Alone with a Dark Horse

THE DARK HORSES: (from left) Charlie Owen, Gus Agars, Tex Perkins, Stephen Hadley and Joel Silbersher. Photo by Martin Philbey
THE DARK HORSES: (from left) Charlie Owen, Gus Agars, Tex Perkins, Stephen Hadley and Joel Silbersher. Photo by Martin Philbey

"THIS record has more of a band feel to it and less of a singer songwriter trip," Tex said. "So I'm tempted to step back with the band and become one of the elements instead of the most important element."

Despite Tex's formidable reputation - he recently completed another hugely successful season playing Johnny Cash in the hit musical The Man In Black - this band is more than equal to the task.

It's made up of some of the country's most sought after musicians.

Charlie Owen is a towering icon of Australian rock, having played with Louis Tillett, Paul Kelly, Divinyls, Maurice Frawley, Tex Don and Charlie and the Beasts of Bourbon. James Cruikshank, recently returned from a European solo tour, is, like Tex, a member of the Cruel Sea.

Joel Silbersher was a teenage punk prodigy whose band God wrote the underground rock anthem My Pal. He has the distinction of being probably the only man to play bass with the Dirty Three.

Stephen Hadley plays bass with the likes of Paul Kelly and the Black Sorrows. And Gus Agars drums with Tim Rogers, The Vandas, Mike Noga (who is tour support act), the Gin Club and the ABC TV Spicks and Specks band.

More than just music, a robust vein of humour unites them.

"I can't spend time with people that aren't funny," Tex said.

"It's a band of scallywags and we're all pretty knowledgeable rock nerds."

Tex seems truly excited about discovering the "essential aesthetic" of the Dark Horses.

"It's an amalgamation of roots music and progressive music. There's dobro and synthesisers on the same tracks and that encapsulates the effect. It displays our love of West Coast rock … dare I say The Eagles - I include Neil (Young) in that as well."

The raw songs are written by Tex, in collaboration with local song smith Murray Patterson.

"Basically I'm a slave to whatever riffs and chord progressions Murray comes up with. I add lyrics and arrangements to the songs and then the great talents of the band come into play."

While being steeped in the music of Johnny Cash had an understandable effect on the band's last album, Tex has officially moved on.

"I'm not doing the Cash thing any more. I've drawn the line, rather than walking it."

His songwriting stems from a broader musical church.

"Everything from JJ Cale to Krautrock bands. I think you can probably recognise elements of all sorts of things. It all goes into the DNA of the music we're making," he said.

Tex and the Dark Horses play the Star Court Theatre, Friday, November 9, at 8pm. Tickets are $40, available through www.starcourt

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