Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] What got you started?

alistair king alistairking@hotmail.com
Tue, 03 Jun 2003 00:32:11 +0000

Gday everyone. .

This thread has drawn another one out of lurk mode. . . reminiscing about 
early oils days

I pretty much grew up with the oils, even as a youngster I can still 
remember listening to albums like 10-1 Head Injuries and Red Sails. My Dad 
had all the early albums on vinyl, and he would crank them out from time to 
time. My parents were "friends of friends" with some of the members of the 
oils so Im not sure if they bought them because they truly loved the music 
or whether they were just being polite. Maybe it was a combination of both.

When Dad bought BSM on tape, it was on repeat in the car for about 2 years 
non stop, and consequently everyone in my family knows every word to every 
song on that album! : ) Even now when I drive on a sunny day, BSM seems to 
fit in so well. It was around this time that I was in Primary School (about 
10-11 yrs old) and I remember saving up for blank cassettes so I could copy 
all dads vinyl onto tape, so I could listen to it on my Walkman. They 
definitely were not the coolest band at my school - most of the music that 
was popular then was, I think in retrospect, fairly ordinary (Vanilla Ice 
springs to mind for some reason..) and later on the grunge phase hit - 
Nirvana and Pearl Jam were huge in early high school for me. After a while 
at high school, I found that my liking of the oils was a defining part of my 
personality - if people had to describe me in 5 sentences, one of the 
sentences would usually be: "His favourite band is Midnight Oil"

It seems that a disproportionately large amount of people that I look up to 
both now and as a child, have been oils fans. Im not sure why that is, and I 
didnt look up to them because they were fans, it just seems to be a fluke or 

The most frustrating thing as a kid and teenager was the fact that I could 
never seem to find a place where the oils would play venues that had no age 
restrictions. Consequently, I only saw the oils twice before I was 18: once 
from the back of the Entertainment centre in Sydey when I was 13, and once 
at the Equinox Festival at Macquarie University, despite living near the 
same city as the oils did, and having been a huge fan since before high 
school. Thankfully I was able to catch them a lot in the 5 years available 
to me before they broke up!

Back to lurking

>From: "Heidi Shenk" <nedkellytheking@hotmail.com>
>To: spoon.surfer@verizon.net, powderworks@cs.colorado.edu
>Subject: Re: [Powderworks] What got you started?
>Date: Mon, 02 Jun 2003 08:12:01 -0500
>I first got into the Oils when I was 6.  I was hanging out at my dad's 
>guitar shop after school and one of his best friends stopped by and dropped 
>off BSM for my dad to borrow.  The album had just come out a few months ago 
>and he thought it was really great and wanted my dad to hear it.  The first 
>thing that caught my attention was King of the Mountain...it had so much 
>energy.  So I asked my dad if we could take it home.  So he took it home 
>and I think we ended up borrowing that cd for well over half a year!  My 
>favorite song on the album at the time was definitely King of the Mountain 
>and I would blast that song, run all over the house and sing at the top of 
>my lungs.  I remember that Mountains of Burma always really freaked me out 
>especially at the end when Pete does that screaming bit so I would always 
>skip over that song...now I love that song.
>My dad, seeing that I loved BSM so much asked his friend if he had any more 
>Oils cds that I could listen to.  He had D&D so he gave it to my dad to 
>borrow...again it ended up being at our house for so long that my parents 
>thought it was their cd after a while!  I loved The Dead Heart...it was my 
>favorite from the album and I would always say...some day I'm going to tour 
>with the Oils and play cello for them on The Dead Heart.  That of course 
>never happened.
>Then ESM came out.  My dad bought it because he liked the Oils, but also 
>because he thought I might like it.  Every Saturday I would put it on and 
>listen to it while I did my weekly chores...I think I did that for about 
>three years.
>When I was probably in 8th grade, another family friend stopped by our 
>house one evening unexpectedly.  He had Head Injuries, PWAP and Bird Noises 
>on cassette and he thought that I might like having them...he didn't want 
>them anymore anyways.  He and some of his other friends now are in a band 
>together...when I suggested that they play some Oils a few years back, all 
>the guys said...nah...the Oils aren't that great...we kinda grew outta that 
>one...they aren't that great anyways.  Then they heard that I was going to 
>see the Oils last Fourth of July in Chicago in Grant Park and that it was a 
>free show.  I dragged one of my friends along with me and she kept telling 
>me...this better be good!  While my friend and I were sitting on the train 
>waiting to go home after the show, four of the guys from that band walked 
>on the train.  I said, 'Hey guys!  What are you doing here?!'  They said, 
>"Hey Heidi, we came to see the Oils!  They were absolutely amazing!!  They 
>were so tight!  It had to have been the best show we've ever seen!"  I just 
>thought back to the one guy giving me his old Oils tapes because he was 
>sick of them.  It just made me laugh.
>When I was in Belgium for summer break after my 8th grade year, I bought 
>five Oils albums at FNAC because I couldn't find them anywhere in the 
>States.  I think that was the best purchase I made out of all the shopping 
>I did while I was there! :)
>Well anyways...that's my rambling of how I got addicted! :)
>----Original Message Follows----
>From: "jr3" <spoon.surfer@verizon.net>
>To: "MOils List" <powderworks@cs.colorado.edu>
>Subject: [Powderworks] What got you started?
>Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2003 13:30:44 -0700
>That little (er...) discourse between Sebastian and Stephen piqued my 
>interest.  Thought I'd take a shot at breaking out of lurker mode with 
>My first discovery of the Oils was hearing P&P on the radio in Seattle in 
>1982.  Had moved back the year before and was working on a band project 
>with a couple friends.  We did a lot of different material as well as our 
>own and paid a good deal of attention to "alternative".  I was always 
>looking for good new stuff on 107.7/The End and local college radio.
>I clearly recall being struck by the "whole package" of that song the first 
>time I heard it.  That opening guitar/bass riff, the drums/percussion, 
>Pete's vocal, the chorus vocal, the lyrics, the dynamics, the horns at the 
>end, just the whole concept really... something special was there, at least 
>to my ear. The rest of our band were uneasy about taking up the call, but I 
>persisted until we worked up a cover version, admittedly somewhat lame to 
>start, but it got better. Because it was different and powerful I thought 
>it was great challenge and a lot of fun, but because of our "democratic" 
>approach we never had the collective balls to really play it out much for 
>people before we parted ways.  Probably wise I suppose.
>Of course, figuring out how to pay respect to Pete's vocal style can be 
>awfully tough - that unique quality that helped put the stamp of 
>authenticity on Oils work (and the heart of the "S vs.S dialogue" that 
>caught my attention).
>When I got my hands on 10-to-1 I was hooked for good.  PWAP was the same 
>thing. When I went back to the original MO release it was all there again, 
>maybe not as refined.  On it went through Red Sails, Species, D&D and on.  
>For me it's always been the unique and striking blend of personality, 
>musicianship and message that these guys have managed to generate.  They're 
>also such accessible blokes as well - everyday people.  All part of the 
>I suppose this is pretty redundant so please accept apologies, but 
>what/where/when/why (any combination) did you get started on the Oils trek? 
>  Any takers?
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