Presentation Night – Tex Perkins. Picture: Supplied by Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Presentation Night – Tex Perkins. Picture: Supplied by Adelaide Cabaret Festival

Singer excited to headline Agnes fest for first time

TEX Perkins, Saturday night’s headline act for the annual Agnes Blues, Roots and Rock Festival, has been supporting struggling communities throughout this season’s bushfires with fundraising gigs, and the iconic frontman said this week he’s “always honoured” to front up and back a cause.

Perkins, famous for his bands The Beasts of Bourbon and The Cruel Sea during the 1980s and 1990s, said the regions he’d played in needed financial support, but were also focused on “connecting” with each other, and healing.

“Really, the bottom line and the great thing, is bringing people together and trying to commence healing,” Perkins said.

“There’s communities everywhere that are still devastated and that’s not going to go away – that’s going to take years and it’s good to go and play for them.”

Perkins, who has never been to Agnes Water, said he’s looking forward to having “yet another adventure” at the weekend’s festival.

He’ll be performing with The Fat Rubber Band who he has recently recorded – and is currently working on the release of – an album with.

“This will be a chance for people to enjoy themselves and come together. We’re going to play blues and it’s going to be a good time for us and the audience,” Perkins said.

“We’re just hoping for beautiful weather and good people, and we’ll play the hell out of it.

Perkins said he enjoyed the atmosphere of rural and regional festivals where “you can create this whole society”.

“We played at the Gympie Muster last year and everybody had their own bars and barbecues spread out all over the area and they were set-up in the back of their utes,” he said.

Perkins, who lives in the Byron Bay hinterland, said he “likes the bush folk and the country folk”.

“We live among the critters and the trees ourselves,” he said.

“I think for me, as a bloke that’s been around for a while, we’re just happy to get people at our shows.”

Humble when asked about his status as one of Australia’s most legendary rock stars, Perkins said he is still “blown away by the power” of his fans’ stories and how his music has impacted them.

“It happens often. There’s songs they’ve used as a kind of self-help guide and they’ll say that a song got them through a certain period, and they’ll describe it, and you realise this is exactly what music is for,” he said.

“Music can be very transformative and very healing and inspiring.”

Perkins said he was first releasing music when it was “literally records and cassettes” and he has changed and adapted to continue to enjoy music “as ferociously as I did as a 15-year-old”.

“Back then you had to do a lot of leg work and take risks. You had to judge an album cover and think, ‘Am I going to pay $7.90 for this?’ and you make a lot of mistakes that way,” he said.

As a music consumer now, he’s “having a ball”.

“I mainly listen to music on a device with a very long, thousands of songs, playlist on shuffle.

“The streaming and Apple music and Spotify, I have to say, it’s an extremely great way to consume music.

“It’s whatever you can think of in your musical history or something new that’s just happened, and ba ba da bing, ba ba da boom, up it comes and there it is, and you’re listening to it in five seconds.”

Perkins appreciates the loyalty and passion of his fanbase, and doesn’t take the longevity or phenomenal level of his success for granted.

“I feel very fortunate to be a working musician and have a profile that I can maintain.

“It’s always a joy, it’s always an honour and it’s always a privilege to be asked to play.”

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