Ahead of the launch, and the release of More Rubbish, I spoke to Buddy and, maybe, to his alter ego, Mike Carr.
The first thing I have to say is that I have not heard the album.
Well, the reason why is that we only finished recording it about ten days ago. No, it was delivered about ten days ago so it was finished recording about fourteen days ago.
And when did you start writing it?
Oh, about three days before that [laughs]. No, I started writing it a while ago but there wasn’t going to be a new album this year because I didn’t feel inspired. But I got some inspiration one night. I woke up and spoke to L Ron Hubbard and just got the inspiration. The next day I rang ABC [Music] and said, ‘Look, I’d love to do another album’, and they decided it would be a great idea, so we thought we’d do it. And it’s done and it’s here and, to be honest with you, I think it’s one of the best ones I’ve ever done [laughs].
Maybe that distilled process of creativity and productivity was the trick.
I think so, yes. And when you spend extended periods of your life really bored, the only way to get out of it is to be creative. I’d had a great break from it this year. I hadn’t done many Buddy shows this year – I only did a couple of things during the year because my alter ego, Mike Carr, was doing other things [Adam Brand and the Outlaws] and then I thought I was going to take the whole year off, but then I guess I got a little bit of itchy feet.
There is now a lot of thinking and writing about the value of boredom when it comes to creativity. The kiddies aren’t getting bored any more, they’re always occupied with the screens – it’s not good for them.
No, it’s not. I believe the children – and a lot of this album I dedicate to the kids out there, hence the reason why the very first album launch that I’m doing on December 17th at Rooty Hill – after all these years, I’ve never done one for the other albums.
I don’t know. I can’t answer that question! I just never thought it was something I wanted to do. I haven’t even had an unofficial launch or anything like that. I’ve just released an album and gone and done the gigs. This year I thought, Oh, you know, let’s do it a bit differently. Have a launch. But it was mainly for the kids, as I said. My album launch is twelve plus – the families can come along. Not meaning that I’m going to change anything that I do in my act.
[Laughs] I was about to say, ‘How does that fit in with your act?’
Well, you know, the whole things is [that] you’re not watching Kevin Bloody Wilson. There’s no swearing in the show. It’s all double meanings. So it’s entertaining for the kids because Buddy’s just entertaining – I could be the fifth Wiggle, in all honesty. Over the years I’ve just discovered that there are a lot of families who do enjoy it with their kids and the kids like certain songs, and they’re not necessarily the dirtiest songs. Sometimes they are but [the kids] don’t have a clue what it’s about, they just think it’s funny. I’ve only ever had half-a-dozen walkouts before in all my shows, and I’ve performed to a lot of kids and families over the years. I don’t see it as a problem. It was a problem for a lot of people for a long time because they didn’t quite understand. But I said, ‘Look, you’re obviously not fans, you’re not listening to the albums – you have to listen closer.’ And once they got closer to it they could see the value in it for their children [laughs].
There’s a lot of colour and movement in a Buddy Goode proposition – the kiddies love that.
That’s right. It was Cruisin’ Country, I did a show one night in one of the bars and there was a family of six sitting right next to me – Mum and Dad and four kids – and I just looked down and the kids were all singing the words to one of my songs. Probably not the most appropriate one, but they were all having a wonderful time. So I just thought it was about time [for a show for kids] considering, as you said, technology – they’ve all got an iPad, they’ve all got a smart phone, they’re all on them all the time, they’ve seen a lot worse than Buddy Goode on there.
It must be pretty fantastic when you can look down and see people singing along.
Especially ten-year-olds. It’s amazing, you know. Because there’s nothing out there for them, ten-year-olds. What have they got to pick from – Miley Cyrus? The Jonas Brothers and the occasional two-week wonder that pops along? Buddy’s something that can stay with them forever, you know what I mean?
Just like a bad Christmas present.
That’s right. Exactly right. Like the knitted reindeer jumper. There’s a lot of influences for the songs. There’s nothing that child friendly on here but there’s some stuff that they can have a good giggle at along with their mums and dads.
If you only delivered the album ten days ago, how did you organise that cover photo so quickly – with a garbage truck, no less.
It was quite random. I had my photographer with me and we were driving round the streets looking for some alleyways and some garbage bins, just to have some shots. I drove round this corner and there was this garbage truck pulled over with three garbos having a smoko [laughs]. So I just drove in, fully dressed, and I said to the boys, ‘What are you doing for the next ten minutes?’ and they said, ‘We’re smokin’.’ And I said, ‘Can I take some photos on your truck?’ and they said, ‘Absolutely [laughs]. As long as you don’t put the numberplate in there.’ So that’s how that happened. It was totally random and I promised them all an album for Christmas. I’ve got all their addresses. So they were stoked. They had no idea what was happening to them and neither did I.
And I love the fact that they saw a fully dressed Buddy Goode and said, ‘Yep, mate – go ahead.’
[Laughs] Absolutely. They did. They were in shock.
In the press release for More Rubbish it mentions that this is a good album for the ‘average Joe and Joelene’. Does Buddy Goode relate to the average person? I’m not convinced that Buddy Goode is average.
Well, no, he’s not. He can mix in any circle, you know what I mean. He can certainly lower himself for any occasion. And the proof is on the record that he can lower himself for any occasion. The reason the album is for the average Joe is because the last two albums have been specifically themed albums: Songs to Ruin Every Occasion and the Christmas album. This time I’ve gone back to The One and Only Buddy Goode and Unappropriate. Unappropriate won my first ARIA and I think it was a great album. So this is a bit of a return to those days of Buddy Goode. There’s no themes. It’s just writing songs about the wonderful world that we live in.
When you come to write these songs, what sort of inspiration is there – is it an object, is it a person or an experience that sparks things? Or is it all completely random and you never know when an idea is going to pop in?
It’s completely random and it all depends on whether my prescription’s run out [laughs].
Prescription glasses, you mean.
Of course, of course! It depends on a lot of things. Sometimes it depends on the weather. Lots of people ask me how I write these songs and I tell you, I find it a lot easier to write these songs than I do to write normal songs because normal songs have to mean something – these don’t have to mean anything, and you can write about anything, you can make up anything you want. You can even make up words that sound funny. So I never find much pressure in writing these songs. But I do like there to be a strong meaning – at least a message that one person in the world, whether he be a garbo in Kazakhstan, something that someone can latch on to.
The fact that you can have more fun with these songs means that you can play with language more, which would be part of the fun.
Absolutely. And I have a lot of influences from my life, and I like to incorporate these people that have major influence in my life. On this album Kevin Bennett and Lee Kernaghan both get mentions.
Well, Lee and Kevin are both big presences in Australian country music.
Absolutely. Kevin just recently got nominated for 400 Golden Guitars. I was really excited for him and I was there at the party, at the nominations. I went up to him and said, ‘I’m really thrilled for your nominations – you must be too’, and he said, ‘I heard on the grapevine that Buddy Goode has mentioned me in a song’, and I said, ‘Yes, he has’, and he said, ‘Well, that’s much more important than the six nominations I got.’ [laughs]
[Laughs] It would be pretty special to be immortalised in a song! Now – as you mentioned the Christmas album, I do have a related question: what is on your Santa list this year?
That’s a good question.
And have you been naughty or nice? That’s the next question.
Oh, I’m always naughty.
I figured that would be the answer.
Well, you have to be naughty to be nice. Because if you’re not naughty you don’t get anything out of life and if you don’t get anything out of life you can’t be nice to anybody.
Words to live by.
And my Santa list … to be honest, a Golden Guitar nomination is high priority, because I feel like the ARIA has embraced me for many years but I feel that the Golden Guitars haven’t quite embraced Buddy Goode, considering that’s where he started – his first gig was at the TRECC in Tamworth. I opened for Adam Brand, I did three songs. My very first song was an instrumental – it was ‘The Magnificent Seven’ played on the bottle with wooden spoons.
Do you remember what you wore?
Yeah – I had a white jacket on, and a white skivvy, and blue jeans tucked into wonderful white cowboy boots, snakeskin leather. No one remembers that – the gig was with Adam Brand and Michael Spibey from the Badloves, and James Blundell and Buddy Goode. That was the very first gig. I only had one song out at the time – it was before I got signed to ABC – and I walked out on stage and did ‘The Magnificent Seven’ with the bottles, then I performed my one song, then I think I finished with ‘Thank God I’m a Country Boy’ and walked off. [laughs] So I’d love to be embraced by the Golden Guitar awards but I can’t seem to get a look-in. Maybe I’ll have to do a duet with Kasey Chambers.
Or maybe give Adam Brand an alter ego and you two can duet –they love a duet at the Golden Guitars.
[Laughs] They do. Well, we’ll see what happens.
Before I wrap up I will ask you about Tamworth – do you have a show or shows?
I have the one big show on the 25th of January at the Diggers Showroom at 7 p.m. I’ll be doing the charity event, Country Turns Pink, as well on the Saturday night where I’ll be introducing special guests to perform a song with me. And a few little bits.
And I imagine you’ll have special guests at that Diggers show too.
Last year I had Adam Brand and Seleen McAllister. Adam and I did a wonderful version of ‘Shaddap Your Face’ just for Adam to get in touch with his Italian origin. This year there is a surprise but I’m not going to announce it until the week out.
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