Australian rock legend Jimmy Barnes.
Australian rock legend Jimmy Barnes. Blainey Woodham

A regular visitor with fond memories of his many Coffs fans

WHEN Jimmy Barnes takes the stage at the Coffs Harbour Showground with the Red Hot Summer Tour next week it won't be the first time he's experienced the temperature soar in the city.

In his 40-year career he's been to the city too many times to mention but two occasions stand out in his mem- ory for hugely contrasting reasons.

"I've played there quite a lot over the years," Barnes said.

"I played a football oval there and it was knee-deep in mud. I was impressed really, because people came out anyway."

The other event that's remained firm in his memory was an indoor show where staff had to think fast to help Barnes and his audience keep their cool.

"We've played the Plantation Hotel there a number of times," he said.

"One time we were playing mid- summer and they had to get two big industrial fans from a local bakery it was so hot - the whole place was just dripping with water."

His current tour with fellow greats of Australian music Ian Moss, the Baby Animals and Chocolate Starfish comes after a gig that has been one of the highlights of his career.

During Bruce Springsteen's recent Australian tour, Barnes didn't just get to support one of the biggest stars in the world - he also had a "dream come true" moment when The Boss called him to the stage for a duet.

"That was amazing; I've been a fan since 1973 and never been able to see him live," he said.

"Getting to support him was great, but to share a stage was a huge honour."

Despite being the voice behind some of the biggest and most-loved rock anthems in the country, Barnes isn't resting on his back catalogue, with new material in the works and possibly a very special show slated for later in the year.

"I'm in the process of writing an album," he said.

"Cold Chisel are getting together to write something and it's the 40th anniversary of the band, so we might do something special toward the end of the year."

His longevity in the industry is nothing short of amazing, but despite huge and sometimes tumultuous changes in the way the business side of music is organised, to him it's much the same as when he started out in 1973.

"Obviously the technology has changed a lot," he said.

"People are just not buying a lot and downloads are becoming so big.

"It's drastically different to when I started; I've been in the business 40 years now."

He believes for musicians, less has changed than album sales and financial considerations show.

"It's getting controllable, so the quality of downloads so people are buying more online and record companies can make a bit of money," he said.

"Really things are the same. You get out, play music, work hard and if people like it they'll come and see you."

The Red Hot Summer tour hits Coffs Harbour on Saturday, May 4.

Click here for details.



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