WA News Celebrity Profiles Tex Walks the Line
Tex Walks the Line
Written by Mr Peter McClelland
Friday, 01 August 2014

 

Tex-Perkins-as-Johnny-Cash"I’m 49-years-old and falling to pieces but I’ll be playing music to the day I die."He looks like Johnny Cash and he sounds like Johnny Cash and for Australian rocker Tex Perkins, he is Johnny Cash – at least for a couple of hours a night when he’s the Man in Black. Tex told Medical Forum that his passion for the Cash songbook went back to his very first band, a cow-punk outfit called the Dum Dums, which plied the pubs of Brisbane 30 years ago.

“I had a strong connection with this music when I was 17 years-old, we played a lot of Johnny Cash numbers. And even before that I felt a close affinity with his song, A Boy Named Sue.

You didn’t hear too many songs back then about a man with a woman’s name.”

“All those lyrics about beer and blood were my first taste of the dark side. Johnny Cash was the first performer to prick my ears that there was something naughty going on.”

Tex returns to Perth next month with the stage show, The Man in Black, which is a hugely successful tribute to the man and his music.

Tex fans and those who give just a cursory listen to the Perkins’ songbook will notice a reverberation of intersecting tastes and interests.

“I like the darkness and humour in these songs, they go hand in hand for me and I try to put a little bit of both in everything I do. I’ve been dragging some audience members around for 30 years and we’re all getting older now.

I do a lot of different things from rock and roll to acoustic dinner shows. The Man in Black pulls in ages from 18 to 80.”

“It’s the sort of show you can take your Granny to, even with the drugs and violence in the lyrics. I do get a bit worried about the grannies sometimes.

We used to do a Sunday matinee show and I’d always pull back a step or two and wouldn’t swear quite so much.”

 Tex-as-Johnny-xx-as-June-CarterThe Man in Black has had a stable line-up for many years including a female vocalist with a Masters’ Degree in speech pathology with a focus on voice and accent.

“It’s a very settled group now. The musicians in the Tennessee Four are superb and the only problem with Rachel Tidd is that she sounds better than June Cash.”

“Unlike the film Walk the Line, which was a pretty standard Hollywood approach, our show goes right up to his death.

That’s important because he made a bunch of fantastic records in the last 10 years of his life and it was an incredibly important part of the Johnny Cash story.”

If there are any Johnny Cash loving orthopods out there who want a brief brush with fame, here’s your chance.

“I’ve been putting off a knee operation for years. I fell down a staircase in an inebriated state and damaged my anterior cruciate ligament.

The stairs just happened to be inside a Boeing 747 on the way to London.”

“I’m paying for it now, but I’m not all that energetic on stage anymore. It might seem like I’m doing a lot but it’s just sleight of hand.

I’m 49-years-old and falling to pieces but I’ll be playing music to the day I die. I guess I may have to move to a stool one day.”