GOING PLACES: Rose Tattoo will play at Emerald Star Hotel on Tuesday, June 25.
GOING PLACES: Rose Tattoo will play at Emerald Star Hotel on Tuesday, June 25. Bob King

'Angry' gets candid ahead of Emerald gig

AHEAD of the band's Emerald gig next week, Rose Tattoo's iconic front man Gary 'Angry' Anderson said the novelty of travelling around the country - including Central Queensland - with his band was as strong as ever.

Musically, he said Rose Tattoo - which formed in 1976 - was "as good as we've ever been” and he was looking forward to playing to an eager rural crowd of all ages.

"Over the years, audiences have realised that if they're excited and they're involved that heightens the whole experience for everyone.”

Particularly with rock and roll, he said, although not always.

"I remember when my daughter was 12 and she wanted to see Swan Lake, so I took Roxanne to Swan Lake and no one calls and cheers at the end of each movement but there is an energy in the room that is transmitted from the audience members right across the stage.

"The dancers are dancing their hearts out and you can see the sweat pouring off them.

"Apart from the rowdiness and sometimes rapturous applause at end of every song, it was just like a rock concert - except quiet - because there was this wonderful transference of energy from audience to stage and that's what makes playing in Emerald so special ... and every gig.”

He said he had adopted a philosophy years ago that he would play in towns and gigs that other bands might bypass for a town with a bigger pub or a bigger audience.

"One of the great experiences of performing is you get to go places.”

The current Rose Tattoo line-up features Anderson with early AC/DC bassist Mark Evans; former Finch, Skyhooks and Angels' guitarist Bob Spencer; guitarist Dai Pritchard; and Jackie Barnes on drums.

Anderson, who was in America earlier in the year and is planning another trip to the US next year as well as two European tours this year, said the band was keen to go "anywhere that someone wants to hear us play”.

He said that while in the early days the band had been based in London and toured Europe he often "hankered” for his return to Australia.

"Last year, one time when I was with Mark Evans who has a really grounded view of life - and we're sitting in a beer garden in Germany eating pigs trotters and drinking beer - and he said, 'This is fantastic but I can't wait to get home', and I thought, he's right you know.

"Apart from the fact that home is home, you can't beat Australian beer!”

Anderson said he had noticed in more recent years that more women came to see Rose Tattoo play, as well as people from various generations which was "just amazing”.

"We've crossed that barrier now where the girls don't stand up the back, they come down the front and there's a lot of young people coming to the gigs and what matters to them is music.”

Anderson said he had a "very emotional moment” a couple of years ago when visiting a Queensland mine to give free talks on mental health issues during Mental Health Week.

"I've dealt with depression my whole life, and I've deal with addictions and childhood abuse.

"And I was doing a talk and this bloke walks up to me - he was one of the bosses. And he says, 'A long time ago as a kid my father was abusive and I was a bit of a larrikin and I'd just got out of juvenile and you came to talk at a youth camp. And you said that the band's coming back in a few weeks'.

"He told me that he spoke to me and I said, 'Righto, here's my number and come and see the band play, and he did with his mates.”

Anderson said the man told him that aside from the mental health talks, the music and listening to the songs about being a boy growing up in a troubled environment and resonated with him.

"And he said it turned his life around, and he went on and he did engineering in the army.

"It was a very emotional moment. I was so proud of that - I was so tall that day.”

Anderson said he understood why some young people dealt with stress and anxiety as they were exposed to "so much bad news and negativity”.

"I've survived these things and with depression as a young bloke there was lots of moments where I wondered if it was worth going on.

"If you feed someone negativity, that's what they live on, so if we could just turn it around and tell them that when they're vulnerable, yes there's a lot of bad news, but there's a lot of good stuff too and it outweighs the bad stuff.

"It's up to us to tell them about the good stuff.”

Anderson said he was available to discuss mental health issues if groups approached him.

Rose Tattoo will play at the Emerald Star Hotel, Emerald, on Tuesday, June 25 - tickets via www.oztix.com.au


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