Don Walker - By Robert Dunstan
|Don Walker, keyboard player
and main songwriter of Australian rock legends Cold Chisel, is about to record a new solo
album and is currently on tour road testing songs for the release. Last here for Cold
Chisels reformation tour back in late 98, the Sydney based musician who also
played with Tex Perkins and Charlie Owen as Tex, Don & Charlie in the 90s, began
our telephone interview by saying he wished he could get over our way more often than he
"Yeah, itd be good to come over more" he said "but its always a matter of finding the right time and the right place to play."
Don will use this tour to showcase his new songs and his band will be guitarist Red Rivers, Garrett Costigan on pedal steel, drummer Angus Diggs and double bassist Michael Vidale.
"Weve done quite a few gigs together over the last six months" Don said "because weve been playing Sydney and also the East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival which went really well. The only thing was that we were playing at the same time as Ben Harper."
"I also did a gig with (guitarist) Jeff Lang on Sunday morning during the festival with Angus Diggs playing drums" he said.
Don, who scored the soundtrack for the 1981 Scott Hicks movie Freedom, has released two solo albums (Unlimited Address & Ruby) under the band name Catfish as well as the stellar Were All Gunna Die, and has now commenced work on a new album.
"I put down some rough tracks last year and have been playing them with the band since November," he said "After weve done a bit more live playing, well go into the studio for a day or so and put down the new songs and see if we cant come up with something.
"Theres a lot of new songs and I like to record them as soon as we get a good performance. He added.
The musician has had some songs recorded by country artists such as Adam Brand and Slim Dusty with Dons Looking Forward, Looking Back being the title of Slimss 100th album release.
"I wrote Looking Forward, Looking Back especially for Slim, " he revealed "it wasnt a song I wrote for myself to record."
Don also co-wrote Mood Swing with Daddy Cools Ross Wilson that has since appeared on the latters new album, Go Bongo, Go Wild!
"Ross and I wrote that a long time ago as a torch ballad" he stated. "It was probably around 1993 - or even before. Ross has since played it live a few times and theres a great recording he did of it four or five years ago with a full jazz band but never released. But the new version is also really good."
Noted music journalist Anthony OGrady recently penned the book Cold Chisel: the Pure Stuff, which essentially dealt with the bands recent reformation. My subsequent review suggested it showed some members in a poor light.
"All I can say is that everyone involved was given a draft to read for corrections and comments to approve before it went to print." Don said. "Whether everyone did that or not, I cant say, but everyone was certainly given the opportunity."
"Apart from band business meetings, Anthony was present most of the time during The Last Wave of Summer and the warm up gigs for the tour. I didnt see a tape recorder, but he was certainly a close eyewitness to what went on. And even though most quotations arent word for word, theyre probably accurate from what he heard at the time."
Is Don generally pleased with the contents of the book?
"Err, there are a number of places in it now where I feel like a real goose" he said after a thoughtful pause.
"But yknow, thats not to say whats been written is not correct" Don concluded with a wry laugh.
Don Walker plays the Highlander Hotel on Fri May 11
© 2001 Rip It Up magazine Issue 624, May 10
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