Feb 142013

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: