With a career spanning more than five decades, Australian music legend Glenn Shorrock has often been urged to write his memoirs.
“People have been goading me and telling me for years that I have a story to tell and I should get it down. And I’d even started a couple of times but then put it aside,” said the former lead singer and songwriter of the internationally popular Little River Band.
But, finally, Shorrock, whose hits include Cool Change and Help is On its Way, did it.
“And I’m really happy with the result,” he said of his memoir, Now, Where Was I? (published by New Holland Publishers).
“I wanted it to be a bit humorous, and I think it’s an entertaining read. It’s not Shakespeare but it’s not rubbish, either.”
Shorrock enjoyed the process of putting his life down on paper for the book — literally.
“I originally started the book on my iPad,” he said. “I worked like crazy on it for two weeks and then it crashed on me and I lost everything I’d written. So, after that, I thought, ‘Bugger it’ and wrote it all out long hand.”
English-born Shorrock, whose career has also included stints in ’60s pop band The Twilights and rock group Axiom, said he didn’t have an epiphany, as such, where he realised he might have some musical talent.
“But as a teenager, I loved rock and roll and found that I had rhythm and could feel the music, and (success) eventually came my way. I was made for it, really,” he explained.
These days, Shorrock, who lives with his wife, Jo, in a converted National Trust building overlooking Sydney Harbour, is still making music. He does it “for the love of it”.
“I’m not trying to climb the ladder of success anymore,” he said. “I’m a really lucky man. I’m 74 and went professional when I was 20 and I’ve never done a hard day’s work in my life.”
Typical Saturday morning
It usually starts with the morning papers and the crossword, a cup of coffee and a piece of toast with honey on it. I like very simple fare.
A can of tuna mixed with cold baked beans. I might throw in a bit of tabasco, as well, to give it a bit of life. It’s a quick snack of my own invention.
I don’t cook that much, but if I have to, I’ll do a piece of steak with three veg. I’m not a great red-meat eater, so I like a lean, small steak as opposed to a whopping T-bone. I don’t like fighting with my food. Jo is a great cook and is fantastic at easily whipping up stews, curries and soups in a big pot.
On my bedside table
A copy of Boy Swallows Universe, the debut novel by (News Corp journalist) Trent Dalton. I’ve always got something on the boil. I like to look at book reviews in the papers to decide what I should read next. I really like dystopian, futuristic sort of books.
Fantasy place to live
The South Pacific still calls. We built a house in Fiji in the 1980s that we had for about 18 years and during that time we got to know the place pretty well.
At the moment, I am reliving my love of Joni Mitchell. I went to a tribute concert (featuring her songs) at the Sydney Opera House a while ago, which was gorgeous. Every now and then, I will put on some classical Indian music, which I find soothing. And you can’t go past The Beatles.
Happiness at home
Good food, good wine, good company and good television programs. Our viewing habits have become very sophisticated with the advent of streaming. Breaking Bad was the first one that caught my eye.
My favourite things
This is Bella, who’s an eight-year-old schnauzer. She came into our lives about five or six years ago after a friend’s mother could no longer look after her as she had dementia. And now she’s very much part of the family. She’s a very friendly dog who rules our life, as animals do. She even sleeps with us, for God’s sake. It’s embarrassing.
My wife, Jo, bought me this baby grand piano about 30 years ago. It was at the height of Little River Band’s success, when we were starting to make some serious money, and through that, things came my way like a (nice) house, a car, a boat and a piano. I wrote Cool Change and a few other songs on it. I don’t play it much anymore — although, every now and then, when it’s quiet, I’ll tinkle around on it a bit. That’s when the ideas (for songs) come and then if they are any good, I’ll take them further, but in recent years, that doesn’t happen very often. The piano sits in our living room, alongside the comfy chairs and the telly. I don’t have a separate studio.
These Zeiss binoculars were given to me by my wife’s father, Ernie. They are from the 1940s or 1950s and are a bit battered now but I love them. They don’t make lenses like they used to. We live by Sydney Harbour and I consider myself an unofficial harbour master. I pretty much know every cruise ship that goes in and out. I’ve always had a fondness for boats, which I think goes back to spending part of my childhood sailing from England to Australia. We first immigrated to Australia as “Ten Pound Poms” in August 1954, when I was 10. But Mum hated it and missed England, so six months later, we boarded another ship and sailed back to the UK. But, just as I was turning 12, Mum announced we were returning to Adelaide, again, although this time we had to pay the full fare back. I still love getting on boats, although I don’t own one anymore.
This is a Martin guitar, which is very high up on the totem pole of acoustic guitars. I bought it a few years ago when I was touring around America. I got one of the guitar players in the band to go and buy it for me because I didn’t know what was good and what wasn’t. I paid a bit of money for it and it’s got a beautiful sound, so much so that anybody who plays it wants to have it because it’s so lovely. I can play it and use it to compose on but I wouldn’t consider myself a guitar player, I’m more of a strummer. I’ve been in bands with much better players than me, so I’ve relied on them instead. It’s called delegation.
Jo bought me this hat. It’s by Paul Smith, who designs lovely clothing. I’ve always worn baseball hats since I was a kid but when I started to lose my hair, I started to wear posh ones on stage. I now have a collection of them but this one is a favourite. It’s just a vanity thing — I’m not embarrassed by the loss of hair but hairstyles have always been an important part of pop culture, ever since Elvis Presley came on to the scene with his wonderful quiff.
You either love them or hate them but I’ve always liked brussels sprouts. I think it’s part of my English side. You can cook them in different ways but I prefer them steamed. I think they might be a throwback to the early part of my life. We were very frugal people who didn’t have a lot, so we ate very simple food. I eat a lot of green vegetables. My wife and I are very conscious to buy the best produce as we believe to live well, you need to eat well.