22 C
Byron Shire
January 24, 2022

Tex Talks

Latest News

Free Skills for Recovery course available

Byron Community College say they have received NSW Government funding as part of the Skills for Recovery initiative.

Other News

Lismore Women’s Festival cancelled

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis that is sweeping NSW and other states in Australia the Lismore Women’s Festival has been cancelled.


Mick woke up this morning to a great epiphany. So, we’ve decided to forget all our activism, we’re going...

Editorial: Dear Committee Secretariat

The federal Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts has commenced a new inquiry into Australia’s regional newspapers (print...

The Lord and that ‘dance’

Two things happened during the last week that perfectly illustrate the federal government’s position on religious discrimination in Australia.

Food for thought?

‘The fundamental cause of the trouble,’ he wrote, ‘is that in the modern world, the stupid are cocksure while...

Community the big winner at Rotary Duck Race

The Richmond River at Fawcett Park in Ballina was full of colour on the weekend for the 30th Rotary Duck Race. The event has raised a quarter of a million dollars for charity over its history in Ballina.


Tex is a funny prick. In an industry full of people who take themselves SO seriously, Perkins is a breath of fresh air.

Sure he’s got the swagger, he’s got the charisma, he’s certainly got the stage presence, but being a rock’n’roll frontman, ‘a stone stud-symbol’ as Iggy Pop tagged him, is part of the act and Perkins walks that fine line between performance and pisstake. It’s brilliant.

His memoir Tex is proper LOL material. I think I even had a ROTFL.

So you know him from The Cruel Seal, The Beasts of Bourbon, Tex, Don & Charlie, Dark Horse, Thug, The Ladyboyz, the Dum Dums, but there’s a whole lot more along the way… like how Gregory Perkins became Tex.

But what Perkins also does in his memoir is more than tell just his story; he tells the story of underground music in Australia from the mid-eighties. Of punk. Of performance art.

Of alternative rockers who just wanted to get onstage and make something happen. Of the time when Sydney was fricking awesome.

In 1985 when the world was singing We are the World, Perkins joined a bunch of his mates and released an EP titled Lorne Greene Shares His Precious Fluids.

Perkins is an arch-collaborator. He’s had more bands than hot dinners. So his story is clearly an important one.

It wasn’t Tex’s idea to write a book. It was rock journalist Stuart Coupe’s.

‘He said he had a publisher ready to go. They were green-lighting the project,’ says Tex, who wasn’t initially effusive about the idea of telling his story.

‘I didn’t think we had the numbers. These rock bios are based on either huge success or huge excess. I have had bit of both but not to any degree that needed to be in a book… but they had a bag of money, and I said okay. I could do that.’

Tex didn’t start out writing the book. It started as a series of interviews with Stuart.

‘I thought he was writing a book about me,’ says Tex.

‘All the time I thought he will go and interview other people about me and write the book… and then he presented me with a first draft; he wrote it from my perspective! I was shocked at how unaware I was but really when I read it I said it doesn’t sound like me; it has to be written from my perspective.’ And so Perkins went about telling his story himself, using his interviews with Coupe as the core of the book.

Like anyone writing a memoir, Perkins found himself falling into reverie, remembering things he thought he’d forgotten.

In fact in the process of reading his memoir I realised that. I was at a gig that he described – a Radiators gig that went a bit nuts in a hotel in Brisbane – I was 13 – it was my first concert. No-one even bothered to check my age. It was wild. I thought all gigs were going to be like that. People just leaping off shit. Perkins laughed, ‘So did I! It set the tone!’

‘There’s a lot of remembering,’ he reflects on the process.

‘On an actual practical physical level I got in contact with a whole lot of people whom I wouldn’t have if I weren’t writing. It was great to do that. To realise that looking back at it all we have been through, ups and downs and fallings out and then realise I love these people. I really still appreciate and feel how I felt about them when I was 18.’

The boy from Brisbane was embraced by a lot of older dudes who took on the big brother role, blokes including Spencer P Jones and Boris Sudjovic. Later on, even Iggy. There are many stories in Tex’s book… all checked thoroughly of course with the lawyer (note that I resisted using the oft-heckled tagline from Cruel Sea song).

‘You can work on a manuscript carefully but it’s the little things that upset people.’

‘Stuart told me that you find out that who gets upset the most are the people who aren’t in the book! If I couldn’t make it funny or I didn’t have an angle, then it didn’t go in.

‘I found that constructing the story on the page opened doors in my mind and I had get to the point. In the construction of the story I was writing jokes; things would naturally write to a punchline, so I would go there rather than tell other information.’

One of the things that stands out most about Perkins’s book, other than it’s a rollicking good read, is how refreshingly unimpressed he is with himself. This is not a book of an author congratulating himself.

He critiques his input on his huge output of albums, like a school teacher going back and writing an assessment where he writes of his 1993 Tex Don & Charlie album, ‘I think I am the weakest link here. I still hadn’t learnt how to sing at this point.’ Wow, and he’s got himself an ARIA. Well in theory. The story about what happened to that ARIA is in the book.

‘I think it’s important to be your own harshest critic,’ says Tex.

‘You don’t want other people to do that.’

Tex Perkins is a featured panelist at the Byron Writers Festival this weekend (Friday–Sunday). For tickets and information about the program go to byronwritersfestival.com.

More Byron Writers Festival 2017 articles:

Tex Talks

Tex is a funny prick. In an industry full of people who take themselves SO seriously, Perkins is a breath of fresh air.


The life and times of Jimmy Barnes

Interview with Mandy Nolan “I didn’t write the story hoping for forgiveness. I wrote it hoping for life.” Prolific songwriter and performer, Jimmy Barnes has been a storyteller for more than 40 years, sharing his life and passions with Australians of...


Book Reviews by Byron Bay Public School Students

Grace Author: Morris Gleitzman Reviewed by: Billie Aitken-McGregor Class: Age 11 Byron Bay Public School  “We were a happy family. We were bountiful. But it came to pass that I started doing sins. And that’s when all our problems began.” Imagine having your father taken...


The Reef, trees and stars at Writers Festival

This year’s Byron Writers Festival hosts a range of conversations for those interested in delving into the environment, astronomy and science, led by some of the world’s leading scientific minds. From discoveries made below the waterline, to those made...


Terrorism, politics and betrayals collide in debut novel from Tony Jones

Tony Jones was still at school when Lionel Murphy raided ASIO. After an ABC cadetship, he joined Four Corners as a reporter in 1985, and later Dateline at SBS in 1986. He subsequently was an ABC foreign correspondent, for...


Robert Drewe releases new novel, Whipbird

Bangalow local Robert Drewe is an Australian literary legend whose more than 20 highly acclaimed books, including novels, short stories and memoirs have won state, national and international prizes, been widely translated, and been adapted for film, television, theatre...


Time for Rock’n’Roll at Byron Writers Festival

Byron Writers Festival will feature stars of the Australian music industry who not only can hold a tune but also can hold a pen, and have written or co-written revealing memoirs, and a novel. Read on for more about...


Cosentino’s greatest trick may not be what you think

Trapped underwater in agonising pain, shackled and sinking and desperately trying not to give in to the urgent need to breathe, I really thought maybe I had pushed myself too far this time. The scar was still fresh from...


There’s a kids’ big day out at Byron Writers Festival

Byron Writers Festival has pulled out all stops to create a day full of fun, inspiration and creativity to ignite the imaginations of children. Seven acclaimed children’s authors will face their toughest and most vocal audience at the Greenstone...


A beginner’s guide to the Byron Writers Festival

Never been to Byron Writers Festival? We ask Byron resident and festival-lover Emily Brugman, 27, her top tips for the first-time festival-goer.   Tell us a bit about the festival. The Byron Writers Festival is a three-day event that brings writers and...


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Daintree buyback sees more forest retained

Over the last two-and-a-half years, the Mullumbimby based Rainforest 4 Foundation has had a mission to buy back parts of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest that were subdivided for sale in the 1980s. 

Check a charity’s status before donating to a good cause

It wouldn't be the first time generous people have been scammed by fake charities and in the wake of the Tonga disaster, Australia's charity regulator is urging a quick check before donating.

Lismore Council’s Advisory Groups need you

Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg said the Council is seeking passionate locals to participate in the Aboriginal Advisory Group, the Access and Inclusion Advisory Group and the Nimbin Advisory Group.

A new Mungo needed

A new Mungo is needed to investigate, report and comment, because the major media sure as hell ain’t! When is the Australian Government (via the...