Oral History: Musicians

Musicians talk about their careers
 Bronwyn Murphy

The Oral History program provides personal recollections of careers in film, TV, radio or recorded sound. 

Read an outline of the interviews below, and listen to excerpts or the full interviews embedded from SoundCloud.


Tex Perkins

Singer, musician and songwriter Greg `Tex’ Perkins is known for his solo records as well as fronting The Cruel Sea and performing with bands like Beasts of Bourbon.

He discusses his start in music in the 1980s in Brisbane’s Tex Deadly & the Dum Dums and his memories of historic Brisbane venues like Cloudlands. He talks about his bands Beasts of Bourbon, The Cruel Sea, Thug, Ladyboyz, Tex Don & Charlie, and T&T with Tim Rogers, as well as his solo work with the Dark Horses.

In this excerpt he explains how he came to join The Cruel Sea, first as lighting designer and then as singer:

Tex Perkins interviewed by Jen Jewel Brown (2013), Oral History. NFSA title: 1149793

Tex reflects on playing Johnny Cash on stage in the Helpmann award-winning The Man in Black – The Johnny Cash Story (2010-11), kicking a footy with the Espy Rockdogs at the Reclink Community Cup and the pitfalls of success. He discusses the evolution of his recording techniques through to the debut album for his latest band, at the time of this interview, The Ape.

Jen Jewel Brown interviewed Tex Perkins in September 2013 and you can listen to the full interview on SoundCloud:

Vika Bull

Singer, songwriter and producer Vika Bull has been entertaining audiences around the world for more than 30 years.

For six years, Vika performed with her sister Linda in The Black Sorrows. In this excerpt, she talks about how that came about and what it was like to work in the studio with the legendary Venetta Fields:

Vika forged a successful recording and touring career with Linda, releasing eight musically diverse albums. The sisters also added their vocal talents to recordings by Paul Kelly, Hunters and Collectors, John Farnham, Noiseworks and Archie Roach. They have shared a stage with Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker, Sting, Billy Joel and Peter Gabriel, among others. In 2013, Vika performed on stage as the star of At Last: The Etta James Story.

Billy Pinnell interviewed Vika Bull in March 2013 and you can listen to the full interview on SoundCloud:

Todd Hunter

Todd Hunter is a songwriter and musician known for his involvement in rock band Dragon. He’s also composed hits for other artists and for TV and film.

Todd co-formed Dragon in New Zealand in 1973, playing bass guitar and singing back-up vocals. The band relocated to Sydney in 1975 and soon had hits, including ‘April Sun in Cuba’, ‘Are You Old Enough?’ and ‘Still in Love With You’. By the time of their break-up on New Year’s Eve 1979, Dragon had sold over a million records.

The band reunited in 1982, beginning another seven-year era of hits including ‘Rain’, co-written by Todd and his partner, Johanna Pigott. Todd and Johanna also worked together on the soundtrack to the ABC-TV series Sweet and Sour (1984) and co-wrote John Farnham’s hit song ‘Age of Reason’.

In the 1990s, Todd began writing film scores. In this excerpt he talks about his steep learning curve in composing for film, beginning with Daydream Believer (1992), and how six months of work on Heartbreak High turned into six years:

Todd reformed Dragon in 2006 and the band was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2008.

Anthony O’Grady interviewed Todd Hunter in Sydney in September 2013 and you can listen to the full interview on SoundCloud:

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