Oils ain’t Oils (no more)

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Peter Garrett 1983

For a number of years I worked for Roadrunner, an Adelaide-based rock music paper. It was a great time for photographing all the major shows that came through town as there was not the ‘three songs and you’re out’ rule that applies today.

I was a big Midnight Oil fan – I believed them to be one of the greatest live bands anywhere. They rocked!

I have just read Oils drummer Rob Hirst’s highly entertaining book, Willie’s Bar & Grill: A rock ‘n’ roll tour of North America in the Age of Terror.

Midnight Oil had a tour of the US all ready to go when the horror of 9/11 occurred. They decided to go ahead with the schedule and Hirst’s observations of the US at that time are very insightful and quite poignant.

There is also a great deal of humour. Describing Las Vegas, Hirst says “it’s like the audience from the Jerry Springer Show let loose on the set of a James Bond movie”.

Midnight Oil are, sadly, no more. Peter Garrett found a new career in politics but the remaining band members, along with Brian Ritchie  (ex Violent Femmes) as replacement bass player, formed The Break, a surf instrumental band.

We saw them play at the Espy in Melbourne. They not only rocked, they were having an absolute ball, all of them smiling away with Rob Hirst grinning the most (as you’d expect a drummer in a surf band would!)…

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Midnight Oil, Arkaba Hotel Adelaide 1980