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Howzat! Archive - July 6th 2011

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Nick Barker will always remember where he was when he heard that Bon Scott had died. "I was sweltering in a tin shed during my failed mechanic apprenticeship in Springvale," Nick recalls. "The news came on the workshop radio. I was gutted." Thirty-one years later, Nick is starring in Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be, The Story of Bon Scott, which runs at the Athenaeum from July 12 to 24.

"It's delicate subject matter," Nick admits. "I was a little reticent at first because Australians feel a real ownership of Bon and AC/DC. But I'm doing my own version of these songs, I'm not trying to be Bon." Rehearsals have taught Nick a new showbiz adage: never work with children, animals or bagpipes. "Long Way To The Top is definitely the hardest song to do," he smiles. "You can't change the key because of the bagpipes. I don't think people realise what an amazing singer Bon was. He had such a high voice."

Nick became an AC/DC fan when he saw them on Countdown on a black and white TV in his sister's bedroom. What's his favourite AC/DC album? "For sheer one ballsy track after another, it's hard to beat Powerage." Fave Bon song? "Ride On sends chills up my spine."

Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be comes from the creators of The Man In Black, The Johnny Cash Story. Directed by Brian Nankervis, it also stars Doug Parkinson as the narrator, while Nick is backed by a band featuring The Casanovas' Tommy Boyce and Electric Mary's killer rhythm section. Nick hopes that Bon's family will attend the show when it travels to Perth later this year.

Twenty-five years ago, Died Pretty released their debut album. Now, singer Ron S. Peno is finally releasing his debut solo album - Future Universe is out on Friday. Ron and The Superstitions are part of Charles Jenkins' blockbuster Winter Ball at the Corner on Saturday, which clashes with Boom Crash Opera's 25th anniversary gig at Crown (with Sean Kelly).

Wagons launch their new album, Rumble, Shake and Tumble, at the Forum on 16 July, so, to celebrate, we put 16 probing questions to Henry Wagons:

When was the last time you cried?
On the toilet this morning. You don't want to know about it.

Whose posters did you have on the wall when you were a kid?
Kiss, AC/DC and Noiseworks.

What's the most rock thing you've ever done?
Geez. Shoved a fish up a woman's vagina. No, I made that up. It's the only rock 'n' roll thing I could think of. I must have done something rock 'n' roll. I bought a leather couch.

Favourite sport?
Tennis. I love playing tennis and basketball. I don't do enough. I need to lose that poached eggs and latte gut.

Guilty pleasure?
Poached eggs and lattes.

Wedding song?
Adam Green's Bluebirds.

Nicknames at school?
"Hen". "Hen-duras" after the country Honduras, that's about it. Got "Fat" and "Fatty" a bit.

Were you happy at school?
Yeah, I was, but I'm a pretty happy guy. I think I was happy coming out of the womb, which is strange because I write these crazy, depressing songs. Just my way of keeping the demons out.

What would you call your autobiography?
The Sump Bandit. Is the sump a plumbing thing on the toilet? No, The Sump Lord.

Any superstitions?
No lace-up shoes when you're in a hurry. But I'm not a superstitious guy.

Pre-gig rituals for Wagons?
Me getting a little bit grumpy about the band showing up on time. I get a little bit grumpy and snappy before the gig, but loveable after the gig.

Have you ever asked anyone for an autograph?

Which '80s band would you like to see re-form?
Haven't they all re-formed?

Favourite movie?
Ghostbusters 2 - the slime under the sewers. And I'm a big fan of Dr Strangelove.

Name of your first band?
Dworzec - free-noise Melbourne band. The name means "train station" in Polish; a suitably wanky name for a wanky band.

What do you put on the stereo when you're planning a night of love-making?
I've got a great plucking banjo instrumentals album - 20 Banjo Instrumentals, which really gets the ladies in the mood.

Sneaky Sound System leap from 41 to 32.

We Run The Night HAVANA BROWN (number eight)
From The Music THE POTBELLEEZ (29)
Been A Long Time WES CARR (37)

Just four Aussie albums in the Top 40.

Seeker Lover Keeper SEEKER LOVER KEEPER (number 10)
Secret Rituals THE GRATES (25)
Down The Way ANGUS & JULIA STONE (30)


New Blood RON S. PENO
So, Let It Go THE TIGER & ME

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