Tim Freedman plays the Mullum Music Festival with his band The Idle.
Tim Freedman plays the Mullum Music Festival with his band The Idle. Contributed

Tim Freedman at Mullum Music Fest

Tim Freedman's first album in six years opens with the song Old Man.

Before you jump to any conclusions, no, it isn't autobiographical.

The album, Australian Idle, will be out in November ahead of his gig with new band The Idle at The Mullum Music Festival.

>>> More Pulse news

Freedman is releasing the lyrics from the album along with an explanation of their inspiration through his Facebook page ahead of the November release.

"I always loved in the '70s when you'd buy an album and read the lyrics," Freedman tells Pulse. "I take a lot of time over my words, so I think it's nice to put them out."

The first line for Old Man came to Freedman as he stepped out of hospital after visiting a friend, he explains on the site, "I want to be an old man" he said to himself and his friend thought it too.

Written for the most part in Broken Head, Freedman describes Australian Idle (which isn't a tribute to the singing competition) as cheery, '70s pop.

"No heartbreak, no drinking too much," he says. "Most of the songs are about characters I know. I won't say it's the best work I've ever done because, how would I know? But I will say it's the catchiest thing I've done."

Freedman became a household name in Australia as the frontman of The Whitlams.

The band formed almost 20 years ago and was recently reminded of its most successful release Eternal Nightcap when it came in at No.17 on Triple J's Hottest 100 Australian Albums of All Time earlier this year.

"I started getting texts about it," Freedman says.

"I just thought, 'what strange thing is happening?' I haven't been played on Triple J for years.
It's nice that it's a fond memory in their lives."

Bringing Eternal Nightcap together wasn't an easy task for Freedman back in 1996 after one of the band's members, Steve Plunder, died.

"It's all my songs of my 20s," he says.

Freedman said he was left to fill an entire album without the help of his colleague and looked to his past to bring it all together.

"It was really rich and emotional," he says. "I think it was saved from being too dismal by No Aphrodisiac and You Sound Like Louis Burdett."

Four years later the band's other founding member, Andy Lewis, died.

Despite this "curse" The Whitlams released two more successful albums (Torch The Moon, 2002 and Little Cloud, 2006) and a best of in 2009.

During the six years since The Whitlams' last release, Freedman has hardly been idle, though he likes to think otherwise, when asked how he spent his time.

"Just doing as little as possible really," he says.

"Put my feet up, had a child, travelled, rode my bike. It was just nice to live without the pressures of being creative. Like all musicians I still played in a band, still toured and we released our best-of album."

With new band The Idle, Freedman releases his first album outside of The Whitlams and from all reports (filtered through the frontman himself) it's ahappy one with a differentapproach.

"We just wanted to do something that hasn't been done before that no one else is doing at the moment," Freedman says.

"Wolfmother were doing the '70s guitar stuff but I thought I'd do it with piano. We just had fun with the genre."

Tim Freedman and The Idle play The Mullumbimby Music Festival on Sunday, November 27, at the Civic Hall, 7pm. For tickets and further info head to the website