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Talking Heads -

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(generated from captions) This program is not subtitled an Australian rock legend. Ross Wilson can justifiably be called and composer of 'Eagle Rock' As frontman of Daddy Cool as a rock'n'roll anthem. he wrote what's been described and produce with numerous other bands Since then he's gone on to sing staring as a judge as well as currently 'It Takes Two'. in the hit TV series, is Ross Wilson. This week's Talking Head THEME MUSIC Hi. Ross, it's great to meet you. Yeah, my pleasure. Thanks for coming on Talking Heads. on the proceeds of one hit song. Some artists are able to retire with 'Eagle Rock'? Was it like that for you you live - we live in Australia. Well, you're forgetting where that might be the case, If I lived in America sadly, it's not so but in Australia, the scale of the economy. and that's just didn't it? But it did set things up for you, It put you on a big roll. I look upon 'Eagle Rock' Well, particularly now, of everything I've done. as the foundation in bands before Daddy Cool, I mean, I was mucking around the first big hit I had. but that was and it stayed around for so long It was so massive that to me that's the rock has been built upon that. and everything else So, you still keep building? You're just about 60. when you're at that age? How hard is it to be a rockstar felt like I'm a 'rockstar'. Well, with me, I've never actually that excessive life You know, I've never really lived that you read about. of just a hard worker. I think, I'm a bit more a few times, but... I've run off the rails when 'Eagle Rock' was released, Particularly from 1971, when Mondo Rock disbanded. through 'til about 1990 of solid road work, That's like 20 years recording, producing, writing that particular period and I look at "Gee, how did I cram so much in?" and I go, all the time. I mean, it was just totally full-on you're not long back from overseas, But even today, do you still get pumped? you're performing this weekend - I do get pumped we had a month off and last weekend, in particular, the Urban Legends, my touring band, from playing with my band, a bit refreshed and I think everyone came back in Victoria, and we did these three gigs one night after the other, It was just fantastic. and they all... they were going so hard And I was singing, or like, at this full-on rested voice and I was singing and just pumping it out "Wow. This is amazing. and my brain's going, "I feel great!" was responding in kind too. and the audience We had good crowds. that really makes it - That's the kind of thing in the cars you know, the travelling around the place - and the flying is what makes it worthwhile for me. that one and a half, two hours, where it all started for you. Well, let's see

WILSON: It was a very small family. Just the two parents, two sons that lived quite close by. and a grandmother and grandfather The weekend - go visit grandma there'd be piano playing. and sometimes We had a piano at home, and sing songs. so my mother would play it sometimes She was into classical music and joined these choral societies

gravitating towards this choir and we ended up down at Hampton Anglican church. I learnt how to sing in harmony to learn how to do that. and that's been very handy Once we got good enough, to sing at the weddings you'd get selected and of course that gave me and getting paid for it. the connection between performing later on in life. (Laughs) I had no qualms about that amateur musician and jazz fan. My dad is a jazz musician, to explore different kinds of music. Living in that family allowed me want to SHOUT SONG: # You know you make me # Throw my hands up and SHOUT # Kick my heels up and SHOUT... # was at Festival Hall I think my first rock-and-roll show about 10 and a half. and I think I must have been and on the bill was Johnny O'Keefe It was 1958 and Buddy Holly and the Crickets. and Jerry Lee Lewis and the excitement of the show - The whole wildness these little fantasies I used to have about being on stage myself. I started going to secondary school But then in the early '60s, was the Trad Jazz revivals. and around that time everything changed Then, all of a sudden, and The Beatles came along to switch to rock'n'-roll. and the local dances started I got run over by a car, Around about that time all that summer. so I ended up in hospital I'd take up the harmonica So, I decided and very quickly I got a good sound and started copying records the other members of The Pink Finks. and that's how I met 'WILD THING' PLAYS we're playing at a few local dances Next thing, and it all took off from there. and decided to make a record in the role of a frontman. I felt really comfortable I'd get on stage tongue-tied young man. and no longer be a shy,

for me to finish school - When it came time agricultural college I'd applied to this had a farm up the bush. because my family The result was they accepted me "Oh...Do I have to go to that now?" and I had to go, I didn't want to do that So, I decided and be in a band no matter what. because I'd rather stay here said, "Oh. The public service!" I talked to some friends and they

It's really easy." "You can get a job there. (Laughs) I did that for a couple of years every weekend. while I was still gigging I met Pat at the Department of Supply guys from other bands that I knew and, as it happens, knew some milieu. and was part of that, you know, (Sings) # You've all got to go # The Pink Finks broke up in the middle of '66, I think, and mutated gradually into my next band, The Party Machine, but still playing with Ross Hannaford. And then the big change came when we got Mike Rudd in and that's where I really learnt how to write songs.

Around about 1968 we made a record and then decided to become professional. Now, everywhere we went we got a ripped off blind. We had a gig lined up for a week in Newcastle and one of the people who was working at the gig stole our van and all our equipment,

so we ended up coming back to Melbourne on the train. I said, "That's it."

RECORD PLAYS Melbourne at the time... I don't know, it was... You gotta remember, it was the time of the Vietnam War, I'd been called up, my leg had never properly recovered and so they rejected me. And I got my insurance money from the broken leg, so off I went and spent nine months in England. Basically, I just had a great time and by that time Pat had joined me over there and we'd got married and we just started trekking back to Australia with what little we had. So, Ross, was it important for you that both your parents were musical? Well, in hindsight, you don't think about it at the time.

We were a typical nuclear family. Two boys, mum and dad, just went to a neighbourhood school and hung out... But we did hear a lot of music and the music I heard was a mixture of classical -

Your mum loved classical. Yeah, she's classical music, but she also liked jazz music. She liked George Shearing and Dave Brubeck and Art Tatum. She was in awe of those people. What about your dad? Every night after he got home from work

his way of relaxing after dinner was - he'd go out and sit in the car in the garage with a mute in his trumpet and tootle away. So you were absorbing all this? I was absorbing it all and particularly in the early '60s - I mean, in the late '50s I was listening to pop music on the radio from Jerry Lewis to Little Richard to just whatever was on the radio and I'd get excited about that - Buddy Holly. Buddy Holly, yeah. One of the first records I ever bought was, 'That'll be the Day'

and also one of the first acts I saw. Well actually, let's go to that act because as we saw that clip -

Johnny O'Keefe on stage, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, I mean, phenomenal thing just in terms of it's energy I imagine. Yeah... Well, my dad had a spearfishing mate and he had two boys and so we ganged up and we said, "We want to go to that show." He said, "Yeah, OK. That'd be good." So, we go along to Festival Hall and it's packed to the rafters with bodgees and widgees and the first act that comes on is Johnny O'Keefe. I'm sure he had his leopard-skin jacket on and his whole thing was like, "I'm gonna blow these yanks off the stage,"

and he ended up rolling on his back like a cockroach, kicking his legs in the air and I'm going, "Wow..." And I think that other thing about Johnny O'Keefe being on the bottom of the bill and still making a big impression - that stuck with me too and so it never bothers me

if I'm not headlining because I'll always go out - you know, I might be second on the bill, whatever - with the intent of doing the best I can and hopefully blowing those other people away, so people will remember what I'm doing.

And that's a sort of healthy, competitive thing. I've got a couple of rules that young people in bands ought to take note of. One is - you never say it's your last song because they'll go, "Oh, yeah, so and so's on next." And the other one is - (Laughs) The other one is, you never mention the other acts and I'd say 90% of the young bands I go along and see, they'll go, "This is our last song and Ross Wilson will be on next." And they totally lose it because of that and people go, "Yeah! Ross Wilson! Bring him on! You get off." So, they're my golden rules. They might sound simple, but psychologically they're very important. When you went to London what sort of impact did that have on you? Because that was certainly at the tail end of the '60s. It was really when rock had a legendary place in the culture. My musical roots were distinctly more American than they were English... ..than say, English music. What do you mean by that? Well, I like blues music and R & B. So while I was over in England,

seeing all these bands that were just coming up at that time - Free and King Crimson - all they wanted to do was get to America because they're all going, "America's the place to go." So, that stuck with me too. So a year later when Daddy Cool was starting to get happening,

we never played in England with Daddy Cool, but we did three American trips. Well, the eagle was about to soar.

Let's see it take-off. I'd met Gary Young, the drummer, at this job I had at a book warehouse and, of course, I knew Ross Hannaford and Gary knew Wayne Duncan.

I'd been sort of getting really into old doo-wop music and early rhythm and blues. People just started dancing around the room and having a great time. Whereas before they hadn't been doing that, they'd all been sitting around on the floor like hippies. I guess Daddy Cool was what you'd call an overnight success because six months later we had the number one single and album and were selling out shows and touring around Australia. (Sings) # I'm just crazy about the way we move # Doing the eagle rock... # In that film clip of 'Eagle Rock', in one shot in the front row there's Pat, she's pregnant, like, Daniel's there too. As 'Eagle Rock' was hitting number one he was born. I was actually out on the road at the time. and came back a day late, you know.

The immediate attention - it actually was a bit hard for us to handle.

And then that was multiplied a couple of months later when we went over to the States. of hype. We weren't used to that level that happened naturally Daddy Cool was just something exploring a certain avenue of music with the four guys and I was and after a while I thought I had explored it far enough and so the band broke up called the 'Mighty Kong'. and I formed a band was good artistically, Even though 'Mighty Kong' wasn't there. that chemistry between the guys over Carlton... # (Sings) # When the sun sets and the support band was Skyhooks. We were playing one of our last gigs And I just loved them. I said, So I asked them after the show, "Maybe we could do something together "and form a publishing company." Best producer - and I'm really thrilled to bits -

Ross Wilson. APPLAUSE All I've got to say is it helps a real lot when you've got really enthusiastic and talented people to work with. (Sings) # I'm living in the seventies... # That album ended up selling about 250,000 copies in about a year. Just before I went over to San Francisco to produce Skyhooks' third album, Lofven to write the soundtrack I was invited by my friend Chris

road movie 'Oz'. for his rock'n'roll airplay and they said, So that started to get a bit of "Well, we want you to do a gig." performing again. So suddenly I was getting back into is right... # (Sings) # If the chemistry off that album We had four hit singles and sold very well. and it received various awards (Sings) # She's a bop girl... # I wrote a song called 'Bop Girl' Never content to do just one thing for Pat - to get up to the top three weeks, literally, and we showed a film clip directed by Gillian Armstrong who recommended that we get this up-and-coming great new talent called Nicole Kidman. Mondo Rock had reached its used-by date and for the wrong reasons I kept going. If I'd followed my instincts some of the things that happened later wouldn't have happened, you know, like bad things. I decided I wanted another outlet and it was about time I did a solo album. (Sings) # I lay down in a bed of roses... #

was a song called 'Bed of Nails', The first song I came up with which became a hit later on. between marriages I had about 10 years I lived pretty much by myself. I took a lot of time out so it was a mid-life thing, and I was in my 40s to get rid of the negative aspects. and finding out who I was and trying I put a lot of hard work into that. time I tried to be more available. When I got married for the second So that's good. My band, they haven't turned up. Ken, what is it? Ken Mondo, these are the Wiggles. perhaps they can help out. And they can sing and dance, took on a life of its own. As time went by Eagle Rock kind of And it's, like, in our Aussie DNA now. C'mon, Wiggles! Let's rock'n'roll. So that has got a whole, you know, several generations of kids knowing Eagle Rock. Out of the blue in late 2004 there was the Boxing Day tsunami tragedy. As the rock community often does, put on a big concert at the Myer Music Bowl. NEWSREADER: Singer/songwriter Ross Wilson was so determined to help

he reformed the legendary Australian band Daddy Cool for a one-off performance.

(All shout) Daddy cool. Daddy who? got the idea for Eagle Rock. Ross, it was back in London that you like the black bottom or something Eagle Rock was an old dance, from way, way, way back. of people just having a great time I saw a picture, very evocative, with their arms akimbo and all dancing in a shack somewhere. and it was a dirt floor the pigeon wing And it said they were cutting and doing the eagle rock. And I picked up the guitar with that chorus, and somehow just came out of how I write songs which is typical which is the tense part - which is you'll have the verse, dadada, relentless riffing. And then - hey, hey, hey - release in the chorus, and that's typical of pop songs in general. In virtually no time at all, two albums, Daddy Cool does two albums... Yeah. ..and you break up, which seems like rational madness.

It sounds like you were after, not so much being popular, but being satisfied. That's exactly right. That's it. And that's why people on the outside couldn't understand it. to break that up for? You know, so what do you want And you go, "Well, I've done that."

and do something else now. You know, I want to go off What about Skyhooks, for example, because that 'Living in the '70s', on that. was a - you had a big influence Explain that. I think so, yeah.

a bit about producing records... I was the producer and I'd learnt what does a producer do? ..A lot of people wonder, bring out the best A producer, for me, tries to

that the musicians have. but what's best for the song not only their best playing particular time. they're recording at any For instance, Shirley had a great natural talent as a vocalist, Shirley Strachan, but he didn't, sort of, care about it that much. And I'd sort of go, well, if you sang it this way, and that way, it's probably going to sound better. And he'd go out there and he'd do it. He'd go, "Oh, yeah, that's cool." And I was actually very protective of Skyhooks. We signed with an independent label who was recording lots of Australian music - Mushroom, who went on to big things I didn't want to sign with EMI - and they gave me, they said - I thought they'd censor them. or one of these guys because music uncensored, pretty much. And I said we've gotta have this

as you say back there, Well, a decade later, your own instincts enough you didn't trust and it went off the rails. the perch Well, you make yourself fall off you know. because it's a survival mechanism, You took yourself off the perch. and I fell off as well. I took myself off along the way. I had a few drug issues Nothing real serious but it did get in the way, you know. But I got out of that. Relationship issues were the big thing - why can't I get along with people?

How come my marriage broke up? How come I'm breaking up with this girl now? What is it about me that makes that happen? And I had to figure that out, you know, if I wanted to continue as a human being and as a performer. Let's fast-forward to your life today. Bit older and wiser now, my increasingly frail body. and realise I have to maintain Haha. I'll be 60 in November. strengthen the injury that you had. What's really important, to

That's great. That's terrific. gym, you go hog wild for an hour. Tanya and I go down to the local and feel better for it. and sweat a lot and come home It's hard. Go, go, go. (Sings) # Written on my face # Touching me, the first embrace I've had a helluva time... # # And in my time, producing, like, masses of albums. I've been a little bit slow at what I do release I like to think that and so it's good quality stuff. I'm really, really happy with when the cameras are rolling. You guys are really good

on two albums. Today, it's day one of starting work One is the ubiquitous unplugged. And the second one is - yeah, it's rock'n'roll

but I think it's going to have more of a soully flavour to it. (Music plays) The guys I'm recording with today are called the Urban Legends which is my touring band and on guitar is Eric McCusker who I've worked with for a long time in Mondo Rock so we're still doing stuff together. is a collaborative process Cutting tracks but in the end I have the last word.

myself to go with the flow. The other side of that is allowing the musicians maybe bring something and be open to surprises when that I hadn't thought of. Ross Wilson and the Urban Legends. ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, CROWD CHEERS AND BAND PLAYS SONG: # Wo-ho Hally... # I'm not a fantastic musician I can play, in the sense of instruments

what I do these days - but if I define it's a frontman and to sum up the vibe in a room to seduce that audience, and then I'll construct what I do the group experience. so that we can all have (Speaks to the crowd) We do things from 'A Day On The Green' to clubs where we'll play a couple of sets. G'day, mate. Thanks, a lot. Thank you, very much! You accumulate a lot of fans along the way. Of course, there's a lot of older fans, but the trouble is it's hard to get them out of the house. Tools of the trade. And the younger kids would know 'Eagle Rock'... sort of, getting them to realise Putting it all together and, and see me - it's me and they want to come that's another trick all together. SONG: # We stood on the balcony # and we watched it together... # from my family I get a lot of support how great I am, and they're always telling me which is a great help. (Laughs) Second. I'm the first wife... ..the first Mrs Wilson. She's the current Mrs Wilson. This is the second Mrs Wilson. and 10 years of marriage. 20 years of marriage He's the same as what he was

when I first started watching him play, when I was 16. SONG: # I'll let you see what you want to see... # Ten years of coming and watching many shows - he's an entertainer. GUITAR FINISH I experienced a different family man to what Tanya's experiencing. Ross is now much more open. And there's been growth - the 40s you know... Oh, totally. They go through their midlife crisis... Absolutely. Completely. He worked on his midlife crisis at the beautiful end of it. and I got him She got him at the right time... (Laughs) ..after it and I got him at a good time - at the beginning. Ross toured nonstop, basically, while we were married,

but when he came home he was a fantastic father. No, he is. I mean, the children come home from school, he's at the park, he's very involved. Well of course, they're the ones that really know... There's an expectation, too, on fathers that you will be a success. It's not only about ego, it's also about a set of pressures in the world, isn't it? I just compare myself to guys who are in any career where they're going through their 20s and 30s, you know, you gotta work really hard to consolidate all that. I guess that's why I'm sitting here today talking to you, is because I was able to do that to a certain extent. I have my place here in Australia and people like my music and I love performing and I love Australians. (Laughs) It's a good life. You still love the limelight. I do love the limelight, but I also like being out of the limelight. I use the limelight appropriately on stage. I'm involved in a TV show at the moment as a judge. You're an older statesman. Yeah, I'm the cool daddy. When you're judging performances, how easy is that? Well, you don't want to hurt people's feelings - that's the thing. 'It Takes Two's a of fun. There are no careers on the line. The people - if they're a singing newsreader they go back to being a newsreader. (Laughs) Some judges don't mind hurting feelings, that's, kind of, the role they play.

That's not my thing, no. Sometimes I get damned with fake praise,

but usually I'll try to find the good thing in the performance of the night and go, "Why don't you build on that?" and quite often they do. They actually listen to what myself and the other judges say because there's this competitive spirit. You know, the great thing about 'It Takes Two' is the money that the phone votes - you know, people phone in - doesn't go to produce the show like some of the other 'reality shows', it goes to the celebrity's nominated charity. So, there's all these charities benefiting as well. I like that, yeah. It's been great talking to you, Ross. Thank you. Thanks, very much. And that's Ross Wilson. We'll be back with another Talking Heads at the same time next week. In the meantime, have a look at our website: I'll see you soon. And next week on Talking Heads, Joan Kirner. Jane Kennedy decided that I should be a rock'n'roll star. SONG: # I love rock-and-roll

# So come and take a dime and dance with me # OH... #

This program is not subtitled CC CC Tonight, police granted more more time to question a Queensland terror suspect. X-ray vision the new security test at Australia's domestic airports. A court challenge looming over the Commonwealth's Indigenous plan and Roger Federer's five in a row at Wimbledon. Good evening, Craig Allen with ABC News. Federal Parliament have been given Parliament have been given more time to detain Gold Coast doctor Mohammed Haneef. A Brisbane magistrate has Brisbane magistrate has tonight allowed them an extra 48 allowed them an extra 48 hours to hold the doctor as they evidence of any link suspect behind the British bomb plots. Locked up eight days and still no charge, Mohammed Haneef tonight remains in Brisbane's police watchouse