You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Oil's Rob Hirst takes swipe at developers

AAP logoAAP 8/08/2016 Danielle McGrane

Rob Hirst has taken a swipe at Sydney's developers in his new album with blues outfit The Backsliders.

The Midnight Oil drummer has never been one to shy away from politics and he's not about to start now on his 14th album, Heathen Songbook, with his fellow Backsliders, guitarist Dom Turner and Ian Collard on harmonica.

"Blues music has often been used as a medium of protest so it's quite logical to continue that," Hirst told AAP.

With the Oils, Hirst fought for the rights of indigenous Australians, performed in response to the massive Exxon oil spill in 1990 and used music to highlight the exploitation of workers.

This time he's fired up about what's happening in his home town.

"We grew up in Sydney and watched our town be gradually corrupted by big vested interests, the Packers and people like that," Hirst said.

"It's a real Sydney story of how the big end of town always wins," he said.

The state government, he says has never been more flush with funds from the rise in real estate values.

"They've never been richer, but will they put it towards hospitals and schools and infrastructure? Wait and see," he said.

Hirst has poured his anger and frustration with the city's developers into a song on the album called Dickhead. The track deals with the rise in what he and his bandmates label "disposable architecture".

"A lot of the developers are using really cheap materials and these buildings have a shelf-life of about 20 years. You have to buy a plane ticket to Europe to see decent architecture," he said.

It's one of the originals included on the album that also features their versions of songs by artists such as blues legend Robert Johnson, hillbilly banjoist Dock Boggs and swamp-rock icon John Fogerty.

The record is produced and mixed by Oils guitarist Jim Moginie.

It isn't the only collaborating Hirst has planned with his former bandmate as Midnight Oil announced they would be reforming for a tour next year.

This follows the recent release of frontman Peter Garrett's debut solo record, A Version Of Now.

The band haven't revealed if they will release some new music but Hirst said it's something he's pushing for.

He even has some songs written after a recent holiday in Greece.

"I really really hope the Oils will do some new music," he said.

"I've been pushing the band to do that. But I think Peter is a bit distracted at the moment."

*Backsliders, Heathen Songbook is out now.

Tour dates:

September 10 - Darwin Railway Club, Darwin

September 17 - Caravan Music Club, Melbourne

September 18 - Way Out West Roots Music Club, Williamstown, VIC

September 24 - Blues for the Bush Festival, WA

October 2 - Narooma Golf Club, NSW

October 15 - Wingham Akoostik Music Festival, NSW

December 3 - Wollongong Town Hall, NSW

January 14 - Milton Theatre, NSW

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon