Ian Moss knew he had some pretty big shoes to fill when he was asked to perform a tribute to the late Billy Thorpe as part of the ‘Long Way To The Top 10th Anniversary’ concert but he was very excited to be given the opportunity and quietly confident in his ability to pull it off. “I’m always excited about any opportunity to go and play,” he told me as he prepared to embark on the week- long tour. “It is a great opportunity to do a tribute to Thorpie. I kind of started to get to know him in his later years. I’m told he was a fan of mine and I’d like to think he’d be happy for me to do a tribute to him. What I remember of Thorpie is that he was a man with an absolutely massive voice. I’m pretty confident on the guitar playing side of things.” And so he should be. Ian is lauded as one of the best guitarists in the country.
“So that’s my role in the show,” he explains. The guitarist performs three Billy Thorpe songs in his set: ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ is a track from Billy’s last studio album, ‘Tangier’, sadly still unfinished at the time of his passing. His dream, however, eventually saw the light of day a few years later, and Moss was one of a number of musicians who collaborated on this very special project which had become Billy’s passion for two decades. Doug Parkinson also joins Moss for a very moving version of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’. The combination of Doug’s soulful vocals and Ian’s masterful guitar playing makes this particular song one of the musical highlights of the show. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a tribute to Billy without one final song, performed with Thorpe who appears in the form of a hologram on stage. “I don’t think I could get up there and not do ‘Most People I Know (Think That I’m Crazy)’.”
While Ian is focussed on his own very special role in the show, he is also thrilled just to be a part of such an incredible line-up of talent. “It is exciting,” he agrees. “There’s a whole lot of names and acts there that go way back; a whole range of people, back to Col Joye. I think Col might be the most vintage of us all! There are so many acts (in the show) doing a couple of songs each. Ten years ago, it went up til about 1975. Now we’ve moved forward and it goes up to 1985 now. Bands like Dragon, Noiseworks and Mi-Sex. There’s actually quite a large Kiwi contingent in that lot! This show will appeal to a wider audience and this is possibly the last time that a show like this will happen so the powers that be inform me. So, for a lot of these acts, this is probably the last chance many people will get to see them.”
After he finishes work on the ‘Long Way To The Top’ tour, Ian has a few more shows lined up over the summer months. “I’m happy doing a few solo acoustic gigs and a few ‘Day on the Green’ shows in the summer. I’ll also be doing a tour called ‘The Red Hot Summer’. That’s myself, Barnsey, Baby Animals and three other bands.” He also plans to get back into the studio next year. “I hope to get another album out that features more of my guitar playing.”
Moss also took some time to reflect on his recent tour with former band, Cold Chisel. They played to over 250,000 people on their ‘Into the Nitro Tour’ and had a new album released earlier this year called ‘No Plans’. “We were all pretty amazed at how well the shows sold and how well we rose to the occasion,” he confessed. “It was a pretty serious workload that would test anyone.”
Will there be any more shows in the near future? “You won’t hear much from Cold Chisel til at least 2014,” he reveals, “and then we’ll probably record another album and we’ll just tour that.” So there are no plans (excuse the pun) to say goodbye any time soon? “No, not at all,” he assures me, “Not at all…”
by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © 2012 Sharyn Hamey All Rights Reserved.
Long Way To The Top hits Newcastle tonight, Tuesday, 9th October and the tour winds up in Brisbane on Friday, 12th October. Tickets for both shows available through Ticketek Ph: 132 849