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Howzat! Archive - October 5th 2011

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READ ABOUT IT
The big music books keep coming. Here are three of 'em:

BLACK TIES, RED CARPETS, GREEN ROOMS
Richard Wilkins: host of Keynotes, the violin-playing Kiwi pop star known as Richard Wilde, the bearer of the news that Jeff Goldblum was "dead". My expectations weren't high, but I'm pleased to report that Richard's book ($32.95, New Holland) is a rollicking read. With the help of co-writer Carrie Hutchinson, Richard adopts the Roxette approach to rock writing: Don't bore us, get to the chorus. No boring personal details here, Black Ties is a collection of fun anecdotes, including being admonished by Michael Gudinski after back-announcing Elle Macpherson and James Reyne at the ARIAs: "Thanks Elle, thanks James. What a good-looking pair. And James, you're looking good, too!" Gudinski snapped: "Mate, you can't say that sort of shit these days. I was sitting next to Deborah Conway and she said that line was really inappropriate." Richard has been a TV constant since April 1987, when he beat Russell Crowe to get the MTV gig. "Yeah, Richard and I both auditioned for MTV," Rusty admits. "He got the job and became a TV star in Australia. I became an international movie star. Suck shit, pal." It's easy to take Richard for granted and be jealous of his hair. But he's been on-the-spot for some of the biggest showbiz stories of the past 25 years: the deaths of Michael Hutchence and Heath Ledger, co-hosting the first televised ARIAs in 1992, and asking Britney Spears if she was still a virgin - the day after September 11. Unfortunately, as entertaining as it is, the book lacks edge. Everyone - even the difficult stars - is "gorgeous" or "lovely"; there is no genuine dirt. But there is surprising self-deprecation. When Richard lists his occupation as "high-wire circus performer", the immigration officer says, "Mate, with your talent, I hope that you've got a big fuckin' safety net."

DIRTY DEEDS
P. J. O'Rourke said: "If you say a modern celebrity is an adulterer, a pervert and a drug addict, all it means is that you've read his autobiography." Mark Evans has been guilty of many of the sins of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, but his book, Dirty Deeds ($32.99, Allen & Unwin), leaves you thinking he's a top bloke, the type you'd love to have a beer with. Mark was AC/DC's bass player from March 1975 to May 1977, playing on TNT, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and Let There Be Rock. Told in wonderfully colloquial language ("There is a real art to keeping two ladies happy in the sack, I can tell you, and it was a load of fun learning the ropes"), the book reveals how a kid from a South Yarra housing commission flat ended up in our greatest rock band - and why the strange trip lasted just two years. The first book written by an AC/DC member, Dirty Deeds is definitely one of 2011's best rock reads.

A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME
Michael Gudinski resists all offers to do a book. As Samuel Goldwyn said, "I don't think anyone should write their autobiography until after they're dead." But a star of Gudinski's Liberation label has written her life story at the age of 34 - and it comes just a decade after John Lomax's biography, Red Desert Sky, "the amazing adventures of the Chambers family". What could Kasey Chambers possibly add? Plenty. She doesn't dish the dirt on ex-managers or lovers, but she candidly confesses her struggles with an eating disorder - her weight slipped to just 44kg after releasing her 2006 chart-topper, Carnival. Kasey also reveals a sleep disorder, which started after a relative of a friend tried to sexually abuse her when she was 11. Sounds heavy, but A Little Bird Told Me ($35, HarperCollins) is actually an inspiring read, filled with family and fun facts (Did you know that Angus & Julia Stone appear in the Not Pretty Enough clip?). Written with Jeff Apter (who also helped with Dirty Deeds), A Little Bird tells an unlikely tale - the Seventh Day Adventist daughter of a fox hunter, who wanted to be Cyndi Lauper, and ended up landing on Letterman as Australia's country queen. And the best thing is you know she's got a lot of great records left in her.


WHERE'S THE BEEF?
The cultural cringe is alive and well. If it comes from overseas, well, it must be better. Paul Kelly has never performed at an AFL Grand Final, yet we pay a lacklustre Meat Loaf big bucks (some reports say $1 million) when, ultimately, it's mega promotion for his tour. Why? Later that day, we tuned into the RocKwiz series return. A top episode, but why did the show break with format to allow Suzi Quatro to do two solo songs? The other guest, Chris Cheney, has had as many Top 40 hits in Australia as Suzi, but he got to do just one song.


CHART WATCH
Gotye makes it eight straight.

Somebody That I Used To Know GOTYE (number one)
Inescapable JESSICA MAUBOY (25)

Kasey's new album lands at 21.

Making Mirrors GOTYE (number four)
Prisoner THE JEZABELS (nine)
White Heat: 30 Hits ICEHOUSE (12)
Vows KIMBRA (15)
Blue Sky Blue PETE MURRAY (19)
Storybook KASEY CHAMBERS (21, debut)
Yes I Am JACK VIDGEN (26)
Moonfire BOY & BEAR (34)
Rrakala GURRUMUL (37)
The Quickening FUNKOARS (38)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
Autumn Leaves HUXTON CREEPERS
Covered By Snow DEAD LETTER CHORUS
Dark Magic SAND PEBBLES
Freefalling THE KILLJOYS
Nova Scotia JOHN PATRICK & THE KEEPERS

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