Ross Wilson and The Peaceniks at Tanks Arts Centre
One of the true kings of Australian music lands at Tanks this Saturday, writes Jesse Kuch
When it comes to ticking things off the metaphorical list, Ross Wilson is the first to tell you he probably doesn’t have too much more left to do.
As the driving force behind seminal Oz outfits Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock, alongside ARIA Hall Of Fame inductions, producing and writing material for fellow legends Skyhooks, The Black Sorrows, Jimmy Barnes and John Farnham and pretty much every other accolade the Australian music industry has to offer, the man from Melbourne says his list is pretty much ticked off and now it’s just about having fun.
“I think I got past that point of wanting to conquer America, things like that are such hard work and much better left for young people to do,” he tells timeOUT this week, ahead of his show at Tanks with new band The Peaceniks.
“I’m not young anymore. Though I do keep my interests in other young artists, I like a lot of contemporary artists and I do make contact with those who I stumble across. If there is something I’d like to do more of, it’s write more music with some contemporary acts, younger dudes who might like to write with an oldie like me.”
Truth be told, Ross hasn’t really stopped since the ’60s. The seeds of Daddy Cool were sewn in his high school band The Pink Finks, where at age 14, Ross and his friends recorded arguably the first independent record in Australia with their 1965 hit Louie Louie.
Ross and fellow Pink Finks member Ross Hannaford went on to form Daddy Cool – but Ross says it was those formative days that kicked it all off.
“We were young fellas in hurry, still in school and couldn’t get a record deal,” Ross says with a laugh.
“So we just made our own record label, pressed it up with a local company that did lots of jazz records and got our buddies to buy it. It ended up topping some of the charts at the time.”
Fast forward 30 years, Ross says the ’90s were a time when he did take a break from gigging – but it didn’t mean he went anywhere.
“In the ’90s I took a bit of a back seat with my own music, I wasn’t playing in bands or anything,” he says.
“But I was writing songs with other people, principally with Jimmy Barnes but others as well. I’d never done that much before, so it was nice to broaden my scope a bit.”
Despite not feeling like he has to do too much more with his career, Ross says there is still a passion and drive that keeps him going to this day – and that’s something that’s not going away anytime soon.
“I guess it’s just the desire to do things, there are always things I want to get recorded and interests in other’s music. I don’t just listen to the same music all the time; there are things I’ve been listening to for decades but I’m always listening to new things, too. If you want to see what I’m interested in, check my Twitter (@rosswilsonmusic), I try to recommend good music and emerging artists people wouldn’t know of, like any other fan. There have been times along the way I think, ‘gee, maybe I’m getting too old for this’, then I see an act I picked a year ago that have now made it and it makes me excited and validates my viewpoint.”
>> Ross Wilson and The Peaceniks play Tanks Arts Centre on Saturday night, from 7.30pm. Tickets $45/$40, from ticketlink.com.au or 1300 855 835.
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Peace out: Ross Wilson of Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock fame hits town with his current band The Peaceniks this weekend.