Cold Chisel to reunite and tour Australia (2024)

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By Michael Dwyer

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Australian rock royalty Cold Chisel will reunite and tour Australia later this year, just months after frontman Jimmy Barnes recovered from open-heart surgery, to celebrate 50 years since the band first formed.

Eleven shows will stop in every state in the country for The Big Five-0 tour in October/ November, with ample wriggle room in the seven-week schedule for more.

Cold Chisel to reunite and tour Australia (1)

On their last album, in what might be the best gag ever about old blokes Getting the Band Back Together, they wrote: “All that fire and all that belly/ The bottom end’s tighter than Byron and Shelley,” and made it an APRA-winning hit. So when our most distinguished rock’n’roll band announces a 50th anniversary tour, underestimate them at your peril.

Today there’s no discernible belly but ample smoulder as the four lean road warriors stride into Studios 301 in Alexandria in various imposing shades of black. Songwriter of few words Don Walker. Darkhorse guitar hero Ian Moss. Dependably clear-eyed bassist Phil Small. And Jimmy Barnes: dead set Aussie icon and very literal survivor.

“I was really fit at the end of last year. I just got a staph infection,” the singer says of his second open-heart surgery that found him “close to death” just months ago, despite 20-plus years of sobriety. “This one was huge. Seven hours of surgery. But because I was so fit, that’s why I survived.”

Cold Chisel to reunite and tour Australia (2)

The band of brothers understands the alternative too well — hence perhaps their hasty return after their Blood Moon tour played to 160,000 in the summer of 2020. Drummer Steve Prestwich is still listed as a member of the band on the new press release, 13 years after his passing. He’s very much present in conversation too, as his four friends chase memories across a half-century of road tales.

“I think it was in Tasmania,” says Barnes.
New Zealand,” says Walker.
“Palmerston North,” Moss offers.
“Me and Steve were just drunk after a show,” says Barnes. “Steve made some smart-arse comment at me and I smacked him one.”

The punchline on that occasion came from Walker, as the singer and drummer crashed into his hotel room with fists flying. “Guys,” was all he said. “Sorry Don,” they mumbled, taking it back outside. It’s just one story of mayhem in former manager Rod Willis’s recent memoir, Ringside.

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“Me and Steve did that regularly,” Barnes recalls. “But I remember that night because I stuck his head through a door… I’m walking past, still furious, he stuck his head back through the hole and went, ‘My mother hits harder than that!’”

There’s little chance of this kind of boys’ own biffo with new guy Charley Drayton, New York-born drummer to Keith Richards, Paul Simon, Divinyls and many other legends, who joined in 2011. In fact, there’s likely to be less rancour this time than on any of Chisel’s often-fraught reunions of the past 25 years.

Cold Chisel to reunite and tour Australia (3)

“The last two or three tours,” Walker explains in his unhurrried way, “we’ve gone and put the work into writing and then recording an album, which is sometimes added pressure. Sometimes that works for us, and sometimes it maybe can work against us.”

“Making new records,” Barnes confirms, “that creative process can be quite volatile. And sometimes that creates tension before you even get on tour. And then of course having 14 to 16 songs that people love, that we’ve got to play, and you’ve got a new album to fit in there as well…”

This year there’s just one new song — a fresh band recording of Walker’s You’ve Got To Move will drop on August 23 — to slot into an existing catalogue of multi-platinum radio hits and road-hardened showstoppers. “It’s good to be able to just focus on what we enjoy the most,” Walker says, “which is playing live.”

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It’s what made them, of course. In a sentimental nod to two towns where they honed their crucial live performance chops over countless gigs circa ’74, The Big Five-0 begins in Armidale, NSW, on October 5, and ends in Adelaide on November 17.

“We wanted to fast-track out of being a covers band into being an original band and Don had a bunch of songs,” Moss recalls of Chisel’s humble origins as a blues-rock pub band. By the time of their breakthrough third album of 1980, East, all five members were contributing hits, at Walker’s encouragement.

“I think if you’ve got one person writing and everybody else in the band are really skilled musicians,” he says, “you very quickly reach a situation where the band is being used just as session players. Whereas if everybody’s writing, they’ve all got skin in the game.

“Also, if you’ve got a range of songs coming from a range of people, it more truly reflects who the band is. So it’s gonna be stronger.”

Cold Chisel to reunite and tour Australia (4)

Cold Chisel famously imploded after five albums, with their Last Stand tour of 1983. But four more since ’98 have consistently sailed to the business end of the charts and consolidated their distinctive chemistry of 1950s-inspired rock’n’roll and soul imbued with uniquely Australian characters and perspectives.

In a nod to Chisel’s legendary Circus Animals tour of ’82, shows at Sydney’s Moore Park, Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse and Brisbane’s Victoria Park will take place under big-top tents this spring. Among other acts, the Cruel Sea and rock-soul singer-songwriter Karen Lee Andrews will support on most shows.

Cold Chisel will play Armidale on October 5, then Gold Coast, Sydney, Wollongong, Caversham WA, Melbourne, Brisbane, Broadmeadow NSW, Ballarat, Hobart and finish in Adelaide on November 17.

Fan Presale starts at 12pm on Friday, May 31. General public tickets are on sale from 12pm on Tuesday, June 4.

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Cold Chisel to reunite and tour Australia (2024)

FAQs

Is Cold Chisel an Australian band? ›

Australian rock royalty Cold Chisel will reunite and tour Australia later this year, just months after frontman Jimmy Barnes recovered from open-heart surgery, to celebrate 50 years since the band first formed.

How much for Cold Chisel tickets? ›

How much will tickets cost for the Cold Chisel Australian tour? B reserve tickets for Cold Chisel's Sydney show start at $139.90 per person, with A reserve tickets starting at $199.

When did Cold Chisel last tour? ›

The band's final performances were at the Sydney Entertainment Centre from 12 to 15 December 1983 – ten years since their first live appearance as Cold Chisel in Adelaide – and the group then disbanded.

Where is Cold Chisel playing in Melbourne? ›

When and where is the Cold Chisel Melbourne Tour? Cold Chisel will perform for two nights in Melbourne in October 2024. The Melbourne shows will take place at Flemington Racecourse on Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26.

What band from Australia sounds like ACDC? ›

Airbourne

Why is it called a cold chisel? ›

The name cold chisel comes from its use by blacksmiths to cut metal while it was cold as compared to other tools they used to cut hot metal. Because cold chisels are used to form metal, they have a less-acute angle to the sharp portion of the blade than a woodworking chisel.

How many people are in Cold Chisel? ›

Cold Chisel, the iconic Australian rock band, has announced an extensive tour to mark their 50th anniversary. Dubbed “The Big Five-0,” this 11 performance tour will be a unique celebration of the band's enduring legacy and love for live performance, uniting bandmates Jimmy Barnes, Phil Small, Ian Moss and Don Walker.

How much does it cost to book Smash Mouth? ›

Smash Mouth ($40-60k)

Who wrote most of Cold Chisel songs? ›

Don Walker was born in Ayr, North Queensland, in 1951. As a member of and the main songwriter for Cold Chisel between 1973 and 1983, he wrote Saturday Night, Cheap Wine, Standing on the Outside, Four Walls, Khe Sanh along with many others, and co-wrote Flame Trees.

Why did Cold Chisel break up? ›

It is apparent how important it was for Cold Chisel to end their career on their own terms. Despite being at the height of their success and popularity, they felt they were not giving the fans their best and didn't want to continue on that path.

What is Cold Chisel's biggest selling album? ›

The band's biggest selling album is the multi-platinum selling East. It features classic Cold Chisel songs such as "Cheap Wine," "Forever Now," and "Saturday Night," which has become an Australian anthem.

Is Cold Chisel still together? ›

Australian rock royalty Cold Chisel will reunite and tour Australia later this year, just months after frontman Jimmy Barnes recovered from open-heart surgery, to celebrate 50 years since the band first formed.

Where was Cold Chisel flame trees filmed? ›

Music video

The video of the song (directed by Kimble Rendall) was filmed in Oberon, New South Wales. It portrays a young man returning to his home town, meeting old friends, and remembering a past lover.

What band originated in Australia? ›

AC/DC. AC/DC started as a pub rock group in November 1973 and became one of the most well-known Australian rock bands, with more than 71 million sales in the US alone by 2014.

Are the temper trap Australian? ›

The Temper Trap are an Australian indie rock band formed in 2005 by Dougy Mandagi, Jonathon Aherne, and Toby Dundas. In 2008, the group relocated from Melbourne to London.

Is Peking Duck band Australian? ›

Peking Duk was formed in 2010 in Canberra, Australia, by Adam Hyde and Reuben Styles. The pair had started off in their local city of Canberra. Styles had been the bass guitarist for local indie rock group, Rubycon, from 2007 to 2010.

Is Sticky Fingers an Australian band? ›

Sticky Fingers is an Australian Indie rock band formed in 2008 in Sydney. The band consists of Dylan Frost (lead vocals/guitar), Paddy Cornwall (bass/vocals), Seamus Coyle (lead guitar), Beaker Best (drums/percussion) and Freddy Crabs (keys/synth).

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