22.1 C
Byron Shire
December 2, 2021

The happy songs of Don Walker

Latest News

Accusations of false dam claims in Cr Cadwallader’s mayoral campaign

Ballina Shire Council candidates against the idea of a new dam in Byron’s hinterland are accusing fellow candidate Sharon Cadwallader of false claims in her electoral campaign.

Other News

Why not both

The tender for the first section of the Rail Trail starting from Murwillumbah indicates that it is not more...

Telling girls they don’t like STEM halves their involvement at any age

Even children as young as six can develop ideas that girls don’t like computer science and engineering as much as boys – stereotypes that carry over into teenagerhood and contribute to gender gaps at university, according to a study published in PNAS.

Personal responsibility?

Every month I, and many like me, make a worrying trip to pathology to have my blood tested. I...

Own nothing, go serfing

Although Sapote Brook’s Echo letter correctly stated that nothing was done at COP26 to stop global warming, nevertheless, over...

What’s Nu in COVID variants? Highlighted need for stronger Australian contribution

According to the End COVID For All campaign the emergence of a new coronavirus variant in Botswana, most likely to be called 'Nu', underlines the need for Australia to step up its contribution to co-oridnated global efforts to prevent the virus’ spread and mutation.

Ballina Shire Council defs not a ‘boys’ club’, says outgoing female councillor

This person is claiming that the council is a 'boys'' club and that the out-going mayor is one of them.

The current tour with his band The Suave Fucks sees Don Walker play selections from his box set.

Don Walker is recognised as one of the best songwriters in the country. Chief songwriter for Cold Chisel, Walker has penned some of the country’s most iconic rock songs, but alongside that he has written some truly quirky, original, mesmerising music that he has just released on his vinyl box set Blacktop featuring his entire solo catalogue – six albums!

For Walker, doing interviews is part of the job. He has this reflective way of answering questions, every word falling exactly as he requires.

‘It’s the same three or four questions each time,’ he smirks. ‘It’s up to me to come up with something that’s not boring.’

The current tour with his band The Suave Fucks sees Don and the lads play selections from his box set.

Unlike his work with Chisel his solo work isn’t as mainstream and Don laughs that ‘It’s been a long time since someone has called out for a Cold Chisel song’.

‘I am in the fortunate and unfortunate position of having heritage hits so I don’t have a set of songs that I have to do every night. For the audience there are a lot of songs we haven’t played before. And they are as new to them usually as the rest of the set.’ His trademark deprecatory tone underpins most of how Walker writes.

‘I think it’s possible that when I get up in front of a fresh audience, and I sing my first song they think Jesus I hope he doesn’t sing Flame Trees.’

Walker doesn’t write from his external surrounds so much as what goes on his head.

‘I don’t go out observing, and usually I think I am the least aware of what is going on in a room, because I dream a bit and so the stuff that is in the songs is either stories from my life or people I know or stuff that I made up based on where I come from, where I have been.’

Living in a world full of mobile devices, Walker believes that we are at risk of losing that capacity just to daydream.

‘I think it’s a big danger for everybody. We might be the last generation who had to entertain ourselves in our own heads, and that space is now completely taken up by devices.

Driving is good because you can’t use a device, and I am as much prey to device addiction than anyone except I am aware of it, but that doesn’t mean I am any stronger in resisting it; pulling out the phone gets you out of the sitting alone waiting, which has been a lot worse for women then men. If a bloke is alone in a cafe he is invisible or people look at him and think ‘loser’; if a woman is sitting in a cafe or bar she isn’t invisible.’

Walker plays music to amuse himself. ‘The goal is not to bore yourself.

‘If you have a story and you write it out and you make it rhyme it’s like people do; it’s not that interesting for anybody but you know that because it’s not that interesting for yourself. There has to be some twist or angle or extra dimension of mystery in there that makes a song breathe…’

Then Walker heckles himself with, ‘It’s sounding like bullshit even as I say it…’

One of my favourite Walker songs is Another Night In that he sang with Tex Perkins and Charlie Owens. It’s gritty. It’s edgy. It’s unapologetic. It’s basically about a guy drinking whiskey, snorting cocaine and watching pornography.

‘When I first showed that to Tex and Charlie they were incredulous that there wasn’t a moral in the third verse.

‘Tex said you mean it is just a miserable song?’

The dude doesn’t get better. He isn’t apologetic. There’s nothing to be learnt from this song, it’s not a moral tale. 

Walker doesn’t do earnest. ‘It’s the virus of the modern age,’ he says.

‘When you marry passion with stupidity, that’s what you get. And there is a lot of it.

‘I never set out to write a sad song, in fact I’ve made a conscious effort to try to be happier. In writing, because you don’t want to be miserable to people all the time, it’s easy for a songwriter to do that because that’s when feelings are intense – both in the writer and the listener; the purpose is surely to try to make the world happier. I try to do that. 

‘Once when I was young I was on a train in Siberia, and only two other people on the whole train spoke English. We were moving for days going from one town to another; everyone spoke Russian. If they had another language it would have been German.

‘One of the guards had control of a Tannoy system that ran through the train and he woke the whole train up at 7.30am with A Hard Day’s Night.

‘He played the whole album. Apart from that there was no music for the whole journey. The whole train rocked out and sang to the album, all those Russians. 

‘It was wonderful. This early album of Beatles happy songs that made the whole world happy.’

Don Walker and The Suave Fucks are joined by opening act Jimmy Dowling at Club Mullum at the Mullumbimby Ex-Services on Saturday | 7pm | Tickets $35 online www.polkadotproductions.com.au or $40 on the door.

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

Minor flooding may occur Friday morning at Coraki and Bungawalbyn

Heavy rainfall on Tuesday and Wednesday have caused river level rises along the Richmond and Wilsons Rivers with the Wilsons River peaking overnight and the...

Lismore saw one new case of COVID-19

A new case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Lismore in the 24 hours to 8pm 30 November.

Want to make your own nest box and help with bushfire recovery on Friday?

Conservation Volunteers Australia are running a nest-building workshop in one of Australia’s most biodiverse hotspots, the Nightcap Range, ‘to create homes and hope for wildlife’.

Storylines – An escape from reality

I am a teacher. I teach at University Canberra, on Ngunnawal country, in ACT. This university went into ‘Lockdown’ about four months ago. We were...