Iconic Aussie rockers Midnight Oil have just launched a major exhibition chronicling their band’s extensive history and, as drummer Rob Hirst explains, it also tells the story of a time in Australian music that’s long disappeared. The iconic rocker called into Music Feeds Studio, in fact his old stomping ground, for a very special instalment of Music Feeds Podcast.
Situated in the space previously occupied by the famous Megaphon Studios, Hirst said he has fond memories of what is now known as Music Feeds Studio. “We spent so long there making that Earth and Sun and Moon album,” he recounts. “It was so meticulous. The season’s were changing, it felt like summer had turned to autumn and turned to winter, to spring and we were still recording that damn album!”
Hirst explains that he was the driving force behind the exhibition, currently taking place at Manly’s Art Gallery & Museum. He says exhibition’s massive collection includes not only posters and memorabilia of the era’s massive touring network that saw the rise of iconic bands like Cold Chisel, The Angels and Mental As Anything, but also audio visual elements, including home movies and documentaries.
“The exhibitions is also about a time where there were all these gigs to play and all these bands playing and the punters, as we called them, were fiercely loyal and tribal following whichever band. That’s kind of gone,” he added. “We weren’t the first doing pub rock but certainly before noise and fire regulations, dance music and a whole lot of other things killed it off, we were right in the middle of it.”
Apart from never seen before documentaries and videos the exhibition will include a never-released song called The Ghost of the Roadhouse and the release of a DVD of the Oils’ 1990 New York protest concert, Black Rain Falls, performed outside the headquarters of Exxon Oil.
And in regards to those pesky reunion rumours, Hirst says “never say never.”
Listen: Music Feeds Podcast Episode #90: Midnight Oil