BOOK REVIEW: TEX by Tex Perkins

BOOK REVIEW: TEX by Tex Perkins
Pan Macmillan Australia – rrp$34.99
25 July, 2017
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
9/10

Tex Perkins and old mate Stuart Coupe have crafted an immensely readable biography which never shirks from his career and personal ups, downs and all-arounds for a single one of its 339 pages.

Brutally honest, self-deprecating but never bitchy or muckraking, and written with an often hilariously wry sense of humour, Tex is illuminating and as charismatic as the 183cm Perkins himself, making this a must-read for any fan of not only Aus rock, but anyone fascinated with the rock n’ roll lifestyle.

Booze and drugs circle around Perkins’ stints in The Beasts of Bourbon, Thug, The Cruel Sea, Tex, Don & Charlie and The Dark Horses (amongst others) like omnipresent satellites. This is no exercise in voyeuristic ‘fake reality’ aggrandisement, though: Perkins makes no apologies for his occasional anti-social behaviour, speaking of bad habits only in the context that they impact the music of his many bands. That’s what matters most, after all. The reader is left to decide if Perkins’ anecdotes are cautionary tales or something else, but there is a palpable sense of loss gnawing at the heart of the book (and, presumably, the heart of the man) as the positive achievements of those lost to excess are recalled.

Perkins’ tales of his experimental years with early noiseniks Salamander Jim, The Butcher Shop, Thug et al are illuminating and a country mile from the Beasts of Bourbon and Cruel Sea days. It’s this diversity which makes his career so damned interesting, and when, with heart firmly affixed to sleeve, he describes how fame destroyed The Cruel Sea, it’s impossible for us not to whole heartedly empathise with him.

Going back even further, we get a glimpse into Gregory Stephen Perkins’ childhood: abusive older brother, violent Catholic teachers and all. It’s hardly any wonder that he rebelled towards alternative rock n’ roll, punk anger and barroom brawling badassery.

Throughout his long, strange trip in the rock wastelands, Perkins has become the pivotal frontman of many bands, a father five times over, a near-mystical non-traditional sex symbol and an Australian alt-rock icon – all pretty much despite himself. His very name conjures respect and admiration – or is it awe? – but never without the undercurrent of danger, that everything could go tits-up at any moment.

He is, after all, the man of whom Iggy Pop said, “Tex is the realest dude out there… I WISH I was more like Tex!”

But all of that is the LEGEND Tex Perkins. By his openness, honesty, humour and lack of hubris, this book makes him less rock superhero in favour of the real, human, artist and man.

 

BOOK REVIEW: TEX by Tex Perkins

Filed Under: Book Reviews

About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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