Jun 29, 2016
As the frontman of Cold Chisel, Australia’s benchmark pub band, he was a raucous, fearless rock god. Luckily the lights were on.
What is your greatest strength?
I work hard. If you’re lazy, especially on stage, people pick up on it. If you pour your soul into what you’re doing, people know it. Perfect or not, it’s the commitment that wins people over. I hate to see lazy bands.
What’s your greatest weakness?
I’ve always been impatient. I start something and if it doesn’t work, I move on. Now I stick with things until they’re done. It still might not work but I get a sense of achievement by seeing it through.
Does anything scare you?
The dark. I’m not that afraid of things I can see because I can always get out of the way. In the dark you don’t know what’s coming.
What’s your favourite karaoke song?
I once sang Jackson by Johnny Cash with [my wife] Jane. Karaoke is much harder than singing with a band because you’re on your own. That track, which is normally in a bad key for singers, doesn’t help you at all.
What virtue do you admire most in people?
Honesty. I like to know where I stand. It’s not easy to be honest all the time but when I try, life gets a lot easier.
Tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise people.
I’m a good cook.
What’s your idea of absolute happiness?
Being at home with the kids and grandkids, cooking and feasting. It’s amazing how much time I have for the things I love now that I’m not stoned all the time. Getting myself together helped bring me happiness.
If you could have dinner with two famous people, who would you choose and why?
Stephen Fry because he’s funny and Stephen Hawking because he’s smart and has an incredible inner strength. I want to add Sophia Loren because she’s the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen besides Jane and I’m sure the other guests would be as thrilled as me to have her there.
What travel experience is at the top of your bucket list?
The Royal Scotsman train trip around Scotland. It’s the country I was born in and I love it very much. I think the train would be a great way to see it. It stops at whisky distilleries and golf courses and you get to see beautiful castles and eat great food.
How do you switch off?
Watching TV, reading or playing golf. If you’ve seen me play golf, you’d agree that something had switched off, because I’m not very good.
If you could turn back time, what in your life would you change?
Nothing. I’ve made a lot of mistakes but I wouldn’t change a thing because everything I’ve done, good and bad, has led me here. And I like where I am.
Who is your personal hero?
There are people I admire for all different reasons but, without a doubt, Jane is the greatest person I have ever met.
What would you say is the most Australian thing about you?
I grew up singing in Australian pubs and clubs. Drinking, fighting and laughing with millions of Australians just like me, trying to make a life for themselves and their families. That’s pretty Australian; we’ve battled together. I love Vegemite, too.
What would you spend your last $20 on?
I’ve spent my last $20 many times. I have a theory that if you give away your last $20 to someone who needs it more, it comes back to you tenfold. But at the moment it would go to my family.
Where would we find you at a party?
With my back to the wall. I’ve always been a little defensive and a bit scared. Whenever I went somewhere, whether it was a show, a party or a funeral, the first thing I did was know how to get out of there when trouble started – even if I started it. ￼
SEE ALSO: Catching Up with Chris Isaak