- Barnsey enlisted the big guns for his latest tunes, writes Paula Yeomanundefined
It's been 30 years since the then hard-living rocker Jimmy Barnes left Cold Chisel not knowing if he'd make it as a solo artist, let alone survive into his 50s to release a collection of his greatest songs with a bunch of family and friends, as he's just done.
Barnes' hell-raising days are well documented - "10 grams of cocaine, six or eight ecstasy pills, three bottles of vodka, all in a day, every day," he told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2008, just months after undergoing open-heart surgery.
These days, he is a doting family man but also a self-confessed workaholic, hell-bent on marking three decades in the industry as a solo artist with much more than just a nostalgic record where others pay their respects.
"People were talking about doing a tribute record and all that sort of shit," he says, referring to discussions he'd had about how he'd mark the milestone. "I went, 'If I'm going to have mates and people I love doing my tunes, I want to be involved, I want to be singing on it'."
The outcome is 30:30 Hindsight, which comes in various versions, including the standard made up of 17 reworked hits and 13 originals. And along for the ride are his daughter Mahalia Barnes, The Living End, Shihad, Steve Van Zandt, Keith Urban, Diesel and many more.
Barnes is full of cracking yarns about how the album "organically" came together, including how he got E Street Band guitarist and actor Van Zandt involved.
"Ride The Night Away was a song Stevie had sent to me 29 years ago, and our paths hadn't crossed since then. I would've actively chased him to do it but he was here doing [Bruce] Springsteen and I was doing support. We were backstage and I went up to him. I said, 'I'm doing this record and I want you to play on it'. And he said 'sure'.
"The problem was time, though. He really he didn't have a day to scratch himself," says Barnes.
But then out of the blue Van Zandt phoned saying, "What about tomorrow?"
"He wanted to do it at my house. My recording studio was being rebuilt so I rang my engineer at 2pm and said, 'This has to be running by 10am tomorrow'. I rang my band and flew them in from all over the country. Stevie said, 'I've got two hours.' He came to my house at 10am and he left 15 hours later. Most of that time was spent shooting the shit and talking music," he laughs.
And that's the magic of 30:30 Hindsight. It's a collection of rollicking iconic Australian rock tunes, from Lay Down Your Guns and Working Class Man to Good Times and Time Will Tell, organically and lovingly reworked with the man himself at the helm.
Jimmy Barnes' 30:30 Hindsight is out now. Barnes is touring New Zealand next month and will play the ASB Theatre, Auckland on Wednesday, November 26.