Tex Perkins' memoir will make you like him even more
Few Aussie musicians could boast a cover blurb from His Iggyness saying he wished he was more like them. But if there was any candidate for Iggy Pop’s – and our – envy, it’d have to be Tex Perkins. Even if, as he puts it, “there’s a common misconception that… every guy wants to be me and every woman wants to do me. I know, creepy, right?”
From the Beasts of Bourbon to the best-selling, ARIA-winning The Cruel Sea, supergroup Tex, Don and Charlie to lesser known outfits like Thug, The Ladyboyz and more, Tex has strode and swaggered across the Oz Rock stage for over three decades.
Like its very charismatic author, TEX is rangy and compelling, and brutally honest about his influences and failings.
TEX, written with renowned rock journo Stuart Coupe, is the rollicking, no-holds-barred saga of the self-confessed geeky, awkward, very much youngest son of a working class, Labor-voting, Irish Catholic family, escaping grim Joh ‘80s Brisbane and acquiring his real rock god identity in a humming, wondrous, almost unimaginable Sydney.
“There were so many venues in the outer suburbs as well as a really healthy inner city underground scene,” he writes.
“People look at me as though I’m from another planet when I say that a band could play five or six nights a week in Sydney.”
Authentic, cantankerous, vulnerable, candid, and often roar out loud funny – the hilarious dedication to his kids and mum gives you an idea for what you’re in for – Tex emerges as the kind of guy you’d love to race in Daytona (at which he tried his hardest to let Mick Jagger, appallingly bad at it, win) or hang out with in the back of a tour bus reeking of rock’n’roll and bong water.
Generous to his many collaborators, roadies, lovers, family, peers (and most punters, with some crazy exceptions), he’s refreshingly honest about fame.
“Even though the evidence is undeniable, I know most of you will never believe me when I say that a little bit of fame is great but a lot of it is almost always bad,” he writes. “I like the level of fame where the waiter is a little friendlier when they’re serving you, rather than the level of fame where they clear everyone else from the restaurant so you can eat alone.”
Thrumming with rip-roaring yarns from on and off the stage, the road, squats and a disastrous spill in business class, TEX comes not only replete with fantastic pictures and extensive discographies, but a brilliant suggested playlist of his favourite and most formative tracks to enhance your reading enjoyment. It reveals even more of him and his music through his, well, very catholic tastes.
Like its very charismatic author, TEX is rangy and compelling, and brutally honest about his influences and failings – “I’ve been a dickhead, fuckwit and arsehole” – which only makes you love him even more.
It’s not just a bunch of engaging and memorable rock anecdotes as an incredibly dip-in-to-able series of analects of a very singular philosophy, with reflections on apes, Aussie Rules, parenthood, “the art of eating shit on the road” and, of course, music.
It’s a blast: not quite a stubby to the head at a Beasts’ gig, but even more fun.
TEX is out now through Macmillan Australia.