- 9 October 2014
Rob Hirst is releasing his first album-length solo offering. The album is a perfect musical accompaniment to Berlin-based artist, Gabriella Hirst’s gouache songbirds on silk. Both the art and the music display a strong affection and respect for the land, sky and sea, for the wondrous creatures which inhabit them, and for the courageous people who protect them. The single from the album, The Truth Walks Slowly (Preview here) is based on the true story of a six-generation Queensland cattle farmer, who’s forced into a fight when the beauty and solitude of his pristine property is threatened by a gas mining company.
Hirst is joined on the recording by Rick Grossman on bass, Peter West on cello, Rob Woolf on keys, Jack Howard on trumpet, Johnny Graffham on steel and Jason Millhouse on guitar, to name just a few.
Rob Hirst is a musician and songwriter, a published author (Willie’s Bar & Grill through Momentum) and magazine contributor. He is also one of the founding members of Australian rock group Midnight Oil. Probably best known for his incredible performances as the band’s drummer, Hirst has written or co-written many of The Oil’s best loved songs – a musical legacy which has thrown the spotlight on important issues from indigenous land rights through nuclear disarmament, youth homelessness and asbestos related diseases.
The album is available now: a gift to Rob’s friends, fans and family. As Rob says: “I wanted to record some new songs at an unhurried pace, at our local studio, then invite some brilliant players I know to drop by and add their magic. My daughters Lex and Gabriella also sang along with me on a couple of tracks – for the first time ever - and Gabriella kindly allowed me to ‘borrow’ her beautiful painted birds for the artwork. It all came together so well: the whole project has been joyful from the beginning to the end.”
Over the last 30 years, Rob has played, sung and written songs in The Ghostwriters, Backsliders, Hirst & Greene and The Angry Tradesmen and more recently with the instrumental surf rock outfit, The Break which features two of his fellow members of Midnight Oil, Jim Moginie and Martin Rotsey and Bass player Brian Ritchie of the US group, Violent Femmes.
Limited editions of the album with a hard cover book featuring Gabriella Hirst’s exquisite paintings
are available now from Basement Discs in Melbourne Rocking Horse in Brisbane and Mall Music in Sydney.
- 15 August 2014
From their beginnings in the 1970’s on the pub circuit of Sydney’s Northern beaches Midnight Oil went on to win audiences across the world with their fierce commitment to environmental, social, anti-war and indigenous rights issues.
‘The Making of Midnight Oil’ is major public exhibition opening June 2014, which maps that journey and examines the band’s impact on social and cultural history across a 40-year period.
Amongst the wealth of items on display will be a stage recreated with Rob Hirst’s water tank, dingo and roo from the Diesel and Dust tour, Peter Garrett’s microphone and other instruments. Throughout the space the band’s original road cases have been reworked into display cabinets housing a myriad of fascinating objects, guitars, amps and pedals, iconic stage wear including the ‘Read About It’ overalls and Olympic ‘Sorry Suits’ and a huge array of banners, posters, rare photographs and original lyrics.
Two large screens reveal new and unseen film footage including a documentary on the recording of 10,9,8 by Robert Hambling and touring footage from the 1980’s by film maker Ray Argall, who also made ‘The Power and The Passion’ clip.
A surround sound booth with a sign saying ‘The Antler’ aims to capture some of the atmosphere of what it was like to be in the audience at an Oils gig, complete with sticky beer stained carpet, gaffa tape, elbows sticking out of the walls and a rare and unearthed piece of footage of the band filmed at the 1981 festival ‘Tanelorn’. Along one wall of the gallery a massive 30-foot wide banner from the band’s protest gig outside New York’s Exxon headquarters proclaims ‘Midnight Oil Makes You Dance, Exxon Oil Makes You Sick’.
In support of the exhibition, Sony Music are making available for the first time on DVD the documentary of that protest gig, ‘Black Rain Falls’. Also in support of the event, remastered versions of the band’s entire early catalogue are being made available for the first time on CD.
‘The Making of Midnight Oil’ is a free exhibition developed over a two -year period by MAG&M Curator Ross Heathcote in close collaboration with Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst.
Manly Art Gallery & Museum, West Esplanade,10am to 5pm, Tuesday – Sunday
Black Rain Falls and the remastered Midnight Oil catalogue available at the Gallery and through Sanity JB HIFI and also on iTunes
- 1 June 2014
To partner with the release of 'Black Rain Falls', Midnight Oil will be holding an exhibition at Manly Art Gallery & Museum.
The original 30 ft wide banner with the wording ‘Midnight Oil Makes You Dance, Exxon Oil Makes Us Sick’ will be on exhibit in Sydney at ‘The Making of Midnight Oil’ a major public exhibition celebrating the power and the passion of one of the world’s most inspirational rock bands.
Opening at Manly Art Gallery and Museum, the exhibition has been developed in collaboration with Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst and will showcase iconic stage props and instruments, photographs, posters, stagewear and previously unseen films and early clips.
‘The Making of Midnight Oil’ exhibition will be on show at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum, located at West Esplanade, Manly NSW 2095, Open from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday – Sunday from June until 7th September 2014.
Entry is Free It is anticipated that the exhibition will tour to other locations including Canberra and Melbourne at a later date.
- 28 May 2014
Midnight Oil’s 1990 New York concert, ‘Black Rain Falls’, will be released for the first time digitally and on DVD on Friday June 20th in support of the opening of the exhibition ‘The Making Of Midnight Oil’ at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum on the same day.
On May 30, 1990, Midnight Oil interrupted their North American tour for a “special guerrilla action” outside Exxon Oil headquarters on the crowded Avenue of the Americas in midtown Manhattan. The agitprop event from the back of a flat-bed truck drew more than 10,000 people out of the nearby office buildings and onto the street.
The Oils were responding to one of the worst environmental disasters in US history when nearly 11 million gallons of oil were spilled onto the pristine Alaskan coastline by the Exxon Valdez. Twenty five years later the effects of the spill on the landscapes and wildlife of southern Alaska are still being felt.
“There are things we think are so important that they have to be said,” lead singer Peter Garrett told a packed international press conference after the performance, “and the best way we could say it was with song. What happened this morning was just another of the things that this band has tried to do for the last decade or so. We want to take some of the issues that are in the songs back onto the streets where they belong.”
The DVD features all six songs captured live that day: “Progress” (From the 1986 EP, Species Deceases); “Sometimes” and “Dreamworld” (from 1987’s Diesel And Dust); “Blue Sky Mine” and “River Runs Red” (from Blue Sky Mining, 1990); the apropos tribute to John Lennon, “Instant Karma” and the video clip for Midnight Oil’s “King Of The Mountain” (also from Blue Sky Mining), plus commentary on each track from the band.
In addition to the ‘Black Rain Falls’ release Sony Music is for the first time releasing the physical remastered versions of these 8 classic Midnight Oil albums: Midnight Oil, Head Injuries, Place Without A Postcard, 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 , Red Sails In The Sunset, Diesel And Dust, Blue Sky Mining, and Earth And Sun And Moon, as well as the EP’s Bird Noises and Species Deceases.
‘The Making of Midnight Oil’ at Manly Art Gallery and Museum is a major public exhibition celebrating the ‘power and the passion’ of one of the world’s most inspirational rock bands.
Developed by MAG&M’s Ross Heathcote in collaboration with Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst and with exhibition design by Wendy Osmond, The Making of Midnight Oil will examine the band’s impact on our social and cultural history across a 40 year period.
As Rob Hirst puts it ‘The first crowd we ever pulled was on the Northern Beaches – in a long-demolished surf-pub called the Royal Antler Hotel. So it’s fitting that our first ever exhibition is in Manly, where some of us still live and make music. It’s a Midnight Oil exhibition, sure. But it’s also the story of a time when music – loud, fast and original – was all that mattered. And about the bands and the beer-halls and the smoky, sweaty, sticky joy of it all.’
The exhibition will showcase rare and iconic items including stage props, instruments, protest banners, hand written lyrics, photographs and posters sourced from public and private collections as well as the band’s own archives. It will also highlight the band’s various actions across the years including the original 30 ft wide banner from the ‘Black Rain Falls’ concert with the wording ‘Midnight Oil Makes You Dance, Exxon Oil Makes Us Sick’.
About Midnight Oil:
From their beginnings in the 1970s on the pub circuit of Sydney’s Northern beaches Midnight Oil went on to win audiences across the world with their fierce commitment to environmental, social, anti-war and indigenous rights issues.
With nearly a dozen songs on the Billboard charts and their album ‘Beds Are Burning’ topping the list of 100 Best Australian Albums Of All Time, Midnight Oil were not only a musical force to be reckoned with, but a band whose conscience resonated with audiences not just in Australia, but in the USA, Canada, South America, South Africa and across Europe.
‘Black Rain Falls’ is available to purchase digitally and on DVD from Friday June 20th
Midnight Oil Remastered physical albums available to purchase from all good music retailers from Friday June 20th.
The exhibition is located at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum is at West Esplanade, Manly NSW 2095. The Gallery is open 10am - 5pm Tuesday – Sunday and ‘The Making Of Midnight Oil’ will be on show from 20th June until 7th September 2014. Entry is Free