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Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst to share the good oil on songwriting


Sharlene King
27 February 2015

Legendary Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst is taking to the stage in Southern Cross University’s Studio One29 for the first APRA AMCOS Songwriters’ Workshop of 2015, at the Lismore campus on Thursday March 19.

The APRA AMCOS Songwriters’ Workshop series has been developed to give students of the University’s contemporary music program insights into the music industry.

This special workshop with Rob Hirst will be open to the public, with no cost to attend.

Rob is probably best known for his incredible performances as Midnight Oils’ drummer, yet he has written or co-written many of the band’s best-loved songs; a musical legacy which has thrown the spotlight on important issues from Indigenous land rights through to nuclear disarmament, youth homelessness and asbestos-related diseases. He is also a published author and magazine contributor.

Over the past three decades, Rob has played, sung and written songs in The Ghostwriters, Backsliders, Hirst & Greene, The Angry Tradesmen and more recently with the instrumental surf rock outfit, The Break which features two Midnight Oil members, Jim Moginie and Martin Rotsey, and bass player Brian Ritchie of the US band, Violent Femmes.

Late last year, Rob released his first album length solo offering, ‘The Sun Becomes the Sea’, a collection of songs, some personal and some focused on issues that concern him, like ‘The Truth Walks Slowly‘, a true story of a sixth generation Queensland cattle farmer forced to fight when the beauty and solitude of his pristine property is threatened by a gas mining company.

“I wanted to record some new songs at an unhurried pace, at our local studio, then invite some brilliant players I know to drop by and add their magic,” Rob said.

“My daughters Lex and Gabriella also sang along with me on a couple of tracks – for the first time ever - and Gabriella kindly allowed me to ‘borrow’ her beautiful painted birds for the artwork. It all came together so well: the whole project has been joyful from the beginning to the end.”

The APRA AMCOS Songwriters’ Workshops are presented by the Australasian Performing Right Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (APRA AMCOS) and the University’s School of Arts and Social Sciences.

Thanks to funding from APRA AMCOS, the Workshops have been part of the contemporary music program at SCU since 2006.

“Going into the 10th year of this program, it’s wonderful the APRA AMCOS Songwriters’ Workshops series is able to attract the calibre and experience of an Australian music legend like Rob Hirst,” said Leigh Carriage, APRA AMCOS Songwriters' Workshop coordinator and lecturer in the Contemporary Music program.

The APRA AMCOS Songwriters’ Workshops make it possible for SCU students to gain inspiration, insight and knowledge about song writing processes from national and international guests of the music industry. Held in the School's state-of-the-art Studio One29 in the Contemporary Music building (D block) at the Lismore campus, the School has hosted workshops with Hiatus Kaiyote, Jim Moginie, Kerrianne Cox, Tex Perkins, Husky, Nelida Tyson Chew, Stiff Gins, Blue King Brown, Mia Dyson, Neil Murray, Scott Aplin (The Voice Australia music director) and many other successful musicians.

APRA AMCOS Songwriters’ Workshop with Rob Hirst
Thursday March 19, 2pm – 4pm
Studio One29, D block, Contemporary Music Building, Lismore campus

Photo: Rob Hirst.