"How Jimmy Barnes Found Solace in Music and Crafted His Remarkable Journey"music,JimmyBarnes,solace,remarkablejourney,craft
"How Jimmy Barnes Found Solace in Music and Crafted His Remarkable Journey"

“How Jimmy Barnes Found Solace in Music and Crafted His Remarkable Journey”

3 minutes, 27 seconds Read

Jimmy Barnes on why music was his ‘safe space’ and how he made ‘big, burly blokes’ cry

By Zan Rowe for Take 5

Posted 1h ago 1 hours ago Mon 23 Oct 2023 at 8:11pm

Jimmy Barnes, the iconic Australian musician known for his powerful voice and larger-than-life stage presence, recently sat down with journalist Zan Rowe to discuss the songs that shaped his life. In the interview, Barnes reveals that music provided him with a “safe space” during a childhood marked by family violence and trauma.

From Pain to Freedom

Barnes’s love for music began at a young age. Growing up in Glasgow, Scotland, and then emigrating to Australia, he discovered that singing was his way of escaping the pain and finding solace. “If I sang, then I thought people would like me, and I’d be safe. They weren’t going to hurt me,” he shared. Music became his refuge, a source of comfort in a tumultuous world.

Barnes’s connection to music was deeply intertwined with his own experiences of pain. He cites artists like Little Richard as key influences in his journey. Barnes was drawn to the way in which Little Richard joyously escaped his own pain and expressed himself on stage. Little Richard’s fusion of music styles, particularly his incorporation of glam rock and rockabilly, fascinated Barnes and inspired his own musical journey.

“Wild is where I could be free”

Barnes’s love for music also intersected with his desire for rebellion and freedom. He saw a reflection of his own internal struggle in the music of artists like Jerry Lee Lewis, who straddled the line between wanting to be good and wanting to be wild. Barnes related to this conflict, confessing that he always wanted to be decent but also craved the freedom that being wild provided. This desire for liberation ultimately defined his time on stage with Cold Chisel, where his wildness and destructive behavior often overshadowed his immense talent.

Confronting the Past

Despite his success, Barnes realized that he couldn’t continue on the same destructive path forever. His traumatic childhood and the pain he had buried for so long began to catch up with him. Barnes acknowledged that he needed to confront his past and seek help in order to grow as a person. With the support of his wife, Jane, he began therapy and eventually wrote his memoir, “Working Class Boy,” which detailed his journey from trauma to triumph.

“The most courageous thing I’ve ever done”

Barnes’s memoir became a source of inspiration and healing for others who had experienced similar hardships. He discovered that by sharing his story, he not only helped himself but also encouraged others to seek help and confront their own pain. The experience of having “big, burly blokes” approach him on the street and tearfully express their gratitude for his openness and honesty was a profound and rewarding moment for Barnes.

Ultimately, Barnes’s journey teaches us the importance of confronting our past and seeking support when needed. By dropping our defenses and leading with our hearts, we can become better versions of ourselves. Barnes’s story serves as a reminder that music can provide solace and healing during the darkest times, and it has the power to transform lives.

Watch the full interview with Jimmy Barnes on Take 5 tonight on ABC TV or on ABC iview and hear the extended conversation on the Take 5 podcast on the ABC Listen app.


"How Jimmy Barnes Found Solace in Music and Crafted His Remarkable Journey"
<< photo by Porapak Apichodilok >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.

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G'day, mates! I'm Greg Buckley, and I've been reporting here in the land Down Under for the last 15 years. I'm all about sports and culture, so if there's a footy match or an art exhibit, you'll likely see me there. Let's give it a burl together, Australia!

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