Because Songs Matter


I mentioned this in my list of picks from 2012, and promised to write a piece on it, as Cold Chisel most certainly aren’t a household name in the US. Cold Chisel come from that land down-under, the one with the kangaroos and the platypus. You know the one I’m talking of? Yep, the one they call Australia.

You might be under the misconception that AC/DC or INXS or even Crowded House was Australias hottest band. They’re not. Cold Chisel was. And is.

Cold Chisel started out in 1973 under the name Orange, before changing to Cold Chisel the following year. And soon turned out to become the hardest hitting rock-band in Australia, netting double and quintuple platinum for a couple of their albums.

Their huge hit “Khe Sahn”, written from the perspective of an Australian Vietnam vet, is a good example of the bands sound in those days:

After disbanding in 1984, there were several rumors about reunions – and a couple have been held – in 1998, 2003 and 2005. Mostly one-offs. But then. In 2009 they played a one-off that turned out so good the band decided to go into the studio again and start touring. In the midst of recording “No Plans” original drummer Steve Prestwich suddenly and tragically died from a brain tumor. They decided to move on with old Divinyls drummer Charlie Drayton – and even with his looser style he fits bassplayer Phil Small and the band.

“No Plans” could have gone terribly wrong. Cold Chisels are legends in Australia, and their albums are as legendary as the band itself. Cold Chisel decided to put out one of the best albums of their career, and kicked international ass from the first chord.

Their frontman Jimmy Barnes has a distinctive voice and a range that most singers would envy him, and guitarist Ian Moss shreds it all the time. He’s played anything from heavy metal to blues rock and knows what works.

The majority of the songs are written by keyboard player Don Walker, and range from the toughest rock via country to the most beautiful ballads.
They deliver a sound that could be described as rock, blues, blues rock, stadium rock and even with a twist of country from time to time. The title track “No Plans” needs mentioning, where Jimmy Barnes really shows off his voice yet again – also “All For You” – the beautiful ballad that could almost rival his solo-hit “Flame Trees”. “HQ454 Monroe”, where Barnes channels his inner Elvis is a gem, and the rhythm section really shows off in this one.

And off course it’s “The Horizon” that steals the show for me. Cold Chisel shows us why they’re still Australia’s best band. The album closes with “I Got Things To Do”, a song by Steve Prestwich – recorded early in the recording process, with Steve’s vocals as a guide for later overdubs by Jimmy. The band decided to keep Steve’s vocals, and it’s their tribute to their long time friend and drummer.

Well, anyway – I love this band. And I love No Plans.

Cold Chisel - The Horizon     

Cold Chisel - HQ454 Monroe     

Check them out on Spotify, all the old albums are worth listening to, and were remastered and re-released before the release of “No Plans” – and sound awsome. Find “No Plans” on Amazon, where you also can find their old stuff.

“No Plans” – official video:


  1. Phineas Phineas
    February 14, 2013    

    Not exactly my “cup of tea” (I wish I had a more relevant Australian saying/phrase) but you did just remind me of one of my favorite Aussie musicians…..John Williamson (make sure you check out the Australian one not the US one)…..much more folksy/country but I’m pretty sure the man’s a legend in his own right.

    First song I ever heard from him was “Queensland Bungalow,” (off his album “The Way It Is”) which is badass, he’s got some semi-cheesy stuff as well but his good songs are awesome (in my opinion) that really capture the Australian attitude/essence……either way I can definitely appreciate everyone’s different input / tastes on here (9B), and I’m probably the only one who isn’t all that hyped on it (I’m not trying to be an asshole everybody just likes different stuff!)

    Solid review either way!

    (Another good album of his to check out is “Humble Beginnings” on that one I really like the songs “Come Ride a Country Road,” “4 Points & 40 Bucks,” “Six Boys in Blue,” & “Gum Tree,” but it’s a good album recorded in the 70’s and the only one available on Spotify) sorry to detract from your post, but I just figured someone else might be into his music….

  2. chiselfan chiselfan
    February 16, 2013    

    A decent review of a great band, but just one small detail – Flame Trees was a Cold Chisel song written by Steve Prestwich (the deceased drummer) and Don Walker (keyboardist and principal writer). It originally came from their Twentieth Century album, the last album made before the band originally split up. It was not a Jimmy Barnes solo song per se, although Jimmy has included the number in his live sets and has released the song on a couple of live recording cds.

  3. Castro Castro
    February 16, 2013    

    G’day from Down Under. In no particular order some Aussie artists you may appreciate:

    The Kill Devil Hills; Tex Perkins; Henry Wagons; Tim Rogers; Casey Chambers; Paul Kelly; Jordie Lane; Dirty Three.

    • Mike Ostrov Mike Ostrov
      February 16, 2013    

      Paul Kelly is the man

    • Phineas Phineas
      February 16, 2013    

      Thanks for.the heads up I’ll have to checl them all out, I feel like you must have a great music scene down there but it unfortunately gets little coverage here… thanks and i’ll definitely check them out.

      Saw cory branan / jon snodgrass last night btw it was awesome made my week

  4. Scott Fuchs Scott Fuchs
    February 17, 2013    

    I just listened to about 45 seconds of five or so of their songs. Sounds like Foghat/3 Dog Night with worse lyrics. Startling bad, really. No thanks.

  5. Hd Lloyd Hd Lloyd
    February 20, 2013    

    Chisel khe shan is like the aussie version of sweet home alabama or something the last song the cover band plays and everyone knows the words. The band is alright, but not really my thing.

    You guys should check paddy mchugh and the goldminers, you can get his albums free and he just put a new one out, but this dude can tell a story or two, check out Dan O’Halleron, its a ripper.

  6. May 19, 2013    

    Hi there, i really love your music, i just added your video hope you like it, you can watch the music video, if you want to 🙂

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