Small is part of Barnes’ backing group on the singer’s 1999 tour. On 6 December Cold Chisel issue ‘The Studio Sessions 1978-1984’ (1999), a boxed set of their five albums from ‘Cold Chisel’ to ‘Twentieth Century’ – though, contrary to the title, the boxed set also includes the live album ‘Swingshift’.
Jimmy Barnes’ ‘Soul Deeper – Songs From The Deep South’ (2000) (AUS no. 3) is another album of cover versions of old soul music hits in the same spirit as the singer’s previous set ‘Soul Deep’ (1991). The new album includes Barnes’ take on ‘Chain Of Fools’ (AUS no. 15), a hit for Aretha Franklin in 1967. Drummer Steve Prestwich releases his first solo album, ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ (2000). Guitarist Ian Moss goes on tour in late 2000 with bassist Phil Small in his backing group.
In 2002, vocalist Jimmy Barnes ‘begins the hard road to sobriety’ after years of drinking.
‘The Soul Sessions’ (2003) (AUS no. 23) is a compilation album of Jimmy Barnes’ work in that idiom. It is released on 25 August. On 23 October 2003 Jimmy Barnes is inducted into the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall of Fame as a solo act in his own right. Cold Chisel reunites for the ‘Ringside’ tour in 2003. This spawns the live album ‘Ringside’ (2003) (AUS no. 27), released on Warner Music on 14 November. This is recorded over four nights in 2003 and showcases the group performing in a ‘smaller, more intimate environment.’ ‘Ringside’ is a two CD set.
Around this time, guitarist Ian Moss begins a romantic relationship with Margeaux Rolleston. Ian and Margeaux go on to have a son, Julian.
On 24 January 2005 Cold Chisel reunites for an all-star charity concert at the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, Victoria, to benefit the victims of the Tsunami that struck in the Indian Ocean on 26 December 2004. Jimmy Barnes’ ‘Double Happiness’ (2005) (AUS no. 1), released on 18 July, is an album of duets with various other singers and bands. The singles from this album (and Barnes’ relevant duet partners) are: ‘Higher’ (AUS no. 80) (with Gary Pinto), ‘Sit On My Knee’ (AUS no. 14) (with Dallas Crane), ‘Gonna Take Some Time’ (AUS no. 31) (with daughter Mahalia Barnes), ‘Bird On A Wire’ (AUS no. 59) (with Troy Cassar-Daley and Bella) and ‘Out Of Time’ (AUS no. 50) (with Tim Rogers). Guitarist Ian Moss releases ‘Six Strings’ (2005), a live acoustic album that includes ‘Song For Julian’, an instrumental in honour of his son, as well as versions of Moss’ solo material, Cold Chisel songs and some unrelated cover versions. Keyboardist Don Walker issues his third album with Tex Perkins and Charlie Owen, Tex, Don & Charlie’s ‘All Is Forgiven’ (2005). Bassist Phil Small tours with the Billy Thorpe Band in 2005.
IN 2006 keyboardist Don Walker releases his second solo album, ‘Cutting Back’ (2006). This includes ‘Yakuza Girls’, a track previously recorded by Cold Chisel on ‘The Last Wave Of Summer’ (1998).
In February 2007 Jimmy Barnes undergoes open heart surgery to repair a congenital heart defect.
In July, guitarist Ian Moss releases a solo acoustic album called ‘Let’s All Get Together’ (2007) (AUS no. 49) which features acoustic versions of Cold Chisel songs with compositions from all five members represented. ‘Standing On The Outside’ (2007) is a Cold Chisel tribute album with various Australian recording artists offering their interpretations of Cold Chisel songs. Amongst the contributors are The Living End (‘Rising Sun’), Something For Kate (‘When The War Is Over’) and The Waifs (‘Four Walls’). ‘Out In The Blue’ (2007) (AUS no. 3), issued on 24 November, is a mainly acoustic album by Jimmy Barnes.
‘Shots’ (2009) is a book of short stories written by keyboardist Don Walker. Drummer Steve Prestwich releases his second solo album, ‘Every Highway’ (2009). Steve’s son Vaughan plays guitar on this album.
Steve Prestwich’s twenty-six year marriage to Jo-Anne Thompson comes to an end in 2009.
‘The Rhythm And The Blues’ (2009) (AUS no. 1), released on 28 August, is a Jimmy Barnes album on which the singer tackles rhythm and blues songs that were first recorded by other artists from the 1940s to the 1960s. Guitarist Ian Moss issues ‘Soul On West 53rd’ (2009) (AUS no. 40) in October. This album contains Moss’ interpretations of soul music from the 1960s and 1970s.
On 6 November 2009 it is announced that after thirty-two years, Cold Chisel is parting ways with manager Rod Willis. John O’Donnell and John Watson take over the management of the group.
On 5 December 2009 Cold Chisel play a gig at the Sydney 500 V8 Supercars meeting at ANZ Stadium. There are more than forty-five thousand people in attendance, making this the biggest crowd before whom the group has ever played.
In 2010 drummer Steve Prestwich becomes engaged to Victoria Berardi.
On 27 August Jimmy Barnes releases the solo album ‘Rage And Ruin’ (2010) (AUS no. 3). In October 2010 Cold Chisel plays at the Deniliquin Ute Muster in New South Wales. (For non-Australian readers, a ‘ute’ – or utility – is what is known as a pick-up truck in the U.S., a vehicle with a flat-bed behind the driver’s cab. The ute ‘muster’ is a gathering of enthusiasts for these vehicles.)
On 30 December 2010 Cold Chisel’s drummer Steve Prestwich seeks medical advice in regard to his persistent headaches, sinus problems and blurred vision. It is discovered that he has a brain tumour. Since Prestwich had a benign brain tumour successfully removed in 1993, he is not excessively concerned. Surgery is performed on 14 January 2011. However, the outcome this time is different to that experienced in 1993. Steve Prestwich dies two days later on 16 January 2011 without ever regaining consciousness after the surgery. He was 56 years old. Taking to the social media platform Twitter, Jimmy Barnes tweets, “Dear Steve, I will miss your friendship. Forty years happy and sad. But nothing as sad as losing you. I am a better person for knowing you.”
In July 2011 Cold Chisel begins the ‘Light the Nitro’ tour. Joining the group on drums is Charley Drayton.
Charles Leslie Drayton is born on 9 May 1965 in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A. His grandfather, Charlie Drayton, played bass with jazz artists such as Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. Charley’s father, Bernard Drayton, was a studio recording engineer. Charley Drayton starts playing drums at 8 years of age and begins touring as a professional drummer when he is 14. Charley is actually a multi-instrumentalist, though probably best known as a drummer. He works with The X-Pensive Winos, a side project for Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards, in 1988 and 1992. With this act, Charley Drayton plays bass primarily and only occasionally plays drums. In between those two stints, Charley Drayton plays drums on The B-52’s 1989 hit ‘Love Shack’ (US no. 3, UK no. 2, AUS no. 1). Charley Drayton plays drums for Australian group The Divinyls from 1991 to 2009. He also marries The Divinyls’ lead singer, Chrissy Amphlett, on 27 July 1999. (Chrissy Amphlett dies on 21 April 2013 after a long battle with breast cancer.)
Cold Chisel release three compilation albums in digital form only for download. ‘Never Before’ (2011) consists of unreleased material and rarities. ‘Besides’ (2011) is made up of B sides to singles, bonus tracks and rarities. Both these albums are made available on 21 July. ‘Covered’ (2011) is digitally released on 19 August and, as the name suggests, is a collection of cover versions Cold Chisel has recorded over the years of songs first laid down by other recording artists. Cold Chisel’s first single, ‘Khe Sanh’ (AUS no. 40), is rereleased in August 2011 and charts again.
Guitarist Ian Moss releases the solo album ‘Greatest Hits Acoustic’ (2011) in August.
‘The Best Of Cold Chisel: All For You’ (2011) (AUS no. 2) is issued on 14 October. This ‘greatest hits’ package includes the expected highlights of the band’s career as well as two new songs, ‘All For You’ (written by Don Walker) and ‘HQ454 Monroe’ (co-written by Walker and Australian country music artist Troy Cassar-Daley). ‘All For You’ (AUS no. 80) is a loose-limbed semi-pop song dedicated to a lover and sounding very much like U.S. heartland rock. Early editions of ‘The Best Of Cold Chisel: All For You’ include a bonus disc of cover versions. This bonus disc is similar in spirit to the digital release ‘Covered’ – though the track listings are not identical.
‘No Plans’ (2012) (AUS no. 2) is the first new Cold Chisel studio-recorded album since ‘The Last Wave Of Summer’ (1998). The album is released by Warner Music on 6 April and is produced by Kevin Shirley. Steve Baccon’s cover photo pays homage to the works of Australian artist Jeffrey Smart since it features a lonely figure in an otherwise apparently empty metropolitan scene, a typical Smart theme. ‘No Plans’ includes both ‘All For You’ and ‘HQ454 Monroe’, the new tracks added to the previous year’s compilation set ‘The Best Of Cold Chisel: All For You’. The nominal single from ‘No Plans’ is the (non-charting) Don Walker composition ‘Everybody’. ‘I Got Things To Do’ is written and sung by the late Steve Prestwich. Four of the twelve tracks on ‘No Plans’ still feature Prestwich on drums – but this does not include the single ‘Everybody’. New drummer Charley Drayton plays on the balance of the tracks on this album.
Cold Chisel embarks on a short tour of the United Kingdom in mid-2012.
Keyboardist Don Walker puts out a solo album called ‘Hully Gully’ (2013). ‘The Live Tapes Vol. 1’ (2013) (AUS no. 27), released on 22 November, begins a series of official releases of concert recordings from Cold Chisel’s past. In this instance, it is a gig recorded at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on 18 April 2012.
’30:30 Hindsight’ (2014) (AUS no. 1), released on 29 August, celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the release of the first solo recordings by Jimmy Barnes. This two CD set matches thirteen of Barnesy’s old solo hits with seventeen new recordings of his old hits recast as duets. For instance, the single from the album reinvents 1985’s ‘I’d Die To Be With You Tonight’ (AUS no. 43) as a duet with Diesel. ‘The Live Tapes Vol. 2’ (2014) (AUS no. 19), released on 14 November, preserves a Cold Chisel gig at Bombay Rock in Melbourne on 27 April 1979.
‘Best Of The Soul Years’ (2015) (AUS no. 1), issued on 14 August, is a compilation of Jimmy Barnes’ soul music cover versions.
‘The Perfect Crime’ (2015) (AUS no. 1) is a new Cold Chisel album. It is released by Warner Music on 2 October and is produced by Kevin Shirley. The album cover shows a darkened car with lights coming from inside and the vehicle’s headlights. “We hired the car,” explains bassist Phil Small. “We wanted a car and a photo that looked very film noir.” (Film noir [‘nwah’ – French for black or dark] is a genre of movies – mainly in the late 1940s – known for their inky shadows, questionable moral decisions and casts of cops, crooks and femme fatales.) The cover concept is credited to Aaron Hayward, a friend of the band, and the photography is by Steve Baccon. ‘The Perfect Crime’ is the first Cold Chisel album on which new member Charley Drayton plays drums on all tracks. Perhaps the most notable piece on this set is ‘Lost’ (AUS no. 92), a plaintive piano ballad. It is co-written by keyboardist Don Walker and Wes Carr, an alumnus of TV reality show talent quest ‘Australian Idol’. The other two singles pulled from this album fail to chart. They are Walker’s ‘The Backroom’ and ‘Long Dark Road’, a song co-written by Jimmy Barnes and Ben Rodgers (married to Jimmy’s daughter Mahalia, Ben Rodgers is Barnes’ son-in-law). Two other songs on this album, ‘Perfect Crime’ and ‘Four In The Morning’, had been previously recorded on Don Walker solo albums.
‘Soul Searchin’’ (2016) (AUS no. 1), released on 3 June, is a Jimmy Barnes solo album. This is another trawl through soul music’s history though, on this set, Barnes mostly covers more obscure songs that were unjustly overlooked.
‘Working Class Boy’ (2016), released in September, is Jimmy Barnes’ autobiographical book about his ‘traumatic childhood experiences.’
‘The Live Tapes Vol. 3’ (2016) (AUS no. 11), released on 2 December, is a two CD set that captures a Cold Chisel show at the Manley Vale Hotel in Sydney on 2 June 1980, the week that ‘East’ was released.
The Australia Day Honours List on 26 January 2017 includes an award for Jimmy Barnes. He is made an Officer of the General Division of the Order of Australia.
Cold Chisel keyboardist Don Walker reunites with his cohorts in Tex, Don & Charlie for the album ‘You Don’t Know Lonely’ (2017), released on 30 June.
‘The Live Tapes Vol. 4’ (2017) (AUS no. 9), released on 10 November, is a three CD set chronicling the last performances on Cold Chisel’s ‘One Night Stand’ tour. Specifically, the material was recorded at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on 17-18 December 2015.
‘Working Class Man’ (2017), published by Harper Collins in November, is a sequel to Jimmy Barnes’ autobiographical book ‘Working Class Boy’ (2016). This second memoir deals with the adult years of Cold Chisel’s frontman.
Volatility was a key element in the story of Cold Chisel. It was there when the band created havoc at the TV Week / Countdown Music Awards on 16 March 1981. But it was also there in the domestic violence in the childhood home of vocalist Jimmy Barnes; in Barnes’ recurrent bouts of leaving, returning, being sacked and forgiven in the group’s embryonic period; in ‘Khe Sanh’ being banned due to its ‘lewd’ lyrics; in Cold Chisel’s ‘frustrating’ relationship with their U.S. record label; in Don Walker overturning his keyboards and stalking off stage in Germany in early 1983; and in the ‘volcanic eruption’ between Barnes and drummer Steve Prestwich during the promotional tour for ‘The Last Wave Of Summer’ (1998). As guitarist Ian Moss acknowledged, Cold Chisel housed a “powerhouse of personalities.” In a more positive way, this volatility found expression in their music as well. This trait could be heard in such fierce performances as ‘Merry-Go-Round’, ‘Goodbye (Astrid Goodbye)’, ‘My Turn To Cry’, ‘You Got Nothing I Want’ and ‘Wild Colonial Boy’. At their best – in the period 1978 to 1984 – Cold Chisel harnessed their inherent volatility and turned it into ‘a tough blend of rock and blues.’ ‘Cold Chisel figured in the lives of so many…simply because they were the most feral and beautiful pub rock ‘n’ roll band in the world.’ In Cold Chisel’s songs, ‘you can hear the silence of the desert, the alcoholic confusion of the Cross [i.e. Kings Cross], the bubbling frustration of endless red-brick suburbia.’
- You Tube – ‘My Turn To Cry’ – TV Week Rock Awards 1981
- wikipedia.org as at 21 November 2016, 1 January 2018
- ‘The Australian’ (Australian newspaper) – ‘Standing on the Outside’ – Don Walker interview conducted by Drew Warne-Smith (7 February 2009) (reproduced on theaustralian.com.au)
- ‘Songwriters Speak’ by Debbie Kruger (Limelight Press, 2005) p. 267-287, 278 via 2 (above)
- 1233 ABC Newcastle (Australian radio station) – ‘Don Walker on Cold Chisel and Other Words’ – interview conducted by Carol Duncan (27 October 2014) (reproduced on abc.net.au)
- ‘The Big Australian Rock Book’, ‘Cold Chisel’ by Ed St. John, ‘Jimmy Barnes’ by Ed St. John (Megabooks, 1985) p. 54, 55, 56, 121
- ‘Sonics’ (Australian magazine) – ‘Catfish Capers’ – Don Walker interview conducted by Lesley Sly (March/April 1989) via 2 (above)
- ‘Friday On My Mind’ by Ed Nimmervoll (Five Mile Press, 2004) p. 117, 118, 128, 202
- rockclub40 – ‘Interview with Ian Moss’ – conducted by Sharyn Hamey (5 February 2013) via 2 (above)
- Ian Moss Biography 2009 – The Harbour Agency – via 2 (above)
- coldchisel.com as at 24 November 2016 (copyright 2011)
- swanee.com.au @ 2012 – no author credited
- ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ (Sydney, Australia, newspaper) – ‘Last Wave for Cold Chisel Drummer – Steve Prestwich, 1954-2011’ by Anthony O’Grady (20 January 2011) (reproduced on smh.com.au)
- ‘Daily Telegraph’ (Sydney, Australia, newspaper) – ‘Cold Chisel Drummer Steve Prestwich Dies from Brain Tumour’ – no author credited (17 January 2011) (reproduced on heraldsun.com.au)
- ‘A Brief History of Cold Chisel’ by ‘Justin’ (20 March 1995, 3 December 1998) – http://www.netspace.net.au/~justin/chisel/history-brief.html
- ‘Daily Telegraph’ (Sydney, Australia, newspaper) – Stellar – ‘The Untold Story of Jimmy Barnes’ Harrowing Childhood’ – interview conducted by his son, David Campbell (11 September 2016) (reproduced on dailytelegraph.com.au)
- ‘Anh’s Brush with Fame’ (Australian TV series. ABC Television) – Series 1, Episode 6 – Jimmy Barnes interview conducted by Anh Do (28 September 2016)
- abc.net.au – ‘Barnes Reveals he has Two Love Children’ – by AAP (27 September 2010)
- news.com.au – ‘Cold Chisel Splits with Manager after 32 Years’ – no author credited – (6 November 2009)
- ‘Chisel’ – Sleeve notes by John O’Donnell (Warner Music Australia, 1991) p. 4, 5, 9
- Internet Movie Database – imdb.com – as at 26 November 2016
- australianmusician.com.au – Australian Musician – The Website for Musicians – ‘Ian Moss & Chris Cheney Talk Guitar’ by Greg Phillips (10 September 2007)
- cairnsreview.com – ‘Phil Small Interview’ – no author credited – (October 2015)
- allmusic.com – ‘Cold Chisel’ by Ed Nimmervoll – as at 24 November 2016
- ‘Chisel’ – Sleeve notes by Toby Creswell (Warner Music Australia, 1991) p. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
- ‘Showtime: The Cold Chisel Story’ (Belmont, Vic., 1998) by Michael Lawrence p. 174, 200-201 via 2 (above)
- ‘Daily Telegraph’ (Sydney, Australia, newspaper) – ‘Cold Chisel and Jimmy Barnes’ Ridicule of TV Week and Countdown on New Reissues DVD’ by Cameron Adams (21 July 2011) (reproduced on dailytelegraph.com.au)
- classicaussierock.wordpress.com – ‘Cold Chisel’ by Cold Chisel – no author credited (12 July 2016)
- ‘Music Business and the Experience Economy: The Australian Case’ – Edited by Peter Tschmuck, Philip Pearce, Steven Campbell (Springer Science & Business Media (2013)) p. 139
- ‘Rolling Stone Australia’ (Australian rock magazine) – ‘Meeting of the Minds’ by Dan Lander (No. 768, November 2015) via 2 (above)
- google.com.au as at 25 November 2016 (name of Phil Small’s son)
- ‘Too Much Ain’t Enough’ (Random House Australia. 1993) by Toby Creswell – via 2 (above)
- rossmusicia.blogspot.com.au – ’22 Dreams’ – ‘Ringside’ by Cold Chisel by Ross Bruzzese (1 May 2008, 2003)
- ‘The Story of Art’ by Ernst H. Gombrich (Phaidon Press, 1972) p. 382-383
- ‘Sophisto-Punk’ by Luke Wallis, Jeff Jensen (Ebury Press, 2002) p. 82 via 2 (above)
- maytherockbewithyou.com – ‘Phil Small of Cold Chisel’ – interview conducted by Troy Culpan (18 October 2015)
- ‘100 Best Australian Albums’ by John O’Donnell, Toby Creswell, Craig Mathieson (Hardie Grant Books, 2010) p. 60-61 via 2 (above)
- zydecats.com.au as at 3 December 2016
- azlyrics.com as at 26 November 2016
- google translate as at 26 November 2016
- ‘Icons of Australian Music’ – Jimmy Barnes quotation (Roving Eye Books, 2008) p. 59 via 2 (above)
- discogs.com as at 22 November 2016
- ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ (Sydney, Australia, newspaper) – ‘At Home with Mahalia Barnes’ by Jo Casamento (14 April 2013) (reproduced on smh.com.au)
- goodreads.com as at 14 December 2016
- themusic.com.au – ‘Jimmy Barnes, Nick Cave & Paul Kelly Receive Australia Day Honours’ by ‘Staff Writer’ (27 January 2017)
- ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ (Sydney, Australia, newspaper) – ‘Working Class Man Review: Jimmy Barnes Stays Honest in his Second Memoir’ by Michael Dwyer (24 November 2017) (reproduced on smh.com.au)
Song lyrics copyright Rondor Music with the exceptions of ‘You Got Nothing I Want’ and ‘No Sense’ (both EMI Songs); ‘Bow River’ (Moss/Trooper); ‘Saturday Night’ (Burdikan Music); and ‘Flame Trees’ (BMG/Burdikan)
Last revised 7 January 2018