Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] What got you started?

Sharon Nearhoof May nearhoofmay@cox.net
Mon, 2 Jun 2003 23:20:05 -0700

It was 1988 and Beds was in heavy rotation on MTV.  I was a freshman in 
college and went to a friend's house in Pittsburgh, PA, where we were 
up very, very late and MTV was on in the background and Beds came on 
and this guy I had a huge, huge crush on stopped the conversation to 
say how cool he thought this lead singer was -- this huge, bald guy 
just dancing like mad in the desert.  I liked the song immediately and 
had the sense that the band was 'cool' just from this stupid guy I was 
crazy about.  Fast forward a couple of years and I heard Blue Sky Mine 
on the radio and just really liked the song so I went out and bought 
the BSM tape (yes, tape).  I liked it a lot, so went back and got D&D 
(I remembered liking Beds) and liked most of that (I've never liked 
Oils slow songs) and then found out the Oils were coming to Pittsburgh. 
  I got myself tickets, bummed a place on the couch of a friend in the 
city (3 hours from my home), and then went out and bought everything 
Oils I could find -- 10 to 1 and Red Sails and maybe more, but I don't 
remember what was available then.  The sounds were so different and it 
took some listening until I really got hooked on the early stuff, but I 
wanted to know the music better before I saw them. Now, no one around 
me liked the Oils at all.  Every time Mountains of Burma played, 
someone would comment on the miserable, depressing, dirge-like music -- 
people with no vision, obviously.  I love that song!!  I also bought 
Hunters & Collectors Ghost Nation tape because they were opening for 
the Oils.  So, I go to Pittsburgh to see the Oils and my friend and I 
show up at the arena on the scheduled night and....the show had been 
canceled.  A security guard told me that the official line was 
something about Pete's voice having trouble but that they really hadn't 
sold enough tickets.  I found out later this was right about the time 
that they were doing the Exxon concert/action in NYC.  So...no Oils for 
me that year.  The music stuck with me, though.  I eventually collected 
everything they'd put out in the US and by the time ESM came out was a 
real fan.  It was only after discovering the powderworks list that I 
started to delve into the music and the Australia that inspired it and 
I've become much more of a 'fan' since discovering this list in the 
mid-1990s.  I think what hooked me was the uniqueness of the music -- 
the intelligence of the lyrics, the 'goodness' of the band (by which I 
mean that they were actually engaged with the world around them in 
positive ways, not just singing stupid love songs,  doing drugs, and 
doing groupies), Pete's unique voice, and the 'desert' sound of some of 
the music (especially D&D and some of ESM).  Still, when I'm driving 
through the desert fast (I live in Arizona), I need those desert Oils 
songs on.  After over a decade of loving the Oils, I'm much more 
interested in the whole of the band, though Peter was the one who 
initially drew me.  The chiming guitars, the bass, the drums, the 
entire personality and history of the band are enough to keep me 
interested and the more time passes, the more I can't wait to hear what 
the Remainders will sound like.  Hope they're hitting the studio soon.

Phoenix, Arizona, USA