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Interview: BRIAN CADD

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On the eve of The Long Way To The Top 10th Anniversary Tour , Rock Club 40 talks to Australian music icon, Brian Cadd…


He is one of Australia’s most respected and enduring talents and he is about to embark on another tour of a rock music extravaganza that originally thrilled us all a decade ago.  Singer, songwriter, musician and producer, Brian Cadd, is very excited to be a part of the Long Way To The Top 10th Anniversary Tour.

“I was in the first show and that was exciting,’’ Brian tells me “but, in a lot of respects, this is a lot more exciting, particularly in terms of archival footage and photos so those moments – the celebration of the history- are really very, very strong this time. We’re making a lot more use of the screen and that kind of stuff. Plus, of course, we have the added wonderful effect of having added the 80s to our roster so we now enjoy Noiseworks and Dragon and Mi-Sex and Ian Moss so now it runs all the way from Col Joye to Ian Moss!  It’s a pretty all-encompassing show.”

“We all get a go at about three songs and there’s one act that does only one song but it’s quite a long song so it’s probably about ten minutes an act so, if you think about it, that’s 17 people …”

That’s a lot of songs.

“Yes, it’s a lot of songs,” agrees Brian “and I think, in terms of what the audience gets out of it (apart from the visual, which is just tremendous), they also get a sort of running jukebox; this kind of living, breathing jukebox of songs from about 1962 to 1985 so the age group of the people who go to see it will be younger than last time because of the 80s and because they also heard from their big sister, big brother or their mum and dad that it was pretty full on. “The only reason I know these sorts of things,’’ he points out, “is that I get a lot of stuff on my Facebook and my website. People write to me and they tell me that sort of stuff so I get a bit of a look at what’s going on in people’s heads.”

“Of course,” he reveals, “the big single thing which is, if you like, the elephant in the room – (although I’m not sure he’d like to be called that!) – is Thorpie.”  While he won’t go into detail about exactly what is in store, Brian is confident that the audience will find it both touching and amazing.   “In one sense, in a physical sense, he is not actually with us but, in so many other ways, he is. And, indeed, for a moment in the show, he is actually in the building in a form.  And it’s not just a matter of putting up a 10 x 8 of him. I can’t tell you what it is but it’s quite a remarkable trick that allows him to be with us one more time. People will be there going ‘Oh God!’ and you might think it macabre to do that. In actual fact, it’s done in a very loving way. The technology now allows us the privilege of being able to do that.”

“It’s the 10th anniversary but it is also the first time anyone has ever had a tribute for Billy.”  Brian acknowledges. ‘’When Billy passed, it was such a shock.  Nobody expected that to happen and a few years later, it didn’t seem all that appropriate to suddenly have a tribute but now, with the 10thanniversary of Long Way To The Top on stage once again, it’s the perfect time to say thank you to Billy, not only because he was instrumental in driving the tempo for Long Way To The Top but because he contributed so much to our industry and he has always been such a figurehead for it.”

And what would the man himself make of all the fuss? “Billy would love it!’’ Brian assures me. “But of course, if he was driving it, the segment would be much bigger. He’d want cannons going off and all kinds of stuff and there’s a fair amount of that. There are two great things about Bill.  He was a glass half full kind of guy. It never occurred to Bill that there was a negative to anything. There’s always a positive, there’s always a reason you had to strive for something and I think that’s what made him the great artist and ambitious person that he was but also he was unbelievably tenacious. He had this ‘hang on to an idea and follow it through’ thing that so many of us have degrees of. We all start projects and think it’s great and when it gets a bit hard, you go ‘Oh well, I’ve got another idea.’ That’s human nature. Most people do that. Very rarely you come across somebody like Billy who just would never let go of things, including Long Way To The Top. When he first called Chuggy, he said ‘That’s a good idea but it’s huge! How are we ever gonna do it?’ And it was Billy pushing that got it into reality.”

And Brian says that, as a result, Billy has left behind a great legacy. “And it’s not only a legacy for all those who have been involved with it but it’s a legacy for all Australian music fans.  In fact, for all Australians.  If you look at the original DVD and the original shows, you can see that it was a moment in our musical history where, for the very first time, we turned around and said ‘Have a look at what we’ve all done.’  Brian is convinced that many careers in the Australian music industry have felt the impact of the original Long Way To The Top shows. “Have a look at how much great stuff’s gone on in this country and as a result of that I can tell you that, historically, the last 10 years for people who wouldn’t normally have had that kind of career, have felt the momentum (of that tour). It’s been extraordinary. We’ve had a hell of a time.”

He shrugs at the suggestion that he has been instrumental in getting this latest show on the road and gives much of the credit to his partner, Amanda Pelman. “In a sense maybe, although it’s really been my partner, Amanda Pelman, who’s the producer of the show. She was the producer of the original. It sort of fell on her to get it going. I have to tell you, knowing both of them fairly well, that she isn’t unlike Billy in that sense.”

The first Long Way To The Top “Being a bit more cognisant I suppose, this time, of the fact that we have, in that period of time, lost some people,’’  I think that there’s a sense of history that’s bigger this time than it was last time. It’s something that people will react to.”

I can imagine it will be quite emotional.

“Yes,” he agrees, “particularly backstage in the piano bar afterwards…”


by Sharyn Hamey


Copyright © 2012   Sharyn Hamey   All Rights Reserved.

The Long Way To The Top 10th Anniversary Tour kicks off tonight, Friday 5th October, at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. Tickets through Ticketek on 132 849.  For full tour dates and venues, go to our Touring page.  


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