THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Shane Nicholson

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Shane Nicholson with Paul Kelly: Whistling Cannonballs
THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Shane Nicholson

Australian singer-songwriter Shane Nicholson has delivered consistently interesting, but rather too few, albums. Each makes you want another almost immediately because of their lyrical sensiblity and sharp songwriting.

Nicholson is also alongside his wife Kasey Chambers on her albums and because she is part of a fine family -- dad Bill a long-established country artist in Australia and the States, brother Nash a producer -- you take any album by Kasey and/or Shane very seriously indeed. And they don't disappoint.

They also pick up many awards and excellent sales. 

Nicholson's new album is Bad Machines (produced with Nash, Bill on guitars and Paul Kelly a guest on the haunting spare Whistling Cannonballs) but while out on the road in Australia he took time to answer the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire.


The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .

The theme song from The Leyland Brothers TV show – I would gallop around my parents lounge every time it came on.


Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .

Michael Jackson and Bob Dylan. One made me think, and one made me dance.


Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?

Lennon – Nirvana – Madonna - Jacko


If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .

A butcher. I love the smell and the cool air of the butcher shop.


The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .

A Father’s Song by Darrell Scott, Drive-In Movie by Fred Eaglesmith, Unwed Fathers by John Prine


Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?

We have Jimmie Barnes’s tin flower pot on the shelf in our studio. We used it as a snare drum when we recorded Rattlin’ Bones at his house, and it was ruined in the process, so we stole it, hoping he wouldn’t notice.


The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography by Jimmy McDonough


If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)

Emmylou Harris – I’d play whatever she told me to.


193170.1020.AThe three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

The Big Lebowski, Rain Man, Every Which Way But Loose.


The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

Last vinyl album: Poison “Open Up And Say…Ahh”

Last CD: Carrie Rodriguez and Ben Kyle “We Still Love Our Country”

Last Download: 16 Horsepower “Sackcloth ‘n’ Ashes”


One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you in that case would be . . .

Probably any song at all…who would be emabarrassed if they didn’t have to work again? Living with even the worst, most embarrassing song has got to be better than digging holes for the rest of your life. I don’t mind hard work, but that’s no contest.


The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

The Clash’s London Calling.


You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .

I do only have one tattoo (my star sign) so I guess it’s that one…

David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?

At home with my wife and children, doing anything but working.


And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”

Because I say so.

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Mike Shaw - Nov 16, 2012

what does whistling cannonballs mean?

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