Was Midnight Oil’s album “Diesel and Dust” once part of the soundtrack of your life?
It was for me. Back in the late ‘8os and early ’90s I’d often be flying around or driving around remote parts of Australia (for work doing TV stories) listening to a cassette of that album.
I got to know every lyric – every brass part.
Whenever I hear that album I think of vast blue skies and red, parched earth and a “wake” of dust behind our vehicle.
I also recall being “blown away” by the live shows – the theatrical lighting and drummer Rob Hirst playing on a corrugated iron water tank and the big, fat and bold brass backing. For me the music was grand and “orchestral” – and ambitious.
For many of my friends, Midnight Oil brings back memories of crowded, sweaty pub gigs.
For me, I associate the music with driving along lonely, dusty outback roads where the song lyrics often described what was outside the window.
That’s why it was such a buzz to hear drummer and songwriter Rob Hirst tell stories about some of the iconic songs from the album: The Dead Heart and Beds Are Burning.
Rob is an entertaining storyteller and speaker. My music journalist friend, Sean Sennett, did a great job chatting to Rob on stage today at a session called Waxing Lyrical at Brisbane’s Powerhouse.
Please excuse my blurry photos!
Rob even demonstrated some of his songs on guitar. He modestly explains that he is a drummer not a guitarist and said his guitar style is playing drums on guitar.
Rob shared how Beds Are Burning was originally written in 3/4 (waltz) time. The title was inspired by an Italian artist friend in Sydney with a line in Italian along the lines of “how can we sleep while our beds are burning” (about the conflict with Mussolini’s fascists).
Rob shared how good songwriters collect inspiration and record good lines in their trusty notebooks.
If you like music and the stories behind some songs – there will be regular sessions of Waxing Lyrical!
So many memories. To be honest, I hadn’t listened to that album for quite a while. But I’ll be listening to it tonight – and tomorrow – at full volume!
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