ON STAGE: Australian musicians Don Walker and Hamish Stuart.
ON STAGE: Australian musicians Don Walker and Hamish Stuart. Contributed

Paganism, friends gone too early in Don Walker's new songs

DON Walker is regarded as one of Australia's best songwriters and his songs have been mapping Australia, from Kings Cross to regional towns and the spaces between, for more than 30 years.

This year, The Catfish and Don Walker's entire recording catalogue will be released on vinyl, along with the vinyl box set titled Blacktop.

Don and his band will once again hit the road in April and we had a chat to the iconic musician ahead of the tour:

Why have you decided to re-release on vinyl? Is it popular among your fans?

A lot of people prefer to listen to music on vinyl.

For anyone interested in what I do, that hasn't been possible for a long time.

I don't think I have 'fans'.

Do you listen to vinyl yourself or do you play music from digital devices?

I haven't had a working turntable since the early nineties.

I either play CDs in my car, or find music on YouTube.

You have been honoured for your song-writing skills and on many an occasion, what do you think is your best published song so far and why?

I don't have a favourite song among those I've written.

There are a few that I don't think are much good, and no, I'm not going to name them.

What I do have on this tour, as often happens, is new songs.

There's a thirteen minute song inspired by a friend of mine who travelled to the Northern Territory when we were young and seldom came back.

He was a writer, and became a chronicler of the top end and East Timor.

Darwin is one of those places where people on the run get as far as they can go, and change their name and disappear.

He wasn't one of those, but he loved to be among those kind of people.

He's buried now in a favourite spot off the highway between Katherine and the Three Ways.

I have another new one about the rise of paganism we're seeing in Western civilisation, driven by pampered and privileged utopians, too naive and ill-educated to see the darkness of Baal as it gathers.

It's a rockabilly song.

You have played in Byron Shire many times before, any anecdotes or stories about local gigs that we can publish?

Once upon a time the people at a Cold Chisel show rioted and smashed the plate glass windows of the Bangalow Bowling Club out across the greens.

Years later I was in Byron on New Years Eve and there was another riot, but I wasn't playing, I was just a bystander.

I was stuck in Mildura hitch-hiking on another New Years Eve and there was a riot there too.

Riots in Byron are quite different to riots in Mildura, but in each case it took the police hours to get it under control.

It's interesting that we refer to a riot as "it", and not "us".

When I play with "my band" at Club Mullum in Mullumbimby on April 21, I'm almost certain there won't be a riot, but if that's what you're looking for, I'd come down and buy a ticket just in case.