It had been a few years since I last had a chance to chat with Ross Wilson so I welcomed the opportunity to catch up recently and hear his latest news. Having just returned from a well-earned holiday in Bali, Ross was feeling rested, rejuvenated and ready for what sounds like another very busy year in 2013.
This month, he is booked for two shows on the Red Hot Summer Tour. “It kicks off a pretty busy three months coming up,” he tells me. That busy three months also includes a string of solo gigs around the Victorian coastline; support for Eagles singer, Glenn Frey on his Australian tour; as well as performing at Australia Day celebrations in Sydney, playing to a crowd of about 20,000 people.
The line-up for this year’s Red Hot Summer Tour is impressive. Headlined by Jimmy Barnes, the artists appearing include Dragon, Baby Animals, Chocolate Starfish, Ian Moss, and Swanee. “I’ve known Barnesy for a long time,” Ross informs me. “I’ve written a bunch of songs with him over the years that have appeared on his albums. We’re all mates and I’m a special guest on that tour in Mannum and also in Mildura. The rest of the time, it’s with the rest of the guys on that bill. In Mannum, there’s also Swanee and myself on the bill as well. That’s a special one-off.”
“I think this is the second or third time Barnesy has done this Red Hot Summer Tour,” he says. “It’s a great time of year to do it and it lasts for about three months. He’s had to change a couple of things around because he’s going to be doing a couple of things with Bruce Springsteen. So the Red Hot Summer Tour goes from January through February and March, stomping around the country and it’s great to be a part of it. I think he’s going to invite me to sing a song or two, probably a couple of the ones we’ve written together so when he does his set, I might jump up on stage as well.” Now, that’s something I’d like to see! “Well, hop on a plane,” he suggests. “There are lots of cheap flights available these days!’’ Oh, I wish…
But Ross will also be returning to Sydney later this month for a handful of special shows. “On the day before Australia Day, I’m at The Basement and then Australia Day, I’m at Rooty Hill. Not just Rooty Hill the club but the actual hill! Everyone sits on the Hill and watches us play and that’s a massive day.” Wilson will be playing with his band, The Peaceniks that day and, the following day, he will be performing with his semi acoustic band, The Ross Wilson Quartet at The Brass Monkey in Cronulla. The show at Rooty Hill is part of the Australia Day celebrations. “They’ll have fireworks and the whole thing, weather permitting. We were supposed to play there last year and it was torrential rain. Now we’re going back to have a second stab at it.” Hopefully, this time the weather will be much kinder.
And then, of course, Ross and his band will be opening for The Eagles’ Glenn Frey on his ‘After Hours’ tour at shows in Melbourne and Perth. “A branch of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will be playing with Glenn in Melbourne,” he explains “and, in Western Australia, it’s the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.” But the singer assures me that he won’t be using an orchestra. “I’ll be warming them up,” he tells me. “I’m calling it the Eagle with The Eagle. Two eagles together.”(I think they call that a ‘convocation’ of eagles. That’s today’s bit of trivia for you, music fans.)
Ross is also planning to record again soon but, as yet, is undecided as to what exactly that will be. “I’m just trying to figure out what I want to record. The last album I did, I went over to the States and went to Nashville where my friend Mark Moffatt, has been living for about twelve or thirteen years now. He has become quite a great contact for people. He put together this great session band for me and we cut the album and it sounds really good. So I think I’m going to take a new approach. I’ve got a handful of songs and I think I’m just going to do an EP. It’s not so much about putting out albums any more. It’s about getting a few good tracks and putting them up on the net, and letting people access them.”
“The last album I did was about eighteen months ago,” he informs me. “And it did reasonably well. I got a call about six months ago, to say that Joe Cocker had covered the title track, ‘I Come in Peace’ but you never know, until you get the actual CD in your hand, whether it’s going to end up on the record.” Well, it did and currently the Cocker album featuring Ross’s song is in the Top 10 in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. “I wrote that song with Rick Brewster from The Angels. Both he and I are really excited about the fact that Joe Cocker did it and there’s a video of it that comes with his CD so we’re really pleased about that. I even renamed my band The Peaceniks after the song. The drummer has a nice big Peace sign on his drums so we’re spreading peace and love everywhere,” he laughs. “And a little bit of Eagle Rock as well. Eagle Rock is forty one now. It’s been around for a while and people still remember the words. It gets people off their butts and moving around and, as you know, when you’re over forty, you need to do that so I’m doing a great service to us old people.”
Can we expect to see more of Ross’s old band, Mondo Rock? “It’s a matter of getting us together because we are all musicians doing our own thing.” he explains. “We do some V8 things. The last thing we did was for the Sea Shepherd. We did a big sell-out show for them about a year ago and raised a whole lot of bread for them. So, you might see us pop up again but in the meantime, it’s business as usual for Ross Wilson and The Peaceniks.”
by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © 2012 Sharyn Hamey All Rights Reserved.
You can catch Ross Wilson and The Peaceniks at Sounds By The River, part of the Red Hot Summer Tour
Saturday 12th January 2013 | 2pm
Mary Ann Reserve, Mannum SA
Ticketmaster 136 100 | www.ticketmaster.com.au
Venuetix (08) 8225 8888 | www.venuetix.com.au
Mannum Newsagency (08) 8569 1028
For more information on Sounds by the River visit www.sou