Tex by Tex Perkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
TEX IS SEX, or so read the graffiti I used to see sometimes. Everyone kind of knows the guy – Greg to his mum – whether it’s because they used to see the Beasts, or because of that fight at the ARIAs, or because he’s the dude who makes albums with Don and Charlie, or because of that time he suggested it might be time for legal advice. You know – that guy.
This is a book about that guy – and the fact that that guy isn’t the same as that Greg guy – and how both of ’em have managed to make a life out of music. It’s not weighty, but fuck, it delivers a much better portrait of its leading man than many other music books deliver of their subjects.
Corralled into shape with a light touch from Stuart Coupe, the book seems pretty natural: it flits from place to place, guided roughly by Perkins’ discography. There’s snippets of memories of everything he’s made, from Thug on down, and they’re recounted with an around-the-table openness. It’s a bit of a time capsule, conveying a sense of how gigging, government and travel occurred from the ’80s onwards, and I felt quiet glee reading about gigs I’d seen, or places I’d been, too.
What’s refreshing about this book is that unlike a lot of other self-penned rock tomes, it’s lighter on the self-mythologising than expected. Indeed, Perkins talks about the whole “women want to be with him, men want to be him” thing with good humour. He’s open with the fact he can be a prick of an interview subject – though that varies with the writer’s on mushroom-headedness, obviously – but is forthright with thanks and praise for his fellow musos. There’s a lot of man-crushing in the book, all (it seems) genuine: the guy has a love for the people who’ve helped make his music. Frankly, it’s a good breather from the whole separate-dressing-rooms-no-speakies kind of shit musicians with long careers can get into. The author’s awareness of the silliness and the seriousness of rock comes across pretty clearly, and it’s refreshing.
If you’ve ever been vaguely interested in the guy – from the white-tee menace of ‘Chase the Dragon’ to the white-suited smarm of The Ladyboyz, and every other project he’s had a thumb in – then this is worth a look. It’s a big-hearted book about a big boofhead who’s managed to make a good fist of this music caper, and has the self-awareness and grace to know he’s been shot in the arse with a rainbow. It’s good fun, and the perfect on-the-road read.