The cover artwork of Tex Perkins' memoir Tex.
The cover artwork of Tex Perkins' memoir Tex.

Tex on his memoir: 'I was reluctant'

TEX Perkins answers the phone from his home in the Byron Shire.

He is keen to talk about his new album You Don't Know Lonely with Tex, Don and Charlie, but he agrees to also have a chat about his upcoming memoir, Tex, out this month, ahead of his appearances at the Byron Bay Writers Festival 2017.

As a musician, he has done it all, after three decades of fronting some of Australia's most intense and spirited rock'n'roll bands - The Cruel Sea, The Beasts Of Bourbon, Tex, Don and Charlie, Dark Horses, Thug, The Ladyboyz and many other projects, including performing as Johnny Cash in the acclaimed Man In Black theatre show.

After 20 years living in the Byron Shire, he also considers himself a true local.

He was not very keen to write stories from his life, he admits.

"I was very reluctant because I didn't think I had the numbers: I only had three albums in the top ten, I won awards 20 years ago,” he said.

"It wasn't going to be about how successful and crazy my life was.

"It doesn't have the classic rags to riches storyline, or descent into hell and redemption, although it's got elements of that.

"I didn't think I was worthy of it, but then they dangled so much money in front of me and I started to reconsider (Laughs).”

A series of interviews ensued and a first draft was presented to him, which he completely disliked, so Perkins found himself re-writing the whole manuscript.

"It frightened me into action, basically,” he said.

"I discovered the joy of writing! I used to struggle writing an email, but over the summer my beautiful partner Christina gave me the space and time to spend a few month hammering away the keyboard, which I found a wonderful experience.”

Perkins admitted the most surprising aspect of writing the book was how he tackled the different chapters of his life.

"The editors prompted me with some suggestions on what to write about,” he said.

"I would write 800 to 2000 words about a subject, in an essay style.

"So they asked me to write about the first album I owned, for instance, and I didn't really want to write about that album, but then I remembered how I came to have the money to buy my first album.

"Our parents were away and my brother handed me $20 and said 'get the f*** out of the house and don't come back until 4pm'.

"I enjoyed writing those stories about how a 13 year-old gets money to buy and album more than what was the album and why I liked it.”

Tex Perkins said he now realised he had many stories he forgot to put in the book.

"Sometimes, some stories were left out for legal reasons (laughs),” he said.

"Lawyers sometimes suggested I get permission from some people, but other times it was those people I check with if I could share some of our stories that reminded me of other stories I had forgotten about.

"It's been a great process of remembering many stories, so I would like to do another book, because the existence of the book is one thing, but the process of writing of the book is another and it is really wonderful.”

Schedule

  • In a one on one conversation with Bec Mac on Friday, August 4.
  • Session: Rock N Roll lives with Jimmy Barnes on Saturday, August 5.
  • At Byron Bay Writers Festival, August 4 to 6. For details visit byronwritersfestival.com.

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