Well you’re rockin’ fine!
Why don’t you give me a sign?
Wilson is also a convert to Hellenism through his marriage to a Greek-Australian Tania Gogos. He recognises that fame means little to a Greek family if you’re not Greek, “I actually became a Gogos,” he says laughing, “Once you marry into a Greek family you become Greek.” His children carry Geek names and he now knows his Greek blues.
by Daddy Cool
One would be hard pressed to find anyone who has not gyrated his or her sweaty bodies to the beefy swamp blues-rock of Eagle Rock by Daddy Cool.
Ross Wilson, the front man for Daddy Cool, created an extraordinary hit which became the unofficial anthem of 1970s Australian OZ Rock.
Eagle Rock was a herald to a coming of age for Australian rock music.
Wilson along with special guests, Jimmy Barnes, his long time friend and partner Ross Hannaford from Daddy Cool will be celebrating over 40 years of history this coming Friday with 5 Decades Of Cool at the Palais Theatre.
Daddy Cool’s first album, Daddy Who? Daddy Cool reached No1 and became the first Australian album to sell more than 100,000 copies.
Ross Wilson in the mid 70s went on to produce three massive Skyhooks’ albums, including the seminal Living in the 70s, as well as, quintessential blues-funk outfit Joe Camilleri’s, Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons who later became the Black Sorrows. Wilson not only is a musical force he has the Midas touch when it came to producing.
Post Daddy Cool, Wilson fronted Mondo Rock, a slick rock-funk outfit which stood astride the late 70s and the 80s, they produced hit after hit; Fugitive Kind, State of the Heart, Summer of 81, Cool World, Come said the Boy and on and on.
Wilson is part of the living history of Australian rock with a career spanning the late 60s to the present.
“My first gigs began in 65 with a group the Pink Finks, we were still in school but we got a record on the charts.”
After the nascent period of learning, Wilson did what most Australian musicians did he left a tedious suburban Australia for Britain.
“It was 1969 at the height of flower power” he says.
“I played at the Marquee’ along with King Crimson, Jethro Tull, early Genesis, they were all there, and I soaked up all that stuff going on around then, had a better perspective having left Australia.”
For Wilson Daddy Cool was like going to “high school, it was producing Skyhooks and forming Mondo Rock that that was like going to university.”
I ask Wilson if he intends to write a book, a definitive account of Oz Rock, between the 70s and the 80s? “I have no intention of writing a book, many people have asked,” he says.
With a youthful and cheeky trademark smile, he adds, “You can say the truth which is what people want to hear, but you may get sued, you know that as a journalist.”
But who the hell would want to sue an icon of Australian rock?
“You never know there maybe some” says Wilson.
You look at the John Butler Trio and you know how it all began, with Daddy Cool.
But, do we if not venerate, respect our rock heroes enough in Australia?
“I do not care who knows me and who doesn’t. There’s people that will know and those that will not know – it doesn’t bother me at all.”
Wilson has never left the road, performing constantly over the years, and has been indicted twice into the ARIA Hall of Fame once in 1989 and again as a member of Daddy Cool in 2006.
Wilson is also a convert to Hellenism through his marriage to a Greek-Australian Tania Gogos.
He recognises that fame means little to a Greek family if you’re not Greek.
“I actually became a Gogos,” he says laughing, “Once you marry into a Greek family you become Greek.”
His children carry Geek names and he now knows his Greek blues.
He recalls another world, a world when Greece was still another country, as he talks about Greece in 1969.
“After the UK we ended up in Athens, we were broke and we knew that the Greeks paid for blood, also being broke we hitchhiked from Athens to Salonika in late 69. I remember these huge cartridges in cars and they were playing this wild guttural blues feel, and I found out later it was Rebetika, and I knew this was the blues, but with a weirder time signature, it was amazing stuff!”
He conjures up a world when backpacking was not the preserve of middle class kids with daddy’s money but a way of knowing the world.
“We went to places where it would be very difficult to go to now, from Turkey then we made a detour to Syria and Iraq, then Kuwait and I heard all the different kinds of music along the way. You get onto a bus your hear a certain kind of music and you go 200km down the way and the music would change it was so regional.”
If Wilson does not write a book, at least he will continue to grace the world of Australian music and be a defining member of our rock history.
At his concert this Friday he will be revising some songs, he has not sung in decades and curate a “vaguely chronological list as well as new songs from the forthcoming CD”.
Along with him will be Ross Hannaford. “We grew up together, musicaly and literally, and we had 10 years in which we taught each others stuff,” Wilson said.
In essence, Wilson says it will be “just a way of joining the dots some people are aware of me as Daddy Cool, others as the guy from Mondo Rock and others from the last ten years when I have been on the solo thing.”
Regardless of how banal, one must ask: Australian music now?
“It had a trough up at turn of century but the last eight years it has been on a gradient upwards.
“I love rap, there is a lot of good rap and lots of terrible rap, like all good music. What they do with the words is very, very impressive, and the modern rap – I am not into all the misogyny but even that’s misunderstood, because its role playing it’s like a Shakespeare play, with a villain and king and a trickster – the gangster…. it’s set in African American urban myth, a pose.
“Sadly many people who are older do not understand where rap is coming from.”
I remind him that in the early 70s there were many parents who would have been cautious about their teens listening to his music.
“I am sure some people that can happen now as well, there is a track on the new CD called Mind F-ck which may ruffle a few feathers, about misinformation and lying by politicians and other people.”
Ross Wilson (aka Gogos) rocks!
5 Decades Of Cool – 7:30pm The Palais Theatre Lower Esplanade St Kilda Vic Australia Price: $85