He is one of the country’s most celebrated rock stars. Now, James Reyne has revealed his big problem with awards shows like the ARIAs.
He is one of the country’s most celebrated rock stars. Now, James Reyne has revealed his big problem with awards shows like the ARIAs.

‘I start shouting’: Aussie rock legend won’t watch awards

James Reyne managed to sit through 10 minutes of last year's ARIA awards.

"I'm banned from watching the ARIAs or the Logies because I start shouting at the TV," the ARIA Hall of Famer says.

At the time the songwriter was working on what would become his twelfth solo album, Toon Town Lullaby.

The music awards gave him instant inspiration for Low Hanging Fruit.

"You look at these young people accepting awards thinking 'You're going to be back working in a jeans shop in three years'," Reyne says.

"Even more amusing are the young guys who think they're too cool for school yet they're still going to the ARIA awards and thinking they're rebelling by not doing proper speeches.

"You think, 'just be happy you're getting an award now because in 10 years you probably won't be'.

"That's the nature of the beast."

Reyne has become more comfortable with his own place in the music industry. A decade ago he almost resented still having to talk about Australian Crawl while promoting his new music. Now he's got a few years of playing Crawl songs in concert under his belt - he is due to go on a tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of the band's seminal debut The Boys Light Up this year, COVID-19 depending. There's also a tour with Mark Seymour already bumped to 2021.

"I completely understand the realities of the business. It doesn't make sense getting angry about it. Sometimes it does get frustrating. You've got a brand new record and you spend all day doing interviews and people just want to talk about The Boys Light Up or Reckless but I get that's part of the context of me. It's good to remind people 'Oh it's that guy'. I've grown to learn it's about giving the audiences what they want."

Reyne knows there's a "core fanbase" keen to hear his new material, and his first solo album in eight years is a quality affair.
 

The Tallest Man I Ever Knew is about his late Crawl bandmate Brad Robinson ("I just used all the in-jokes only he would know and get"), while Burning Books was inspired by a report about how tigers will be extinct by 2035.

"I'm very aware as a species what us idiot humans are doing to the planet and to ourselves. Our priorities have become paparazzi getting photos of movie stars or pop stars and their rippling six packs as they come out of the surf. It's ridiculous."

Reyne even indulges in a trope he usually avoids on Trying To Write a Love Song.

 

Australian Crawl in 1982, with Brad Robinson second from left, James Reyne second from right. Pic: EMI
Australian Crawl in 1982, with Brad Robinson second from left, James Reyne second from right. Pic: EMI

"Some of the women in my life have said 'Why don't you ever write a love song?'

"I've always said I'm just not very good at it and other people do it so much better than I do."

He gave it a crack, setting his attempt in a motel where the protagonist is distracted by some romantic gymnastics next door.

"To annoy the few women who'd asked me
I put a twist at the end, so there's no happy ending," Reyne said.

Toon Town Lullaby is out now

Originally published as Aussie rock legend won't watch awards


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