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Tex Perkins

The-Ape

Tex Perkins’ new outfit, The Ape, play the Astor Lounge this Friday, August 22, with KISStake, The Painkillers and Emu Xperts, and Mojos on Saturday, August 23, with KISStake and The Painkillers. TRAVIS JOHNSON catches up with Perkins to get the lowdown on a different sound.

When you take into account The Beasts Of Bourbon, The Cruel Sea, The Dark Horses, Tex, Don & Charlie, The Dark Horses, his collaborations with Tim Rogers and the numerous other musical projects he’s turned his hand to, you’d think that Tex Perkins’ dance card was pretty full. 

Apparently not, as the existence of yet another band, The Ape, demonstrates. 

This latest project sees Perkins and fellow travellers Raul Sanchez (Magic Dirt), Gus Agars (The Dark Horses) and Pat Bourke playing down and dirty, good time rock’n’roll, which is something we’re certainly not averse to, but the question must be asked: how many bands does one man need?

“It depends what sort of man you are,” Perkins muses. “If you’re Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, you only need one band to sustain you for 50 years. But as good as the Stones catalogue is and as enduring as their songs are, I think that would drive me insane. I have a very eclectic music collection and I have very eclectic musical tastes, therefore I have eclectic musical ambitions.

“I’m a very ‘up for it’ kinda guy; people present me with opportunities and possibilities all the time and I don’t say yes to everything, but I say yes to the good things. I absolutely enjoy that I do all sorts of things, as long as my brain can handle it.

“I know it’s probably a bit confusing for my audience,” he continues. “But what I’ve found is that I have different audiences. There’s not a lot of crossover. Sometimes there is and people go ‘What the fuck is he doing?’ Some old lady who saw me in The Man In Black might wander into an Apes gig and regret it. But I think that’s a blessing. I do very different things for different people and I’m loving it.

“There’s more bands in me. I did a gig last week with the Melbourne Ska Orchestra and a few weeks before that I recorded a song and did a gig with a band called Cooking On Three Burners, which is a kind of instrumental funk band. Lots of stuff happens and I’m up for it.”

The Ape owes its existence to the fact that it has become increasingly difficult, over the years, to actually assemble either of Perkins two most well known bands in the same room at the same time. “Both of my – in inverted commas – rock bands that I’m traditionally known for, The Beasts Of Bourbon and The Cruel Sea, they don’t play very often. There’s a lot of history and a lot of baggage and a lot of coordination; it’s not as simple as it used to be with either of those bands, and I needed  a band to make a racket with.

“I mention those two bands because I see the aesthetic, if you will, of The Ape at exactly the middle point between those two bands. It’s nice and loud and thick and chunky like The Beasts, but it’s not as intense and ugly. It’s a lot more fun, and, like the Cruel Sea, it’s probably a little bit more funky. And I will say no more on that subject.”

Tex Perkins also appears in The Man In Black – The Johnny Cash Story at the Regal Theatre from Tuesday-Sunday, August 26-31. Bookings available online here.