Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] Willie's

Jeff McLean jeffm@jeack.com.au
Tue, 13 May 2003 08:19:51 -1000

hi brig, and the powdies,

wooooow, that's a pretty harsh review of what i consider an excellent book.
 i agree that there is a fair amount of description about surrounds, but
(for mine) he didn't go into excessive detail.  i think the fact that he's
aussie and he seems to have written from an aussie perspective makes it
that more interesting for me.  i have been lucky enough to travel many
places in the world, but the states is somewhere i have only just begun to
want to visit (the wholesale sellout of australian culture to america's
culture has always bothered me, but now i'm interested to try and find the
real america...)

regarding the book itself, there are a few things that i think deserve a
- rob's use of language is excellent, and completely blows out of the water
the theory that all drummers are dipshits.  he is concise, funny, not prone
to cliche and has given me a great insight into life on a band's tour bus.
- his non-chronological book order is refreshing.  i have written a book
that is chronological to the day, and if anything i found it a bit
restrictive, but i felt i didn't have the talent to just move around at
will.  rob seems to have accomplished that effortlessly.
- rob has done his best work BY FAR in his ability to get across nuances of
thought and feelings in the band WITHOUT compromising his loyalty to his
mates, nor his integrity.  i feel we are very privileged to hear anything
at all about the band.  it is not our right, and yet the oils have been
forthcoming in so many ways over the years - patient and caring in their
dealings with their fans.  sometimes i think we (as a group) demand too
much access to the band members' thoughts and feelings (i certainly feel
"guilty" of this), so to get anything like this is a blessing.  

in short, rob has done a great job, especially considering it is his first
book, and if he deigns to spew forth more verbiage, i'll be the first to
stand in line...


---Brig wrote:

>Well I have just finished " Willie's bar and grill "  (a 3 hours easy 
>read) and overall I'm disappointed. But perhaps my expectations were 
>too high.
>The book tells about the places they went and gives a ton of 
>anecdotes, political, cultural and others. (which failed to interest 
>me much, although whether that's my fault of the author's, I don't 
>know). So the avalanche of anecdotes and tangentes ends up drowning 
>the main flow of the book. Of course, maybe it will be of interest to 
>Aussies. As for me, I have lived in the States, been to a lot of the 
>cities mentionned, followed the aftermath of 9/11 on American TV 
>channels so it's nothing new, nothing interesting and it rather bores 
>Another crucial fault, which I have seen in an awful lot of travel 
>logs, is the lack of human interest. Reading about places can be very 
>dry. What saves it is the human interest in it. We, as humans, are 
>naturally interested and drawned by other human beings and their 
>story. Although Rob talks a bit about the band, crew and some 
>characters met along the way, he fails to ever brush a complete 
>portrait of anybody. We cannot close the book and say : " Oh, so this 
>is what X is likeŠ " We don't get a feel for anybody, in my opinion, 
>and that leaves us hungry. I noticed the same dryness in " Strict 
>rules ", all about giving information, precious little about the 
>human aspect, the characters and personalities. Perhaps it's an 
>Aussie thing.
>I was expecting a funny book and Rob definitely tries his hand at 
>humour. I suppose Rob and I just don't have s similar sense of humor. 
>I laughed at loud several times while reading, but every single time 
>it was at a Bones' quote.
>As for fans, well, we don't really get a better sense of who the band 
>members are, what they are like or what they are thinking. Perhaps 
>life on the road is really not very eventful, perhaps Rob is more 
>gifted as a songwriter than a author. Where did we see that it 
>explained a bit more about Pete's decision? It doesn't. Not a word.
>By the way, there's  a sure difference between American and 
>Australian, as languages, which do make the reading a bit more 
>arduous for me.
>So that's just my clumsily stated opinion. If some others thought it 
>was brilliant, I'm curious to hear about it, I welcome different 
>point of views.
>And I'll bait those who haven't read it : the book ends on Rob 
>wondering what should be the last song they should play if they did a 
>farewell show. Bones answers and that answers is so funny and so 
>typical of him I'm still laughing and it's the perfect ending to the 
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