Kevin Bloody Wilson is back… Again. The only Aussie to have more comebacks than John Farnham will bring his “First of the final Farewell Tours (perhaps)” show to Hexham Bowling Club on March 11. Dan Beazley from Newcastle live spoke to KBW over the phone from his home on the beach in Western Australia.
I was a bit nervous about interviewing Kev. I grew up in a time when Kevin Bloody Wilson tapes were a hot commodity. If you could steal a KBW tape from your Dad’s collection to play to your mates, your social status was automatically elevated. I remember afternoons crowded around an old school tape player listening to the Santa song or Born Again Piss Tank followed by recitals up the back of the school bus the next morning from the lyrics we had memorised. So you could say I’m a bit of a fan.
I should note at this point that it’s impossible to write up an interview with one of Australia’s bluest comedians without using a few naughty words. So from here on in, this post is Not Safe For Work.
Chatting to Kev it’s easy to forget that this Aussie icon is in fact 68 years old. He’s just so quick with the one liners, insights into contemporary Australian culture and he never misses a chance to take the piss out of himself or anyone in earshot.
I did hours of research in the lead up to my interview and one of the things I learnt was that Kev rarely writes a set list. So I started our interview by asking him what songs from his latest album WRONG, WRONG WONG! would get a run at Hexham Bowlo on March 11 and why.
“The song Who’s Permission always gets a run at the shows. It’s all about occupational health and safety. Everyone gets a laugh out of that shit” he answers.
You’d be forgiven if you haven’t heard this KBW track before. Unless you’ve bought the album or have been to one of Kev’s recent shows there’s not a lot of opportunity to hear his work through popular mainstream media outlets.
“My songs are usually passed from from mates to mates. There’s absolutely no air play for my stuff on the radio, and it’s very rare to see me on TV unless I’m paying” he explains.
One of the ways Kev overcomes this is using the world wide web to reach his fans.
“We’ve been on the internet since 1993” he says.
“We were one of the first music stores online. I had a mate managing the office at the time and one day he says, have a look at this, and there we were, on the web. We had geeks from all over the world contacting us saying, please remove your site, the web is not for commercial purposes. Can you fucking believe it. We said fuck em”
“The great thing about the internet is that we get a cheque every week from all the online stores. The only downside is that the cheque I get only represents 5% of the downloads that are actually happening because of illegal downloading” he explains.
Kev’s touring crew is a family affair. His daughter Jenny Talia (get it?) opens the shows and his wife, Betty runs the merchandise stand. I ask him how the whole family thing plays out on the road. Do they ever get sick of each other?
“No, we’re all great mates. Betty and I have been married for 45 years. We still share heaps in common. For instance, neither of us like to suck cock” he says.
After picking myself up off the floor I continue our chat by asking him why he thinks his music and comedy divide people. Why do people take offence to words like fuck?
“People take offence, I don’t give offence” he says.
“There’s also some people who are just a little precious. But see, I’ve met people from all walks of life and I’ve been to a lot of places. One thing I’ve noticed is that no matter where you are or who you’re talking to, people always have two words in their vocabulary. They all have a word for happy, and they all have a word for fuck. So I’m right no matter where I go” he laughs.
“Although I should say” he continues. “There’s 163 native tribes in Australia and not one swear word between them. They only use our swear words”
Catch Kevin Bloody Wilson on his First of the final Farewell Tours (perhaps) tour at Hexham Bowling Club on March 11.