Interview: Jimmy Barnes

In the land of Oz, Jimmy Barnes is a national institution. The gutsy, Scots-born rock'n'roll singer, who made his name back in the 70s with Cold Chisel, now releases his fifth solo album, Heat. Despite the unit-shifting heroics of Soul Deep, which has become the "second or third biggest selling record in Australian history," Barnsey felt that the record was a tad too smooth; not raw enough. 'Heat' is the sound of a man trying to recapture the sound of his early inspiration, i.e. white British rock with a black soul feel, ala The Stones and The Faces.

To really appreciate Jimmy's music, it's a case of the old cliche, see him live, something many Aussie acts, playing to the large, unforgiving beer halls down under needed to develop.

"Yeah, particularly in the last 15 years," reckons Jimmy, talking from Sydney. "It's starting to change now, but most bands had to get out and play live, and if they didn't play well, they got killed! So the bands developed a really good live thing but at the same time a lot of Oz bands haven't really worked out how to get that energy in the recording studio, because it's something that's taken me a lot of records to do."

Once saddled with a 'wild man' image, the singer is more of a family man these days, with a wife and four kids.

"I'm 37. I'm no spring chicken. Everybody goes, 'Who's to say you're not going to go and have a mid-life crisis," says Jimmy, partly referring to Burn Baby Burn, which deals with a friend going through a mid-life crisis and trying to find their youth again by chasing young chicklets.

"I had about 500 'mid-life crises.' I've got it all out of my system. As far as young girls go, when I was 17 years old, I was in one of the top bands in the country. I had a ball. the last thing I need now is young girls."

Sure. You're more liable to find him riding horses on his farm, meditating, or focusing his mind through karate. Furthermore, Jimmy's songwriting, lyrically, has taken on a more personal scope - Little Bit of Loving concerns a friend who suffers from AIDS - or focuses on issues like politics, as on Talking to You.

The bottom line for Jimmy though is staying positive.

"The important thing is to make every minute you've got together special, and you can't live in the past. You can't regret it. If you sit back and don't do things now, you're gonna regret it."

Mark Liddell
Riff Raff
July, 1993 
Share on Google Plus


Post a Comment